From a reader…
What’s wrong with the St Louis jesuits?
A Director of Music for a Latin Mass community once said that, with regards to hymns, what we sing now as traditional hymns was once new and modern at the time. In fact many of our beloved Marian Hymns were once the equivalence to the St. Louis Jesuits. This leads me to wonder, what’s wrong about introducing stuff like the St. Louis Jesuits into the EF if it’s well-discerned and the song’s words are scriptural?
What’s wrong with the St Louis Jesuits? Nothing. As they say, their music isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds.
Really, the thought of this stuff during a TLM brought an audible chuckle.
There is a good book which explains something of the phenomenon of the bad music that has so tormented the Church since the Council was misappropriated.
Check out Thomas Day’s Why Catholics Can’t Sing: Revised and Updated With New Grand Conclusions and Good Advice
Part of the problem was that, after the Council was hijacked and a false interpretation was imposed on liturgical reforms by a small group of modernists who had control of social communication back in the day, Latin was sidelined and all but banned. Indeed, it was illicitly forbidden in many places. That slammed the door on the Church’s vast treasury of Church music without anything to ready to fill in. Nature abhors a vacuum. Alas, people with the lowest musical skills started to fill in the vacuum, producing “music” that was neither artistic or sacred, and played on instruments entirely lacking a sacred idiom or body of compositions (guitars, pianos, drum sets… and don’t forget tambourines!). Coupled with a complete lie about the purpose of sacred music, perpetrated by an advisory board on music of the committee for liturgy of the US bishops (that music was intended to produce a human experience), we got the so-called “hootenany” Mass and the rest began to spiral around the bowl on the way down.
Day also describes how the sickly sweet Irish song influenced what was sung in churches. Many of the clergy who came to these USA from Ireland had zero sense of sacred music because they had zero chances to develop that sense under the thumb of anti-Catholic society they left. There was no traditional of Church music or large choir tradition. They did know their sickly sweet songs from the pub and field, however. That’s why so many of the ditties that passed into hymnals sound like “I’ll Taaaaaake You Home Agaaaaain Kathleeeeeeen”. (“Mother Deeeeeearest Mother Faaaaaaaairest….”) Not their fault, of course. But they, speaking English, came to dominate the clergy over and above other imigrants from German, France, etc., who did have a huge heritage of church music. If you look at church’s built in a certain era, you can see the differences. German church’s tended to have big choir lofts and organs, while Irish churches didn’t. Anyway, the influences and roots of the problem are manifold, but that’s part of the picture.
St. Louis Jesuits at a TLM. LOL!