Sacred Music, Secular Society

Could it be that, as Richard Viladesau proposes in Theology and the Arts: Encountering God through Music, Art and Rhetoric (NJ: Paulist Press, 2000), the recent interest in sacred music, for example the increase in sales on Gregorian chant, is due to an inclination to search for meaning in a secular rather than a sacred context, albeit with the use of some ‘sacred’ material?

It is not impossible that, though religion may be viewed as irrelevant or unecessary to today’s society, it has amassed a collection of useful materials in the search for meaning in any context.  Or it could be that the music distracts from the issues, as Augustine was always wary that it might, and allows the listener to avoid the real issues; in this way the music could provide an escape from the tricky questions of meaning.

Either way, it is evident that sacred music has a role to play in a so-called secular society.

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