Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Slightly Radical Suggestion for Music at Mass, and A "Think" Graf

The Examined Life has an interesting idea about 'what to do about music at Mass,' which is a bit radical.

First, his runup:

Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and gentleness, and also of courage and temperance, and of all the qualities contrary to these, and of the other qualities of character, which hardly fall short of the actual affectations, as we know from our own experience, for in listening to such strains our souls undergo a change. (Aristotle)

EL goes on to say, comparing Episcopal services to Catholic Masses:

...I must now point out that mere conformity with doctrinal purity is not the same thing as perfect goodness, because just as true beauty cannot exist without true goodness, so, too, true goodness cannot exist independently of true beauty, since The Good and The Beautiful always go together, like the convex and the concave. So when a liturgy is celebrated that is objectively ugly, it is not as fully good as it could be, any more than a beautiful Episcopalian liturgy celebrated around an empty altar is as good as it could be. Truth and Beauty are both of them necessary conditions on Goodness. In many Episcopalian churches you often have Beauty, but you never have Truth; in Roman Churches you always have Truth but you rarely have Beauty. This is a problem.


His solution?

One way..., in my opinion, would be to completely discard most, if not all, of the music that has been in use since the late 1970s in American parishes and replace it with the great sacred music of our tradition. Gregorian chant, of course, but also the great sacred music of the Renaissance and Classical periods.

A most wonderful "Book-Burning" proposition.

Now here's a thought-provoking paragraph:

Given that so many American Catholics already either don't recognize, or else outright reject, what is objectively true (think about: abortion, contraception, sex outside of matrimony, material wealth, etc.), perhaps I shouldn't be surprised to find that so many of them also cannot recognize or else outright reject what is objectively beautiful as well. As I said above, Truth and Beauty go together, and American Catholics appear to be the closest thing there is to Catholics who have lost the Truth along with the Beauty in their pursuit of material well being. The road back will be difficult, but let's hope it isn't impassable.

Derived straight from Thomas Aquinas' dictum that sin darkens the mind...

HT: Insight Scoop

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