Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How come they never sing anything old?

A local parish is instituting changes in their parish music ministry. From their local bulletin:

  • Over the past half year you probably have noticed that there has been a more eclectic approach to the congregational music at the Masses when singing by the congregation is part of the Mass. The 9:30 AM and the 5:00 PM Masses have a more contemporary (folk) emphasis on the music selections. I have encourage _____ ________ to develop further this approach and to include contemporary composers that are on the "scene" nationally -- not just locally. The composers found on the worship aids for those Masses reflect that wider selection. At the upstairs Masses new songs have been introduced on a regular basis. The focus for this has been inspired by a document from the archdiocesan worship office promulgated some years ago. Its approach is clearly eclectic from a standpoint of recommended songs for worship that the faithful should know. The suggested songs are both contemporary and traditional in style. Some of the songs are standard repertoire from many Christian denominations. The faithful should be made familiar to [sic] these songs for liturgical and ecumenical reasons. when it comes to music (of any kind) we sometimes hear that "we know what we like" . . . . When it comes to about anything, such as sports, we don't like any particular sport until we know and understand it. The same is true for music -- especially liturgical music. We like what we know. Occasionally we will sing something new to expand our repertoire and our understandkng of liturgical song. . . .

One wonders why, in a Church that is 2,000 years old, only contemporary songs are worth "knowing." Actually, I think the decision makers might have two reasons.

I suppose the "ecumenical" movement might be one. Before you agree or disagree, I challenge anyone in the entire world to name one Christian, or non-Christian religion that has made the tiniest move towards accomodation with the Roman Catholic Church in the last forty years. On the contrary, most of them are discarding their core sets of beliefs as fast as they possibly can.

The ecumenical movement serves no other purpose than to sabotage the teachings of the Church. The only effect on the Church has been removal the language (Latin and English) and glorious hymns of its 2,000 year history to avoid offending people who are running away from us faster than we are moving towards them.

The only people to benefit, besides guitar merchants, are the owners of hotels and restaurants where ecumenical seminars, conventions and prayer services are being held that result in nothing positive.

But the real reason for this move to contemporary music is the almost unstoppable movement towards changing the Mass from a time of prayer and the worship of and thanksgiving to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to a time of fellowship, feel-good sermons and entertaing music (and sometimes even dance) to attract young Catholics from moving to mega-churches with no beliefs required at all (other than tithing).

Why else would priests no longer preach about the catechism, dogmas and teachings of the Church at Mass? Because they are offensive and not designed to draw folks in on Sundays.

One of the worst decisions of the Second Vatican Council was the requirement that the homily be related to the Mass readings of the day. It's much easier to preach on the "Good Samaritan" or "Prodigal Son" than it is to preach on contraception, Hell, or the requirement that one be in the state of grace before receiving Holy Communion.

I don't know about you, but as for me I'd far rather sing something in Latin or something from the old St. Gregory's Hymnal that we used to use in grade school than have to learn some tune by a Protestant dissident or modern scholar hoping for a big royalty check each month.


Margaret said...

I don't begrudge anybody's royalty check but people seem to have pretty whacked out ideas about religious music. A lot of it is meant to be performed not sung by a congregation as the lyrics don't bear any kind of scrutiny. "Awesome God" has something about God "not putting on the ritz." What is that supposed to mean?

I attended 11:30 Mass at the Basilica recently and was surprised to hear a nice mix of African American spirituals and Latin. That's eclectic and the spare qualities of each are perfect for Lent.

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Sanctus Belle said...

Very insightful article Ray, I'll forward a link to my parish music director! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Everybody loves a good show. And you can't beat the mystery and pageantry of the Latin High Mass for entertainment. But lets not fool ourselves. Folk masses are not high on the priority list of what ails the Catholic Church.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Margaret and Sanctus!

Scelata said...

Any chance anyone here could share this diocesan mandated "white list?"

(I understand if you don't want to reveal the name of the diocese.)

Save the Liturgy, save the World

Adrienne said...

Sounds to me like they are gearing up for an even bigger mish-mash of garbage songs at Mass.

Poor music and bad liturgy has driven more people away from the church than we will ever know.

Linking to this tomorrow (only posting 3 times per week during Lent - which is shaving eons off my Purgatory sentence, that is, if I make it to Purgatory)