What Has Happened to Sacred Catholic Music?

hymn, church music, chant

“…we shall lose a large portion of that wonderful and incomparable, artistic and spiritual reality, Gregorian chant. We indeed have reason for sadness and perhaps even for bewilderment.” (Pope Paul VI, 1969)

Since the time, the reasons often given for this loss was the change from Latin to the vernacular in the Mass and the desire to become modern. Pope Paul VI described “liturgical innovations in the new rite of Mass that will come into use” and said “We shall have to prepare for this many-sided upheaval”.

It has been 46 years since Paul VI tried to prepare us for changes, as a result of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (Vatican II – 1962/1965). He knew it would be difficult for many who had to adjust to the experience, but this effort was necessary in order to be of service to the  future faithful. He said, “If our sacred Latin should, like a think curtain, close us off from the world of children and young people, of work and the business of everyday, then would we, fishers of men, be wise to allow it exclusive dominion over the speech of religion and prayer?”

The turbulent social change that started just before 1962 when the council was opened, and the ambiguity in some of the Vatican II documents including Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), eventually allowed major changes to take place within the entire church. The result was an the ideological split of the faithful that we see today – “Sadness and bewilderment” by some and celebration by others.

We read in Sacrosanctum Concilium:

Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites…Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them…In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things. But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority…

 An Up-Close Observer

Kathy Reinheimer is founder and director of Regina Pacis Cantorum (Queen of Peace Choir) Gregorian Chant choir in the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. She is a cradle Catholic having been Catholic-educated through high school just before the end of Vatican II. She attended traditional Catholic schools in Southern California where it was required to attend daily Mass and singing was a part of daily life at school. It was a time when the sisters wore full habits. Her father was a choir director and she excelled at music, receiving many accolades for her knowledge and ability in sacred music even as a child. She has a beautiful voice still, and is a tireless advocate for Gregorian Chant which she has taught.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Kathy about this topic.

HL: “Occasionally I feel very at home at a Novus Ordo Mass because some of these songs bring back fond memories of my boyhood in the Episcopal church.”

Kathy: “I had an organist in an Episcopal church who came up to me one day and said, “Kathy, what has happened to the music in the Catholic church? You used to have the finest music in the world, and now you sound just like everybody else?””

HL: “Do you think there was a sense of ecumenism that came from the council (Unitatis Redintegrati, Declaration on Ecumenism) that was interpreted to change the music this way”

Kathy: “Absolutely. We ended up Protestanizing our liturgy which was probably the crown jewel of the world. (The thought was) If we use some of this music it will make them (Protestants) more comfortable. What has happened is the exact opposite. It has driven solid Catholics away.”

What Prompted the Desire for Change?

Kathy: “Vatican II opened the flood gates but the water had been seeping under for a long, long time. I think one of the reasons that we have ended up with the mess that we have today as well as why the council undertook to make the recommendations that it did with regard to sacred music, is that by-and-large the state of music was pretty bad.”

HL: “Not the music itself, because most of it was written years and years before.”

Kathy: “Correct…but the execution of it…execution would be a good word for it because the music was really executed. Other than the bigger cathedrals or if you got lucky and had a trained smaller group in a parish, going to Mass where there was a choir was a painful experience.”

HL: “Was this world-wide?”

Kathy: “I think it was primarily in the United States, but by that time the decline had already started in Europe. It was certainly in existence in Ireland. Ireland had never been noted for prominence in sacred music. A lot of that goes back to the Irish and English persecutions (that began with Henry VIII). That is how we got the Low Mass. Before that period of time it was always sung Mass the way it was intended to be. Low Mass was the beginning of the end for sacred music generally, because that is when it go to be a matter of the priest and maybe if he had altar servers doing their thing and everybody else sitting there afraid to make a noise. They were in peril of their lives just being at a Mass. If you are talking English persecutions and going back to the time of William Byrd (1540-1623),  he really took his life in his hands composing a lot of the material that he did for the church.”

What About Singing Ability?

HL: “What caused the decline in the ability to sing the Mass.”

Kathy: “I think a lack of understanding in how important it was to the actual Mass. There was really no catechesis, no real strong music programs. I’m sure there were at some of the universities, but at that time we didn’t have the mentality that we have today that everyone has to go to college. College was largely for the wealthy and it was only after the upheaval of the 60s that it became more common. The Catholic universities were the only places that had the wherewithal to teach it. The priest when they were in seminary were taught some Gregorian Chant, they certainly knew Latin, they didn’t want to do that (teach singing) when they got into a parish.  They had so many things to do in those days the pastor was a mechanic, the maintenance man, an accountant, the grounds keeper as well as being in charge of the celebration of all the sacraments.”

HL: “So, why did people sing better in 1700 than in 1950?”

Kathy: “I think some of it is because of what they were singing.  Because in 1750 they were singing the Mass. By the time you got to 1950 the Low Mass had become to be more prevalent. I know as a child going into my parish if somebody came out and lit the tall candles we all went Oh, no because Father O’Brian couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. He was a really nice man but it was painful to go to one of his Masses. People would seek Low Masses and that meant just hymns. They were singing Holy God be Praised Thy Name, traditional Catholic hymns that had good theology but if you had one High Mass on a weekend it was a lot.”

What We Have Lost?

HL: “So if I am following then, in a period when there were many high Masses the experience of singing those Masses carried forward it was part of life. When that diminished then people lost the knack, the ability, even though the music was complicated at the time.”

Kathy: “That’s right, but it isn’t (complicated). The parts of the Mass in Gregorian Chant…the Ordinary of the Mass…they were composed for congregations, they are very simple, not hard to sing, they knew them, in the middle ages.”

HL: “Today we are lucky if we can throw back the responses.”

Kathy: “It is amazing to me…sometimes a church will opt for Mass 8. There are 18 complete Gregorian Chant Masses, Mass 18 being the Requiem Mass. There are a lot of Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei that are not part of a full Mass. Part of the reason for this choice is that when you hear the Sistine Choir sing they sing Mass 8. It is a 17th century composition, so it is rather late as far as Gregorian Chant compositions are concerned. It is without a doubt the most complex of all the Masses. It has a wider range, it is harder to sing…it’s like why wouldn’t you do Mass 11 which is so much simpler, just as beautiful. The answer I hear is that we don’t know it.”

Where Does That Leave Us Today?

HL: “Where do you think we are headed today? Are you optimistic, pessimistic, or indifferent?”

Kathy: “I am certainly not indifferent about it , I think we are going in both directions. A lot of it depends on what the local bishop wants, what his training is. Look at the good Archbishop Cordileone, who is taking a battering, and the wonderful changes he has made to the liturgy in San Francisco, he is having a positive impact on the seminary. He expanded the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (the traditional Latin Mass) in more parishes, more training for priests. He celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form himself.  A very good friend of mine was instrumental in teaching him everything he knows about this liturgy and sacred music. When Archbishop Cordileone was an auxiliary bishop in San Diego he told me himself that they never taught us any of this in seminary.

But, you  look at other dioceses where the bishop has not had the benefit of  having somebody mentor them, they are very much going down this same slippery slope where choirs have been dismantled, Gregorian Chant is virtually forbidden. At the same time I am seeing bright spots of scholae popping up all over the country.”

HL: “It still depends on the local bishop.”

Kathy: “My choir, which I think is a pretty good choir, operates at the pleasure of the bishop even though we are an independent 501c3, all he would have to do is send out a notice to all the parishes that Regina Pacis is no longer welcome and we would be done, just like that.  Bless his heart he has chosen to not do that, but there are other places that have not been as fortunate. I there were a lot of parishes that were starting to go in a positive direction when Benedict was pope.  Now, I think everbody is sort of waiting to see which way things are going to go. Although, Cardinal Sarah who is the Prefect of the Congregaton for Devine Worship, in the last few of weeks, said his instruction from Pope Francis was that he was to continue the efforts begun by Benedict. People are feeling a little bit better. This is really good news. ”

Other Voices

The lay organization Paix Liturgique has published on their website this summation:

The French translation of Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke’s book Divine Love Made Flesh is coming out this autumn. That edition will include a previously unpublished interview between the cardinal patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Father Claude Barthe, chaplain for the pilgrimage of the Summorum Ponctificum people in Rome.

Card. Burke: Yes, to be sure, Benedict took the entire liturgical crisis pretty hard, as he recounts in his autobiography Milestones. In the letter to the bishops that accompanied the Motu Proprio, he gave a summary of his experience: “[I]n many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion.” And I believe that by allowing for the rediscovery of the sacred liturgy that had existed for a millennium and a half in the Roman Church, Pope Benedict XVI made it possible to start rectifying abuses and also to provide a reference point for the necessary enrichment of the ordinary form.

Recommended reading:

Ralph Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum.

Saint John Paul II, Chirograph for Centenary of Tra le Sollecitudini (Instruction on Sacred Music).

Pope Pius X, Tra le Sollecitudini (Instruction on Sacred Music) from adoremus.org, an English translation was not provided by Rome.

A YouTube talk by Dom Cassian Folosm  on Sacred Music, 45 min.

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56 thoughts on “What Has Happened to Sacred Catholic Music?”

  1. Pretty much a doggone shame that for me to hear decent music and a liturgy that’s elevating and not continually dumbed down … I have to attend an Episcopalian Eucharist. Oh, we’re told that if we take their Eucharist, we’re giving support to the English Reformation, taking an “empty sacrament,” and violating x number of other rules, acts serious enough to possibly merit ecommunication. Let me posit this question for a moment: How do we know what’s left insofar as what the Magisterium really knows to be what’s true about the Catholic Eucharist to be true insofar as to render it as the Only legit Communion … and if fthey know this, why aren’t they sharing it? My guess is that given what they’ve done to the Mass and the years of turning more otherwise loyal Catholics away, this is the last thing they want to get out in the public. Maybe the Anglican Eucharist is as valid as ever before the English Reformation and since the forced breakaway no thanks to the impasse between Elizabeth I and Rome. I’m sick and tired of being expected to attend Masses sung by priests who abdicated their better judgmentment and authority to tell their local lay prominentes to cut out all the banal land lame-brain contemporary Christian music style of music. The people in the pews are tired of hearing over and over how the Lord hears the cry of the poor every week while their diocesan and parish leaders won’t listen to them and won’t lift a finger to cut out the bland garbage and bring back older hymns and loftier liturgical responses, etc.

  2. While I do not (nor does the Church) reject the Novus Ordo, done properly and with reverence, I for the most part attend and am a member of an FSSP parish (Priestly Fraternity of St Peter), incidentally a group who did the Extraordinary Form only long before it became at all “cool” by any average Catholic’s standards of the day, and I really have a deeper love for the liturgy than I ever believed possible. And to a person, we are a parish of pretty much solid Catholics, have long confession lines as well as the rosary immediately before every EF Mass, and onward it goes. And while I still like that old fashioned rock and roll, (even some of the Christian stuff), I am pretty much in love with Gregorian these days. And liking is not loving. I would add that, while a hugely friendly parish, outside of the nave and onto the street that is, after every Mass, no one speaks a single word as they leave at the end of our EF Mass, nor does anyone generally leave early–too many stay to pray just a bit more, and to drink in the Eucharistic Jesus we all just received together. We have traded our birthright for a mess of pottage in trying to attract others. I know, I was one who left when it happened, as a 15 year old teen in 1970. And I was gone for 35 years. Although I returned to a Mass I was unfamiliar with and noted with sadness the watered-down effects, I did not know why I felt as I did until I began 2 years ago to attend the Mass of St Pius V. Now I actually feel like a Catholic again. And I love it, not like it. Wonderful article.

  3. I ilke my Dominican parish qutie a lot — there’s a lot going on the priests are solid. But every time we have to sing this:
    http://bit.ly/1OUiiem
    I just feel like I am being attacked somehow. Like there is something truly wrong with the music, as if it was composed deliberately to get under one’s skin. I am thinking about writing to the music director and cc’ing the priest and just asking if we can’t return to a spoken Gloria, as this part is not only hard to sing, it hurts to hear it even if sung well. It’s almost as if the person who composed this knew that the dissonance would create disharmony and dissatisfaction. I feel it was a subversive act to alienate parishoners on the part of the composer and those who approved this dreck. Just horrible stuff.

  4. A number of thoughts…
    1. I love chant, it can transport me to the very throne room of God
    2. Chant, while beautiful is not understood by a great number of congregants
    3. To many, chant is a museum piece, lovely to listen to but rarely understood
    4. What can’t be understood by so many is it truly communicating?
    5. Contemporary worship compositions can be very good, or very bad
    6 Contemporary worship teams can be very good or very bad
    7 Good contemporary worship songs that are orthodox in lyrical content can communicate Gospel truths to a great majority of congregants
    8. Frankly, there are no where near enough qualified musicians to start enough scholas
    9. Perhaps we should be encouraging composers to create good quality worship music that will speak the Gospel to human kind in a way that is universal or at least less exclusive

    I’ll stop there. 🙂

    1. Some good thoughts Randy.

      My musical training and trumpet playing stopped when I left school so I can only speak from that experience and whatever appreciation gained from my training and experience in the visual arts.

      Chant is best when heard at Mass. That is the total experience. I don’t usually appreciate it just as music, not that it can’t be appreciated that way. Sort of like a film designed for a big screen and then seen on T.V.- like Lawrence of Arabia.

      Chant is our unique contribution to music and religion. The problem of reducing the excellent in order to gain favor with those who reject it because of lack of understanding or lack of appreciation, is to me an act of dumbing down. Not a successful approach in education as our place in the world in that area has shown.

    2. Thanks H.L. I too played trumpet in school, also in many churches over the years. My favorite being the Vivaldi concert for two trumpets and organ in C. I think that too many people think in terms of either/or. either chant is the only acceptable music or contemporary in the vernacular is the only acceptable form of music.
      Give chant pride of place and primacy as a sublime, distinctly Catholic form of musical expression but don’t ignore the value in contemporary music that communicates to today’s human condition.
      If you wanted to share the Gospel with your friend next door you wouldn’t speak a language that they can’t understand. Once initiated and educated chant is wonderful but to the uninitiated it like speaking gibberish.

    3. Yes, there are probably a lot of people who take the either/or approach.

      I am interested in your opinion on these questions and others might also.

      To be more specific, how would you suggest chant be used in order to give it pride of place as VAT2 requested?

      In what way does contemporary music communicate the faith and what condition are you referring to?

      I don’t see a parallel with the gospel, because, in that case we are communicating concepts, stories, commands using language only. We have laboriously translated then we read to our neighbor. Chant can be followed in translation and understood as well.

    4. Hard to say H.L. I’m not a liturgist but I’d say use chant in places that really cry out for it, Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus for example. Contemporary can be used best prior to the processional, during communion if music is to be played then. I’ve yet to see a parish that blends the two really well.
      Music can be an incredible tool for communicating the Gospel, we remember songs so much better than we do the spoken word and of course when the lyrics are orthodox and in a language that the hearer understands it’s effects can be amazing. I’ve played for many retreats and so many people will remember the songs sung but have forgotten the spoken lessons.

      I can’t help but think of 1st Corinthians 9 and Paul’s commenting on how he spoke to those not like himself in order to reach them. I sometimes think that this can be applied to music within our churches. 19For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. 20And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: 21To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law.22To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. 23And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof.

  5. Bad liturgy leads to bad faith. Pure and simple for me. Conservatives can blame the Sexual Revolution and Woodstock all they want, but that doesn’t cover the whole story.
    There are reasons why people like Nancy Pelosi feel absolutely comfortable at most normal modern Catholic communities, yet I guarantee that they would never, ever set foot in a parish that celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the traditional Roman Rite.

  6. “…we shall lose a large portion of that wonderful and incomparable, artistic and spiritual reality, Gregorian chant. We indeed have reason for sadness and perhaps even for bewilderment.” (Pope Paul VI, 1969)
    How could the Pope have the gall to complain. He is the one responsible for the liturgical slaughter!

  7. One thing that those of you who appreciate the Extraordinary Form Mass (Traditional Latin mass) may suggest to your diocese or parish is to offer it on a limited regular basis. We have one small parish exclusively devoted to this Mass but our cathedral offers it once a month on the first Friday evening. This can mean cooperation from the bishop and priests have to understand its value in order to be motivated to learn it.

  8. Not having access to a Mass with the most beautiful and mysterious music on Earth, Gregorian Chant, (along with some of older wonderful classical composers) I simply bought a few hundred CD’s over the past 30 years and listen to them at home. It’s such glorious music and so deeply spiritual. I thank God for at least this!:)

  9. I am neither a Catholic, nor church goer…..BUT I absolutely love Gregorian Chant and pay it almost daily as it is one of the best types of music created for my meditation and union with my Source. I often interchange it with Buddhist chant, but prefer Gregorian.

    1. Phil, I have a relative that is not religious at all and only sort of spiritual in the sense that she sees spirituality in nature. She plays a Gregorian Chant CD in her car. It has that power to elevate us.

  10. Kathy : What has happened is the exact opposite. It has driven solid Catholics away.”

    What a non sequitur this is. It’s mostly the solid Catholics who attend mass today.

    1. I would not bet on the person next to you in the Novus Ordo pew to be very solid in his faith.

      “Let us take a look first at basic doctrine unrelated to the culture wars. Fewer than six in ten traditional Catholics who attend Mass regularly believe in the resurrection of the body (58 percent), compared with 75 percent of Evangelicals who attend services at least three times a month. Catholic teaching says that weekly Sunday Mass attendance is a serious obligation and missing Mass is a mortal sin. Yet just 58 percent of traditional Catholics are at church in a given week, compared with 74 percent of Evangelicals. When it comes to sexual-behavior measures in this study, traditional Catholics who are regular churchgoers are slightly less likely to use porn than are Evangelicals (29 percent to 21 percent) but also slightly more likely to report having premarital sex with their spouse (64 percent to 57 percent).

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395064/catholic-weakness-maggie-gallagher

    2. Thanks for this excellent article, Howard. I do hope that they bring back more chant and polyphony to the Mass. And yes, Birgit, much of the contemporary music at Mass is just dreadful. Makes me think of this quote: “It is immensely saddening to see so many elements of the Church, in her capacity as Mother of Western Culture, compliant in the promotion of ugliness. There may be no deterrent more formidable to countless potential converts than the low estate of the Church’s liturgical life, for the liturgy is the Church’s prime means of evangelism. Gone as into a primeval mist are the days not long ago when apologists regularly had to warn against being distracted by, or superficially attracted to, the beauty of the Church’s rites. And the plodding and static nature of the revised rites could not have been more ill-timed for a media culture so attuned to color and form and action. Edification is no substitute for inspiration.” –Fr, George Rutler, Crisis of Saints https://cburrell.wordpress.com/tag/george-rutler/

    3. Very beautifully said. I think he is the best living writer. He says in the next sentence, “As it is weak and feeble to say that this was not the fault of the Church’s official liturgical documents but only the result of their misuse, so, of course, would it be blind to pretend that ecclesiastical arts were in excellent shape before the revisions.” I think this is similar to what Karen said about music in the 50’s not being so good.

    4. Yes, that was a point she was making. She lived music before the council and has studied it for decades. She has a grasp of Sacred Music and its history that is far beyond my understanding of it. She also is associated with those in the country who have tried over the years to promote chant.

    5. I hope she has a lot of success; chant is so breathtakingly beautiful. Fr. Rutler has some chant at his Novus Ordo Masses. We sing the Gloria, the Sanctus, the Our Father, and the Profession of Faith in Latin and it is so beautiful. Ahh.

    6. Yes, some of our local liturgical “experts” went way too far. Some of the music makes me cringe. I think of it as a form of penance. 😉

    7. Oh so true and sad- …” compliant in the promotion of ugliness.”
      I would love to see the Church bring back the Holy Mystery (my own silly words) I once felt when I attended a Latin Mass and first heard the truly beautiful and sacred music, I wanted to faint for joy. I literally felt transported out of myself to part of Heaven on Earth. Today, the Mass seems shattered and hollowed out in a way, people seem lost and confused- but we do still have the Holy Eucharist, thank God.. and yet somehow it has lost that beauty, that mystery that gave us a peek into the Glory of God. Heartbreaking. For now I try to stay focused by praying and offering up the Passion of Christ for our very poor, sick world. And I agree, the contemporary music is devastating, lacking, shallow..painful to the spirit.

    8. I’ve walked out of numerous Masses, or Eucharistic Celebrations(tm), due to the music. When it is absolutely banal, that does not assist in the worship of the ever-living God.
      When I look around the parish I attend- your standard modern suburban worship building- I’d say the solid majority of people are simply not singing at all. The music is your standard modern guitar and piano with some claps thrown in. They seem like friendly people, but the worship and music are just uninspiring, as evidenced by the congregation’s dismal response.

    9. I had to leave two Masses, one because the Priest was preaching about using some kind of pagan ritual and the other because a woman stood in place of the priest wearing priestly garb while the Priest himself sat right there. I was so distressed/confused by this I reported it. I haven’t seen it happen again- yet.

    10. I would bet that the EF is not for everyone due to what might be described as overkill in the piety department. Don’t sweat the 58%, they may be on to something yet.. Evangelicals tend to be coarse, simple minded and way over the top with theatrics and if they like country music they’re into songs about adultery and booze. Their dogma and tradition are off the scale compared to the CC. The cafeteria Catholics have pondered the …obligations vs the subjective theory that missing mass and murder are far to diverse carry the same fate. It would be like being sentenced to death for jaywalking as well as vehicular homicide.
      But back to the music – and then I can factor in the above caveats. Long ago there was a priest ( now deceased ) who was once a hippie. He ringed the nave with Bose speakers to accommodate those hard of hearing and … just after the homily he would cue up music that ranged from the Grateful Dead to Pavarotti. He seemed to brush against the volume leverat this point too. The music was reported up the chain but for many years the sounds (tunes) and lyrics from across the ages and genres echoed to the rafters. Sometimes his selections were not relative to the gospel and sermon but most of the time they were right on. The church was so packed with every style of plebeian and patrician that most masses reached a transcendence
      that was only possible in such an eclectic mix of faith and morals. The take on an average Sunday was $10,000 +. The homilies were a mix of Peter, Paul and Hans Kung. No one left feeling they hadn’t been touched personally by a Vicar of Christ. Today I can envision a mass where the melodic harmony from Led Zep’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is played on a 1000 pipe organ and when the 2-3 generations of unchurched and other denominated ex patriot Catholics hear about these sites they will flock to hear a wide range of music not unlike we did. And, if you don’t have some Orthdox-Trad up there telling everyone that if they don’t come back next week there all going
      to hell – well, you just might be able to start relating the gospels in a way that recreates the old days, packs them in – all for the right reason.

    11. Well…we are given choice in our finality of heaven or hell, there is no graduated choice to make. Disobedience offers a result of one or the other. Either you accept the rules you are given or fight against them with all the intellect you can somehow produce. You can pick Jello and whip cream or salad and coke if you wish but in the final determination of your obedience is I am afraid going to be an accumulation of sins. I wish you luck in arguing your case if you feel it will be an unjust judgment.

      Judging by the money collected I agree that everyone was indeed touched. Was this nonsense under a tent perhaps? How good were the popcorn sales?

    12. Oh, and I have. Tenor in some of the best inner city choirs. Actually did an
      interfaith program where we all practiced in our own churches and then met on the day of our concert and sung some very intricate music. I like some of the
      newer composers and some greg chant – but not all of one thing.
      No, it was in one of the most prestigious mother church around and the priest
      was the very essence of humility when it came to communion.

    13. “one of the most prestigious mother church around” ??? What does that mean? According to who? Did you and the priest believe that the communion he was presenting was the actual body and soul, blood and divinity of Jesus Christ? Did you receive it?

    14. Jamey, head North, get out of the ‘Apple’ before you become obsessed with the
      drama that goes on in these chats. As Alice said : curiouser and curiouser.

    15. james, I think you would be more comfortable using hippie talk so I’ll continue the conversation for you.

      james: Do your own thing man. Don’t be so uptight. Let it all hang out.

      HL: Groovy!

      james: Right on!

    16. Well, i am on my 3d reading of E. Gibbons ‘Decline and Fall of the
      Roman Empire so feel free to use extremely stilted language and
      80 word sentences too.

    17. james, why don’t you put away your Dead Head, and Led Head albums for a while and head South…to Rome? I’m a grey-hair too and it’s time to think of last things: death, judgement, heaven and hell. Holy Mother Church will forgive anything…anything, and take her children back. Like the father in the Prodigal Son parable, waiting with open arms for his wayward son.

      “When you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wanted. But when you are old you shall stretch out your hands and another shall dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18) Why don’t you let Jesus lead you back to His Church, that He established?

    18. Jamey, That gospel quote indicated the nature of Peter’s death. You need to focus on Luke 9:50 to realize that the people you feel compelled to ‘save’ are
      not in CS. They are on the street as you drive by or in your cab. Be content to
      let others have there say and do realize that you are here to learn also. What a coincidence that the hospice dementia patient I sat with this am was desperately trying to remember the name of the church he belonged to and I, not necessarily privy to that info, could not help as he struggled with this loss.

    19. james, I don’t know what you were trying to illustrate, it was not apparent, but I don’t think it is appropriate to relate the contents of a private conversation with a helpless person here in public. Many of us have had experiences with those with dementia, alzheimer’s. and they are not specimens to be used to make some kind of point.

    20. Well, I was thinking of Jamey’s last things : death judgement heaven and hell and here was someone that was oblivious. And please don’t insinuate that any confidentiality was broken – you are bearing false witness.

    21. Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! Don’t refute your ill-formed attacks on Christ’s Holy Church? You do nothing but try to scatter the Faithful with your naïve attempt to sow hatred, doubt, disobedience, discord, and heresy. And lately with apostasy: your exact quote “Apostates are the new faithful.” What say ye to this?

      “Whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:50). But you’re radically
      AGAINST us!
      “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23) Hmmm, who else I wonder is trying to scatter?

      And in case you think only Peter is called to become a man, and put away childish things, such as Grateful Dead albums with the song “A Friend of the Devil is a Friend of Mine,” and Han Kung books:
      “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child.”
      (1 Cor. 13:11)

      Check out at the library Dr. Thomas E. Woods “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.” Check out http://www.catholic.com for more answers on doctrine if you really want to learn.

      I’ve been lighting candles for you.

    22. It must 102 with a relative humidity of 70 in the ‘apple’ Jamey, So, I’ll take your verbal attack as a sign you need to rest and drink plenty of water. Better to light a single candle then curse the darkness.

      “Apostates are the new faithful.” What say ye to this?

      I say to thee my Shakespearean sounding bard that all the empty, closed and combined churches once held faithful Catholics – we are still here, outside, waiting. Don’t shoot me. All I am is the messenger.

      “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not
      gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23).

      Well, I spent a couple hours today ‘gathering’ and sharing the last bits of a
      man’s personal memories, time with a dying stranger that i came far to see –
      and brought a very nice smile to his face before I left. What have you done
      but speak like a Pharisee ?.

    23. You want the Catholic Church to be more like james and his “modern” way of thinking. The heretics from the very beginning have all wanted the same thing: Arius, Mani, Nestorius, Luther, Calvin up to the secularists, the relativists, and the modernists. Catholics have tried to make the Church to imitate Jesus and his timeless way of thinking.

      You want the Church to be more modern. “Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies,” said Pope Pius X.

      Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that most people leave the Church not because of a dispute with its doctrine, but with its morality. Is that your main concern?

      Apostasy is “the total repudiation of the Christian faith.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2089, under the heading The First Commandment). http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm?p=17-paragraph18.xhtml%23para2089

      I would not be proud to boast about being among that crowd and calling it “the new faithful.”

    24. Jamey, with all due respect, I am no longer going to respond to you.
      Don’t take it personal. We have not a peck of common ground and
      you can’t seem to handle that as others do. Keep up all your good
      work in here and hopefully whatever it is that has your dander in a
      twist will fade. God Bless and drive safely out there.

    25. The usual james modus operandi: when someone dismantles your bumper sticker arguments you check out. Well the Church is always here for you, but don’t hold your breath–She’s not gonna change. If you want a few laughs and to relax, google “Chesterton quotes.”

    26. Birgit Atherton Jones

      If it hasn’t driven us away, it’s at least muzzled us. The dismay of hearing what passes for Church music today is palatable…I stop short of calling them hymns. The tempo changing, Disney sounding tunes are bad enough as it is. Add the lack of adherence to Church doctrine to the mix and some of us stand, silent, until the sacrilege is over.

    27. Birgit, this is the fate of all us grey heads – to be left behind, culturally and along with
      our traditions. In other words, you are acting your age. Think of it as being stuck in
      traffic to a very important destination that you’ll eventually reach. Mass is not supposed to be perfect – wailing kids, talkative adults, bored teens, bad sermons, quirky music, shameful attitudes coming off in waves and picked up with your 6th sense, guys checking out girls and likewise, no altar girls … altar girls. No altar boys, deacons forcing disingenuous smiles, endless appeals for new causes, faith levels that run from nascent to rapture like. I think your problem could be solved by suggesting that all parishioners submit musical requests in each category of the mass and played concurrently.

    28. Birgit Atherton Jones

      I don’t seek perfection…wailing babies, bad sermons, and all the rest don’t phase me. The line I draw is with liturgy celebrated correctly and theologically sound songs.

    29. The way I heard it the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ was written by a non Catholic, by
      a sea captain who was so reviled by his crew that when he fell overboard they used a harpoon to stick him to get him back aboard and it was after that he had his epiphany and turned his life around. Now everyone’s singing ‘ that saved a wretch like me’ when it was he who deserved that title .My point is that music
      comes from all directions but each one is meant for God. Maybe the EF is
      the form you need to feel complete when at mass.

    30. And if you consider the ones who don’t care either way that number goes up. I wonder
      what St Augustine would have thought of Francis saying that under the right conditions even an atheist can go to heaven. Wow, that would have sent some 12th century shock waves rolling in our direction. The thing is, I happen to know someone without a belief and this man’s virtuous life would put most of us Catholics to shame. Carry on, Ben

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