If you’re reading this, you may, like me, care about restoring sacred music to the liturgy at your parish. Catholicism has an incredibly rich and beautiful musical history that is ever ancient and ever new. The Church also teaches that anything new, liturgically speaking, should spring organically from this tradition. So I take seriously these words of Pope Pius X: "the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple."
In light of this, here are 10 popular, new (post Vatican II) songs that are found in modern American hymnals that, in my estimation, contain at least a hint of the “inspiration and savor” of the Gregorian form. Of course, there are many old hymns that are better, and there are current composers writing plenty of new sacred music in traditional styles. This list, however, is specifically of songs written in a folk/pop/praise & worship style. If you are a music director and find yourself in a situation where your assembly or pastor expect you to sing “contemporary” Catholic music, use these songs. At least to some degree they emulate chant, blossom from the tree of tradition, and demonstrate the “beauty, universality, and goodness of form” that the Mass demands. They are also mostly scriptural and, as far as I can tell, free from theologically problematic lyrics.