Tuesday, April 24, 2007

on informal styles of worship

This usually involves singing of songs written in the modern idiom, very often from Protestant origin, which people would term "Praise and Worship".

I am uncomfortable with this term as used in this way, because the Church teaches that the ultimate Praise and Worship is done through the Liturgy, at Mass and at the Divine Office. I'd prefer some other name, maybe "songs of praise session".

I am uncomfortable with such a form of worship for two reasons:
(1) the choice of songs often leaves much to be desired, with very bizarre texts sometimes chosen eg. those that suggest "Jesus is my boyfriend". This is because we pray as we believe, and the texts of the songs have to reflect our beliefs.
(2) such a session often leaves the participants all emotionally fired up. However the effectiveness of prayer is not measured by one's emotions.

Two objections to my two reasons have been expressed to me:
(1) one should not "intellectualise" the process of prayer and worship
(2) everyone has the right to express his faith in his own way

I answer that
(1) we cannot divorce our intellect from the practice of the Catholic faith.
(2) while this is true, we must also not ignore the fact that we have to seek guidance and not be left to find our own way towards holiness.

Nevertheless, I'd leave those who prefer this style of worship alone.

just some thoughts. will revise this post if necessary.


At 12:50 AM, Blogger Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Only just realised the dubious origins of some modern 'hymns?'& false theology...

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Al said...

I would just caution that, while I admit the same, there is something to be said of praise and worship music, as it does help some people in the spiritual life. I would reference a similar sort of phenomenon in the spiritual exercises of the Oratory, with short ditties being composed (analagous in some way to praise and worship) being sung by the members in their private prayer gatherings.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Hebdomadary said...

As an Oratorian, I cannot denigrate simplity for it's own sake, inasmuch as to do so would be to denigrate the very principal of St. Philip Neri's reform oriented exercizes, the discussion and discourse on Sacred Scripture in in simple, plain speech, and in informal non-liturgical circumstances. These sessions or "oratories" included the singing of pious songs of a simple nature.

Still, the character of such simplicity may very considerably, and the character of a simple song of the Italian renaissance is a long way from the saccharine, sickly, syncopated sweetness of most "Glory & Praise" songs. As an organist I eleminate the pop syncopations and traditionalize the harmonizations at all times. Tacking a plagal cadance onto the end of "Be not afraid" works wonders!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I do agree.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger Convenor said...

New Irish Latin Mass Blog


A new blog for an ancient Liturgy. The first few posts are self-explanatory. St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association has been working for the provision of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin since 1995. We’d be very glad if you could (a) post about the new blog and (b) link to it.

In particular, we’d be glad if you could bring to the attention of your readers the news that there will be a Walking Pilgrimage for Vocations on Saturday, 12th July, 2008, commencing at 11 a.m. in St. Brigid’s Church, Milltown, County Kildare, Ireland, with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII) for which the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has granted, under the usual conditions, the Plenary Indulgence for the Pauline Holy Year.

God bless you!

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Convenor said...

We would be glad if you would post about three upcoming Latin Masses in Ireland: http://catholicheritage.blogspot.com/2008/11/holy-year-of-saint-paul.html.

God bless you!

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Roger Buck said...


"such a session often leaves the participants all emotionally fired up. However the effectiveness of prayer is not measured by one's emotions."

I like this ...

A painful memory floats back of a French bishop tapping his crozier to a beat at a Mass ...

I suppose it depends on how one defines the word "emotion" ...

Still you say "fired up" ...

And I agree ... a "fired up emotionalism" has little to do with the stillness of prayer or the stillness of the liturgy which is prayer ...

And in a world more of stillness than ever, we need to make the distinction between fired up emotionalism - and prayer.

Thank you.


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