Sunday, 9 November 2014
Playing CD’s in The Liturgy
The purpose of the renewed liturgy was, we are told, to ensure participation by the people. This often disappears at funerals and weddings when hymns are omitted in favour of CD's.
People ask for CD’s to be played at weddings so they “can have our special song” or at funerals because “it’s the one mum wanted played”. Whether mum wanted it or not, recorded music in the liturgy is a no-no, and for two good reasons:
Playing CD’s is out of keeping with the nature of the liturgy as the living worship of God
Playing of CD’s is out of synch with active participation, being a ‘listening moment’.
Unfortunately a number of parishes engage in the playing of CD’s, and as such, rather than sung prayer in ‘Help Lord the souls that thou has made’ we end up with “I did it My Way” (when we should be doping it God’s way); or see an exaltation of the deceased as ‘The Wind beneath My Wings’ (when it is the Holy Spirit who raises us on eagles wings); or we provide a jolly send-off to ‘Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye’ (though we cannot be sure if the deceased is off to eternal peace or perdition). The most recent request I had was for Eva Cassidy’s version of “Fields of Gold”, which, while gentle and meditative in mood, includes some very sensual, impure lyrics:
So she took her love for to gaze awhile upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down among the fields of gold
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth, among the fields of gold
I allow CD’s willingly before and after a Service at a Crematorium, but I have never allowed them in funeral or wedding Masses in Church because of the reasons given above. I usually receive acceptance of my position when I give the explanation, “we don’t sing pop songs in Church just as we don’t sing hymns in the club afterwards”. The logic of this is inescapable to folk, who on the whole accept it. I have had one or two take angry exceptions taken, and always because “The Catholic Church in the next village plays CD’s”. Really? Do they care nothing for participation?
Do they not understand the nature of all liturgy as a living act of worship?
Do they understand that by allowing DC’s of Judy Collins singing “Amazing Grace” they admit the principle which allows for “My Way” to be played?
Do they understand that every time play the CD’s they do so to please the people (and thereby prove that the New Form of Mass is geared towards people-pleasing rather than worship of God)?
Not only that, but those who illicitly play CD’s unjustly place their faithful brother priests in a situation of disabuse by the angry and hurt –though the “CD’ers” are probably those who go on about social justice.
Finally, on a civil law note, one has to ask if they have a Public Broadcasting License, which I suspect they don’t.
Why is it so hard for priests to simply omit CD’s in Church? Because they don’t want to get into conflict with folk at a sensitive time; they find it easier to make a worship event a people-pleasing event. Living worship and active participation are suddenly –and conveniently- forgotten.
NB. Beware, Modernisers, if you are going to speak of ‘active listening’ or ‘active remembering’ as a reason for allowing CD’s, because ‘active listening’ is the very thing you have decried for years in the Extraordinary Form where you have labelled it “the people not saying anything”. You can’t have it both ways. Get rid of the CD’s, and get back to worship of God and intercession for the dead.