You can’t beat this quote!

Reason #957654 for Summorum Pontificum

From a reader:

I was traveling with my daughter last week and, walking out of a parish where we fulfilled our Sunday obligation, she looked at me and said

“I’ve never hated the tambourine more than I do now.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    Glad tambourines? by Domenico Bettinelli.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Also another excellent reason to pray for reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX.

  3. revs96 says:

    You have a fine daughter there. You’re raising a smart girl.

  4. FXR2 says:

    I am a father of six children from 12-2 years of age who usually attend the TLM. Despite my best efforts to prepare them I have received some interesting comments in our travels:
    1. “Was that Catholic?”
    2. “Why was that lady acting like an altar boy wearing such a big watch?”
    3. “Father was talking so much I didn’t even know mass had started!”
    4. “They only said Kyrie Eleison twice.”
    Every time we go away I again realize how blessed we are at home!

  5. NoTambourines says:

    *wiping a tear* I’m so proud…!

  6. pmullane says:

    But father…..was it not an ordination tambourine?!

  7. Denita says:

    Someone is raising their kids right :)

  8. dnicoll says:


  9. SegoLily says:

    Once on the altar after the processional music from the “Gather” book, sung in a very maudlin style we had to listen to our priest tell us how jittery he was feeling about the upcoming Giants/Green Bay game. Lots of tittering, chuckling from the pews. At least there were no tambourines.

  10. tealady24 says:

    Let’s sing “Gather us in” one more time, and top it off with “Let there be peace on earth”. (all 99 verses please!).
    That’s why we go to the l-a-t-i-n-m-a-s-s!!!
    Makes me think I’m in Walmart with that awful music that makes me want to run into the parking lot never to return!

  11. RichR says:

    You’re right FrZ. That quote can’t be beat.

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Generally our music is pretty good — but I have a question I want to throw out for discussion.

    Given that the OT reading for last Sunday was 1st Samuel 3, does anybody have a suggestion for a hymn that would draw on that text but be more appropriate than “Here I am, Lord (here’s your pizza)”???

    We can’t do the introit quite yet (give us time – brick by brick), but one of the nice old foursquare German hymns or something out of Hymns A&M would certainly be headed in the right direction. I usually can think of something out of the Piskie’s hymnal (in a perfect world it would be OUR hymnal and THEY would be stuck with Gather and Glory & Praise) but I’ve drawn a blank.

  13. pelerin says:

    There was once a time when tambourines were always associated with the Salvation Army playing on street corners and doing good works as well as Spanish dancers. I wonder when they got high-jacked by some Catholic churches. They should definitely return them either to the Salvation Army or to the Spanish dancers!

  14. Simon_GNR says:

    I’m no fan of tambourines, but when I read verses 4 and 5 of Psalm 150 I find it rather hard actually to object to them:

    “Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
    “Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals” (Revised Standard Version)

    I wondered what a “timbrel” was so I went and had a look on Wikipedia. Many of you are not going to like this, but a timbrel seems to be remarkably similar to a tambourine. So, it seems there may arguably be a direct scriptural exhortation to worship God with the tambourine!!

    And similarly, the psalmist seems to like the idea of liturgical dance, something of which I think many of the contributors to this site are not great fans! [Nice try.]

  15. JonathanCatholic says:

    @Simon_GNR Tambourines and dance are fine, both in and of themselves and as a symbol for expressive and active worship, but they don’t belong in the Paschal Mystery. Charismatic prayer meetings, other types of Catholic gatherings or prayer opportunities, literally any other setting, great, be expressive, use a tambourine, dance, and sing :) but honestly, do you think that ancient Israel was dancing and shouting and shaking a tambourine during the one time per year that the priest sprinkled the blood of lamb on the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple? The Mass is the atoning Sacrifice of the Lamb of God; it is the re-presenting of the Body and Blood that is the True Temple of the Word and that which was born of the True Ark of the New Covenant; we owe Him the utmost reverence. Reason #7527977 for Summorum Pontificum and also why I love Gregorian Chant.

  16. inara says:

    @Simon_GNR, the key word there being “praise”, which is different than “worship.”

  17. Of course, God can be praised with tambourine and dance. But around the foot of the Cross where Jesus hangs?

    Evidently, some Catholics have no clue that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the Sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated in time (Ecclesia de Eucharistia). Else they would realize the incongruity (if not sacrilege) of frivolity (even in praise) at Mass.

  18. New Sister says:

    Mr. Edwards, indeed. Understanding this is why I am so uneasy with the grins and glad-handing that take place during the kiss of peace. (in the USA anyway)

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Henry Edwards,
    You are so right.
    I’ve mentioned before our family’s encounter with the Life Teen Mass (nobody under 23 (that was my daughter), average age of congregation around 65) while visiting a parish far, far away — the priest with the out of tune guitar, the screechy lady of a certain age, and the grey-headed ponytailed and bearded fellow with the tambourine . . . .
    What I didn’t mention before is that the priest on the altar forged straight ahead, said the black and did the red, and completely ignored the assassination of the Muses that was going on in the side aisle. What else could he do? It simply highlighted the contrast.

    Fr Z's Gold Star Award

  20. Apparently, the stuff about “timbrel and dance” was for those days when the people of Israel met up at the Temple, did some worship, and then processed dancing through the streets and outside the city, into the fields, for a big party. Often this involved the girls dancing and the guys getting a chance to meet nice girls (and the guys dancing and the girls getting a chance to be impressed). The dance songs did involve praising God for being an awesome rescuer, for making the land fruitful, etc., and the Temple was involved, but the dances weren’t in the Temple per se.

  21. APX says:

    I don’t know what’s worse at Mass, the tambourine, temple blocks, or African drum. What’s with the weird random percussion instrument thing during Mass?

  22. Luvadoxi says:

    Never mind the tambourine. I wish we could get rid of the jazzy sax.

  23. DLe says:

    If they must insist on percussion, I wouldn’t mind having the altar bells!

  24. amenamen says:

    “the assassination of the Muses that was going on in the side aisle”

    Thanks to AnAmericanMother for adding this disturbing but amusing phrase to my liturgical vocabulary.

  25. GloriaDei says:

    While traveling we attended a Novus Ordo Mass. As we walked to the parking lot my then-eight- year-old daughter remarked, “There wasn’t very much Mass at that Mass.”

  26. The Astronomer says:

    Our local NO liturgy’s sermon always starts starts out with the pastor telling a lame joke. He does this so consistently that my convert wife refers to him as “Father-Tells-a-Joke.” Then the ‘seasoned citizen ladies chortle, as if on cue, “Ohhhh Fathahhh, ya SO funny….”

  27. NoTambourines says:


    Pope Pius X was apparently not a fan of the sax, either. ( And that was before Kenny G’s brand of fiddly-doops and blue notes.


    I think there are two angles to the “international” percussion as toys in the hands of untrained choir members. One is inclusiveness, both in the multicultural sense (though any trained Caribbean or African percussionist in the congregation is probably popping out veins in his forehead), and in the sense that everyone must always be doing something. “Active-ism,” I’ve heard it called. The other is that exoticism seems to accompany the obsession with novelty for novelty’s sake.

  28. AnAmericanMother says:


    :-D I was reading about Pope Urban VIII and his classicising efforts, so I guess that’s what put me in mind of Helicon and the lovely ladies. Polyhymnia is perhaps the most likely victim, although Clio and Euterpe wouldn’t have been happy either.

    Our parish has a high musical standard overall, although we still get occasional awful pop “hymns” in a nod to the aging hippies in the parish. That just makes it worse when you run across something awful.

    I understand that the parish in question is small, and poor, but surely they could do better? As Monsignor Wadsworth said during a music conference at our parish (in response to a complaint from a participant that “we’re a poor parish, we can’t afford an organ or expensive musical instruments”) – “The only musical instrument you need is right here” slapping his chest vigorously.

  29. JaneC says:

    NoTambourines: did you read that thread about the saxophone? Did you read the quotation from Tra le sollecitudini? Because if you do read them, I think you’ll find that St. Pius X did not specifically disparage the saxophone. What he objected to were “bands” and wind instruments, especially the kind that tend to want to play profane tunes in church. This would include clarinets, tubas, and all sorts of other things as well. St. Pius didn’t have it in for the saxophone, and it is a common misrepresentation to say that he did.

  30. NoTambourines says:

    JaneC– I retract. I had heard that anecdote several times. Mea culpa.

  31. HeatherPA says:

    Laughed as I recall the recent “Women’s Retreat” that was so vociferously encouraged at our parish, as a Holy Spirit retreat for the day, that my 13 year old daughter attended with me… the speakers spoke about their lives, continuously referring to their “Christian” (not Catholic) friends; at one point the man talked about his decision to leave the Church but ultimately did not because of a charismatic retreat he made; not one remark regarding the saints or the Virgin Mary, let alone any talk about Mass or Adoration, however, the man had a reliquary that he filled with a piece of his deceased dad’s shirt and gravel from the road where his father died in a car accident, stating his father was a saint in heaven praying for him….
    The talks were conducted in front of the altar of the church.
    When he pulled out a guitar with a rainbow strap and invited us to singalong with him, my daughter leaned over to me and asked, “Are these people Protestants?” A minute later she stated she didn’t feel well and wanted to leave. So we left, making our excuses after 45 minutes. My daughter was upset the whole way home, remarking.

  32. CatholicCaliGirl says:

    At the church we’ve been going to, there’s guitars, but no tambourines. I hope i didn’t just give them an idea. I Miss Latin Mass!

  33. Luvadoxi says:

    About the saxophone–in fairness, I have to say it occasionally has been played beautifully, blending in with the rest of the instruments; but usually it stands out way too much, and the sax player can’t seem to resist the jazzy embellishments. Same thing about guitar; I think classical guitar would be beautiful during Mass. But you don’t hear it played that way, usually.

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