Changing The Face Of Liturgical Church Music


It is in the treatment of the Liturgy that the fate of the faith and of the church is decided ~’Pope Benedict XVI

I am guessing if you label yourself a traditionalist you may think my post will be about to satisfy your thirst for bashing the guitar and Tamborine Gospel music. Likewise if you are a modernist you may think I am about to glorify it. Your both wrong.

I play the guitar, my dad plays the guitar and he writes and plays Gospel hymns from liturgical catholic books and he is known to write his own and sing Protestant hymns too. He doesn’t play in Church anymore though. Right now he is retired and probably having a drink watching his CBS reality shows and will no doubt call me on the cell phone in a minute probably to tell me how he thinks his neighbours across the road are either running a brothel or are members of the al Qaeda.

My dads a lot of fun but that aside he has written some lovely liturgical music on the guitar that sits nicely In a liturgical setting. But as time went on in my conversion to the Catholic faith, when I met Gregorian chant or choral hymns it touched my soul in such a way that there was no doubt in my mind that this music was king of all liturgical music. I still felt a mix of both wouldn’t harm anyone and do the church a lot of good but as time went on I began to think differently.


I began to think how important it is to have structure in our spiritual lives and in the liturgy. Correct me if I am wrong but I felt that such folk music and tambourines or guitars belonged where they evolved….. after Vatican II in a charismatic Liturgy or prayer group not at the actual parish Church Mass. The same music works great in a retreat setting also amongst either adults or the youth. This music began with the Charismatics, but the problem was that the Charismatic way of doing things spilled over into the parish Mass. It wasn’t something done intentionally b the charismatics to rupture the Liturgy and create chaos but ever since it happened the appropriate rule of music for a parish Church died and we were left with guitars and tambourines.

But the minute we mix it all up we can create quite a chaotic enviroment that will only serve to damage and divide us rather than unite us and gather us in. All the saints understood the need for structure whilst at the same time respecting the other orders in the church way of doing things. St.Benedict had his rule book and the Carmelites had theirs. There was structure and order amongst each other and an ability to admire and respect each others rules. But had they of tried to borrow each others rules it would just be a recipe for spiritual delusion and chaos. It’s no different with the Charismatic Movement and the parish church. They both have their way of doing things but the minute you break the structure you can do a lot of unforeseen spiritual harm.


So I say bring back the structure. Bring back the Gregorian and choral music and make it mandatory for every parish church Mass. If people want the Charismatic experience let them go to one. If people want to sing “Jesus I believe” on rock guitars ( like i love to do ) then let them do it outside of the Liturgy in a prayer group or retreat setting. Lets end the chaotic spiritual confusion now and create some structure.


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2 thoughts on “Changing The Face Of Liturgical Church Music

  1. Warm Southern Breeze

    I write this response as a Catholic convert who has circulated through various Protestant traditions. The various Catholic parishes in which I’ve worshipped are throughout several states. In each of them – almost without exception (there is one) – I have marvelled at the poor quality of music from the parishioners. Most often, it wasn’t for lack of musicianship, or of instrumentation, but rather what seemed to be a “tin eared” congregation. But, were they really so dull of hearing, so utterly talentless that the only thing they could play was the radio? I think not. Similarly as do you, I possess a trained musical background and it has amazed me of an almost utter lack of spirit when the musicians, choir, organists, etc., “strike up the band.” Much of the music itself is played without gusto, without passion, without any sense of emotion, so that it has become little more than a poor midi performance. Were, as you suggest, the church to return to a vocal-centric worship – one in which the congregants provide the spirit – I can’t help but imagine that the local body corporate would become more passionately lively, and in a good way. Granted, the subject of ecclesiastical music continues to garner much attention, earning great ire in any process. Yet, I think it important to continually remind ourselves that we Catholics do not attend Mass because we “like the music,” but rather because of Who is there.

  2. Reblogged this on Lavender Turquois.

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