Modern Liturgical Music
As Roman Catholics observe the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation,” it seems an appropriate time to consider ways contemporary liturgical music supports the word proclaimed and preached. Contemporary liturgical composers and lyricists have done a great service to the church by cultivating “easy access to Sacred Scripture…for all the Christian faithful” (No. 22). They have sowed the word in the hearts, minds and memories of the faithful by uniting scripturally based texts with memorable melodies.
— From an article by Fr. Robert F. O’Conner, SJ, on the state of Catholic Church music in the US today.
In his article the author makes it clear that he is specifically discussing Church music written since 2000, so basing comments solely on music written in the 70’s will be missing the point. (I think the first couple of iterations of modern music are worth considering, but the author is making the point about the most recent generation of works.)
I actually do not have a dog in this fight: I am not familiar with recent compositions as the music director in my parish is not well versed in modern church music and tends to play “old” standbys (along with the various baroque pieces which are her real love). The author does not cite any specific examples so references and links to recent hymns (the good, the bad and the ugly), would be appreciated. But I am very interested in what folks have to say: what is good and what is bad about the latest church music? What are the criteria that should be used to judge it?