On Sunday, March 5, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Church’s Instruction on Music in the Liturgy Musicam sacram, over 200 musicians, pastors, and scholars published a declaration under the title “Cantate Domino canticum novum”.
The statement recalls the Second Vatican Council’s teaching which describes sacred music as “a treasure of inestimable value”, and it speaks of elements in common practice “that contribute to the present deplorable situation of sacred music and of the liturgy.”
We, the undersigned—musicians, pastors, teachers, scholars, and lovers of sacred music—humbly offer to the Catholic community around the world this statement, expressing our great love for the Church’s treasury of sacred music and our deep concerns about its current plight.
The statement calls on the Church to (1) reaffirm the musical heritage of the Roman rite: Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony; (2) give children an exposure to the beauty of true musical art; (3) promote the professional training of lay church musicians; (4) insist on high standards for music in cathedrals and basilicas; (5) encourage every parish to offer at least one fully sung Mass every Sunday; (6) provide musical training for the clergy, to enable them to sing their part of the liturgy; and (7) educate liturgists in the musical tradition of the Church.
These recommendations, along with a discussion of widespread failings in musical practice, are fleshed out in the full document, which is available here. Versions in five other languages can be reached through the coverage at our sister site New Liturgical Movement.
Teaching young boys and girls the foundations of singing — its beauty, its method, and its depth of meaning — is critical to the recovery of the sacred in our culture. For almost 100 years the Ward Method of Music Instruction has done just that.
Yet more music is needed for 21st century singers.
Many older materials are out of date or out of print, including Ward Method songbooks. To help meet this need, CMAA has asked Wilko Brouwers, author of Words with Wings, to prepare a brand new songbook. The book is in preparation now and will contain over 90 songs and exercises for classroom use. You can help make the new Ward Songbook project a reality through your contribution!
Donations* in any amount are welcome.
Contributions to CMAA’s Songbook Project fund made by June 1, 2017 will be matched up to $5,000 by another donor.
This is a chance for each of us to demonstrate our commitment.
Thank you for helping secure the future of beautiful church music:
that all may sing!
To contribute to this project, or to find out more, visit our site:
or send your contribution (please mark it “Songbook”) to
CMAA, P.O. Box 4344, Roswell, NM 88202
(A special thank-you gift will be offered to those contributing $100 or more.)
* The Church Music Association of America is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent of the law.