Pope Francis says that while liturgical music has often struggled to live up to the quality and beauty the mystery of the Eucharist requires, its renewal can be promoted by a solid musical education, reports the Catholic News Agency.
"For this the various actors in this field, musicians and composers, conductors and singers of choirs, and liturgical animators, can make a major contribution to the renewal, especially quality, of sacred music and liturgical chant."
The Pope spoke to participants at the end of an international conference on sacred music held on March 2-4, titled "Music and the Church: Worship and culture 50 years after Musicam sacram."
Organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and the Pontifical Atheneum of St Anselm, the conference looked at sacred music 50 years after the Second Vatican Council.
"Half a century after the Instruction of Musicam sacrum, the conference wanted to elaborate, in an interdisciplinary and ecumenical perspective, the current relationship between sacred music and contemporary culture," Pope Francis said.
"Of great importance, it was also a reflection on the aesthetic and musical education of both the clergy and religious and the laity engaged in the pastoral life, and more directly in the choirs."
The Church has a great responsibility toward liturgical music, he said, because it deals with the sacred mystery of the Eucharist, and that sacred music, to that order, must balance the past and present in a way that invites full participation and lifts the congregation's hearts to God.
Pope Francis: Education is key to the renewal of sacred music (Catholic News Agency)
Pope Francis (Flickr)