At the risk of being labelled a pollyanna liturgist for wanting to look on the bright side, or even of being a Haugen apologist, let me offer another critique of conservative Catholics criticizing contemporary sacred music.
Have you noticed how infrequently they trumpet their own preferences? And when they do, they often find the fickle finger of fate turned back on them.
You can also ask yourself about the music line-ups for the pope in either Washington or New York why traditionalist musicians haven’t posted on the positive aspects of the selections. The snarks among us might respond that either there are no positive aspects or that we should all know which pieces are treasure and which are trash.
Wouldn’t it be more instructive to hear why church musicians regard the church’s artistic treasures highly? Do surgeons learn how to operate from studying the botched operations that leave clamps, gloves, and towels inside a living body?
I suspect that many church musicians are reticent to praise in these fora because they fully know how quickly the bile can turn on them in return.
I’ve told my long-time friend Fr Jeff Keyes a few times that a hymnal assembled by collective subtraction will be a vanishly thin volume indeed.
It would be far better and more productive for internet Catholic musicians to write more on the pieces that work rather than waste time on the ones that don’t. Anybody up for the challenge?