One of Amy Welborn’s commenters had a very interesting post on liturgical music and some of the history involved. Bad liturgical music is nothing new or the fact that composers have been influenced by the secular music around them and have attempted using it for liturgical music. Reform of secular influenced liturgical music has happened in the past and will no doubt continue into the future. I don’t think that this problem is uniquely an American problem and the situation is Europe is less rosy than what I think the commenter intends.
Last month there was an article in a Scotland newspaper Composer damns happy-clappy din that called the music at Mass "cultural vandalism." The same article could easily have been written in response to the music at most Catholic churhes in the U.S.
I just like the term “happy-clappy”, have been to several of those religious revival things at my Baptist high school. That stuff is good only for one real reason: to get the blood flowing, makes you jump up and down and scream HALL-le-LOU-yah! for hours on end. Maybe it could be retooled into “Gospel-size?” Sweatin’ to the Holy Oldies with Pastor Simmons? hee hee
Just think of “clap-happy” liturgical music as a test of your patience and generosity. If you can get through a mass without getting angry at the horrible music, it’s a sign that you have gained some of the virtues.
There are things you can do, however. Wear a suit to mass (or at least a jacket, tie, and trousers), keep your hands folded just below your chest (don’t hold hands and DON’T CLAP), and keep your expression as serious as possible, making sure to glare sternly at the musicians whenever the music gets especially offensive (don’t actually get angry at them, just make them think you’ve gotten angry).