Expert Answer Forum

Liturgical Music QUESTION from Jeff April 19, 2000
I truly admire the work you are doing here, as I am more than aware of the rampant liturgical abuses present especially in our Church in America. I am currently composing a mass, written in a contemporary style of music. I am being careful to follow the correct wording of the liturgy exactly, as I believe this is important, and perhaps not carefully enough observed by many contemporary liturgical musicians. My question is one of musical style. While I do not agree with those who insist that the only truly sacred music must be in centuries-old European style, and suitable for organ accompaniment, I realize the need for appropriacy of musical style. The farthest thing from my desire is to scandalize any of the faithful by writing music that they may perceive as profane rather than sacred. Hence, my question: is there a competent authority to examine/approve new musical arrangements for the liturgy? Surely, style is not limited to that which has already been used, as even the more traditional pieces we now use were once a departure from what preceded them, but there must also be some limitations. Any advice you can give me? Many thanks, and my prayers, Jeff ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on April 19, 2000
Dear Jeff, Thanks for your question and kind comments. Liturgical music is definitely my weak point. A great on-line resource can be found at the Catholic Liturgical Library at Simply do a search for music and browse through the documents. Also, each diocese has a priest who is designated as the Liturgist. You might want to run your ideas by him. I hope this helps. John Miskell Back to Index Page

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