Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pope on Romanus the Melodist

( - The artistic heritage of the Church is a resource for Christians of all eras, Pope Benedict XVI 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.
Text of the Holy Father's speech.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fr Ray - you have quoted the Pope saying 'Cathedrals are places where we can meet God' and our own Westminster Cathedral is certainly one of these.

Over the years we have seen the magnificent mosaics spreading out throughout the cathedral. I have just read in this week's Catholic Herald that a blue print for the remaining mosaic designs has been prepared although it has not yet received final approval.

'Wonderful' I thought and then read further. 'Alongside pagans such as Plato, Lucretius and Zoroaster, the design also includes a representation of Buddha.'

Having readjusted my specs I re-read this and see that the pagans represent the 'chaos of pre-creation' and would appear to be designed to go over the main doors thus they will be the last mosaics to be seen by visitors as they leave. A strange choice.

I cannot understand the choice of Buddha in the cathedral - most people are familiar with his figure and will wonder what he has to do with Christianity. We would not expect to see a Crucifix in a Buddist temple would we?

Perhaps there should be a whole row of non-Christian sacred figures there including the Hindu god Krishna, a couple of Sikh gods and perhaps L. Ron Hubbard on the end?!!! Only joking of course but shouldn't a Christian Cathedral only contain Christian art? How on earth did a representation of the founder of another religion find its way onto these designs. Surely this is ecumenism gone mad?

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