Earlier this week I attended a wonderful lecture by Cardinal Müller, the Prefect of the CDF. It was a rhetorically beautiful lecture in an Augustinian style, repeating important points at intervals, in slightly varied ways, and with a certain development of thought.
My takeaway, based on these repeated points, was as follows:
- Evangelization should have these four characteristics: it should focus on what is necessary, beautiful, grand, and persuasive. This framework is taken directly from the Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, paragraph 35: “When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary.”
- The work of the Magisterium should not be seen as extrinsic and above the communion of the faithful, but as one aspect of that communion and within it.
As I’ve mentioned before, there is another, ongoing series of lectures that might interest our readers, and that is the School of Philosophy’s annual fall series, which this particular year is devoted to philosophy and music. On a personal level, this series is important to me, not only because it combines two of my dearest interests, but because my undergraduate alma mater is considerably involved. The videos below show the first two lectures. The first is by a fellow alum of St. John’s College, who is now on the faculty of CUA’s School of Philosophy, and the second is by a faculty member of St. John’s.
By the end of both lectures, I was pretty well convinced that the very fact of polyphony has not yet been honestly faced as an ecclesial problem. It seems to me that as soon as our voices divide, there is an aspect of our song to God that is referred not only directly to Him, but also in reference to the others.
I don’t think that this is an insurmountable problem, but it does divide the directionality of liturgical, musical prayer. The question for me is whether that division must always be a distraction. Are we–or were we at Trent–sufficiently mature as a Church to sing with a voice that is divided but one? Are we, in fact, ready for communio?
I hope you enjoy the lectures. More to come.