Music Conference at the Vatican
  • I thought I'd mention a conference coming up next March sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture on the topic "Music and Church: Cult and Culture—50 years after Musicam Sacram." The course list sounds pretty interesting, anything not presented in English will be translated live (into headphones), and the 3 day conference is only €30!

    Here's the link:

    If you find affordable airfare, there are tons of inexpensive places to stay near the conference center. As a point of comparison, this conference will cost about $500 less for me to attend than an average CRCCM or NPM convention...

  • affordable airfare

    It sounds like a good conference, but I will have to give it a miss, and your use of an oxymoron illustrates why. (I would be flying from the left coast of America.)

    THank you for the information.
  • It is certainly easier going from a major airport. Before I posted that, I checked fares from SFO, STL, DTW, JFK, ATL, MSP and MEM. All had fares roundtrip for under $800, with most under $700. My fares would have been about $650, but I am using miles for half of the trip. JFK was the lowest at $504—which just seems amazing for a roundtrip flight to Europe!

    Monday thru Monday (2/27 thru 3/6) from SFO is $664 right now, so for the left coast, that isn't too bad if you're in a reasonable driving distance (or train).
  • Marc,

    On a Silicon Valley salary, $800 is considered quite reasonable. My family exists on a single income, and I don't work in Tech.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,691
    I may go to this.

    Anyone else considering it?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,131
    I'm a bit skeptical about the well-intended work of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Some of their previous projects have come across as a bit goofy. For example, two years ago there was the video about a "women's initiative" that drew perplexity.

    Anyway, looking at this event, the ideas behind some of the talks seem odd.

    "New music for new communities" doesn't sound like it quite grasps the vision of Vatican II for music.

    The one about "the Church's musical heritage" takes a non-liturgical piece (a Bach Passion) as its starting point.

    On the other hand, Fr. Ryan's comments on the reception of Musicam sacram could be worthwhile.
  • I'm not a skeptical person in general—I look for the good, and find it often. In going through the list of talks, and the roster of presenters, I can't imagine that it won't be informative. I've certainly attended presentations at CRCCM and NPM conventions in the past that I thought were at bit off base, but I enjoy having the opportunity to question how I do things and find room for growth or to further solidify my existing views and practices. And further, often the very best learning that happens at any conference is the informal discussions that happen over lunch or in the evenings.

    So beyond the opportunity to find new insights in the talks offered, there's Mass at St. Peters, Vespers in the Sistine Chapel and an Audience with the Pope (which, I gather wouldn't interest all on this forum equally, but I'm not opposed to it). And all of this for about $400 less than it'll cost to attend the CRCCM convention this January. It was certainly a good deal, and I shared it in the event others might have an interest.

    All the best,
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Now that this has taken place, did anyone go?
    And does anyone know if any of the presentation are, or will be made available, on line? Adam Bartlett, perhaps?
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Went—loved it. As with most conferences, not every talk was as good as the other. We were told that minutes of the conference—including the full talks of each presenter—would be made available, though I don't expect them to be especially quick.

    What the minutes wouldn't be able to convey would be the amazing experience of vespers in the Sistine Chapel, with the Sistine Chapel choir, followed by a brief concert afterwards, mass in the basilica (the part with pews between the organ cases) with music by the PIMS choir (not the same level as the Sistine choir, but they did some very interesting music), and especially not the private audience with the Pope in the apostolic palace (SOOOO many stairs...) where he gave a very nice talk (looking forward to seeing the official translation—sadly he spoke in Italian instead of Spanish), and then greeted every one of us there in person.

    It was quite an experience.

  • Here's a link to an article about what he said to us.

    Click here
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • mahrt
    Posts: 517
    The Pope's address is on the Vatican web site in Italian. Does anyone have an English translation yet?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,131
    I just made this one:


    Clementine Hall
    Saturday, March 4, 2017

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    I am happy to meet all of you who have come together in Rome from various countries to participate in the conference on "Music and Church: cult and culture, 50 years after Musicam sacram", organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education, in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the Sant'Anselmo Athenaeum. I greet you cordially, starting with Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, whom I thank for his introduction. I hope that the experience of encounter and dialogue that you live during these days, in common reflection on sacred music and particularly on its cultural and artistic aspects, will prove fruitful for ecclesial communities.

    Half a century after the Instruction Musicam sacram, the conference has wanted to deepen, from an interdisciplinary and ecumenical point of view, the current relationship between sacred music and contemporary culture, between the musical repertoire adopted and used by the Christian community, and prevailing musical tendencies. A prominent feature has also been reflection on aesthetic and musical formation, both of clergy and religious and of laity involved in pastoral life, and more directly in scholae cantorum.

    The first document issued by the Second Vatican Council was in particular the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium. The Council Fathers wisely drew attention to the difficulty for the faithful in participating in a liturgy whose language, words, and signs they no longer understood fully. To make the fundamental lines traced by the Constitution concrete, Instructions were issued, among which, indeed, is the one on sacred music. Since then, although new documents of the Magisterium have not been produced since then on the topic, there have been various important pontifical interventions that have oriented reflection and pastoral commitment.

    And the preface of the aforementioned Instruction is still very current: "Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song, with the ministers of each degree fulfilling their ministry and the people participating in it. Indeed, through this form, prayer is expressed in a more attractive way, the mystery of the liturgy, with its hierarchical and community nature, is more openly shown, the unity of hearts is more profoundly achieved by the union of voices, minds are more easily raised to heavenly things by the beauty of the sacred rites, and the whole celebration more clearly prefigures that heavenly liturgy which is enacted in the holy city of Jerusalem." (n. 5)

    Several times the Document, following the indications of the Council, shows the importance of the participation of the whole assembly of the faithful, defined as "active, conscious, full", and also underscores very clearly that the "true solemnity of liturgical worship depends less on a more ornate form of singing and a more magnificent ceremonial than on its worthy and religious celebration" (n. 11). Therefore, it is a matter, above all, of participating intensely in the mystery of God, in the "theophany" that is fulfilled in every eucharistic celebration, in which the Lord makes himself present in the midst of his people, called to really participate in the salvation carried out by Christ, dead and risen. Active and conscious participation consists, then, in knowing how to enter deeply into this mystery, knowing how to contemplate it, to adore and receive it, to perceive its meaning, thanks in particular to religious silence, and to the "musicality of the language with which the Lord speaks to us" (Homily at S. Marta, December 12, 2013). Reflection on the renewal of sacred music and on its valuable contribution moves in this perspective.

    On this subject, a double mission emerges, which the Church is called to pursue, especially toward those who work under various titles in this sector. In a sense, it is about protecting and valuing the rich and manifold patrimony inherited from the past, using it with balance in the present and avoiding the risk of a nostalgic or "archeological" vision. On the other hand, it is necessary to make sure that sacred music and liturgical chant are fully "inculturated" in the artistic and musical language of the present day; to know, that is, how to incarnate and translate the word of God in chants, sounds, harmonies that move the hearts of our contemporaries, and also create a suitable emotional climate that disposes them to faith and supports the reception and full participation in the mystery being celebrated.

    Certainly the encounter with modernity and the introduction of vernacular tongues in the liturgy has raised many problems: of languages, of musical forms and genres. Many times a certain mediocrity, superficiality, and banality has prevailed, to the detriment of the beauty and intensity of the liturgical celebrations. For this reason, the various protagonists of this sphere, musicians and composers, directors and choristers of scholae cantorum, animators of the liturgy, can give a precious contribution to the renewal, especially in quality, of sacred music and liturgical chant. To support this journey, it is necessary to promote an adequate musical formation, including for those who are preparing to become priests, in dialogue with the musical currents of our time, with the demands of various cultural areas, and in an ecumenical attitude.

    Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you again for your involvement in the sphere of sacred music. May the Virgin Mary, who in the Magnificat, sang the merciful holiness of God, accompany you. I encourage you to not lose sight of this important objective: to help the liturgical assembly and the people of God to perceive and participate, with all their senses, physical and spiritual, in the mystery of God. Sacred music and liturgical chant have the task of giving us a sense of the glory of God, of his beauty, of his holiness that enwraps us like a "luminous cloud".

    I ask you please to pray for me and I cordially impart to you the Apostolic Blessing.