|The guitar - in its right environment!|
My first point has to be; why, oh why, when we have the plaintive Gregorian chant that is so hauntingly beautiful and reverent with its roots in the sung prayer of Jewish priests at the time of Christ and long before - why do we need guitars, electric or otherwise?
Fans of folk music will say "But it is all a question of taste and we are just as within our rights to choose as you are"
What folk (and folk musicians) tend to ignore are the various comments from Rome on the matter.
Here are a few extracts from the Fisheaters site:-
Folk music and pop music are not appropriate for the liturgy, as the Vat. II document on Divine Service makes clear:
The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, nr. 116)
Before you strummers get too excited by the words "...other kinds of sacred music....are by no means excluded" - let me pour some cold water over your electric guitars.
The music that is produced from guitars, recorders, tambourines and so on is definitely not classified as holy and sacred - read on -
In continuity with the teachings of St. Pius X and the Second Vatican Council, it is necessary first of all to emphasize that music destined for sacred rites must have holiness as its reference point: indeed, “sacred music increases in holiness to the degree that it is intimately linked with liturgical action.” For this very reason, “not all without distinction that is outside the temple (profanum) is fit to cross its threshold,” my venerable predecessor Paul VI wisely said, commenting on a Decree of the Council of Trent. And he explained that “if music — instrumental and vocal — does not possess at the same time the sense of prayer, dignity and beauty, it precludes the entry into the sphere of the sacred and the religious.” Today, moreover, the meaning of the category “sacred music” has been broadened to include repertoires that cannot be part of the celebration without violating the spirit and norms of the Liturgy itself. (Chirograph of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II for the Centenary of the Motu Propio, 4)
Do guitar recitals and modern, happy clappy hymns possess a sense of prayer, dignity and beauty?
'Fraid not - it's back to the Gregorian from now on - you see,
The times they are a changing!
.....and even more on the subject.....
Posted on 26 June 2006
Vatican City, 26 June (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI has called for traditional sacred music to be played during mass, condemning the ongoing custom of contemporary music at religious celebrations. "Updating sacred music is possible, but this cannot happen unless it follows the tradition of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphony," the pontiff said on Sunday on the sidelines of a concert in the Sistine Chapel. A skilled pianist with a predilection for Bach and Mozart, Benedict XVI spoke against a custom reportedly appreciated by his more informal predecessor John Paul II, who worked very hard throughout his papacy to make the Church more appealing to the younger generations.
In an interview published in Turin-daily La Stampa on Monday, the former Archbishop of Ravenna, veteran Cardinal Ersilio Tonini also condemned the practice saying that "Benedict XVI is right, mass is a meeting with God and to meet God sacred music is better than the turmoil of electric guitars, hand clapping and the hustle and bustle of disorderly sounds."
Tonini said that 40 years ago after the Second Vatican Council "making Mass more popular and inviting could be understood." However, the cardinal added, "we exaggerated and now I believe it is legitimate to consider as over this season of breaks with tradition."
Need I say More?