Richard Clark offers heart-felt and profound reflections:
We are mourning his loss. It is very much like a dear friend or loved one who has moved far away. It is deeply sad. We have had no time to mourn or grieve; the Conclave was scheduled sooner than if a pope had died.
For sacred musicians, Pope Benedict XVI was (literally) a godsend, sent to us at the right time. There will likely not be another pontiff like him again, one with such passion for sung liturgy. He led by example and not by decree, yet he wrote and spoke knowledgably and prayerfully about liturgical music in a way that exuded natural authority. The evidence of his leadership is not only seen, it can be HEARD.
With the excitement of the Conclave over, many musicians are understandably expressing a great deal of anxiety regarding the unknowns about Pope Francis. Perhaps this anxiety says more about us that is does about the pope. But still, we are human and the apprehension is natural.