James MacMillan Composer

Looks like our Catholic composer is getting the cold shoulder from some who would rather not hear what he has to say about liturgical music in the Church.  Several months ago James MacMillan said he would not be composing any new hymns for use in the Catholic liturgy because we (the Church) already had all the music it needed for Mass.  That music is Gregorian Chant and, of course, it is in Latin.  The diehards of the “New Rite” don’t want anything to do with Gregorian Chant or with Latin.  They want happy-clappy, feel-good, folksy entertainment music at Mass.  They want to feel good about themselves and how well they are doing at loving and serving Our Lord.  Ever count how many times the little words come up in these hymns?  The words, “I”, “me”, “my”?  Just try it sometime it’s a real eye-opener.

I support James and I keep harping on about it over and over and over again but for the past forty years no one has taken me seriously.  Now we are subjected to jump-on-the-bandwagon-composers giving us the “Propers” in English.  It’s a start but some of them, such as those composed by John Ainslee are so sing-songy as to be almost as bad as the folk hymns.  I will credit Adam Bartlett, however, for his work on the Simple English Propers.  His are the only ones I have found so far that can actually be learned by the faithful in the pews.  And his bear a decent resemblance to the Gregorian Chant from which they come.  Which, if they were used for two or three years in the parish just might help move people on to the actual Latin Propers.

Don’t worry, James.  Acceptance into various organisations isn’t the most important thing in life.  Just keep true to your beliefs and keep speaking up for the true music of the Latin Rite.

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