We haven't had much opportunity to return to a full examination of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council's decree on the reform of the sacred liturgy. I hope to remedy this omission before the end of the month. One of the criticisms of the contemporary Mass is the failure of reformers to give full attention to the spirit and directives regarding music. Popes Paul VI through Pope Benedict XVI have weighed in on Church music with instructions and clarifications. Two of their concerns come directly to mind: the idea that congregational singing would consist primarily of the parts of the Mass itself, and that at least some of the Mass would be sung in the Latin language as a sign of unity with the Church around the world.
For a number of reasons the United States as a whole never got the memo, and by the early 1970's the "four hymn sandwich" arrangement of Mass was set in concrete at the expense of the intentions of the Council. As I am away today, I am providing a link to the conservative Catholic publication Homiletic and Pastoral Review. HPR was originally written for priests but over my lifetime it has branched out to the dedicated Catholic reader across the board. I am not always at home with HPR's editorial stance, but in many instances it does cut to the core of the apple and provides good insight into the thinking of a sizeable number of Catholics.
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