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Church Music, Again

  /   Thursday August 14, 2003  

Catholic World News has blogged this article by George Weigel about the need to take our music more seriously at Mass. I couldn’t agree more with his premise. However, I think I have a bit of a different order as to what should be eliminated.

I agree that anything that contains false teaching must be the first to go. The song he cites, “Ashes,” is often played at school Masses at my parish, and I’d be glad to see it go. The most important things to get rid of are the ones that tell us that the Eucharist is still bread and wine. I would add to that category the “light and fluffy” stuff that is often theologically questionable, such as “Gather Us In” (and everything else written by Marty Haugen). How about garbage like “Let There Be Peace On Earth”? Can peace really begin with me? It had better begin with Christ.

I also agree that we should get rid of the “we are Jesus” stuff. Some of it is not only awkward, but it is just plain bad music. The song “Be Not Afraid” is a prime example of ultra-bland music in addition to being a “we are Jesus” song. I just want to gag every time I hear “Here I Am, Lord.”

However, I think there are higher priorities than “Gifts of Finest Wheat” (rarely heard in my parish) and the “Joyful, Joyful We Adore You” adaptations. Some parishes haven’t beaten them to death, so it won’t hurt to keep playing them. No, I’ve got one idea of a bigger fish to fry.

The next to go should be the songs that praise the congregation rather than the Lord. “Gather Us In” fits here, as well as stuff like “One Bread, One Body” which is basically a song about the congregation. Some of this also fits into the category of theologically confusing as it suggests the whole congregation is performing the consecration.

Have you ever been to a school Mass? I’ve been to several. They are notorious for having the silliest, most banal music I have ever heard. One hymn begins “If I were a tree, I would be your shade.” It is used in a congregation of first through eight graders, and you can hear the sighs when that song is introduced. Another being “Little is much if it comes from your heart.” Need I mention that awful adaptation of the tune of Simple Gifts entitled “Lord of the Dance.” I have long hated that one. I wish they would at least use praise and worship if they have to use this kind of music. At least praise and worship praises God (just don’t play “Shine Jesus Shine”).

There are a lot of great hymns around. I really like the Adoremus hymnal. We can use many great songs like “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” and “All the Earth Proclaim the Lord.” “O Sacrament Most Holy” is quite appropriate, to say the least, for a Eucharistic hymn. It wouldn’t kill us to learn a few Latin songs as well. We can use a number of Protestant hymns as well. With plenty of good music available, there isn’t much excuse to use the bad stuff.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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