is secular music not permitted in the church at all?
also, the choir at my church has concerts of religious music a couple times a year and they do sell tickets for it because it’s a fundraiser for them to go ton trips. i guess it’s wrong to do this?
also why are certain certain instruments deemed momre sacred than others? the organ wasn’t adopted until it fell out of relative disuse by the pagans. and it has secular purposes too. in fact, most instruments seem to be falling out of disuse these days due to music being technologically manufactured. why do so many people have problems with pianos and guitars at mass?
Your question refers to both “secular” and “religious” music
I slogged through the document that you cited twice. I find nothing that would preclude a concert of religious music (such as Handel’s Messiah). I think that secular music, such as a tribute band for Boston, would not be welcome (well, I might welcome it, but I doubt my Pastor or Bishop would agree).
Music that is permitted for liturgical use is in a different category, and is not addressed by this document (as the title of the document, “MUSIC IN CHURCHES OTHER THAN DURING LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS” clearly states). Since this document is clearly not intended to address liturgical music, it is (by default) intended to address non-liturgical music performed in a Church. Such a category could encompass Handel’s Messiah as well as a Boston tribute band.
The Sanctuary of a Catholic Church is intended to serve as a Temple of the Lord, and not do double-duty as a concert or lecture hall. This is especially true if the Tabernacle is reserved within view of the Sanctuary. The Church has a vested interest in preserving the sanctity of the Temple, and to not allow it to be defiled by secular activities.
Well, that would be up to the local Ordinary (Bishop). If I cite Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries then I think that many would not know the music, but upon hearing the first thirty seconds of the YouTube link that I just posted, they would recognize it. It is not a classical symphony (which might be expected to be better known), but one of opera’s most well-known pieces. People who would easily recognize Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies (which is just about everybody) would ALSO recognize this bit of OPERA.
But the composer, Wilhelm Richard Wagner. was a horrible man. He was a virulent anti-Semite Nazi (meaning he hated Jews).
Would a Bishop give permission for a parish to conduct a concert of Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth Symphony (even though Beethoven was protestant)? I find it hard to imagine that any Bishop would categorically deny such permission (indeed, the popular Catholic hymn, “Joyful, joyful, we adore thee” is set to the Fifth Symphony). But what about Wagner? I could imagine that MANY Bishops would withhold their consent.
isn’t that kind of music more or les neutral though? i mean, if you didn’t know that about wagner, it’s not like you can guess from the music that he hated jews and all that stuff
sorry if i’m not getting it, it’s just that document was very confusing. one phrase said that sometimes other uses of the church may be permitted. then it said something about most classical music always being secular and was therefore contrary to the holiness of the place. and what about charging for concerts like my parish choir does?
The Nazi parti didn’t exist when Wagner was alive, but your point is well taken; Hitler was a fan of Wagner. That says it all.
Our church in the next village from ours is often use for concerts. They do move the Blessed Sacrament though, when that happens; the concerts are usually fairly inoffensive. My sons played in a youth string orchestra there regularly; children’s choirs, and the like. Keeping and heating our beautiful old churches in a shrinking and aging Catholic population is expensive, and every penny helps.
Our abbey church and many abbeys are also used for concerts. It has a magnificent Karl Wilhelm pipe organ and fantastic acoustics, and the abbot is a prize-winning organist and harpsichordist, and the abbey (and often abbot…) are often used for a local summer concert series. It isn’t religious music, but it’s classical/baroque etc. and in good taste. At the abbey church, the Blessed Sacrament is in a side chapel (as is often the case in Benedictine abbeys).
But the document is directly from the CDW and is supposed to be respected. Sometimes “being pastoral” is shorthand for “I’ll do what I want and I don’t care what Rome has to say on the matter” or, to quote one priest who screamed it at me while shaking his finger in my face, “We’ve never listened to Rome before and we’re not about to start now!”
If you’re ever inclined to visit Chicago, I recommend the St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Il. The Benedictines influenced me enough for me to pursue a graduate degree at the college (Benedictine University) they are running close by.
True, the organ has only been around Catholic Churches for about 700 years. In general, some people object to the use of piano and guitars, because:
Guitars are associated in our culture with pop / secular music. (have you ever heard a rock guitar solo, and thought, that sounds like nice church music?).
Pianos are also usually heard in a secular context in our culture (classical piano concerts, jazz piano bar, many difference forms of pop piano, think Billy Joel).
Piano is a technically a percussion instrument, and does not sustain like the human voice or the organ.
The organ is the official approved instrument of Catholic Mass. (mentioned by name in Musicam Sacram, etc). When you use other instruments, you are displacing the official instrument.
Guitars and pianos have only been in Catholic churches since the late 1960s/ 70s, Not an era known for good taste in the arts. : ) Not a venerable tradition compared to the organ, Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony.
Music (especially instrumental music) is neutral, and if the artist was unknown, it would stand entirely upon its merits (and, in the case of instrumental music, that would rest entirely upon the musical merit of the piece).
I am nearly fifty years old. I was once a big fan of Michael Jackson. He is, by far, one of the most talented musicians of my age. His album, Thriller, was an absolute sensation. I bought a copy on LP, and again on CD.
But my opinion of the artist has become contaminated by his later conduct. I can no longer even bear to listen to any of his songs. The songs are EXACTLY the same, from the very same album that I bought (twice!). But my perception of the artist has changed, to the point that I cannot even listen to a song on the radio without changing stations. Pandora has learned that I do not want to hear ANYTHING by Micheal Jackson.
What is the difference between songs that I bought and paid for in the early eighties, but won’t even listen to now? The recordings are identical, but my impression of the artist who created them has changed.
It matters. It is not neutral. It might be “neutral” to someone who has NO IDEA who Michael Jackson was, or what he became (a total freak job), but it matters to some of us who know the difference. And, if I were a Catholic Bishop (God help us all), I would never permit anything from *Thriller *to be performed at a Church pop concert.
I agree with you that “Thriller” is not an appropriate piece for a “church pop concert.” It seems to me that the point of a “church pop concert” would be to present a band that performs distinctly Christian pop songs or “Christian Contemporary Music (CCM),” not overtly secular pop pieces. There are plenty of other performing venues for secular pop pieces. And for that matter, there are plenty of other venues for “church pop concerts,” although I have to say that if the Catholic churches do not host these concerts, the Protestant churches will! It’s a shame to give it away.
But I have to take issue with your assessment of Michael Jackson. I’m not a huge fan, but I agree with you that he was a brilliant musician and I enjoy hearing (and seeing!) his pieces when they are done in a secular venue (e.g., a figure skating exhibition–Jackson’s songs are awesome on ice!).
I think that there were a lot of extenuating circumstances that make it obvious that Michael Jackson’s objectionable behaviors were due to mental and emotional disturbances.
I don’t think we should reject or disdain mentally-ill people, no matter what they do. Yes, their actions are horrific sometimes (e.g., the Colorado movie theater murderer). But THEY themselves should not be rejected, but rather, pitied because but for the grace of God, we might be as they are, unable to control ourselves and caught up in evil or objectionable behaviors.
Even the drug addiction that eventually killed Michael Jackson seems like something that he got caught up in because he was trying to relieve physical and emotional pain.
The attraction to children is a mental aberration, and we are not sure what causes a person to be attracted to children. But it’s definitely not a normal attraction–something is not wired correctly in the person’s brain. In Jackson’s case, it is questionable whether the attraction was sexual or something else. He shouldn’t be rejected because of a mental aberration that he was born with, or that was nurtured by something in his upbringing.
Many great artists, authors, musicians, etc. created great works in their younger years, and later on in life, developed mental illness that caused them to behave in disgusting ways. Edgar Allen Poe comes to mind. Vincent van Gogh is a very famous example. Guy de Maupassant is another example, although it is fact that his later-life dementia was caused by syphilis contracted by a promiscuous lifestyle in his younger years, but…what caused the promiscuity? Some would say a bad upbringing…
And that leads me to another opinion. I think we need to be careful not to condemn/reject someone who behaves in sinful ways when it is obvious that their childhood was wretched. All three of the men I mentioned above were raised in very bizarre circumstances, and it would have been amazing if they had grown up “normal.” Some people do manage to overcome awful upbringings and become saints–maybe you are one of them. But many other people cannot pull themselves out of the morass that their parents raised them in, and they act out in life what their parents instilled into them.
I think it’s very sad that Michael Jackson developed such mental and emotional illness in his later years, and that his actions were so bizarre and in many cases, sinful. But he wasn’t right in the head. I see no reason to reject his brilliant music just because he was ill.
MJ (as many other singers) are also known for their choreographical talents. We have to start thinking IMO whether we accept music for its Christian value or for the passion they stir inside us. It used to be on American Bandstand where they would have an song evaluation segment. It wasn’t infrequent where one would rate a song highly because “it was easy to dance to.”
I am confused by all of this. EWTN runs shows of concerts held in churches often. If they were forbidden I don’t think that EWTN would show them. And they do not have organ only, they always have a chamber orchestra at least.
This is very interesting to me, I have been trying to read up on the pre-Vatican II Mass in Mexico, for instance. Did they use vernacular hymns with guitar, during the TLM?
I would love to read up on this - - do you have sources? Did they not use organ, Gregorian chant, etc. like in the rest of the Catholic world? I know there are Mexican / Latin American composers, who composed in the baroque polyphonic form, for instance. But you are telling me that guitars were used at Mass instead? Please tell me where I can read more. Thanks!