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From the NOR Dossiers

Sacred Music

Does Good Liturgy Beget Moral Virtue?

A BOOK CRITIC’S IMPRESSIONS OF A LIVING CLASSIC

Kenneth Colston

June 2023

Good liturgy involves good taste, and, as Burke said, taste depends on rational judgment, emotional maturity, and education — that is to say, the virtues.

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A Failed Experiment

THE IMPACT LITURGICAL MUSIC HAS ON FAITH

Bob Sullivan

May 2023

If liturgical music returns to praising and glorifying God, our focus has a better chance of returning to the Eucharist and the Word.

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Rising from the Mire

Andrew M. Seddon

December 2017

A review of Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church

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In Praise of Honest Sentiment

AGAINST SELF-IMPOSED ICONOCLASM

Lucy E. Carroll

June 2012

Overly trite and tawdry sentimentalism has no place in Catholic liturgy. But honest sentiment, born of genuine human emotions, helps root one in faith.

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Revised Musical Settings for the Revised Missal?

GUEST COLUMN

Lucy E. Carroll

July-August 2011

Although the secular culture has moved on, a slew of folksy, pop-style hymns and Mass music still remains in most parishes.

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Philadelphia's Glorious Catholic Music History

AN INCOMPLETE BICENTENNIAL

Lucy E. Carroll

December 2008

Pennsylvania built the first Catholic churches in the U.S., and its music gained renown even among non-Catholics.

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Why the Music Is So Bad

AND WHY IT WILL PROBABLY STAY THAT WAY

Lucy E. Carroll

October 2008

If music sounds like the background to a social dance or what one hears while sipping margaritas, it has not been subordinated to the sacred.

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A Brief History of Catholic Church Music

GUEST COLUMN

Lucille A. Flynn

April 2008

Psalm tones were used in Jewish synagogues and may have been the model for the chant sung in the early Christian Church.

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Why I Remain Seated When I Hear Handel's Hallelujah Chorus

GUEST COLUMN

Stephen Rombouts

December 2001

King George II rose from his seat during a performance of Messiah, then others rose because etiquette required everyone to rise whenever the king rose.

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What to Do With That "Ferrari" Organ?

GUEST COLUMN

Mike Dodaro

September 2000

The question of musical excellence lingers. A primary objection to it is that it’s elitist or exclusive.

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Offering Our Musical Best at Mass

SORRY, CHURCH MUSIC IS NOT AN EGALITARIAN ART

Joseph P. Swain

June 2000

Parishes should be taught, preferably by example, that music is not by nature a democratic art and that musical values — like doctrines — are not subject to vote.

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Coming to Your Parish Soon…
May 2000

There's a lot of debate about the music in Catholic parishes, including the words of hymns.

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The Smoke in the Songs

BAD THEOLOGY SET TO MUSIC

Andrew M. Seddon

Hymnal and missal editors aren’t infallible or unswervingly orthodox, and just because a song is in a hymnal or missal doesn’t mean it is free from error.

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