Sunday, July 02, 2006

Music in the liturgy

Catholic Education Resource Center republishes a succinct, incisive article written by Pope BXVI, then-Cardinal Ratzinger, on spirit of the Liturgy when it concerns music.

Some quotes:

"[T]hese opportunities for artistic creativity and the adoption of secular tunes brought danger with them. Music was no longer developing out of prayer, but, with the new demand for artistic autonomy, was now heading away from the liturgy; it was becoming an end in itself, opening the door to new, very different ways of feeling and of experiencing the world. Music was alienating the liturgy from its true nature."

Liturgical music is not a channel for just anybody's creative musical expression.

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment."

Liturgical music is not a channel to showcase someone's musical talents (or the lack of it..)

"Doing really must stop when we come to the heart of the matter: the oratio. It must be plainly evident that the oratio is the heart of the matter, but that it is important precisely because it provides a space for the actio of God."

There is more to the eye in a Mass beyond the visible rituals.

"We are realizing more and more clearly that silence is part of the liturgy. We respond, by singing and praying, to the God who addresses us, but the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence. It must, of course, be a silence with content, not just the absence of speech and action."

Silence in a Mass can constitute active participation: attentive listening and as its fruit, contemplation of the Heavenly miracle.

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