After an extraordinary Vatican Congress, Pope Francis announced that the harmonica has been formally designated “Instrument of the Devil” by the Catholic Church. Effective immediately churchgoers not are allowed to bring the instrument into churches, cemeteries or Catholic gift shops. Its notes shall not be pronounced within 500 cubits of any religious institution.
The move comes as a blow to the growing number of “Kumbaya Catholic” dioceses that are encouraging singer-songwriters to liven up their masses. They will now have to lose the harmonica solo in the guitar arrangement of “The Lord is My Shepherd”.
Ecclesiastical specialists are questioning the motivation for the dramatic announcement. The Church has always frowned on the harmonica due to its tendency to emit the tritone–the Devil’s interval–as soon as anyone blows into it. Commentators are however speculating that it is linked to the progressive worldview of Pope Francis.
“Pope Francis listens to popular music. He knows that it has been cursed by the harmonica; so many beautiful songs are marred by the inability to resist a harmonica refrain. He has specifically mentioned “Firecracker” by Ryan Adams as a perfect example. The Devil left us the harmonica to tempt us to blow it; we all know it sounds awful but we accept it. The Pope has done the world a huge favor by finally demonizing the instrument”
Vatican insiders believe the banjo is at risk of being the next to land on Lucifer’s list, a possibility welcomed by many as a means to end the “modern plague” of Mumford and Sons and the indie folk movement.