And Another Thing…

…has anyone noticed the red herring within church music and liturgy circles that informal Masses and ‘praise and worship’ music are provided for the young people because they ‘like that sort of thing’?

This is ridiculous. All you have to do is look around church one Sunday at the faces of the people. It is true that some young people like informal Masses and groovy music, but plenty of them don’t. You can see it from the negative body language and the pained expressions on their faces.

I know from being a high school chaplain and talking to teenagers about it that plenty of young people like classical music, old hymns and Gregorian chant. It’s true that some young people like contemporary praise music, but so do plenty of older people.

I reckon the age thing is a total red herring. It has more to do with personality types. Some types of people of all ages like informal liturgies and ‘praise and worship’ music. Others like more formal liturgy and music.

More Catholics–it seems to me–simply endure what the well meaning liturgists and contemporary church musicians foist upon them.

  • Anonymous

    And for some people it’s not an either/or. I know people who have gone to a casual Saturday night Praise and Worship service, and then a high mass, complete with gregorian chant, the next day.

  • Anonymous

    This whole conversation – about music in Catholic churches – would be a lot more tolerable if all of us really absorbed and understood the function of music in Catholic liturgy. Unfortunately, the powers that be in this post V2 era, which range from music publishers to the NPM have gotten it wrong and promoted a vision that is at odds with what the Church actually says. For a good summary, go to this succinct post. Sing the Mass not sing at Mass.

  • Theocoid

    I think many young people would be interested in hearing more chant and seeing the liturgy celebrated more in line with the extraordinary form or the actual rubrics (for Pete’s sake). Here in Boise, it seems to be very difficult to get that. The hierarchy has a definite bias against those forms of piety.

  • Augustine

    I went to an evening Sunday mass another day that happened to be a Life Teen one.It reminded me of everything I disliked about such Masses geared toward the youth when I was one: – unconventional postures and gestures that separated those in the clique and the outsiders;- way too many responses sung and sung with overly complicated arrangements or different words, again ostracizing outsiders and enforcing the clique’s way;- guitars and drums, enough said.

  • fried chicken strips

    A plaid shirt, fuzzy argyle socks and fluorescent green corduroys do not go together. The sacred liturgy, Third Day and under-dressed teenagers dancing on the alter as if it were a stage also do not go together. The first question is why is the congregation gathered at church today? Is it for our amusement? No. Is it to celebrate the sacred mysteries? Yes. Enchantment is the means to draw us closer to the sacred mysteries. Entertainment, on the other hand, is the means to draw us away from the sacred mysteries. It is the essential nature of entertainment (laughter) to distance ourselves from things, but do we really want to distance ourselves from the sacred mysteries?

  • Mephibosheth

    I go to the largest parish in the diocese, huge numbers of families in six masses all geared toward the contemporary…we confirm 100+ 9th graders every year…and the hip-hop contemporary youth-group meeting may have 20 kids there…and at some masses we can’t even get ONE acolyte to show up.The other two moderate-sized parishes in town have much more dignified liturgy and music, more emphasis on the rosary and other traditional devotions, and the youth groups are PACKED.Now all the above is snarky and subjective, but I can’t fathom why people don’t make the connection. And hey, I own more than one Third Day CD, but I don’t want to hear it at Mass.

  • Keith

    I grew up in evangelifundamentalicharimaticism. While I loved rock and pop music, I HATED it in church. For one, it was always played badly; two, it’s not worship music. Why do people think they can reach kids with totally crappy music? I think they underestimate them.

  • kkollwitz

    Augustine you must be happy to have missed the TomTom Mass I attended a couple of years ago at a local church.

  • Rachel Gray

    The principle is the same for music as for other areas: if you just try to imitate the world, you won’t do it as well as the world does, and you’ll sacrifice the things only the Church can do.There’s also this principle of evangelism: what you win them with, you win them to. If you get someone to come to church with clappy music and affirming, theologically-watered-down sermons, you probably haven’t made a disciple of him.

  • Ava

    I’m 19, I love classical music, old hymns and Gregorian chant. That type of music helps to bring the focus towards God. I like many other forms of music, but not at Mass. Music at Mass is not for our entertainment, but it should be part of our worshiping God.

  • Mike

    “The principle is the same for music as for other areas: if you just try to imitate the world, you won’t do it as well as the world does, and you’ll sacrifice the things only the Church can do.”Yes, exactly. And furthermore, you suggest that the Church has nothing of its own that is of equal value, and so it must get by with a sad imitation of the secular world as the best it can offer.And the people who this is supposed to attract are exactly the people who have the most sensitive antennae and who can detect the real thing from the copy instantly. And they’re not often charitable about the copy either.

  • Keith

    As for the Church imitating the world, I think there’s a diff. between bad imitation and redeeming the culture through recognizing and claiming the goodness of some aspect of it. I’m not sure how that difference looks at the outset. I do know the difference, though, at the end of the thing. The Church militant lost her way in this regard increasingly since Catholic culture was shattered 500 years ago. I think the remedy is for the Church to act as if she really were redeeming the culture by regarding the goodness of the things in our culture as if they belong within her, as the do, as their home. Merely catering or pandering to the culture will not do. In fact, it is nauseating and the kids see through it.

  • Anonymous

    The young people I know like good music well played whether it’s on organ or guitar. There are a lot of rather dreary hymns in our books with dull tunes and uninspiring words

  • mikeg

    I think a big problem is that masses with “praise and worship music” are automatically associated with liturgical madness. It does not have to be so!I am a 24 year old seminarian. My seminary is the first place that I’ve ever experienced chant. It’s definitely grown on me, but I also really enjoy praise and worship.The mass should not be a concert, but it should also not be a time to force people into singing things they don’t know. If we are to authentically renew our liturgy, we need to be educated.