The April issue of Catholic World Report, now online, has several stories on liturgical music, including “A Church Musician’s Lament.” Michael Olbash relates his experience as a liturgical musician and choir director and expresses his (likely controversial) opinions on most of the music played at Mass.
Unfortunately, many Catholics judge the quality of liturgical music by its ability to make them cry, or to “speak to” them. And those who lobby for such music are too often backed by parish priests whose goal is to “gather together an affirming, inclusive, and supportive community.” In the eyes of these priests, the liturgy is a “dynamic faith-journey through the labyrinth of life,” rather than the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In other words, it’s liturgy as entertainment and self-help event rather than worship of the Lord. that’s my big problem with the way many people approach the Mass. To them, it’s not primarily about worshipping God, it’s about them “getting something” out of it, like a warm feeling of community. Even receiving the Eucharist, an awesome privilege in and of itself, is not the first reason, since the Church calls all Catholic to attend Mass even if they are not capable of receiving Eucharist at the moment. No, the primary purpose is worship of the Living God.
Instead, we get feel-good pop ditties and cutesy children’s skits and so on. This is what a culture if instant TV entertainment has gotten us.