Sacred Music Needs Governing, Says Director of Institute

States Deviations After Vatican II Have Been Rampant

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ROME, NOV. 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).- 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."

Need

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?"

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."

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." 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."