Advice on a situation
  • rogue63
    Posts: 405
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  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    The only thing I can do for you is pray for you.

    It is upsetting to me that you are working so hard to do what Christ wants you to do, but you are getting resistance.

    This is very sad.

    I wonder to what extent the congregation "participates" when the priest is preaching a homily, or saying the Eucharistic Prayer, or when the lectors read the readings.
  • I suspect one or two squeeky wheels getting some griese here... Lay low for a while until you can get a better sense of the situation. Try to get the pastor to be clear about what he wants. Best wishes!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I was also told by the pastor last week that Kyrie XI is too hard and change to a simpler one for people's participation. Actually I noticed that people were started to sing it. But I think priests are under so much pressure of this 'participation' issue these days, and today's people in this superspeed world want an immediate, fast output, no patience whatsoever, even with learning music. I've tried to talk to him that it is actually one of the simple one. But it didn't work. I talked to my schola about it, (they love this Kyrie ) and we decided to obey. I think it's better we tried to talk to the priests in a way that shows that you are trying to accomodate his suggestions. Maybe you can ask him that you can replace some Latin chants to English ones, and after a while I think there will be a chance you can reintroduce them. It is important you keep doing the schola, and there will be a chance. God will help you. But right now it's better to somehow you keep your schola and keep a good relationship with your priest.(my 2 cents advice)
    I really hope someday we all remember that this external participation is not as important as understanding of our true participation in Christ' sacrifice at the Eucharist, and the beautiful sacred music really helps us to remember that.
  • We've faced some similar situations, and the best thing to do is not to panic and bristle or get defensive (not that I always take my own advice!). It is easy enough to revert to English or simpler settings for the people's parts and inspire the schola on the communion proper or offertory proper, which is where your skill can be employed. Then over time work in the Gregorian material in the ordinary a bit at a time.

    Sometimes pastors do have a good sense of these things, and sometimes musicians do get too ambitious (I'm the worst!). I've never regretted pulling back just a bit in order to advance further later. This can work, and fortunately the chant provides so much material to keep us all busy during the transition.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    What congregation in their right minds, excluding Trappists and Carmelites, wants to sing at 6:30 a.m.? Maybe they wish to participate by actively praying.

    I agree with Jeffrey, as I do about almost everything except the ictus. Don't freak out. Keep it simple and English. See what the participation response is. Focus your schola's ambitions on an offertory and/or communion chant, making sure that nothing "lasts too long," another source of complaint. At the risk of sounding Machiavellian, is your group at 6:30 seen as a threat by some individual or group? And as Michael suggests, see if you can get a sense if there's really something else going on here.

    And you have my prayers as well.
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    The small schola in which I sing has a similar story, but with a bit less of the negativity that I detect from your pastor. We got in touch with a priest at a city parish that was celebrating a very traditional liturgy on Saturday mornings for a small number of senior citizens from the affiliated nursing home. We fit in fairly well, singing the propers for the day or for a Marian mass (int, off, comm) and a setting of the ordinary to replace the Jubilate Deo. The priest requested we go back to the simpler ordinary that the people were used to, so we did. We end with a hymn in english or latin that is available in the pew missalette. It's a working compromise. I'd suggest not being defensive at all, and perhaps suck it up and apologize for whatever misunderstanding has been involved. Focus on clarifying what the pastor wants, and then be sure to clearly make requests in the future.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,003
    I, too, am a teacher in a K through 8 school and music director/organist at the parish. Part of the problem is that when you or I say "traditional and orthodox," we don't mean the same thing the congregation does. Granted, I could attend Latin EF or OF masses all day with no problem, but my congregation regards them as a curiosity to be seen and heard occasionally. I think you did too much, too soon for the congregation and pastor to accept. At my early morning mass, the people did not want any music at all when I took the job in 2001. I have kept things low key, with softer traditional organ literature, and traditional English hymns. But it has taken that long to win them over. They now accept music at mass, which means on to step "B." The rest of the mass congregations like traditional English literature, but they are not willing to accept Latin on an every Sunday basis. So, I use Latin mass parts during Lent, with the occasional Latin motet thrown in at other times. The naturally impatient traditional Catholic musician is likely to remain frustrated most of the time. This process takes years.
  • I think probably every one with a schola has had to tone back the ambitious approach we would like to take on occasion. Accepting it with grace and humility will make it easier for the pastor to allow you to gradually make those changes in the parish as time goes on. The rest of the story could indeed involve a very vocal and influential parishioner who is working over time to make his life miserable.

    As for working with the kids and using the Ward method... that is our future... keep on teaching the children...they can bring their parents along with them!
  • I second the recommendation for the Ward method. It is true that if the kids want good music, the parents will go along.
  • rogue63
    Posts: 405
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  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    rogue63, we can't afford to lose good people like you. keep us posted!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,759
    Even if the priest turns your schola away altogether, you all can continue singing. It would be very nice to meet once a week, sing Vespers together -- and of course spend some time first on practicing the antiphons for the day. And perhaps from time to time, you can find some opportunity to sing for a Mass in that parish or another one.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    chonak is right on this. Keep singing. My schola doesn't have a Mass, but we rehearse and found a place to sing Vespers on a regular basis. Occasionally, we're asked along to something else, probably more as an oddity than for any liturgical or musical value we might have.

    And I am persuaded (or deluded) that simply making chant present in a place will eventually have a positive effect.
  • Mary Jane is absolutely right. Keep the group going for your own spiritual needs and to keep it "present". Quality attracts quality and the power of the Church's music can only be thwarted for a short time. People will sense its power and eventually ask for it.
  • rogue63
    Posts: 405
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  • That's incredibly tragic. I wouldn't take too seriously this stuff about the quality of singing. I've seen too many cases in which a pastor will slam the quality of the chant but permit complete musical catastrophes to take place week after week in the vigil or Sunday evening Masses. What's really at issue here are the complaints of some parishioners who fear that Mass will become serious business if this chant stuff takes hold. They want to strangle the baby in the crib. It's amazing to me how some pastors will cave in after no more than half a dozen complaints spread over a period of weeks.

    What has happened to you is the most demoralizing thing that can ever happen to a musician, something that can embitter a person for a lifetime. Pray for some other response if possible.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    rogue, that is just disgusting. This is horrible to hear.

    I just attended a Mass where the ENTIRE Eucharistic prayer was accompanied by "ad libitum" country acoustic guitar, and the rest of the music at Mass was "jammed to" on the same guitar.

    By the way, telling the kids not to focus on Solfege is the dumbest thing I ever heard. That is equivalent to telling reading students not to worry so much about phonics and the alphabet. I could go into detail about this, but I don't have time right now.
  • rogue63, Sorry to hear about this. Without more information, really, none of us can make an objective judgment about this situation, but we can sympathize with how poorly the pastor handled this. Sometimes a musician has to be informed that they have stepped outside his/her ability level (hey, I've been there!), but even if this was actually the case, this was not the way to handle it. Since they let you start the chant group AND let you sing at Mass, then they should have asked you to pull back a bit and give yourselves some more practice time or something. Honestly, if you were really as bad as he says, then how did you get hired to teach at the school?

    From this vantage point, I think Jeffrey is right. The pastor caved in to some folks who have been at the parish for a long time or who are big donors or something. Why are some people so bloody afraid of chant?! I suspect that it is a roadblock on the path to making the Catholic Church into the Roman Pentecostalist Faith, which so many seem to want. I've been suspecting for some time now that there are more people than we think who want to "tame" religion so that it doesn't conflict with secular humanism. So few people have a big view of history. Philosophies and intellectual fads have come and gone, but the Church remains. Every age believes that it is the most enlightened, but I sometimes think that the Middle Ages had it right in the first place... Christ's wisest statement, IMO, was the bit about shaking the dust off your shoes and going to the next village. HE never said "stay in town and slowly convert them to the right way of thinking, even though it may not happen in your lifetime." Convert those churches who are ready and make them beacons for those who are seeking the truth. Maybe that's a better way.

    Back on point. If you need the school job, make the solfege and chant fun. If they force you to use Song and Spirit or something, shake off the dust. God WILL open a window for you. Good luck and God Bless.
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    Blech. I'm sorry about the setback for your schola, especially since this came out of left field.

    Regarding the pastor's comments about your classroom, it sounds like there's some different understandings about who sets the curriculum. Was this a class that was taught before that you are either following or changing? Are you free to choose the curriculum or does the school have some guidelines different from what you are doing now. I teach science at a Catholic school and very carefully note what I'm required to teach and what I can choose to include. If the admin/pastor of your school mandates that "fun" is the major goal of a music class and that "fun" does not include chant then there's little you can do. However, I've found that simply teaching what is fun according to the opinion of adolescents very rarely leads to much learning. (That's not to say that certain valuable learning activities can't be fun, but it's not what should drive the curriculum.) And I'm not sure that parents paying tuition at a Catholic school are paying for their kids to simply have a good time.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    If you cannot minister them with the Church's music on what the Chruch asks us to do, because they don't like the it, I wish you can inform them with words at least.

    Do Catholics know what our Church Fathers say about Latin and chants in our liturgy?

    "An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony"

    Pope Benedict XVI


    -- Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments

    We should do our best to appreciate the language which the Church uses in her liturgy and to join our hearts and voices to them, according as each liturgical rite may indicate. All of us cannot be Latin speakers, but the lay faithful can at least learn the simpler responses in Latin. Priests should give more attention to Latin so that they celebrate Mass in Latin occasionally. In big churches where there are many Masses celebrated on a Sunday or Feast day, why can one of those Masses not be in Latin? In rural parishes a Latin Mass should be possible, say once a month. In international assemblies, Latin becomes even more urgent.


    We truly lost the contact with our Mother Church. The faithful don't even remember that we have the Church we supposed to listen. We are catholics. We do what we supposed to do, not what we'd like to do. There are so many things I like to speak out in our parish too. But I'm keeping it quiet, because we can still sing chants here at least minimum, and that is the most powerful tool we have than any words we can use.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,005
    rogue63,

    I agree with others that this is a blow, and some aspects of it are not to be taken seriously. Recently we had some parishioners lobbying hard for "more uplifting music" of the bad variety. We tried working with them, explaining things, but that was what they wanted. Eventually they left, because they felt "more at home" at the folk group parish down the street. Good riddance! Thank goodness we didn't overreact to their criticism, which is exactly what your pastor is doing.

    On the other hand, the remarks about the quality of singing and playing are certainly worth considering. It might be worthwhile taking a thoughtful listen to a recording of your schola. How is the blend? Are there harsh voices? These things can happen and can keep an otherwise very worthwhile program from getting off to a good start.

    I hope that you find a way to continue with this work, though I wouldn't blame you for chucking it all. God bless you--I have been praying for you and will continue to pray that there is a good way forward.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    It's amazing to me how some pastors will cave in after no more than half a dozen complaints spread over a period of weeks.

    Amen, Jeffrey! I thought we were ordaining men only, but so many priests are lacking their... masculine equipment... when it comes to dealing with parishioners!

    Rogue, my condolences on what happened to you. I pray God grants you the grace to become a better person from it.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    A small tip for teaching solfege and chant. I use Kodaly hand motion (Ward method has hand motions for each note too) for solfege. Kids seemed to like it. And it helps them to focus. I started with do, re, mi then add sol, la then fa, ti. They have to be good to add more notes. They were eager to add 'fa' last week. For Latin, I make up a crossword puzzle whenever they start a new chant and give them stickers.(little ones) There's a website for it. Also whoever memorize each verse is rewarded. (Hopefully the rewards will not be necessary in the future.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,759
    You can tell the pastor that the Kodaly gestures are "gang signs". Maybe he'll like that. :-)

    I can only assume that the pastor is undereducated in regard to the Church's teaching on music. Many priests think that "traditional" music consists of the sentimental songs in the St Basil Hymnal. Some had their formative experiences of liturgy in some particular movement (charismatic groups, etc.) which may be orthodox doctrinally but not in touch with the Church's liturgical tradition. Or perhaps all he knows is the four-hymn sandwich.

    By the way, you mentioned that there is a "parish music director". Ideally, that person should be leading the effort to bring in traditional music, and should be educating the priest. Is it possible that he or she is feeling left out and in the dark about your work?
  • My initial thoughts are here. It seems that the pastor is not only undereducated regarding the Church's teaching on music, but also basic leadership. I'm working only with the information given though, and while I'm attempting to see things from both your perspective as well as that of the pastor, know that my sympathies lie with you, rogue63, even as my prayers go out for the both of you.
  • Mia... where is the website for the crossword puzzles, etc.? I am planning for my kids' choir now and could use some ideas! thanks,
    Janet.

    PS rogue... it is a wonderful thing that you had men coming up to you and asking to be a part of a schola. That is a wonderful thing... The fact that they (who have probably quietly been sitting in the pews and listening to what has been the usual fare and wishing for true Sacred Music) came to you speaks volumes. There are probably many more (perhaps less vocal) folks out in the pews who liked it. Keep at it with your schola... just find somewhere to sing where you will be appreciated.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,759
    Aristotle makes a good point about leadership. It seems that priests probably need to learn about conflict resolution to avoid letting work conflicts getting to the degraded level this one reached.

    Also, if this priest's way of dealing with dissatisfaction is to micromanage, that's a sign that he doesn't know how to formulate clear policies yet. Not everybody has that skill. And if he then proceeds to vent rather than propose improvements, he's probably going to leave a trail of staff turnover wherever he works.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I'm very happy to hear that you are thingking of doing children's schola. I started with only simple Kyrie, Sanctus Agnus Dei. Then I eventaully added Mysterium Fidei. Communions Hymn and Offertory (Ave Maria - we kept this for a few month). In the middle of the class we do solfege singing with hand motion, do guessing games of the notes and melodies from the chants ---. Some fun excercises for warm-ups ----. Most of all, they are proud that they are singing the Church's special language. One time we sang a fun children's song , and I asked them whether we could use the tune and put words like God , and sing it in the church? They said 'NO" very loud. The children know better than some grown- ups. Teach them before someone else gets them.


    here's the link
    http://www.puzzle-maker.com/CW/

    One of the parents took over and help me out now with the crosswrod puzzles. They are willing to help.
  • Thank you so much! I never really planned this, but was asked to do it after starting the schola at the parish... so I really appreciate the help!

    Thanks, Mia!
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Here's a crossword puzzle we use at the annual ministry fair. Might be a start.

    [Edited: Try the PDF file. The DOC apparently doesn't work.]
  • Couldn't get it to open... is it a Word file?
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Try it now. The PDF somewhat works, but seems to have changed some fonts along the way.
  • that worked very well! Thanks... J.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Wow.
    Wow.
    I am so dispirited after reading this, rogue63.
    I am so sorry this has happened to you.
    I could tell a similar story, (with a know-nothing DRE instead of pastor as the problem,) but due to the occasional use by another poster of my REAL name,;oP, rather than just an initial and mindful of googelability, I shall put a sock in it... (as I have for the nonce at my own blog, at least until the Christmas gift bottles run out and I learn to curb my tongue.)
    I shall pray for you and for the Church.
    All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World)
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Sorry, should have asked this before, is the pastor the school principal?
    My pastor micro-manages everything, (he's a Type A, can't help it,) and I don't think he would dream of interfering in the curriculum of one of the teachers, unless the principle had already been approached and a parent or student had insisted on going over her head to the pastor, in which case, the principle would be part of the conversation.

    And this being a vacation day, I hope you had a finger or two of that scotch.

    And that you can find some other lovely parish at which to worship and to spend other non-work time.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • This sounds SO MUCH like the last two parishes I served full time.

    Parish 1 - Lured to with $12K more than what I was making at Holy Name, despite being very happy at Holy Name. Was given the impression by the pastor that he would like me to turn the music program around. However, once hired, he would shoot down any idea en route to turning things around. He also had me under the impression that the Hammond organ would be replaced by a Rodgers (ok, not pipe, but a heck of a lot better than a Hammond), and that the Music Issue with Issues would be replaced by a better hymnal - most likely Worship III. Neither happened. Fired after a year, and lied to about why I was fired. "We can no longer afford to keep a full time music director on board, so we're eliminating the position." What a crock! Funny, just a week before, a couple of choir members were whining to each other that there were certain songs that they were sure they would "never sing again".

    Parish 2 - hired after seven weeks out of work. This pastor seemed a bit more real. I replaced a music director that had brought in a synthesizer from the music store she owns. She had left after the pastor had asked for more traditional pieces, more Latin, and more chant, not to mention he moved the music area to the back of the church, where it belongs. Two months into my stay there, pastor keeps his word and replaces Kurzweil synthesizer with Rodgers organ. He has me teaching Sanctus and Agnus from Jubilate Deo. So far, good. Second year, we add Mortem Tuam Annuntiamus Domine. Third year, we add Gloria VIII. Suddenly, money troubles. January 2007, I take $4K cut. September 2007, I'm told people are "leaving the parish and blaming the music" and (exact words) "We can't afford to piss any more people off." The claim was that I'm too loud (sounds like they still haven't gotten used to hearing the organ played like an organ). I made some adjustments that seemed to go good at that time. November 2007 - told that people were still complaining, and don't even want me playing funerals anymore. "I'm going to have to let you go." I find out that a woman who covered a funeral for me in August while I was in the hospital with pancreatitis was the new music director in December. Who's BS'ing who? I don't believe for one minute that she and the pastor weren't talking since she covered that funeral! He says it wasn't the fact that I was using traditional music. I believe that. I DO believe that she's doing what I was doing, just cheaper.

    Since then - nine months out of work before resorting to a 60-hour-a-week day job. Had my fill of rejection letters and BS stories. One parish I auditioned at commented that I "make the organ sing". Still didn't get the job. How wrong is that???
    BMP
  • OH - I forgot to mention...
    In a recent conversation with a local organist friend of mine, he might have hit a nail right on the head.
    "Priests have to be treated like 12-year-olds. They have no life, therefore, no employment know-how."
    BMP
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    There's nothing wrong with a priest coming to the fair judgment that one is moving too fast. It's at that point that the priest doesn't FIRE the musician, but sits down with him and says "I feel that this may be too fast. Let's talk about how we can make progress without leaving the congregation in our dust."

    Then again, that quote reminds me of Montgomery Scott in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics":
    "Starship captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. The secret is to give them what they need, not what they want."
  • Sad stories, my friends, but it reflects my own experience. I tried to understand the resistance a couple of years ago. Put yourself in the shoes of those who are complaining -- the number of folks may be higher than you think and YES people do leave parishes over the music (oddly, not bad preaching, but I digress). Things are going fine. Oh the usual parish soap operas are in place, but St X does things pretty much the same as all the other parishes in the area. Things are comfortable. St X hires a new music minister because the old one finally got fed up with the long hours and low pay. The new guy (or gal) has some funny ideas about church music, but we can't imagine that he will change things too much. After all, we've been doing what every other church in the country does and this system MUST be what the bishops and Rome wants since it's pretty universal and no one has complained (except that crazy lady who wears a mantilla to Mass and gets upset when people chat in the church after Mass... digressing again).

    Fast forward a year and look what has happened. The new director programs hymns that no one knows (quality Victorian English hymns) and has installed a Latin chanted Ordinary. People are talking about St X and the radical conservative music that they have there. All of a sudden we are DIFFERENT and that can't be good. The older folks are darn sure that he (or she) is trying to turn back the clock by using music and language that is best left in the past with the old, uncompassionate Catholic Church. We've come so far since those old days and here he is ignoring all that. Well, we must do something. This music is in a language we don't understand (how can we pray?) and it all sounds so depressing. Where is the joy of a loving God? I come to Mass to get recharged for the week and now I'm just bored. He/She has to go.

    OK. I need to take a bath after writing that, but I did my utmost to see things from the other side. Ironically, people want a universal and reliably unchanging Mass to offer a foundation for their lives. The folks who were young in the 60s and those who have known nothing else like things the way they are. Like I said in another post, church has been made comfy and unchallenging. Why do you think everyone groans when the felt banners that say "Renew" go up every year? Folks today are not so different from the Pre-Vat II church crowd. They want things to be predictable and the requirements easy to fulfill. The lesson to learn, if you want to swim in these waters, is to find out who the opinion makers are in your parish and make sure they are with you. They want to feel important, so make em feel darn important in the process of change. This sort of thing takes skills that were not taught in music school, but there's no other way. Even the most zealous pastor can't stay the course when collection funds are drying up. We should all remember that priests have so much more to deal with than music. I pray for them every day.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Michael, you channeled the spirit of the age like a pro! And this is wisdom:

    "Folks today are not so different from the Pre-Vat II church crowd. They want things to be predictable and the requirements easy to fulfill."

    I remember at one church an old woman said to me "I can't pray music in Latin even with a translation!" and I said to her "it sounds to me like you have something to work on." I think you know how she responded to that. The bottom line is convenience. Mess with someone's familiar, comfortable situation and they get angry. Unfortunately for many, inconvenience is precisely why Our Lord became incarnate. And we just had the feast of the Holy Innocents, the victims of a man who wanted things convenient for him, too...
  • Michael's point about communicating with the influential people in the parish is a good one. It is no guarantee that you won't be stabbed in the back. But taking people to dinner, having parties, being friends etc., all of this seems like a good idea. It is the most difficult thing for me to remember that hardly anyone thinks the way we do, that there are principled issues at stake in the choice over liturgical music. Most people make judgments based on issues like friendship, comfort, familiarity, etc., and all points about theology or history are seen as mere abstractions.

    Now, I will add here that at my parish, the people involved in sacred music are not paid. We are not even listed on staff. I am aware that this changes matters completely. Looking back, I'm quite certain that we would not have made it this far had we been paid for our labors and had to make judgments as employees rather than volunteers. At the same time, the pay for those who are paid is so low as to be laughable. I could make more money playing harmonica on the street corner. This is very tragic, and we can only hope that we are paving the way for a future in which our positions will be paid to our successors.
  • Jeffrey, You are so right! I am a volunteer with what I do. I shopped parishes all around the area trying to find one where the atmosphere was right before beginning. Doing it this way is the easiest, least stressful way I have found. There is no one angry with me for stepping on toes. I found a place where they had virtually no music at all (and truly no money to support a paid musician) and a very supportive priest who already sang his prayers. The people were not used to having any choir at all, but were accustomed to answering (in chanted vernacular) all the dialog prayers with Father.

    So, instead of getting angry complaints about the changes, it was all seen as a positive. We have taken it very slowly as far as the ordinaries are concerned. We try to be sure to have some English hymns (usually at least two) at each Mass -- if we don't do the proper Introit, we have them for sure at Processional and Recessional.

    This type of thing would have been very difficult for someone who needed to earn a living doing it to do, but it has been such a great opportunity and experience for me. It is still a new project, since we've only been singing together since September or so... and at Mass since the beginning of Advent. Time will tell, of course, but it is looking good so far.

    We are the grassroots movement of Sacred Music... hang in there, professional musician friends... if we all keep working on this, there will be such a demand for good Sacred Music, that you will be able to pick and choose where you want to work and how much you'll be paid!
  • Well, that's right. It is an amazing and disgusting scandal that the market for professional musicians in the Catholic Church is so severely limited, and even worse that when they find jobs that pay, they are prevented from using the talents to do Catholic music. Such a market will emerge but only once the preconditions are there: educated priests, lay people who support and demand it, a liturgical culture that calls for it, supporting singers who are willing to commit the time. It is undeniable that the last decades have been devastating in a "windswept house" sort of way. There was a war on the choir, a war on quality, a war on true liturgical music, and there was a certain laziness that let the warriors win nearly every battle. Then there was shock and demoralization in our ranks, as well as other problems, so blame runs in many directions. The situation cannot last. The Catholic Church will again become home to the highest quality music and the highest art, true beauty to complement True Beauty. What we must do is work to bring about the preconditions, and though progress is being made, we are only in the first stages. Every day, do something that helps the cause and one day we will turn around and observe a new world in place.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Jeffrey's last remarks are so inspirational that I think they should be scrolling up a large screen with a picture of the galaxy in the background a la "Star Wars." While I won't rehearse my sorrowful tales, my sympathies go out to everyone.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that the music isn't the problem; it's a symptom. And the fact is that many, many Catholics, some deliberately and some through no fault of their own, believe they belong to a very different church than the one I thought I was received into almost 20 years ago. It is a church of group activities, comforting little traditions, occasional life rituals, and uplifting self-congratulation. They're vaguely thankful that Christ died for them. Why wouldn't He? They're also grateful for all the other goods of modern life - indoor plumbing, 125 cable channels, etc.

    Obviously, this is painting with a broad brush and there are many well-educated and devout Roman Catholics. However, in your average parish of 5,000 families - mostly suburban and middle-class, I fear the percentage is very low. And they don't know what we're kvetching about - talking about chant and sacrifice and a history that began before they were born. People like us are about as welcome as the prophet Jeremiah - and you remember what happened to him.
  • One more comment...

    The problem in reverse exists for many parishes who would like to improve the overall quality and cannot find a suitable DoM to hire in the area (See the classified listing for Music Director for the Shreveport cathedral). Please consider this position if you could think about relocating... even though it seems like there are a lot of us on this forum, folks who truly have the qualifications to play a pipe organ well, direct a cathedral choir and schola are few and far between... (I know I wouldn't qualify!)
  • rogue63
    Posts: 405
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  • Very tragic. Talk about discontinuity in tradition. This is precisely the fear that struck me the day after Summorum: that the EF would be used as a safety valve so that the OF could continue on being treated as a shabby worship service that has nothing to do with the whole of Catholic history.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,759
    This pastor, though, seems to believe himself safeguarding the quality of the singing of Latin, though. How... interesting.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Hasn't anyone ever wanted to say to a priest who says lame-brained, uncharitable and just plain stupid things to organists about their playing, "When you can play better than you can preach, we'll talk."
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    The quality may not be as good as it should be because they didn't support the saccred music. What I don't understand is that the Church trust the people that they will make a wise choice and gave all the freedom that people want in almost everything; in music, any 'appropriate music, 'other instruments are allowed'--- and any languages in the Liturgy, fastings, nuns can wear---. Why is it so hard for the catholics to do the minimum that the Church asks us to do. Learn at least the Ordinary parts in Latin. Is that so hard? If I tell my teen age kids you can do what you want with your time and I trust your judgement, but at least do your chore. Is that unreasonable? Is it going to be an option for people to go to Mass on Sunday? (maybe some catholics think so.)This sounds a bit harsh, but I think only humble people will sing chants. And if people are not humble, they don't understand the nature of Christ's love, becasue His love is based on humility and self-sacrifice. People who want to do only things what they want to do, inside and outside the church, how they can say they understand Christ's love? There are many nice social workers, not necessarily Christians. Do we catholics really understand Christ's love?