Is there such a thing as Catholic music? The question arose because I argued that pieces from Bach's St Matthew's Passion, fine though they were, had no place in the Catholic liturgy. Did this mean that music written by non-Catholics should be excluded? I was accused of being narrow-minded for making such a suggestion.
Surely music used in the Catholic liturgy should be music that was
written for the purpose? The Catholic liturgy is not a concert, nor is it a performance. First and foremost, it is prayer. It is not as if there is a shortage of suitable music. In the case of the Good Friday liturgy, for which the St Matthew's Passion piece was suggested, there are, for instance, the well-know Allegri's Miserere and the recent composition by MacMillan.
Another version by Lotti
Adoremus te Christe by Palestrina
Another version by Monteverdi
Crux Fidelis by King John of Portugal
is wonderful but rarely heard music written for the purpose which is an
integral part of the Catholic heritage, yet rarely heard. Surely this
should take precedence in the Catholic liturgy over music written for
the Lutheran liturgy and which is regularly performed? But an important
reason for not using Protestant music is that it is infused with the
spirit of Protestantism. There is fine music written for the Anglican
church by composers such as Orlando Gibbons, Purcell, Blow, Pelham
Humphrey, Weelks, etc. I have a collection of it on my i-Pod but I would not
suggest it belongs in the Catholic liturgy, especially if it squeezes
out music that was written for the purpose.
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