Help Needed with Music!!!

Background; We have a very small parish that is being rebuilt. Many left and the new Priest is trying to rebuild the Parish. One of the challenges is with music. For years the OCP throwaway missals and music edition were used but the cost plus the fact that the Word of God was being tossed into the garbage each year was disturbing to many and our wonderful Priest finally put his foot down. Plus, the music of the OCP is putting it nicely, sort of time-bound, with the “'60’s generation” liking it and pretty much everyone else doing their best to remain Catholic in spite of it.

So a new hymnal was generously donated by a Parish member.

Now the question has arisen;

Can recorded music be used to support it?

Can recorded music with voices be used to support it?

Technically we know recorded music is or was not allowed {“De musica sacra et sacra liturgia” D71} but it is the only option for support of the music {we have no musicians and it seems this is allowed now?}

Next, we have some folks who don’t like to sing demanding voices on the recorded music {yeah, can you believe it…? They also want to simply make copies of a few OCP “hymns” and make a Parish hymnbook…I know, I know…can’t get them to accept copyright laws but no worries, they won’t be allowed to do that!}.

Our Priest says “NO RECORDED VOICES” because we must be participatory not just there at Mass to listen to a CD. That is the position of Sacrosanctum Concilium Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Ch 1 Para 14.

Not that we need more, but since I support the Priest in his view, what other documents exist that shed light on these questions?


There’s nothing wrong with singing a capella. The person who donated the hymnals should have taken into consideration that you had no instrument or anyone to play.
Have someone with a lovely voice get up and lead the singing. It can be lovely.
NO recordings.
Even a simple instrument can be nice. You don’t need a huge pipe organ.
Keep in mind, that many parishes upgrade their instruments. You almost can’t give away an old organ. Have your pastor place a notice in the Diocesan Communique that goes to all the priests. I’ll wager someone has an instrument they’d like to give to you.
There’s always a pianist in the pews. :stuck_out_tongue:

The hymnal doesn’t require the music. The old OCP was embarrassing even with a guitar. We don’t have anyone with a really good voice.

There aren’t any pianists in the pews {I thought that, too, but there aren’t}. We have one gem of a gal who is playing one-handed now and isn’t doing too bad! But the real issue is the original questions as the few who want the OCP are common to their generation and convinced it is “hip” music and will bring in the “youth”. I and my wife and a umber of others are tail-end baby boomers who hated the whole genre from the gitgo so we happen to be just fine with the decision of our Priest, but we are curious if there is any other documentary support for his position.

I’m not sure I understand.
OCP isn’t offering the dreadful post-Vat II music that we had in the old Glory and Praise hymnals.
I’m thinking there are some in the parish that are just deriding anything of a later era. There’s nothing “wrong” with the music currently for sale, in large part. Like everything, you’re not going to please everyone all the time. Although if you have no one at all musical ( I think that may be an overstatement…likely the talented people have already had enough of the debate and are not coming forward) he or she may struggle with some of the rhythms.
If your fellow parishioners think that’s sacrilegious to throw our worship aides (which are NOT sacramental, BTW) then I think you may have a bigger problem among the membership.
We don’t use missalettes due to the recycling issue. But we do toss funeral programs, old bulletins, and heavily soiled unblessed prayer cards when they need to be tossed. The Word of God is not bound by a piece of paper. It’s a living thing.

What exactly is your question?

Can recorded music be used to support it?

Can recorded music with voices be used to support it?



*** De musica sacra et sacra liturgia*** 71.

The use of automatic instruments and machines, such as the automatic organ, phonograph, radio, tape or wire recorders, and other similar machines, is absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions and private devotions, whether they are held inside or outside the church, even if these machines be used only to transmit sermons or sacred music, or **to substitute for the singing of the choir or faithful, or even just to support it. **


You all made your beds, now sleep in them and don’t fret. I’ve said it over and over again on CAF, and the traditionalists pooh-pooh me, but they’re wrong.

The reason why traditional music isn’t used is because the people in the pews can’t do it because they don’t know how to sing, and “supporting” musicians are hard to come by.

Here’s my advice, Valdemar–advertise and HIRE musicians and cheerfully PAY them the going rates in your area (in our area, it’s $75.00/Mass).

Perhaps the kind person who generously donated “real” hymnals will be kind enough to put up the cash to pay the musician(s).

Mass musicians do not need to be Catholic. That’s documented.

You should be able to spread the word/advertise in universities, local music clubs and theaters, schools, etc. There must be people within a fifty mile radius who play or sing. There MUST be piano teachers around who have a connection with other musicians.

You might luck out and meet a softie like me who does not make a living from music but who is nevertheless skilled, experienced, and willing to accommodate whatever style of music you prefer, and not charge you anything. :slight_smile:

Be prepared to CHANGE your Mass times to accommodate musicians (like me) who are already playing/singing at multiple parishes on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. If you do a 1:30 p.m. Mass on Sundays, it would be kind of you to offer a lunch to the musician that you hire, because they have probably been up since dawn getting music together and driving all over the area to be at the various parishes where they are serving.

If you truly live in an area with no skilled musicians, then donate your new hymnals to a parish that can actually use them. It’s depressing staring week after week at a gift that you can’t use because you don’t know how.

Or you can always eliminate all music from your Mass, as disturbingly and unbelievably, so many people in the other music thread swore that they prefer. :frowning:

I hope this advice is helpful and that you are able to hire someone to help you.

Yup. ANd if the rate in your area is as she says…snag it! It’s $150 per hour around here.

I realize this is outside of the scope of the original question but what are the implications of forbidding recorded music for “private devotions”?

This is just me talking off the top of my head (not always a good idea, but I’m working without documentation here), but I don’t think there are any “implications,” because I don’t think that recorded music for private devotions is forbidden. If it were forbidden, how could EWTN justify the “International Rosary,” and the various musical settings of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?

That said, this is off topic. Back on topic, Cat’s advice is absolutely spot-on.

The FSSP priest where I now attend the EF is charged $300 per Sunday Mass to cover the costs of the organist and other things. He’s an administrator of another parish, though, and must deal with his own costs.

Generally, there are two hymns sung, not that traditional, as well as the Asperges Me and the other EF stuff you’re probably familiar with. This is in Naperville. So if you’re not doing anything on Sunday night…

If you’re serious about this, P.M. me. We have relatives in Naperville, and my husband’s skating coaches live fairly near, too. I’m not sure I want to commit to anything during the winter months on Sunday evenings, but once it starts warming up and getting light outside—?

If someone tells me what to play at the EF, I’m happy to play it, but I honestly don’t comprehend what’s going on at the EF of the Mass, and I don’t remember from Mass to Mass what the various chants are. I just do what other CAF members have recommended, and sit back and “be” during the Mass. In my hometown, the music teacher cues me when to play. Also, my organ teacher is very comfortable with the Latin Mass and he can teach me.

If we are going to hire instrumentalists, including non-Catholic ones, at $75/Mass, can they at least be organists? If I were a priest, I would not pay $75/Mass for some of the slip shod quality musicians out there, especially ones who have not studied the relevant documents of the Church. Some of them have not even taken music lessons…and worse, it shows.

In this case, I advocate the a cappella route. High quality hymns can be sung a capella.

The OP has not mentioned the name of the hymnal. It would kind of help to know which hymnal is being remarked on here.

Also, a word on the throwaway hymnals. Legally, you cannot use them for any purpose after the expiration date, not even for singing a well known hymn such as “Come Holy Ghost”. Therefore, I advocate hardbound ones. I own a copy of the Adoremus Hymnal published by Ignatius Press for my own personal use. It has SATB choir and organ versions as well. I am not here to sell you anything, as that is against forum rules. I just want people to know that there are high quality products out there.

You can use Come Holy Ghost whenever you want. :rolleyes:
Most people know it by heart. Impromtu singing is permitted.
But the point is, that a good pianist can play an organ. If they don’t have hymnals I doubt they have a huge pipe organ.
They can make do. It just sounds like everyone wants St. Peter’s on a small church in the country budget.
Many people have NO IDEA what it takes to run a successful music program.
And as for trained liturgists? They are out there. Again, no one wants to employ them. But it’s fine…there are plenty of know everything’s in the pews.

It is true that, at least with OCP, their disposable hymnals cannot be used after their expiration date, and that company is QUITE litigious. Remember that most of the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches do not use musical instruments, and they chant nearly the entire Divine Liturgy a cappella.

However, the organ is the Latin tradition. One place to check for inexpensive electronic organs is by calling your local Mormon stake office. Whenever they renovate or update one of their meeting houses, they usually install a new organ and sell the old one cheap. Since they usually maintain their instruments carefully, the used organ should be in good working order. There is also Craigslist, where full-size organs (occasionally pipe organs) can often be acquired for very little, since organs are hard to sell.


I did not say you cannot sing “Come Holy Ghost.”

I said you cannot sing “Come Holy Ghost” by reading it out of an expired hymnal. That is the word I get from the forum posters of the Church Music Association of America, an organization consisting of people who I know have studied the relevant laws, both Church and secular.

I am not expecting St. Peter’s quality music at the parish down the street. On the contrary, I said that if there are no quality instrumentalists available, let them sing a capella. My parents’ parish, with only about twenty regular attendees each Sunday, does it. And if you have enough to form a choir, well and good, but need not be.

But if…not that a parish has to…but if a parish shells out $75/Mass, it better be somebody who is well trained in the art of liturgical music. Not everyone qualifies.

I agree that it should be somebody who is well-trained in the art of liturgical music. But because Catholic churches aren’t willing to pay competitive salaries to musicians, I fear that you will see less and less liturgically-trained musicians in the future.

And as we see less and less of them, we will see less and less traditionally-done music in the Mass, and people will come to see the more contemporary music played on instruments other than the organ as The Standard for Mass, and get upset if traditional music played on organ is done instead of what they are used to.

Just to give you an idea–I pay $250.00/month to take organ lessons from a FAGO (Fellow of the American Guild of Organists) who has almost 50 years of experience playing for liturgical services (Lutheran) and is also more knowledgeable about Catholic liturgy (Latin Mass) than most Catholics.

That’s a hunk-a-cash. It’s basically my retirement fund. And I doubt I’ll ever make it back again playing for Masses, unless there is a total change of thinking in the Catholic Church in the United States.

You see, I don’t make a living from music. I have a real job in a hospital and get a regular paycheck. Full-time musicians don’t have the luxury that I do of choosing to play for no fee, but only to serve. They have to pay bills. And if the Catholic Church isn’t willing to pay them a living wage, they have to go someplace that does.

It seems kind of hypocritical that so many prominent (and regular folks) Catholics profess support for paying employees a decent living wage–but they won’t or don’t pay musicians a living wage. It’s wrong.

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