The concerned church musicians behind Cantate Domino Canticum Novum (henceforth abbreviated CDCN) offered six talking points under the heading, “The Current Situation.” Before we get to the details, let me reiterate an opinion: I think nearly all church musicians serve in exceptional situations. I mean wealthy churches, significant resources, and in cities and large towns in the First World. There’s nothing wrong about those settings, but it does color one’s perceptions. Add the likely conservatory experience, and one can understand standards are high. Nothing wrong with that either. The final factor is the gossip and detraction mentality on the Catholic internet–one can make fun of singing priests, puppets, and the random Josh Groban wannabe. There’s something wrong with that, of course.
So, we have concerns:
In light of the mind of the Church so frequently expressed, we cannot avoid being concerned about the current situation of sacred music, which is nothing short of desperate, with abuses in the area of sacred music now almost the norm rather than the exception. We shall summarize here some of the elements that contribute to the present deplorable situation of sacred music and of the liturgy.
“Desperate” and “abuses” and “deplorable” are exaggerations, in my view. Do some parishes experience horrific moments in liturgy and music? Sure they do. I think one has to discern the difference between blunders made by accident or in ignorance (by clergy, musicians, or both) and outright, intentional flaunting of the Roman Missal and the bounds of good artistic taste.
Over the next six posts, I’ll take the objections one at a time. Some have roots in actual problems. Some not so much. Meanwhile, any comments?
The full document may be found here.