Benedict’s call for liturgical renewal is timely and there are young musicians in the Church who are eagerly preparing themselves to answer this vocational call. The teachings of the Fathers offer much-needed inspiration and direction. Threats to the post-modern Church are very similar to those of the third century: anti-Christian sentiment, secularism, and sexual licentiousness. Sacrosanctum Concilium and Sacramentum Caritatis clearly state that the way forward for the development of Christian music must include a dedicated study of traditional Church music as well as a sustained effort to teach this music to the faithful for liturgical worship. At the same time, new Church music must be composed—not by ill-formed neophytes with guitars—but by mature, prayerful, classically trained musicians who have been mentored in plainchant and sacred polyphony and are living the full sacramental life of the Church. Certainly, it would behoove Christian music composers to pay close attention to the warnings and encouragements of the early Fathers, who also lived in a secular pagan society. Their wisdom, far from being irrelevant, is surprisingly germane.
Church Fathers and Church Music