Why do so many dislike modern music in Mass?

I don’t understand why so many people despise the modern music that is played during Mass. I don’t understand why people prefer the Latin chants over modern music because most people don’t understand Latin and everyone understands the lyrics of modern music. Am I missing something or what?

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Oh, you are definitely going to hear what you are missing. :wink::popcorn:


Yes, you’re missing something. People have different tastes. They have a right to those tastes. Accept it and move on. :angel:


Hate is a strong word and it used to mean something. Please reconsider the thread title.



It isn’t quite as simple as “people have different tastes”. Certain music is more appropriate for the sacred liturgy than others. Gregorian chant, organ, proper Catholic hymns, etc., are preferable (not by me personally, but by the Church) to contemporary Christian music. Pope Benedict wrote a lot on this issue, I think his book “A New Song for the Lord” covers some of it.


It’s a complicated issue. However, the Latin chant had developed over the 2000 year history of the Church and takes pride of place. It’s the tradition of the Church. These chants follow the prayers for the Mass of the day (Introit, offertory, communion antiphon, etc.)

“Modern music” is a pretty broad category. The modern hymnody we see in many Catholic Masses now is a very Protestant influence. Hymn singing is traditionally more of a Protestant thing than a Catholic thing. Many of hymns and songs sung in the Mass were written post 1970 and can be quite vapid and devoid of any real content. Many of them focus more on us than on God.

However, there is certainly good modern music. And I think a compromise can be made. We can have simple English propers that follow the prayers for the day instead of campy 70s hymns. But how many parishes will really do that?


In this case, it’s best to raise the issue of inappropriateness with one’s priest or, barring that, one’s bishop.

Merely ranting about it on CAF accomplishes nothing positive or productive, especially where we already have a gazillion threads bemoaning this issue.

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Who is ranting? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I’m responding with information to the OP’s question. Factual information, in my opinion.


Because people have different tastes for what they want to see and hear at Mass, and they love to complain when things aren’t totally to their liking. Of course, they rarely frame it as “My personal taste is XYZ,” but rather as “XYZ is more appropriate/ reverent/ holy etc than the modern music.”

Also, this forum, and Internet Catholic forums in general, tend to attract people who prefer more traditional approaches to things like Mass music.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the musical opinions you hear on these forums. Most of them simply seem to be people venting.


This sums it up pretty well.


Latin Gregorian chant is the Word of God set to melodies that enhance the word, not the performers or the composer. It gives it a special meditative quality that matches a given scripture verse to its mood (sad, glad, mysterious, etc.).

The next best thing would be vernacular chant that does the same thing. That bit, is a work in progress. The Simple English Propers is a good attempt. I’m not against vernacular music in Church. I am against vapid music, whatever the language and prefer a recited Mass to one with bad music. And rock? Forget it, that just grates.

And in case anyone thinks I’m one of those weird traditionalists, I prefer the Ordinary Form Mass, which I attend(ed) exclusively, at an abbey that does the above. At least until the monks isolated themselves due to the pandemic. I keep Gregorian chant alive in my heart by using it for the Liturgy of the Hours.


I suspect this debate will exist in perpetuity. Preferences and tastes. I suspect there was a time when Mozart was considered hippie music


Palestrina caused quite an uproar, I believe, with his “inappropriate” polyphonic Masses. That was about 200 years before Mozart.


Well, ‘despise’ is a loaded word.

As others have mentioned, much is personal preference or perception. There are professional Church musicians on these forums who may have their preferences but who also have a lot of education (are you there @Peeps?) and who are certainly worth listening to.

Just as a word of advice, it is a good idea when asking a question to use the most precise, and least ‘loaded’ terminology that you can.

Something such as “I do not understand why some people in the church do not like music at church that I like, such as (name hymns here). I’d like to hear from others about this” would get probably a lot of really good give-and-take in a positive way instead of already putting people on the defensive or inclined to think of music at church as ‘either-or’.

I don’t like most modern music outside of Mass either.


Given the number of groupies he had, I don’t doubt it.

Also, one reason we have such great older music is that all the mediocre-to-bad older music didn’t stand the test of time and has been forgotten. Music that’s only a couple decades old hasn’t had time to let the dreck wash away into obscurity.

I’m at the point where I like what I like, and if the guy in the next pew doesn’t like it, that’s his problem.


I’m here, thanks! I’m not as educated as perhaps you think, but I have more than 50 years of experience playing piano (and in the last 10 years, organ) for churches both Protestant and Catholic.

I don’t think that the OP’s question is valid.

Unless we have polled every single person in our parishes, and unless a large number (hopefully the majority of parishes in the world) of parishes are polled, we cannot make a claim that “so many dislike modern music in Mass.”

And that means polling EVERY person in the Mass, not just our group of acquaintances and friends, or a “random group” of regular attendees that in the opinion of the surveyor, represents the congregation as a whole (which I would take issue with!).

And then we have to specify what exactly we mean by “modern” music. We have to be specific. Are we talking anything after the advent of Gregorian chant in the Church (4th Century)? Are we talking about CCM (Christian Contemporary Music)–and just how "contemporary: 1970s? 80s? etc. or in the last few years? How about the hymns that were written during the “Great Awakening”–those gospel-style hymns? German hymns? Dutch hymns? English hymns? American hymns? African American spirituals? Are we talking folk music? Or ethnic music? Are we talking about “Singspiration” choruses? Or the Gaithers? Or Marty Haugen? Or Amy Grant? Or Audrey Assad? Or Casting Crowns? Or Matt Maher?

I often think “modern music” is a term that means “music I personally don’t like.”


Let’s say you have a friend who spent a year overseas, and they are home and visiting with you. How exciting to have them back! Tell me all about it! Then, let’s say, you have your brother sitting beside you, banging on a pot with a spoon. Bang bang bang bang.

Sometimes it feels just like that when a person is trying to pray to Jesus, really is going through a difficult time, crushed under the weight of problems, and someone is banging on a pot with a spoon at a mic.

Not all music helps people to pray. Some music makes it very hard to pray at all.


I just finished reading an article in Christianity Today (which does include Catholicism a a Christian faith) called "Key Change–Why some evangelical leaders are pursuing multicultural praise and worship.

First, do all Catholics in this thread recognize that the Mass itself, in its entirety, is “worship”, and there is not a “time” during Mass set aside specifically for “praise and worship through music?” This is what I was taught and what I believe.

The concept of a “Praise and Worship Time” is a Protestant concept–many Protestant churches spend around 20 minutes before their service in a “musical worship time.” All are supposed to be putting all secular thoughts out of their mind and concentrating entirely on Jesus Christ, and worshipping Him with all their heart, soul, mind, strength. Some people do not sing during this time, but kneel or sit or stand, and keep their eyes closed, their hands folded or raised, and they fix their thoughts on Jesus and worship Him, perhaps by repeating a single phrase (e.g., the Jesus Prayer–it is popular among Protestants, too), or for some Christians, speaking silently in tongues (which I’m not sure that I agree with–I believe the Bible teaches that tongues is a “sign gift” and not to be used for private worship–but I could be wrong).

Some Protestant services will include more opportunities for musical worship during their services, and some will have even MORE musical worship after the service has ended–people who can will stick around to worship and praise Jesus in song, silence, etc.

But this doesn’t happen during the Mass. I’ve been in parishes where there is music before the Mass–the “prelude” so to speak–my parish priests encourage this because it stops the chit chat in the pews and tells the people that “Mass is about to begin–get serious here!”

And I’ve been in parishes where there is a time AFTER the Mass has ended where people can listen to or participate in musical praise and worship, usually contemporary–I really like this a lot, although I realize it must be annoying to those who prefer to pray quietly after Mass.

Anyway, I want to include a quote from this article in Christianity Today that I personally found rather disturbing–but it might help more traditionally-minded Catholics begin to understand the DEPTH to which CCM has captured the hearts and tastes of 21st Century Christians (Catholic and Protestant)–“The longer CCM is tne sound of worship music, then the more we start to believe that is the sound of heaven and the sound God likes.”


The person who said this was Nikki Lerner, a consultant in Columbia, Maryland who helps churches pursue healthy multiculturalism–and Ms. Lerner was NOT saying that CCM is the music of heaven and what God likes–what she goes on to talk about in the article is the need to include music from other cultures because in the U.S., our churches are becoming more multicultural.

I realize that this, too, is a foreign concept to many Catholics, who believe that the Mass IS multicultural no matter what language is used for the spoken liturgy and the hymns/songs/responses.

Singing songs is not worship. God gave His covenant and it is sacrifice. That is how He is to be worshipped. Jesus fulfills the old covenant with the sacrifice at Calvary in the holy Mass to God the Father. Worship to God is sacrifice because God said so.

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