Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mistakes Were Made

This misguided but fascinating article by Fred Moleck, presented at the 32nd Annual Liturgy Conference, June 14-16, 2004, at the University of Notre Dame, is entitled: "Music and Liturgy Before and After the Second Vatican Council." It is humorous, maddening, and finally very revealing.

He recounts what he regards as the dreary liturgical life before the Second Vatican Council and treats the postconciliar period as some sort of new dawn of all that is bright and beautiful. And what has it brought us? His perspective is summed up by his triumphant declaration that "Marty Haugen's Mass of Creation is sung worldwide."

Can you imagine? Forty years of struggle, millions spent on workshops and publications, more than a thousand years of musical development stopped in the name of "participation," the careers of countless numbers of talented musicians dashed against the rocks, and this is what they have to show for themselves?

Well, it turns out that near the end--in a section that reads like a eulogy for a movement that has lost its way and its energy--he too has some regrets. He describes the "frustration, anger, and remorse" he and his compatriots felt after Liturgicam Authenticam in 2001. He urges the gathered group not to despair but rather look back at happier times. He is also willing to admit that they made errors in strategy that made the restoration of the sacred an inevitability:

Perhaps forty years from now someone will visit us, wherever we might be and whatever state of consciousness we might be in, and ask the question, "Didn't you see it coming? Didn't you see the need to reckon with the staggering popularity of EWTN's liturgies; the success of Taizé music creating reflective prayer; the GIRM's eloquent plea for silence in the liturgy, the enormous concern of numerous newly ordained deacons and priests for 'old church things'?"

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