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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

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The Society for Catholic Liturgy
published 12 October 2014 by Fr. David Friel

HIS 21ST CENTURY is blessed by the ongoing work of numerous organizations committed to true liturgical reform. Equally favorable is the spirit of cooperation that flourishes among them. Without a doubt, at the scholarly level, there is no organization more excellent and timely than the Society for Catholic Liturgy (SCL).

On its website, the society describes itself as “a multidisciplinary association of Catholic scholars, teachers, pastors, and professionals—including architects and musicians—in the Anglophone world.” Since its founding in 1995, the non-profit group has promoted scholarly liturgical studies and practical renewal of the sacred liturgy. Earlier this month, SCL hosted its annual conference on the topic of “The Temple Transformed: Liturgy, Art, Music, Architecture, and the Fulfillment of the Old Testament.” Highlighting the impressive schedule of presentations was the keynote address given by Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, NE.

One of the chief works of SCL is the publication of Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal three times each year. In the present edition (Vol. 18, no. 2, 2014), readers will find contributions from two CCW bloggers. First, Andy Motyka has published therein a book review of the Saint Isaac Jogues Illuminated Missal, Lectionary, and Gradual, published by the Pope John Paul II Institute for Liturgical Renewal. The review is excellent, both carefully considered and clearly expressed.

Among the three main articles in the volume, one is a piece I have written entitled The Propriety of the Propers: Toward the Independence of Liturgical Chant and Popular Hymnody. This article advocates for the restored role of the Proprium Missae in the Roman liturgy, focusing on the specific virtues of the propers. If further proposes the building up of the popular hymn tradition in its own native environment. Finally, in the article, I outline a pastoral plan for how to bolster both distinct genres.

If you would like to read this article in full, along with Andy’s book review, consider subscribing to Antiphon or even becoming a member of the Society for Catholic Liturgy. Among the many instruments of liturgical reform operating in today’s Church, SCL is one of the finest.