Last September, just before the annual "Street Vibrations" rally in Reno, we got word of a motorcyclist being killed in a crash in Lemmon Valley. Only later did we find out that was the only organist our parish had. May he rest in peace.
I hate our organ not being used. Instead, we have to put up with the "Tongan Choir," which is led by a guitarist and an obnoxious electronic keyboard. It wouldn't be so bad if they could actually sing.
Sadly, many pipe organs at parishes are gathering dust. Despite the entreaties of Sacrosanctum Consilium (1963) that (all emphasis mine)
[i]n the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things[,]the organ is now seen as a quaint novelty, and many new churches are being built without one. For example, look at St. Ignatius Loyola in Ijamsville, Maryland, which thought a grand piano would be more appropriate for its new sanctuary.
I think what happened in the "Spirit of Vatican II" was the next passage from Sacrosanctum Concilium was taken way out of context:
But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.And if we take a look back a few years at De musica sacra et sacra liturgia, we see how this got watered down:
Musical instruments which by common acception, and use are suitable only for secular music must be entirely excluded from all liturgical functions, and private devotions.Now that you've read this, chances are you know more about Church teaching on sacred music than does your parish's music director, or perhaps even the one for your diocese or archdiocese. And you also know how OCP and GIA's bread has gotten buttered since the late 60's. Remember this the next time you have to suffer through "Gather Us In."
P.S. I just became aware of this article from Adoremus that explores this topic further in depth.