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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

"The Blood and Bone of the Liturgy"

Great metaphor, huh?
 "Sacred music is the blood and bone of the liturgy, the carrier of its organic life."
Dr Peter Kwasniewski has an excellent piece at New Liturgical Movement,
Sacred music is so massively and thoroughly important that it is hard to know where to begin. Music is the very language of the soul, its most intimate and exalted expression. Sacred music is the blood and bone of the liturgy, the carrier of its organic life, the texture of its being, the architecture of its prayer. If something goes wrong with music, as Plato saw long ago, the culture is lost. If something goes wrong with liturgical music, as Ratzinger saw so clearly, the cultus is depressed and devalued. It is like arguing about the sanctity of human life, or heterosexual marriage: if it isn’t obvious to you that a child is a person with dignity or that only a man and a woman can marry, then where can our argument go next? There are some things so basic, so close, so intimate, so all-pervasive, that we do not know where to begin, and once begun, we hardly know where to end. Music, and liturgical music, is just like that.
and I strongly urge everyone to read the entire piece, (I have that feeling of a kind of hopeless confusion over What To Do with my present situation in life, and I'm letting it spill over into everything else. I digress.)

Perhaps even more important to read is the comment by a gentleman named Thorfinn, (sounds a little Tolkeiny, doesn't it?)
I think part of the 'middle ground' you're missing is the pool of faithful Catholics who would like to rediscover traditional music but who think a motet is a very small something your neighbor may have in his eye. (I just looked up the definition but am no wiser.) If pastors & music directors have formed "battle lines", we're innocent bystanders excited to rediscover traditional Catholic hymns... but who understand Gregorian Chant as something monks do that used to come on CDs. Nearly every Reform of the Reform item calls for an "Idiot's Guide" for those of us on the other side of the generational gap.
I have found, more often than not, that anyone established in a position of any authority, a pastor, a DRE, a choir director, any of these who is ignorant of the Church's musical patrimony and the rubrics and theology that govern its current use is willfully ignorant, and too intent on defending his fiefdom to consider becoming better informed.
He or she would spend a fortune and take endless workshops about what GIA is peddling regarding handbell choirs before picking up and reading an article about the propers.

But your average choir member, or PIP? people like Thorfinn?
THAT'S where we can make a difference, people who already know and love the Lord's liturgy, but have the sense that something isn't quite right, something needs to be fixed.

1 comment:

Mr. C said...

Way things are going in general, Geri, far as I can see and tell- I see no evidence of a "sensus fidelium" among the faithful. My generation was taking a nap during the council, JFK's assassination and all that, when they awoke they didn't have wherewithal to rage against the machine.
If contemporary practice were reality, Bugnini and God might be agreeing to see how things are playing out. Or, at best, Bugnini made it to the minors, and whenever arriving at the majors said immediately, "Domine, miserere mei." But that's kind of an unlikely scenario.
But I could claim the right to compose a Missa Requiem de Sensus Fidelium. Not that I want to.