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Tuesday, November 16, 2010



"How could a bunch of silly tunes, cranked out in imitation of the most trivial popular music, ever replace the nobility and sturdiness of the Gregorian melodies, even the simplest ones, which are capable of lifting the hearts of the people up to heaven?"

I could not agree more. The state of Catholic liturgical music causes me despair. People such as Pope Benedict and Msgr. Grau describe the problem well. But the real problem is how to fix the problem -- how can the "silly tunes" be gotten rid of? I don't see change coming at the average parish. This is what causes me despair.

David Charkowsky

In my own parish, I think the immediate challenge is to win the cooperation of the people who coordinate and perform the music at the liturgy. We added Pater Noster during Lent and by Easter our pastor yielded to the complaints and we stopped using it.

I think we could have pulled this off with a compelling argument for the value of Gregorian Chant, however, that's not an argument I'm prepared to deliver because my conviction is rooted in experience that is difficult to articulate.

I think the incremental approach has merit here: start with the ordinary chants of the mass. I would add to that incrementalism an element of "dispersion". What I mean is: Why not ask the Women's Bible Study and RCIA to add a little chant to their schedule? They both meet at night and could learn a short antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Office of Compline, or maybe the Magnificat. Our Men's Group meets for Lauds, they could learn the Bendictus.

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