This is a question for both Catholics and Protestants as well as anyone else here.
Do you get anything spiritual out of music at church?
I for one do not. Every fifth sunday the Methodist church which I attend has a morning service comprised entirely of music and singing. The only part of the actual worship service retained is the offeratory prayer and closing prayer. My aunt told me that she feels as much in communion with The Lord by listening to music as she does during the regular worship but I am 100% in disagreement.
I think that music in church is nothing more than a distraction from worshipping God. Am I out of the norm here?


I attend a Latin Mass and we sing Gregorian Chant, the Missa de Angelis at the appropriate parts in the Mass.

I find my heart swelling within me when I hear/sing it. I also catch myself singing it at times during the day. Gloria in excelsis Deo

BTW, Catholics regard the Mass as the highest form of worship. I know many other non-Cs misunderstand worship from a Catholic perspective. St. Augustine once said, “He who sings, prays twice.”

Recent research has confirmed the similarity between Hebraic music and ancient forms of Christian chant.

But I agree that much of the religious music sung today (what use to be known as hymns) is banal and distracting.


The ideal church would have Catholic style worship including the Communion every service and would have Protestant style Sola Scriptura beliefs (no intercession of Saints, Mary etc) and would only have a hymn at the very beginning of the Service and one at the very end. This church would be 100% against abortion and euthanasia and there would be no homosexual ministers nor would women be allowed to be ministers or bishops.
This would be a grand church but alas is does not exist:(


Listen to Track 3.

Gregorian chant and Jewish chant.

I sang in my cathedral choir for 18 years. I have seen how music can move a congregation. I don’t mean the guitar, drum, and keyboard rubbish but Gregorian chant, sacred motets in Latin, and the hymns and anthems of a vast well of composers which got thrown out after V II. When I joined the choir in 1983, the cathedral parish had less than 200 families/individuals registered. Today, there are well over 1500 families/individuals registered. Part of it is a reverent orthodox NO and part of it is having a choir that routinely chants, sings sacred motets in Latin, and leads the congregation in singing traditional Catholic hymns. You ought to hear our congregation belt out Immaculate Mary, Praise to the Lord, and To Jesus Christ, Our Sovreign King.


As a protestant, I found that the music itself wasn’t particularly distracting, but the singers definitally were. I went to a large church where the singers/band was the focus, IMHO. There’s no need to be dancing on stage, have an entire contemporary band center stage, have the cameras focusing on the singers and have colored lights flowing across the stage.

At the same time I remember attending a small church where the songs were so wishy-washy that yes, I do remember now being distracted by them, thinking that they almost denied that God was a God of power.

But in my Catholic church, the songs that we do sing are often based on psalms or are psalms themselves. The lyrics also seem to cut the difference, talking about God’s power as well as God’s mercy and creation.

I find my heart swelling within me when I hear/sing it. I also catch myself singing it at times during the day. Gloria in excelsis Deo

Me too, my friends have asked me what I was singing before and I realized I was singing under my breath in Latin. They chalk it up to as one of my ‘weird Catholic traits’. :stuck_out_tongue:


Funnily enough, sometimes I find myself humming the Tantum ergo … and it’s always moving to hear one priest of my acquaintance who will sometimes spontaneously start singing the prayers during Mass and to hear the congregation sing the responses note perfect and full voice :thumbsup:


Apart from the Sola Scriptura thing (which isn’t biblical, btw) you are describing the Catholic Church. Now, if you could only understand the Communion of Saints, as the Church actually teaches it, you would join the Church that Christ founded that has existed since 33 AD and will continue to exist until Christ comes again. :wink:

And any music that isn’t theologically sound IS nothing but a distraction. IMHO all the sweet, sickening “Jesus and me” songs out there could be dumped and burned with no loss to anyone. Besides, the Mass is all about worshiping God in word and sacrament, not about how we felt during the Mass. It is meant to impart God’s grace to us not make us feel any way at all, good or bad.


Lily, I sing Jesu Dulcis Memoria to myself. I have been known to clean house listening to and chanting along with this CD of Gregorian Chants which was recorded in 1959 by Benedictine monks at Clairvaux, France and re-released on CD in 1987.

Two hymns? Beginning and end? Don’t think so. I’ve had great fun at Sacred Harp workshops singing with my Protestant brethren. Southern American tradition of singing 4 part harmonic hymns acapella. These guys really BELIEVE in congregational singing. St. Augustine had it right - if you sing you pray twice.


My grandparents LOVED Sacred Harp Music. I can remember going to singings with them when I was a child (Corinth Baptist where that fella from the Smithsonian made all those tapes back in the fifties is 1/2 mile from my house), however the church I attend doesn’t have SH Music but instead these hymns written in the early twentieth century, nothing newer than 1950 or so. Too many of 'em dwell on mansions in glory and whatnot.
Sort of selfish sounding to me.


Matthew 26 is the account of the Last Supper, when Jesus established the Eucharist. Matthew 26: 30 says, “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

I am aware that it was traditional to end the Passover feast with the singing of a hymn.

But Jesus certainly didn’t hesitate to fly in the face of useless tradition. (E.g. speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, or healing on the Sabbath).

But He chose to keep the tradition of singing a Passover hymn.

I find it extremely touching that Jesus sang a hymn with His disciples before He went to the Garden of Olives to experience unimaginable agony.

He knew that He was on His way to a terrible ordeal, a pain-filled and humiliating death on the cross, where He would bear all the sins of all mankind.

So He sang with His disciples, His friends.

I imagine that during the hymn, His voice must have cracked and broken several times as He realized that He would no longer sing hymns with these men on this earth again.

I imagine that He gathered comfort and strength from singing that hymn with those men that He loved. It was one of His last acts with His disciples.

I wonder if the hymn that they sang together that night was remembered by the Apostles afterward, and if they made a point of singing that hymn whenever they gathered together? Do you suppose that before He was crucified, perhaps even while the nails were being driven into him, St. Peter hummed that beloved hymn and rejoiced that He would soon be singing it again with Jesus, “the Christ, the Son of the Living God?”

There are so many passages of Scripture that encourage us to SING! Colossians 4: 16 and Psalm 100: 2 are just two examples. “Psalm” is another word for “song,” and these passages of Scripture are songs, not just poetical readings.

Yes, I get something “spiritual” out of music. I don’t have a very good voice, but I love to sing and praise God with others. I can’t sing with a congregation when I’m alone! I need a couple dozen/hundred/thousand people around me to sing with others!

Since I don’t have a good voice, I prefer to sing with others so that all together, we can create a beautiful piece of music for our Lord. My little voice is pretty weak by itself, but when I join with others, we sound mighty! Isn’t this a picture of the Church? Alone, a Christian is wolf food. But when we join with others in the Church, we are a mighty army for God.

When I sing with others, I am encouraged and strengthened, and I hope that the others are encouraged and strengthened. Many times when I leave Mass, I leave singing the Closing Hymn softly to myself. The songs that I sing in church are a great comfort to me all week long.

I have played the piano in church since I was in 6th grade; I’m now 49 years old. I love accompanying people as they sing. I realize that many people don’t like to sing, and I’m sorry for them. But our Lord apparently considered singing with others important enough that He did it with His disciples the night before He died. If He got something out of it, so can we.

I humbly suggest that those who don’t get anything out of singing in church ask St. Cecilia to pray for them and help them to get beyond the musical style or the limitations of the humans singing around them.

I also humbly suggest that those who don’t get anything out of singing in church should consider the following practical steps.

  1. Find a Mass that has a musical style that you enjoy. Unless you are in a small town, many churches offer different kinds of masses. The small church that I play for has a contemporary guitar mass as well as the more traditional hymn mass. When I play piano, I often include contemporary pieces because the people have told me how much they enjoy them.

  2. Take some voice lessons. I’m serious. Many times, people don’t like to sing because they are singing incorrectly and it hurts their throats.

  3. Learn to read music. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Our local music club is now offering music reading for the community. Perhaps the music minister or some other talented person in your parish would be willing to teach a four-week course in “Reading Music.” I honestly think most average adults could pick up the basics of reading music in just a few hour.

  4. Pay careful attention to the words of all the songs that you sing in church. This can really help when you are singing a style of music that you really don’t enjoy. I’m not fond of contemporary Christian music, but occasionally I attend our LifeTeen mass, and I find that most of the songs have beautiful words that help me draw nearer to God and to others in the congregation.


Here is another piece of advice from the annals of history for those who need help enjoying congregational singing. Read it and enjoy!

Directions for Singing
from John Wesley’s preface to Sacred Melody, 1761

I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others: afterwards learn as many as you please.

II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

III. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

IV. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

VI. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.


The Catholic Church teaches that sacred music is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. Unfortunately, she allowed its curches to become saturated with bad, banal and otherwise unworthy music at about the same time she was making this pronouncement. This unworthy music is one of the greatest sources of friction in the Catholic Church today.

FWIW, it was this treasury of sacred music (Gregorian chant, polyphony) that brought me back to God and the Church after a 30 year absence.


Some find GOd in prayer, some find Him in music, some find him in Study. The more gates the better, IMO.


Oh, Lord! There is a raw quality to SH hymns that appeals to me. It is so disntinctly Southern. But I am a Catholic southerner as were my ancestors. If by Corinth, you mean Mississippi, then I have a great great uncle who was with Beauregard (another Catholic southerner) there. I often wonder about how Louisiana Catholic troops were received. But I digress. I got introduced to SH music through the owner of a then, record shop, close to LSU who is also the organist for an Episcopal church and now owns the biggest independent CD shop in Baton Rouge. Music, IMHO, is non-denominational - we can praise God in a variety of ways.


I would like to hear some SH music again, haven’t heard it since grandpa’s funeral back in '92.
Corinth Baptist is in Fyffe, Alabama, it’s a famous church but now mostly abandoned as the First Baptist and Church of God have over the years drawn it’s congregation away with their fancy ways and “Youth Programs”:frowning: I am one of a very few number of people here who doesn’t attend one of those two High Rollin churches, I attend a Congregational Methodist church about 5 miles away out in the middle of nowhere.


Sorry, I tend to think of Corinth as in Battle of…Where is Fyffe? I’ve been all over Alabama but never heard of Fyffe.



We have a praise band and hymns. I like most of the music, but I would prefer less. I dont think I would go to a service with all music.


Northeastern corner in DeKalb County, high atop Sand Mountain:thumbsup:


The traditional Liturgies of the Eastern churches, both Orthodox and Eastern Catholic, are chanted for a majority of holy worship. In my tradition (I am a Maronite Catholic) the traditional service is entirely chanted, interchanging Arabic and Syriac (form of Aramaic, the language the Christ spoke). We have many visitors who are brought to tears because of our service, it is truly remarkable. I would encourage all of you to attend an Eastern Christian church Divine Liturgy, not only to witness the “music” for music is the worship, but for an all together fascinating and ancient perspective of Christianity.


I believe that God loves all kinds of music. It comes from him. While visiting churches in other countries, I realized that my notion of what “church” music is changed. Each culture has its own style and instrumentation. The music itself is personal preferance. What’s important are the words. Do they glorify God? Do they speak the gospel? Is it based on scripture? Or are they empty words that repeat over and over? I like country/western gospel, up-beat contemporary, celtic hymns, jewish praise, and old fashioned hymns. I like almost all of it. I find great comfort in the words and most often they are MY prayer back to my Father.

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