GUEST POST: “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” became the “liturgy” – POLL

I was sent some text from “From the Pastor’s Desk” column of the 9 November Bulletin of Our Lady of Grace Church. I share it here below with my emphases and comments:

The Pastor’s Message

“Laudetur Jesus Christus!” (Praised be Jesus Christ!)

I became the organist at my parish church when I was in the 6th grade. The year was 1975, and I remember looking at the flood of magazines about the “liturgy” that were marketed toward the amateur organist (now called the “pastoral musician”). In that generation following the Second Vatican Council, the vocabulary that had for centuries been customary suddenly changed overnight in an effort to be more “relevant” to modern men and women. “Holy Mass” or “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” became the “liturgy” or just “Eucharist.” No longer did the priest offer the Holy Sacrifice. Instead, we gathered as a community and “did” liturgy together—especially in the “hip” or “mod” parishes. [This is an important point: it Mass isn’t Sacrifice, then you don’t need a priest. Priests are for Sacrifice and Sacrifice is performed by priests.  If it not Sacrifice, then anyone can do it.] Please understand that this is not meant to denigrate these parishes, only to draw a distinction between the myriad of experiences most folks had in various parishes. During this time, a great emphasis was placed upon having everyone EXCEPT the priest involved in “planning liturgy,” as if this no longer was the sole domain of the priest. I can remember in the Jesuit high school I attended, the weekly “planning sessions” where arguments broke out among the participants about which song to sing and when. Why do I mention this past history?

On occasion a question is asked about why a certain thing is done the way it is. At this time, I’d like to spend a few moments and answer why we follow the practice of chanting the Communion Antiphon and verses and do not substitute another “song” as folks come up to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. [We must return to using the Church’s “liturgy” during Mass!] To begin, the first and ultimate authority regarding the way Mass is offered is the Church herself. It is her prerogative to govern and control how, why and when the Mass is offered the way it is. These norms are found in the document called “The General Instruction of the Roman Missal” (GIRM, for short). As such, they are not just suggestions, but are authoritative rules and regulations that are to be followed whether the individual priest, deacon, bishop or member of the laity like, dislike, agree with or disagree with them. For some today, this concept is very difficult given our subjective and “option oriented” culture. With the promulgation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal in 2011, a new more accurate translation of the GIRM was promulgated.

In the new GIRM are changes with regard to what is sung at Mass and when. Paragraph 87 states: “In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options [Ahhhh… the options!] for singing at Communion: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the antiphon with Psalm from the Graduale Simplex of the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) some other suitable liturgical chant approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. This is sung either by the choir alone or by the choir or a cantor with the people.”

[NB] The thing to note is that the four options are listed in order of preference by the Church, meaning that Option One is the ideal and is meant to be the norm. If for serious reason, that norm is not attainable (in parishes with no musicians or musicians with lesser degrees of skill), then Option 2 should be normative, and so forth down the line. Our Lady of Grace is blessed to have the skilled musicians which make it possible for us to make Option One normative at our weekend Masses. All are encouraged to lift their voices in the chanting of the Communion Antiphon (which is found in the bulletin). One of the many spiritual benefits that I have noticed as a result of our doing the mind of the Church is a marked increase in reverence during Holy Communion. I personally attribute this to the beauty of hearing the words of Sacred Scripture echoing throughout the Church as we, God’s People, dare to approach the Altar to receive Our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion. One final note: I know that some folks will be tempted to bring up that at “St. Slippers By the Bedside” [HA!] parish or any other parish they know, they don’t follow the directives of the GIRM. I can only say that I am not the Pastor at any of these parishes and that those entrusted to the Pastoral Ministry at these parishes will have to answer to God, as will I have to give an account for my pastoral care of the souls entrusted to me here at Our Lady of Grace. [OORAH!  Yes.  I can’t answer for others and their weird ideas and deeds.  I must defend doctrine and uphold the Church’s discipline.] I hope this has been helpful for us all to learn the how and why of what we do during Holy Mass.
Oremus pro invicem! (Let us pray for one another)

Rev. Fr. Eric L. Kowalski
[Pastor, Our Lady of Grace Church, Greensboro, NC]

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Kowalski

Let’s have a poll.

Pick your best answer.  I have tried to allow for up to TWO choices so you can also indicate organ, etc.

Characterize the music at the principle Mass in your parish/chapel. (Up to 2 choices.)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. ejcmartin says:

    Sadly a priest like that would not last a month in our diocese of St. Slippers by the Sea. He would be sent away for psychological testing and pastoral sensitivity training. I wish I was joking, I really do but this what is really happening in my part of the world.

  2. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    File this under:
    1. What does the GIRM really say?
    2. Do the red; say the black.
    3. Gravitational pull of the EF on the OF strikes again!
    4. Nothin’ could be finer than to be in Carolina ….”

    The EF Mass is offered Sundays at 1pm at Our Lady of Grace.

  3. capchoirgirl says:

    WE do several things:
    During Lent and Advent, we chant in Latin the antiphons appropriate for each Mass as the priest processes in. I love this. The rest of the year, there is a traditional hymn.
    If the choir is not singing, there is an offertory hymn. If the choir is singing, then they usually sing something appropriate, in English or Latin.
    There is no communion hymn. The cantor for the Mass sings the antiphon and verses; once that is complete, there is organ or harp music (we have a small Irish harp in the choir loft), unaccompanied by voices. If it’s a big feast, there may be brass music (Easter/Christmas). I must say I prefer this, because it *does* allow for more introspection during communion and time for prayer.
    The recessional is usually an appropriate hymn, except during Lent, when there is no recessional music at all.

  4. mbutton says:

    Thank God I had the opportunity to frequent this parish in my youth, when I wanted respite from the abuses of many of the other area churches. A magnificent little church.

  5. mamajen says:

    We typically have quiet organ music during communion, but might have singing (often in Latin) for a special occasion. Processional and recessional are older vernacular hymns. Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei are sung in Latin.

    On a slight tangent, I listened to a talk by an older Jewish man yesterday evening, and he related how, as a boy, he attended Catholic mass by himself every Sunday. Why? Because he loved the Gregorian chant and the Latin language. I wondered if he might eventually have converted had things not changed after Vatican II.

  6. Toan says:

    I put “Hymns/songs replace the antiphons – more contemporary than traditional” for lack of a better option, but I think Haugen and Haas are not contemporary anymore. Sure, relative to Let All Mortal Flesh Be Silent, they are newer. But still, is 30-40 year old music really “contemporary”, or is it of an era that has passed?

    The music of Haugen, Haas, et al. is neither traditional nor contemporary. It is too trite to be considered “classic” by any honest measure and too old to be considered contemporary. With this in mind, I get a little aggravated whenever I hear it. Their music seems to be appropriate only for people of a certain age who probably don’t even go to Church anymore.

  7. cantrix says:

    I chose Proper Antiphons in the vernacular with organ and schola/choir but I had to search out an Ordinariate parish to find it.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    I selected “hymns/songs replace the antiphons – more contemporary than traditional” and “choir and/or schola, organ and/or instrumental”.

    I don’t think I’ve ever attended Mass in the Ordinary Form where the proper antiphons were sung, in either Latin or the vernacular (I am surprised this isn’t even done at EWTN’s televised Mass).

    At daily Mass in my parish, the congregation does recite the entrance and communion antiphons, which I absolutely love. The choir only sings at the “solemn” Mass on Sunday mornings; the other Masses will have a cantor and organist/pianist. Sadly, one Sunday Mass recently began catering to youth and the music has become quite atrocious from what I understand (I refuse to check it out for myself).

  9. Sliwka says:

    Father, I am not sure the options are suitable. Where is the option for singing 40 year old folk revival inspired songs?

  10. majuscule says:

    Hymns/songs replace the antiphons – more contemporary than traditional
    Hymns/songs replace the antiphons – more traditional than contemporary

    It just depends on the day what we/they sing for communion.

    We chant the Kyrie and Agnus Dei but sing Holy Holy Holy. Our musician composed some very traditional sounding music to go with the Gloria when the new translation came out. It’s very beautiful. Other hymns might be traditional…but I wouldn’t say the contemporary ones are anything resembling rock music. Once in a while we’ll get a Protestant hymn.

  11. Elizium23 says:

    I am a longtime choir member, eight years in my current parish. I have seen many directors come and go. Our first director had a praise band and CCM. Our pastor abolished that at his first opportunity. We currently have a great repertoire of chant and classics in Latin, and traditional vernacular hymns, but it is always, always, 100% of the time, sullied by the presence of OCP slop.

    Our Ordinary is Latin. We chant the Missa de Angelis Gloria and it’s glorious. Our Father and Memorial Acclamation in English, set in Roman Missal chants. Responsorial Psalm from Respond & Acclaim, Alleluia is chanted. But our four/five-hymn sandwich is always 2-3 classic/traditional and 2-3 OCP and I simply grit my teeth and pretend to enjoy singing it all. I think the OCP represents a bone-throw to part of the congregation who would not stand for its elimination.

    Two years ago, we harvested all the Gather hymnals from the pews and replaced them with the Lumen Christi Missal. I was overjoyed at the prospects, but the LCM is pretty much used to follow along the readings, and the worship-aid mill works overtime to kill as many trees as possible. Over the years, several leaders have attempted to chant proper antiphons but they never lasted long. Someday, somehow, when a new generation is in charge, perhaps it will happen. But all in God’s time.

  12. Thorfinn says:

    One of Fr. Kowalski’s strengths as pastor is taking the liturgy seriously, and I’m glad he’s following the GIRM for the Communion antiphon. Sometimes the melody is weak or the repetition becomes tiresome, but it’s guaranteed not to be “You are the bread and I am your Baker” or some other song with ‘doubtful’ theological basis.

    Bishop Jugis has emphasized sound liturgy throughout the diocese; I was pleasantly amazed on a recent visit to a hippie parish that the pastor bans or strongly discourages applause.

    As for pastors having to answer to God: Yes, all pastors have a lot to answer for, all have their motes or beams in some area, (nearly?) all could improve the way they offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in their parish, and all need our prayers and deserve thanks & encouragement. But find me a priest whose only flaw is deviation from the GIRM and I’ll say fill his pockets with lead lest he float away to Heaven!

  13. Maltese says:

    I used to think it was abhorrent that the Church did away with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as had been hitherto understood. It’s very simple: people usually get what they want. They wanted a protestant-esque mass, and they got it. But, ironically, in getting what they want, they buried the true treasure–the TLM. In saving it from being picked apart (as Vatican II actually intended it to be–Vatican II never called for a brand spanking new Novus Ordo (which like the Novus Ordo Seculorum was inspired more by man than God). Instead, the Vetus Ordo (Traditional Latin Mass), was preserved intact, for centuries to come to worship in the same way as those centuries of Catholics behind us worshipped.

  14. Paulo says:

    I see that Toan mention having to suffer through Haugen at Mass. I suffer from the same affliction. I would classify that style as “contemptporary”.

    P.S.: why, Lord, why, does the Agnus Dei they sing in my parish sound so much like something out of the animation movie “Finding Nemo”? (and I like the movie…)

  15. rtjl says:

    I’m with Toan – but in addition to Haugen and Haas we still have the St. Louis Jesuits. Definitely not contemporary. Definitely not traditional.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The thing to note is that the four options are listed in order of preference by the Church, meaning that Option One is the ideal and is meant to be the norm.”

    Where does it say that? Is it in the introductory material, because it is not in the passage cited.

    The Chicken

  17. +JMJ+ says:

    Huh. This is *not* one of the things I’ve ever considered before. So, one of the things that I see DOESN’T SEEM TO BE an option is choosing a random hymn that frequently doesn’t seem to have much to do with Communion. So why does THAT practice seem to be universal and how did it get started…?

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Kowalski’s experience in 1975 and later, at his Jesuit high school, seems to include a hijacking and, in effect, redefining of the terminology of “liturgy” and “Eucharist” corresponding to something in Pope Benedict’s remarks as recently reposted via video excerpt.

    Contrast Adrian Fortescue’s remarks in his 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article, “Liturgy”:

    The other sense of the word liturgy, now the common one in all Eastern Churches, restricts it to the chief official service only — the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, which in our rite we call the Mass. This is now practically the only sense in which leitourgia is used in Greek, or in its derived forms (e.g., Arabic al-liturgiah) by any Eastern Christian. When a Greek speaks of the “Holy Liturgy” he means only the Eucharistic Service. For the sake of clearness it is perhaps better for us too to keep the word to this sense, at any rate in speaking of Eastern ecclesiastical matters; for instance, not to speak of the Byzantine canonical hours as liturgical services. Even in Western Rites the word “official” or “canonical” will do as well as “liturgical” in the general sense, so that we too may use Liturgy only for the Holy Eucharist.

    It should be noted also that, whereas we may speak of our Mass quite correctly as the Liturgy, we should never use the word Mass for the Eucharistic Sacrifice in any Eastern rite. Mass (missa) is the name for that service in the Latin Rites only. It has never been used either in Latin or Greek for any Eastern rite. Their word, corresponding exactly to our Mass, is Liturgy. The Byzantine Liturgy is the service that corresponds to our Roman Mass; to call it the Byzantine (or, worse still, the Greek) Mass is as wrong as naming any other of their services after ours [.]

  19. JesusFreak84 says:

    Eastern Rite “low” Divine Liturgy, so the Troparion are just recited. Father’s voice is elderly and really too weak for singing anyway =-\

  20. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    If I read Sandro Magister correctly this morning,, the two Ratzingerian undersecretaries at CDW are out and replaced by one undersecretary who is a disciple of the wrong Marini. So we can’t expect that there will be much encouragement for Propers and Gregorian chant from that quarter.

  21. Elizium23 says:

    In our parish, the lector is in charge of pre-announcements, and the last line is “Please check your cell phones and ensure they are silenced, and now let us stand as we begin the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

    For two years I was the Receptionist and editor of the pre-announcements. The cell phone reminder was always in there, and one day I noticed the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass reference in the Spanish translation alone, so I translated it into English and tacked it on. I’m glad it stuck. I quit my job after preparing pre-announcements through the Feast of Christ the King this year. We’ll see if it hangs around when the new person takes charge.

  22. magistercaesar says:

    The student Mass at my college is interesting. We have both a schola and a contemporary group. We do the Introit and Communion, and at the same time, sing with the main group for the Processional, Offertory, and Recessional (we rehearse in separate areas, but contemporary music is easy enough to sight read on the spot). It provides for an interesting dynamic for Mass. Previously, I would have never considered going to this Mass because I’m not in to contemporary praise songs, but there was a desire for more chanting, and so I joined the newly formed schola. The priests are very orthodox so that’s a bonus too.

  23. Sonshine135 says:

    The Masked Chicken,

    My thoughts exactly. Given the chance, a person who desires less Orthodoxy will always choose: (4) some other suitable liturgical chant approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. This could literally be anything. You are right in saying that it is the Priest’s interpretation of the GIRM.

    This harkens back to the language in Vatican II documents. For example Sacrosanctum Concilium 120 states: In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.

    -but it continues-

    But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.

    What does that mean? It means whatever the person reading the document wants it to mean.
    Competent territorial authority- Clearly means Bishop of the Diocese or Archbishop. With that, I suspect little disagreement

    What does “Suitable for sacred use” mean? “Accord dignity to the temple”? “Contribute to the edification of the faithful”? The answer is clear: Whatever the Bishop wants it to mean. It could mean that he cracks down and only allows chant and a pipe organ. It could mean that he finds a rock band is suitable for sacred use, accords dignity to the temple, and edifies the faithful.

  24. greenlight says:

    I’ve just returned from the father/daughter ‘liturgy’ at my daughter’s high school. We had a very young priest (seriously, he looks like he’s 16, just ordained this year), so he’s very traditionally minded. But the music! Good grief! The father of one of the girls has a band. Guitars, drums, keyboards, the works. Nothing but inappropriate music with wailing and gesticulating. The only thing missing was tight pants and big hair. The contrast between trying do to a reasonably reverent Mass and having it be punctuated with all the wrong music was jarring. I imagined the band thinking “why does this pesky priest keep interrupting our concert?” All this in one of the most traditional, faithful Catholic girls school in the city and probably three fourths of the congregation looked like they were just fine with it.

    Also, one of the teachers who coordinated the whole thing was serving as an extraordinary minister and at one point she ran out of communion, went over to one of the girls who was also serving as an EM, and just reached in and grabbed a handful of sacred hosts from her the communion bowl and carried them back to where she had been standing!

    My daughter’s a junior so I’ve got one more of these to get through.

  25. Bea says:

    You asked for “Principal Mass” so I polled in on the “contemporary group, guitars, piano” (we have “mariachis”).
    Needless to say, my husband and I never attend this Mass.
    We attend a “no music” Mass. We “only” do prayers at this Mass.

  26. TMKent says:

    Thank you Fr. Kowalski!
    We are very truly blessed in the Diocese of Charlotte. I am from a parish in Charlotte and our EF mass options are growing steadily. I hope to visit OLG soon and assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass there!

  27. Uxixu says:

    Love it.

    Most of the music is way too many ‘contemporary’ (for the 70’s or 80’s maybe) though the choir at my home Ordinary Form parish does do a sung Sanctus (usually… they seem to have left off “Sabaoth” for some reason) and different voices will repeat out of sync with each other so it’s hard to stay with it. Every now and then they’ll mix up but less regularly than the Sanctus there’s a Greek Kyrie with a great male vocalist leading with the rest of the choir (and nave) responding.

    I usually attend EF at mixed ordinary/extraordinary form nearby diocesan parish that’s all chant with a wonderful schola, but now that the FSSP is here…. I have so much history (wedding, all of my children baptized there) and love the architecture and clergy so much but very drawn towards the nascent FSSP parish coming up in the archdiocese.

  28. danidunn says:

    What exactly is wrong with the term liturgy?

    Eastern Catholics have their Devine Liturgy.

  29. AnnTherese says:

    I find some contemporary music really beautiful, reflective of Scripture, and theologically sound. Same is true for some traditional music. Also, some traditional hymns are practically impossible to sing, and express poor or at least, strange theology. Same for some contemporary songs. Both traditional and contemporary music can touch people’s hearts and draw them more deeply into prayer or reflection or action; different people are drawn to different styles.

    Music that was composed and published after Vatican II is also part of our tradition, and those composers, such as David Haas, Marty Haugen, the St. Louis Jesuits–have faithfully served God and the Church with their gifts. As have composers of traditional music. Why can’t our churches include the best of both?

    I led a youth choir for a number of years, and we tried to do this. Some organ hymns from the Worship II hymnal, some songs from Gather accompanied by piano/guitar/flute/drum, and sometimes chant without accompaniment. I felt it was important (and our pastor was consulted and supported this) for our young people to experience the power and beauty of Church music of varied eras and styles. And, important for them to be welcomed to share their musical gifts. Feedback from parishioners was overwhelmingly positive.

    Music has the power to touch us deeply, spiritually. I don’t think we can discount that BOTH traditional AND contemporary Catholic music have that power.

  30. The Cobbler says:

    “In that generation following the Second Vatican Council, the vocabulary that had for centuries been customary suddenly changed overnight in an effort to be more “relevant” to modern men and women. “Holy Mass” or “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” became the “liturgy” or just “Eucharist.””
    Dumb question, but if somebody wanted to be “more relevant to modern men”, wouldn’t the words “Liturgy” and “Eucharist” be less familiar to the average guy on the street than the word “Sacrifice”? Why did the reformers have to make the reform soooo ineffably haaaaard?

    (Re. poll: At my parish we sometimes have traditional-leaning hymns and sometimes the propers, usually in the vernacular, usually sung or chanted, unfortunately most people haven’t figured out how to sing along to the propers so far but they usually sing along with the hymns.)

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Music that was composed and published after Vatican II is also part of our tradition, and those composers, such as David Haas, Marty Haugen, the St. Louis Jesuits–have faithfully served God and the Church with their gifts.”

    This is a complicated musicological question which deserves an extended reply. It would take me too long to outline the objections I have to this type of folk music being acceptable in the Church. It might have been, for a time, but it is not now. It does violate the ideals of music put forth from Vatican II. Here is a starter FAQ from the Church Music Association of America:

    Here is an article by a musicologist/philosopher/theologian, Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, making some of the points I would make:

    The Chicken

  32. AnnTherese says:

    Hello, my new friend, The Masked Chicken! These are fine articles– and they don’t convince me that some contemporary music cannot be liturgically appropriate and spiritually elevating. Of course, even the author of the first article admits it’s relative and opinion-based, brushing off US Bishops docs:

    Q: What about “Music in Catholic Worship” (1972, rev. 1983) and “Liturgical Music Today” (1982), two documents often cited in discussions of sacred music?
    A: These two documents from the U.S. Bishops Committee on the Liturgy contain some insight, but they tend to offer commentary that is at odds with other official sources of Church instruction, not in the least because they rely on the opinions of their authors.
    (Yes, as does her article relies on her opinions…)

    The second author also writes from her bias– which is fine, of course. Curiously, she states “On Eagles Wings” and “Taste and See” contain “saccharine lines”– but the words to those songs are from Scripture, they’re not made up lyrics. I cringe at some of the lyrics of the traditional hymns we sing– which are the words of the composers. But I sing my little heart out anyway–because, for better or worse, they are part of our library of liturgical music.

    Beauty is relative, indeed. Gregorian chant can be beautiful. Taize, also. “You Are Mine” brought me to tears the first time I heard it sung, live, by David Haas–because of circumstances in my life. You’ll never convince me that’s not prayer, nor that it doesn’t have a place in liturgy. So–I’m not going to invest more time in this argument–and will let you have the last word. We disagree heartily, and that’s fine. How wonderful is it that you can find churches that offer the traditionsl music you love, and I can find churches that offer both the traditional and contemporary music that I love!

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Yes, as does her article relies on her opinions…)”

    She is a musicologist, as am I, so I think her opinion carries a little more weight than most people’s. The simple fact is that the U. S. bishop’s original 1972 document on music was both vague and misleading as to what was the Church’s mind with regards to music in the whole and does not deserve to be cited. It is not authoritative. The music documents of the Church are authoritative and every document with a relationship to music, from Trent onward, simply is opposed to folk music and instruments in liturgical worship, except in missionary countries (which the U. S. was in 1972, which allowed the St. Louis Jesuits to get away with their music, but its status has been changed, so folk-based music is not, technically or rightly, permitted in U. S. churches, today). Oh, the old USCCB music documents are cited in the same way that the horrible USCCB document, Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, was cited to provide license for the wreckovation of many a fine old Catholic Church, but the modern use of folk music still goes against the living tradition of the Church, which is a part of the magisterium.

    It is a simple fact of history that a few renegade bishops usurped the musical aesthetics in the U. S. and gave us the mess we have, today. Monsignor Richard Schuler, also a musicologist and someone directly involved in the events of the time, has left us a history of what happened (see, in particular, page 15): A Chronicle of the Reform: Catholic Music in the 20th Century.

    “Curiously, she states “On Eagles Wings” and “Taste and See” contain “saccharine lines”– but the words to those songs are from Scripture, they’re not made up lyrics.”

    If you do an actual study of the lyrics of, On Eagles Wings,” and other modern Scripture-based folk song hymn settings you will see how they deviates from Scripture as interpreted by the Church. The Catholic English professor, Anthony Eslen, has arrived at the same conclusion. He wrote two articles on it:

    Part One

    Part Two

    Eslen is not quite right in his understanding of folk music, but his sentiments are correct.

    His point from Part One is telling:

    “Whenever I complain about the vanity of our contemporary church music, someone replies that it’s only a matter of taste, or that whatever uplifts the hearts of the congregation must be good. But is that so? Though beauty is experienced subjectively, it does exist objectively — whatever a snob or a philistine may say. And though hearts may be “uplifted,” shouldn’t we be asking: uplifted where? Uplifted in whom? Uplifted for what purpose? Prayer is sometimes exciting, but it doesn’t follow that all excitations of the nerves, even when set to lyrics with “God” in them, are fit for liturgical prayer.”

    The Chicken

Comments are closed.