Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Abomination of Desolation: Church Music

James Macmillan is a first-rate musical artist/composer.  He's also a Catholic, and therefore has some comments which are relevant to the "music in the church" question.

...This has been especially dire in the Catholic Church, where deliberately misapplied readings of “the spirit of Vatican II” has turned much of the musical practice in liturgy into a pitiful laughing stock. Anglicans will know what the problem is too — those aisle-dancing and numbskull jogging for Jesus choruses, maudlin sentimental dirges, faux American folk music and cod-Celticness. The American musicologist Thomas Day described this kind of liturgy as “a diet of romantic marshmallows indigestibly combined with stuff that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes you into submission with its social message”.

In the 1970s many well-intentioned types thought that such “folk” music and pop culture derivatives would appeal to teenagers and young people and get them more involved in the Church, when the exact opposite has happened. It is now thought that these trendy experiments in music and liturgy have contributed to the increasing risible irrelevance of liberal Christianity, and that liturgy as social engineering has repulsed many. Like most ideas shaped by 1960s Marxist ideology it has proved an utter failure. Its greatest tragedy is the wilful, disingenuous de-poeticisation of Catholic worship. The Church has simply aped the secular West’s obsession with “accessibility”, “inclusiveness”, “democracy” and anti-elitism, resulting in the triumph of bad taste, banality and a deflation of the sense of the sacred in the life of the church.

The liturgical “progressives” who have created this have been at loggerheads for decades with the musicians of the Church, whom they accuse unfairly of being reactionary and Tridentinist

Yup.  Although there are bright spots--mostly in the Old Rite parishes--the Marxist push of certain US Bishops in the 1960's has been very effective.  Macmillan's descriptions are accurate, and the de-population of the churches is a very good measure.

HT:  PertPapist

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