About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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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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Diversity Of Thought
published 26 March 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

114 Saint Thomas Aquinas Stained Glass OBODY WILL OBJECT if you come out strongly in favor of “diversity of thought.” This is one of the few dogmas embraced by everyone in our society. (To mention the uncomfortable fact that no one is allowed diversity of thought regarding accepting diversity of thought is considered impolite.) Politicians realize the value of universally-accepted notions which can be spoken at a moment’s notice, and most of them begin with: “More could be done in the area of…”

Speaking of worthless statements by politicians, I once mistakenly assumed an acquaintance could recognize how silly they are. A presidential candidate responded to a question with a typical answer—something like, “I feel strongly that we should stand up and oppose unjust persecutions.” I blurted out, “Oh, I think we ought to encourage unjust persecutions.” Failing to understand my sarcasm, the acquaintance looked at me as though I were a lunatic.

“Diversity of thought” sounds great when you first hear it, but examined more closely becomes problematic. For example, suppose 100 people support BLOODLETTING as a valid medical practice, while 37 agree with modern doctors (who condemn it as a dangerous pseudoscience). Is “diversity of thought” here really a positive thing? Surely not. (The question of whether it should be illegal to hold a false view about bloodletting is a different debate and will not be explored today.)

Over the years, I’ve occasionally skimmed publications 1 by liturgical “progressive” organizations. They clamor for a reformed Catholic Church “where all voices are heard.” (This mantra is beloved and repeated incessantly by one of the Collegeville Press blogs.) Let’s think about this, though. When it comes to reforming the liturgy, do we really want “all voices” heard? Should liturgical opinions of—for example—those convicted of unspeakable crimes be given consideration? I suspect the folks at Collegeville Press would respond as follows:

“We do advocate that all voices be heard; but we reserve the right to disqualify voices we deem too extreme.”

…and that is an altogether different matter, isn’t it?



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   A particularly large trove is here.