ROME - Pope Benedict XVI has called for an end to electric guitars and modern music being played in church and demanded a return to traditional choirs and Gregorian chants.
The Catholic Church has been experimenting with new ways of holding Mass to try to attract more people. The recital of Mass set to guitars has grown in popularity in Italy; in Spain, Mass has been set to flamenco music, and in America, the Electric Prunes produced a "psychedelic" album called "Mass in F Minor."
However, the use of guitars and tambourines has irked the pope, who loves classical music. "It is possible to modernize holy music," he said at a concert conducted by the director of music at the Sistine Chapel, Domenico Bartolucci. "But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music."
His comments prompted the newspaper La Stampa to compare him with Pope Pius X, who denounced faddish classical and baroque compositions and reinstated Gregorian chants in 1903.
Benedict XVI's supporters argue that the music played during Mass is a vital part of the communion between worshippers and God.