practically having its own liturgy. So there would need to be quite clearly central con trol, but I don't see why the idea of rite has to be equated with one approach to the litur gy in every detail. I realize that the new rite has quite a few optional practices which are legitimate, but it is difficult to see why that sort of token plurality could not be ex tended to adopting a somewhat different rite of the same liturgical family and one that is quite venerable (i.e. the traditional Roman Rite).
KP: So, in a sense, what you are saying is that ifthey can allow Penitential Rites A, B, or C why can't they allow the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar? CS: Yes.
KP: Shifting back to the topic ofchurch music spec ically, the state ofchurch music has been quite bad since the time of the Council. Is that, in your opinion, because things were quite bad before the Council anyway or not?
CS: In many parishes in this country, at least, things before the Council were quite bad in the sense that inferior music was performed in an inferior way. On the other hand, in many areas, especially the city where I was working (Chicago) there were some great things going on. There were really honest and sincere attempts to imple ment the motu propio of Pius X and later instructions. There were many parishes where the whole congregation and especially school children were encouraged to sing simple chant Ordinaries and did so with considerable success. There was a whole movement on importing lots of interesting liturgical music-ehoral, organ, and congregational from leading composers in Europe which had become quite an industry in this coun try. Places that didn't were pretty much "Good Night Sweet Jesus" parishes as we used to call them. But there was a steady growth and there was a lot of interesting music being written much of which has been completely lost. A lot of that came out in the 40's and 50's-vast amounts of really nice things. There was a little renaissance of writing neo-model and neo-classical pieces, and sometimes even more advanced things. But serious music written by serious composers for the Church came to an abrupt halt at the end of the Council partly because people were not going to set vernacular texts which were only to be around 2-3 years.
In any case the kinds of bad church music which have proliferated since the Council are a little different from the kinds of bad church music around before. For one thing there is a great deal more freedom of text and a good deal more variety of style. The bad music before the Council tended to fall into one of two categories: the really soupy, sen timental, drawing room, ballad style hymns; and the kind of comic opera, Gilbert and Sullivan sort of Masses-the likes of Rosewig and his companions that parish choirs would sort of shriek out-both of which tended to trivialize things. The hymns were rarely used at the Sacred Liturgy, they were more likely used at devotional services. could sing hymns at low Mass, but they tended to be more dignified
Bad church music since the Council has generally embraced a bewildering stylistic spectrum and it has never been quite so official disavowed as the worst things before the Council. Before the Council there were black lists and white lists and things that you were forbidden to perform in some dioceses because they were so wretched, or so theatrical, or so tainted with secular association. There is nothing like that now (nor do I maintain that there ought to be), but much of what comes out now-which we would regard as most unsuitable for church use-is performed under the highest auspices in the American Church in cathedrals and the like without any eyebrows being lifted ex cept the eyebrows of people like us.
KP: What's behind that? Have you thought about this? CS: A good deal because I lived through the whole era when that transition was being made rapidly. To a large degree people were simply persuaded by the usual or gans of propaganda (i.e. the press, word of mouth, workshops) that this is what we are