The New Liturgical Movement has an interesting article about a 500 teenagers from across the United States on the topic of the appropriateness of music for the church. The results are not exactly what the proponents of contemporary church services would claim. The results are more inline with my own opinion on the subject.
One study I would like to see if the effectiveness of so-called youth Masses such as Lifeteen and whether people who attend them are more likely to be still attending Mass five years later. Now as a middle aged headbanger I certainly enjoy rock music, but don’t ever want it to be ever used as sacred music for the Mass. I also think it is a prudential mistake to try to use a type of contemporary music in Mass to attract young people. In later years doesn’t this make an expectation that the music at Mass should always conform to their secular tastes. Plus where does it end? There are so-many genres and sub-genres of music now with lots of crossover between them. Few would think Death Metal would be appropriate for Mass, even a Christianized version that I guess would be called Life after death metal.
And if the idea of young people being evangelized by the type of music used is such a productive idea then why isn’t it being used for other age groups. If this idea works so well why is there no LifeThirtySomething or LifeCodger to attract people in other age groups? There is of course plenty of room for evangelization with contemporary music outside of Mass. People like Fr. Stan Fortuna are a good example of this. Now many deride most contemporary Christian music as being bad. Though I am reminded of Theodore Sturgeon’s reply to a professor that said "90% of this Science Fiction is crap." He replied "90% of everything is crap."
Many regard the idea of sacred music as purely subjective. I don’t think this is true. The purpose of sacred music should be to make you want to bend your knee in worship, not tap your foot in syncopation to the beat.
Judging by all the blogs by young Catholics in favor of more access to the Tridentine Rite, why don’t any diocese have a LifeTridenteen?
I think a LifeTridenteen with Gregorian Change would be a success. I remember an article four years ago about a Church in England that said:
Another speaker recalled that his cathedral ran a rave in the nave for young people and a service in a side chapel featuring Gregorian chant for older people. But, he said, the older people ended up in the nave and the youngsters in the side chapel.