New Catholic Music?!

First, let me the say that I stand by the bishops and agree with the explicit reforms (i.e. the new mass translation, etc.) coming out of the Vatican II Council. My issue arises with “popular catholic culture”. For me, the Church is God’s holy institution, and should be treated with all proper respect, ceremony, etc.

When these “catholic” songs, however, that are put to rock/pop beats are broadcasted on the radio and/or television, my stomach literally churns. I may be way off, but when you take holy and sacrosanct concepts like God, the eucharist, etc., and stick them into this form of music, it seems to me that the person is actually degrading those very ideas. For me, this new catholic music is a terrible “innovation”, straying way off course from any Church teaching, tradition, etc. ’

One final note. These songs seem to mirror (albeit, the ideas beyond them are different, but the format is the same) those songs of Baptist, and other Protestant traditions. When I go to mass, I like to feel that I have entered a Roman Catholic Church, not a Baptist convention center!



In your second paragraph, you state that the music is on the radio and/or television.

in the third paragraph, you imply (but don’t specifically state) taht the music is done at Mass.

Which is it?

And do you mind naming some specific songs?

Thank you for clarifying.

Yes, the music is broadcasted on EWTN radio, and I have heard them on the TV.

Secondly, most of the songs in my parish I have no objection too; they fit and denote a great sense of closeness to the Lord. Many times though, I have heard how the songs in parishes have resembled these protestant traditions

I disagree that it is always disrespectful to arrange these songs for rock and gosple style groups. I think that is art, that is the sound the group uses to express their musical ideas, and as long as it isn’t a parody or deliberately blasphemous, I don’t see a problem with that on TV and the radio. I agree that it is totally inappropriate in Mass.

This might apply to “gospel” music but not most rock. I question that it is art because most of it is devoid of love, beauty, and truth that characterize traditional forms of music [even country & western]. :yup:

I might know nothing about it, but I’ll definitely have an opinion. :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with the OP in this case. This is one of the reasons that I avoid the OF when ever possible. Locally we are lucky to have a small rural parish that sings fairly reverent music.

Only ocassionally will they sing a Marty Haugen or some other “up-beat” style song.

The Mass and other liturgies have guidelines about what music should be used. These guidelines are consistently and nearly universally ignored, but there are guidelines nonetheless.

However, I would say that, given the nature of radio and television and other such media, that it would certainly be fully acceptable to have “Christian music”/pop/rock-with-Jesus-in-the-lyrics music. Furthermore, I actually strongly advocate for this type of music (but not only this type) in parish events like popular devotions and parish picnics so that people can get it out of their systems so that it won’t infect the Mass.

I think it is a rather good idea to have this type of music in the airwaves also for evangelical reasons.

Remember the movie Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg? She posed as a sister who ended up in a parish with dwindling attendance. She began rock 'n roll music at mass and attendance filled the church. I thought how sad that you have to entertain people to get them to church. :sad_yes:

As a music enthusiast, I have to sort of disagree with the comments about how this type of music isn’t as holy as the old type. I’ll say up front that I’m not a big fan of either pop or rock, but then again, I can’t say I’m really into hymns either, especially when I sing them in choir. They’re beautiful to hear, and have wonderful lyrical content, and I love them for this; but singing them is awful, and sort of distracting for me personally. To be honest, when I sing some hymns which are particularly musically uninspiring I feel as though I’m in a chorus pumping out a repetitive melody for some taskmaster choir director.

There are some hymns I love singing, like “Eagle’s Wings” and “By the Waking of Our Hearts” et al. However, most hymns are uninspiring, and do not help me with focusing on the Mass. I know for a fact that my peers feel the same way.

As part of the older generation, who grew up hearing this music at Mass, I understand a special bond of love for them, but some people just don’t feel that way. I’m not saying that we should be playing pop music or show tunes at Mass, but grand songs like “The Church’s One Foundation” and “Crown Him With Many Crowns” are not simply holy by nature of their musical structure, and that they give certain people headaches from singing them.

My main point here is not to say that all traditional music is horrible; I love it myself, and think it is good in its way. However, I think that perhaps people are letting personal taste overpower the tastes of others. As the child of African immigrants, I can say that most Africans find Masses here appalling in every way. My cousin often complains that the Mass is too short, the music is droll and uninspiring, there is no dancing (there is always some form of dancing in African Masses), and it is rather limp spiritually.

We all have different ideas of what Mass should be, due to culture. When deciding which music would be appropriate for Mass, we should consider the merits of the music, not their similarity to other people’s music, or our specific distaste for the style. But that’s just my two cents on the matter.

I get a bit upset when Protestant standards like *How Great Thou Art *and Amazing Grace are among the songs selected for Mass. Have we no good Catholic hymns?

Under the cover of The New Liturgy, we have been using Marty Haugen’s Mass of Creation. Talk about putting new wine in an old wineskin. I’m rather certain that the Gloria and the Agnus Dei do not square with the GIRM. It is agonizing to listen to the choir stammer through it as Haugen Hymnody is stretched across the new liturgy.

When an inquiry was made to the diocesean liturgy office about whether the Agnus Dei was licit, the response was more of an explanation for the verses changing with the seasons. “Risen Lord”, “Bread of Life”, “Newborn King,” etc. A non-answer.

Fr Joe’s Blog took Marty Haugen to task a few years ago. IIRC, it was mentioned that Haugen wasn’t even Catholic and that he may have said uncharitable things about the Church. If true, then why do we line his pockets with our silver?

I disagree. The Truth of a song is in the lyrics. If you take a hymn and arrange it with the same lyrics, the Truth remains. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but truth is truth and love is love.

There’s no way you can construe the sounds of someone screaming bloody murder is beautiful. :nope: It is nihilism and therefore anti-Christian. :sad_yes:

How do you mean? I don’t see how you can logically come to that conclusion. Rock music does not require “screaming bloody murder”, though some styles of rock do sound like screaming to me. I can find many aspects of beauty in the music of different rock styles. Some styles which are offensive to my ears illicent responses of beauty to other people. Rock music generally follows simple, organized patterns of rhythms and a simple, repeditive harmonic structure. While the morals of select few rock artists might be influenced by nihilism, I don’t see a legitimate claim that the style itself is an example of nihilism.

I have only been to a handful of Latin Masses that have music, because I think I have mostly been to what they call Low Masses. They do not have hymns or other music inserted into the Mass, or even in a High Mass, at least that is how it appears to me. I think that the music that people disagree about is stuff that is inserted into the Mass, (Ordinary Form) and not really a part of it, which is why it doesn’t flow. I know I may be wrong, here, so maybe someone else can comment on this angle.

Whether the music is from the 18th century or from :eek: :wink: the 1960’s onward… I like to focus on the words of the hymn being sung. For me, I can then experience closeness to the God I love and seek to know better.

What if one of the authors of the contemporary hymns was on this forum right now? Just a thought… :slight_smile:

But, obviously, the 1st century hymns are the most reverent and holy. Things started to fall apart in the 2nd century. :rolleyes: I know I’m being sarcastic, but I believe it is possible to embrace music from an earlier day (which is immensely beautiful!) and also feel the presence of God in more modern hymns (also beautiful in their own way - think Hosea).

Good topic for Liturgy and Sacraments. Please post appropriately.


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