UPDATE: Archbishop Cordileone and the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone has given us more insight into the new Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park during its launch on the eve of the feast of the Epiphany.

Pray Tell has posted twice on the new institute:

Restoring the Liturgy in San Francisco with a new liturgical institute

San Francisco: new “Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship”

According to Archbishop Cordileone, the primary aim of the institute is to “reclaim the sense of the sacred.” By invoking the name of Benedict XVI in its title the institute has already caused quite a bit of stir and speculation in the non-traditionalist environment of San Francisco. This has been further fueled by the style of Archbishop Cordileone himself. The jury is still out on the institute. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the institute in the coming months.

For more information, see the preliminary site for the institute.


  1. If it’s meant to help churches improve choirs and sharpen things up then I see no harm in it. If however it’s a cover or prelude to force interest in the EF or create some type of hybridization then it’s DOA. I think this institute will necessarily evolve over time in order to be relevant. How it evolves will depend on where interests lie, what path Francis takes us down and most importantly where the funding comes from…..

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #3:
      Yikes, Todd, I could have Kurt Elling sing Legrand’s “What are you doing the rest of your life” within the body of a Wedding Mass and meet your first criterium quite nicely.
      But if I use Carey Landrey’s “God has made us a family” presumably sung by Elling and his equal accompanists, that wouldn’t make your cut according to the latter criterium.
      I guess people will need us after all.

      1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #4:
        Is the song based on a psalm? If not, where would you put it?

        I suppose your example is “sacred” in the sense of the term in the title of the institute. But the institute doesn’t mention “liturgical” music, does it? Are we missing something, or is the archbishop?

  2. At the risk of being flippant, and with no desire to disparage this new Institute’s work: what would excite me much, much more is a Pope Francis Institute on Mission and Worship. Maybe it could have a focus on homiletics. Who will be the first bishop to get with the program and establish something like that?

  3. A sense of the sacred is assisted by spirituality, an inner orientation and not necessarily the content.

    In that definition, I think you presumed that “the content” would be from the psalter. By the quote, a secular song (like the one I cited) might qualify regardless of its source or content. Picking nits is all.

  4. Jeffrey Pinyan (@JeffPinyan) : @Jim Pauwels – comment #6: He would probably ask that the institute NOT be named for him.

    Agreed. He might be getting older, but he’s not ready to be institutionalized!

    But I endorse Mr. Pauwels’s comment. A place where folks can learn USEFUL activities would be nice. Not just more protests or pray-ins or what have you, but some constructive things that can actually be done by congregations to make the world a better place. Turning the Pope’s message into action is a great goal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.