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Renowned as composer, conductor, theorist, author, pedagogue, and organist, Aurelio Porfiri has served the Church on multiple continents at the highest levels. Born and raised in Italy, he currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Composer in Residence for Santa Rosa de Lima School (Macao, China).
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“We must say it plainly: the Roman rite as we knew it exists no more. It has gone. Some walls of the structure have fallen, others have been altered—we can look at it as a ruin or as the partial foundation of a new building. Think back, if you remember it, to the Latin sung High Mass with Gregorian chant. Compare it with the modern post-Vatican II Mass. It is not only the words, but also the tunes and even certain actions that are different. In fact it is a different liturgy of the Mass.”
— Fr. Joseph Gelineau (1978)

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Optimists & Pessimists
published 13 June 2015 by Aurelio Porfiri

631 Aurelio Porfiri WONDER WHY people think I’m too pessimistic about the situation of liturgical music. The problem is not Novus or Vetus Ordo; the problem is that the standard has changed. I will always remember one of my venerated teachers telling me that—of course—in the past also they were doing weird things in Church. Chronicles also exist which tell us about some strange music performed during the liturgy.

But what was the difference? There was a standard commonly accepted, so what was strange and “out of place” was perceived as such. Today it’s not. Today everything can be accepted because competence and good skills are replaced, in the eyes of up-to-date pastoral ministers with good intentions. I’ve already mentioned on many occasions the common sense of people saying that hell is paved with good intentions.

I am optimist in one sense; that we have the energy, resources, and talents to make the liturgy as splendid as it deserves. But my optimism turns to pessimism when I recognize that all these energies, resources, and talents—because of the lack of discernment—are basically flowing in a vacuum.

More articles by Aurelio Porfiri can be found on The Castaway.