Apparently, robust congregational singing [RCS] is unacceptable to those who are keeping us safe from the Pestilence.
I'm not going to crow about 'silver linings' while so many people are dying so painfully from the New Death. But, at least, I do not feel that we are obliged to mourn the criminalisation of RCS. It need not impinge at all upon traditional Catholics; the singing in a sung Mass can be done by socially distanced members of a schola or, at a pinch, by a single cantor. As far as the Novus Ordo is concerned, the sooner most of its dreadful music is discontinued, the better. Personally, both as an Anglican and as a Catholic, I have never sung hymns. When, in the Church of England, I deemed it pastorally prudent, I used to mime the words noiselessly with my lips. In the Catholic Church, with its less fierce regimentation, I have felt under no pressure to do even this.
But what many people, including many Catholics, will probably not realise is that the proscription of RCS is de facto the proscription of the surviving patterns of Popular Protestantism. For the common (wo)man, 'worship' means RCS. For those who never visit places of worship, 'going to Church' would mean RCS and listening to a 'vicar' preaching. Vast numbers of 'ordinary' lay 'Anglicans' intensely dislike the Eucharist. This is the Elephant in the Room which nonsense-circuses such as ARCIC have never noticed. After Bishop John Richards lured me down to his own retirement patch in rural Devon, I learned a great deal about popular Anglicanism. When our Incumbent resigned and, within days, 'JR' died, I was sweetly asked if we could take this happy opportunity to abandon the Eucharist and have forms of service generically known as "Songs of Praise". That means Everybody's Favourite Hymns. Except that it doesn't even mean that. It means Everybody's Favourite Tunes.
There are, of course, fragments of the old Anglican and Non-Conformist Patrimonies, mainly at the 'extremes', where this is not true. But, overwhelmingly, it is (I believe) a fact that modern 'dogma-free' Liberal Protestantism would not survive the abolition of RCS as a cultural phenomenon.
So we are faced with an interesting theological conundrum. Should we collaborate in eliminating this effete and pitiful parody of Christianity? S John Henry, you will remember, faced this question when he advocated the survival of the Church of England on the grounds that it was a barrier against worse varieties of unbelief; but added that the time could well come when a different prudential assessment might apply.
Have we reached that point? Is it best to retain a subculture which, at least, keeps alive a memory of Christianity, or would we be more free to preach the Gospel without this millstone round our necks?
I am far from infallible, but I increasingly incline to the latter assessment. I think the encroachment of 'Women Clergy' has been significant. We used to argue that the 'Ordination of Women' was "invalid", but the truth is that it is only too potently 'valid'. A 'woman priest' or 'bishop' is an ultra-valid symbolical affirmation and expression of a profound gender disorder, subversive both of Scripture, Tradition, and of most human experience. It has been the hyperbebaios first step into a brave new world of fluid and indeterminate gender.
So: burn the Hymn-books?