Prohibiting catholic accompanist from music ministry

Hi,
I have a question about music liturgy. I have been involved in the Catholic music liturgy for 20 years as an accompanist.
A couple asked me to play for their wedding this next month, and I agreed, however the music director is refusing to let me play, based on the fact that " She told them it was personal against me. She reassured them I am a wonderfully talented musician, and would do a beautiful job, but she has personal differences with me, and does not want me to play for the church anymore.They debated with her and she said she would talk to the priest. The priest abdicated any responsibility and said “It’s your ministry you can do as you wish”. So now we have a very upset bride and groom. Is there anything we can do? Our priest will not dialogue about this at all saying he is letting the lay ministry take care of it’s own. Do we go to parish council with this, or possibly the bishop? It seems rather prejudicial, and that one person is allowing her personal feeling to be a vehicle for her vindication against another parishoner.

do you have any idea what the music director would have against you? Is the music director a good buddy of the priest? I am afraid that if you or the couple went to the bishop, he would turn you guys down in saying that this is just an internal parish affair.
Did the couple make an appointment with the priest and ask why and why is the music director so involved with who is or isn’t involved in their wedding? If you went to the parish cousel and president, they wouldn’t over rule the priest since the priest has the final say in any parish. Have you spoken to the music director to clear up what the issue is? I think the couple would have to persue it more than you if they are so upset.

I think that the bridegroom, or the brides father should have his lawyer have a talk with both the Pastor and the Music Director. Barring that, why not get married in another Catholic Church?
When I got Married, I was in College and nowhere near my home Parish. My bride was not Catholic at the time, so she did not have a home parish. Even though this was pre-V II, it was no big thing to get a dispensation,

Op,
I reread your post and something struck me in it. According to the couple, the music director said she would go to the priest. I think that was a hugh mistake on the couples part because she probably poisoned the well and that is why the priest isn’t responding to anyone else. I think the couple should have said “ok” and then made the appointment with the priest to complain. Since this seems like one month out and this priest is not responding to them, then as Geroge suggested, have the parents speak to the priest and let this priest know that future involvement with the parish may hinge on his response to this. I think the ball is in the couple court and their parents.

[edited] This sort of cattiness offers you a wonderful chance to turn the other cheek. I would not try to appeal her decision. I would just leave the field of battle and wipe the dust off your sandals at the same time.
If the priest wants to play Pilate and wash his hands of the issue, then you should withdraw your skills and find another outlet for your worship.

I might add there are plenty of parishes that would be grateful for a good musician to play for them on a regular basis. Then again you’d be giving the director the satisfaction of leaving on her account. Not sure what I’d do in such a situation.

Sexist much?

Men are just as capable of being petty and shallow.

The personal differences must be of grave matter for the musical director to take such a strong stand. Have you discussed this with her, do you know what the personal differences are?

Bad idea…next thing you know gay couples will get lawyers to force church to allow them to be married in the church.:shrug:

I agree with this. This is, unfortunately, the dark side of politics in music ministry. It is also not unusual for pastors to stay out of these kinds of situations. They already have so much going on their plate and would rather the musicians work these things out on their own, which is probably why he has chosen to abstain. You really can’t do anything more on your end, unless you want to speak with this music director, yourself to find out what the personal vendetta is all about. It’s up to the couple and the parents to insist on talking to the priest and to appeal to him that it is wrong for a music minister to hold out work from another colleague because of a personal problem with you.

If you had not mentioned that the music director had a personal problem against you, I would have thought this might have been a situation of a policy in which outside musicians not affiliated with the church ministry at that parish were not allowed to play at the church. Many parishes in our area has that policy especially for the organists as it is usually written into their contracts as part of their salary. If outside musicians are permitted, sometimes music directors will make it difficult for a couple to bring in an outside musician so that it keeps the works for weddings and funerals for the parish music ministers. They make it difficult to the point where the couple just decides to stay with someone in the parish. That happened to me recently. The couple loved my voice for their wedding, but told me that the music organist was making it so complicated with all of these obstacles that they just couldn’t handle it anymore. Another issue which I have seen is the human fault of jealousy if outside musicians are permitted, especially when the outside musician has a good reputation and is often hired for numerous events around the diocese such as weddings and funerals. It takes work away from them. Could this be part of the problem she has against you? You seem to have a very good reputation.

I’m sorry that this is happening to you and I hope that something can be settled soon. Also, do you have something in your contract in regards to a couple canceling close to the wedding? If so, they could take this to the priest and complain that they would have to pay twice for a musician. (They don’t have to tell him you are not going to charge them since it isn’t their fault.)

[edited] I see this within both genders. In fact, I recently saw this done to a colleague of mine. It was a male music director (not gay, before anyone makes the assumption that he had to have been gay) who made it clear that this cantor would never step foot in “his” church to sing and reiterated this to the priest when the nuns complained. So, guess what? He got his way.

Great discussion! A situation/conflict amongst our own! Unfortunately this and similar situations are not uncommon. Nonetheless, we can benefit by discussing and work towards resolution utilizing the teachings of our wonderful faith. Great responses by everyone and specifically Sarabande, robwar, George and yes Petaro. Without reservation I believe the priest should resolve this matter. His decision should be adhered to by all parties regardless of opinion. But this isn’t going to happen is it? That’s unfortunate. My initial reaction is that of Petaro; walk away, turn the cheek, forgive and find another option. BUT, this is a Catholic Wedding! The Priests word is final at this level and should be agreed to by all. “Let the Lay Ministries take care of their own?”, not a final word as anyone sees it! If I am to resolve all matters with humanity and God by myself then I must be Protestant!

In terms of the OP’s personal well-being and peace of mind, the satisfaction of the offending party is irrelevant IMO. I agree that, if this kind of very personal roadblock is going to be a regular thing for her music ministry that this church (and if the pastor in question is going to stay away from it all), she’d be better off in another Catholic parish.

If the priest does not lead his flock conflict will prevail. Lord have mercy.

I will give a little background. After 6 months of searching for a music director and coming up with no one with the adequate skills, I was approached about taking the job at our parish and it would be split as far as duties. There were three of us that ran the music ministry at one time . The current director who I will refer to as C, another accompanist who I will call V and then myself . Since C doesn’t play piano or read music, V and I were given the duty of being in charge of musicians and C would handle vocalists . We instructed by father to work as a team and make ALL music selections as a committee. C repeatedly was trying to change things behind our backs with music , and most bothersome to V and I , was excluding people from singing that she personally did not like. After I confronted her about it on numerous occasions , she and her husband got mad, wrote father a nasty letter and left our parish. The WHOLE responsibility fell in my and v’s lap. We made it go for 6 months at which time the amount if time commitment became too much for me and my full time job as a prices
Because of my full time accompanist job for a local school. So I asked to step down but agreed to play piano for mass still. Father was NOT happy with me. After about 4 months if searching and no acceptable applicants, C found out about the job and wanted it. So out of desperation they agreed to hire her. She tried to demand that I be at ALL choir rehearsals and weekend masses PLUS sign an exclusive “contract” that I would have to follow. I refused . I still continued to play though . THEN. She started excluding people again and I spoke up in their defense . I was told by father via phone that my services were no longer needed. There was major unrest with the ministry and they have since lost about 3/4 of their choir and only have one pianist . The music for mass is now recorded . C will not answer any contact I initiate and father will tell me to talk to her when I ask for some sort of mediation .

It really is sad when music ministers have to deal with things like this. I know for me, it’s so poisonous that I tend to leave in order to escape the poison. When I joined music ministry I thought that because it is for God, everyone is humbly in it together to do the best that we can in providing musical prayer and spiritual enrichment. In many parishes that is true. It’s not always the case and you can come across some spiritually unhealthy situations. I gave up a chance to have a well-paying position after doing some substituting at the place because of that. I was respected as a musician, but after being there a few months, I could see the true colors of the music director and how he treated people so unkindly and the way he manipulated things and people, including the priests there. I became so tight and in physical pain from the stress of being there. No matter how much money it was, it wasn’t worth being in such a spiritually draining situation. I loved the parish, but could not be there as a music minister. I turned it away kindly stating that I was happy to sub when they needed me at the time, but was dedicated to the parish that I worked at normally.

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