Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Commentary to Last Post

Why the Pope is right to purge modern music

Telegraph.co.uk | By Damian Thompson

For decades, the standard of singing in St Peter's basilica has struggled to match that of a Gilbert and Sullivan society.

Damian Thompson: Church music in
Italy is generally atrocious, and the Vatican is no exception.

Since he arrived in
Rome nearly 30 years ago, the music-loving Joseph Ratzinger has had to endure the sub-operatic warbling of bad 20th-century music. Now he has had enough.

The Pope, who last year appointed a new choir director of St Peter's, wants Gregorian chant, polyphony and baroque masterpieces to dominate the repertoire in the basilica and the Sistine chapel. And, by making his preferences clear, he is sending out a message to the whole Catholic Church.

We are moving into an era of liturgical revolution. Benedict detests the feeble "folk Masses" that have remained the staple fare of Catholic worship long after they went out of musical fashion.

He wants the Church to rediscover the treasure of its heritage - and that includes Gregorian chant as well as the pre-1970 Latin Mass that can now be celebrated without the permission of bishops.

The old guard of trendy choir directors and composers (many of whom have signed lucrative contracts with dioceses) will fight his reforms every inch of the way, egged on by philistine bishops.

But younger church musicians, like young priests, are conservative in their tastes.

The next generation of choir directors have been charged by the Pope with the task of reintroducing beautiful music into church. If they succeed, then at long last the pews may begin to fill up again.

Damian Thompson is editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news..

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Timothy said...

It can't happen a moment too soon! But I wouldn't expect a change in music, alone, to bring people back to the pews. Anglicans and Episcopalians have a really great tradition of music in their liturgy, including Gregorian Chant, and their pews are not filling up. Of course, they have other problems to contend with these days.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Fr LWG said...

Whoa! A bit controversial wouldn't you say? Emotions run high with this subject.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous kms said...

Was I too strong then? ;-)

11:35 AM  
Blogger Fr LWG said...

No Kathi, the anonymous comment was too strong.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous matty said...

Forget Gilbert and Sullivan. There's one song in particular that drives me crazy. It sounds like an Irish drinking song, though the name of it blessedly escapes me. I would welcome a change to lovely music that one can sing along to.

I would hope that we do not have to sing "Ruldolph" in church, as is often done in the East coast church I attend. It irks me.

7:13 PM  

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