Protestant vs. Catholic
  • There are those musicians on the list who have served both protestant and catholic congregations.

    Has anyone who has done this ever, ever been treated better by a catholic church?
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Metaphysically, yes.

    ELCA Lutherans were a better gig. More sociable, too.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,079
    Oh yes, I would rather work for Catholics any day. Worked for Methodists,Presbyterians and Lutherans.
    Take Catholicism any day. At least there is potent theological discussion.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Maybe it is now as Cardinal Newman said of his plight: spiritually happy and materially poor vs. materially happy and spiritually miserable.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    I worked in two Episcopal churches before 1992 and an Ecumenical Christian Organization. At that point in time, I had a reconversion to my own faith and it became clear to me that I could never again take a post in a non-RC church. I took a job as a non-musician to support my family when a job in the RC church wasn't available. It doesn't matter how I am treated.
  • I do not know of any protestant church that would permit a youth minister to book in a group for Cool To Be Catholic and arrange with the pastor to have one of them appear and sing at all Masses on a weekend (except the 10:30 choir mass..wonder why) without consulting the choir director/music director and contemporary music director.

    Lyrics written by the group are...well, this is from their site:

    ah let me break it down
    break it down like this
    cause their are people in the world
    they think the three they don’t exist
    they say, “how can there be three
    when there’s only one
    and they fail to understand
    Father Sprit Son
    so I take em’ the truth which is the holy Church
    and you can’t deny that if you believe in the Son ya
    God from God Baby
    Light from Light
    a true God from true God
    begotten not made

    This is a band traveling and performing at Catholic parishes across the US....
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Has anyone who has done this ever, ever been treated better by a catholic church?"

    I would love to join in on the Catholic-bashing, but that would be untruthful. My happiest job (in my seven untrained years) was my last, in a Catholic church. Now I should qualify that; I was treated wonderfully by my boss. The congregation was a different story. Most of them could care less and were confused about things changing, and many loved me. But there were the vocal and very abusive few...

    Why was my boss so good? I'd offer a few things: 1) He understood clearly the role of music in the liturgy 2) he was willing to totally trust my competence to make pastoral and correct musical decisions 3) He was willing to do work HIMSELF for the Mass's music 4) He had witnessed closely the best music programs, Catholic and Protestant, anywhere and knew what was necessary to have an excellent program. Sadly, there are VERY few priests like him, and I could even name some internet heroes who are not the great music men they're made out to be.

    I totally approve of human cloning if it will result in more priests like my last one.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    I don't think that poor treatment of musicians by clergy, staff or meddling laity is limited to the Roman Catholic Church.

    I've worked for a whack-job Methodist pastor who thought it was unreasonable and irrational for me to expect to have the hymns for Sunday any earlier than Thursday or Friday of that week. I was a first-year organ student, not very highly experienced and in need of as much practice time as possible. I guess that since he was happy to wait until the last minute to write his sermons I should be happy to prep the hymns at the last minute too. Unfortunately, just as my hymn playing was a reflection of the short prep time, so was his preaching. (Ha!)

    I've worked for Episcopal churches, and let me tell you there's no shortage of gossip, back-biting and water-poisoning with that lot, either. I worked full-time for a high-profile (read "well-moneyed" and full of pretentious snobs) Episcopal church and was run out on a rail within a few months because among other things I dared to tell the adult choir that it wasn't appropriate for them to bring a little something special to put in their coffee during the break. Hand to God, this is no lie. They would rehearse for about an hour, then break for coffee and social time for about a half-hour, at which time they would break out their flasks and spike their coffee.

    I've also worked for Catholic churches, and unfortunately the treatment I've received at the hands of clergy and staff in particular has been far worse and far more damaging than my experiences in Protestant church environments.

    The only denomination I've worked for where the relationships were for the most part healthy and respectful is the Lutheran church (ELCA).

    We could all tell truly grizzly stories of poor treatment, and even come up with a comprehensive list of things that make for a good versus poor work environment. In the long run, people are people and our fallen nature is our fallen nature.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    I'd like to add that the current RC group I sing with is wonderful, and the priests totally supportive and congenial.

    And David, speaking of fallen natures, I'm chagrined to say that, given my work schedule, I've been the wobbly wheel of our wagon. Mea culpa!
  • JDE
    Posts: 584
    Just to put in my two cents . . .

    The Lutheran church treated me vastly better than the RC one. They think i can walk on water just because I use the pedals for something other than a footrest.

    The RCs, otoh, think I'm 'difficult' and 'out of touch' because I dare to tell them that chant is what's supposed to be option one, not something you dust off every few years when the bishop comes to town.
  • Churches often hired the unemployable...and develop a thick armor that then affects the way they treat everyone as a result of the less than stellar abilities of their employees. And this then spills over to the congregation, who arrive at church to find the air conditioning is not on, the microphones do not work, the organist is cranky...
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "They think i can walk on water just because I use the pedals for something other than a footrest."

    HA! I've been there! I always wind up in the same spiral these days: 1) don't have a job, 2) find jobs in AGO newsletter which don't have details, 3) call for details, which are refused, so I apply, 4) sub and find out the position isn't good at all, 5) everyone loves me because I'm actually a competent organist, 6) carry on with interview for some sub money, 7) feel bad when I have to turn down the job because it pays $75/week (well nothing that bad, but I do have a set goal).

    Actually, for those who care, I'm applying at what appears to be a good Episcopal church now. It's in a very rich suburb, has a semi-professional choir, concert series, and is in the midst of installing a Skinner organ! Some downsides (a bit of contemporary music), but I'm really crossing my fingers to get it!

    David is right that abuse transcends denominational lines (what doesn't?), but Noel's observation remains that we are treated worst by Catholics. At NO other denomination are we required to act AGAINST our job description. The Church says we should play organ and sing propers and chant. And our jobs hang on playing silly songs on the piano. At least a protestant church will SAY to you "we want you to play silly songs on piano, and we expect that." The Catholic church tells you to do chant and then you get fired for doing it. What a disgrace.

    I propose that there are numerous factors in Catholic practice, culture, and doctrine which ENCOURAGE mediocrity (if not banality) which are not present in protestant or Orthodox church traditions.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    I am an Episcopalian working in a Catholic church. In my current position for 17 years now. I have held positions in several denominations- Methodist, Episcopal, Christian Church (in a moment of madness) Reformed Episcopal, and several Military Chapels , the first being the Catholic Chapel Mass right after Vatican !!. I have been treated well at all of them. I love my current job and my choir. Altho our Pastor probably prefers the Contemporary Choir, over which I have no say, he is always supportive of me, and gives me total choice over music for all other masses except the 'Contemporary'. I am very much in the traditional Anglo-Catholic tradition when it comes to Liturgy and music, and my first Sunday at my current church was certainly a revelation when the Gloria from the ' Mess of Cremation' as one of my less-tolerant choir members calls it, began. I have learned to live with it, but our normal Mass setting is the Proulx Community Mass during ordinary time and the Chant Mass during Advent/Lent
    Donnaswan
  • Gavin, this has been sadly true in my experience.
    'At NO other denomination are we required to act AGAINST our job description. The Church says we should play organ and sing propers and chant. And our jobs hang on playing silly songs on the piano. At least a protestant church will SAY to you "we want you to play silly songs on piano, and we expect that." The Catholic church tells you to do chant and then you get fired for doing it.'

    How much of this is limited to the OF old guard? Now that I'm working for an EF parish, its a bit like a different church in terms of written expectations meeting reality. And I'm so grateful to be able to use my training- imagine that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,042
    As a Byzantine in a Catholic Church, I can feel a bit outside of what is going on there. I have not been treated badly and am relatively happy. But when I worked for the Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) I was appreciated more and not taken for granted quite so much.
  • Catholic churches have always been known for treating musicians as furniture, right along with the furnace and pews. But, if you get an appreciative pastor...or even a supportive associate, it can be a wonderful place to work.

    In Protestant churches, you usually with for the church, not the pastor, he/she is an employee just like you and just as expendable in the mind of the parishioners, so you will see a dynasty of generations with one music person and many pastors. And the opposite.

    It is interesting that the major objection to reforming music comes from pastors who say that the people will/are complaining. Yet in the parishes where the reform is in the process it is with the support of the pastor....it all comes back to how committed your pastor is to the Liturgy. And not whether they like music.

    One of the best parishes I worked for was an Alte Katholiches parish in Frankfurt, Germany...possibly because at that time I did not yet speak German so I never heard any complaints....unless the Pastor translated them for me. I also served as choir director for Anglican/Episcopal parish that shared the building and they were very appreciative of everything we were able to do. We were able to provide practice facilities for a blind Oberlin student who was studying with Walcha at the time
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    I wonder how much of this is generational.