Pope Francis on His Singing

RNS reports on Pope Francis’s meeting today with Pueri Cantores, the organization of young singers:

Francis acquired a love of music as a child, while listening to opera on the radio. But despite believing that singing is good for the soul, he said he has no such talents:

“I like hearing singing, but, if I sang, I’d sound like a donkey, because I don’t know how to sing. I don’t even know how to speak well, because I have a defect in the way I speak, in the phonetics.”









8 responses to “Pope Francis on His Singing”

  1. Sean Keeler Avatar
    Sean Keeler

    “Let us bray…”

  2. James B Smith Avatar
    James B Smith

    Good one, Sean. Happy New Year!

  3. John Swencki Avatar
    John Swencki

    A friend of mine, when encouraging his congregation to sing, would tell them: “If God gave you a good voice, this is your chance to thank Him. If He gave you a bad voice, this is your chance to get even.”

    Get even, Francis. 🙂

  4. Charles Culbreth Avatar

    Take two measures of Rutter’s 7/8 “Donkey Carol” and call me in the morning. Or not, I’ll be chanting “Veni…” Happy New Year AWR, Rita et alia, and let’s hope for a fruitful year of mercy.

  5. Doug O'Neill Avatar
    Doug O’Neill

    I wish he hadn’t said this, because it could dissuade people from singing with the excuse that they sound terrible. I always tell people that I don’t care if they sound terrible – they should sing anyway. We all sound terrible at times – get over it! I think the truth is that because Francis had a lung removed when he was young, he probably never really learned to sing. He may be one of the few people in the world who actually experience overbearing physical strain when they attempt to sing.

    There are not many people who truly CAN’T sing. There are many in the Catholic tradition who never had the cultural experience of singing when they were young, so find it challenging. There are some things we can do to remedy that, like follow Vatican II’s instruction that we should train children to sing and create schools and choirs for doing so.

  6. Reyanna Rice Avatar
    Reyanna Rice

    Francis did not have his complete lung removed, only part of the upper right lobe. And this occurred when he was in his early twenties, young by some standards but well after one has presumably learned how to sing. I think he means it when he says he has trouble pronouncing words. I can hear it in both his Spanish and Italian not to mention English which he really struggles with. I also think singing could be physically uncomfortable for Francis because of his compromised breath capacity. You can audibly hear it when he speaks. He will run out of breath a lot getting a sentence out.

  7. Jean Romains Avatar
    Jean Romains

    Ah, how many times I also hear “I can’t sing.” And so, I tell them to look at a stained glass window. Each piece usually has many jagged edges. But put them all together and voila! A beautiful piece of art. The same with our voices. We all may have some jagged edges and, granted, some more than others, but put them all together in a church and collectively let the beautiful music for our worship begin!

  8. fred moleck Avatar
    fred moleck

    ” I can’t sing” –I’ve heard many, many times in my 56 years of music ministry. A wonderful St. Joseph’ Sister,–the boy choir sister, taught me to respond to the exclamation with ” Sing all the more loudly to remind God what God did to you.” The miracle always occurred and miraculously with some coaching a tenor or a bass or alto or soprano emerges. How clever of God.

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