"The Ring’s whisper is drawing you near… Do you need an intervention before you put it back on and turn invisible?"
Here is one of my comments in response to this comment:
Restless Pilgrim said:
"What has to be done to get Catholics to sing?! Traditional music or contemporary music, I don’t care which!"
That not caring is part of the problem. It cannot be both. It is not a choice between equals. It is not a matter of taste. If Catholics were actually given their traditional music, they eventually would begin to sing again. But they rarely are given the opportunity, and so they feel lost when the chance to sing chant comes.
Have you ever been to a modern art museum? Stinks right? Well that is not merely your opinion. It actually is objectively bad art. That is why it stinks. Compare the modern art to real art, and imagine nearly every parish in the nation having almost nothing but the modern stuff, and wondering why the people don’t seem to like their art. That is the current music situation. Most of our liturgies are absolutely dominated by 1970's show tunes style music. It is objectively bad music, and ironically it is often hard to sing in a group anyway.
Give them their Catholic music and they will sing! Just like Protestants have their Protestant music, and they sing. Btw, the reason you can go into a huge megachurch and hear everyone singing loudly/getting into it, is because they choose to be there and not the other 40 local Protestant liturgical options from Anglican to Pentecostal. Catholics do not have this option. We have ONE liturgy from which very specific music has grown, and unlike Protestants, who choose an ecclesial community whose liturgy produces the type of music they prefer, Catholics can either stick with what the Church has given them, or force the Protestant music onto the mass. The square Protestant peg will get shredded as it goes into the round Catholic hole, and then we wonder why Catholics don’t want to sing. It is not that they don’t want to sing, it is that they are Catholics at a mass and not Protestants at a Sunday service. Each style is suited to each liturgy, and has grown organically out of each liturgy. When I was a Presbyterian, we sang Wesley hymns in 4 part harmony on Sunday morning. It was beautiful. That is their heritage, rising naturally from their liturgy. The Church has given permission to use their songs, if we want, but it must be in THIRD PLACE behind chant and polyphony. (this is from Church documents, not my opinion)
Currently, even the nicer Protestant hymns are in third place behind 1.) Marty Haugan show tunes,
and 2.) "contemporary" folk or happy-clappy!
I assume we can all agree that the chant and polyphony that has grown out of the mass over thousands of years (and even traditional Protestant hymnody) is objectively better than “praise and worship music”? But perhaps someone will argue that some people like the P and W music, so let’s use that music to draw them/make them comfortable, etc. Now to Devin’s main thrust in the article, I know he must be thinking “Hey dude, I was not talking about music in the mass though.” Ok, fair enough. But why use a foreign tradition to introduce someone to your tradition?
Put another way, why use an inferior foreign tradition to draw someone to your tradition? Watch the above video of “Gather us in” by Haugan. That song has a place. It’s place is in a Protestant liturgy, or around a campfire! The words of the song, the music itself, and the instruments likely to be used (guitar) are totally inappropriate for mass according to the clear teaching of the Magisterium. So why have a service outside of mass that tells the participant “we are Catholics who really like this Protestant liturgical music, and we like to sing it outside of mass as opposed to our own liturgical music which is much richer and deeper and in the long run more emotional, but for some reason we would rather skip all that and sing this disposable stuff.” The clear implication is “this is the music we really like, and we want it at mass”. Otherwise why not sing from the vast storehouse of Catholic music that we have, that is specifically Catholic, ancient, and objectively beautiful? Shouldn’t we put our BEST foot forward when we are showcasing the Catholic faith to people? Why in the world would we use the scraps from the Protestant table to showcase Catholicism? Protestants have seen the scraps, they want the Church.
It is as if a great king wanted to show his wealth to a visitor, and instead of bringing him into the vault and blinding him with the huge mounds of bright gold and jewels as far as the eye can see, he meets him at the city gates and shows him a fancy carriage and some Russel Stover chocolates- gifts which a neighboring king gave him. “Really, believe me, I’m super rich, really I am, trust me!” The visitor can’t help but think “If he is so rich, why not just show me?” Catholicism is the rich king, and Protestant hymns are the gilded carriage. The sickly sweet chocolates are praise and worship songs. Why would we have a meeting at the city gate (in the basement of the Church) to hand out these chocolates when we can invite everyone to the storeroom (mass) to see the treasure?
One last point. Even if this idea of a service outside of mass was great, lets first get the music inside mass fixed before we start focusing on the outside.