During a visit on Saturday to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Pope Benedict XVI called on the Church’s leaders to ensure that the “aggiornamiento [updating] of religious music is done in continuity with the living tradition of the Church.”
After greeting and thanking the benefactors of the Institute, including its Grand Chancellor, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the Holy Father praised the Institute as a place where “numerous students, who come here from all parts of the world to receive formation in the disciplines of sacred music, return from to provide formation in their respective local churches.”
The Pope underscored the importance that Vatican II gave to sacred music, calling it “a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy."
"Precisely for this reason," he added, "the ecclesial authorities must undertake to guide ... the development of such an important form of music, not by 'freezing' its heritage but by seeking to combine the legacy of the past with the worthwhile novelties of the present, so as to achieve a synthesis worthy of the exalted mission [sacred music] has in the service of God.
"I am certain, "Benedict XVI concluded, "that the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, in harmony with Congregation for Divine Worship, will not fail to contribute to an 'aggiornamento' ... of the precious traditions of which sacred music is so rich."