Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Church Music

"Beauty," Dostoyevsky once wrote, "will save the world." The purpose of Church art is to bring people into the presence of God, to point toward a higher and more beautiful reality than the one that we tread through day upon day throughout our lives. When Catholics create beautiful works of art, hearts, minds, and imaginations are baptized. More than once I have encountered people whose conversion to Catholicism or to Christianity has been effected, at least in part, by the liturgical compositions of the great classical composers. On the other hand, I have never met anyone who was converted by the sort of happy-clappy nonsense that Jesuit composers produced during the '70s - the same unfortunate songs which still fill the pages of our hymnals today. How, one is inclined to wonder, can the awesome contemplation of the God who created heaven and earth produce such lame music? It is no wonder that so many, their minds filled with the image of a multitude of bored, winged angels strumming "Peace is Flowing" on their harps for all eternity, slouch off to find something more exciting in the secular world."

From Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism by Melinda Selmys (Our Sunday Visitor, 2009) page 230.

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