Vatican City, May 31, 2011 / 15:05 pm
Corrected June 7, 2011, 9:04 MDT. Corrects earlier version in which Pope was quoted as saying the individual or group is the focus of the liturgy. Change is in paragraph four.
Pope Benedict XVI has reminded church musicians of the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Mass, describing it “as the supreme model of sacred music.”
The Pope set out his views in a letter for the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. The letter was read at the institute on May 26 and made public on May 31.
He praised Gregorian chant as being “of huge value to the great ecclesial heritage of universal sacred music.” But Pope Benedict also noted that sometimes it was erroneously “considered an expression of an idea corresponding to a past, gone and to be forgotten, because it limited the freedom and creativity of the individual and the community.” This was a view he wanted to counter.
“We always have to ask again: who is the true subject of the Liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity.”