Too much Catholic church music caters to old hippies. Fortunately there’s a...

Too much Catholic church music caters to old hippies. Fortunately there’s a simple solution

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I have decided to stop writing congregational music for the Catholic Church. Those who follow these things will be aware that liturgical music can be a war zone in Catholicism. We need not detain ourselves over the reasons and fault-lines in the ongoing debates and struggles, but it is clear to me that there is too much music being created, at the same time as the vast repository of tradition is ignored and wilfully forgotten.

In the last year I have established a new organisation dedicated to reviving the practice of chant in the Church, Musica Sacra Scotland. Gregorian plainsong is the very sound of Catholicism and there have been recent attempts to adapt this music to English translations. Anglicans have had four hundred years of doing this kind of thing, so when the Ordinariate was established a truly great practical application of Catholic principles returned to the Church.

Also, the Americans seem to be ahead of the game and are producing new publications which enable the singing, in the vernacular, of those neglected Proper texts for Introits, Offertories and Communion. The creators of this music are curators of tradition more than “composers”, with all the issues of individuality, style and aesthetics attendant on the word. But what these curators are doing is remarkable.

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