Don't Support Devilish Music (Opera/Classical)

Proper Catholic teaching is that we are to avoid occasions of sin, such as what’s celebrated in opera. Have you ever translated into English some of the words of the famous operas? It’s all about sex. Opera is like pornography for rich people (the bourgeoise in Renaissance times.) Opera and classical are the devil’s favorite tools for impressionable, idle minds.

“Don Gioavanni” - about a man-whore. Satanic.
“Cosi Fan Tutte” - about wife-swapping and promiscuity. Satanic.
“The Magic Flute” - every New Ager’s favorite opera. Satanic.
“The Marriage of Figaro” - all about decadence. Satanic.
“Madame Butterly” - no comment on that one. Satanic.

What was the favorite Satanic music of the Nazis? What did Adolf Hitler listen to? That’s right…opera…Satanic:

One of the most famous songs by Frank Sinatra, ol’ blue eyes, is called “Witchcraft.” A song that makes a joke about Satanism.

Pardon, but have you ever listened to Handel’s Messiah?

Is that the same Handel who was a homosexual pushing Satanism through classical music, or a different one? Handel was a sick puppy. Here’s my source on his, um, proclivities. This academic study is from 2001, and I have no doubt it has been corroborated elsewhere since that time:
GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL, the composer of the Messiah, was homosexual according to a forthcoming book by an acknowleged expert on his work.

The book, Handel as Orpheus, Voice and desire in the chamber cantatas, which will be published by Harvard University Press in February, claims that the joy and heartache of homosexual love is “the clear homosexual subtext” of Handel’s operatic works.

The author is Ellen Harris, the professor of music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has already published two books about Handel for the Oxford University Press and edited a 13 volume facsimile of his opera libretti. Now she has translated more than 100 of the composer’s cantatas into English for the first time.

“The cantatas are certainly homosexual,” said Dr Ellis. “Many of the cantatas avoid identifying the gender of the beloved - for instance they are identified simply ‘as the beautiful eyes’ or ‘little lips’ in a way that is deliberately ambiguous. Also they were designed to be sung by both men and women - both castrato and soprano singers.”

Handel, who was described as a handsome and enigmatic man, never married. He was reported, however, to have had a brief dalliance as a young man in Rome with a soprano, Vittoria Tarquini, who was 16 years his senior.*


Don’t worry about it, it’s a sarcastic reference to this thread:


How can he have started this thread and not mention Faust? :smiley:

So I guess Mozart, Verdi, and all the others who wrote beautiful Requiems (dare I say in the case of Verdi, “decadently” beautiful?) are also to be throne out?

Is that the same Handel who was a homosexual pushing Satanism through classical music, or a different one? Handel was a sick puppy.

As for discounting a musician, nay, a master of the art, as satanic because he was homosexual, does the OP realize that the Catholic Church does not claim in any way that homosexuality is a choice? The Catechism states that the condition itself is not sinful. Disordered? Yes. But so is schizophrenia and NO ONE claims that such a condition is sinful.

To condemn the masterful works of someone because of a condition not even considered sinful by the Church of which one is claiming to be a part is probably borderline heresy, or at least should be considered so. Music is one of God’s greatest gifts to man. What we do with it is our decision. But there’s a reason things such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Verdi’s Four Seasons, every work by Beethoven (but none by Schubert…how I hate him!) can move people to tears. Their beauty speaks volumes about the truth of their music. It is all in reverence of what music truly is. It is an international language, the only true international language that can be understood by anyone anywhere at any time without any special instruction or training. Just listen.

Music is not sinful. Lyrics, yes, can be sinful. But music itself is not sinful. Music is how the angels praise God eternally. Music is how we announce the beginning and end of Mass, and declare that Christ has indeed come to be transubstantiated as an offering of bread and wine (the Great Amen, anyone?) Our faith and our history as a race is suffused with music. No music is sinful. Every song, when all the lyrics are removed, is beautiful.

So I will cede that certain songs and operas may be sinful and wanton, but nothing, NOTHING musical should be discounted simply because of a person’s condition.

LOL! Yup. :stuck_out_tongue: At first I thought this was a serious thread, but I then saw it was a joke from your post.

Otherwise, anyone who has done an entire translation of most of those operas would know that those characters who dove into or were caught in the sinful lifestyle were either sent to hell because they would not repent of his sinful ways (ie. “Don Giovanni” - he is dragged into hell at the end), taught a lesson in which the characters repent and promise not to do those kinds of things again (ie. “Cosi fan tutte” - which, btw, the characters were not married and were embarrassed and sorry by what they did at the end - the teenage sisters because of their fickleness and their fiances for trying to play a joke on them and betting with each other that their fiances would be faithful with their hearts. It was also poking fun at the hypocracy and stupidity of the upper classes, as they were known to put on airs that they were morally superior to the lower classes, but in reality no different - just better at hiding it. “Le Nozze di Figaro” in which the Count is taught a lesson by his wife and servants in regards to committing adultery and trying take the wife of his servant for his own pleasure. It is also based on a political play criticising the decadence, hypocracy and immorality of the French aristocracy during the 18th century.)

“Die Zauberflote” was a singspiel written for the common people’s opera house and was supposed to be silly and stupid. He and Schikenader were poking fun at everything. “Madama Butterfly”, Butterfly has no Christian faith and kills herself as part of her culture to keep her honour when she discovers that her marriage was a sham and basically her “husband” never treated their marriage as a real marriage. Pinkerton, who should have been following the Christian way of life, doesn’t take the marriage ceremony seriously. Since she wasn’t of his race, he treats her as just some chick he can knock up and use while he’s away, and then abandon, go home and marry a nice white girl. He is finally struck with guilt because of his wretchedness of taking away her innocence, then abandoning her and their child, and basically treating her beneath himself. He is forever punished with the knowledge that he was the reason she was driven to suicide.

In essence, they were all punished for their sins.

Oh, and in Gounod’s “Faust”, Faust loses all by first selling his soul to the Devil so that he could have Maguerite, a devout, decent and good young woman. He seduces her. She succumbs and becomes impregnated and is then abandoned by Faust. Her brother discovers this, fights Faust in a duel, is killed by Faust and he then curses his sister for bringing dishonour to herself and to her family and God. Because of her sin, her own life goes downhill from there and she eventually kills her child after it is born and is thrown into jail and sentenced to death. During this time, she has time to think and repent of her ways. Mephistopholes tries to tempt her to freedom and “life”, but she rejects his satanic offer, as well as Faust and places all her trust in God, knowing that what she has done deserves whatever fate God chose for her. She is like the thief on the cross who is forgiven by Jesus. At the end, Faust, of course will go to Hell for his ways, but Marguerite, because of her repentance, sorrow and trust in God, is saved from Hell.

So, yeah, there are elements of sin and the Devil’s temptations and him winning, but as always, in all of these, the ones who don’t repent are severely punished and the ones who do are either given a second chance in life to do right. Or they do die because of their sin, but are forgiven because of their repentance. I’ve had to translate almost all of these operas word for word and the continual sinners never win. They are always punished. The stories always teach a lesson at the end - like any morality story. It also shows how tenuous one’s life is in terms of their moral standing. Anyone - even the most devout - could be tempted and fall and eventually punished for his/her sin(s). It takes just one person or thing or the Devil in person to do it. It’s no different than many religious stories about saints and sinners.

P.S. That other thread, seemed like a big joke as well. I can’t believe anyone would be really serious. Of course, there will always be lyrics in any style or genre of music which may be sinful and promoting sin, but that doesn’t mean a specific style/genre is evil because of it.

It all reminds me of how people use to think the tri-tone was satantic - “The Devil’s Chord”. The Church forbid it for years and then realized how stupid and silly that was and you hear a lot of well-respected sacred music from the Rennaisance to now containing tri-tones.

I think the same thing will eventually happen with rock music and other modern styles–the Church will welcome it into the Mass. They want a good fight first to see if this kind of music is permanent or just a passing fad.

Isn’t the tritone technically an interval? Well, I like using it at any rate. :stuck_out_tongue:

Dear Cat,

Our Church will not, I think, be embracing rock music and freely permitting it at Mass in the near future, or indeed ever for that matter.

The fact is that rock music is communication without words, irrespective of what idealogy is inserted into the music. The words merely inform one what the music already says, in other words the* music is its own message* and it can completely change the messsage of the words. Thus rock music is, well rock music, not just a sort of pliable medium that can be bent in any direction. It is an art form that has been created to express certain anti-Christian philosophies and is so wedded to those philosophies that they convey that world view by default; one cannot simply plug in a Christian message to make everything healthy, wholesome and sound.

Clearly it is not possible to change the basic effect of certain kinds of rhythm and beat simply by appending to them a few religious or semi-religious words. The beat will still get through to the blood of the performers and the audience. Words are timid things; decibles are bold things which can so easily bury the words under an avalanche of sound.

Moreover the Church could not employ rock music without the danger of getting herself defiled by its immoral associations - remember the* music is its own message*. Even this reason per se would be enough to indict rock/pop music as an unworthy and unwelcome presence at Holy Mass. Rock music conveys many deplorable and deleterious messages, but if there is one message that does condemn it then it is the message of sexual permissiveness and depravity.

Our Lord said in St. Matthew’s gospel not only that He would bulid his Church but that “the gates of hades (should) not prevail against it” (16: 18), thus He will never permit this morally depraved music genre to corrupt and befoul the very Church that He established.

Warmest good wishes,


Okay, I’m not arguing for Cat’s position, but we’ve gone through this in the other thread. Here are some of my posts, which you may have missed.

There is no “inherent” message in music even if the author intended it to be that way. No matter what type of music you use, people will develop a tendency to develop a different idea from hearing it. I point to you Roland Barthe’s essay, the Death of the Author. One of its good points is that if you focus on the author of the work, you restrict the meaning when its possible to do otherwise. Despite being an essay towards literary criticism, I find this can be applied to other art forms as well (music included), not just literature.


In case you still don’t believe me, I’ve already presented evidence in the other thread. I hope you didn’t discard it.

hee! hee! Yes, it is technically an interval. But it got that nickname, along with other nicknames during the time. I think another name was Diabolus in Musica (Devil in Music) or something like that. The Church called it the Devil’s Interval as well.

Maybe and maybe not. Just based on history itself with sacred music it really depends on how well the style or genre can be refined to fit within the specifications for sacred music used within the liturgy. As you know, there are so many threads discussing this, so I won’t go into it here and repeat what has been talked about before. Rock is a fairly new style/genre compared to others. It hasn’t yet either proven or matured enough to show that it can be refined to not sound in such a way that it reminds people of the secular rather than the sacred - no matter how much the music moves them.

And as we well know, there are many styles within the classical genre which worked its way into the liturgy, yet was eventually discarded because it was too secular sounding OR was refined enough to be acceptable at mass - either in how it was written or rendered by the musicians. For instance, Verdi’s “Requiem”. Although it was originally used during Mass, after 1903, it was largely frowned upon for use at Mass, ALTHOUGH, it was highly regarded as a beautiful and exceptional religious work - not a sacred work. And this was because it sounded too secular. There is a reason why it is called Verdi’s best “opera”. It’s not a piece which can be refined for mass. It, otherwise, loses the emotional and even spiritual intent of Verdi.

So, we just have to wait and see. I personally don’t believe the rock style has proven itself yet for use at Mass. It hasn’t refined itself enough in my eyes and that is probably why the Church also hasn’t approved it yet.

Anyway, back on topic. :slight_smile:

In this thread:
Lost Wanderer is so full of win I am going to overlook the Mormon vampire thing.

Back on topic:
I really think the whole millennium s long argument that music is or can be “evil” comes down to this:
When humans hear a rhythm they tend to move in time to it. I don’t believe there is any clan or tribe anywhere on earth that does not dance. It feels good and it relaxes us.
While doing so the females specifically tend to,
shake it.
This tends to set in motion a chain of events that disrupts social stability and in general can cause stress and conflict. Everyone gets all overstimulated and the old folks have to stay up till it’s all settled down.
I honestly believe that it is just that simple.

Dear Lost Wanderer,

The ‘music is a neutral art form’ argument simply does not hold up under scrutiny and is really a clutching at straws by the exponents of pro-rock. Rock is intrinsically evil - it was an art form created to express certain egregious philosophies and is so weeded to these philosophies that they cannot but convey that sort of outlook by default, whatever the intention of the artist/performer.

It is obvious that a single* note * does not of itself have any influence for good or bad, but the debate is not about single, isolated notes, but about music (Dictionary definition: ‘the art and science of combining tones in varying melody, harmony, etc. so as to form complete and expressive compositions’ ). Note the words ‘expressive compositions’ for they are important - they inform us that when single notes or tones are deliberately brought together in a musical work they are no longer neutral. In other words music is not composed into a neutral nothing, but into a positive something - a form that is, if you please, definite and meaningful, with colour and character.

Since this is such an important point, it is worth listing a number of statements which verify my contention that music is not neutral. First, let us listen to some comments on music in general, spanning the centuries. Plato (4b28-348 B.C.) wrote, “musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul”. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), Plato’s most famous student, wrote, “Music has the power to form a character”. Boethius (c. 480-c. 524) the Greek philosopher and statesman, wrote, “Music is a part of us, and either degrades or ennobles our behaviour”. Comimg to the present time one authority after another could be cited along the same lines, for the sake of brevity I will quote two. Dr. George Stevenson, “The widespread occurrence of music among widely distributed people and various cultures is evidence that in music we have a great psychological force”. Dr. Howard Hanson has said, “Music can be soothing or invigorating, ennobling or vulgarizing, philosophical or orgiastic. It has powers for evil as well as for good”.

Over and above all of these statements, we have the compelling and cogent testimony of human history, with all its evidence that music has moved man in a hundred different ways; it has calmed his fears, summoned up his valour, soothed his sorrows, stimulated his memory, stirred him to violence and even prepared him for death.

To suggest in the light of all this evidence that rock music (apart from lyrics) in general has no deleterious influence is to swim against a very strong current indeed!

One final point: if music is a neutral art form, if it really can say whatever the hearer wishes it to say, then why are certain types of music chosen as background music on aeroplanes, in supermarkets, or in places likely to be stressful?. If music is neutral, why would one consider the theme music from Hitchcock’s film Psycho unsuitable to be played in a dentists’ waiting room? Surely the most obvious reason is that the music is chosen* to do something*; and the reason it can do something is that it is most decidedly not neutral.

Warmest good wishes,


Dear CTA1967,

There is obviously no hard and fast ‘law’ about the amount of variety that is needed before a piece of music becomes ‘legitimate’; the most one can say is that variety is one of the marks of any good music, irrespective of style. Now you may contend that there is considerable repetition in classical music and this is quite true. However it is creative, with subtle variations woven into it. Would you, for example, honestly say that there is any comparison between the repetition in a Vivaldi concerto movement and that in Led Zepppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ (widely considered a classic piece of rock, which is why I cite it)? Quite apart from the erotic elements and simulated orgasm, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ has about as much variety of sound as a pneumatic drill.

It is true that rock performers are not the only musicians to have murky morals - even some of the best-known classical composers were decidedly off-key in their private lives. Tchaikovsky was no paragon of virtue; Chopin had a reputation as a womaniser, Mahler was hardly blameless and Mozart’s leisure haunts were not exactly havens of sanctity. As for Wagner, well he has been described as ‘grossly immoral, selfish, adulterous, arrogant, wildl;y hedonistic, violently racist and …a theif to boot’! These few examples will be sufficient to show that we need to be cautious before condemning any kind of artistic expression because of the life-style of those who write or perform it. If one were to take that line to its logical conclusion we would be living in a cultural desert.

As someone has already observed, many classical compositions have murder, violence, hatred, greed, immorality or other evils as their themes and should be evaluted by the same standards as any other musical genre. However the point at issue is whether rock music can be single out as having specifically sexual connotations. Now in the other thread I adduced ample evidence which validated this assertion. True, I may not have given a blow by blow rebuttal of every single point that you or others made in response to my postings, however I did address them generally and sometimes even specifically.

Look, I have endeavoured to put the case against rock/pop music to the best of my ability; thus I have sought to present the arguments in an intelligent and persuasive manner and always, I hope, charitibly and without rancour. If I have failed in my efforts then I can only proffer my sincere apologies and entreat your pardon. One thing that I have become very aware of on CAF is just how easy it is to be misunderstood or misconstrued by what one types. I remember Father Vincent Serpeta (Catholic Answers Chaplain) saying on Catholic Radio a short while ago that when he answers questions on ‘Ask an Apologist’, he has to be very careful how he puts things as its so easy to be misunderstood because you cannot see facial expressions of the other person etc. Very good point and one I try always to bear in mind myself on the Forums.

I am going to gracefully bow out again now - yes really this time - as I feel that I have more than out stayed my welcome. This is a relatively new thread so I will let others debate the ‘Opera/classical’ side of the issue, which I will continue to read with interest.
CTA1967 and Lost Wanderer I would like to take this opportunity to thank both of you for a thrilling and challenging debate. Be seeing you.

Blessings on you and may the peace of God be yours now and always.

Warmest good wishes,


Right, that topic! I say we should start a petition telling Debussy to stop setting such a bad moral example. I mean, just look at this authoritative Wikipedia article about his horrendous private life! ( Surely, he should turn his life around.

Oh, wait. :rolleyes:

By the way, thank you Portrait for your time. Discussions are what CAF is for. It’s been interesting, to say the least!

You’ve made this pointless assertion thousands of times yet you’ve never provided solid evidence to back it up.

I suggest you read up Reader-Oriented/Reader-Response theories of literary criticism and look up the writings of its proponents such as Wolfgang Iser (Implied Reader VS Actual Reader), Stanley Fish (Interpretive Communities), and, once again, Roland Barthes (Author Insignificance). All of them back up the idea that there is no definite, inherent meaning in text which can also be applied to music (being that they both require interpretation). I’d directly quote from one book that has all these guys but my university library is still closed.

I point to you again my explanation with regards to interpretation range. While there may be a common aspect in the interpretation of certain musical pieces which limits the range of variety in interpretation, there is a range nonetheless. If there is so much even a slight difference in understanding a piece of music, as so much as a slightly different reaction on the part of the listener, the belief of any definite, inherent meaning is crushed.

And for the record? I hear all kinds of music being played in the supermarket. As far as a dentist waiting room goes, they might as well not play any music at all. It is more of a matter of volume than content. If I played a soothing lullaby at maximum volume in such a place, I’d get told off too.


FYI, smooth sounding classical music bores me and makes me cranky. Whatever soothing effect you think such a form of music does when played in an airplane, it doesn’t exist in my mind.

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