`There has been some pretty lousy music sung in Catholic churches and that is where things have gone wrong, why congregations are shrinking.`
I`d agree although I don`t think it`s the only reason people stop coming to church. The above quote is from an interview with Joan Dillon, a Masters graduate of RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Scotland`s Academy of Sacred Music was launched on 23rd November. James MacMillan is the patron. It all looks very good and hopeful. I hope its influence reaches over the border!
Joan Dillon adds:
As a parent myself it seems to me young people are being brought up
immersed in the negative messages of modern music via MTV, a lot of
which is demeaning.
They need the transformative power of sacred music to balance that,
but instead they are getting banal, happy-clappy stuff at Mass. Sacred
music can lift young people up and help them embrace more noble ideas,
yet it is not sung in many Catholic churches in Scotland."
James MacMillan says:
If modernism has also brought in its wake a desecration of the human
spirit, we must penetrate the mists of contemporary banality to restore
the idea of the sacred, in which our true and fullest freedom resides.
Without it our lives will become meaningless. I believe it is God’s
divine spark which kindles the musical imagination now, as it has always
done, and reminds us, in an increasingly dehumanised world, of what it
means to be human.
We are reminded that Pope Benedict has said:
the world needs beauty in order not to sink into despair and music is the most spiritual of the arts.