A converting Episcopalian grieves: “…miasmal excrescences of Marty Haugen and David Haas…”

I tip my biretta to the always engaging Diogenes for the links to what follows. 

Another Episcopalian has decided he can no longer endure the self-destruct mode that Church is vigorously wrapped up in.  So, he is swimming the Tiber.  Here is what he thinks about that.

So it’s off to Rome for me. I do not labor under the illusion all is milk and honey on the other side of the Tiber. It is not, the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the United States, is beset with woes, lousy liturgy and music being among the less egregious. But the Holy Catholic Church possesses something the Episcopal Church does not: sound doctrine, along with a Pope (especially the present one) and magisterium to ensure that it remains so. Sound doctrine will make it possible for me (I pray) to tolerate Masses where the priest sits in the Captain Kirk chair while the miasmal excrescences of Marty Haugen and David Haas [ROFL!] waft into the nave. And while my heartbreak over what happened to the Episcopal Church will remain with me to the end of my days (as I suspect it will for Fr. Kimel), at the same time I look forward with great joy to embracing the full Catholic Faith. I ask your prayers.

 

You’ve got em, and those of many of my readers. 

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38 Responses to A converting Episcopalian grieves: “…miasmal excrescences of Marty Haugen and David Haas…”

  1. RichR says:

    The Mass he describes sounds like what I had to sit through this morning.

  2. craig says:

    Interesting how it is the Doctrine and the Papacy that seem to be drawing folks to the Church. Not social action, not hugs, not modernized worship but Doctrine and the Holy Father! Perhaps more vocal individuals such as this will wake up some of the hippies running around trying to hug everyone

  3. AALEX1 says:

    Welcome Home!!

  4. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I know a couple converted Anglicans. They are among the most most steadfast supporters of the older form of Mass. The New Oxford Review, a Catholic journal, started out as High Church Anglican (hence the name), but ended up supporting Pope John Paul II on issues of doctrine that most Catholic magazines of the time would have no part of. So they crossed the Tiber, and realized that the Catholic Church was rank with the very same problems tearing apart the Anglican Communion. They decided that the older form of Mass was the way to go in strengthening the Church, but they are still loyal to the Pope.

    Unfortunately I hear the same thing from many converted Anglicans. They left the Anglican Communion because of watered-down morals, shakey doctrine and internal issues among the clergy, and they find it all (although sometimes a little better hidden) in Catholicism.

  5. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Let me just add that, as I see it, our rigid doctrine looks great on paper, but what does this amount to when so many priests and bishops ignore the unchanging Apostolic Tradition of the Church or look the other way or interpret it to suit their own agenda? It is sometimes hard to keep from despairing at the state of the Church when our very leaders and role-models in the faith neglect their duties.

  6. An American Mother says:

    Re: Haugen and Haas – amen, amen!

    Speaking as another converted Anglican, we were so ‘high church’ that doctrine was not a problem at all. Our new parish is wonderfully orthodox, and the N.O. Mass is celebrated most reverently by our old-fashioned Irish rector and his two young Parochial Vicars. But the real stumbling block was the music.

    Coming from an Episcopal parish where the musical standard was high (choir auditions, tours, recordings, and an extremely difficult repertoire), we prayerfully submitted to enduring the awful music. And it was truly awful – having to listen to (or worse, sing) Haugen’s “Massive Cremation” every Sunday must be penance for something . . . .

    But St. Cecilia must have interceded on our behalf — about 3 months after we were received into the Church and joined our new parish, the umquile music director took a new job somewhere else. We were blessed with a real genius in his replacement – doctorate from Juilliard, Fulbright at Lyons, brilliant musician and composer who loves Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and the flower of the English Renaissance. So we did not have to leave behind our dear friends Mr. Byrd, Mr. Tallis, Mr. Batten, and Mr. Farrant (who after all were mostly good Catholics themselves!) and we also have gained the blessings of Signor Palestrina and M. Josquin des Prez.

    So, any of you Episcopalians/Anglicans out there who are hesitating on account of the music, be strong and of a good courage — and get onto the music committee!

  7. Donald Taylor says:

    At our missa extraordinaria at a Carmelite Monastery this week, an Episcopal “priest” came to observe because he recognizes that people want more Latin, and he wants to implement more Latin into his church’s services.

  8. An American Mother says:

    I forgot to mention — we are now chanting the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin the first Sunday of every month. Link by link is chainmail made!

  9. Jonathan Bennett says:

    One of the funniest things I ever heard came from this woman I know, who is a very orthodox Catholic- “I love the Church, but that Episcopalian music is heavenly!”.

  10. RBrown says:

    Coming from an Episcopal parish where the musical standard was high (choir auditions, tours, recordings, and an extremely difficult repertoire), we prayerfully submitted to enduring the awful music. And it was truly awful – having to listen to (or worse, sing) Haugen’s “Massive Cremation” every Sunday must be penance for something . . . .

    But St. Cecilia must have interceded on our behalf—about 3 months after we were received into the Church and joined our new parish, the umquile music director took a new job somewhere else. We were blessed with a real genius in his replacement – doctorate from Juilliard, Fulbright at Lyons, brilliant musician and composer who loves Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and the flower of the English Renaissance. So we did not have to leave behind our dear friends Mr. Byrd, Mr. Tallis, Mr. Batten, and Mr. Farrant (who after all were mostly good Catholics themselves!) and we also have gained the blessings of Signor Palestrina and M. Josquin des Prez.

    So, any of you Episcopalians/Anglicans out there who are hesitating on account of the music, be strong and of a good courage—and get onto the music committee!
    Comment by An American Mother

    As I sat trying to ignore the noise this morning, I considered an alternative to the music committee: I was wondering what people would think were I to wear my noise reduction headphones to mass.

  11. RBrown says:

    Let me just add that, as I see it, our rigid doctrine looks great on paper, but what does this amount to when so many priests and bishops ignore the unchanging Apostolic Tradition of the Church or look the other way or interpret it to suit their own agenda? It is sometimes hard to keep from despairing at the state of the Church when our very leaders and role-models in the faith neglect their duties.
    Comment by Jonathan Bennett

    Lex orandi lex credendi–a principle that BXVI understands well.

    As the liturgy improves, the inclination to “look the other way” from doctrine will diminish.

  12. An American Mother says:

    Or, Mr. Bennett, to put it another way (as I do on occasion) – the Episcopalians may be a buncha heretics, but they DO know good music!

    All is not lost. There are people who attend our parish’s services for the music (and tell the music director and choir members that repeatedly and with emphasis). The word is bound to get out, and sheer self-preservation will require musical improvement elsewhere roundabout . . . .

    . . . . or maybe not. I was at a dog trial out of town and had to attend Mass in a strange parish (and I do mean strange) – I wandered into a “Life Teen Mass” and thought I was at a Baptist revival by mistake. . . .

    But please, believe me when I tell you that the foibles and follies in certain segments of the Catholic Church are as nothing compared to the insanity that has swallowed the Episcopagans!

  13. Woody Jones says:

    One of the many good features of the Anglican Usage of the Roman Rite is that we get to use the old Episcopal 1940 Hymnal, replete with good classic music and translations (often by the famous John Mason Neale) of Latin hymns from the first millenium of the Church into Victorian English. Unfortunately while in San Antonio this weekend due to time constraints I had to assist at Mass at a regular diocesan parish rather than make the trek from Alamo Heights out to Our Lady of the Atonement (the “Mother Church of the AU). The liturgy at this place (and those who know the area will know which one I mean–it is an upscale neghborhood kind of place, just off Broadway), including, of course, the music, was most disheartening, although at least it seemed valid. They were even still using glass chalices. Looking at the vigil mass congregation, I was also reminded of that quote from Cardinal Heenan, to the effect that if the N.O. were to be implemented, in 20 years only women, children and old folks would be seen there.

  14. Athelstane says:

    Well, he apparently lives in New York, so he does have access to some good liturgical options if he’s willing to travel a few extra minutes.

    Hopefully he’ll do so.

  15. Francis Pinteric, Ph.D. says:

    [quote]Another Episcopalian has decided he can no longer endure the self-destruct mode that Church …[/quote]

    Since when did the episcopalians form a church? I thought we are supposed to call them “ecclesial communities.”

  16. James says:

    Hmmm. Haugen and Haas have made their “mark” even among the Episcoplians! I thought we were the only ones suffering from the banal! As a 1979 convert from the “great” Anglican tradition (which really has no tradition at all) I am completely content with, and relish in, being a “repugnant” and “Romish” Catholic! (1801 Articles of Religion of the Protestant Episcopal Church)

    Amen!

    AMDG
    Boanerges

  17. Another Episcopalian: I’m praying for you.

    His comment, and those of many in this forum, reminds me that just because the Mass may be sloppily celebrated, the Truth has the power to bring us and keep us. I am by no means praising poor music and liturgical violations. It just that so many suffer thru both at every Mass but they stay with it because even garbage can’t diminish the ultimate power of the teachings of Christ.

  18. musicus says:

    Having found the Truth, I became a Catholic 20 yrs ago despite the music.

  19. Chironomo says:

    I think that we in the Catholic Tradition whose role is to care for the Sacred Music of our Church are looking to send Haugen and Haas back across the Tiber…. perhaps down the Tiber, or perhaps even under the Tiber!

  20. RichR says:

    I was a guitar strummer leading a university parish choir.

    Then I went to dental school and joined an Anglican Use Catholic Church in San Antonio, Our Lady of the Atonement. I joined the polyphonic choir and was exposed to the most uplifting music of my life.

    Now, I’m practicing in my hometown. A friend of mine, who was trained in a cathedral choir, and I founded a men’s Schola. We are enjoying much support from the community. Our schedule is booked with things such as: Vespers, Latin Novus Ordo Masses, Tenebrae, Ordinations, and assisting at vernacular Masses with preludes and communion meditations. We are hoping for a regular commitment by one of hte deanery’s parishes.

    We decided to do something about the music in our area.

  21. James W. says:

    I too am a former Episcopalian – follwed the path of many before like Cardinal Newman . It indeed is a great time to swim the Tiber as it appears the awful music and liturg in many if not most Catholic parishes may be on the way out. As you can see from all the comments here the water is just fine and I pray that your new faith will flourish.

  22. Cassandra says:

    It exists because Henry VIII wanted a divorce. How unfirm a foundation. Then the last High Anglican in power was the fatally flawed Laud. The Latitudinarians have run the place since 1688. In the Ritualist movement, they only changed their wardrobe.

    The superstructure was often beautiful (Cranmer’s collects, Andrewes’ sermons, Herbert’s poetry, Anglican chant, Cram’s churches, etc), but the foundation couldn’t hold it. The Rock could, if it wishes to incorporate that superstructure.

  23. Jim says:

    There is another refuge from Haugen & Hass, particularly if there is no TLM in the area, and it is called the Eastern Rite. I am loyal to my home parish despite the current priest’s musical tastes, but I escape to the Eastern Rite church one or twice a month to recover my sanity. It grows on you after awhile, and it is doctrinally very orthodox.

  24. TP says:

    Greetings,

    Since was raised on bad folk music in the 70s, and Haugen since the 80s, I am wondering what Episcopalians use for music. I know many people who go to mass as Catholic and then go to the Episcopal church for liturgy. How is their liturgy different and what do they use for music?

    peace

  25. Elaine says:

    Yes, and is there any equivalent of “contemporary” music used in the Episcopal Church? Do any Episcopal Churches sing “Gather us in?” (They could, of course, since Haugen isn’t even Catholic and his music is clearly meant to cross denomination lines which equals = more money. Oh. Did I just say that?)

  26. An American Mother says:

    Elaine wrote: is there any equivalent of “contemporary” music used in the Episcopal Church? Do any Episcopal Churches sing “Gather us in?”

    I have never heard “Gather Us In” in an Episcopal church/ecclesial community/coven . . . that doesn’t mean some nutty parish, somewhere, isn’t singing it, just that our parish never did. We had some guitar-and-granola types in the parish, but that sort of music was relegated to once a month at the 9 a.m. service, when the Folk Choir was allowed to sing. The Folk Choir was composed of the folks who couldn’t or didn’t audition for the Parish Choir.

    Because there isn’t any real theological meat and potatoes in ECUSA/TEC, and hasn’t been since the late 70s, they tend to really care about their music. Since it also used to be the socially chi-chi denomination to join if you had highbrow ambitions, the music they care about tends to be highbrow. So, no “contemporary” junk.

    In other words, good music but for all the wrong reasons. Ideally we refugee Piskies will be able to import the good music without the heresy. The REALLY good stuff is all Catholic anyhow. The later Anglican composers, like Howells and Vaughn Williams, are fine (Vaughn Williams in my opinion is great, not as great perhaps as Britten but great nonetheless), but a little bit goes a long way. Some of the moderns like Rutter and Near are experimental (Near more than Rutter) but still quite singable. But nothing compares to the great age of English music, I could sing 16th and 17th century English polyphony for the rest of my life and be perfectly content.

  27. An American Mother says:

    TP wrote: I know many people who go to mass as Catholic and then go to the Episcopal church for liturgy. How is their liturgy different and what do they use for music?

    Since the 1979 revision of the Book of Common Prayer, there is very little difference between the liturgies. The ECUSA/TEC service basically follows the same order in the Liturgy of the Word (and uses the same lectionary), the same “chinese menu” language (in the 1979 BCP it’s called “Eucharistic Prayer A”, “Eucharistic Prayer B”, etc.) You will notice the most difference in the actual Consecration (which was altered by the radical Protestants who advised King Edward VI) and in some of the congregational prayers (there is no Confiteor, there is a General Confession because Piskies don’t do auricular confession, there is no “Lord, I am not worthy”), but the basic structure is the same.

    I believe this was done because there was some idea of a reunification or concordat between Canterbury and Rome back in the 70s, and one of the reasons for the BCP revision was to make that process easier (there were a lot of other, more sinister, reasons, which have since borne fruit). Those of us who grew up on the 1928 BCP can really see the difference — not to mention the fact that they moved the XXXIX Articles from the front of the prayerbook to the back and relegated them to “Historical Documents” (the XXXIX had some naughty things to say about those wicked Papists. We successfully ignored the XXXIX for 40 years or so in our very ultramontane parish.)

    But of course all that went by the boards when the Episcopalians went insane. Any reunification will now have to come by way of the Anglican Use.

  28. dcs says:

    I’m not a former Episcopalian, but I used to be a member of a choir that often sang in an Episcopal church (now sadly the headquarters for “Dignity” in our city . . . but I digress). Anyway, we used to sing hymns by Bach, Masses by Mozart, etc.

    I came into the Church nine years ago and I couldn’t believe how bad a lot of the music was.

  29. Malta says:

    A bishop in the southwest is also swimming the tiber:

    http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/69530.html

  30. Daniel Muller says:

    I was a guitar strummer leading a university parish choir.

    Then I went to dental school and joined … Our Lady of the Atonement. I joined the polyphonic choir … .

    … A friend of mine, who was trained in a cathedral choir, and I founded a men’s Schola.

    Thanks for this most interesting history; it very neatly dovetails with my singing in San Antonio (no, I believe that we have never met although we could have) and of how another strummer (no, I believe that you have never met) from that “university parish choir” was the first domino in quite an opposite set of outcomes in Dallas.

  31. Daniel Muller says:

    Masses where the priest sits in the Captain Kirk chair while the miasmal excrescences of Marty Haugen and David Haas waft into the nave.

    I had read this a couple of times, but it has only just hit me just how accurate it is verbatim in my experience. The pastor can seldom be bothered with the music, and in fact said excrescences do waft into the nave, often from the sanctuary, where they are met by the congregation’s equally impassive demeanor. They never carry from the nave. This morning we had “All Are Welcome” or some such OCP campfire nonsense in place of the introit, and this “inclusive” “congregational” dreck was effectively … a solo. I heard one of the sanctuary party mention afterwards that they “were working on getting a microphone” for the soloist’s exclusive use in the temporary sanctuary. Sigh. Soon they will realize that the Yamaha’s built-in does not carry, and no doubt it will acquire its own microphone as well.

  32. kat says:

    Another former Episcopalian who converted (’99) and really missed actual hymns sung in church. I realized after a few years that if I heard “On Eagle’s Wing” one more time that I would start screeching during Mass so we found a TLM and are quite happy with the musical selections. All my old favorites from my Anglican childhood are played and the liturgy is even more beautiful and sublime than any high church Anglican service.

  33. Legisperitus says:

    My parish church indeed has a “Captain Kirk chair,” and many of us call it that. It even has a little control panel adjacent to its right arm so the priest can… I don’t know, maybe adjust the volume or record the pastor’s log.

  34. Domenico says:

    “So, any of you Episcopalians/Anglicans out there who are hesitating on account of the music, be strong and of a good courage—and get onto the music committee!”
    I love this comment! Please, consider how to do something also for us in Italy.
    Thank you.

  35. James says:

    PS.

    The local Episcopal I attended had the benefit of classical organist and man could he play! Preludes and postludes sent you out floating. If only our church….

    AMDG

  36. thetimman says:

    He has my prayers– that he finds his way to the extraordinary form to prevent haugenhaasitis.

  37. David M.O'Rourke says:

    The truth is that even in the pre-Vatican II days the music in North American Catholic churhes was pretty bad. This seems largely due to the lack of any Musical tradition in Ireland and North American Catholicism is largely Irish Catholicism.

    In the meantime the past century has seen an incredible flowering of choral music in the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, especially in England. And this doesn’t begin to touch the enormous repertoire of good hymns of such a number that it is quite easy to go an entire year and not repeat a single hymn. The feasts and seasons have their own wonderful hymns, many translated from the Office hymns of the breviary. And the stuff is still being produced.

    Palestrina and Vittoria and Di Lasso are great and they are often heard in Anglican/Episcopal Churches but there is no reason not to keep producing good new music. With Summorum Pontificum giving evryone a new lease on life it is time to produce new music as well as play the old.

    As it happens, the bulk of the good music in Anglicanism is in English. Book of Common Prayer English which is the best English there is but still English rather than Latin. In the years to come opportunities for Extraodinary Rite parishes to avial themselves of this treasury should be looked into. Perhaps, for example, Solemn Evensong could be adopted in some churches instead of Vespers. it is an excellntly practical service with really good music. That is just ONE possibility.

    And should some sort of re-union eventually come….well, all that music can’t go to waste.

    Of course not all Anglican or Episcopal Churches have great music but it IS there to be found if one looks for it. One might start with CD’s from the great English Cathedrals and College Chapels. Try a few of them. There is a lot of variety and after a few dozen you won’t have scratched the surface.But stay away from the modern hymn Books.

  38. Lance says:

    For those firmly attached to 70′s & 80′s ‘litugical’ music, we have plenty of that left in our masses here in South Georgia. Honestly, some of this stuff sounds like smurf songs. It is embarrassing to see a priest consecrating the host with such pablum being performed in the background. Don’t expect changes anytime soon as we usually stay about 10 years behind everyone else.