Saturday, May 03, 2008

Papa Personally Prefers Polyphany

I've been thinking. When the Pope was here everyone was complaining about the music for Mass at D.C. Rightly so. It was horrendously embarrassing. Ok, but the rationale given by several bloggers and others on TV (whom I definitely respect and shall not name here...) was this:

"Its as though they never heard or read anything Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, has ever written or said on sacred music or the Liturgy."

You know you heard that line. Another reason I don't need to quote anyone...

And its gotten me thinking. Should music as a Papal mass ALWAYS correspond to the wishes of the current pontiff? That seems to be the main argument against what happened at D.C. It shouldn't be. The argument should be that the Mass is not an exercise in multicultural nonsense or a "Whatever I Like Best". Sacred Music is Sacred Music and it has developed over the centuries. The Church has guidelines and standards given out by Bishops conferences and yes even General Councils. Now we can argue that Sacred Music STOPPED developing somewhere in the 1960s and I happen to think that it actually did to some degree. But it is not appropriate to argue that music for Mass is dependent on the opinions of the current Pope. Well, unless he writes an Encyclical, Motu Proprio, or Papal Bull giving instruction anyway.

Its late. My point is this, if for some reason a person with the same liturgical sense as Achbp. Marini was Pope and came to the United States, would it be inappropriate to have mostly Polyphany and Gregorian Chant for him because it is not in line with his liturgical sensibilities? No that is ridiculous. It is also ridiculous to argue the opposite.

The Music at the D.C. Papal mass wasn't inappropriate because the Holy Father disapproves. It was just plain inappropriate.

Side Note:
As a Church musician, I follow the guidelines given to me by the Church and her Tradition. Part of being Catholic is the happiness of realizing I am not in charge and enjoying the inner freedom submission brings. If a pastor picks a horrible hymn for me to sing, I am obedient. Working to fix bad music in our parishes doesn't take place through disobedience or pouting.

I'm rambling. Time for bed.

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton