Music in the Catholic Church is a Whole ‘nother Animal

Here is a great letter to Mark Shea from a recent convert regarding music and how it related to his family’s conversion to the Catholic Church. I never really bought into the music scene as a protestant (as in, I wasn’t spiritually fortified  by watching someone rock out on the guitar) but this definitely resonated with me, as I always felt somewhat guilty that I wasn’t carried away by the music.

May God bless this family.

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10 Responses to Music in the Catholic Church is a Whole ‘nother Animal

  1. Daniel Aronowitz says:

    I tend to agree with your assessment of the undue emphasis on modern evangelical music. Much of “contemporary” evangelical music is over the top, and often becomes performance art, not worship. But I still believe that there is no single “correct” communion among Christians. Instead, we need to confess that in Christ, God has formed a mystical community — the Communion of Saints — that is far broader than any single denomination could ever hope to embrace, united by God’s grace beyond distinct theological differences. It is a confession of both hope and humility — an acknowledgement that we trust that God can unite what we humans cannot.

    • Jason says:

      In addition to Nik’s thoughts, I wanted to pose a few questions for you to consider.

      First, in your opinion, how wrong can a “denomination” or a particular congregation’s theology be before it can no longer be considered a part of the visible church on earth (and therefore should not be attended by a Christian)? For instance, would it be OK for a “Christian” to attend a Mormon temple or a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall? And, if you believe that would not be ok, how do you determine their theology is beyond the pale, but (for example) the Assemblies of God’s theology is not?

      Second, Protestant congregations(practically universally) accept the doctrinal conclusions reached in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. Those creeds resulted from a whole lot of debate and argument. Assuming you accept the doctrinal statements in those creeds (which I believe you do), how do you determine that it was important to settle the questions they addressed, but not important to settle subsequent doctrinal issues?

      Last, I believe with all my heart that, when Jesus promised us that we would “know” the Truth and that the Truth would “set us free,” He meant that we would be able to determine, in a manner not requiring a theology degree, which “church” expressed authoritative doctrinal truth. And I believe that the way He left for us to make that determination is to simply determine the Church that is in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Believing that Christ left us with a visible Church with authority to settle doctrinal disputes that need to be settled is also the only way I can make sense of Jesus’ promise, in John 16, that it would be better for His followers that He return to Heaven and that, following that, the Spirit would come and guide the Apostles into “all the Truth.”

    • Lois Rainwater says:

      If our whole purpose on earth ,as humans, is to glorify God with our lives, then that outpouring is naturally praise to the Father. Mine is in song and prayer. It is not the undue emphasis of my life ,but an outpouring of love and gratitude.The mystical church is the hidden church(hidden from Satan).It is the gentiles who were in the future going to be offered a future with God by accepting Jesus is the Saviour. If they would but believe, in the death burial and resurrection. Tthis came after the stoning of St. Steven (an act of hate by the Jews). The Jews were expecting a King to reign on earth and rejected our Jesus.

  2. Nikki says:

    I definitely understand where you are coming from. I don’t think that Christ’s prayer in the garden that we would be one was merely a nicety, though. I believe he established one Church for the purpose that we *would* be one (and additionally, that he gave us the Sacraments to give us the graces we need so that we can be the best possible Church we can be.) God can absolutely do all kinds of good with our sinfulness and the messes we make, but I don’t think he meant for the mystical community itself to be a mystery. The question then is what *is* the church? And who has the authority to decide that?

  3. Kala Nila says:

    “The unfortunate result for one who has been taught this way, is that when the choir doesn’t sound that great, and people don’t appear to be singing with exuberance, then it doesn’t seem “real”.”

    This is one of those things that began to gnaw on me when I was an Evangelical… Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Daniel Aronowitz says:

    Jason, This is the first time that I am reading your response to me, which I appreciate. You raise a point that probably answers, at least in part, the question that Richard Stearns answers in his new book “Unfinished”: why did Jesus leave? I get why he came, but why did he leave after coming back.

    Thanks, DA

    • Jason says:

      My basic answer to the question you ask is that Christ ascended because salvation history wasn’t over and that, consistent with John 20:29, it would be more blessed to believe without seeing. Each of us has a role to play in God’s still-unfolding plan, and He does not force Himself on us but rather invites us to cooperate with His grace in the work of the Kingdom.

      At the same time, even though Christ is not present on Earth as He was before His Ascension, His Body–the Church–remains. And the Church continues to bring His grace and forgiveness–and His teaching–to the world.

      With respect to Stearns, I’d be curious to know how he answers the question of why Jesus left.

      Blessings, my friend!

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