You know how it used to be – and now I’m stereotyping but I think not too inaccurately – that the Protestants had good pipe organs and paid organists and choir directors and hard-bound hymnals and fantastic congregational singing, and Catholics had low-budget music programs with a lower cut of musicians and dismal congregational singing? I know, I know, the history is complicated and the causes are many. But the stereotypes came to mind as I read Bishop Serratelli’s musings on why some Catholics don’t sing:
Some suggest that the frequent introduction of new and unfamiliar hymns inhibits people from singing in church. People still belt out Tantum Ergo and Holy God. These hymns were part of the repertoire repeated again and again in Catholic worship before the Council and they are still remembered. But, today, people are constantly handed missalettes with new selections each season. This constant change does not promote the necessary familiarity with words and melody that make it easier to sing along. People like to sing what they know.
Others suggest that the increased professionalism and prominence given to the music ministry may work against congregational participation. No longer in the choir loft, the music ministry is now more visible. In some churches, the music ministry awkwardly overtakes the sanctuary, even obscuring the congregation’s view of the tabernacle. So professional, at times, is the music that people are more inclined to take it as a performance to be heard and applauded when finished.
Reead the rest here.