Pope Benedict on New Evangelisation and Sacred Music

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

Stats for May 2011

With a total 5,940 page views, the month of May has, at the last minute, been able to continue to steady increase visible over the past couple of months. It is now in second place on the list of most visitors on the blog per month. In total views, we’re approaching the 90,000, so I expect that the 100,000 will be crossed sometime in August, 1 year and 8 months after I started this blog. A nice number, but of course nothing to Fr. Tim Finigan’s 3 million visitors since he began blogging. Although he has been at it since April of 2006.

On to the usual top 10 of most popular blog posts. There are three Dutch translations in there (which makes me happy), and the posts about the Dutch Salesians also rank high. Blessed John Paul II’s beatification is also in there, although not as high as I would have expected. Lastly, the new bishop of Rotterdam also led to some decent interest in my writings.

1: An angry post: 166
2: Statement from Vatican press chief Fr. Lombardi on the death of Bin Laden: 107
3: Universae Ecclesiae: 95
4: A prayer answered: 63
5: Het probleem Medjugorje: 62
6: Three press releases from the Salesians 59
7: Fifth bishop of Rotterdam to be announced at noon tomorrow: 57
8: Homilie bij de zaligverklaring van Paus Johannes Paulus II: 56
9: Bishop van den Hende to Rotterdam: 53
10: Pictures say more: 43