One of the more hilarious sites on the Web relating to Roman Catholicism is the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, or SMMMHDH for short. When it started, the Society made the following claim:
The Society is awaiting pontifical approval from the Holy See as a pious sodality.
It looks like the Society will get its wish after all, because the Pope is preparing to to purge the Vatican of modern music.
To be honest, I didn’t expect an occupant of the Holy See to make such a move to undo a centrepiece of the last 45 years of Roman Catholicism, any more than I expected one to be as proactive as he is looking to be in assimilating Anglo-Catholics, laity and clergy alike. But, to steal another quote from Jethro Tull, “It was a new day yesterday/but it’s an old day now.”
Personally, although I have been away of having to listen to modern Catholic music for a long time, I think it’s unfair to characterise all post-Vatican II Catholic music as awful. For a long time I have promoted one album of it which I think is anything but, namely Roger Smith’s Who Shall Spread the Good News. There is a lot of great early post-Vatican II Catholic music at The Ancient Star Song; for those who have never heard it, you can decide for yourself.
A good deal of the problem, though, has been Gresham’s Law at work in Catholic churches regarding music. The Smith album, for example, never got traction at the parish level. Oregon Catholic Press has been a major culprit in this, aided and abetted by the dearth of good musicians at the parish level. The result is that a lot of the good music was driven out, replaced by the kind of music the Society gags on. (Some of the same process took place in Contemporary Christian music, which is why the music blogs for CCM generally stop in the early 1980’s.)
Update (March 2016): This piece still gets visited after all of these years. The “sodality” has disappeared from the web, and I’ve cleaned up the other links as well. Since this was posted I’ve put up a great deal more “Old Folk Mass” music, which you can find here.