Dear Irish Catholic Priests . . .

Where do you get this idea in your head that it would be great to place two women ( or men ) on the altar, with out of tune guitars and vocals singing country western songs and expect the youth to just come flooding in? Add to that a tambourine and you’ve just given all us young 18 – 35 year olds a seriously good reason the emigrate. 

This isn’t about musical taste and how I like to worship verses how others like to worship because I happen to appreciate all kinds of music so let’s not go down the Liturgical relativist route of discussion . In the context of the Divine Liturgy ( also known popularly as Mass to most Irish folk ) when the priest sings a Latin chant ( in English ) followed by two women on a guitar and tambourine singing country western hymns with Jesus somewhere in there ( I experienced this tonight ) it sounds so out of sync. 

To be honest it sounds like the church is sick. It has an illness. What I’ve noticed is that The Roman Catholic Church has all the Love and talk of love, but it has no discipline. Muslims on the other hand have all the discipline but their religion possesses no love. 

The Orthodox Church whilst not perfect herself seems to possess all the Love and the discipline. Without this discipline the Church in the east would fall apart because to rupture the Liturgy or toy around with the Eucharist as Catholics have, would be like removing a limb from its body. It would cease to function and then eventually die. 

When I was in church this evening, I turned around to make a quick exit and I saw no young people save a few who were there most likely out of obligation. All I saw was a sea of grey heads bopping along to music they thought was too cool for school. 

I left church as soon as I came of age and it wasn’t a decision made I just slipped off into secularism. My local parish church was so bland and it hasn’t changed. There was nothing there that led me to feel or experience the Divine. It was a plain church with no icons, no frescoes or mosaics. It had tacky blue carpet and a supposedly modern infrastructure. 

It too had these folky tambourine choirs and I just don’t think they realised how much such cheesy music drove us young ones away. It was even worse when they tried using modern music and incorporate Jesus into that too. 

Have you ever bothered to come out of yourself and ask the youth ….”honestly ….do you like this? Does this music elevate your soul to touch the other world that exists in the heavens, to see Christ himself?” 

The answer you’d get would be a resounding “NO!”

But here’s the thing, most youth don’t protest all of this, they silently walk away like I did. You lose their attention and the sheep wander out of the field looking for truth in drugs, sex, power, money etc. 

They don’t protest because they’re already struggling in their relationship with Jesus and love. They already associate Jesus and standing up for God to be seen as uncool. So to save themselves the embarrassment of  standing up to it, they walk off out the door and into the hands of the world where they get caught up in the crosswinds of the devil himself. 

So please, if you’re a catholic priest reading this, stop being lazy and throwing guitars and bad singers at us because it’s easy. Go out and actively take the time to develop a choir that will sing the music developed within the church because like 2+2 = 4 somethings never get old, like the ancient chant of your church for example. In fact calling it ancient is inappropriate because it will always be more modern than your average guitar and tambourine. 

Try it out, teach the youth how to sing chant and choral music because no 15 year old will put on one of your silky robes and stand in front of a congregation of their peers singing something Daniel o Donnell wrote whilst having tea with his 80 yr old neighbour one afternoon. It’s embarrassing for them. 

But teach them heavenly music and they’d happily put their hand up to volunteer. You might not think it but music is a big deal and the music of the church is something neutral that all ages will appreciate. 

If I walk into a bar and hear metal music, I’ll leave it. If I walk into another playing country western I will leave that one also. That’s just how subjective music is but the Lord was clever. The Holy Spirit developed a liturgical music that no age group could resist. 

This is why when you go into an Orthodox Church you will see plenty of young, old and middle aged there. They will not allow the worldly music into their church but rather prefer to bring the heavenly music into the world. 

Please take a leaf out of their books as they are the last rebellion in this world whilst the rest of us have buckled in compromise to the secular Atheistic philosophy. 

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