Brian Abel Ragen has written a number of pieces on liturgy and hymnody, which he considers some of the most important parts of culture. He is now at work on a book tracing the changes made to the hymnals and service books of America’s Catholic and mainline Protestant churches since 1960. Here are some of his shorter essays on the same topic:

“A Wretch Like Who?”

This essay, which first appeared in America, has been reprinted several times in both Catholic and Protestant journals and cited several times in the press. It appears here in a form different from that appearing in America, whose editors introduced a howling error. (Ragen thought that the surname “Wilberforce” used alone would immediately call to mind William Wilberforce, the great abolitionist. America’s editors thought a forename was required, and the one they supplied was Henry. Henry Wilberforce was perhaps prominent in the Jesuits’ reference books because he was the only one of William Wilberforce’s sons who “swam the Tiber.”

“Of Us We Sing? The Changing Focus of American Hymns”

“Hymns Ancient and Modern, British and American”

“Review of When We Sing: Conversations with Alice Parker”

This review of a videotape appeared in Modern Liturgy. It appears in its original form, since Ragen prefers terms like “congregation” and” celebrant” to the “assembly” and “presider” favored by the ML editors.

“A Plea to Those Who Don’t Like the New Translation of The Roman Missal (2011)