Monday, May 30, 2011

A Case for Life-Teen Music: Your Response?

Paul Weber
"...but he problem with his thinking is that all religious experience must occur within the context of the Mass. This, as we all know, is untrue. Pius XII gave the distinction between Sacred-liturgical and Religious-recreational music in his encyclical of 1955, and both are good. It's a matter of using the right tool for the right job. Music destined for the Sacred Rites must be appropriate for them by being derived from them, which is how the music achieves holiness and universality (artfulness is another matter). The nature of art destined for the universal Sacred Rites cannot have as its point of reference the individual. This is the problem with the following justification of Life Teen music's supposed liturgically-appropriate holiness:
"Which means the musicians who are going to be interpreting this composition have to have holiness as the center of their life. The people receiving the music have to have a passion to be holy. Sacred music rises or falls in its sacred dignity on whether or not holiness is at the center. Let it be so, because if you start with a holy seed, you’ll get holy fruit. And as music serves the worship, so will it serve holiness if it starts in holiness and is brought by holiness."
It isn't up to the composer, the performer or the individuals of a congregation to determine whether they feel holiness. For that matter, holiness is hardly a matter of objective feeling (that's piety). Holiness is a quality conferred upon the liturgy by God, and through the liturgy to Sacred Art by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through Sacred Tradition. What's wrong with using Life Teen music for extra-liturgical prayer (Holy Hours, festivals of praise, retreats, etc.) and maintaining an elevated form of music and art appropriate for a supremely elevated task: the Sacred Liturgy. Religious music, as Pius XII teaches, is uniquely powerful in moments of catechesis and evangelization among the young and within families, but this does not displace the singular expression required for the Mass. Use the right tool for the right job.

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