A tip of the Stetson (actually, two tips) go to both Fr. Z and the fine folks at the New Liturgical Movement for providing us with two different takes on an interview of Antonio Cardinal Canizares Llorea made by Andrea Tornielli which appeared in this past Sunday's edition of Il Gironali. Cardinal Canizares Lloera is the prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. According to Shawn Tribe, the editor of the NLM, the prefect made a rather stunning (and quite frankly, much longed for) announcement:
The new liturgical movement will have to discover the beauty of the liturgy. Therefore, we will open a new division in our congregation dedicated to "Art and Sacred Music" at the service of the liturgy. This will lead us to offer soon a criteria and guidelines for art, song and sacred music. As well we offer as soon as possible criteria and guidelines for preaching.This is literally and figuratively sweet angelic music to these ears. Two years ago, while attending the Saturday session of the Gateway Liturgical Conference in St. Louis, MO, I had the unique privilege of meeting then-Archbishop Malcolm Ranjinth, who, at the time, served as secretary to the CDWDS. Now known as Malcolm Cardinal Ranjinth, he was gracious enough to allow me a question after his splendid speech. I asked him how music would play a role in an authentic Ars Celebrandi. I explained to him that the quality of music used for the Masses here in the United States was sorely lacking and that some of it had drifted into the banal. He told me that he was well aware of the problem that we were facing. He said that the CDWDS would be issuing a document in the very near future that would address the situation. However, given the change in prefects and secretaries that would occur later on, I thought that the matter would never be addressed. I am happy to have been proven wrong.
Given the greater degree of solemnity that the Papal Masses have taken since Msgr. Guido Marini replaced Archbishop Pietro Marini (no relation) as the head of the Office of Liturgies for the Supreme Pontiff and the Chief Master of Ceremonies, I suspect that these liturgies might in some way be held up as an example of how the Holy Sacrifice should be celebrated. Now, inasmuch as parishes might not be able to afford ornate vestments or sacred vessels encrusted with jewels, certainly the quality of music can and should improve.
Now, there will probably some who will complain about whatever changes the Holy See proposes (the big three US publishing houses come to mind). However, parishes do not have to rely soley on the Big Three. Fr. Sam Weber, the director of the Institute of Sacred Music for the Archdiocese of St. Louis has several of the propers set to simple music posted on the Institute's website. The Church Music Association of America, through its MusicaSacra website, has excellent resources, including tutorials for the revised translations. The Corpus Christi Watershed project also provides another excellent source for sacred music, as do the Chant Cafe the Adoremus hymnal.
In any event, such a division within the CDWDS can only serve to bring the Church to a true Ars Celebrandi. As my Jubilarian friend once told me, "The wheels of Rome grind slowly, but, they do grind finely."