The worst music for a Catholic funeral I've heard
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,027
    This was a funeral Mass for a priest. The principal celebrant was Bishop Vann of Orange County, California.

    Do these people not have any sense of what a Catholic funeral Mass is?

    The Catholic Church in this country has huge problems, if this is what is considered acceptable for liturgy in a large diocese.

    https://www.youtube.com/live/fdXeJmWybg8?si=3YLoSNKFLcsZjxW1&t=233
  • In his defense, I doubt the bishop had anything to do with the choices.

    To your point about appropriateness, I agree that this is quite, well, gross. I suspect this type of music is either a hallmark of this parish (the people seem to be singing) or is a hallmark of the generation that this priest belonged to.

    Regardless, it is quite evident that the people leading music for that mass have little business doing so. What a pity, too.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    I have noticed that with the "strum along" music some churches play, the guitars are amplified to the point that nobody can understand what anyone is singing anyway.

    Worst I heard at a funeral was "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. I got up and walked out with my family.
  • IIRC, generally speaking, at priests' funerals, the choices are on file and from the priest himself. Obit indicates he was just shy of 80, so he's probably of his time.

    I will say, in a partial defense of how the musicians sounded -- what you hear on a livestream and what the congregation hears in the room can be very different things. Last Christmas, I recorded our choir preludes on my phone (on a tripod 15 feet from the choir), and they were also livestreamed with the audio going through the 30-year-old parish sound system. On my phone, the choir sounded heavenly. On the livestream, the mix was just not right.
  • On the livestream, the mix was just not right.

    It's nice to try and stay positive, but no mixer will ever fix that abomination of a funeral.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,714
    Recently in sermon a priest mentioned hearing "I did it my way" (Sinatra) at a funeral... He pointed out that this was a very poor choice, doing it "my way" rather than God's way is not a good position to be in when one's personal judgement is at stake.
  • If that's the worst Catholic funeral you've ever experienced, you're doing well.
    Thanked by 3cmb Lars rich_enough
  • On the livestream, the mix was just not right.
    Our livestream presentation is really poor, and does not reflect what we sound like in real life at all. We’ve actually purchased some special mics that hang down from the ceiling that I intended to hang a few feet off the front of the loft so that they only pick up a blended sound. Right now the mics are too close to a few particular singers and the sound is very unbalanced. It’s also tragically raw (again, it really doesn’t sound like this in real life). There’s no ambience at all.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 117
    As PaxMelodious said, not the worst certainly. There is barely any Catholic or vaguely Christian music at funerals and weddings where I am. It is quite literally top 10 pop hits from the radio done by random people, nephews, nieces, people from the pub down the road, etc... You just want to give up and die.... but then realise if you do, this is going to be your funeral music too, then suddenly you want to live, and change things for the better.
  • You just want to give up and die.... but then realise if you do, this is going to be your funeral music too, then suddenly you want to live, and change things for the better.
    This has a lot to do with why I slog it out too. If people like us aren’t fighting in the trenches to win the battle, no one would, and then nothing would improve. I know one priest who decided to go diocesan rather than FSSP for this very same reason. Good people need to tend the flock, otherwise they are left to the wolves. But that means we then have to do al the grunt work to improve things, and it is exhausting.

    (This also demonstrates why I have a fairly strict funeral music planning guide…)
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    Things get much better when you ditch the guide. Very few people complain. Far fewer than when we had a guide. And that doesn't mean people can pick what they want, but that they cannot pick anything.
  • Let's see, options for singing at a Requiem Mass...

    What if we just sang the Requiem Mass.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,714
    @OMagnumMysterium It must be 20+ years since I last attended a Requiem that was not EF. We do still have choices at our church, the timeless Gregorian chant or the Victoria 4 part.
  • I salute all you lucky souls who take refuge in the TLM. That is not the lived reality for the rest of us, alas. So, we make the best of what we have.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Now that I no longer play full time in Latin Rite parishes, I don't attend their masses. Being Byzantine I have other options. But when I did play for funerals, I always had the very talented cantor/soloist sing the Faure "Pie Jesu" so I knew something decent would be heard. I also used the ICEL English chant mass and the best hymns I could. You could always count on some family member requesting "Amazing Grace" be sung. I have never understood the popularity of that song.
  • davido
    Posts: 886
    @TCJ, was ditching the guide your idea or your pastor’s?
    And what is your musical lineup? (If not all Latin chant from the Graduale)
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • I have been thinking that with my list revision, I might stipulate that the traditional chants will be sung first (English or Latin, according to preference) and then other selections would be sung “time permitting”.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • ...and then other selections would be sung “time permitting”.


    My planning sheet reads "If you have additional or alternate requests besides [the selections from my approved list of good hymnody], please indicate them below. They will be included at the discretion of the Director of Sacred Music and/or Pastor, where appropriate or as time allows in the funeral liturgy." Works like a charm.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    I still can’t believe once I refused to play Turn Turn Turn and the pastor allowed family and friends to show up as a rock band and play it from the sanctuary
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,472
    I wish more people in the pews knew that Musicum Sacrum said that "only sacred instruments are allowed at Mass". But there are so many guitar bangers that no one wants to look at that.
  • Reval
    Posts: 181
    Slightly off topic - but in a similar vein.
    I play freelance viola in string quartets for a lot for weddings. Usually they are secular outdoor weddings. Last time I was excited that it was to be in a Catholic Church. Nice! I figured it would be standard light classical: Pachelbel, water music, etc. Not liturgical but not offensive, I thought.
    The reality, though- instrumental versions of:
    Bridesmaids - Beauty and the Beast (as in the Disney movie)
    Bride's processional - Taylor Swift "Wildest Dreams"
    Recessional - a movie song called "Married Life" from the movie "Up"
    This wasn't a Mass, but still. I was extremely surprised because I thought that our diocese is fairly strict about these things.
  • Reval
    Posts: 181
    Speaking of Bishop Vann, remember this gem?
    https://youtu.be/JArgRppKm6c?si=xG9VeJLGv3fS4d2I
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    @davido

    Ditching the guide was my idea. He was all for it. We sing either the English funeral propers from Fr. Samuel Weber or from the Graduale Simplex. Mass setting is Latin, chant Ave Maria, and in Paradisum.
  • Speaking of Bishop Vann, remember this gem?
    https://youtu.be/JArgRppKm6c?si=xG9VeJLGv3fS4d2I


    Oh no. I had managed to get to today without ever previously having seen this. Now I am ruined.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    Can’t unhear… Can’t unsee… Can’t believe…
  • In every age.... I hide.... From this.... In every age.... I gouge my eyes....
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,966
    I've been patient and ambivalent about watching the link.

    Perhaps to my surprise, I am not persuaded this Mass merited this attention.
  • It's certainly not good music, but it's also certainly not the worst I've ever seen.
    Thanked by 1Reval
  • tandrews
    Posts: 160
    Hey at least the pony Mass was alright.
  • I wish more people in the pews knew that Musicum Sacrum said that "only sacred instruments are allowed at Mass".

    De Musica Sacra 1958 says No. Instruments. At. All. At a Requiem. There is no exception for a dead Pope.

    But then, DMS is the Chinese buffet of liturgical documents; everyone finds something to leave on the steam table. ICK can split their chant Sanctus/Benedictus and save the antiphon for the end of Communion, and Blessed Rother Faith Community DOESN'T split their "composed" My Little Pony Sanctus/Benedictus.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw dad29
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,966
    "DMS is the Chinese buffet of liturgical documents; everyone finds something to leave on the steam table."

    Particularly for the the postconciliar missals et cet., because of superseding ritual books and related instructions and legislation.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • I'm not sure I'm seriously arguing if DMS applies to the Missal of Paul VI, though it's an amusing thought. I'm just trying to figure out how much it applies to the Missal of Pius V.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,218
    Recently attended a funeral Mass at the local ICK church.

    ACCOMPANIED choral music, only a couple of Proper chants, ACCOMPANIED Ordinary....

    ICK responds to large-donor requests.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • The funeral Mass for the recently deceased Shane MacGowan of The Pogues included...

    This: https://youtu.be/Y_-R_Kfa4uw?si=DxvPEYpKB9fa_-jq
  • oldhymnsoldhymns
    Posts: 224
    ...and the funeral Mass for Shane MacGowan was at St. Mary's of the Rosary Church, so I guess "anything goes" in Ireland, too.

    What's an ICK church?
  • What's an ICK church?

    Institute of Christ the King (Sovereign Priest)
    Thanked by 2tomjaw oldhymns
  • I usually see it as ICKSP.
  • Dad29: Like I say, ICK doesn't care about De Musica Sacra. I don't know why that is; I didn't get the chance to ask during my brief time there. They have their reasons, and they might even be good ones.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,167
    Thanks to Reval for reminding us of that music video by the bishop. He went on to make this one a few years later: https://youtu.be/wWULyxY0GD4?si=thrz-Vr3Rfl4gD9k
    The intervening years were apparently good for his hair, which went from white to red during that time. There are other oddities in the video, but I'll leave them for the viewer to notice.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Reval
  • cmb
    Posts: 85
    The intervening years were apparently good for his hair, which went from white to red

    Took his title of Bishop of Orange a bit too literally.
    Thanked by 4tomjaw Carol WGS Reval
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,472
    "Gather your people" Aren't they all there?
    The "Gathering Song" thing is somewhere between complete idiocy and total confusion
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CharlesW
  • I have to agree. The use of a gathering song has changed the first part of mass into a gathering rite.
    Wow the in every age is really really bad, bleaching my ears now.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,472
    I recall Fr. Ralph March's comments:
    Gathering Sing - Aren't we all here already?
    Great Amen - what's so great about it?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,383
    Greg
    Great Amen - what's so great about it?
    'Now we see through a glass darkly' but in reality the offering by and of the Lamb Who Was Slain is inexpressibly great. This, the raising of the offerings to the Father, is key to our salvation, no?
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,383
    I don't know about Hungary, but in the UK in the 40s and 50s many men would be gathered on the church steps, chatting and smoking until they thought the sermon was drawing to a close, I believe the same was true of Bugnini's experience in Italy. Most certainly they were not gathered in church for the start of Mass. Fr March must have had a different experience.
    Thanked by 3Liam CHGiffen Elmar
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,472
    I think you misundestand the point I was making
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,383
    Probably.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I have a get-off-my-lawn thing to say and another thing after that.

    GOML: I feel that the deceased and his family, and Bishop Vann, deserve to have their feelings considered more than they have been in this thread. People leave funerals with feelings that are very complex. Music plays a big part in memory. To just jump up and down on a funeral, even in the cause of sacred music--well, imagine someone in his family reading this and tone it down, imho.

    Realistically, though, this is what we are up against. This sound: the 12 string with the quick rhythm, very "upbeat." Or the piano-violin combo, very emotive. When a pastor and dm work together to provide sacred music such as polyphony and chant and solid hymnody, the pushback comes not just because people feel they don't like the new (which is often how criticisms are expressed), but because they liked the old.

    (Let alone those who are more programmatic--who feel young people need "relevant" music at Mass in order to stay connected, despite enormous sociological evidence to the contrary.)
  • That reasoning works for the family, but I’m not inclined to extend the same benefit of the doubt to the bishop. He should know better and he’s responsible for the drift of liturgy in his diocese.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,714
    Let us imagine for one moment those souls in purgatory, that have to listen to this 'music' at their Requiem, and nobody present praying specifically for the remission of their sins. No one praying for them to be released from purgatory! While all their relatives are convinced, they are in a cat and dog heaven with all their pets and friends.

    2 Maccabees 12:46
    It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.


    What would Jesus do? John 2:15
    And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.


    I don't think that turning the house of God into a cheap variety show would have gone down very well.