Innovation for Tradition | National Review

Innovation for Tradition | National Review

Just a little treat for liturgical traditionalists — perhaps all Christians. My friend David Hughes recently gave a talk on the restoration of chant to the Western liturgy by Dom Guéranger, the abbot of the monastery at Solesmes. The restoration of the Benedictine Order after the French Revolution was no small feat. And four time the monks have been forcible ejected from their monastery by the government.

Gregorian chant had been simplified after the Council of Trent. But still, even through the storms of the Franco-Prussian War, this monastery found a way to uncover the church’s tradition from manuscripts that were nearly 1,000 years old. There are many lessons for traditionalists of all sorts in this — about the need for innovation, starting small, remaining fixed on beauty and excellence, all while maintaining a certain canniness about present political realities. Hughes was maestro at my own parish and is currently serving at Saint Patrick’s in Waterbury Connecticut.

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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.