When Will It Get Any Better?
Seems that I start many posts with a question? The trouble is finding the answers. There are answers but no one seems to want to go down that road.
I sat through another banal, boring Mass this last Sunday morning. Why don’t I go elsewhere to Mass you say? (another question) I really don’t have that option for reasons irrelevant here but suffice it to say I and mine are shackled to a particular parish at this time in our lives. It has been my home parish for all my life and for that reason I feel an attachment and a sincere concern for the people and the parish as a whole. But enough of that.
To get to the heart of the matter, it is entirely incomprehensible that anyone with a modicum of religious sensibilities would be drawn to this parish (or for that matter several others in the area) by anything other than desire for some kind of social interaction or the need to fulfill their Sunday obligation. Thank goodness the Church requires our attendance at Sunday Mass or there would be many more church closings than there already are. If you doubt this check out the attendance at a holy day. The holy day obligation seems to be a little too much for many Catholics.
Beauty is one of the main attractions of the Catholic faith. Architecture, ceremony, and music all contribute to the beauty of the Church. Music and ritual are inextricable parts of the liturgy. Why, why, why do we have such abysmal music? Why do we keep singing St. Louis Jesuit music? Why don’t we at least make an attempt to employ the chants of the Church? The Church tells us that the music of the Church is a “treasure of inestimable value” and we totally ignore it, making no attempt whatsoever to employ it in the liturgy. Instead we have banal, insipid ditties shoved down our throats every Sunday by wanna be liturgical musicians. And to be frank (I know), the rendering of these mostly forty year old banalities does not even do them justice.
The fault for the most part is not on the part of the “musicians”. The priests and, ultimately, the bishop are to blame. They have taken the misconstrued concept of “full, conscious and active participation” and the “priesthood of the people” to mean that the laity are to be given full reign to do as they will and they, as clergy, are not to meddle in this ‘sacred’ realm of the laity. The clergy, for the most part, have no or little musical training or sensibilities and they almost certainly across the board have no sense of the music heritage of the Church. It obviously dates back to seminary formation or the lack thereof.
And so we are stuck with plodding melodies of aged ditties centered on anthropocentric themes banged out on profane instruments that would never make it into anyone’s top 100 hits. And we are forced to endure them every Sunday ad infinitum.
God help us.