For many centuries Latin was the universal language of Catholic Christianity and Gregorian chant was the universal musical language, This all changed rather dramatically in the early 1960s when the famous Council of the Roman Catholic Church, known as Vatican II issued a firm directive toward returning the language of worship to the vernacular. In the wake of that directive, the old Gregorian tradition was basically shelved as composers began to develop new musical settings for the psalms, hymns, and Mass texts in contemporary language versions.

In some ways this was a great loss as the Gregorian tradition is extraordinarily beautiful. But in other ways it's been a gain, resulting in a new infusion of creative energy into the singing of the psalms, as well as making the practice far more accessible. It allows us to re-encounter the psalms as they really are--not just aesthetic artifacts of some other religious era but timeless outcries of our own questing hearts and spirits.

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