In the past two days, Pope Benedict XVI released enlightening comments on two different, but related topics. The first was an address to the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation at their very first plenary meeting. In it, the Holy Father mainly discusses the need for new forms of proclamation of the Gospel. He describes the environment, “in which the developments of secularization have left heavy traces even in countries with a Christian tradition”, where this new proclamation will take place, and further concludes that the “mission has not changed, just as the enthusiasm and the courage that moved the Apostles and the first disciples must not change. The Holy Spirit who pushed them to open the doors of the Cenacle, making them into evangelizers (cf. Acts 2:1-4), is the same Spirit that moves the Church today in a renewed proclamation of hope to the men of our time.”

Apart from drafting a framework for the new Pontifical Council to work in, the pope’s address has also much to tell us lay faithful. After all, we all have our duty to proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ and the salvation he brought in our world. Worth a read. My Dutch translation is here.

The second set of comments relate to sacred music and may be found in a letter from the pope to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, grand chancellor of the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music. in this letter, Pope Benedict again underlines both the purpose of sacred music as well as the criteria to which is should keep. He mentions the recent tendency to dismiss these criteria as elements from a past that should be forgotten, and opposes that with a question: “Who is the authentic subject of the liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. Not the individual or the group that celebrates the liturgy, it is first of all the action of God through the Church, which has her history, her rich tradition and her creativity.”

These comments are firmly related to the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council, a seeming paradox for those who claim the aforementioned tendency to dismiss the past was somehow mandated by the Council.

Read my translation here.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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