Throughout the next year, and until the implementation of the New Translation of the Roman Missal, The Authentic Update will focus on issues surrounding the New Translation and developments in Sacred Music arising from it. I hope you will visit here frequently and join in the conversation as the Church enters into this remarkable period of liturgical transformation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Verbum Domini on Music

Well, here it is more than a month since my last post, and it ends up being on the same subject! What's strange is that now we find out that Fr. Lang was speaking just a few days after the release of Benedict's most recent Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, which had been released on September 30th for publication. And we find that in this document, once again the topic of the relationship between scripture and music is addressed in a way that is continuous with all of what has been said before it:

70. As part of the enhancement of the word of God in the liturgy, attention should also be paid to the use of song at the times called for by the particular rite. Preference should be given to songs which are of clear biblical inspiration and which express, through the harmony of music and words, the beauty of God’s word. We would do well to make the most of those songs handed down to us by the Church’s tradition which respect this criterion. I think in particular of the importance of Gregorian chant. (Verbum Domini, par.70)

I have been saying for quite a while that there is bound to be another document along the lines of Tra le sollecitudini sometime soon, whether from Benedict XVI or his successor. I have yet to see a document extolling the virtues of contemporary liturgical music, or even very much mention of it at all in official circles. One might assume that the most recent pontiffs have had little exposure to it and as such have little urgency to address it. But the frequent and continuous stream of statements such as these by Benedict and those immediately around him are leading me to conclude that they have become very aware of the problems in contemporary liturgical music. With awareness comes a greater likelihood of action. We'll have to wait and see... maybe it will be brought up in the special session on liturgy with the Cardinals later this November? Who knows...

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