"But at least this much is clear: the problem of church music is not merely a problem for music, but a vital question for the Church herself"
This central quote neatly sums up the complete argument put forth by Joseph Ratzinger in his 1977 essay "The Theological Problems of Church Music". Though from a time immediately after the Second Vatican Council....in the midst of the very worst experiments in liturgical music....this essay still holds great relevance today, not only because of the status of its author but due to the timelessness of its claims.
I would recommend a thorough reading of this essay as it is only 9pages in length, including footnotes. Every time I come back to this essay, as well as a later essay on the same subject Liturgy and Church Music, I find something new and find those parts that are familiar have become more relevant to the current situation of liturgical music in the Catholic Church today.
More on this tomorrow...