"New Translation Thursday" greetings.
Two recent happenings at the Vatican bear notice.
The first is what Pope Benedict had to say recently about the function of music and art in the "new evangelization."
From Catholic News Service:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sacred music can bolster people's faith and help lapsed Catholics rediscover the beauty of God, Pope Benedict XVI said. "Sacred music can, above all, promote the faith, and, what's more, cooperate in the new evangelization," he told participants attending a conference and pilgrimage sponsored by the Italian St. Cecilia Association. St. Cecilia, whose feast day is Nov. 22, is traditionally honored as the patron saint of musical performers. "Music and singing that are done well can help (people) receive the word of God and be moved in a positive way," the pope said in his address Nov. 10. Many people, including St. Augustine, have found themselves attracted to God because of some profound experience prompted by the beauty of liturgical music and sacred song, he said. In the church's missionary outreach, he said, it urges Catholics to recognize, respect and promote the musical traditions of the local people. Traditionally Christian countries, like Italy, have a rich heritage of sacred music which can help lapsed Catholics rediscover God and be drawn again to the Christian message and the mystery of faith, he said. Because of their important role in new evangelization, he urged church musicians to dedicate themselves "to improving the quality of liturgical song, without being afraid of reviving or emphasizing the great musical tradition of the church, which has two of its highest expressions in Gregorian and polyphony. Show how the church may be the place in which beauty feels at home," he said.
I sent this particular clipping to some of our artists and composers, noting particularly this line: "In the church's missionary outreach, he said, it urges Catholics to recognize, respect and promote the musical traditions of the local people."
I believe that composers who are creating music for the liturgy in many genres (chant, choral music, contemporary styles, for instance) are respecting and promoting these musical traditions of local people. The pope's final line in the report is quite inspiring: "Show how the church may be the place in which beauty feels at home."
The second bit of news is about the restructuring of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship. You can read the report here. Quoting from that report: "The main change is the establishment of an office, specifically dedicated to liturgical art and music, which will provide guidelines to ensure that hymns sung during mass and the structure of new churches are adequate and correspond to the mystery being celebrated."
Should be interesting to watch all of this continue to unfold.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.