Saturday, August 19, 2006

John Allen Jr. on "Mozart, Masonry and Catholicism"

Read this today and couldn't resist posting -- I expect it will only be a matter of time before it is picked up by our friend(s) at

Mozart, Masonry and Catholicism ("All Things Catholic" August 18, 2006):

In a 1996 interview, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger recalled that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "thoroughly penetrated our souls" in rural Bavaria, in the shadow of Salzburg.

"His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence," he said. As is well known, Benedict XVI tries to get in a few minutes at the keyboard every day, usually Mozart.

The pope is hardly alone in this passion.

Such disparate theological voices as Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Hans Küng and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini have all penned tributes. The Protestant Barth once wrote that when he arrived in Heaven he would seek out Mozart, a Catholic, ahead of Luther or Calvin. Barth even proposed a performance of Mozart's "Coronation Mass" at a meeting of the Protestant World Council of Churches in Evanston, Illinois, an ecumenical gesture that in 1954 proved too far ahead of its time.

On this 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, however, a nagging question concerns the extent to which Mozart's grasp of the "tragedy of human existence" was colored by the liberal and anti-clerical currents of his day, especially Freemasonry. . . .