Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Funny you should say that.

The lovely and gracious Karen hath posted something related to the "folk" music at Mass. Those who know me best will cheerfully testify I am driven to fits or seizures by folk music under the best of everyday circumstances, and my views on tambourines and acoustic guitars cannot be given full expression on a blog where ladies and children may come across strong language. (If you've seen the film A Mighty Wind, I'm like the bald guy in the front row who kept rolling his eyes and looking at his watch. Folk music = torture...I'm surprised the progressivist element among us hasn't begun to protest it as the cruel and unusual punishment it clearly is.)

So, to hear that sort of music at Mass, frankly, gives me a dull ache and makes me wonder if people aren't tempting Judgment Day to arrive ahead of schedule and with unexpected severity.

What's interesting about this loose thread in the blogosphere is that today at my parish we had missionaries from Jamaica who came in to report all the good stuff they're doing (building schools and orphanages and that sort of thing) and they played the music at all the Masses this weekend. This parish is, for a "regular" parish a pretty High Church sort of place, with as much in the way of Ye Olde Yells, Bells and Smells as can be found in 2006 America without a special indult. What's more, the congregation likes it that way. So, I felt a little bad for the Jamaican guys who couldn't get the faithful to clap along quite as heartily as they might have wished.

THAT SAID, I don't mind an occasional variation from more traditional sorts of music on special occasions such as this. There is a difference between exalted and exclusive, you know. The fact these guys schlepped all the way from Jamaica to be with us and that they're doing good and merciful deeds (as opposed to heralding the Red Dawn) sort of, in my view, gives them a Free Pass. The fact they played a calypso-ish sort of music--leagues ahead and above that [spit]"Gather"[/spit] pablum--made me want to buy one of their CDs. Just because I wouldn't want to listen to this sort of stuff at Mass doesn't mean I don't want to hear it at all.

Which all brings me to the point that for the most part, modern Masses have tried to engage the faithful in precisely the most temporal and least permanent of ways. When all you can (or are willing to) offer the average* parishioner is some level of enjoyment, you will get the results you have before you: a hemorrhage of vocations and attendance, material heresy on a number of issues and such woeful ignorance of the basic tenets of the faith so as to make my 4th grader seem like a Pontifical University professor in comparison.

The more an emphasis is made on getting people to "like" Mass, the more you will get these results**. I am reminded of the adage that the first thing you ought do when you find yourself in a deep hole is to drop the @#$%ing shovel.



* And these days "average" means "criminally un(der)catechized"
** If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always gotten.


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