Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to watch Fr. Barron’s video, but the comments here kinda bug me… As a Catholic music minister (and a drummer), who is embraces orthodox theology, I have a hard time swallowing a certain fallicy that seems to pervade music ministry in the Church today. There is this notion from both sides of the aisle that somehow age affects quality. “Old” music is *not* better than “new” music… likewise, “new” music is not more spirit filled than “old” music. The “old” music was once “new”, and one day the “new” will be “old”. The organ, violin, and even the fundamental concepts of polyphony were at one point new “revolutionary” ideas. An outright anathematizing (spelling?) of music written after 1950 seems odd to me… Everyone is entitled to their tastes of course, but its odd to see this personal taste couched in such dogmatic terms (e.g. “If only we could get back to such and such our Church would be on fire” or conversely from the other side “if only we could shake things up with some high-energy modern music our Church would be on fire”). Both positions seem like total nonsense to me.
Does a lot of what is passed of as sacred music have mixed, weak, or even inappropriate messages? Certainly. But there’s a lot of good solid stuff, even in new music. Are both new and old songs butchered causing violence to the sacred liturgy? Certainly. But lets get upset about that… proper execution of music within the context of the liturgy.
Contemporary music folks need to start appreciating the sacred hymns and stop doing violence to them by trying to modernize them. Traditional music folks need to be open to the possibility that others have a legitimate right to their tastes and that it is possible that some new music can be really great, theologically sound stuff.
Can guitars and drums be properly used in a liturgical setting? Yes, of course. But only in those communities who have a taste preference for that sort of music and whose pastor feels that such instruments are being properly applied for the betterment of the liturgy and for the good of their spiritual growth… *and*, I would think, by properly trained musicians who fully understand their role in the mass: to do no harm, to not distract, to serve in a “supporting” role as opposed to a leading role.
Really I think the biggest problem with music in the Church is that we have very few truly great artists working in the Church anymore. Our music is terrible because we have lost faith. In short, our people don’t have anything to sing about. Artists don’t feel that Christ is the center of their lives and that working for His glory in the Church is the highest and greatest thing one can do. Once we reinstill the faith, we will have good music again. Until then, it will be hit and miss at best.