Rorate Caeli

Civilization


L. van Beethoven
Missa solemnis in D Major

Music is a part of all cultures and, we might say, accompanies every human experience, from pain to pleasure, from hatred to love, from sorrow to joy, from death to life. We see that in the course of the centuries and millennia, music has always been used to give a shape to what is impossible to express with words, because it awakens emotions otherwise difficult to communicate. It is not, therefore, by chance that every civilization has given importance and value to music in its various forms and expressions.

Music, great music, relaxes the mind, awakens profound sentiments and is, as it were, a natural invitation to raise one's mind and heart to God in every situation of human existence, both joyful and sad. Music can become prayer.
Benedict XVI
Address following concert at Paul VI Hall
October 17, 2009

21 comments:

Truth Will Out said...

I miss Pope Benedict XVI so badly...even more now with every passing week, month, and every new 'antic' we come to read about. Oh, dear. God bless him always!

Mary Kay said...

I suffer no delusions (I hope) on the pontificate of Benedict VI but I certainly agree with this statement on music. I may be an old(ish) rocker, but there is nothing better for soothing my tiny, wild grandbabies (and their nana) than a little Grieg or Vivaldi or Mozart, or many others. I like to think the world can't possibly send good music into extinction...

Tom Policinski said...

Spoken like a true Renaissance Prince... ;)

JBazChicago said...

But music must have poor people or it isn't valid. There must be lots of poor people....POOR PEOPLE...POOR PEOPLE......All Christian action must include poor people for validity.
-Papal Encyclical "Panis non mozzettam"
Uncle George pp.

Alexander adulescens said...

"I miss Pope Benedict XVI so badly..."

I as well.

Everyday I am more and more thinking to myself - What in God's Name, but not for His sake, has this conclave done?

- adulescens

UnamSanctam said...

Truth Will Out:

I have not changed at all in my initial judgement that B XVI's abdication was in reality an ejection by the wolves and that he had no place retreating from them.

Having said that, a man who made a number of appalling appointments, managed to write three books while Pope and who never once said a public TLM cannot be said to have been the Pope we both want and need.

One of the Revolutionaries until the end has to be the final judgement upon Joseph Ratzinger.

But the fact that he liked a nice tune is in his favour, yes.

His successor comes across as a country bumpkin more and more, sorry to say.

Ma Tucker said...

Truth spoken indeed.

Michael Ortiz said...


Well, sure, Benedict XVI could have done more. That goes for everyone, regardless of state of life.

His three books written largely during his pontificate, I think, are wonderful contributions to a loving, prayerful study of Our Lord. His encyclicals are very good. Never mind the hand he has in writing some of JPII's best encycicals.

I do miss him, of course, but loving those who are "less lovable" is in fact a test of true charity.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

"Since all musick is but three parts,
Vied and multiplied,
O let thy Blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art."

George Herbert saw the triad (the three-note chord) as a symbol of the Trinity, which the human soul is invited invited to sing.

UnamSanctam said...

He should have been governing the Church.

BroHenry said...

With all due respect to our
Pope Emeritus..
Long live reigning Pope Savonarola!

mjh said...

I would refer you to Mundabor's Blog. His comments are very apt and he hits the mark dead on.

BroHenry said...

"From 1493 Savonarola spoke with increasing violence against the abuses in ecclesiastical life, against the immorality of a large part of the clergy, above all against the immoral life of many members of the Roman Curia"

Miguel Cruz said...

Do not worry, pope. Your Holiness might be able to hear singers like "Belo" at WYD.
Greetings from Brazil!

Liam Ronan said...

I thought we were reflecting on the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's reflections how music can become prayer.

To paraphrase a famous King "Can't we all just sing along?"

Edward More said...

Yes, music can indeed lift up the mind to God and to higher things... And, unlike contemporary music, it does have the power to refresh and sooth the mind from the worries and stresses of modern life. I am in awe that God has given man the capacity to compose such beautiful music as has been composed through the centuries...

One interesting aspect about music is that almost more than any other art form, up to a certain point it seems to be a vivid reflection of the moral state of the society in which it is composed. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, when the moral fibers of Europe where beginning to disintegrate, there appeared such abominable music as "atonal music" (for those not learned in music just thing of randomly hitting various keys in the piano - there you go now you can claim to be another Schoenberg and have composed atonal music). What I am saying is that, just as society was beginning to rebel itself against the law of God, so the art of music was moving away from "harmony" into an aberration that had no restraint or beauty: "atonality" (and actually this was a slow process that slowly progressed through the late 19th century with works such as those from Wagner). Other music forms that developed through the 20th century were perfect mirrors of trends in morality and culture: jazz, pop music, rock, punk, hip-hop etc.

When we see the beauty of music flourishing again at the hands of great composers, we will know that we will have done an about turn on the current moral crisis of society.

JB said...



to paraphrase Robert Bolt:

"What would you do cut a great path to get after the Devil?"

"I'd cut down every church and concert hall in England to do that!"

"oh? and when the last church was down and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, bishop, the churches all being flat? this world is planted thick with churches, God's churches, not man's, and if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blown then."

gerald may said...

@Edward More Well said! And, you have made a very profound insight into the connection between philosophy and art, and music. The philosophical orientation of an age is reflected in its music; music reflects that philosophy. The same could be said of art and liturgy. We presently live in an age that loves formlessness over form and ugliness over beauty; the low and base over the high and spiritual. The very people- the successors of the Apostle’s, who were supposed to protect and pass on the beauty of tradition because, as many here have said, it leads the heart and mind to God unfortunately have adopted this nihilism in the Church.

mjh said...

Long Skirts: I think we need something from you on this subject.

Angelo said...

His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl sure is missed. His love for music was very well demonstrated at his public Masses. I have no voice for singing so I enjoy the recordings of others. His Holiness Benedict XVl legacy must not end, it must continue. But how? A miracle from Almighty God, that is how! Lets pray for that miracle.

Alexander adulescens said...

"When we see the beauty of music flourishing again at the hands of great composers, we will know that we will have done an about turn on the current moral crisis of society."

Pärt, Silvestrov, Martynov, Górecki, Penderecki - and others.

In Eastern Europe, we still have real music.

- adulescens