The Problem with Christian Rock

I’m starting this thread mainly as a reflection on two blog posts – Part One and Part Two.

I think the author does a good job (particularly in the second post) in articulating some thoughts that I’ve had but found difficulty putting into words. The line that jumped out at me the most was this:

No, we are Catholic, and we will not stand for aesthetic relativism any more than we will for moral relativism. If all beauty comes from God, then it is not our reactions that define whether something is beautiful.

I like the phrase “aesthetic relativism.” :slight_smile:

Obviously, when talking about the beauty of any art, there is much more leeway than regarding moral issues. But beauty is not completely subjective. I cannot say that my daughter’s finger painting is objectively more beautiful than Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, even if it is subjectively more meaningful to me.

Agree? Disagree? Let’s discuss (in charity, of course). :slight_smile:

I agree with this post on so many levels, but at the same time…

… as a convert, that music spoke to my heart. I really had the simplest of faith, one that really had no head knowledge, hardly any scripture knowledge. God called, I listened, and this simple music that I found on my local Christian radio station fed me in many ways in the early days of my conversion.
…as I grew in faith, I also grew in appreciation of liturgical music, Taize, Gregorian Chant, (right now I have the Liturgy of the Hours in song (Benedictine). Do I listen to this constantly?. No. But I certainly use some of this music in my prayer time and my heart responds to this. I never listen to Christian rock on the radio anymore, but when I do hear that music, the repetitiveness, the sugary messages repel me.
… as I began to minister to others in the field where God planted me, really different music began to be a teaching and guiding tool. Catholic praise music, Catholic rap, Father Stan Fortuna, for one, has been an amazing door for some of these broken hearts to receive the Church as their home. Some of the music by the band Zealous, for example, is beautiful Catholic, but the “style” of the music would be offensive to some people who prefer only orthodox or sacred music. Check out some of their lyrics… (which I found on their website)
Go and make disciples of all nations
Even in the face of raw hatred
God has always used inadequate tools
So don’t think he can’t work with you

Verse 1:
Recently, people, are causing, you grief complete
With enough drama, that you, think you’ll meet defeat
If the mountain, that you’re climbing’s, too steep to beat
You’ll find it’s not, quite as steep, as it seems to be
State of the culture, to me, is indecency
I don’t know how, you’re not able, to see deceit
It doesn’t matter, the fact, that you’re weak in speech
Rise up, expose the truth, that the world, needs to see
Light up a fire, of faith, that’ll heat the streets
Spreading so rampantly, can’t barely, feed the beast
The new faithful, learn the creed, sayin we believe
Till all the demons, start shriekin, and flee the scene
Follow with faith, like a child, so you’re breathing free
Never look back, and dive into, the heathen sea
Jesus chose Peter, and gave him, the keys to keep
Made an unworthy man, worthy, to lead the sheep

Those are interesting lyrics in the context of the demographics that this group sings to.

I do not in any way believe this kind of music is appropriate in a liturgical setting. But, as John Paul II has called all of us to build up the church through Evangelization, I think we have to at least try to understand the language of the people we are trying to bring God’s love, hope and mercy to.

I think I agree with you. However, that is not the problem with Christian Rock. The problem is that it the music is usually so cheesey!!! :smiley:

Good articles!

Is something I see in some Catholics. They are imitating Protestants and the secular world.

But I disagree with the second in the part that speaks about Sacred music.

I think the traditional Sacred music is superior than the new things that some want in Parishes.



I’ve listened to alot of Christian contemporary and if there’s a problem it’s that many of the artists really aren’t submitted to authority in a significant way. Being public figures and admired by thousands of people, it’s all too easy to be led astray by feelings of your own importance when really the only thing you’ve got going for you is the ability to play an instrument and sing. That’s not necessarily a mandate for pastoral ministry. I think that anybody can evangelize and when Christian rock is evangelical it works. The problems arise when the artists try to turn it into a comprehensive ministry and music is not really the proper vehicle for that sort of thing. That’s why we’ve had some fairly wacko things coming from artists here and there for the last few decades, without naming any names.

Music works for evangelism, and it works for praise and worship. As a form of commentary and correction, or worse yet, teaching and instruction, a music artist can find themselves on some pretty thin limbs.

I might add also that I’m not talking about liturgical music. That’s an entirely different topic. I’m talking about music that people listen to for entertainment that is constructed according to contemporary genres.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit