Sunday, April 02, 2017

More on Music in the Liturgy

From an essay on Rorate.

...sacred music is an essential component to liturgy. As Benedict explains, “The profound connection between beauty and the liturgy should make us attentive to every work of art placed at the service of the celebration…Everything related to the Eucharist should be marked by beauty” (Sacramentum Caritatis, art. 41). This – in particular – means the sacred music that accompanies the liturgy: “Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another” (Sacramentum Caritatis, art. 42). As such, we must pay special attention to the music that is played and sung within the sacred liturgy, because it is intrinsically connected to the beauty of the liturgy. The music of the liturgy gives form to the liturgy....

Then follows this quote from The Ratzinger Report:

A Church which only makes use of ‘utility music’ has fallen for what is, in fact, useless and becomes useless herself. For her mission is a far higher one…The Church must not settle down with what is merely comfortable and serviceable at the parish level; she must arouse the voice of the cosmos and by glorifying the Creator, elicit the glory of the cosmos itself, making it too glorious, beautiful, habitable, and beloved...

It is impossible to overstate the number of times we have encountered exactly that "utility music" in the parishes.  Often it is a result of the "four-hymn sandwich" still enshrined as de rigeur by "liturgy committees"--but just as often it is the church 'musician' stuffing random piano or organ solos into every nook and cranny available--the very essence of "utility" rather than "liturgy."

One thinks of the flogging of Christ in Gibson's Passion every time.

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