Thursday, November 08, 2007

The one most pressing issue in Catholic music

This next week at the USCCB, there will be discussion on the question of Catholic music. Let me sum up what seems to me to be the critical issue.

The publishers and affiliated artists and composers attached to "Christian contemporary music" are now but grudgingly willing to include Gregorian chant as part of the agenda, a station on the Catholic radio dial, but what makes them unhappy, and where they draw the line, is treating chant and its stylistic elaborations as the universal standard of true liturgical music, the ideal, and the priority, the standard. That seems to be the pressing issue.

The trouble for them is that this is precisely what the Second Vatican Council said about chant. It is what Paul VI endorsed with Jubilate Deo, what John Paul II said in his Chirograph on St. Cecilia day, and what Benedict XVI has said in many speeches -- in fact, it is what the Church has taught consistently from the early days to our own. But there are many pressure groups around that do not want the USCCB to speak in this tradition.

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