What Is Sacred Music? by Chilton Williamson, Jr.

Peter the Apostle, and Paul the Teacher of the Gentiles, by Rachel Lu
July 2, 2019
Fr. Gerald E. Murray: Even McCarrick’s Investigators Are Covering Things Up
July 2, 2019

Editor’s note: Pictured above is a detail from “Music in the Cloister” painted by August Wilhelm Roesler. 

By Chilton Williamson, Jr., Crisis Magazine, July 2, 2019

Chilton Williamson, Jr.I have sung regularly every Sunday at Mass for nearly thirty years now, two years more than I’ve lived as a baptized and confirmed Catholic. As I’m not much use serving on councils or committees (I did teach CCD for several years after being received into the Church), I decided at the start of my Catholic life that it was as a trained singer from my college years on that I could be most valuable.

The Liturgy
Though I’ve sung as a choir member in a number of churches as needed (tenors are always in demand), I have far more experience as a cantor and soloist. My experience has been mostly in small to medium-sized parishes in small towns and in small to medium-sized cities, three of them university ones and all of them located in the Rocky Mountain West where I’ve lived for the past four decades. Like every musician in every Catholic parish, certainly in the United States and I imagine all over the world as well, I’ve worked with and been accountable to parish priests of varying tastes and opinions regarding the musical liturgy, and accommodated them and their parishioners (usually, but not always, one and the same thing). Before Vatican II, the liturgy was, of course, not a matter for disagreement. The Tridentine Mass was the Mass celebrated according to the Roman Rite; and its liturgical parameters, musical and linguistic, were fixed. Or so I understand: It was not before some years after my reception into the Church that I heard my first “Latin” Mass celebrated….Read entire article….crisismagazine.com/2019/what-is-sacred-music