James MacMillan, Britain’s finest living Catholic composer, has told Archbishop Vincent Nichols that liturgical activists have made new Catholic congregational music “a laughing stock” in recent decades. “The faithful are fed up with sloppy practice, inappropriate, terrible music and the gradual drift away from Catholic standards in the liturgy,” he says.Alas, I wish that were so but experience tells me many, if not most, of the faithful in the U.S. anyway seem satisfied enough with things just the way they are now, those faithful in their fifties and older, at least. Thompson writes further:
But liturgy is a continuing worry, and I’m not sure that Archbishop Nichols understands how wretchedly off-putting potential churchgoers find most sub-Joan Baez folk Masses and antiphons. New Catholic music in English and Welsh dioceses is in the hands of a grim cartel of trendies who have, until now, been stopped from getting their hands on Westminster Cathedral (though not for want of trying).The key words there are "potential worshipers." Many young Catholics have voted with their feet, sadly. Having the zeal of a convert, perhaps, I can just barely stand the general horror of contemporary Catholic worship, having been well catechized in the importance of valid sacraments. Many, perhaps most, young Catholics, having been dragged to mass regularly when growing up and subjected to the puerile inanities of Marty Haugen, felt banners and Kumbaya, as well as criminally negligent catechizing, attended their last mass the Sunday before they left for college, never to return.
The only way I see to to get the young people back is, ironically, to make the Church fit for grownups again, which will only happen when the present bunch grownups, those of my generation and older, have finally, at long last, toddled off to that big folk mass in the sky, Deo gratias.