Much of the music used in churches today to worship God "would be laughed off the concert .platform," according to Colin Mawby, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral.
The Catholic Church. he wrote in the Times recently, must insist on musical qualit) as an essential feature of worship, and important clement of this must be the patronage of contemporary composers so that new religious music can have considerable cultural importance.
Its performance "must be of sufficient stature to be worthy in human terms of the worship of Almighty God. The unfortunate dichotomy between musical beauty and belief must be overcome so that music may once again be fertilized by real religious conviction."
Mawby charged that today the Catholic Church, for so long
the discriminating patron of great art, is encouraging an unworthy musical culture. The situation, he said, calls for a firm restatement of the importance of quality and transcendental value in religious music.
Society today, Mawby said, has become educated as never before in musical knowledge and appreciation through broadcasting and recordings.
The standards of music in London in general are very high, he said, but that of church music is "shattering."
Practical obstacles to the improvement of church music, Mawby said, include the economics of music publishing, an ovet-emphasis on congregational singing, the inability of choirs to read contemporary music and the foolishness of attempting to replace the Church's unique musical heritage within 10 years.