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Celebrating the Spirit of the Liturgy

Addressby HisExcellencyArchbishopAlexanderKingSample Archbishop,Portland,Oregon DeliveredattheCMAAcolloquium SaltLakeCity,Utah June19,2013 Iamverygratefulanddeeplyhonoredtobeinvitedtoaddressthis23rdcolloquiumon sacredmusicsponsoredbytheChurchMusicAssociationofAmerica.Iamespecially happytobehereinthisbeautifulCathedraloftheMadeleineinSaltLakeCity,aplace whereIhavehadthedelightofconcebratingandcelebratingthesacredliturgyonmany occasionsduringmysummertripstothisbeautifulcitytovisitmysister,Marti,wholives here.Iamhappythatsheiswithmetoday,althoughIwarnedherthatherbrothermight borehertodeathtodayinthistalk! IwouldalsoliketoacknowledgemylongacquaintancewiththeCMAAextendingover manyyearsbacktothe1980swhenIcameunderthetutelageofthegreatMsgr.Richard Schuler,formereditoroftheperiodical,SacredMusic.Ilivedwithhimforayearatthe ChurchofSt.AgnesinSt.Paul,MNwhilepursuingphilosophystudiesattheCollegeofSt. Thomasinpreparationfortheseminary.IsangintheGregorianscholacantorum,andit wastherethatIexperiencedmyfirsttrueformationinthesacredliturgy.Idedicatethistalk toMsgr.Schulerwithdeepgratitudeforallhetaughtme,bywordandexample.Mayhe foreverrejoicewiththechoirsofangelsintheheavenlyliturgy. Iwouldliketostartmypresentationbygivingfourexamplesinmyownpastoralexperience thatillustratethepointIhopetomaketoday.
1. Afteradiocesanwideyouthconference,thecommentwasmadetomethatwelost

thespiritthatwehadgoingoncewebegantheMass.Wehadthestandardpraise andworshipmusicfortheyoungpeoplethroughouttheconference,i.e.with contemporaryinstruments,drums,electricguitars,loudamplificationandalively beat.ButwhenitcametimetocelebratetheMass,Iinsistedthatthemusicbe appropriateforthesacredliturgy.Thecommentwentsomethinglikethis:Wehad thekidsallfiredupandexcited,andthencametheMassandwehitthewall.The boringmusicthatwasmorereverential,slowerandmoremeditativekilledthespirit wehadgoing. 2. Irecentlysawacatecheticalexercisethatwasverywellintentionedbut,inmymind, missedthemark.Theintentoftheexercisewastohelpyoungpeoplerealizethat theMassisinitselfaverypowerfulandawesomething,evenifitwasnotexciting

onahumanlevel.Itwentsomethinglike,EventhoughnoteveryMasscanbe consideredexciting,neverthelessthepaschalmysteryispresentandthatisin itselfisanawesomething.ThereasonIthinkitmissedthemarkabitisthatthere wasanimpliedassumptionthatideallytheMassshouldbeexcitingonamore humanoremotionallevel,especiallyforyoungpeople. 3. AveryfinepastorofaparishthathasanannualPolkaMassoncetoldmethatitis actuallydoneveryreverentlyandthatthemusiciansareverydevout.Idonotdoubt theirsincerityandgoodwill. 4. AtaconferencewhereIwaspresentingtoparishmusicians,oneofthepersons present,whowasnotatallimpressedwiththemovetowardchantingtheantiphons oftheMass,askedButisnttheMasssupposedtobeacelebration?The implicationwasthattheuseofchantwasinimicaltothecustomaryjoyfuland celebratorynatureofthemusicatMasswithwhichthispersonwasfamiliar. Alloftheseexamplesillustratethepointthatforfartoolongwehavebeentryingtomake thesacredliturgydosomethingitwasneverintendedtodo.ThesecondVaticanCouncil, reiteratingthelongtraditionoftheChurch,remindedusthatthepurposeofthedivine worshipaccomplishedthoughthesacredliturgyistogiveglorytoGodandtosanctifythe faithful. Insteadwehavefartoooftenimposedfromtheoutsideameaning,purposeandeven perhapsourownagendaontothesacredliturgy.Thiswehaveallowedtohappeninstead ofallowingthetrueinnerandessentialmeaningofthesacredliturgyexpressitselfinword, ritualaction,beauty,art,decorumandmusic. Thatismycentralthesisheretoday.WemustrediscoverintheChurch,orformany perhapsdiscoverforthefirsttime,thetruespiritoftheliturgy.Onceweunderstandona muchdeeperandprofoundlevelwhattheliturgyactuallyis,thenwewillknowhowto celebrateit. TheexamplesIhavegivenseemtotrytoimposeanotherpurposeonthesacredliturgy.In thefirstexampleoftheyouthconference,apparentlytheliturgyissupposedtofireupthe congregationandkeepthemataspiritualfervorthroughout.Inthesecondexampleof wellintentionedcatechesis,itseemstheidealfortheliturgyisthatwefinditexciting (readentertaining)onahumanemotionallevel.IntheexampleofthePolkaMass,as longasthemusiciansaredevoutandreverent,thenwecancelebratetheliturgyinastyle moreappropriateforthedancehall.Perhapsitissupposedtomeaculturalexpressionof thePolishculture.Well,ImhalfPolish,andIloveagoodpolka,butnotatMass! Itisthefinalexample,however,whichIfindmostinteresting.IsnttheMasssupposedtobe acelebration?Yes,ofcourse.Buttherealquestionis,Whatarewecelebrating?Are wecelebratingjustforthesakeofhavingahappy,joyfulcelebration?Arewecelebrating forthepurposeofgivingusanemotionfeelgoodexperience?Arewecelebrating,in otherwords,simplyforthesakeofcelebration?IsthesacredliturgydirectedtoGodorto

us? Whatarewecelebrating?Ifwedontknowthat,wearealreadyinbigtroublewhenit comestohowwecelebratetheMass.Itremindsmeofthepriestwholikestotellajokeat theendofeveryMass,withtheintendedpurposeofleavingthepeoplesmiling.Peoplewill rememberthejoke,butforgetwhatwassaidinthehomily.ThepurposeoftheMasshas beenovershadowedbyanotherintention. Thepointis,unlessweknowthetruemeaningandpurposeofthesacredliturgy,unlesswe profoundlyunderstandwhatweareaccomplishing,ormoreimportantlywhatChristis accomplishinginthesacredliturgy,thenourcelebrationswillreflectthatignorance.Having lostitsmooringinthisessentialinnerreality,itwillbecastaboutontheseaofdiffering interpretationsreflectedinoftenlessthanedifyingcelebrations. PopeBenedictXVIdrewourattentiontothismostimportantpoint.Understandingthetrue innermeaningandpurposeofthesacredliturgydetermineshowitshouldbecelebrated.I amsurethatmostofusherearefamiliarwithPopeBenedictswritingsandworkonthe sacredliturgy.IwouldliketodrawparticularattentiontohisworkentitledTheSpiritofthe Liturgy.InthismonumentalworkwegetaglimpseintoPopeBenedicts(atthetime CardinalJosephRatzingers)viewofthecosmicnatureoftheliturgy. Afterathoroughandtheologicallyrichexpositiononthetruespiritoftheliturgy,ourPope emeritusmakespracticalapplicationofthisunderstandinginhowtheliturgyisactually celebrated.Hediscussesissuessuchasthesignificanceofchurcharchitecture,thealtar andthedirectionofliturgicalprayer,thereservationoftheBlessedSacrament,sacred time,sacredimagesandofcoursemusicandtheliturgy. PopeBenedictfurtherdiscussestheliturgicalform.Hemakesapplicationofthe fundamentalprinciplestomattersoftheritesuchasthesignofthecross,liturgicalposture, gestures,thehumanvoice,vestmentsandothermatteroftheliturgy. Again,themessagetotakefromallofthisisthathowwefundamentallyunderstandand appreciatethetruemeaning,purposeandspiritofthesacredliturgyshapesthedecorum andmannerinwhichwecarryouttheliturgicalactionitself.IntheexamplesImentionedat thebeginningofthispresentation,canwereallysaythatthetrueinnermeaningandspiritof theliturgyisadequatelyandfaithfullybeingexpressedintheriteitself,especiallyas regardssacredmusic?Ithinknot,andIhopetoillustratethatbyexploringthetruemeaning ofthesacredliturgy. Beforemovingon,however,tothatdiscussion,Iwishtomakeanimportantpoint.Itismy contention,andthatofmanyothers,thattherenewalandreformofthesacredliturgyis absolutelykeyandessentialtotheworkofthenewevangelization.Ihavelongbeenofthe opinionthatiftheChurchisgoingtofulfillhermissioninthemodernworld,weneedtoget threethingsright.Oneiscatechesisandfaithformation,forchildren,youngpeopleand

adults.Theotheristherenewalofthesacredliturgy,whichisnotatallunrelatedtotheneed foradeepercatechesisofourpeople.Thethirdisourworkofcharityandservicetothe poorandthemarginalized,whichisthelivingoutofthemysterycelebratedinthesacred liturgy. But,untilwegetthecelebrationofthesacredliturgyandallotherformsofdivineworshipin theChurchright,Ifearwewillbelargelyspinningourwheelstryingtogivethenew evangelizationtractioninourmodernculture.TheChurchteachesus,asreiteratedatthe SecondVaticanCouncil,thattheliturgyisthesourceandsummitoftheChristianlife.This meansthatitisthemostimportantthingthatwedoasaChurch.Alloftheother sacramentsoftheChurch,andallofherotherapostolicworksandendeavors,flowfrom thesacredliturgyandleadusbacktoit.Sincethisistrue,allthemoreimportantitisforus togettheactofdivineworshipcorrectaccordingtothemindandancienttraditionofthe Church.Thisseemsfairlyobvioustome. Soallowmetoreturntothequestionofwhatitisthatwearecelebratinginthesacred liturgy,specificallyintheholyMass.TheMassisindeedacelebration,butwhatweare celebratingistheprofoundmysteryofoursalvationinJesusChrist.Wearecelebratingthe PaschalMystery.Wearespecificallymakingpresentsacramentallyandinanunbloody mannertheonceforallsacrificeofJesusChristfortheforgivenessofsins,which conquereddeathandopenedforusthewaytoeternallife.Weusedtosaywithregularity thatwecelebratetheholysacrificeoftheMass.Perhapsweshouldusesuchterminology moreoften. OneofthetypicalpollquestionsthatisaskedofCatholicstoascertaintheirknowledgeof CatholicdoctrineistoaskthemabouttheirbeliefintherealpresenceofJesusChristinthe holyEucharist.TypicallythepollsterwillpresentseveraloptionstotheCatholic,each representingadifferentwayofunderstandingtherealityoftherealpresence.Onlyoneof themiscorrect.InarecentGalluppollofthissort,lessthanathirdofCatholicspolled identifiedthecorrectbeliefconcerningtherealpresenceofChristintheholyEucharist. Asdisturbingasthatis,Iwouldbeafraidtoseetheresultsofsuchapollontheessential meaningofwhatiscelebratedintheactionoftheholyMass.Whatpercentageof CatholicswouldhaveanyunderstandingatalloftheessentialnatureoftheMassasthe sacrificeofChristbeingtrulyrepresentedonthealtar?Isuspectveryfew.Buthereinlies theproblem.Ifwedontknowwhatwearecelebrating,howareweevergoingtoknowhow tocelebrateit? AndjustsonooneaccusesmeofreturningtoanunderstandingoftheMassthatbelongs toadifferenttimeinthepast,theSecondVaticanCouncilremindedusinthestrongestof termsoftheancienttheologyandmeaningoftheholyMass.TheCounciltaughtthathe whoonceofferedhimselfonthealtaroftheCross,JesusChrist,nowoffershimselfthrough thehandsofpriestsinasacramentalmanneronthealtarsofourChurches,perpetuating hisonceforallsacrificethroughtheagesuntilhecomesagaininglory.Itisalsoasacred

banquet,forwereceivefromChristssacrificeofloveandselfofferinghisveryBody, Blood,SoulandDivinityasnourishmentforoursouls. AllowmetodelvedeeperintothisunderstandingbyturningtoPopeBenedictXVIs explanationofthecosmicliturgy.Iknowthatwhenwefirsthearthatitmaysoundalittle newage,butCardinalJosephRatzingersexplanationofthesacredliturgyinthiswayis profoundanddeeplyfaithfultotheChurchstradition,asonewouldcertainlyexpectfrom thefuturesuccessortoSt.Peter. Itisaverydeepandtheologicallyrichexplanationoftheliturgy.Itisnoteasytofullygrasp, andonewillfineoneselfreadingitoverandoveragaintomineitsdepths.Allowmean attemptatasimplifiedexplanationthatevenIcanunderstand. DuringanycelebrationoftheholyMass,threerealitiesareessentiallytakingplaceallatthe sametime.Wearecelebratingandmakingpresentwhathasalreadyhappened,whathas beenaccomplishedinChristssavingdeathandresurrection.Secondly,wearealready lookingforwardtothatwhichisyettocome,Christsreturningloryattheendoftimeto judgethelivingandthedead.Andwhilethesetworealitiesarebeingcelebrated,weare simultaneouslyparticipatingintheheavenlyliturgywhichgoesoncontinuouslyinthesight ofalmightyGod. Thatisalottoabsorb!Letusexamineeachofthesetoexpandourunderstandingofthe sacredliturgy. AsImentioned,wearemakingtrulypresentinanunbloodyandsacramentalmannerthe onceforallsacrificeforoursalvationthatJesusofferedonthealtarofthecross.Howis thispossible,andhowdoesithappen?Firstweneedtounderstandthatthecentralactof ourredemption,Christsofferingofhimselfonthecross,isanactoftheeternalSonof God.ItisanactoftheSecondPersonoftheMostHolyTrinity.ItisanactofGodhimself. AsactoftheeternalGod,whohasnobeginningorend,thisactthentranscendstimeand space.ItisnotboundtothemomentintimeonCalvarywhenJesusbreathedhislast. WeknowthisistruethroughthemysteryanddogmaoftheImmaculateConception.Mary, theMotherofourGodandLord,JesusChrist,waspreservedfromthefirstmomentofher conceptionfromallstainoforiginalsinandpersonalsin.ButthatdoesnotmeanthatMary didnotneedaredeemerorthatshewasnotsavedbyJesusChrist.Weexplainitinthis way.Marywasgivenwhatiscalledaprevenientgrace.Thismeansthatthefruitsof Christssacrificethatwouldonedaybeaccomplishedonthealtarofthecrossforthe salvationoftheworld,wereappliedbeforehandtohisholyMother,evenbeforeJesus himselfbecameincarnateinherwomb.Itwaswithaviewtowardthedeathand resurrectionofJesusChristthatshewasallowedtoparticipateinthefruitsofredemption beforehand. WealsoseethetimelessnessofthesacrificeofJesusonthecrossintheinstitutionofthe

holyEucharistattheLastSupper,thefirstMass,sotospeak.Thereintheupperroom, onthenightbeforehewouldofferhimselfonthealtarofthecross,hemadethatsaving sacrificeyettobeaccomplishedalreadypresentunderthesacramentalsigns.Thisismy Bodywhichisgivenforyou.Thisismybloodofthenewcovenant,whichispouredoutfor many.Noticethepresenttense.Notwhatwillbegivenforyouorwhatwillbepouredout, butwhatisgivenandpoured.InthatmomentJesusestablishedtheholyEucharist,the ministerialpriesthoodandtheEucharisticsacrificeofhisBodyandBlood. Inthesamewaythatthesacrificecouldbesacramentallypresentbeforethemomenton Calvary,sotooitcometousacrosstimeandspaceandbecomespresentforusinevery Masssothatwemayreceiveanewthesavingfruitsofourredemption.Itisthesame sacrificeofCalvarybecauseitisthesamevictimandthesamepriest.JesusChrist,the victimofthealtar,istrulypresentunderthesignsofbreadandwine,buttrulypresent,Body Blood,SoulandDivinity.Butitisalsothesamepriest,forthepriestweseestandingatthe altaractsintheverypersonofChrist,havingbeensacramentallyconfiguredtohimin ordination. Thisbringsupanimportantpoint.ItisprincipallyChristwhoactsinthesacredliturgy.We areonlyhisinstruments.EveryMass,evenonecelebratedbyapriestintheabsenceof thefaithful(notdesirable),isanactofChristandofthewholeChurch.Itisnotours.It belongstoChristandtheuniversalChurch.JesusChristdeterminesthemeaningand purposeofwhatwecelebrateinthesacredliturgy,notus. SoeveryMasscelebratesandmakespresentthatwhichhasalreadybeenaccomplished inChristslifegivingdeathandgloriousresurrection.AteveryMass,weareintheupper room,weareatthefootofthecross,weareattheemptytomb,astheseeventscometo ussacramentallyandmysticallyacrosstimeandspace. Butinthesacredliturgy,wealsomysticallyanticipatethatwhichisyettocome.Welook forwardwithjoyfulhopetothecomingofChristingloryattheendoftime.Thereisthenan essentialorientationofthesacredliturgytowardthefuturefulfillmentinChristofGods eternalplanofsalvation,whentheworldasweknowitwillpassawayandtherewillbenew heavensandanewearthcompletelytransformedbyChristsglory. ThatiswhyPopeBenedictXVIspeaksoftheeastwardorientationofthesacredliturgy.In thescripturalandmysticaltheologyoftheChurch,Christwillcomeagainingloryfromthe east,thedirectionoftherisingsun.TheSonofGodwillcomeridingonthecloudsof heavenandwesymbolicallylookeastforhiscoming.Withourfeetfirmlyplantedonthe earth,oureyesandourheartsturntotheLord,anticipatinghisreturninglory.Thinkofthe beautifulAdventhymnaswelookforwardtothecomingoftheSavior,PeopleLookEast. ThatiswhytheChurchsliturgyhastraditionallybeenorientedtowardtheeast,oratleast theliturgicaleastifthearchitectureofthechurchbuildingwouldnotadmitofanactual eastwardorientation.Priestandpeople,unitedinprayerandintheofferingoftheoncefor

allsacrificeofChristtotheFather,lookedtogethertotheeastinofferingthisactofdivine worship.Itwasneverthatthepriestturnedhisbacktothepeople.Itwasalwaysthat priestandpeopletogetherlookedeastinthesacredliturgy,watchingandwaitingforthe Lordsreturn.Thiseschatologicalorientationofthesacredliturgymustberecoveredin somewayifwearetorecapturethetruespiritoftheliturgy. Finally,whilewecelebratethatwhichhasbeenaccomplishedandlookforwardtothat whichistocome,weatthesametimeparticipateintheeternalweddingbanquetofthe Lamb,theheavenlyliturgy.Atthealtar,heavenisjoinedtoearthasweenterintothe eternalmysteries.Christ,nowrisenfromthedead,gloriouslytriumphantandexaltedatthe righthandoftheFather,intercedesforus.Hecontinuallyshowshisgloriouswoundstothe Father,thepriceofoursalvation,andallthesaintsandhostsofheavenbowdownand worshipbeforetheLambonceslainwholivesforever. Wehaveaforetasteofeternallifeandthepledgeoffuturegloryinthesacredliturgy,even whencelebratedinitssimplestandmostunadornedmanner.Wejoinourselvestothe heavenlyliturgy.Weexpressthisbeautifullyintheconclusiontoeachprefaceofthe EucharisticprayeraswepreparetosingwiththeangelsinheaventheSanctus.Whatwe havebeentalkingaboutisespeciallyheardinthesecondprefacefortheHolyEucharist. Listencarefully.Wepray: Itistrulyrightandjust,ourdutyandoursalvation, alwaysandeverywheretogiveyouthanks, Lord,holyFather,almightyandeternalGod, throughChristourLord. ForattheLastSupperwithhisApostles, establishingfortheagestocomethesavingmemorialoftheCross, heofferedhimselftoyouastheunblemishedLamb, theacceptablegiftofperfectpraise. Nourishingyourfaithfulbythissacredmystery, youmakethemholy,sothatthehumanrace, boundedbyoneworld, maybeenlightenedbyonefaith andunitedbyonebondofcharity. Andso,weapproachthetableofthiswondrousSacrament, sothat,bathedinthesweetnessofyourgrace, wemaypassovertotheheavenlyrealitieshereforeshadowed. Therefore,allcreaturesofheavenandearth singanewsonginadoration, andwe,withallthehostofAngels,

cryout,andwithoutendweacclaim: Holy,holyholy Howisthatforlexorandi,lexcredenda?Thelawofprayingisthelawofbelieving. Okay,thatisalotoftheologyofthesacredliturgy.Perhapsitisquiteabitforustoabsorb. Infact,wecanneverexhaustthedepthsofthismysterycelebratedinthesacredliturgy.But whatdoesthathavetodowithourpurposeforgatheringhereandthepromotionofsacred musicfortheliturgy? Ireturntomycentralpoint.Onceweunderstandandappreciateonaveryprofoundlevel theinnermeaningoftheholysacrificeoftheMassonceweunderstandwhatthesacred liturgyaccomplishesonceweunderstandwhatwearedoing(whatChristisdoing)inthe sacredliturgy,onlythenwillwebeabletoproperlycelebrateandexpressthatmeaningand purposeoftheliturgyitself. SoeverythingwedoonthecelebrationoftheMassmustdrawoutandreflecttheessential meaningandpurposeofthesacredliturgyitself.Everythingintheliturgywhichtouchesus onthelevelofthesensesmustexpresstheinnermeaningoftheholymysterieswe celebrate.Everythingwesee,hear,andevensmellshoulddrawusdeeperintothe profoundmysteryofGodsloveandmercyshowntousinhisSon,JesusChrist. Thatiswhyeverythinginthesacredliturgymustbeasbeautifulaswecanmakeit,drawing uponthegiftsofthepeopleofGod,especiallyartistsintheareaofthesacredarts including,ofcourse,sacredmusic.Thearchitectureofthechurchbuilding,thevisualart andiconographyadorningthetemple,thedecorationofthesanctuary,thevestmentsworn bythesacredministers,thesacredvesselsandotherthingsusedinthesacredliturgy,and themusicwhichaccompaniestheliturgicalactionmustallbebeautiful,reflectingtheinfinite beautyandgoodnessofGod,towhomourdivineworshipisdirected. Butallofthesethingsmustnotbecomeendsinthemselvesbeautyforthesakeofbeauty butmustbeseenasmeanstoanend,drawingusinandmakingusprofoundlyawareof theawesomemysterywearecelebrating.Theymustexpressandshowforththemeaning oftheMassitself,forthegloryofGodandthesanctificationofthefaithful. IapologizeifIseemtobebelaboringthispoint,butIbelieveitiscriticallyimportantthatwe getthisrightintheChurch.Ibelievenotunderstandingthispointhasgottenusintothe troublewearein,resultinginlessthanworthyliturgiesinfartoomanyinstances. Ifwedonotgetthispartofthediscussioncorrect,wewillcontinuetoseetheimpositionof othermeanings,purposesandstylesonthesacredliturgy.Wewillcontinuetohavethe PolkaMass,theFolkMass,theRockMass,theContemporaryMass,theTraditionalMass, etc

DoingwhattheChurchasksustodointhecelebrationofthesacredliturgy,whatsome wouldsurelycallmoretraditional,cannotbeseenassimplyimposinganotherstyleonthe sacredliturgy,i.e.onestyleinalistsuchasIhavejustgiven.DoingwhattheChurchasks ofusismeanttodrawoutandexpresswhattheMassisinandofitself. Applyingthistotheareaofsacredmusic,weseethatthemusicthatisusedinthe celebrationofthesacredliturgymustalsocontributetothefullerexpressionofthemystery beingcelebrated.ThisisespeciallytrueinthesingingoftheMasstextsthemselves, especiallytheantiphons,whetherinEnglishorinLatin.Ithasbeenpointedoutthat,justas theChurchgivesustheselectionsfromsacredscriptureforaparticularSunday,weekday orfeast,andjustasshegivesusothercommonandpropertexts,suchastheordinaryof theMassandtheprayersandpreface,sotooshegivesusthetextsfortheantiphons, whichharmonizeandfurtherexpresstheparticularcelebration. AsIsaidinmyrecentpastoralletteronsacredmusic,onlyrepeatingwhathasbeensaid bysomanyofyouinthepast,wemustsingtheMass,notsingsongsatMass.Thisisat theheartofwhatmustberecoveredasitconcernsmusicforthesacredliturgy.Thisis whatwillhelpdrawoutandexpresstheinnermeaningofthesacredliturgyaswehave beendiscussing. Finally,Iwouldliketotouchbrieflyonthosequalitiesofmusicthatarenecessaryinorder forittobeconsideredsuitableforthesacredliturgy.Whatissacredmusic? Thethreeessentialqualitiesareknowntoallofyou.Theyareuniversality,artisticquality (beauty)andsacredness.Whathassadlyhappenedinrecenttimeisthat,aslongasthe wordsofthesongstalkaboutGodorusandourrelationshiptoGod,thenthemusichas beenconsideredsacredandthereforeacceptablefortheliturgy.Thisishowwegetto admittingmusictothesacredliturgythatisnotappropriateand,farfromexpressingthe essentialmysterybeingcelebrated,distractfromthatpurposeandevenimposeother intentionsontheliturgy. Thereisadifferencebetweenreligioussongsandmusicandsacredmusicinthe Churchstradition.Whatmightbeappropriateforareligiousyouthrallyoracharismatic prayermeetingmaynotbesuitablefordivineworshipintheholysacrificeoftheMass. So,letuslookattheseessentialqualities.Thesanctityofsacredmusic: TurningtotheteachingofPopeSt.PiusX,whichhashadasignificantimpactonthe teachingoftheSecondVaticanCouncilinthisregard,weread: [Sacredmusic]mustbeholy,andmust,therefore,excludeallprofanitynotonlyin itself,butinthemannerinwhichitispresentedbythosewhoexecuteit.1
1

Ibid. I:2

VaticanIIemphasizedthesanctityofsacredmusicintheseterms: (S)acredmusicistobeconsideredthemoreholyinproportionasitismore closelyconnectedwiththeliturgicalaction,whetheritaddsdelighttoprayer, fostersunityofminds,orconfersgreatersolemnityuponthesacredrites.2 (emphasisadded) Theintrinsicbeauty(artisticgoodness)ofsacredmusic SinceeverythingassociatedwiththeMassmustbebeautiful,reflectingtheinfinitebeauty andgoodnessoftheGodweworship,thisappliesinaspecialwaytothemusicwhich formsanessentialandintegralpartofourdivineworship.InthewordsofPopeBenedict XVI: Certainly,thebeautyofourcelebrationscanneverbesufficientlycultivated, fosteredandrefined,fornothingcanbetoobeautifulforGod,WhoisHimself infiniteBeauty.Yetourearthlyliturgieswillneverbemorethanapalereflectionof theliturgycelebratedintheJerusalemonhigh,thegoalofourpilgrimageon earth.Mayourowncelebrationsnonethelessresemblethatliturgyascloselyas possibleandgrantusaforetasteofit!3 PopeSt.PiusXspokeoftheartisticvalueofsacredmusic,anotherwayofconsideringits intrinsicbeauty: [Sacredmusic]mustbetrueart,forotherwiseitwillbeimpossibleforittoexercise onthemindsofthosewholistentoitthatefficacywhichtheChurchaimsat obtaininginadmittingintoherliturgytheartofmusicalsounds.4 Theuniversalityofsacredmusic Finally,thethirdessentialqualityofsacredmusicmustbeconsidered,i.e.itsuniversality. Thisqualitymeansthatanycompositionofsacredmusic,evenonewhichreflectsthe uniquecultureofaparticularregion,wouldstillbeeasilyrecognizedashavingasacred character.Thequalityofholiness,inotherwords,isauniversalprinciplethattranscends culture. Whileeverynationispermittedtoadmitintoitsecclesiasticalcompositionsthose specialformswhichmaybesaidtoconstituteitsnativemusic,stilltheseforms mustbesubordinateinsuchamannertothegeneralcharacterofsacredmusic, thatnobodyofanynationmayreceiveanimpressionotherthangoodonhearing

SC 112 Pope Benedict to priests at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, September 13, 2008 4 Pius X: Op. cit. I:2
2 3

them.5 Thisarticulationoftheessentialqualitiesofsacredmusicisnecessarybecausethereis oftenalackofunderstandingorconfusionastowhatmusicispropertotheMassand worthyofitsinclusionindivineworship.AsIhavesaid,noteveryformorstyleofmusicis capableofbeingrenderedsuitablefortheMass. ThatiswhytheGloriaoftheMasssettoaPolkabeatorinthestyleofrockmusicisnot sacredmusic.Whynot?Becausesuchstylesofmusic,asdelightfulastheymightbefor thedancehalloraconcert,donotpossessallthreeoftheintrinsicqualitiesofsanctity, artisticgoodness(beauty)anduniversalitypropertosacredmusic.WearenotatMassto beentertainedbuttorenderglorytoGodandtobesanctifiedbythesacredmysteries. Goingbacktowhatwelookedatearlieraboutwhattheessentialmeaningandinner mysteryoftheMassactuallyis,wecanseethatthesestylesofmusic,andothersaswell, arenotcapableofexpressingtheawesomemysteryofthesacredliturgyandtherefore cannotberenderedsuitable.KnowingthatateveryMasswestandatthefootofthecross andmakepresentthesacrificeofChristforoursalvation,couldyouimaginesinginga Polkaorhavingrockdrumsorelectricguitarstherebeforethistremendousmystery? Inconclusion,then,wehaveseenthatthearscelebrandi,theartofcelebratingthesacred liturgymustalwaysdrawout,expressandshowforththemysterybeingcelebrated.The truespiritoftheliturgymustbecommunicatedineverythingthatwedointhecelebrationof holyMass.Thisisatangibleexampleofthefunctionalprincipleofthesacredliturgy:lex orandi,lexcredendathelawofprayingisthelawofbelieving.Whatweprayanddoin thesacredliturgyandhowwedoitmustalwaysexpresswhatwebelieveaboutwhatChrist indoingintheliturgy. Justasimportantisthatwhatweprayandhowweprayalsoformsusandcatechizesus aboutthesesamerealities.Thatiswhyweneedtogetthisrightfortheformationand catechesisofthefuturegenerationsintheworkofthenewevangelization. Sacredmusicplaysacriticalandirreplaceableroleinthisongoingeffortatliturgicalreform andrenewal.IthankthemembersoftheChurchMusicAssociationofAmericaforyour tirelessperseveranceinthisgreateffort.Nevergrowwearyorbecomediscouraged.We areonthebrinkofaprofoundrenewalofdivineworship,andyouarehelpingleadtheway. Godblessyouandmayheprospertheworkofyourhands,heartsandvoices!

Pius X: Op cit. I:2