That baffles me. God truly 'brought me to Him' in part by using contemporary Christian music to soften my hardened heart.
By the way, I grew up going to a Catholic church & school, though I'm not at a Catholic church now & haven't been since high school). Of course, now that I am truly saved & understand, I hear the words of both hymns & contemporary music in a totally different way!
To know, love and glorify Jesus: This is why I live.
I don't claim to know a whole lot about anything, so maybe I should chime in here. But I have to say that at one time, even Baroque music was considered to be blasphemous and too intricate as to possibly be pleasing to the Father. I don't want to knock anyone's style of music, but surely my heartfelt worship with contemporary styles is just as acceptable to the Lord as their heartfelt worship with Gregorian chants.
A very dear friend of mine is a Jehovahs Witness. She and I have had the debate regarding what constitutes "heartfelt" worship. She says that our music is too worried about appearances and "connecting with the people" to really be heartfelt. She says that God hasn't changed, so the music shouldn't either. I say, "what?!" Another thing I say is that God gave me a Friday night kinda voice for a reason and it's to glorify His name. That kind of voice doesn't do well with chants. I can't imagine bottling up my heart to fit into a chant.
I know this is an old thread, but I'm new here, so let me breath some life into it.
A little background: I was raised Catholic and was a very active, practicing Catholic until I was in my 30s.
There is a solemnness about a Catholic Mass that is difficult for a lot of Protestants to understand, even those from liturgical denominations. So the idea of a folk mass or a contemporary music mass is an issue deep to the core of the Catholic experience. Many Catholics feel that the church swung too far to the liberal in the years following Vatican II. This is not just present in the Mass, but in everyday Catholic life. The Mass is said in vernacular, the religious have stopped wearing their habits, even priests dress casually. No one goes to Vespers anymore, and few know any Latin at all. The church is a very different place from even thirty years ago, and on another planet from fifty years ago.
Many Catholics feel (and I believe correctly) that this is the reason they continue to lose people. Young Catholics are embracing the traditional. The crazier the world gets, the more comfort they find in traditional values. It's like being in a strange land and coming across a McDonalds. A Big Mac is a Big Mac everywhere. (except in France where it's a Royale with cheese.)
Even myself, as a born-again, evangelical, charasmatic Christian can still find joy and comfort in a traditional High Mass or Tridentine Mass. There is something warming and uniquely sacred about it. I think this is what the Pope is trying to capture. He is a hard-line traditionalist, and I think observers will see the Church swing back toward some of the pre-Vatican II traditions.
I think he is also making a move toward excellence in church music, which is what we all strive for, no?
I recently wrote a blog post that touched on some of these issues, if anyone is interested.
We have to understand the fundamental differences in the structure of between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church.
The RCC is based on tradition and that goes back to the point where the Church IS the power. In a nutshell, it is a class system. God speaks to those He has chosen to run the church and they tell their congregations what He has said. This system stems back to the priest class (Levities) of the Israelites.
Protestants believe that the power lies in God's Word and that all mankind can receive it. This belief lends to a much more open concept of worship as well a more freedom to express love for God. There are degrees of separation within the Protestant movement concerning how freely one can take God's Word. The denominational divides are based on these interpretations. Each denomination is based on a distinct philosophy or interpretation of what the founder(s) believed to be the basis of Truth.
The real TRUTH is that one's faith is found in the connection that one has with God personally and that it is this personal relationship with God that will pull you through regardless of your religious affiliation.
Contemporary music frightens uber traditionalists because it addresses God's love. This is not the traditional way we see God in our Hymnals. If you look at our traditional hymns God and Christ are spoken of with reverence and generally in a very manly, or masculine way. Songs speak of the Blood or soldiering. Trusting and obeying... It is all geared to a society to which the church maintained a strict control over the congregation.
We are moving away from that today. People want to hear how God is relevant to there lives. That means that our Scripture lessons AND our music has to sometimes reflect what is going on in there day to day. That is hard to express sometimes with Onward Christian Soldier.
I respect the Pope's academic intellect. He is sequestered behind palace walls surrounded by other academic, religious old men. He is not really in touch with the world around him and that makes what he says about today's music pointless. He does not have a finger on the pulse of the world because he does not participate in the world. I imagine that some of his lowest priests in the ghetto districts could instruct him on the benefits of making the message relevant. He probably would never listen. That is the price that one pays when one climbs up top a tall pedestal and then people take away the ladder... You can never climb down to the real people anymore... You just have to wait until God knocks you off.
Every way of man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 21:2
Wow...mikeym and don z., your posts were amazing. Great thoughts and compelling writing. Score another 20 points for TWC.
All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord!
In His Name,
I'm not sure if the article was taken entirely in context or not. With foreign news, sometimes things are missing in the translation. To me it seemed there was more energy being directed at the local music situation and some quality issues, as opposed to a general change in the music of the greater church. That being said, I agree with the prior post that suggests the Pope is a bit disconnected from the flock. His comments over time demonstrate a pattern of scholarly expertise but also a lack of real world experience. His insensitivity to the nature of people and where they are today is most concerning. If he really is moving toward a return to the Gregorian Chant, and other forms of older music, it would put him at a seriously troublesome crossroads in the life of the Catholic Church. He would be dwelling in the land of man made rules and preferences, as opposed to the Kingdom of God. I would hope and pray that he find ways to follow Christ's instruction to Peter, and "feed my sheep". The sheep want and need fresh grass, and properly made and stored hay and grain. They need fresh water. Depleted pastures and old feedstuffs are not good for the flock, and can cause harm. Maybe a bit of time with the flock would be instructional to this Pope?
As a Catholic, I find this thread rather condescending.
The last two popes have traveled far more extensively than 99% of all evangelists before them. They had carried the weight, not only of being true to Christ (as dictated throughout the Gospels, and throughout all of Church history, all twenty-plus centuries worth) but weighing those factors against the diverse myriad cultures and customs and languages and political systems and flavors across seven Continents.
Could it be that it is _we_, who live in a bubble, of our own culturally-defined choosing? If so, wouldn't it be prudent to respectfully hold our tongues until both musical traditions, chant and contemporary, can be fully understood?
I agree that the last two Popes traveled. That is in part to the age we live in and the ease traveling has become.
That does not detract from the main argument that figureheads surround themselves with other academics. You will not see the Pope surrounding himself with a committee of knowledgeable musicians of this generation to really look at the lyrical and musical content of contemporary Christian music. What you will find is a group of academics approximately 55 years old or older - all out of touch with trends of young people today.
Music is icing on the cake. It does not have to exist in a service at all. However, if you are going to praise or worship with song, then you have to use music that actually gets people of the current time period praising and worshiping. I do not think that can be done with a complete diet of traditional or Gregorian chant. Better to remove music entirely and face the music, pun intended, of having our young people find other churches than to plan on using the wrong music and they leave the church entirely because they cannot relate.
If the Pope really wished to make a wise decision, he would put a committee together of priests from a diverse set of circumstances and then build a quorum of ideas from that. He may be very surprised to see what sort of responses he would get.
Every way of man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 21:2
in all due respect, I have watched the pope use contemporary worship at large gatherings, as well as culture-specific worship when travelling at other countries.
I suspect you would prefer he drop every musical style in deference to your own. Because if your preferred musical form were to take careful analysis and investigation (for all it's merits and faults... lots of faults, lots of merits...), then it would be only fair for the numerous myriad musical traditions to also have a seat at the table.
In the meantime, i find your condescension towards this current pope absolutely laughable. Have you actually watched these last two popes--different personalities and styles--address the different youth from across the countries? These two fully connected with their audience, esp Benedict, who is a teacher by trade. I have quoted him from his Cologne appearances, and they do not fail to inspire those whom I am addressing.
I like both chant and praise and worship. But for a Catholic liturgy, the music isn't the end-all and be-all. It is Christ Himself. Chant has the benefit of being around for many many centuries, including the theory that Pope Gregorythe Great (4th century) wished to return to the musical forms from the time of Christ. That makes a legitimate theory as to the reason chant is preferred.
But it does not mean praise and worship has no place in the full spectrum of opportunities to witness to the broader culture. Just not at Mass. For some of the poorly written praise and worship out there (MWS' _Agnus Dei_ being the worst offender), I cannot agree more.
But if there was a way for the styles to work, it would take some training in humility on your part. There is a whole lot more here, and I am scratching the surface as I study both groups for myself.
Last edited by NickAlexander; 08-03-2010 at 10:34 AM.