Pope Francis Calls for Reform in Liturgical Music


What are your thoughts on this? https://aleteia.org/2017/03/08/pope-francis-calls-for-end-to-mediocrity-banality-and-superficiality-in-liturgical-music/

Would the music at your parish satisfy His Holiness? :slight_smile:


It seems kind of vague. I’m having a knee issue (intense pain) this afternoon/evening, so maybe I’m just missing something.

It just doesn’t seem to say much.



I’m my opinion, Catholic liturgical music is abysmal. Which I don’t understand why since we have wonderful hymns that are beautiful and ancient. But they are rarely used.

Good on Pope Francis!!!


From someone who plays music at mass, a lot of music is played by volunteers who aren’t professional. The newer music is easier to play. Also contrary to what’s found on the forum, many parishioners prefer the new music


A lot of contemporary music is sung in keys where I can’t hit anything written as a D (sometimes C or even B! depending upon the song) or higher. It’s really discouraging.

I find that older, more traditional stand bys or, perhaps unsurprisingly, old American folk hymns (not exactly traditional) far easier to sing.

But this could probably be corrected by simply using a different key and not so much an issue with whether or not something is “contemporary.”


I am grateful we have music and the volunteers to play. I have been told, there were a few years where there was no music at the church we now attend.


This news item from Aleteia is over a year old. I vaguely recall a thread about it at the time.


I’ve sang at Mass as well. While it is true that most of the newer songs are extremely easy, it’s not like we are asking for Palestrina to be sung at every Mass. We’re just asking that Dan Shutte not be played.


D is a key that’s easy for guitar and piano to play together in unison without the use of a capo. Also since the majority of parishioners are women it’s easier for them to sing in


Could you elaborate one what you mean by “professional musician?”

I play for several churches, Catholic and Protestant, and I am paid–but when I play in my home parish, I do not charge. Does that make me a volunteer or a professional?

And I only play part time, and mainly for churches (although I do some secular accompanying work for pay, but usually don’t have the time to accept many of these gigs). So I consider myself professional, but I don’t earn my living with music.

I consider myself a very good pianist (and so do the people in my parish, and in the churches I play for). I’m an acceptable organist who probably gets a little crazy with all the bells and whistles during the big traditional hymns (people love it!). I would love to get a regular organ gig in a church so that I could get more experience in accompanying hymns.

I guess I’m not really sure what you’re saying–(sorry my knee feels like a tooth-ache, pain-deadened brain here). Do you think that no one should play for Mass except professionals who earn their primary living with music?

I don’t agree with that. I think that people should be encouraged to volunteer even if they aren’t that good, and I think that the congregation should learn to appreciate everyone’s service. I’ve heard some cantors that are not really very good, but their willingness to serve makes their creaky, off-pitch voices beautiful, IMO.

I really don’t want to see Catholic churches be like the megachurches, who hire professional bands to do their Praise and Worship, and who make little children audition to be in the Christmas pageant (I’m not making that up).


And it’s the reason I (and probably many other men) aren’t singing much. Even my wife thinks it’s too high.


2 thoughts:

It’s about time.

Thank you!


If he means bringing back ancient chants and polyphony instead of these folk guitar and garage band masses, then yes absolutely! We should also encourage the composition of new yet beautiful and reverent hymns and chants.


That’s interesting. Is there a key men find easier to sing (curious, but music illiterate )?


I actually think that a lot of older hymns are user-friendly. My daughter is a second-year clarinetist who can play Amazing Grace with ease.


Amazing grace isn’t really what people on here are talking about when they talk about older music they want at mass


Also in the church music biz for decades, I have to disagree with the newer music as easier to play. But, then again, what do you mean by the “newer” music? If you take the the old traditional hymns like “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Holy God We Praise Thy Name,” etc., they are simply the common time, straight metered with simple quarter and half notes tunes that are so easy to play. If you compare those to what the “newer” songs you find in a source like “Spirit and Song,” they contain not only quarter and half notes, but throw in many 8ths and 16ths tied from measure to measure in a syncopated style, that I see as much harder to sing and play.

As far as Dan Schutte is concerned, his collection of music for the Easter Triduum is excellent, IMO. Opening Holy Thursday Evening Mass with “Glory In The Cross” is powerful. To each his own I guess.


The key really has nothing to do with anything when a composer writes new music. It is the notes within any key and how high or low they go, or what the “range” is. However, if you take an already composed song in any key and start raising it up, then you have issues. A untrained tenor might find a high E somewhat difficult, while others can go higher to an A (in the alto range) found in “Messiah” for example.


we have two choirs, one is a professional choir that sings latin motets. Very old traditional music. The other is a volunteer choir who sings the liturgical hymn book selections.
we have a very old pipe organ that accompanies the choirs.

Both choirs have something to offer.


I am Anglican, and I must tell you in all charity that you all don’t do liturgical music very well. You know that book, ‘Why Catholics Can’t Sing’ ? Well…

Anglicans (and many other of our brothers and sisters in Christ) have got church music down pat. Have you ever been to Evensong at an English cathedral and listened to the men and boys choir? It’s heaven. Our hymnals are filled with the best of the best (and a few dreadful hymns too, but we just pass those by.) We love to sing and our music is one of the best components of the Liturgy.

When I visit an RC church, people barely mumble out the words. I’m really sorry.

And have you ever been to a black Baptist church? Glory! Different kind of music and different kind of worship, but the Lord is surely there!

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