Gregorian Chant is returning from exile. Maybe. »

"Gregorian Chant is returning from exile. Maybe." is the title chosen by Sandro Magister in his interesting article on Today, Pope Benedict XVI calls for its revival. But the path is full of obstacles and the words used by Cardinal F.Arinze (Prefect of the Congregation for Worship) to describe the musical fashions found in many churches worldwide leave no doubt about it: "chaotic, excessively simplistic, and unsuitable for the liturgy".

We know off course that SS Pope Benedict XVI is really attached to gregorian chant and that he will take advantage of the very recent Bishops Synod to redeploy lost liturgical treasures. Having sayed that, we have to consider that the revival of Gregorian chant is subject to conditions :

  • As we have really undervalued people’s hability to learn "we must respect the proper order of things: the people should chant their part, but equal respect should be shown for the role of the “schola,” the cantor, the psalmist, and, naturally, the celebrant and the various ministers, who often prefer not to sing. Do we want a revival of Gregorian chant for the assembly? It should begin with the acclamations, the Pater Noster, the ordinary chants of the Mass, especially the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. In many countries, the people were very familiar with the Credo III, and the entire ordinary of the Mass VIII “de Angelis,” and not only that! They knew the Pange Lingua, the Salve Regina, and other antiphons. "
  • A work of education is also necessary. For years now, seminarians and religious people in general have lacked a real training in the musical tradition of the Church, or even the most elementary musical training course. As Valentino Miserachs Grau says : But how can one address the creation of a high-quality repertoire for the liturgy, including in the living languages, if the composers refuse to acknowledge Gregorian chant?
  • Pope John Paul II recalled: “The musical aspect of liturgical celebrations cannot be left to improvisation or the decision of individuals, but must be entrusted to well-coordinated leadership, in respect for the norms and competent authorities, as the substantial outcome of an adequate liturgical formation.” So, then, we have to respect the norms – which is already a worldwide desire.


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