News has come through that Catholic composer James MacMillan has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music. He joins other great musicians who have been so honoured, among them Sir Edward Elgar, also a Catholic composer.
Sir James, as he is now, has made a major contribution not just to music in the UK, but in the Church where he has been a vocal opponent of the way Church music has gone in the last few decades. The rich treasury of Sacred Music, still being added to by sensitive and gifted composers like himself, has been replaced in many places by a less worthy "canon". Indeed a knighthood seems fitting for one who has been fighting in the cause of Sacred Music for many years.
Hearty congratulations to James, may he continue his fine work for God, the Church, the liturgy and his fellow men and women. Earthly honours cannot compare with what God has laid up for those who are faithful, but in the spirit of the Beatitude, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, it is nice to see a believer receive recognition. I wonder: has the Church acknowledged James's work yet? Has he been made a Papal Knight yet?
Now, why not have a little listen to one of Sir James's pieces, one of my favourites, his Tu Es Petrus written for Pope Benedict XVI for his visit to the UK. The work was performed at the beginning of Pope Benedict's Mass in Westminster Cathedral. It is a fine piece.