Are Music Concerts Acceptable Entertainment Inside a Catholic Church?

I would like to know what is the Catholic Church’s official position on music concerts being held (“inside”) the Church.
Surely; nothing should need to be mentioned about a Rock or Christian Ecumenical Rock concert being held inside a Catholic Church, especially around the Holy Presence inside the Tabernacle or up on the Sanctuary around an Sacred Alter?

Over the years, particularly in the name of ecumunism, I have seen this type of occurrence frequent itself in a number of Catholic Churches around the world.
Do the clergy who host such events (“perhaps to raise money”) ever worry about the sacrilege of blessed objects in the Sanctuary where many concerts take place.
I have personally witnessed this in my own parish with coffee cups sitting on top of Alter and Tabernacle with absolutely no reverence or respect shown.

The following video below “DOES NOT” however show such disrespect even though the honorable music is secular classical music.
If you notice in the background you’ll see the Alter which looks to be stripped of an Alter cloth.


Sarah Brightman & Alessandro Safina Vienna Austria

Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) , Vienna, Austria

The Stephansdom in Vienna has survived through many wars and has become a symbol of Vienna’s freedom.
The Roman Catholic Gothic cathedral was first built in 1147 AD and its most recognizable characteristic, the diamond-patterned tile roof, was added in 1952.

(Please, spell it “altar”!)

I think the atmosphere is inappropriate though, with the lighting effects and all. Plus, having watched the video for a minute or so, the woman dressed in red is not dressed modestly enough (in my opinion).

I personally find the performance tacky, with the lighting effects and the very theatrical performance. Also I do not care for the lady’s voice, too ‘thin’ to be a good classical vocalist.

But saving that I think that music concerts are generally acceptable inside churches. The host must be removed from the tabernacle and proper reverance given to the altar.

As a choir member we often had concerts in churches. One Catholic church in the Chicago area asked that we limit our selection to religious music, which we did. Our program that year was seperated into two sections, one spiritual and another secular, so it worked out great. We always have/had a big Christmas concert in the Basilica of Saint Mary’s in Minneapolis. Churches often let college music groups and others use their space for free or very little cost which brings music (we performed for free) into a community. Also there are limited places where pipe organs are available for performace, churches being the major place.
The church has a long history of great music (even if it has gone away from that tradition recently) and I think it would be disingenious to prohibit all musical concerts from their space.

As a classical singer and musician, I’ve often taken part in concerts in churches, many of which are Catholic churches. I’ve also been an audience member of many classical concerts which have taken place in churches. I have never attended or have been part of a concert at a church which was like the one in the link. They have always been refined, simple, elegant and respectful of the church itself.

Perhaps this is only my opinion, but I felt that what was shown was way over-the-top and theatrical to be permitted in a church. I’m not a Sarah Brightman fan, but I have seen her in concert and what was shown in this video was similar to what I saw in the secular venue. Not much was refined for a concert in a church. I don’t know, but one of the first things I’ve learned regarding performances in churches from all of my teachers and other older musicians was that there was always a certain decorum and even dress for when you perform in a concert at a church - whether or not the music is sacred/secular.

Now the music in the concert “Canto della Terra” is not really considered classical music. It’s more considered crossover music. I actually have to sing this song in a week and although I will be using my classical training to sing this, it is not really like any of the classical vocal repertoire I sing. It really is cross-over “opera-pop” and not something I particularly enjoy performing because it is slightly different kind of singing, but you do what you’re paid to do and fortunately the rest of the music I’m performining is classical vocal repertoire. Sarah Brightman isn’t really considered as a classical musician either, even though she may have some classical tranining. She is also considered a cross-over artist. The concert performance, itself, also shows that it is more of a cross-over concert and not really a classical music concert. You wouldn’t see the lighting and theatrics in a classical concert It may look fine in a stadium, but it does look tacky and disrespectful in a house of worhsip - whether or not it’s Catholic. Again, just my opinion and only based on my experience as a musician.

Some years ago June 1982 to be exact, the choir held a Sacred Heart “Concert” which consisted of hymns to the Sacred Heart and concluded with Exposition & Benediction with the Reposition (Divine Praises) being sung and the closing hymn was Praise Ye The Father by Ch.Gounod. :slight_smile:

Can. 1210 Only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety, or religion are permitted in a sacred place; anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden. In an individual case, however, the ordinary can permit other uses which are not contrary to the holiness of the place.

Guess it depends on the Bishop's taste in music. :rolleyes:

The Congregation for Divine Worship issued a document on this subject in 1987 (Protocol number 1251/87).

Here’s a link.

I don’t think it is appropriate to hold concerts in a Catholic church. Beside the facts that the OP mentioned (about the tabercacle, the altar, etc.), it’s important to remember that the church building itself is a sacred (set apart) object, set aside for sacred use alone. Even if an altar is stripped, the altar itself is a sacred object.

Our opinions don’t matter. It is permitted.

Our esteemed Bishop has approved of several concerts inside the Cathedral, the most recent one the Requiem Mass by Mozart, featuring an orchestra, organ, a choir, and soloists. The concert was held on a Sunday afternoon around 2:00 p.m., and it was gorgeous. The Bishop himself was in attendance.

Several years back, our parish hosted a series called “Cathedral Series,” featuring sacred classical works played by secular musicians (many of whom were Christian, but not necessarily Catholic). Unfortunately, our church is now blacklisted by the AGO, so we are no longer invited to host these concerts, which are now held in a notororiously-liberal United Methodist Church.

Each Christmas, our parish hosts a beautiful children’s choir concert. Again, the Bishop approves.

The Tabernacle is removed from the sanctuary when these concerts are held, to prevent any sacrilege.

Shouldn’t we trust that our bishops understand the various rubrics and that they would not allow something in the church buildings that is against the rules of the Church? I know that there are a few true miscreants out there in Bishop Land, but aren’t they the exceptions rather than the norm?

I sometimes get the impression that Catholics use the excuse of a lax bishop to be able to act like Protestants and criticize their parish, or worse, do the “church search” for The Perfect Parish. Forgive me if this sounds harsh, but I spent 47 years as an evangelical Protestant, and what I am seeing and hearing sounds suspiciously like what I grew up with.

The only difference is that Catholics HAVE an authority, our bishop, while Protestants do not have any authority other than the Bible and their own interpretation of it. So it is understandable that they are constantly questioning their church, but for Catholics to behave this way is unnecessary. If we cannot trust our bishops, then how can we trust our Church? We certainly can’t trust ourselves–that’s why Jesus appoints the Pope and the bishops and asks us to obey them. They are our shepherds and we should follow them, not constantly butt against them like little lambs.

The link has a typo and won’t work.


When giving a link it is wise to preview your post and test the link. :wink: **

I was referring to concerts like the Sarah Brightman one, to which the OP gave a link. I should have been more specific.

None of these events are like the one in the link provided.

Wow, you’re really jumping to conclusions about my post.

Whoa Nellie! I certainly agree with you, so don’t be so quick to jump on others!

My apologies.

I do tend to get prickly when I think that bishops are being questioned, and music seems to be an issue where people are convinced that they know more than their bishop.

I think we need to be very careful to trust and obey our bishops.

But I am sorry for jumping on you over this. And I agree about a Sarah Brightman concert–surely there would be other venues that would leap at a chance to book her for a concert.

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