Thursday, September 14, 2017

Oh, dear...

I have just been sent a magazine about music in church.

Its front cover  offers, all unwittingly, exactly the image of church that is most dreary and repellent to the young.

A small group of  plump cheery ladies, not young, looking rather pleased with themselves,stand, wearing their best frocks, at a lectern in the sanctuary. They look as though they have just come from a chatty lunch at Peter Jones or a weekly grocery-shop at Waitrose. They are about to sing at us. One has her hand lightly raised, in that gesture such ladies use when indicating that you must now sing the refrain of a psalm at her direction.

The message is:  Mass is about  middle-class ladies who want you watch them as they sing. They are in charge of things.

It absolutely sums up a notion of the Mass that is utterly at variance with the great reality of Christ's redemptive action and our call to worship him. It reduces the whole glory of the Mass to a ladies coffee-morning.

A more effective way of saying "DON'T COME TO MASS; IT LOOKS LIKE THIS!"  could scarcely be imagined.


Elizabeth said...

When will they ever learn?

Norma said...

So middleclass, middle age and elderly ladies have no voice in the church? Only the happy clappy, shout for joy, ear damaging types who move on to the next church group should sing?

David said...

Oh come on, Norma, surely you do not believe that these two scenarios are the only options! If so, you need to expand your experience of the Church. When the Church attempts to imitate the 'outside world' - whether that is ladies choral groups or pop culture - it fails, usually dismally! Where the church embraces music of real substance, performed beautifully and with relevance to the liturgy, it will draw the worshippers nearer to God - which ought to be the purpose of all music in church. I am NOT saying that all music ought to be by Moteverdi, Palestrina or Bach - there are splendid modern hymns and good liturgical music. (And, of course, ladies of 'a certain age' and, sometimes most surprisingly, those who elsewhere happily-clappily shout, can all sing in a style which is different from their usual, but which is distinctive and wonderfully owned by the Church.)

Liz and John Woodhouse said...

Did you not go further into the excellent publication!!!!! The ladies in question are not here in UK but a friend's wedding in Portugal.
Further in the magazine articles covering all aspects of church music.
People of many persuasions belong to the SSG, including many young people too!!!