Saturday, July 16, 2011

music and the new translation

The Catholic Church in America must free itself from the Haugen-Haas-Schutte/OCP monopoly. The hymns in this arrangement are outdated by any measure. First, they are not, and never have been, in continuity with the Church’s musical tradition. The very composing of these hymns was an attempt to create a gap between the era in which they arose and the history in which the sacred rites organically developed. Second, these hymns are not even contemporary, but are instead fossilized remnants of an era that is no more. Even many hymns written in the last decade are imbued with a style that is stuck in the 1960’s and 70’s. Cardinal Ratzinger has pointed out the two opposite errors in liturgical theology: an antiquarianism that allows for no development whatsoever and a spirit of arbitrary creativity that seeks to break with the past. The Haugen-Haas-Schutte regime is unique in that it is guilty of both. In their heyday, they were the exemplar of a deliberate break from the liturgical patrimony of the Church. But now that the musical style of the day has left these hymns in the past, the proponents seek desperately to hold on to the nostalgia of a time gone by. In this sense, they are guilty of a new antiquarianism, with their “antiquity” being the 1970’s.

from Roma locuta est: An Open Letter to Music Liturgists in Preparation ...

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