Monday, March 24, 2008

That Winter issue of Sacred Music

The Winter 2007 issue of SACRED MUSIC was a source of delight for many but also controversy. It contains two important articles relating to Catherine Pickstock's liturgical scholarship. The first is a long and penetrating argument to the effect that for music to have meaning, it must not be devoid of theological consciousness. The second is an interview I conducted with her some years ago, now appearing in its entirety for the first time.

Another article that was destined to create controversy is by Eleonore Stump, medieval philosopher of fame at St. Louis University. She took exception to my article on the St. Louis Jesuits, which surprised me because I thought I had done my best to write objectively about their impact on Catholic music in the United States. As I tried to come to understand her point of view, it seemed more fitting that she present her entire theory of the relationship between beauty and liturgy. What she produced is a very challenging paper that takes the discussion to a new level of seriousness. Several other pieces in this issue attempt to add to her perspective in ways that shore up the case for narrower standards about what is and what is not appropriate for Mass.

In general, the result is to give an excellent overview of the current debate on Catholic music. In addition, this issue contains commentary on the controversy by William Mahrt, an excellent piece of scholarship on the Salve Motive by Lorenzo Candelaria, a fascinating reflection on the challenge of parish music by Mary Jane Ballou, a seminarian's reflection on the beautiful art of chant, a piece on the Chabanel Psalms by Jeffrey Ostrowski, and my own reflections on the chant experience, as well as workshop reports and reviews.

Click on the image to pull up the entire issue:

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: