Saying Farewell
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,187
    Yesterday, after 20 years of service to the Catholic Church as a sacred musician, and after sustaining many painful blows to my spiritual, financial, emotional and professional life at the hands of Catholic clergy and laity, I have decided that enough is enough.

    I tendered my resignation without notice and effective immediately to the last Catholic parish I will ever serve as a sacred musician. I have made a vow that I will never (with extremely narrowly constructed exceptions) darken the doorstep of another Catholic Church as an organist, singer or choir trainer ever again. I've had enough of the horrid treatment, the hypocrisy, the dreck music, the cultural battles, the self-righteous behavior. I've served in everything from "spirit of the Council" parishes to neo-conservative traditional parishes and the behavior doesn't seem to be any different, and the damage to my soul, career and bank account is always the same.

    My soul isn't a pawn; it's not a bargaining chip to be used to my advantage or the advantage of others, period. I will not sacrifice my soul on the altar of "duty", nor will I be guilted into "staying the course for the sake of the cause." And I certainly won't sell out because I need the money. I'd rather starve in a house of peace than gorge myself in a palace full of turmoil.

    I'll be looking to make music with congregations and denominations that demonstrate a respect for good music and an understanding of what it takes to make it happen, and a respect for the knowledge and training I have in the craft. And since it won't be a Catholic parish, my personal beliefs or the welfare of my soul won't be at stake or bound up in what I do. Also, because I've re-positioned myself in a secular business environment for my primary income, my financial stability won't be, either. I'll work to bring beauty and share the joy of music to those who appreciate it for its own sake, and my stake will be in being the best musician I can. I'll then be free to nurse my injured spirit at a parish of my choosing where my income won't be dependent upon my complicity, obedience or need. I've not dismissed the possibility of becoming a Byzantine Catholic in this regard, either.

    I urge others who are endangering their souls for reasons detrimental to their soul's welfare to think carefully about what sacrifices they are making for a buck, or the appearance of being an appeaser or a martyr for the cause.

    This life is transitory. Eternity is, by definition, forever.


  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,195
    Don't say farewell, because I have realized everyone here doesn't work as a musician in a Catholic parish. I have often said that if I leave my current job, I will not work in a Catholic parish again, either. Of course, I am getting older so maybe that doesn't matter so much in the long run. However, I fully understand everything you have said.
  • jefe
    Posts: 113
    David,
    It pains me to see you in this condition. Yourself, as many on this forum seem to find themselves unable to adapt to changing times; in the wrong century or a round peg in a square hole, or as Mongo in Blazing Saddles put it; "Mongo just pawn in game of life". So much knowledge, education and talent with no one to appreciate that position. With many Roman and Episcopal Parishes in a death spiral, I can see that the classically trained music staff, through all the turmoil in trying to plug the spiritual leaks by going pop are the ones who take it in the shorts. This is particularly true with organists. The new 'buggy whip'? In a list of obsolete businesses on a news network short, they listed pipe organ building as obsolete. Who will play organ for us in the future? In all the parishes/congregations I've served, and because I had a couple day gigs,(LAPhilharmonic/University Professor) I always had the luxury of asking myself this question: would i do this for free? If the answer was no, it was time to head for the door. I only do it for free now. I hope you find peace. jefe
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,033
    Yesterday, after 20 years of service to the Catholic Church as a sacred musician, and after sustaining many painful blows to my spiritual, financial, emotional and professional life at the hands of Catholic clergy and laity, I have decided that enough is enough.

    And this is the perfect example of what Dr. K. et al. were discussing in "Cantate Domino" regarding just compensation and clericalism in re. sacred music.

    At the risk of sounding corny: I wish you all the best in the future, wherever that may lead. And please do stick around here, your assistance has been valuable to many, and I'm sure will remain so in the future.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,276
    Yourself, as many on this forum seem to find themselves unable to adapt to changing times;


    The problems that David Andrew has dealt with are not due to "changing times" but have been present and documented by those employed by Catholic churches for hundreds of years. There are good pastors to work with and those less qualified; laity have always influenced pastors.
  • jefe
    Posts: 113
    This condition has a parallel story. In my years playing bass trombone in the Philharmonic I was always aware that I and we were just hired help: rather well paid hired help. However, even though we were on an umbrella union contract, the 'one-on-a-part' people were on individual contracts that could be negotiated with management which told one how much you were worth to them. The good news is I enjoyed every one of the 22,000 service with 'the band' and have no regrets. Well, maybe one. I regret that I did not find Compline sooner, coming from L.A. which has approaching no Compline history.
    I just noticed that I have one hundreth the amount of posts on here as CharlesW.
    jefe
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 483
    My soul isn't a pawn; it's not a bargaining chip to be used to my advantage or the advantage of others, period. I will not sacrifice my soul on the altar of "duty", nor will I be guilted into "staying the course for the sake of the cause." And I certainly won't sell out because I need the money. I'd rather starve in a house of peace than gorge myself in a palace full of turmoil.


    Well said.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,886
    With many Roman and Episcopal Parishes in a death spiral,

    This.
    Can't be fiddling while Rome is burning.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,382
    welcome to the club
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,495
    Can't be fiddling burning (out) while Rome is burning fiddling.
    Fixed.
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 164
    Best wishes for finding a suitable music-making role.

    (Some 20+ years ago as a university undergraduate, I decided that I would never work for the church: I saw too many lay people treated too badly. Volunteer, yes, because it's on my terms. But employee, no.)
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 39
    Best wishes as well.

    To borrow a piece of advice that my mentor gave his fellow professor (and best friend) "It might be time for you to leave the college, but for your own sake, I really hope you can find a way to leave without both middle fingers in the air."
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 39
    PS I hope you get the chance to check in on the effects these people had on you. I'm hearing a lot of things said about others actions and faults, that sound a lot like they are rooted in sharp but only vaguely-named pain. I just hope you have taken the time to reach an understanding with the pain itself; if you have, I expect your insight will be very useful to help others understand the nuances of these people and their hypocrisy, self-righteousness, etc. All the best!
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,187
    This just in from the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Dept:

    They've posted the position on the diocesan website. It's being advertised as "salaried." They advertised it that way when I applied then told me three weeks after accepting that it had to be paid hourly, by diocesan policy.

    Did they lie to me, are they lying now? Does the diocese monitor the job postings?

    Unbelievable.
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 39

    XO

    No words.

    What is wrong with these people?
    Maybe I should start being grateful that I'm an unpaid volunteer :P
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 228
    May God bless and guide you.
  • >> May God bless and guide you.

    This. I am so sorry for your pain. Remembered you in my Mass today.
  • As long as there is no scandal and the Church and its clergy are accountable to no one, it and they very often have absolutely no conscience, yea, a total vacancy thereof, as to how they treat people - as is evidenced by Mr Andrew's experience and that of countless other musicians, as is evidenced by the paedophile saga and a slew of other historic and current horrors. There is a certain, shall I say, 'syndrome', that is had by disturbing numbers of Catholics, of both the lay and clerical castes: namely, that those who have it live as though being a 'good Catholic' often means that they are absolved from being Christian.

    That this same Church has produced countless saints, countless saintly priests (some of whom many of us are privileged to know), brilliant theological and philosophical minds, astonishingly fecund musicians, artists, and architects, and countless ordinary holy people is a miracle. Reading the unbelievably childish, arrogant, utterly Christless bickering betwixt popes, prelates, and magnates over worldly power, wealth, and imagined divine approbation of the past is to sludge through the dregs of human blindness to all sanctity and virtue. I think that not even Dante came close to giving them their full justice. And it goes on today to the full extent and guise that the cultural and political constructs of our time will permit - to which Cardinal Pell could attest, he and the Irish woman who resigned from H.F. Francis' paedophile commission just last week because its work was being thwarted by a leading 'prince of the Church'. Hmmph! Some 'prince'!

    Meanwhile - I'm fortunate. I'm thankful and privileged to know and to have known most of the priests who are and have been in my life, grateful for the music and liturgy which I have been blessed to lead and to breathe, the lives whom I have been able to touch, and, of equal imporatnce, who've touched mine in beautiful ways. And, I think that most of us can say the same. This is why we keep doing it.

    But, as for those like Mr Andrew, who just can't 'keep doing it' any longer: Godspeed. There is a limit to how much one can suffer having his virtue, integrity, intelligence, and dignity being gratuitously savaged. There is a point at which one must say 'no' to continuing to be a musical prostitute.
  • Jani
    Posts: 384
    This is sad. As for the ad, I hope this doesn't sound trite, but I guess it's possible they are misusing "salaried" for "paid." Good luck to you.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 843
    Dear Andrew:
    I fully share your bad experiences and unhappy experiences. It is sad that your talents, good will and skills are not given appreciation and above all, respect.
    I do know that many people have found
    sanity and fullfillment in many other areas of Christendom. If you ever wist to talk, my email is ghmus7@hotmail.com.
    I wish you all the best.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,886
    Well Roomie,
    As I tilt headlong into retirement (and yes, I feel guilty because of Mahrt!), perhaps a companion feeling I've had for a while is summed up by the Peggy Lee classic:
    "Is that all there is?"
    I think the most cogent sign o' the times is the resurgence of exorcism ministry.
    Go figure.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • ...resurgence of...
    I read just two days ago on the internet news that H.F. Francis has recommended (advised?) all priests to have an exorcist on call.


    As for...
    "Is that all there is?"
    .... I do hope that that doesn't mean that 'that' hasn't been or included many joys.
    Surely they have been there.

    (None of us would want to be like Frieda Kalo, who died saying 'I'm glad it's over. I hope I don't have to come back'.)
  • Sadly, I think that Frieda Kalo bit fits more than it should.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,270
    "Frida, what do you do on that computer all day long?"
    "I BROWSE!"