Apr 282013

Something occurred at Mass today that I found to be indicative of the mistaken view that occurs in music during Mass.

First off I already think of the music ministry of this particular parish to be rather painful. Any Mass with a full drum kit that gets used during the Gloria and Agnus Dei and pretty much every hymn does not score high on my scale. Little Drummer Boy – fine. Full grown man banging away during hymns – not so much. I kept expecting a drum solo.

Still this is not what surprised me at Mass. Towards the end they had the children come up to the altar to donate money that had raised for the homebound. While this was happening the pianist started playing “Linus and Lucy” – yes the Peanuts theme song. If my jaw had been physically capable of dropping to the floor, it would have. At first I thought “That hymn they are playing sound vaguely familiar” until I realized what is was with certainty. Thankfully Snoopy did not come out to dance on the ambo.

This flows from the idea of providing a soundtrack for the Mass. That silence must never occur and that constantly something must be playing. At least that is the only explanation that comes to mind for me that cold lead to playing the Peanuts theme. The four-hymn sandwich was not enough so a bunch of musical Hors d’oeuvre must be added. Next we will get background music for the “Liturgy of the Bulletin” which occurs at the end of many Masses.

Thankfully the Church restricts any musical instruments during the Eucharistic Prayer. While this is occasionally abused in some places, luckily it is one area where we still have silence in the Mass. Otherwise I could easily imagine Drum Kit Guy percussion crescendo leading up to the consecration. Although I do love to have the bells rung at the consecration (which strangely is the one thing fill-up-the-Mass-with-music don’t do).

Also for some strange reason I thought we were still in the liturgical season of Easter. Evidentially this is not so since thematic Easter songs seemed to have ended on Easter. We went back to the rather ordinary dreck right after Easter.

  10 Responses to “The Peanut’s Mass”

  1. That’d be my last Mass at that parish, if I heard that. There’s got to be a zero tolerance policy for nonsense like that

  2. Lets start a Capital Campaign. One that would identify parishes with drum sets and raise money with which to purchase said drum sets from the parish and donate them to the local high school….we could call it Pennies for Percussionists? or Dollars for Drums? or We care for the snare? (help me out here..)

  3. (((Although I do love to have the bells rung at the consecration (which strangely is the one thing fill-up-the-Mass-with-music don’t do). )))

    As a altar boy serving High Mass in the late fiftees, I just loved ringing the Bell while our Priest Saint Francis spiritual cells would ask GOD to send an Angel to help U>S (usual sinners) change The Host and Wine into The Body and Blood of Christ and then we all hoped that our soul and spirit could convince our human spiritual reality flesh cells that “IT” would do U>S a lot of good to accept that GOD (Good Old Dad) really did send HIS HOLY Spirit to again remove our sins.

    I hear YA Jeff! Was that before and/or after you stole from Les Saints Anges church NOW?

    Thanks for keeping me in honest check Jeff. 🙁

    Go Figure brothers and sisters in Christ! 🙂



  4. To be fair, there are a fair number of organists who occasionally slip in bits of secular tunes into their church organ music, mostly as “playing before the Lord” and as a joke for the choir. But usually they try to make these nearly unrecognizable. Occasionally, this is a sort of veiled comment on the behavior of people at Mass, what the priest preached about, etc., but it’s generally in good taste. Often, too, they don’t mean it; it just happens for psychological reasons — ie, they’re vamping and suddenly discover it’s a topical tune that’s come out. (I sympathize, because I’ve been known to discover the tunes in my head are topical, at least to some point in the lyrics.)

    So if it was a heavily ornamented, nearly unrecognizable Buxtehude organ tune version of “Linus and Lucy,” it would be within the general guidelines of organist behavior. If it was a straight-up version, that would be tacky. If it was somewhere inbetween, then it’s a bit harder to say.

  5. It’s always kind of a sticky situation, to say where expressions of love (solemn or not so much) leave off and unbecoming amusement begins. The traditions of the Church do feature a lot of leeway in many places, which is why you see a lot of visual jokes in small corners of cathedrals, but you also see a lot of people taking the trouble to carve things perfectly that only God and cathedral restorers will ever see. To a certain extent, the artist who loves God and subcreates under God will both fling himself at God’s feet and play with Him. A happy, holy choir is often a choir with a lot of high spirits to work off, and when you’re working hardest for God you’re often aptest to find things funny. So there’s a balance to be maintained, for sure, and it’s mostly something you have to find by experience and good teaching/docile learning.

    I don’t know… this is awfully hard to explain in words, but it’s very easy to experience when working hard in traditional Catholic arts. Singing with the angels makes you take yourselves lightly, is probably the best and most Chestertonian way to put it. So musical jokes do happen, although keeping them in good taste and a little secret is the way they should be. Making a joke public and obvious to the whole congregation is probably not a good idea.

  6. I would also say that, nowadays being less solemn as a rule, we probably have to be more solemn to make up for the rest of the world. We’re probably not decorating modern churches beautifully and solemnly enough to enable us to have vomiting, demon-shaped gargoyles up on the roof.

  7. Aye, I hear you. This sort of thing is why we just gave up and started going to the Latin Mass exclusively. It just got too exhausting as a lay person to try and figure out why no one wants to follow the rules and cringing every time the youth minister runs up to the ambo to announce pizza night.

  8. […] Fonte original: The Splendor of truth […]

  9. I think I understand what suburbanbanshee is saying and agree. But of course some things are just inappropriate.

    My tale of woe:

    One weekend last summer I had just received communion and was returning to my seat for the best part of mass: those few minutes of quietness with God. Somewhere out on the far edges of my awareness a woman had started to sing. I knelt down and closed my eyes to pray. Suddenly I heard the words, “In eighteen hundred-and-something they opened the asylum”.

    My eyes POPPED open. Did I just hear that?!

    I closed my eyes and again tried to pray, but after hearing two or three more lines about the asylum, I gave up trying to pray and just sat there dumbstruck, listening to the quavering voice go on and on. There was an Irish woman involved in the lyrics somehow, and near the end of the song I figured out “the asylum” must have been my mis-hearing of “Ellis Island”. (At least I assume that was it; this was just before July Fourth.) But does that make it better? The singer’s ability to make herself understood aside (I have good hearing and it’s not a large building), who in the wide-wide-world-of-sports thought that was an appropriate communion song? Ellis Island, the asylum, there’s not much to choose from there. If I have to hear words post-communion, I’d rather they were about God or, second choice, Mary. To paraphrase Monty Python: What’s wrong with a hymn, boy?

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