Online Edition: November 2007
Vol. XIII, No. 8
Pope Benedict: Sacred Music an Integral Part of Liturgy
On October 13, Benedict XVI visited the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the headquarters of which has recently been completely refurbished, at the initiative of the Holy See and thanks to the support of various benefactors including the “Fondazione pro Musica Sacra e Arte Sacra”.
At his arrival, the pope was welcomed by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and chancellor of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and by Monsignor Valentin Miserachs Grau, president of the institute. The Holy Father paused a few moments before the Blessed Sacrament in the institute’s church before moving on to the library, which has also been restored recently.
In his brief address Benedict XVI highlighted the fact that sacred music, as Vatican Council II had made clear, “is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy”.
John Paul II, said Pope Benedict, “observed that today, as always, three characteristics distinguish sacred music: its ‘sanctity’, its ‘true art’, and its ‘universality’, in other words the fact that it can be presented to any people or assembly.
“Precisely for this reason”, he added, “the ecclesial authorities must undertake to guide … the development of such an important form of music, not by ‘freezing’ its heritage but by seeking to combine the legacy of the past with the worthwhile novelties of the present, so as to achieve a synthesis worthy of the exalted mission [sacred music] has in the service of God.
“I am certain”, Benedict XVI concluded, “that the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, in harmony with Congregation for Divine Worship, will not fail to contribute to an ‘aggiornamento’ [updating] … of the precious traditions of which sacred music is so rich”.
Source: Vatican Information Service