USED TO BELIEVE the craziness which some deemed “liturgical reform” began after Vatican II and reached a low point in the 1990s. Over the years, I’ve learned I was wrong—it began much earlier. Consider this excerpt from Maurice Lavanoux’s Liturgical Arts (2 February 1970), authored by Fr. Robert W. Hovda (1920-1992) and Gabe Huck, two leaders of the “progressive” liturgical movement:
HERE ARE NO RIGID CRITERIA for selecting good music for the liturgy. In recent months many songs have appeared that could well find an appropriate place in the liturgy; these might include “Both Sides Now”; “Abraham, Martin and John”; “Mrs. Robinson”; “Gentle On My Mind” (there is a real need for good love songs in the liturgy); and “Little Green Apples.” In a sense we need “disposable” music just as we need, and to some extent have, “disposable” art objects which are created to last not centuries, but weeks, (or hours). Our secular music is that way; the amount of new material is so great that even many good things pass quickly. While many of the songs from the folk and pop lists (as well as the country-western list or the Broadway list) do not have the depth or quality to last for decades, they still have the power to enrich the liturgy here and now.
Fr. Robert W. Hovda was highly regarded by the Collegeville Press—they called him “the renowned liturgist”—and continued to be cited (and praised) by that group even after certain of his views became known. Gabe Huck, too, was publicly praised by many progressive liturgists.
Here’s a CMAA review from the 1970s: