Stop Complaing about Music in Church.


This thread will be posted in several posts because it is long. Yes, I really do think that what I have to say is important enough for several posts.

I would like to suggest that Christians stop complaining about the music in their church. Become conscientious objectors in the “Music Wars.”

Numbers 11: 1 says, “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord, and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.”

Galatians 5: 19-20 says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident…disputes, dissensions, factions…”

Philippians 2: 14 says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”

Most of you already know these and many other Bible verses that condemn a critical, complaining spirit.

I think the verse in Numbers is particularly ominous—the Lord “consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” What are the “outskirts” of the Catholic Church? Those Catholics who have fallen away, but still come to Mass once a year and at funerals? Our children who are not yet committed to the Church? Non-Catholics who are peeking into the Catholic Church to see how we do things?

Is it possible that our “complaining” could be the cause of their “consumption by the fire of the Lord?” What a terrible thought! How do you explain THAT to the Lord at your judgment? “I didn’t care who I hurt as long as I had MY music.”

People talk as though they have a “right” to “good music.”

No, we don’t.

We don’t have a right to ANYTHING except an eternity in hell. We are sinners.

Because He loved us, God has given us the means to be saved and go to heaven. He has given us everything. We have no right to any of His gifts, but He gives them to us anyway. Thanks to Him.

He has given us each a Church, a parish, to belong to. It isn’t a concert hall or a classroom or a music studio. It is a home, with all of our family surrounding us.

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I would like to make the following observations about music in the Catholic churches:

  1. In most parishes, the musicians are doing the very best they can. I don’t believe that any musician deliberately sets out to choose bad music for Mass and decides to play and sing it badly. We all want to “play our best for Him.” For you to complain about their “lack of talent” or “lack of knowledge about good music” or “bad choices for Mass music” is cruel to these musicians who have volunteered (or are being paid a pittance), and more importantly, it is insulting to God who distributes talents according to HIS will. Don’t be so mean-spirited. Stop complaining. If you can do better, do it.

  2. God has allotted each parish their contingent of musicians. He has given some parishes Renee Fleming, Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokovsky, etc. He has given other parishes a few old guys who used to be part of a country-rock band. And He has given still other parishes a wide-eyed Sandy Patti fan willing to “do her best” to be the Chair of Liturgy and Music because no one else wants to do it.

If you have complaints about which musicians God stuck your church with, then take it up with GOD and tell Him your better plan for your parish.

Or stop complaining about what you don’t have and switch to a parish that has what you want.

  1. The parish that has what you want probably doesn’t exist. It would be best and healthiest to accept that things will never be perfect here on this earth, even at Mass. Don’t complain over something that will never be fixed. Such useless complaining will only lead to a bitter spirit and a dour countenance. Try to become “detached” from the things of this earth, including the music of this earth. Fix your sights on your heavenly home, and in the meantime, do the best you can to enjoy the journey home. Get over the idea that you have any rights. You don’t.

  2. On the other hand, if YOU can fix it, do so. Do you have money? Then donate it so that the church can get an organ, a choir director, an organist or pianist, etc. A lot of times, the reason for the “deficiencies” in your parish music is lack of the green stuff. Provide it, or start a fund-raising drive to get the money needed.

5 The graces you receive from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will not be diminished because the music isn’t to your personal liking.

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  1. If you are truly “suffering” during the Mass music, bear it silently and cheerfully and “offer it up.” This is what many great saints have done. Teresa of Avila faced constant hardships and abuses in the Church, but she faced these without complaining! In fact, many of her fellow sisters said that she was always cheerful and encouraging even in the worst of circumstances.

  2. The Bible says that whatever we do, we should do it with all our heart. If you don’t like the music, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART! Offer it to the Lord. Sing your best, play your best. SMILE—it’s amazing how smiling can make music you don’t like sound better. Look at the people around you and pray the words of the song for them. Worship God in your SPIRIT, even if you are not worshipping Him comfortably with your body and mouth.

  3. Try your best to like ALL styles of music and all songs, or at least, tolerate them with a loving smile and a pure heart. If your mouth is smiling but your heart is boiling over with complaints, then you are just being hypocritical. You have two options. a) Work to make your complaining heart match your smiling face or b) work to make your smiling face match your complaining heart—scowl so viciously that you frighten the people around you. At any rate, don’t live a double-minded lie over the Mass music. Be honest.

  4. Be grateful for the little you have. It can all be taken away from you so quickly. A stroke, a heart attack, an auto accident—all can leave you bed-ridden and home bound and then the only music you hear will be from a radio, TV, or CD player, NOT your Christian family. Enjoy the live music in your Mass while you can. My dear mother spent most of her last ten years as an invalid. Oh, she loved music, ANY music, even rock music, if it was performed by a member of her church family. (Her church broadcasts their service on the radio.) And often, she would call to tell a musician how much she loved their song.

10.Remember, those are your FAMILY members singing, playing, clapping. Concentrate on loving them, not on hating their music. You don’t have to lie if you honestly didn’t care for the song, but you can still offer a word of encouragement or even a simply “Thank you for your music” to the musicians. It means so much. And it will make YOU feel better about music that isn’t your favorite, because you will be concentrating on loving a person, not a collection of notes and words.

  1. Go ahead and keep a discerning eye open for “liturgical abuse,” but remember that abuses against your personal music preference are not necessarily liturgical abuse. At this point, the Vatican has stated that chant and polyphony should have the “highest place” in the liturgy. So you are certainly within your “rights” to ask the Liturgical Director if these styles can please be included in the Mass.

But the Vatican has not forbidden other musical styles, and it has not stated that chant and polyphony are the ONLY music that can be properly played at Mass. So separate “personal preference” from true “liturgical abuse.” It may be that no one in your parish has any idea how do chant and polyphony. Complaining isn’t going to change this lack of “talent.” Take it to the Lord—ask HIM to distribute a few people who are knowledgeable about these music styles and literature to your parish.

  1. One more thing—all of the above apply equally to Protestants or other non-Catholics. The music wars have torn many Protestant churches to shreds and left broken-hearted Christians out in the cold. Is this lack of love and charity toward your Christian brothers and sister worth YOU getting YOUR preference in music? No, it isn’t. It would be better for you to have to spend the rest of your earthly days listening to your LEAST favorite style of music in church (Tuba band? Western Swing? Opera? Grunge rock? ) than to cast out a Christian brother or sister.


Please stop complaining about complainers. :hmmm:


Can we complain when people go against the express dictates and desires of the Church regarding sacred music, or is that also frowned upon?


Well allright…you go girl or boy!!

I have to agree with most of what you said. If you are thinking too hard about the music - you’ve missed the most important part of the celebration haven’t you.


Thank you for saying something that , I think, needs to be said. And said very eloquently might I add.
My two sense: I have been involved in Church music most of my adult life. From 1990 through 2005, I was director of music in my parish. We all know what that involves. My instrument was my voice…I played piano/organ a bit…not well enough to play for the congregation. We had a brilliant organist. She was paid a salary…I was not. When I asked for at least a stipend for my time/effort, etc…I was told: “you’ve got to be joking, you don’t play the organ”. What kept me doing it all these years…love of the Liturgy and love of God, of course. Since I left the ministry (for personal, family reasons) we have had 3 paid directors/organists…the choir has fizzled to singing in a small group, hymns in unison. People do what they do in the Music Ministry for the love of God. One of the most difficult things is the complaining of parishioners. Complaining in all forms makes us un-Chrisitian. If you want/need better, more sophisticated music, either do it yourself if you can, give the money as the writer has suggested or find it outside of your parish. We really do need to stop "nit-picking and complaining.
Blessings and peace!:cool:


Please stop complaining about complainers.

The OP is not “complaining.” If you knew the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I believe St. Paul called it “prophecy.” a/k/a exhortation, encouraging one another through the inspiration of the Spirit.

May God open your ears to hear …


I concur with you. “Anything goes” is not in the best interest of the liturgy.


What is going on in the mass - ANY valid mass - is so much bigger than the people, the individuals, involved. Where a valid mass is celebrated, God can be found. Set aside your complaints, your prejudices, your fears and remember that fact.


Ha! I thought the same thing!!


It’s also worth asking why so much alleged complaining now? Why not 50, 100, 200, 500 years ago? What’s different now?


I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in churches where there has been PLENTY to complain about when it comes to music.

And I’m not talkin’ about a sweet little old lady who plays the organ and (bless her heart) sings a little off key.

I’m talkin’ about paid musicians who can’t leave their egos at the door or the others who have never listened to their own voices on a recording. Or the multitude of songs that give more praise to the congregation than to God. Yikes!

Ask me to lead a hymn behind a microphone? It’s not polite to throw eggs and tomatoes in Church!


I promise, I will only complain about “Here I Am, Lord” and “The Happy Song” :smiley:


And what makes you think no one was complaining during those periods you note?


A multitude of songs? Prey tell, perhaps you could elucidate for us this multitude?


Bravo or Brava, whichever the case may be.:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:


It’s often said on the board that “we cvome here to vent”. But if all one ever reads is a bunch of unending griping (even if it be about legitimate concerns), then it grows tiring awful fast.


good thread cat…my husband complains about it, and here’s what I tell him…we’re not there to be entertained…we’re there to worship…we’re there for the Eucharist and to be at God’s table…so, stop complaining about the music!!!

I’m going to show him this thread.:smiley:


Just my :twocents: Has anyone consdiered the detrimental aspect of bad music? It’s all well and good to “offer it up” but what about when the music drives a fellow Catholic off?

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