His Holiness, Pope Francis, on musicians and music at Mass
  • Does anyone have the full text and context of these remarks...?

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,169
    Context here.
    Papal address in Italian here, starting after some music, and an intro.
  • Hawkins,

    Things stamped with the New Evangelization make me worry. On the other hand, Monsignor Marini is there. Orchestral concert is strange way to highlight sacred and liturgical music. On the other hand, His Holiness is organizing it, so we can expect some slight at musicians who want to make known again the great treasures of sacred music.
  • If the Pope Francis really wants to slight the “musicians who want to make known again the great treasures of sacred music,” then 1) why are Msgr. Marini and posse still there after His Holiness has had almost six years of chances to get rid of them, and 2) why are his publicly broadcast masses almost completely filled with the sort of chant and sacred polyphony that we all seem to love around here? Shouldn’t we be glad that he shows appreciation for the importance of sacred music in the liturgy or am I missing something here?
  • Youre missing the fact that msgr massimo palombella was fired as director of the Sistine chapel choir and this is the next public thing he did regarding music.

    If you noticed, msgr Marco Frisina was there with bells on. He wants the job. If you know anything about him and his music you will also know that this would be bad.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,169
    I did not know of Frisina, he is quite prolific - of film accompaniments. Rushing to hasty judgement after listening to just one work, this seems to be the modern equivalent of the operatic music which plagued the church 150 years ago (and since). Good for a TV mini-series, ok as a backing track to a papal meet-and-greet (is that Frisina's music for the first 7 minutes?), bad for worship of God.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Spot on... hahaha. Yes most of that music is Frisina. Also, that choir seems to be his as well.

    “Coro della diocesi di Roma”

    He has is own traveling choir that travels the world singing his music. They have also recently been used quite often at the Vatican for different services both in and out doors.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,169
    From Crux yesterday
    Monsignor Marco Frisina, dubbed by some as “the pope’s composer” due to the number of his scores played during papal liturgies, ....
    As vapid as the art, like this jubilee logo.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Faith does not compel agreement with the Pope on liturgical matters.

    In this case, I propose that His Holiness is mistaken: choirs do not “animate” congregations. That’s what, ahem, priests do, by singing the Mass. When the priest sings his part, the congregation naturally sings in response since so much of what the priest does prompts a communal response. GIRM 40 is clear on this.

    Much of the hand-wringing about congregational singing occurs against the backdrop of an unfortunate inversion of this model: for many clergy, a processional hymn or two is “basic”, then add the Ordinary, and only for really solemn occasions would the priest be bothered to chant any of his own part. Regardless of concern over whether the choir sings alone once or (gasp!) “even” twice during the Mass, we should start singing the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, dialogues, etc. When that happens, it’ll become clearer that the choir’s role basically can’t overtake the congregation’s singing without violating the rubrics.
  • choirs do not “animate” congregations. That’s what, ahem, priests do, by singing the Mass.

    Case in point: yesterday, our priest, in talking about how it was through the efforts of monasticism that Europe was converted, said that a lot of that came from an emphasis on recitation of the Divine Office and singing. He then strongly encouraged the congregation to sing along with the choir, reminding us that "it doesn't matter whether you have a good voice or not - what matters is that you are giving your best."

    What a great New Years Resolution Father set for us: We could hear the congregation after that point, and at the after practice we had two new young ladies joining us. So yes, Father has animated our congregation.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,036
    The Holy Father has said on other occasions that Mozart is his favorite composer.
  • Ghmus,

    Which Holy Father?
    Thanked by 1francis
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,027
    The Holy Father has said on other occasions that Mozart is his favorite composer.
    Was this said in the context of a composer as one of sacred music, or, as one of music for the arts in general? There is a difference, and even a Pope is allowed to have a favourite composer who might not be (anywhere near) the best composer of sacred music.

    Thanked by 1Liam
  • @StimsonInRehab: Great to hear about your priest’s encouragement!

    A quick quibble, though: the notion of the congregation singing “along with the choir” is a cart-before-the-horse, IMO. The congregation does not “sing along” with anyone; it is the choir who “sing along” with the (much larger and more powerful) congregation.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • ...whether you have a good voice...
    I have often said to people by way of encouragement when they lamented their musical skills, 'the psalmist said to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord". The only people who have to do so in tune are the choir'. (Most people, though, can sing well enough - if only they would.)
  • I think this is part of the problem and Father was framing it in terms the congregation would understand. I think Latin mass congregations (with a few healthy exceptions) suffer from false humility. They don't feel 'large and powerful'. They don't feel qualified to do anything. They delegate to the choir or the altar boys. And if you try to participate in the liturgical life - well, then, you're seen as a presumptuous show-off.
  • Yes, the vision for music at High Mass in the 1958 instruction was, sadly, largely overshadowed by the torrential changes that followed it. Would that things had played out differently … but, here we are.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • [Straw man warning]


    You live in the Ordinariate bubble, so the people's predisposition to break out spontaneously in 4-part harmony hasn't (yet) been bred out of them.

    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Chris -

    Let us all pray that it never gets bred out of them. Catholics are bred into silent acquiescence and very blind obedience which translates into passive 'participation' at mass. (And then people wonder why Catholics don't sing!) There are, of course, numerous places (I think that there must surely be here and there) which are the exception.

    I think that the Ordinariate's heritage, though, will survive being 'bedfellows' with this regime. Being an Ordinariate (a non geographical 'diocese' with our own bishop) is a crucial factor. It all hangs on passing our patrimony to the younger generations, and it seems that that is being done. There is, of course, much more to the Anglican patrimony than liturgy and music, though liturgy is the font of it all. There is a particular spiritual literary heritage, peculiar ecclesiastical art, architecture, literature, music, personal devotion, and an intense consciousness and focus on the ineffable majesty of God in private life and public ritual. Too, there is a long line of distinctive English mystics and a line of unique saints such as Becket (no other country has produced a Becket! or a Thomas More) and others right up to modern times. The next generation is crucial and I think, from observing our youth, that the future looks bright. Anglicans don't need cantors and hymn leaders to tell them what to do when at mass. They know what to do when and they do it heartily and with one voice. When it is time to sing or make a response to the priest you very well know that the people are there! We are a people who love beautiful liturgy and joy in it, and don't mind if it takes more than a stingy, begrudged hour. To quote the psalmist, 'we have a goodly heritage', and our people are deeply thankful to HF Benedict for providing a safe haven for it. Our youth know what they have and are grateful for it.

    Some of our people who several years ago had been to some convention of Catholics 'back east' returned saying that all the other Catholics viewed them with disbelief, saying 'are you sure you are Catholic? You are so happy!' Indeed, I have more than once got a dirty look when joyfully singing or participating at an ordinary OF mass.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,072
    Mozart is my favorite decomposer. (ducking!)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • [Tongue in cheek]

    Well, Francis, I guess that just shows that even intelligent people do stupid things once in a while?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,731
    Francis, I am not fond of Mozart either where his church music is concerned. The Haydn masses seem far better suited to liturgy. As for his secular stuff, I evaluate it on a composition by composition basis. However, he is not my favorite composer.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,656
    They delegate to the choir or the altar boys.

    In this area, the congregation was never 'active' in song or spoken response during the '50's and early '60's. Don't know why. That has carried through at the EF Mass, though; you never hear a thing from them. Can't definitively state that it's a result of Irish influence (Thomas Day's thesis) b/c a lot of the priests and Bishops here were German.

    However, a couple of folks from Chicago's St John Cantius occasionally show up at an EF Mass in the Diocese just west of here and are "dialog Mass" active.
  • quilisma
    Posts: 123
    From the office of readings for the feast of St. Cecilia: a discourse on the Ps. 32 by St. Augustine:

    Sing to him a new song, sing to him with joyful melody. Every one of us tries to discover how to sing to God. You must sing to him, but you must sing well. He does not want your voice to come harshly to his ears, so sing well, brothers!

    If you were asked, “Sing to please this musician,” you would not like to do so without having taken some instruction in music, because you would not like to offend an expert in the art. An untrained listener does not notice the faults a musician would point out to you. Who, then, will offer to sing well for God, the great artist whose discrimination is faultless, whose attention is on the minutest detail, whose ear nothing escapes? When will you be able to offer him a perfect performance that you will in no way displease such a supremely discerning listener?

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen