Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Two Poets for the Synod"

As previously mentioned here, the working document for October's Synod for the New Evangelization does not mention music or singing--not once. While a paragraph of the document is reserved for beauty, as Dr. William Mahrt has pointed out, the beauty of the Western  liturgical tradition is not mentioned. 

This oversight ought to be of serious concern, not only to professional Church musicians, but to all whose lives of faith have been in any way supported by the liturgical arts.

In today's L'Osservatore Romano, theologian Fr. Robert Imbelli of Boston College argues for the language, indeed the poetry, needed for new evangelization:

In the last chapter of his book, aptly titled “Conversions,” [Charles] Taylor offers some suggestions regarding the challenge facing the Church in a secular age that correspond to the passages from the “Instrumentum Laboris” I quoted above. He sees the need for a fresh, more creative language capable of communicating the Gospel. A language that is more affective and poetic than the prevailing prose of a one-dimensional technology. A language that taps the aesthetic dimension of experience, whether through music, art or literature
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Taylor cites, as examples of the ability to craft a more integral and evocative language, two great Catholic poets: the English priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the French layman, Charles Péguy. Hopkins rekindled a sacramental sense of a world “charged with the grandeur of God.” Péguy conveyed poetically a living sense of the communion of all the saints, uniting earth with heaven.

These exemplars can provide inspiration for the Synod’s challenge to appropriate the Gospel anew and to spur the renewal of a Christ-centered imagination, capable of guiding and sustaining Christians in the multi-faceted labors of the new evangelization.