"Hard rock" music during Mass

I have to write a argumentative paper of 1,000 words in length for my english class at my university. I have chose the topic of playing hard rock music during Mass.
Is it wrong, or is it all right?
(please note: my definition of hard rock music is that of heavy drum beats, distorted guitar, and lyrics that are screamed which are difficult if not impossible to understand.)

What are your thoughts?

[quote=josh_lp74]I have to write a argumentative paper of 1,000 words in length for my english class at my university. I have chose the topic of playing hard rock music during Mass.
Is it wrong, or is it all right?
(please note: my definition of hard rock music is that of heavy drum beats, distorted guitar, and lyrics that are screamed which are difficult if not impossible to understand.)

What are your thoughts?
[/quote]

Hi Josh,

I just read an excellent chapter on this very subject. It’s a book entitled, “The Spirit of the Liturgy” and is written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (aka Pope B16).

I’d highly recommend taking a look at the chapter entitled “Music and Liturgy” (or something to that effect), since he goes into great depth on the subject of the role of music in the liturgy, and which types are appropriate and inapproapriate, and why that is so.

Hope that helps!!

Regards,
JP Augustine

I think anytime we consider what music is appropriate for mass we have to consider 1 thing first:
Does this music lend itself to prayerful worship? Does it enhance or detract from the celebration of the eucharist? This would be the most important thing to me. If I can’t understand the words of a song, how is going to enhance the celebration of the eucharist?
Just my opinion…

Thanks for your input everyone, I’ve made much progress.
I am arguing in favor of keeping hard rock music out of the Mass.

However, a point was brought to my attention today in class. Someone argued that “people have different styles of worship, so if hard rock music is their form of worshiping God, then it should be allowed (during the Mass).”

Now I understand where this person is coming from…
…but I still don’t think that is appropriate in Mass.

Am I wrong?

It’s not appropriate at Mass… Besides the book reference someone already offered, try looking at the Church documents on this, for example: adoremus.org/Musicam Sacram.html (By the way, this is a Vatican document, but you will find a lot of information on this topic at the adoremus site from which I lifted the link.) Do read the documents so you have some solid reasons for your essay, not just opinions from non-authoritative sources. There is a reason why Jesus delegated his authority on earth to the bishops (i.e. Magisterium).

Some would argue that rock music isn’t appropriate at all, that it incites inappropiate behaviors. I think if the lyrics are appropriate and it helps nourish love for God, that it IS okay outside of Mass. That is, among other like-minded people; you wouldn’t want to force it on quieter types. There are a lot of Christian rock bands with messages suited to living good lives and this can be a wonderful alternative to some of the nasty stuff that you could be listening to.

Josh also look at a short section in James Akin’s book Mass Confusion about music as it cites church documents on the subject pages 182 to 184

There is nothing objectively wrong with contemporary worship music in mass, as long as it lends itself to the worship of God and does not focus on the self. That is true of all kinds of music used to worship God. Unfortuanately, some have labeled contemporary worship music as rock. That is simply absurd. There is a huge difference. Now as for hard rock, I would have to say, no that is not ok for mass. That creates a spirit of excitement but more of a base excitement that is not in line with the reverence necessary to mass. What is does to us is get our hearts pumping and such but the mass requires a more quiet spirit so that persons can meditate upon the mysteries of what is happening in the mass, the Holy Sacrifice. So I would have to say, no hard rock is definitely inappropriate for mass. And I tend to be an advocate of allowing contemporary worship music in mass.
Now outside of mass. Of course their is nothing wrong with hard rock. I like hard rock and it has nothing to do with our spiritualitly. In fact their is alot of very cool Christian hard rock wich is a great alternative to the often immoral hard rock of the secular world.

[quote=Topher] That creates a spirit of excitement but more of a base excitement that is not in line with the reverence necessary to mass. What is does to us is get our hearts pumping and such but the mass requires a more quiet spirit so that persons can meditate upon the mysteries of what is happening in the mass, the Holy Sacrifice.
[/quote]

Bingo! In B16’s book “Spirit of the Liturgy” he talks about how when you have the latest “hit” or liturgical dancing the mass is reduced to religious entertainment, titillation. And religious entertainment cannot compete with secular entertainment. Religious and secular entertainment edify and glorify the performer, whereas worship edifies and glorifies the Lord–big difference.

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