Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Peter and Paul

This is part of the project I had to do for class. I used this for the Preparation or "calculated disengagement" before the actual lesson.

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Blogger Turk said...

What is the name of the song and who sings it?

4:32 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

It's called "Walk On" by U2, off their "All That You Can't Leave Behind" album, which, in my opinion could very well be their best yet.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I am the Mary from the Holy Whapping comment box whose comment you addressed. I am glad you did. You have an awesome site! I cried with joy at seeing your video. I am going to pass in on to our eighth grade teachers.
We have 3,000 families in our parish and no youth apostolate at all. A question.....I read an article from "This Rock" magazine a few years ago that said the word ministry only applies to the work of the ordained and that apostolate is appropriate for the work of the laity. Have you seen this as part of VII document?

11:48 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

Hi Mary
I've heard that floating around. I guess I say ministry because that is what many folks understand. I've never checked into it because I know that what I do, I do as a lay person. It didn't really make a difference which word I used, I just knew that youth needed minstering to,and God has given me a passion and drive for them. And a passion for the faith, JPII, and all the wonderful treasures we have.

I sometimes get into trouble with sort of thinking, but with all the other things to deal with in Church ministry, I guess which word I use hasn't been top of my list.

But if it starts moving in that direction I'm all about supporting the right stuff!

Actually, I do tend to say that I have an apostolate for youth and their youth ministers, that I "do" youth ministry, and I "have" an apostolate"... so...??

I'm glad you came. Pass this on far and wide! I really want this to be a place of rest, resources and community for youth...umm...ministers :-) . I don't make or shill for a dime here, but the more participation, the better off everyone is!!!

God is so good.
Thanks for dropping in!!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Turk said...

I thought it was U2. I'm always a little nervous when people use secular music for religious purposes. It crosses a certain line and into confusion for youth. I had a kid who wanted to play the song "patience" by Guns and Roses and the end of the Mass. Not a good idea!

7:37 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

I'd definately nix it for the Mass. I think there are some cultural things we can bring to the Mass, and certainly it helps us be drawn into the Liturgy. But for Mass, there is a line that ya just can't go over.

HOWEVER, I have been known to use Pink to talk about Advent. No Kidding. This was a class I did and not part of Sacred Liturgy. I think that there is room to take the secular and "baptize" it if you will. Some object to that, but I think for teens, if we can take their world and help them see it another way it really really works to our/the Church's advantage.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Turk said...

My approach has always been to bring them to Christ by what the Church has to offer. They must be rooted in the Truth because this is what lasts. Mixing secular things with that just makes for muddy water.

My experience in "bring(ing) culture things to the Mass" we begin to make the Mass a work of ours and not God's work. What then often flows after that is a movement in which the Mass becomes a form of entertainment, or therapy or even therapeutic entertainment. Also, the Mass should not be used as an avenue to learn or understadn a culture. A priest best summed it up this way "We don't worship God because it makes us feel good, or relieved, or entertainment. We worship God because God is to be worshiped-and in giving God the worship that he is due, we satisfy one of the deepest longings of the human spirit."
With that being said it would be silly of me to say that the heart and emotions don't/shouldn't play a role in the life of prayer.
You might understand this completely, but what about all the others in the pew who have little or no understanding of the Liturgy.
In the end we might be on the same page. I try to reach teens in many different ways but I'm careful about making youth ministry hip/cool. Hip/cool is different than fun and exciting.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Secular music really has no place in the mass (with maybe a rare exception), but I think it definitely can have a place in youth ministry and catechesis. Secular music can be an effective way to reach out to teens who are forced to attend "religion class" and who think it's a waste of time. The whole atmoshpere can be foreign and uncomfortable, and consequently many teens come to class with closed ears and hearts. Secular music can actually add an element of normality or even coolness to your class. We're supposed to use our gifts to find ways to facilitate trust so that teens can open up and receive the truth. It's important for teens to understand that following Jesus doesn't mean you have to sudddenly give up all secular music and only listen to John Michael Talbot. That's what many of them expect us to say, so I like to blow that misconception out of the water by playing secular music when they are arriving for class, or for background music during a game. Also, music can serve as "white noise" if you ask your class to break into small groups and share. If it's dead quiet, they won't talk because they don't want the whole room listening in.

Of course, you have to be selective about what secular music you use. I mix it up with current Christian artists. And that may even give you an opportunity to talk about why it is important for us to be selective about our music and what we allow into our ears, minds and hearts.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Turk said...

Tim I agree.

I guess I need to make myself clear when I talk about secular music. I am talking about U2 and Pick, not Christian groups such as Mercy Me, Caedmon's Call, Jars of Clay.....I believe this music has its place at youth group.

U2 and Pink might not be the worst thing in the world but I think it is a good idea not to expose them to this music when we have the opportunity to give them much much more.

They Church has so many great and cool things to offer. I believe the better approach is taking something our tradition offers and making it exciting for them.

A little hitory.
I was involved in Life Teen for several years and I loved it at first but as I started to study/understand the Liturgy more I began to realize secular music doesn't have a place in the Sacred Liturgy.

11:59 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

The Mass is the work of the people, even as it is the event in history re-presented in mystery.

To say that we should not use any our culture at Mass would not be useful: we use the English language to understand the readings, the homily, etc. We use songs that have meaning to us. We use certain words like "heart" that someone in a different culture might not connect to. We need to have it make sense to us or we may be unable to connect to the mystery of God's presence before us.

I don't think it's an either or. It's not just God coming down to us. It's us comprehending, accepting and acting on that reality. It's us answering God in ways that we are able.

We don't worship God because it makes us feel good, or relieved, or entertainment. We worship God because God is to be worshiped-and in giving God the worship that he is due, we satisfy one of the deepest longings of the human spirit."

I agree. And i'm not saying using culture is for entertainment value. Or to feel good. But we give from what we know. We use the language we know best to praise God.

Mass is the Sacred Event of our lives together as Christians. It is source and summit. I do believe our Church has many great treasure. But I don't think we can feed steak to children. We can give them group up steak,-that is, keeping the substance but making it accessable.

I wouldn't advocated "secular music" at Mass either, however, I am not oppossed to having Praise and Worship music there either. They are the sacred hymns of today and while some would call me anathema for saying so, I can't help but think that when our old traditional hymns came out, they were the hip Church music of the day. The congretation connected to them, that's why they have had the longevity that they do, but what's to day that we can't create music from today's gifts?

Good conversations...

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Bro. Thomas, OP said...

In the last 30 years, the idea that the liturgy is "the work of the people" not only caught on with most reasonably knowledgeable lay folk, it also had tremendous ramifications. Namely, when liturgy is viewed at the "work of the people", its primary purpose devolves into articulating our faith in God and responding to his divine interventions. Under this rubric, in fact, ritual, music, and homily have more to do with articulation and expression than being drawn into the Paschal Mystery.

A number of liturgical abuses result from this idea--ranging from liturgy as the product of a liturgical planning committee, to the idea that every possible talent and gift of the congregation must be expressed (enter drums, electric guitars, rap music, etc.), to the homily that is more therapeutic than sacred. Associated with this is the idea that things from culture should be right at home in the liturgy (i.e., the cultural dynamic is our very means of articulation and, therefore, should be manifest in worship, as our articulation of faith in and response to God).


There is little in the Roman Catholic tradition to suggest that liturgy is understood purely as "the work of the people." A series of papal and conciliar statements beginning with Pius X though Vatican II and, now, Benedict XVI reach their apex in a statement found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1069): "The word 'liturgy' originally meant a 'public work' or a 'service in the name of/on behalf of the people.' In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in 'the work of God' [Cf. Jn 17:4]. Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church."

Citing paragraphs 1135-1137 and 1187 of the Catechism the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church answers the question "Who acts in the liturgy?" in this way: "In the liturgy it is the whole Christ (Christus Totus) who acts, Head and Body. As our High Priest he celebrates with his body, which is th Church in heaven and on earth."

Thus, the liturgy is not, in fact, the work of the people but the work of Christ (the Head) in which the people (his body) participate.

Viewed from this perspective, we are reminded that human nature and culture are bogged down by sin, and healed only by the grace of God. It's not a blank check, then, on what to incorporate from the culture.

Sacred music, suitable for use in the temple of God, as Pius X said in Tre la sollicitudini in 1903 (and reaffirmed by John Paul II in 2003) is that which is inspired by the Christian faith, has a sound theological character, and is universally recognizable. Thus, sacred music is able to complement the work of Christ in the liturgy, the goal of which is to draw us deeper into his paschal mystery for the purpose of our union with God (not merely our articulation and expression of our faith).

What this means is that all cultures are under judgment according to the standards set by faith--including aesthetic standards, as the Church, by faith, knows human nature better than the empricial sciences or musical artists. The fact is that most secular music, by its very character, carries with it particular associations and is suitable for particular uses (because of those associations). Simply changing its use (from the profane to the catechetical) neither eliminates its associations nor modifies its character. It will always be profane. And regardless of how one uses it in a catechetical or sacred setting, the associations one tries to apply to it (i.e., tries to "baptize" it) will always give way to its profane associations--the very associations that are part and parcel of its character and the purpose of its creation.

When Pius X, Pius XII, Paul VI, and John Paul II spoke of incorporating secular forms into our worship and faith, they were very clear that first the culture had to be evangelized and "baptized." Only then could "some" of the forms of the culture, those that are congruent with the faith, be incorporated. But not all.

This critical point that culture itself must be evangelized is what is lacking in the discussion. Evangelization is a necessary first step before one can discern those "seeds of the Word present in all cultures" (as Tertullian put it) from the rest of the garbage that is out there.

This is the work of Christ, the work of redemption in which weparticipate--and this work of Christ is present in our own day in the liturgy.

So the question is not, finally, what can culture offer liturgy but rather what can liturgy offer the culture?

12:57 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

quote: Sacred music, suitable for use in the temple of God, as Pius X said in Tre la sollicitudini in 1903 (and reaffirmed by John Paul II in 2003) is that which is inspired by the Christian faith, has a sound theological character, and is universally recognizable. Thus, sacred music is able to complement the work of Christ in the liturgy, the goal of which is to draw us deeper into his paschal mystery for the purpose of our union with God (not merely our articulation and expression of our faith).

Bro Thomas-
Is this why you oppose the use of drums in liturgical music?

What about Psalm 150? What about the crashing cymbals?

I think we should be very careful about labeling certain instruments as inappropriate for "sacred" music. Isn't it the purpose behind the music that makes it sacred? Do you think Jesus would cover his ears and say "stop that drumming! Not so loud, we're trying to pray here." ?

I'm not advocating secular music in liturgy at all. I think it can have a place in the classroom, but not in liturgy. But I don't see any problem with songs from bands like Third Day and MercyMe being used in liturgy, played by a music ministry that uses electric guitars and drums. I think they meet the criteria you cited. And they are an effective means for attracting young people to mass. If you want to talk about music that we should eliminate, how about the organist playing tunes from the 1300s, or the folk band that hasn't heard that the 70's are over? (I'm half joking - they mean well, but sheesh, I don't find their music style conducive to prayerful meditation in liturgy.)

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Bro. Thomas, op said...


Instruments carry cultural associations. In some cultures, say the African culture (not African-American) and perhaps ancient Semitic cultures, drums along with dance were part and parcel to divine worship. This is why, in Africa, the use of drums and dance in the liturgy is explicitly approved. Once the culture was evangelized, the culture’s sacred instruments, previously used for pagan worship, could be incorporated into the liturgy.

Psalm 150, while divinely inspired, carries the cultural associations proper to the time of its composition. We should be careful not to attach our 21st century understanding of cymbals and drums to its interpretation.

In Anglo-European culture, dance, drums, electric guitars have had absolutely no history of use in a setting of divine worship, however. On the contrary, the use of drums and electric guitars in American and European culture have been entirely secular—more than that they are attached to genres of music (rock and all its descendents) that have more to do with eroticism and violence than they do with worship of the divine. These associations cannot be unlearned, even if the lyrics speak a sacred message.

Moreover, as musicologists more trained in such matters than I will tell you, the form of rock music—the use of drums and electric guitars—touch something primal in the human psyche. This insight goes back to Plato and Aristotle but has been confirmed again and again by musicologists and sociologists. It stirs up passions in the human soul that are antithetical to the sublime worship of God; that’s part of its character which is what makes it appropriate for concerts, high school dances, making out, etc. This was the very point Cardinal Ratzinger made in 2000:

“On the one hand, there is pop music, which is certainly no longer supported by the people in the ancient sense (populus). It is aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as the cult of the banal. ‘Rock’, on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe. The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober inebriation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for few moments” (Spirit of the Liturgy, 148).

I am not prepared to say that drums are absolutely profane and have absolutely no place in the worship of God, since they are clearly part of the heritage of divine worship in certain cultures throughout the world. However, I am prepared to say the use of drums as typically conceived in the American culture and as typically manifested is absolutely foreign to the worship of God and should not be used. The electric guitar, unlike the drums, have absolutely no history of being used anywhere in the world for worship of God whatsoever. Unlike the drums, it was not created in any culture for divine worship.

This caveat, that the instrument was created for divine worship, is what’s behind the Church’s insistence that the pipe organ and Gregorian chant have pride of place in the Roman liturgy, for both were created by Christians to assist worship. This does not meant this is the only instrument or the only genre of music that can be used, but it does mean, as both Pius X and John Paul II said, that all newer forms of music must conform to the principles of organ music and Gregorian chant.

One of the principle criteria is that music must be at the service of the liturgy, and this was affirmed by the Second Vatican Council. Part of the problem, practically, of rock music with drums and electric guitars, for example, (as well as with much of the 1970s music) is that necessarily includes so much syncopation that it is very difficult for a congregation to sing while they are praying. They often have to focus so much on the melody, and getting the beat right, that they can’t enter into the mystery of Christ itself.

Now one might argue that this is not a problem with youth, since they’re used to singing along with these same sort of melodies in their IPod but most congregations over 25 aren’t. And this is the larger issue with rock music and excessively secularly infused genres of music—frankly, they don’t represent the typical repertoire of hymnody in our parishes. And even in a particular parish, their use is limited to the youth Mass. A number of studies have been written in the last ten years suggesting that youth Mass with this type of music, everything from LifeTeen Masses to the Notre Dame dorm liturgies, actually hurt more than they help young adults. While they may initially attract them to the Mass, they don’t help them to transition into the normal parish life where this music will not be sung. The temptation arises, then, to view Mass that is unaccompanied by Christian praise and worship as somehow inferior, boring, uninspiring, etc. which is exactly the sort of thing that happens when music begins to take center stage and no longer serves the liturgy.

Good sacred music calls less attention to itself than it does to the Eucharistic mystery.

Your point that this music attracts youth is a good one, but I simply ask at what cost? Have we considered how many LifeTeen kids don’t remain active after leaving LifeTeen or after leaving a university where this sort of thing is prevalent? Based on what I’ve read over the last ten years, the numbers are higher than you might think. One of the reasons, honestly, is that we’re forcing the Mass to bear a great burden than it is intended do. If the reason we’re using this music is to get kids in the pews, then it really is pre-evangelical. We’re trying to get kids there so we can evangelize them, and, hopefully catechize them. But the Mass has always been post-evangelization and post-catechesis—a Christian is evangelized and catechized before coming to the Lord’s table to give thanksgiving. Offer thanksgiving presumes an awareness of the reason for thanksgiving.

However, generally Christian rock has its goal the stirring of emotion just to get them to the point recognizing some spiritually affective connection to Christ for which they should offer thanks. The nature of rock music, as Ratzinger has said, is to offer a temporary ecstatic liberation from slavery to the mundane. But this isn’t Christ’s liberation. The glory of Christ’s liberation occurs in every aspect of our life—including the mundane and monotonous. To rely on Christian rock as a means of stirring the passions of the youth is not only to create false expectations on the nature of Catholic worship, but it is, in many ways, a disservice—because for most of us, our Christian heroism is not grand and spectacular, but ordinary and routine.

Finally, I would caution against appealing to the “What Would Jesus Do” line. Because, honestly, neither of us knows what Jesus’s reaction would be to any particular piece of music. We should consider that it is possible that Christ would recognize rock music as one of the sinful byproducts of a sinful human nature and culture (all cultures are under the judgment of the Gospel). I’m sure the Jewish faithful were likely bewildered by his overturning the moneychangers’ tables in the temple since they needed that service to offer sacrifices. But he didn’t blame them, be blamed the perpetuators of a corrupt service. It’s possible that he would overturn the drums and the electric guitar in an American suburban parish, not counting it against the faithful but against the progenitors of such music (since they should know better)—saying all the while, “My Father’s house is a house of prayer, and you have turned it into a rock concert.” (How many LifeTeen choirs arrange themselves in such a way as to stare out into the assembly rather than face the altar? How many cantors of youth Mass croon the psalm rather than sing it? Too many, I think.)

Music isn’t made sacred ipso facto by its use. Otherwise, the Church wouldn’t be so concerned about the instruments and forms of music used in its worship.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Bro Thomas- Are you saying there is a list of instruments that our culture is allowed to use in liturgy? And that we are married to this list for eternity because of our history? In other words, if someone didn't use it in the past for worship (and specifically our culture's past), then we can't use it? We're stuck? I just want to make sure that's what you're saying before I respond.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Bro. Thomas, op said...

No, I'm not suggesting that there is such a thing as "black list" of secular genres and instruments not suitable to the liturgy (although Pius X was pretty clear that operatic music had no place in Worship). I'm suggesting that: a) The Church does, in fact, teach that not all musical genres/styles and not all musical instruments can be legitimately used in liturgy, and, b) one of the reasons for this is the cultural associations attached to these genres and instruments.

This latter point is my main point. Some associations are part and parcel to an instrument's development and use--as the electric guitar was specifically developed for rock music and rock music has its own cultural associations. So it's not merely the fact that a particular instrument has not, in our history, been used in worship, it's that the instrument's (or genre's) use and development is directly contrary to the worship of God. As Pius X, Pius XII, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI have all asserted.

An ancillary point is that a distinctively absent element in the conversation on sacred music (not just here but generally) is the effect music has on the human psyche.

P.S. Perhaps we should take this conversation to the newer topic post on the blog to keep our eggs in one basket.

11:16 PM  
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