Friday, November 9, 2007

Msgr. Miserachs speaks out!!

It seems like just yesterday I was saying that the rhetoric surrounding the Sacred Music issue was going to heat up and... VOILA! But it doesn't stop there... Msgr. Miserachs proposed solution is to create a Curial Office with authority over Sacred Music. Now where have I read that before? (see previous posting)

ROME, NOV. 8, 2007 ( Perhaps a pontifical office with authority over sacred music would correct the abuses that have occurred in this area, suggested a Vatican official.Monsignor Valentín Miserachs Grau, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, said this at a conference last Saturday, marking the 80th anniversary of the diocesan institute of Sacred Music of Trent, L'Osservatore Romano reported.

The pontifical institute directed by the monsignor was originally established by the Holy See in 1911. It is an academic institution dedicated to teaching and also performing sacred music. But, Monsignor Miserachs said, "In my opinion, it would be opportune to establish an office with authority over the material of sacred music." ( It's important to remember that Msgr. Miserachs is held in great esteem by Benedict, and there should be no doubt that these statements have their origin in discussions with the Pontiff.)


Monsignor Miserachs contended that "in none of the areas touched on by Vatican II -- and practically all are included -- have there been greater deviations than in sacred music.""How far we are from the true spirit of sacred music, that is, of true liturgical music," he lamented. "How can we stand it that such a wave of inconsistent, arrogant and ridiculous profanities have so easily gained a stamp of approval in our celebrations?"( Many of us can't stand it..) It is a great error, Monsignor Miserachs said, to think that people "should find in the temple the same nonsense given to them outside," since "the liturgy, even in the music, should educate all people -- including youth and children."

"Much music written today, or put in circulation, nevertheless ignores not only the grammar, but even the basic ABC's of musical art," he continued. "Due to general ignorance, especially in certain sectors of the clergy," certain media act as loudspeakers for "products that, devoid of the indispensable characteristics of sacred music -- sanctity, true art, universality -- can never procure the authentic good of the Church." (Msgr. Miserachs appears to have his own criteria for a "three-fold judgment")

A reform

The monsignor called for a "conversion" back to the norms of the Church. "And that 'norm' has Gregorian chant as its cardinal point, either the chant itself, or as an inspiration for good liturgical music." (this is practically word-for-word what Benedict said in his address to the Pontifica Academy in October...) He noted that his recommendations are not related to Benedict XVI's document on the use of the 1962 Roman Missal."

'Nova et vetera,'" he urged, "the treasure of tradition and of new things, but rooted in tradition."
Monsignor Miserachs suggested that contact with tradition should "not be limited to the academic realm, or concerts or records." Instead, "it should become again the living song of the assembly that finds in it that which calms their deepest spiritual tensions, and which makes them feel that they are truly the people of God." (In other's not enough to merely say that this should be so and continue having Sacred Music relegated to concerts and "special events"... it needs to be the normative music in Catholic worship every Sunday)


Well... let's see where this goes.... I'm going to stick to my predictions and will add that Msgr. Miserachs is probably at the top of the short-list to head up a curial office for Sacred Music.


Dad29 said...

A reasonably good source thinks that Mgr. M. is a 'smart politician.'

By the way, he's 'spoken out' before--search on Chiesa's columns from the last year or so...

Chironomo said...

I know that he has been in the forefront for a while now... what I think is different here is how quickly this has come on the heels of Benedicts saying the exact same thing at the Pontifical Academy not even a month ago... combined with the speculation about a curial office for music, and I think this has a little more to it than merely stating an opinion.

Dad29 said...

Oh, no question that the Office will be erected.

Doesn't change opportunism at all...

Chironomo said...

Good point... if opportunism means that an individual like Msgr. Miserachs would head up a curial office overseeing music, then sign me up as an advocate for opportunism...

Dad29 said...

I'm not enthusiastic about the possibility of an office like that--kinda depends on what its objectives are.

If we're talking "white-list/black-list" objectives, then the first 5 years' activity will be positive, but the "good" of the office will diminish after 5 years and possibly become deleterious at about the 10-year mark.

If we're talking about design and implementation of a "required music curriculum" for seminaries, that's good and will not 'go sour.' It will not be productive for the office to establish "criteria" for lay-musician training, however, b/c all "requirements" eventually become manipulated and (thus) counter-productive.

The possibility of a "censor" rests in the first scenario; and 'censorship' eventually deteriorates to "one man's opinion."

That's going to be a problem.