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Vatican cardinal pays tribute to Gregorian chant, polyphony

September 12, 2011

Speaking at the Umbrian Music Festival, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi rued the “separation of worship from high-quality music” and said that the directives of the Second Vatican Council should be fully implemented: “the role of scholae cantorum, the serious musical training of the clergy and pastoral workers, the role of Gregorian chant, the exaltation of the organ as the main instrument for Catholic … worship.”

Noting the “impressive (and perhaps at the time also shocking) innovation introduced by polyphony in comparison with the monodic purity of Gregorian plainsong,” the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture said that a development of a high-quality contemporary music is possible but difficult under the present circumstances “because of the separation of worship from high-quality music and because of secularization and society's radical distancing from every religious perspective; and because of the liturgy's self-confinement in shortened or superficially innovative forms or its mere retracing of the past.”


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