Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Two years ago, one of my neighbors asked me to be her sponsor when she decided to go through the process to be confirmed.  We spent a lot of time at church that Lent.  She was to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil.  It wasn't my parish, but another, closer parish.  

I think it was on Palm Sunday that the selection of music for Mass finally got to me.  I said to my friend's husband, "the world will be such a better place once my generation dies."  I thought he would laugh or tell me I was being extreme.  Instead he just nodded and agreed.  

It is almost more than I can bear to see another group of grey haired overweight hipsters, strumming their guitars, banging their drums, and swinging their hips a little as they sing what would best be described as campfire songs.  And it matters not where I go to mass in my area, they are everywhere.

I have to pray to not be so critical.  

But I wonder if I should instead pray to find a church where there aren't such impediments to experiencing the Mass as it should be.

I guess I can never go wrong to pray and God will send me where I belong, as long as I am open and willing.


  1. You may find this document useful: Musicam Sacram (, issued March 5, 1967 by the Sacred Congregation of Rites.

    While much in these guidelines is left open to the individual pastor the over arching principle is that music must be holy and it must conform to traditional norms, even if it is music of a more modern nature.

    It seems to me that much of the music in our churches today is an abuse of the freedoms allowed by Vatican II. Like damned near everything else from the Council, the Church in America distorted the truth and turned it against the faithful. We are allowed to use modern music, even some pop music, but it is only allowed within relatively strict guidelines of tradition and propriety.

    So, if you think that the music in your parish exceeds the guidelines established in Musicam Sacram then you should go to your music director and confront him/her. Take someone with you as a witness. If you can't get satisfaction go to your parish priest. If you can't affect change there, go to your Bishop.

    "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican."
    Matthew 18:15-17

    If you get no satisfaction from the Bishop you'll have to decide what the next course of action should be. The Bishop is the official head of your local Church and has the authority spoken of in the scripture above.

    That doesn't mean he's always right, though. If you still believe, based on Church law, that there is abuse in your parish then you can take the battle higher and appeal to Rome. You'll have to accept whatever they tell you. Of course, you may not live long enough to get a decision.

    That being the case, if you believe that you are in the right and that you've done all you can at the local level then there's another solution:

    "Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats. And whatsoever house you shall enter into, abide there, and depart not from thence. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them."
    Luke 9:1-5

    Move to a different parish.

    Just like our natural family, our parish family shouldn't be abandoned lightly. However, again like our natural family, sometimes there is no other solution but to get away.

    In the end, this is something to work out in prayer and in action. You are responsible for the actions of others, to a point. You must live up to your end of the responsibility but after that, well, you've done all you can and all you must.

  2. Well Mary Christine, I remember pleading with Father Z and others to help me figure out how to improve the music at our church. But their good advice soon mattered not, because we got a new pastor and not long after his arrival, the Traditional Latin Mass. Given that it's a long shot that the same will happen at your parish, start shopping around. Perhaps you'll find something better but if you don't, console yourself with the knowledge that no matter how bad the music is, and how sloppy the liturgy, the Holy Spirit still descends at the sound of the priest's voice and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass brings us Jesus in the Euchrarist.

  3. Lucky at our church we have a traditional organ with a very nice singer who plays what I guess would be called traditional Catholic hymms. And there is a volenteer choir as well. Nothing special, but they are respectful and follow the guidelines that Catwissa linked.

    The other two have given you good advice. I have nothing I can add. My only thought I hate to pass on to you is that perhaps this is what you will be subjected to if you end up in purgatory. :-P So be holy and make it to heaven on the first shot. :)

  4. At my parish, the music is OK. Sometimes it is wonderful. There is a huge organ and sometimes even harps! But at the other church that is closer to home? I can't even go there unless there is some reason I HAVE to. Like last year when my car was in the shop, I walked to mass on a Saturday night. The lector changed the Old Testament and Epistle to Gender Neutral language. I nearly died. Now, THAT should have been reported to the Archbishop. But I didn't do it.