I used to write songs when I was evangelical Protestant.
I wrote according to need. If someone needed a song for VBS, missionary conference, a play, a theme song for their conference, etc. I would write it. That’s the gift that I seemed to have.
I haven’t written any songs since becoming Catholic. I guess there isn’t any need.
May I be honest? I don’t think I could handle the ill-treatment that certain Catholics dish out to Marty Haugen, David Haas, etc. These men are constantly insulted and called every name in the book. Their songs are called “banal,” “irreverent,” “Protestant,” “non-Catholic,” etc.
It makes me sick to hear Catholics blast these gentlemen.
I don’t see how these men handle the constant criticism, and not constructive criticism. “Banal” is not a constructive word.
And it doesn’t help when our Holy Father writes condemning rock music and any kind of music that he personally doesn’t like. Catholics of like-mind leap on this and say, “We should obey the Pope and rid the Mass of anything other than Gregorian chant!” even though the Pope is merely stating his personal opinion and is NOT pronouncing dogma.
I love the modern Catholic songs, but I guess that proves that I’m in no way ready to write “Catholic” music.
I personally think that the only Catholics who have any business writing songs nowadays are those who have found a time machine, transport themselves back into time to train under Pope Gregory, and then come back to write “authentic” Gregorian chant. And I’ll bet that some Catholics would even criticize them!
The audience is just too hostile for aspiring song-writers. Why would I want to throw myself into a meat-grinder? There are less painful ways to die.
I’m sorry if this sounds incredibly resentful and hostile. I have a hard time with the fact that something I used to like to do for God and His people is now condemned, but it would be perfectly OK for me to go out and drink liquor now that I’m a Catholic. Bah. I will do neither.
On the more constructive side, I think that the Catholic Church DESPERATELY needs forums for musicians to perform their music OUTSIDE of Mass. I think a lot of the problem arises because certain songs aren’t appropriate for Mass (at least under Pope Benedict XVI). But these songs would be very appropriate in a concert setting or coffeehouse. Problem is, we don’t see concerts by Catholics or Catholic coffeehouses. Why not?!!! (Because it costs money, and no one is willing to pay for it in the Catholic Church?)
In the past, the Church came up with “oratories” for Catholics to sing in, and they could sing non-Mass music with orchestras. I think we need to bring back oratories, but make sure that contemporary music can be performed in them, too.
Again, sorry for the bitterness. I hope that there are other songwriters who are braver than I am about tomatoes in the face.