Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Praise Music"? Not for Catholics

A good synopsis of the issue:

God is not glorified by bodies swaying with arms raised in affective intoxication. Rather, He is glorified when man understands who God is and who he is. God is glorified by man’s holiness which is only possible through His grace, i.e. cooperative communion with God. It takes much effort on fallen man’s part. He must soak himself in grace and cooperate with it such that he is able to become “virtuous,” from the Latin term which perhaps could be equated with St. Irenaeus’ dictum.

The Mass is the starting place for practicing self possession. It is the place for moving away from the noise of the world which distracts us from the emptiness we have inside because we are not yet what we were made to be. It is the place to move toward God in silent, communal self-gift which is enabled by self-possession and self-mastery. Praise and worship may be fine for prayer meetings. Hymnody is perhaps better placed in other venues such as the Liturgy of the Hours. But for the Mass, we must return to the foundation of chant and sacred polyphony and require that future developments in liturgical must must arise organically from these venerable traditions.

Therefore, we must not allow the “consumer” mentality to drive our liturgy. We must give people what they need, not what they think they want.

It's not hard to go from the above to the watchword of St. Pius X, that 'sacred music should elevate the minds AND hearts of the Faithful to God.' And, in fact, the author did exactly that:

...St. Ireneaus’ teaching that “the glory of God is man fully alive” (Against Heresies) means man fully himself. That is, man who is fully self-possessed such that he can give himself fully to God–traditionally we call this holiness.

Fully himself: mind AND heart. Yes, that means that the music cannot be "heartless," but it also cannot be "mindless," with the accompanying danger of satisfying concupiscience (that ain't just for sex, you know...)

Is this some sort of "intellectualoid" protest? Yes, in a way--but it does not take an "intellectualoid" to understand, nor be affected in BOTH ways, by Gregorian Chant and its derivatives.

No comments: