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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Piano Rant 1,002

“It is strange that the postconciliar pluralism has created uniformity in one respect at least: it will not tolerate a high standard of expression.” (A New Song  for the Lord, 123)

Pope Emeritus Benedict clearly indicated that the piano is not a liturgical instrument. He said it affects the emotions, and not reason, which is why the organ should be used at Mass and other services. The organ demands reasonable reflection and attention.

Why are so many parishes in disobedience? In all my years and travels in Europe, I never, never found a piano in a Catholic church, thank God.

“The organ has always been considered, and rightly so, the king of musical instruments, because it takes up all the sounds of creation… and gives resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation. By transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, it evokes the divine. The organ’s great range of timbre, from piano through to a thundering fortissimo, makes it an instrument superior to all others. It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.” (Regensburg, 2006)

The piano was created in a time when music was appealing more and more to the emotions and not reason.

God deserves more than sickening emotional piano playing. I had no idea the piano was so ubiquitous in churches in the States. Imagine, a piano the main instrument at two parishes I know today for Palm Sunday.


The Mass is ritual worship. The music should be transcendent and not tickling the emotions. The Mass is prayer, not stroking of the people.

 Sacrosanctum Concilium teaches (Art. 120): “The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, for it is the traditional liturgical instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendour to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up men’s minds to God and higher things.”

All Catholics need to read encyclicals, as well as Benedict"s book on the sacred liturgy, found here.

"Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration. Consequently everything–texts, music, execution–ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons. Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire… that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy".(Sacramentum Caritatis).