Sandro Magister’s latest column levies a rather heavy charge against Pope Benedict – that while the Holy Father writes and speaks at length and with great insight about the importance of truly beautiful, reverent liturgical music, he has failed to put his words into action when it comes to pontifical liturgies.
Magister points to the 2010 appointment of Don Massimo Palombella as director of the Sistine Chapel choir (“clearly not up to the role”) and to what he describes as the deliberate side-lining of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, which this year celebrates its centenary, as evidence that “in a drastic selection of his engagements, [Benedict] has declined to act and to make decisions in the field of sacred music.”
Curial officials – including Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state – do not escape Magister’s criticism, either; he believes them to be deliberately working against Benedict’s stated vision of reviving the rich musical tradition of the Catholic liturgy: “it remains incomprehensible why [the Pope] should have decided to decline a few simple practical decisions that were and are fully within his grasp, in a field like this, which he sees as so crucial and on which he has very clear ideas. And why he has left such decisions to men who, seeing what they do, certainly are not helping him in his effort to restore light and the ‘splendor of truth,’ including musical, to the Catholic liturgy.”
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