Friday, March 09, 2007

Why Does Pope See Bob Dylan as False Prophet?

The late Pope John Paul II greeting Bob Dylan in 1997. (Newsday)

By Lisa Haddock

Pope Benedict XVI has again expressed his disdain for popular music, according to a report published by March 9, 2007, by The Sydney Morning Herald.

In a new memoir, the current pontiff writes that he thinks of legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan as a false prophet. He describes his uneasiness about Dylan's performance at a youth conference in 1997 – attended by Pope John II. At the time, Benedict (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) was chief enforcer of Catholic doctrine.

"There was reason to be skeptical. I was, and in some ways I still am – over whether it was really right to allow this type of 'prophet' to appear."

His attitude stands in contrast to that of Pope John Paul II, who reached young people in a language they understood. In fact, John Paul II quoted Dylan's song Blowing in the Wind at that 1997 conference, which was attended by 300,000 young people. The late pope held popular musicians – including Bono, Ricky Martin and B.B. King – in the highest regard. (See MTV obituary.)

The current pope has written:

"Pop music .. ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal. 'Rock' on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship." (Statement on Sacred Music.)

To be sure, Benedict XVI has an undeniable appreciation for the arts.

"It is important to recognize the ... benefits of introducing young people to children’s classics in literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music. ... Beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness have a depressing impact on attitudes and behaviour." (Message for World Communications Day, Jan. 24, 2007)

Pope Benedict is a first-rate musician in his own right, and a sophisticated thinker, possessing one of the world's finest minds. But his opinion as to what constitutes "uplifting music" is off-putting and even snobbish to us common folk, who lack his rarified tastes and sensitivities.

Current Faith Issues and Controversies
Complete Blog Index

No comments: