Pope Benedict on 'Utility' Music
Blogged by James Preece on 22nd December 2008
I've heard priests ask "why is it so hard to get an organist these days" and I've seen priests spend hundreds of pounds on digital hymnals (electronic automatic organists) but I've yet to see a priest spend any money on the training of musicians. Across our diocese, how many young people and teenagers are being sponsored by the Church to take lessons as organists? Why is it so hard to get an organist these days? It's not rocket science.
Training of "extraordinary" ministers - Yes. Training of "ordinary" musicians - Nope.
Don't even get me started on chant.
A Church which only makes use of 'utility' music has fallen for what is, in fact, useless. She too becomes ineffectual. For her mission is a fair 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 also glorious, beautiful, habitable and beloved. Next to the saints, the art which the Church has produced is the only real 'apologia' for her history...The Church is to transform, improve, 'humanize' the world--but how can she do that if at the same time she turns her back on beauty, which is so closely allied to love? For together, beauty and love form the true consolation in this world, bringing it as near as possible to the world of the resurrection. The Church must maintain high standards; she must be a place where beauty can be at home; she must lead the struggle for that 'spiritualisation' without which the world becomes the 'first circle of hell'.
First circle of hell? That reminds me of something...