If ICEL wanted to go even further to push plainchant and sacred music, it would issue the new texts into the Commons so that anyone could publish them and distribute good music, not just those who have done it during the great 40-year parenthesis from 1970 to 2010.
The “great 40-year parenthesis.”
Damian Thompson and Jeffrey Tucker might be too young to remember the 70’s. I sure don’t remember “strummers” at the top of the heap in those days. Parishes that had music programs were usually directed by an organist or choir director. I remember hymns like “Holy God” and “Immaculate Mary” and “At That First Eucharist.” I remember tussles between organ and guitar: chant wasn’t even in the picture. I don’t remember running into the St Louis Jesuits until I was in college. By the eighties a whole alphabet soup of publishers had come and gone out of business: FEL, PAA, NALR, etc., and whole series of songbooks, Hymnal For Young Christians, Songs of Praise, Glory and Praise, etc. likewise bit the dust.
Last word from Mr Tucker:
As a final note, it is the most common thing to sniff at Thompsons’s (sic) rhetoric and to tut-tut him for his impolite and impolitic ways, as if “we all know” that we are not to speak this way about those who so selflessly and generously do their best to lift us up in song week after week at Mass. To me, this prevailing attitude toward Thompson is a denial of reality, and that reality is that the Catholic world has been dealing with the imposition of a musical ethos that has nothing to do with the whole history of the Roman Rite, and this ethos has offended and driven away millions of people from their own parishes. All he is really doing is calling attention to what others are too afraid to mention or whose careers are somehow dependent on not mentioning. He has been out front on this, saying things in ways that many others would not say them, and not always in ways I would say them either (for example, I have no strong interest in the hymn wars) but he is at least willing to take on the challenge of breaking the great taboo.
We have taboos in Christianity for good reason. Lies, slander, and such are generally considered sinful. We don’t say millions of people were driven away by music when the real culprits are Humanae Vitae and more recently, bishops protecting sex offenders. Worst of all for the reform2 crew, a misdiagnosis is sure to result in incorrect action.
But, negative thoughts can be extremely comforting. Especially when embittered church musicians are in a minority, few enough clergy are listening … or even care. And congregations are full of people with their own personal taste.