It’s been growing for a long time. Too long. People with sense ought to have recognized what was going on and put a halt to it twenty, thirty years ago.
I’m talking about religious music. Not sacred music, mind you, which belongs in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is God- and Heaven-oriented and which helps to foster a sense of reverence and devotion in the singer and the hearer. Religious music: which has religious themes but whose purpose is to entertain, rather than to inspire, and whose end is the artificial retardation of the spiritual life of the faithful.
Yes, artificial retardation.
The religious music of the day is born of the 1970s coffeehouse movement – that protestant charismatic phenomenon that grew out of gospel music, targeted the younger, pop-rock fans of the day, and gave them a Christ-centered alternative to secular pop that promoted sex, drugs and rock and roll. All well and good in and of itself –
But this sort of music needs to stay in the coffeehouse venue. Its purpose is entertainment. It actually detracts from the Mysteries we celebrate during the Mass, fosters an over-familiarity (too often confused with intimacy) toward God.
Too few people believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist any more. And why not? when we get stuck being “catechized” with such drivel as “I Myself Am the Bread of Life,” or “Let Us Be Bread” – both narcissistic, self-aggrandizing twaddle (not to mention utterly heretical!) – how can we withstand the subtle message that Our Buddy Jesus doesn’t really care how we treat him? just so long as we come and hang out for a while –
at the table (not, notice, the Altar) –
We have fostered generations, now, of immature, self-centered, stupid Christians who don’t know what they believe or Who it is they’re supposed to be worshipping.
It’s all about what the people know how to sing (what? Are they now to stupid to learn new hymns?) and what makes them happy (immature children know what they need in order to grow up to be mature and responsible adults?).
I was in conversation with a priest just last week, who rather exploded over how stupid most Catholics are, any more. And he’s right. And it begins with this music.