Update: Further digging and a nice note from delpippo-san both placed the remarks below at the ceremony last week where Muti was made an honorary citizen of Trieste. Additional comments found in those reports are inserted at the end.
The Italian news agency ANSA yesterday (May 27) reported the following comments from Riccardo Muti on the sorry state of liturgical music in the Roman Catholic Church:
''The Pope is right when he says it is necessary to bring our great musical heritage back into churches. The history of great music was determined by what the Church did.
''When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult.
''I can't work out how come once upon a time there were Mozart and Bach and now we have little sing-songs. This is a lack of respect for people's intelligence.
''The most simple or distant person, feeling the Ave verum by Mozart, can be moved to a spiritual dimension."
Muti also decried the abandonment of the use of many historic organs in Italian churches and of the whole craft and tradition of instrument-making as a result, in part of these shifts.