View Full Version : Pope Benedict Prefers Medieval Music for Mass!

Taras Bulba
Friday, July 7th, 2006, 02:15 AM
Happy days are here again! I cant tell you how happy I am about reading this. :bounce


Silence modern music in church, says Pope
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
(Filed: 27/06/2006)

The Pope has demanded an end to electric guitars and modern music in church and a return to traditional choirs.

The Catholic Church has been experimenting with new ways of holding Mass to try to attract more people. The recital of Mass set to guitars has grown in popularity in Italy; in Spain it has been set to flamenco music; and in the United States the Electric Prunes produced a "psychedelic" album called Mass in F Minor.

However, the use of guitars and tambourines has irritated the Pope, who loves classical music. "It is possible to modernise holy music," the Pope said, at a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel. "But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music."

His comments prompted the newspaper La Stampa to compare him with Pope Pius X, who denounced faddish classical and baroque compositions and reinstated Gregorian chants in 1903.

The Pope's supporters argue that the music played during Mass is a vital part of the communion between worshippers and God, and that medieval church music, with the liturgy, creates the correct ambience for perceiving God's mystery.

Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the Archbishop of Ravenna, said:"Mass is the presence of Christ and the music adds so much more when the harmony allows the mind to transcend the concrete to the divine."

But Cardinal Carlo Furno, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, said it was "better to have guitars on the altar and rock and roll Masses than empty churches". The use of modern music was a "sign of the vitality of the faith".

The argument is part of a wider debate about the Latin Mass, restricted in the Vatican II reforms of the 1960s because it was seen to be putting worshippers off going to Church.

The Pope believes that if Latin Masses are reintroduced, more Catholics will learn the words to the Gregorian chants that he advocates.

Taras Bulba
Friday, July 7th, 2006, 02:16 AM
Here's a site with some really wonderful recordings of Gregorian chants:

Friday, July 7th, 2006, 08:43 AM
Beautiful music from the Byzantine Church of Slovakia:


Saturday, July 8th, 2006, 05:38 AM
Wait, the Catholics don't even have an official style of music for their mass. What a joke, the Catholic church is all messed up. Ha, if you brought an electric guitar into the Greek church, they'd think you were crazy...

Sunday, July 9th, 2006, 01:58 AM
Wait, the Catholics don't even have an official style of music for their mass. What a joke, the Catholic church is all messed up. Ha, if you brought an electric guitar into the Greek church, they'd think you were crazy...

Well, I hope a restoration of the ancient mass with Benedict XV.

P.S.: you can find the same rites and music in Eastern communities in communion with Rome. Ask for Taras Bulba, he's a Byzanthine catholic;)

Taras Bulba
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Here's Benedict XVI's most recent statement on the issue of sacred music:

Your Eminences,

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Presbyterate,

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

At the end of this concert, evocative because of the place we are in -- the Sistine Chapel -- and because of the spiritual intensity of the compositions performed, we spontaneously feel in our hearts the need to praise, to bless and to thank. This sentiment is addressed first of all to the Lord, supreme beauty and harmony, who has given men and women the ability to express themselves with the language of music and song.

"Ad Te levavi animam meam," (to you, Lord, I lift up my soul), the Offertory of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina has just said, echoing Psalm (25[24]:1).

Our souls are truly lifted up to God, and I would therefore like to express my gratitude to Maestro Domenico Bartolucci and to the foundation named after him that planned and put on this event.

Dear Maestro, you have offered to me and to all of us a precious gift, preparing the program in which you wisely situated a choice of masterpieces by the "prince" of sacred polyphonic music and some of the works that you yourself have composed.

In particular, I thank you for having wished to conduct the concert personally, and for the motet "Oremus pro Pontefice" that you composed immediately after my election to the See of Peter. I am also grateful to you for the kind words you have just addressed to me, witnessing to your love for the art of music and your passion for the good of the Church.

Next, I warmly congratulate the choir of the foundation and I extend my "thank you" to all who have collaborated in various ways.

Lastly, I address a cordial greeting to those who have honored our meeting with their presence.

All the passages we have heard -- and especially the performance as a whole in which the 16th and 20th centuries run parallel -- together confirm the conviction that sacred polyphony, particularly that of the so-called "Roman School," is a legacy to preserve with care, to keep alive and to make known, not only for the benefit of experts and lovers of it but also for the entire ecclesial community, for which it constitutes a priceless spiritual, musical and cultural heritage.

The Bartolucci Foundation aims precisely to safeguard and spread the classical and contemporary tradition of this famous polyphonic school that has always been distinguished by its form, focused on singing alone without an instrumental accompaniment. An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

For this reason, in the field of music as well as in the areas of other art forms, the ecclesial community has always encouraged and supported people in search of new forms of expression without denying the past, the history of the human spirit which is also a history of its dialogue with God.

Read the rest here:

Veritas ∆quitas
Monday, July 31st, 2006, 06:06 PM
Good information, thanks! Good music too Mercator, thanks alot. I'm also really happy about reading this.

Taras Bulba
Friday, August 4th, 2006, 06:23 PM
Another great source for Medieval chants are the recordings of the female group Anonymous4 (http://www.anonymous4.com/)(named after the famous Medievak composers of the same name). You can listen to many great excerpts from their albums at the site.

Im sure many here would be interested in listening to their last album recorded The Origin of Fire (http://www.anonymous4.com/ooftop.html), which is a rendition of the many songs, hymns, and poems written by Hildegard von Bingen; one of the greatest German mystics of the Medieval period(in fact she's considered one of the greatest female mystics in all Christendom!!). Here's even some basic background info on her life provided at the link above:

Hildegard of Bingen was born into a prominent Rhineland family in 1098. Her parents dedicated her to the church at the age of eight as a “tithe”—she was child number ten—and entrusted her to Jutta, a noblewoman who was seeking a life of holy reclusion. Jutta took Hildegard with her to the Benedictine monastery of Disibodenberg as a prospective nun and, unlike many children who were “assigned” for family reasons to a monastic life, young Hildegard took up the veil and never looked back.

Although she kept them almost entirely to herself, Hildegard had been experiencing prophetic or mysterious light-filled visions from the age of five. Not until she was 43, nine years after she had succeeded Jutta as abbess at Disibodenberg, did she submit to an increasing inner urge to put these visions into writing, along with her own theological interpretations of them. Like Joan of Arc, Hildegard heard “voices”—indeed she insisted that her musical works were received whole from God—but her mystical experiences were overwhelmingly visual: she describes active, complex, colorful scenes of fantastic elements and beings in marvelous settings.

Like a fledgling mid-life writer who miraculously stumbles upon an agent, a publisher, and fame, Hildegard quickly became a spiritual celebrity when her first collection of mystical visions received the support of Pope Eugenius III, who was most likely introduced to her work in 1147 by the French monastic reformer Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153). A year earlier, Hildegard had sent a “cold call” letter to Bernard, one of the spiritual giants of his age, who was impressed enough with it to override his normally ultra-conservative nature (he had condemned the flamboyant Peter Abelard and other radical spiritual thinkers) and pledge his support to the strangely gifted German nun.

Hildegard recorded her visions in a series of books dictated to, and no doubt edited by, her scribe and confidant, the monk Volmar. The first, Scivias (“Know the Ways,” 1151) consists of visions with lengthy explanatory commentary, as well as the texts of fourteen of her liturgical songs. This was followed by two sequels: Liber Vite Meritorum (“The Book of Life’s Merits,” 1163) and De operatione dei (“On the activity of God,” 1173). In addition to her visionary-theological works, on which her wider fame was based, Hildegard also produced an encyclopedic collection of writings on medicine and the natural world. There are even two volumes concerning a secret Lingua Ignota (unknown language), perhaps used by Hildegard and her nuns.

Hildegard’s correspondence was vast and ranged wide—her advice was sought by Pope Eugenius III, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and King Henry II of England, as well as bishops, abbots, abbesses, monks, nuns, and laypeople both noble and common. At the age of 60 she began to travel extensively in Germany, preaching and advising, interpreting dreams and signs—unheard of for a woman, let alone a cloistered Benedictine nun. Such far-reaching influence with kings and prelates (as well as with lesser folk) increased her celebrity and assured her place in the larger world. Thus her musical works, along with her writings on medicine and the natural world, were copied and collected with care, both during and immediately after her lifetime, at least partly owing to the fame of her visionary writings and the value of her spiritual guidance.

By the 1140s Hildegard had begun composing a number of chants for the liturgy, eventually collected under the title Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (“Symphony of the harmony of celestial revelations”). Aside from some isolated fragments, the Symphonia survives in two manuscripts. The first, known as Dendermonde or simply D, was copied around 1175, along with the Liber vite meritorum, and sent as a gift to the monks of a Belgian monastery. Some leaves of the musical portion are missing. The second, called Riesenkodex (Giant Manuscript) or R, was prepared in the decade after Hildegard’s death in 1179. It contains all of her visionary works, and ends with the Symphonia and the Ordo Virtutum. We have used the earlier Dendermonde (probably prepared under Hildegard’s supervision) as our primary source, except for the two pieces (O quam mirabilis and O felix anima) found only in the Riesenkodex.

Hildegard was not a trained musician or composer, and never claimed to be. Whatever the real case may have been, she stated that she received her musical compositions whole—words and music together—in the same way that she received her visions. In today’s terms, she would have been “channeling” them and having them written down by someone literate in music. There is really no way to compare her style, unique and unforgettable, to any other music of her time. Her texts are a rhapsodic chain of images echoing the Psalms and the Song of Songs. Her melodies are certainly formulaic, yet they sound remarkably free and are wedded perfectly to their texts. The vocal range of her melodies and the length of the pieces themselves far exceed those of the standard liturgical chants that she and her sisters would have sung every day. Hildegard’s compositions would almost certainly not have been sung consecutively in any service; they would have occurred occasionally, and must have seemed like exotic creatures alongside the everyday monastic chant.

Certainly a nice way for many Germans here to appreciate their rich spiritual heritage. :)

Saturday, August 5th, 2006, 07:42 AM
Of course! Germanic world always had brilliant christian people. Remember of Saint John of Capistrane, Saint Albertus Magnus and many more! Germanic world and Christianity is just a beautiful couple!
Its sad that Traditionalism is not in germanics today....

Veritas ∆quitas
Sunday, September 10th, 2006, 06:12 AM
Thank you Taras. May God smile upon you. :)

The Dragonslayer
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 07:44 PM
The local parish around here likes to use a Spanish guitar. Either that or they are doing some sort of hippie music. It sounds terrible. One of the main reasons I won't attend any of the local Catholic parishes. There is a history of rich and beautiful music in the Catholic tradition. There is no sense in the music of today being such utter crap. It's not exactly like it's filling the pews either. The parishes around here are many times pretty dead.

Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 08:37 PM
I wish they introduced that by now...:~(
It would have been great having the masses in Latin with Medieval music...:~(

The Dragonslayer
Monday, November 10th, 2008, 06:23 AM
I wish they introduced that by now...:~(
It would have been great having the masses in Latin with Medieval music...:~(

I totally agree with you on that. I would definitely be visiting that church as often as possible.