MERGED: Looking for opinions from young people regarding Chant

Suppose a pastor or parish music director says something like “one reason we don’t do Gregorian Chant (or sacred polyphony) is because young people aren’t drawn to it, they would rather have contemporary-sounding music.”

How would you as a young person (let’s say, those under the age of 30) respond to that assertion and to the assumptions underlying it? And if you knew that both Vatican II and subsequent popes have made it clear that the Church has not abandoned Gregorian Chant, would that change your response?

I’m 18 and I like Gregorian Chant. There is a boys choir at our Cathedral that I sang in for several years and we learned some. It’s beautiful. I think if it’s done well young people would enjoy it. The main problem is there aren’t very many directors familiar or trained in it. Not to mention they(the music directors) often grew up on contemporary music and may not be interested in Chant…it’s not what they signed up for per say.

I would say, Whatever! Gregorian chant is universally appreciated. Even pagans like it for its “zen” like quality. When I was a 16 year old heathen I liked it, I remember some techno music that used Chant samples, we loved it.
I imagine the people saying that it doesn’t attract young people are over 45 and have no idea what young people like. That, and they are completely deceived by the devil for oppressing what is one of the most beautiful forms of worship in the world.

I am 30, sorry, but I still feel 20!

In my area, the ones who say young people won’t like chant are actually older people near my age (51) or a bit older, who were the ones responsible for the wholesale destruction of Church music after Vatican II. They project their own (bad) taste on younger people who are in fact attracted to the aesthetic of the genre. I talked recently with a young musician (young lady in her early 20s) who was exasperated by her parish’s lack of interest in chant, and she was thrown exactly the same argument by the 60-something children of Vatican II.

I get a bit frustrated when adults seem to think that way. I’m 17, and I find Gregorian chant to be beautiful! It’s very reverent and uplifting. I am more drawn to traditional hymns and music like that at Mass, actually. However, I do like it better when I know and can understand the words, which is hard for me since I know only a tiny bit of Latin.

Well I’m 22 and I LOVE chant. I would say that a good bit of our teen group likes it as well (at least as “Church Music”), as do our recent group alums who now participate in it up at Magdalen College. My pastor uses it a lot as background music at our parish, during confession and such…just wish we could get one of the choirs to learn it.:rolleyes:

And I agree that many of the older generations tend to think that they know what younger people like, but since they never ask us, they are usually wrong.

I’m have been involved in active youth and music ministry the last few years and am 27 myself. Also, I am aware that Pope Benedict XVI has said that Gregorian Chant and Polyphony should be given “pride of place” as the musical styles of the Church. However, I have never heard the phrase “pride of place” before, so I don’t know what it specifically implies for practical purposes. All of that said, I have seen contempory music appeal to younger people, including myself. I know conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, but I have known deep conversion to occur during worship while contemporary music was being played/sung.

Are you familiar with the idea of “inculturation?” Basically, the Church says that Mass is supposed to be different (in non-essential elements) in different parts of the world because different places have their own cultural traditions. For example, in Africa, the Gospel Acclamation can take several minutes as the priest or deacon processes/dance all through the congregation with the Gospel before reading it.

So inculturation would apply in the case of using music that is part of the culture present at your Mass. Most specific contemporary songs in the OCP/Spirit and Song genre are not a part of the established “youth in america” culture. But playing them, and other modern worship music, in a style familiar to young people should be acceptable, assuming you actually have young people at your Mass. Given all of this, electric guitars and drum kits are more a part of youth culture than pianos and tambourines.

So in your opinion, if a pastor or music director said that young people are not drawn to chant, do not want chant, do not enjoy chant and would derive nothing from chant, would that be a correct (or mostly correct) or incorrect (or mostly incorrect) statement?

I think you need to ask the young people in your parish. Teenagers and young people who are involved with CAF will very likely be extraordinarily interested in the Church, and therefore more likely to appreciate the historical and traditional value of Gregorian chant than the typical teen in the pews.

Perhaps you can buttonhole young people in the parking lot after Mass. It would be an interesting experience.

The phrase, and its reference to Gregorian Chant, is actually found in the documents of Vatican II. Judging from experience, one common interpretation of the phrase seems to be “ignored completely”. :shrug:

I understand your point, but I think you would agree in return that there is a bit of “chicken or egg” involved. Can people have a worthwhile opinion on something they know nothing about? So how would one interpret the reactions of people (of any age) who knew very little or nothing of chant and its use in the liturgy?

im 29, and i preferred gregorian chants actually.:smiley:

I’m 27 and prefer Gregorian chant and polyphony. Then again I also prefer Latin and the Roman Canon. I’m not a hardcore traditionalist either. While I like the TLM, my favorite Mass is actually the hybrid English/Latin NO with chant and the Roman Canon that my parish does every Sunday.

I’m 23, and I love chant :slight_smile: in fact, I can’t stand contemporary music at Mass! I don’t think it has a place in liturgy. Also I completely agree with Pope Benedict’s view on sacred music (he prefers chant too, certainly nothing with guitars).

That is completely my opinion as well, except that I’m 8 years younger :D…

I’m with the last two posts…:smiley:

I am 27, and I have never liked contemporary music at Mass, yuck! It’s fine outside of mass, but during mass it just seems watered down.The Gregorian chant is just so beautiful and heavenly! Contemporary music just doesn’t seem to have the same level of something…I can’t put my finger on the word…holiness…reverence…there is just something almost otherworldly about the feelings that Gregorian chant evokes, which is fitting for the Mass!

I agree, Kedera. I attended a Mass last Sunday that had a ‘Contemporary Ensemble’ with women playing acoustic guitars and a bass. Bear in mind, I don’t usually attend Mass at this church…and will try to refrain from doing so again:thumbsup:

On top of that, they sang a song written by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, which during the Holy Mass is just too weird.

We need real Sacred music in our churches!!

Have young people even heard of chant?
I had sort of heard the phrase but never knew much about it or even that it was Catholic.
A few years ago I discovered gregorian chant and now I kinda feel cheated after all those years of Hear I am Lord. :slight_smile:

I love all sorts of popular and folk music, but not for Mass.

Vat II said Latin should be preserved, that we should be able to sing or at least say our bits of the Mass in Latin and that gregorian chant should be given pride of place at Mass. The word pride in the Latin means first, foremost, most necessary. How many Parishes give chant first place at Mass. This a decree of a Church Council and must not be ignored.

Chant comes from the Jews, yep Jesus chanted! It became the Church’s own music (codified by Pope Gregory hence the name) with its sole purpouse to serve the liturgy. Church docs on Music say chanting the dialogue should be given first preference, then the Gloria, Our Father, Lamb of God etc and lastly the Entrance, Offetorey and Communion Chants (yes chant) - the texts must be approved. Many parishes I’ve been to have a four hymn folk/pop sandwhich with guitar which is the opposite way around.

We must obey and follow what the Church says. The Mass is not about our personal opinions, or entertainment. It just so happens the Church says chant and I love chant. :smiley:

There was a CD of Chant released the other year. It was top 10 on the UK pop charts!

I’m almost 17 and I love Gregorian Chant. It has a sense of sacredness. It also gives a deeper sense of worship than the other contemporary hymns do. I sometimes get sick of the contemporary music at my parish. That is a reason why many people find that the Mass is bland.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit