GUEST COLUMN
Post-Vatican II 'la la la' Music: Unworthy of the Catholic Church

October 1998By William J. Abbott

William J. Abbott, of Oyster Bay, New York, has spent 35 years as a writer and magazine publisher and is a long-time Catholic and long-suffering lover of music.

We're 30 years into the post-Vatican II revolution and we're still asking ourselves the basic question that in pre-revolutionary times few even wondered about: "Why do we go to Mass?" Some people go to commune with their fellow man. (As for me, that's what I do on the other six days of the week.) Some go because it makes them feel good. (But how long do the good feelings last?)

It's odd, given our vast archives of sacred music, but I never encounter anyone who goes to Mass to hear the music, even though Sunday after Sunday for the lion's share of the time during Mass we have the singers performing, not the priest praying. As someone who goes to Mass to communicate with God, I, for one, find these performances annoyingly intrusive.

I say "performance" because rarely does one hear the vast majority of the congregation joining in -- despite the frantic hand signals from the cantor or music director. Is this because, as they say, "Catholics don't sing"? Or is it because the music is just plain unsingable?

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the powers responsible for this deplorable state of affairs were deciding what the musical future of Catholicism would sound like. It seems obvious that these people had little or no creative talent. Hearing the results of their efforts, one is forced to conclude that they were doing little except seeking change for the sake of change -- and hang the results.


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Back to October 1998 Issue

Read our posting policy Add a comment
That is my big gripe also. They never have a
melody one can sing - just uninspiring blah. And
the words belong to the 'me' generation, not God.
I miss the beautiful hymns we sang thru grade and
highschool. At least EWTN has some of the great
originals.
Posted by: auntmoha
March 23, 2007 09:15 AM EDT
Ah yes, our family silently listens (and cringes) every Sunday as the 'choir' strums guitars, shakes a tambourine and sometimes plays the violin to the accompaniment of canned music whilst about 20% of the congregation mouths the words of the latest Jesuit inspired so-called 'worship' music. We are converts after 5 years in the Episcopal church. There we had the beauty of music with real grandeur (much of it Catholic in origin), incense every Sunday (not just 'special' occasions), and a genuine reverence displayed by even the staunchest feminist liberals. I know the RCC is the true Church, but may Our Lord have mercy and release us from the clutches of these liturgical wreckovaters! Posted by: joncutting
March 24, 2007 12:24 AM EDT
At least EWTN has some of the great
originals. I agree with this statement. Let us be more Catholic in origin.
Posted by: rhmercer
March 28, 2007 06:18 AM EDT
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