Church documents on this subject are so clear...I have to wonder whether most American bishops have just decided to completely ignore them. I recently went to a Mass (novus ordo) where the processional song was so awful I had to excuse myself and wait in the narthex until it was over.
“An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Have any of our bishops (excepting a select few) in the United States come close to saying anything like this? One of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's greatest gifts to the Church was his emphasis on Catholic identity and culture. A huge part of the problem has to do, in my opinion, with the overall, widespread vulgarization of our culture. Bishops and priests, like many in today's society, simply are not inspired by true beauty anymore. Most bishops in the U.S. were reared in the iconoclastic, culturally depraved years of the 1960s, which speaks volumes about their cultural formation. High culture has been relegated to an elitist status that is seen as unappealing to the everyday man more interested in sports, pop-culture and television. Bishops desperately want to be seen as approachable and average Joe-ish, and so they are deeply insecure and nervous about promoting a high culture of beauty that challenges the banal, status quo low culture. They fear being seen as out of touch, and all that nonsense.
What I find interesting and inspiring is that, in the absence of any leadership from the bishops who are running away from high culture, there is a new movement of cultured and educated laity rising to the challenge to fill the void, re-educating Catholics about the necessity of beauty and the arts, in other words, authentic culture.