The topic of music is a vast one, so much so that we could not hope to exhaust the subject in a single issue. With that in mind, we decided to avoid merely repeating warnings against modern music. These articles have already been written, by us in the past and by others. What we chose to do instead is go beyond the theoretical, and give concrete suggestions.
This issue is aimed first of all at parents and teachers. No one will argue that it’s possible to avoid the question of music entirely: you are subject to it, whether you like it or not, in the airport, the grocery store, and almost anywhere in public. The real question is how properly to form our tastes in music and help our children or students appreciate the good and the beautiful. In better times, it was relatively easy to be introduced to good music: chant in the churches was more common than it is now, folk music was a part of life for most people, and the larger cities might even have provided access to some of the masterworks.
We do not, however, promise easy answers. It is too simplistic to say broadly “Classical music is good for children” or “Introduce your students to folk music!” There are some “classical” pieces that deserve the recognition they have earned, and others which are as disordered in principle as rock-and-roll. Folk music similarly has its healthy variants and its problematic ones. What we must do is learn how to distinguish between ordered and disordered music.
Above all, let us remember how the Catholic Church Herself uses music to pray and give glory to God Almighty. The famous saying “He who sings, prays twice” is explained by Saint Pius X in the instruction on Sacred Music Tra le Sollecitudini: “Sacred music, being a complementary part of the solemn liturgy, participates in the general scope of the liturgy, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful. It contributes to the decorum and the splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies....in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries.” Here we have one of many practical applications of the importance of music in Christian life.
But, as our motto says, we must restore all things in Christ. I encourage you to participate in parish scholas or choirs, learn healthy folk songs, and teach your children—or perhaps learn yourself—to play instruments! Along these lines, I trust the articles contained herein will encourage a restoration of healthy music.
In Christ the King,
Fr. Arnaud Rostand, Publisher