Mind/body/spirit connection in church music
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I have read here and on other sites about the philosophy which connects beauty, truth, goodness and unity. Most of us are familiar with the notion, however weakly stated in the most recent USCCB document on music in divine worship, that good liturgy and music somehow aids in the healthy development of people's spirituality and strengthens the Faith while poor liturgy and music can weaken and deform it.

    With no intention to sound snarky (a character trait I'm sometimes known for here and elsewhere), I am legitimately and seriously interested in knowing if anyone has done scholarly or anecdotal study on the connection between the impoverished post-conciliar music typical of most American Catholic parishes, especially those in middle-class suburban ones, and experiences of not only spiritual weakness, but actual physical illness. Here's my story: about four months or so ago, I began experiencing physical illness (nausea, headaches, severe non-specific abdominal, back and rib pain, nervousness, etc.) on the weekends, and especially on those weekends where the bulk of the music I was playing for Mass was drawn from the list of usual "contemporary" popular "songs" found in most hymnal/songbooks. This phenomenon has continued, and while I have scheduled a complete physical with my doctor to ensure there's nothing else wrong, I have noticed the problem becoming more pronounced, but only when I'm required to actively engage in the selection of or execution of music of this type. On weekends where the majority of music is drawn from hymnody, and played on the organ, I find the symptoms to be much less severe. When the majority of music is "contemporary" and played at the piano, the symptoms are not only more pronounced, but they will begin several hours before the first Mass I'm scheduled to play, and will continue for hours afterwards, well into Sunday evening.

    I had at one point spoken with my pastor about it, expressing concern that I was very much aware that the music, but more especially the texts of these "contemporary" songs were theologically suspect, if not outright heretical, and that I was very much concerned that actively selecting them for Mass was morally wrong, that I was perpetuating a fraud against the congregation by using this music. He understood but at the same time said that I needed to separate my own feelings on the matter from the need for the work to be done, and that there wasn't an immediate moral fault attached to the work I was doing.

    So, I'm wondering two things: 1) has anyone studied this, or is anyone aware of any studies related to this type of issue, and 2) has anyone else experienced this kind of problem personally (physical illness associated with repeated exposure to essentially "bad" Catholic music)?

    I hope this entry will prompt some beneficial and insightful discussion!
  • darth_linux
    Posts: 120
    not to be flippant, but it sounds like a serious case of anxiety . . . you obviously do not like the music you are being asked to play, and you are so worked up about it that you are manifesting physical symptoms. If I were you, I would ask for a leave of absence or something . . . my prayers are with you.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Actually I've had similar symptoms in the past in dealing with this music. It might be self-imposed or it might be connected to the music itself. If I were forced to wear pajamas to a formal dance I can easily imagine feeling the same way.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,314
    I don't know of any studies, but I understand what you feel when playing contemporary music. I am in a situation where I work at a church and also teach at a Catholic school. I use good music at the church, so there's no problem there. Now we haven't gone to the extreme of using the organ as a pitch pipe and only singing chant in Latin, but we use traditional hymns, some chant, some Latin, and some good quality choral music. The school is another matter. The music teacher at the school is a confirmed 70's son, gray hair, guitar and all. He thinks church music was invented by the St. Louis Jesuits. I accompany on the organ - no choice, the principal's decree - but don't play the songs I am uncomfortable with. At the beginning stages, I indicated I would play if I knew the music, but couldn't adapt some of the guitar pieces to organ. I now understand why rock musicians smash guitars at their concerts. I have wanted to do the same. However, I make it clear that I don't consider the masses at school as worship but as work. I am Byzantine so I can get away with that, since it's easy to make the case that I prefer to worship in my own tradition. But I would not even consider receiving communion at one of those school masses, the music is so wretched. It's hard to be in the frame of mind to receive communion when you want to kill the guitarist with his own instrument. ;-) So I have experienced some similar feelings as you, but I have to build a mental wall between work and worship. Otherwise, I don't think I could cope with it.
  • David I don't think physical manifestations resulting from a bad musical environment are unusual. For years I suffered from fatigue and listlessness that resulted from frustration with my liturgical music scene. When I would take vacations my mental state and energy level would always improve. A couple of years ago, despite a drop in income, I made a change to an environment that has never tolerated mediocrity and according to wife I've become a different person. It's not that I don't experience stress (try playing a difficult organ prelude or postlude in front of an attentive crowd of knowledgable listeners!), but it's a challenge that nourishes rather than wounds.

    The problem is that those outside the field of music find this hard to understand. You're not going to get much sympathy from pastors, pastoral associates and the like, the very ones most responsible for your dilemma.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Hmm I've felt similarly, although with different circumstances. There were times I seriously wondered if I was approaching a full-on mental breakdown at my last job. Of course, this was in a city where I was not at all established, my only friend had moved out, and I wasn't making enough to pay rent. So the stresses were different, but the result was similar, although manifested mostly psychologically. I would say the really bad part was not having a support network of any kind, and that in itself was enough to send me back to college.

    I might suggest you're mostly reacting to stress. It's not uncommon to experience physical manifestations of stress. I wouldn't say it's so much caused by the music, because so many good musicians I know perform that music and aren't bothered by it. Plenty of good (yes, good) Catholics attend those Masses and tolerate or even enjoy that music. Many people CAN put up with that as "just another part of the job". My mother doesn't get why I am always so angry over bad music, even though she acknowledges much of it as bad. Same thing with my brother, who gets disgusted with the silly rules, regulations, and bureaucracy of the Marines. She just approaches unpleasantness in work as "part of the job" and lives with it. I would wish I had her patience, but what kind of musician accepts the status quo with no attempt to change it?

    I have a variety of advice which probably isn't much help. For one thing, forget about it. You are 100% right and your priest, as much as he may be your confessor or spiritual father, is 100% wrong. The problem isn't that you're putting your personal feelings above your job, it's that you were prevented from doing your job! But just forget about it. It's not easy to do; I can't do it and maybe you can't either. But if you can, just do it.

    Also, take a vacation. And I know this is a sin, but skip Mass. A vacation can be just what the doctor ordered, but if you go to a horrible Mass, it's all ruined. EDIT: By this I mean that it's important to go to somehwere with a GOOD Mass and to avoid like the plague a bad one. So if you don't have a good parish to visit while gone, don't bother going. Also, make sure to get as much work done before vacation as you can!

    Channel the negative energy into practicing. That can be great, particularly if you have a good load of bombastic minor key music to practice. And although it may in many ways be the WORST thing you can do, I've found a good visit to a brewpub to be good at clearing my head for a bit.
  • I went (out of connubial respect and affection for my sweet wife of 34 years) to one of the "American Idol" concerts last week in Fresburg. Not soon after the emcee appeared and the thump factor of the subwoofers from hell went from 5 to 11, I felt increasingly uncomfortable for the balance of the generously long program; a bit of claustrophobia, the incessant screaming (what must the Beatles have endured?), da bass literally buzzing the seats through the concrete, the surreal idiocy of watching a live musical performance on huge video monitors while the performers were 50 yards away, so on, so forth.
    The music? Oh, it was fine- nice- okay- well performed- great energy....so on, so forth.
    On Sunday morning after the Communion prayer, the celebrant did me the favor of surreptitiously "announcing" my birthday of the day before, which I (mercifully) suppressed public knowledge of this year as I do most years now. He induced the congregation to sing "Happy Birthday" purposefully out of tune, which they gleefully did. Our violinist actually changed keys every new phrase. It was amusing, not unpleasant, embarrassing and did not cause any wretching.
    I was ready for Brian Eno's "Music for Airports" later that day.
    Music, itself, cannot be regarded by real musicians as integrally capable of doing damage to physiology in humans. The Mozart Effect is a wonderful theory. But it's not substantially different in effect than elevator music, or that stuff massage therapists insist on playing during a session. Whatever stress I'm trying to relieve when my Brunhilde has her knuckles three inches deep into my shoulder blades did not have its flashpoint origin because I had to play "Song of the Body of Christ." More likely, I tense up when "things don't go my way" and I think my way into Stressburg.
    "Channel the negative energy into practicing." Sage advice; see Fr. Weber's analogy regarding his observation of the regimen of the Green Bay Packers.
    And then, maybe "Be silent and I know that I AM."
    "Peace is flowing like a river" won't kill you in this life; it might just help purge your soul towards purity in the beatfic waiting room.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Charles said, "Music, itself, cannot be regarded by real musicians as integrally capable of doing damage to physiology in humans."

    I think that folks involved in music therapy would disagree, or at least would argue that the opposite is true, that is, music is integrally capable of generating healing in the physiology of humans.

    Consider also the phenomenon among cloistered communities where there is a statistically lower occurrence of hypertension and other stress-related diseases as well as terrific longevity. Now, having visited several of these communities, these are not men and women who manage their diets and exercise scrupulously, although more recently many have. What's the key? It's been asserted that the singing of unaccompanied chant at the daily offices has had a profound effect on the physiology of these monks and nuns.

    I would think, then, that the opposite could certainly be true. Those of us who must select, prepare and execute music we find repugnant to the Faith are being exposed on a regular basis to music that elicits the exact opposite effect of the singing of chant daily. The emotional, intellectual and spiritual conflict we experience in engaging in this work regularly certainly could be integrally capable of doing damage to our physiology.

    Junk science or fact?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    The emotional, intellectual and spiritual conflict we experience in engaging in this work regularly certainly could be integrally capable of doing damage to our physiology.

    Exactly, the CONFLICT is what does it, not the music itself. I suspect someone who believes that chant is banned after Vatican 2 could experience the same stresses if forced to perform chant at their parish. See my comment on the NLM post: http://thenewliturgicalmovement.blogspot.com/2008/07/new-model-of-musicianship.html Many of us have to in a public way do what we know to be wrong and unethical. This is enough to cause stress in anyone, whether they're in the mind of the Church and doing "Peace is Flowing", against the mind of the Church and doing chant, or any worker who is forced to do that which is unethical to earn a wage.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,314
    David Andrew, I would agree that "The emotional, intellectual and spiritual conflict we experience in engaging in this work regularly certainly could be integrally capable of doing damage to our physiology." I suspect most music therapists would agree with you. I am fortunate in the church half of my work, to not have to do bad music. The pastor is a trained organist and choral conductor who won't tolerate really bad music. As long as he is with us, I am OK. I also agree with Gavin that, "This is enough to cause stress in anyone, whether they're in the mind of the Church and doing "Peace is Flowing", against the mind of the Church and doing chant, or any worker who is forced to do that which is unethical to earn a wage." I have pretty much made up my mind that there is little reason for ever wanting to work as a musician in a Catholic church again. When I leave this position, it will be "High-ho, high-ho, to the Protestants I will go." That is if I decide to continue to work in church music at all.
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 913
    Perhaps this is an opportunity for personal sanctification? Offer it up :)
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Ths is part of the reason why I've been working for the Protestants for six years. It's certainly easy for us who believe that we are causing damage to the souls of ourselves and others by shoveling garbage into people's ears week in and week out to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, many of which manifest themselves physically. I highly recommend seeking help from a mental health professional, preferably one who is a solid, orthodox Catholic. I also recommend a spiritual advisor (and choose carefully -- most of them are quacks).

    I think God sent me to work at a Protestant church to heal my wounds, which takes time. I'm itching to get back to RC work, but I've learned from past experience that the Holy Spirit never works on MY timetable. In any case, you might consider that route for a few years and join CharlesW in his merry chorus.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,314
    I think my situation is a bit different. I am not Roman Rite Catholic, but Byzantine. Because I love the organ and the great music of the western church, I work for the Latins. Generally speaking, when I am working I don't feel like I am worshipping. I am usually too distracted by what I am doing to give God the undivided attention I think he deserves. So even if I should work for the Protestants - I have before and may eventually do so again - I will not be leaving the Catholic Church. I will continue to worship in the Byzantine Church just as I do now. For David, this would be a much more significant break than it would be for me. I feel for him, will pray for him, and certainly hope things improve for him. In God all things are possible, so good Pope Benedict may just turn the music situation in the west around. There's reason to hope.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    CharlesW, if I may ask, how exactly does that work? Most of the Orthodox churches I've attended have liturgy at 10:00 or so. I'd assume the Eastern Rite Catholics have liturgy around the same time, so it seems like it'd be hard to make it in if you're playing for a protestant church. Or are Eastern Rite Catholics not bound by the "Sunday Obligation"? I'm just curious about the logistics of this, not attacking or anything like that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,314
    While it is true that eastern canons don't bind under sin, we are expected to attend Divine Liturgy on Sunday or Vespers the night before, because it's something we know we are supposed to do. It's an obligation of love not sin. In my area, we are served by a bi-ritual Latin priest with faculties from both the Latin bishop and the Byzantine metropolitan. He is pastor of both a Latin Rite and a Byzantine congregation. Consequently, our liturgies are in the afternoon. We meet and pray the 9th hour, then have Divine Liturgy at 4:00 p.m. Since I have 4 masses to play on Sunday morning, it works beautifully for me. Although many do express wonder that I look tired most of the time on Sundays.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Olbash,

    Thank you for the advice. I understand your caution regarding spiritual directors, but thankfully I'm in with a circle of orthodox friends who can help advise me on who the good spiritual directors and confessors are in the area.

    As for working for a Protestant denomination, the temptation is great, but there are two impediments:

    1) I actually did several years ago apply and interview for a position in a Protestant (Methodist) church (great facilities, long-established history of good music, interesting organ). During the interview concern was expressed by members of the committee that I was Catholic, and that all of my full-time experience was in Catholic churches. They wanted to know if, for instance, I would receive communion during communion services at their church when I was director of music. I said that I couldn't because first of all canon law and the teachings of the Catholic church forbade it and second of all it would be bearing a false witness to the members of the church as my understanding of the importance of communion was significantly different from theirs. In other words, I'd be causing scandal. I wasn't offered the job, and I suspect that I was passed over because I'm an orthodox Catholic, and not because I lacked sufficient abilities to do the job.

    2) "The second is like unto the first" as they say. Canon law, as I understand it, actually forbids Catholics to actively participate in leadership roles in the worship and rituals of ecclesial communities not in union with the Holy See. I'm not entirely clear on this, but I believe (and perhaps someone reading this who understands it better can clarify) that it has the potential for punishment by excommunication. On the other hand, I'm sure that for those of us who rely on church music as our sole means of income, an exception can be made.

    Maybe with recent events over in England, Anglican Use parishes will become more common, and then I can have the best of both worlds!

    (As I always say, if life gives you lemons, throw them in a quart of vodka!)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,314
    That's a good use for lemons! LOL. My communion experiences were a bit different. I once worked for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - one of the most liberal denominations in the country. They asked if I could receive communion with them. I explained that I couldn't since my church prohibited it. Also, that communion is a sign of unity which we don't have at the moment. So we all need to pray for unity. They accepted that and the subject didn't come up again. I have never heard of such a canon law. However, the eastern churches have a different code of canon law, so maybe it is in your canons and not ours. Since Byzantine churches don't use instruments, I suspect no one thought of mentioning anything related to playing for another church.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Hi David,

    Good points. I answered the communion question in my interview process much the same way, but used flowery language designed to impress rather than offend, similar to the experience that Charles had with the DofC's. Now, I wasn't aware of such a rule in the canon law, and I'd be interested to see if someone more knowledgeable responds. Does it really apply to musicians? I'd never become ordained or anything -- I even refused to teach the youth group. The way I look at it, what they do is so vastly different from the Mass that it's basically just a bunch of Christians getting together to pray, study, and sing. I'm happy to do that with them. And, once a month when they pass around pita bread and grape juice, everyone understands that I cannot participate, not so much because I am rejecting them, but because I believe so strongly in the Eucharist and what the reception of Holy Communion truly means. I am privileged to work for a congregational (UCC) church that serves a wide umbrella of people from very conservative to very liberal, and everyone respects each other's point of view, so no one takes offense when I do not participate in their tablesharing ritual.

    In any case, I like your recipe. I think I'd try it with a splash of orange blossom water -- that would give it a little more of an Eastern Rite flavor, eh Charles?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Well. maybe it's time for musicians (who understand the pitiful situation of the Catholic church music) to boycott Contemporary Mass. This would be the first step.
    My parish is planning to add another Contemporary Mass. It made me think whether there is any Church documents that support or allow a Mass such as "contemporary Mass," which excludes traditional music? (I never even across that kind of term in any church documents that I read). Even after the Church allowed Vernacular languages and 'New Music' of high quality in the Liturgy for the 'better participation' of the faithful, it's very clear that she asks us to preserve traditional music. I had to write to our parish council that the 'better participation' comes from the deeper understanding of the Liturgy and good Catechism classes, not from 'instant music.' I think Contemporary Mass is totally against Church's teaching. I don't know how it continues to spread out. It's our musician's job to stop this nonsense and follow Church's teaching in our music ministry.
    I stepped down from most of music ministry positions in our parish recently (thank God. I might have had those serious illness. Sometimes I felt throwing up on some music), and now concentrate on Chant music. I'm conducting two chant classes in two different parishes. I invite other parish members to join the chant classes, and I also started a Latin class. People are responding very well. There are people out there who want good Liturgy with good music. We have to educate them and don't give into the idea of the people who are ignorant, both liturgically and musically. God called us to study music and gave us chance to do something with the educaion, the talent and the faith. We are responsible to give Him back by doing what we really supposed to do. I'll will not leave our parish, or work for Protestant church. There are so much work do be done before I leave. I'm sure there are lot you can do wherever you are.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    If I may offer some more probably useless advice, avoid guilt (which doesn't come easy for Catholics, and it's worse for us cradles!) I remember I was so fed up with some stuff at work, specifically accusations that I "have poor people skills", and out of frustration I exclaimed to my boss "Maybe I should just drop this parish music s**t and go into performance!" His response? "Well, the Church needs you." Biiiiig whoop! Let me say this: if the Catholic Church is waiting on Gavin C. to fix everything, then the "portas inferni" have prevailed against it. And although you seem to be a talented musician, I'd say the same of David Andrew.

    That is to say, don't get a complex where everyone's salvation depends on you fighting "Here I am, Lord". Our work IS certainly important, as they say no one leaves the church humming the homily! But don't feel like you have some sole obligation to fix all the music everywhere. Just do what you can and if it's all you have, be happy for the little victories. I reached a point where my boss, due to heavy and vicious complaints from the laity, wouldn't do any Latin for Easter. And I couldn't get brass. I was devastated and extremely frustrated. Then I realized, we're having Easter Mass with a sung English canon, a Gregorian Kyrie, and the very best hymns Christendom has to offer, all played by a darn competent organist. It's not a chant high Mass, but darn it, it doesn't have to be! So try to be happy with what good you do have going on, even if the only good part is that you get to go home at the end of the day.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I read all of the above with interest. I've been in and out of church jobs over decades. The easiest were with the Protestants because we all understood that I was just there for the music and the money. One of the great disillusionments (OK, call me a "cock-eyed optimist") was a job where I realized that despite occasional high-flown language from the pastor (Catholic), the music was just a bit of window-dressing to be added to his lengthy homilies and announcements and he wanted the cheapest curtains he could buy.

    There have been other church experiences that fell somewhere in the middle. (You haven't lived till you've gone through language wars in a Russian Orthodox parish migrating from all-Slavonic to bilingual.)

    While it's good to "try to be happy with what good you do have going on," you do have to weigh the percentages. If your "good" is running around 4% and your "being driven mad" is up in the 90% range, give all of this some serious thought. Anger and despair do have high physical price tags. And remember, the life you save may be your own.

    However, if you can keep edging the good up steadily (this doesn't mean waiting 5 years for a new pastor), then look for ways to reduce the stress and hang in there.
  • All I can say is I am blessed with tennis elbow in both arms. This was caused by playing piano at church. Darn it if it doesn't bother me when I play the organ! ;)
    You have to be solid as a rock in your own spiritual life in order to be a DM. Your eyes always have to be on the goal. There is a time to battle, and a time to be peaceful. A time to speak, and a time to be silent. Could the health symptoms be about something God may want you to do or say? Pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in the right direction.

    Side note (pun intended)- So I was on my much needed vacation last week and getting a wonderful massage. Then the music came on.....Schubert's Ave Maria (ok, can deal), Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (not so bad...), THE WEDDING SONG (Are you kidding me?)
  • PS- forgot the most important part: I developed Celiac disease during a very turbulent and stressful point as a DM.
  • G
    Posts: 1,388
    This is all very interesting to me, and hits very close to home.
    All I can say is that there is a reason I use only an initial on this board and a pseudonym on my blog, and that not long ago I was close to either losing my job or becoming chronically ill because of very different attitudes toward liturgy and liturgical music between me and those with/for whom I work, and the carelessness with which I expressed this online.
    We've reached an uneasy truce but I long for the day when there is some sort of big shake-up...

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World)
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    It manifests with me as restless leg syndrome. I go to 6pm mass in my home parish, because it's mostly the one without music. Unfortunately, the guitars are occasionaly scheduled to play feelgood music at this mass, and I'm not very good at checking the schedule in advance. Fortunately, my liberal but very likable Parish Priest finds it amusing to see me walk in to church, observe the guitarists, and walk out again. Life's just too short to let this stuff raise the blood pressure. I feel for those whose economic circumstance makes it otherwise.
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 800
    david andrew wrote:
    "The second is like unto the first" as they say. Canon law, as I understand it, actually forbids Catholics to actively participate in leadership roles in the worship and rituals of ecclesial communities not in union with the Holy See. I'm not entirely clear on this, but I believe (and perhaps someone reading this who understands it better can clarify) that it has the potential for punishment by excommunication. On the other hand, I'm sure that for those of us who rely on church music as our sole means of income, an exception can be made.


    I asked our judicial vicar about this matter and this is the opinion he wrote for me:

    To understand any text in the Code’s book on penal law, one must first go to canon 18 which indicates that laws which establish a penalty or restrict the free exercise of rights must be interpreted strictly, i.e. in the narrowest possible fashion.

    Also, in the document promulgating the Code Pope John Paul made it clear that the Code was to put into canonical form the ecclesiology of the Council and that the Code must be referred to the Council for understanding and interpretation (not the reverse) (Sacrae disciplinae legis, xiv). Just a few paragraph’s later the text highlights the “Church’s commitment to ecumenism” as one of the “elements which characterize the true and genuine image of the Church.” Given that Unitatis redintegratio specifically envisioned some circumstances of common worship (#8), this must also be taken into account.

    Within this context, we can look at canon 1365 that speaks of “prohibited participation in sacred rites (vetitae communicationis in sacris). The term “communicatio in sacris” is not defined in the Code, but is understood by the Ecumenical Directory to refer to sharing in the “liturgical life” of a community —and hence might at first glance seem to apply. But we must be cautious. The canon speaks of “prohibited participation” in such rites. The canon does not prohibit all such participation. Thus, to spread the penalty for communicatio in sacris to any and all participation, even leadership (such as music), both interprets the canon broadly, not strictly – a violation of the critical principle for interpreting all penal law – and neglects the adjective.

    So what is “prohibited participation”? The Ecumenical Directory, issued in 1993 and replacing an earlier Directory of 1967, has a fairly detailed discussion of this issue. You might want to look at the section from #102-142 to catch the whole picture, but let me pull out a few texts to ease the concern you raised.

    In term of sharing in “non-Sacramental Liturgical Worship (which is probably what is at issue unless we are talking about a celebration of “the Lord’s Supper” in a higher liturgical tradition) indicates that in taking part in the liturgical celebrations of other churches and ecclesial communities, Catholics are “encouraged to take part in the psalms, responses, hymns and common actions” and may “read a lesson or preach” if invited. Given the importance of Scripture in most of the reformed traditions, to be able to read and even preach is far more leadership than leading the choir or playing instruments. An ancient principle of canonical interpretation is that “one who can do the greater can do the lesser” unless specifically provided otherwise.

    When it comes to participation in sacramental activities of churches not in union with us, distinctions are made between the Eastern Churches and others. I will not reflect on the norms for the east here. For other Christian churches, the Directory states that the key is to remember Eucharistic celebrations are “inseparably linked to full ecclesial communion and its visible expression” (#129), while adding that baptism does create a “real, even if imperfect communion, with the Catholic Church.” (#129). After stating these principles, the Directory pretty much gives norms only for the participation of others in our Catholic rites, not the reverse. In paragraph 132, the Directory does indicate that Catholics without access to their own sacraments “may ask for these sacraments only from a minister in whose church these sacraments are valid” or (interestingly “from one known to be validly ordained according to the Catholic teaching on ordination.” Clearly, then, receiving Eucharist would be a “prohibited participation” in sacred rites. Any sort of participation that would be an expression of severing or undermining the Catholic’s full communion would also be prohibited. Otherwise, there is no clear prohibition in the documents for other kinds of participation.

    Going back to the principle of strict interpretation, unless something is clearly prohibited, then the penalty does not apply. (This prescinds from the wisdom of participation, or the possibility of giving scandal).

    Finally, for completeness, another principle of interpretation is that when the meaning of a canon is “doubtful or obscure” then “recourse is taken to parallel places” (c. 17). The Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, while not law for Latin Catholics, is such a parallel place. In fact, because it came out in 1990 and the drafters benefitted from seeing how the Latin Code was received, they often refined texts or made changes that are very helpful. Canon 670.1 of the Eastern Code has no Latin parallel. It states: “For a just cause Catholics can attend the liturgical worship of other Christians and take part in the same, observing those things which, by reason of the degree of communion with the Catholic Church, are established by the eparchial bishop or by a superior authority.” Note that this speaks specifically of liturgical participation, not just other forms of prayer. The gist is that such participation must in no way betray indifferentism, a defection from faith, etc. The second paragraph of this canon allows the use of a Catholic church for non-Catholic Christians in certain circumstances. Given that the Eastern Code clearly expresses a freedom for Catholics to take part in such ceremonies, to argue that Latin Catholics have no such freedom is not tenable.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Dr. Ford,

    How kind of you to pose my query to the juridical vicar.

    He certainly went above and beyond in presenting his clear and concise answer!

    I hope others have found this helpful as well.
  • G
    Posts: 1,388
    "We've reached an uneasy truce"

    Well, didn't I just speak on the subject too soon...

    If anyone has the time or energy to spare a thought for me, please say a prayer.
    Gere

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World)
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 800
    G,

    I am about to sit down to morning prayer, so consider yourself prayed for.

    Blessings,
    Paul
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Chronic illness, lack of courtesy or respect for our profession, no recognition of the truth, goodness or beauty of what it is we're trying to restore to a crippled liturgical life.

    I think it's time for a CMAA-wide, coordinated novena to Our Lady and St. Cecilia. I seem to recall downloading a St. Cecilia novena from this site. If someone from the CMAA offices is reading this, could you kindly repost it?

    I'm going to create a new discussion proposing this novena for the benefit of church musicians, as it seems we're all experiencing mental, physical and emotional health issues resulting from our jobs.
  • G
    Posts: 1,388
    Many thanks, Dr Ford, et al.

    I will gladly join in a novena, but more for others' needs than my own, because while my situation is upsetting, I doubt it is nearly as painful as many others' and I am in a much stronger place, spiritually than I was a few years ago.
    A truly holy old chant-master I was fortunate enough to meet, the CMAA, the Canons Regular of St John Cantius, the online "community" I feel a part of, and new habits of prayer are a large part of that.

    Forgive me, some of you, for quoting a wonderful old southern hymn instead of a psalm ;o) - no storm can shake my inmost calm, while to this Rock I'm clinging; since Love is Lord of heav'n and earth - how can I keep from singing?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 913
    G and other musicians... I'll be adding my prayers for you... J.
  • Anyone else here a bit shy to publically post things that happen to them at church as a DM? People, on the whole, do not believe me when I tell them things that have honestly happened. I have always thought documentation of events, especially among directors, might be a good idea. Any thoughts? Off to pray!
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I have made a practice (from my days as a civil litigation paralegal) to document everything in memos and incident reports which I've given to my boss and kept on file.

    As for people not believing you, that's unfortunate. People (even pastors) never seem to want to believe the worst of what people are capable of. But in reality unless we're willing to bring the various types of inappropriate treatment we've been subjected to, be it out of ignorance or wanton disregard or (dare I say it?) sheer evil, and acknowledge it as such, we'll continue to be subjected to ongoing problems and ill-treatment.

    Remember, we're taught that the truth will set us free!
  • Jon
    Posts: 1
    David,

    This article may be some evidence that you are looking for. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-563533/Gregorian-chanting-reduce-blood-pressure-stress.html

    I believe I first saw it on Father Z's site.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    Ultrasonics really do have measurable physiological effects. Amusement parks use notes too low to hear, in small doses, to make waiting lines for rides a little scarier. So if the bass was shaking the concrete, it was probably producing ultrasonics. I've experienced this in church, to my sorrow. (New Bose speakers, praise band that assumed Bose should be turned up just as loud as the crud speakers had been; and they'd been too loud before as it was.) In a matter of five minutes, I was starting to get physically sick, and the fabric of the church wasn't exactly loving it either. (When I let the praise band know that you could hear them outside the stone church with the oak doors closed, they understood that it was time to turn it down.)

    Amusingly, there's a Finnish early music/chant group, Vox Silentii, that also is running classes in "childbirth singing". Apparently, the theory is that if the mother, midwife, or husband sing certain notes at certain times, it helps the mother to give birth more easily. Which, if you think about the physiological effects of singing and of hearing, isn't totally stupid. (Although I'm pretty sure that anesthetics are still your best friend during childbirth.)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Look at the work of Tomatis. http://www.tomatis.com/English/index.htm - in addition to the famous experience with the monastery that had abandoned chant and collapsed into ennui and despair, there's been a lot of work other areas. We tend to think of ourselves as "walking computers" and discount the physical/psychological mix that makes us living beings (or we decide that area's the province of some very flakey, New-Age types - trust me, I know, I'm a harpist). What we hear and how we hear it play important roles in our lives, whether or not we're musicians.