Shameful waste in a time of famine . . .
  • This post makes me think I should start a blog . . . perhaps a more appropriate venue for some of my postings here.

    Every several months, or at least during times of preparation (in this case, for Lent), I go through a "scorched earth" policy on my belongings and also of the many, many things that have collected in my office at work, mostly to donate to others who can make use, but also to recycle. Today at my church I relegated to "cold storage" almost two full boxes of "Catholic music" that had been purchased before I became director. Much of what I stored (and will probably re-visit on another day of "scorched earth" cleaning to put into the waste/recycle stream) were these prepackaged "sets" of pieces composed by one of the GIA/OCP/WLP composers. You know the type; one octavo copy each of about 10 pieces gathered into a collection with a clever title like, "The Stones Cry Out" or "From Dust to Destiny" . . . (I don't think either of those are real titles, but they could be.) Some of them were just guitar/vocal editions only. Folks go to an NPM convention and hear them "demonstrated" during a "break-out" session, or worse incorporated into one of the "worship experiences", then beat feet to the exhibit hall and find the publisher to snatch up a set plus probably the professionally-recorded CD that goes with it, forever on a quest to search out and acquire that which they've just been told by one of the anointed "experts" will guarantee "that full, active and conscious participation of the people." Multiply this by several years of regional and national conventions and they begin to accumulate quickly. In my case there were some that didn't even have the shrink wrap taken off of them. What's worse, these boxes join about 4 others that are full of the same kind of junk that was peddled in the '70's, '80's and '90's. I hesitate to count the cost.

    It's the same old story. All too many have bought into the notion that the music of the liturgy must keep up with the ever-shifting "tastes" of the people (a concept perpetuated by the NPM to keep the publishers in business, the "liturgical-industrial complex" as I like to call it), then keep buying this stuff up year after year, even if it never makes it into the Mass, in the hopes of finding the magic music.

    Countless hundreds of poorly-educated "pastoral musicians" are led astray in the fashion I describe above, and waste hundreds and hundreds of dollars of their parish's money to purchase this stuff that has no more spiritual nutrition than stones have, while the people in the pews continue to starve for the sustaining bread of the received traditions they should be given.

    Why? Who's going to put an end to this? If every church purchased BFW, or the PBC or the Gregorian Missal and then supplemented the music where possible with polyphony from the CPDL and other free resources, the faithful would be fed a steady diet of solid, substantial, prayerful music, as appointed by the rubrics no less, that would sustain them for years to come, and at very little cost.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    As seen on TV! Review packets! Complete your collection!
    Anything with original shrink-wrap should command a premium on ebay.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    Call before midnight tonight - operators are standing by!
  • david andrew: Your post echoes one a theme of one of my earliest blog posts (Why not following explicit Vatican II musical directives can be expensive for a parish); even the nutrition analogy is there!

    It's good to see others come to a similar conclusion independently!
  • What an excellent and truly sad description of reality. My latest issue of a famed Catholic musical quarterly came yesterday. I searched in vain for a theme or direction to the whole enterprise. It might as well be a quarterly devoted to high school talent shows, with pictures of the various acts on page after page. In some ways, the typical Catholic musician reminds me of some local evangelical sects in town, sincere but lost and easily manipulated by the latest commercial trend that blows by.