Church musical tradition endures today, Pope tells audienceSource article from CWNews
Vatican, May. 21, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The artistic heritage of the Church is a resource for Christians of all eras, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) said at his weekly public audience on May 21.
"If faith is alive, Christian culture does not become a thing of the past," the Holy Father told his Wednesday audience. "Cathedrals are not medieval monuments, but places where we can meet God and one another. Great music-- Gregorian chants, Bach, Mozart-- are not things of the past." The Holy Father based his address on the life and work on Romanus the Melodist, a Syrian "theologian, poet, composer, and permanent deacon" of the 6th century. He said that Romanus belonged to "that sizeable group of theologians who transformed theology into poetry," along with St. Ambrose, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. John of the Cross among others."
Romanus the Melodist taught the people through his music, the Pope continued; his hymns provided "a lively and original way of presenting the catechesis." Today those hymns provide insights into both the music and the theology of his generation. "This great poet and composer reminds us of all the wealth of Christian culture which was born of faith, born of hearts that encountered Christ," the Pope said.
Among the important messages in the hymns of Romanus, the Pontiff mentioned the continuity between Christ and his apostles, ensured by the Holy Spirit, and the critical importance for each Christian to prepare for the Final Judgment.
The May 21 papal audience was held in the Paul VI auditorium. Before meeting the crowd there, Pope Benedict met briefly with another group in the Vatican basilica, to greet those who were not able to attend the general audience because of the limited seating in the auditorium.
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