Is it time to convert?

I just received a note from an Anglican Catholic in Canada who has long considered becoming Roman. He had hoped that the new Missal would make the aesthetics of the Mass more bearable, but then he looked at the Mass settings being offered by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

His reaction: “Anglican Catholics here have been chanting in English to Plainsong tunes for generations, every one of our Masses is chanted in English – the whole congregation chants the Introit Gradual Gloria Creed Agnus Dei, Kyrie, Our father etc etc etc. I have never heard a pop type tune in all the years I’ve been an Anglican Catholic. I had hoped that with the new translation of the English Novus Ordo Mass some efforts would be made. From what I have seen so far, the three Mass settings remind me of my 1980’s experience in the Pentecostal world.”

Music alone should never prevent conversion but there really are serious issues here. It is just a fact that millions stay away from Catholic parishes and have for many decades because they can’t stand the noise.

This is why the Missal chants offer such hope. If in doubt, sing the Missal chants!

One Reply to “Is it time to convert?”

  1. This may require a bit more explanation for native Catholics (or at least, the explanation bears repetition) who may be confused why such a relatively minor matter as musical style would prevent people from entering into the Church of God…
    It is because so many Protestants view music and song as /Acts of Worship/, perhaps even on par with reading the Bible; indeed, as the other half of that dialogue, a mighty form of prayer that, when sung with the rest of the church community, expresses Christian communion as powerfully as the familiar personal ex-tempore prayer expresses the personal relationship with Jesus.
    So, when they hear our average American Catholic music, they see a people who must, ipso facto, be lacking considerably that Spirit who moves us to worship. "They say that they have more to offer than any other church, but they can't even sing well. There's much better singing (I.e., much more exalted worship of the Almighty) at my old church!"
    I married a Baptist. The organist at our parish chided me for marrying a non-Catholic, and for not converting her before getting married (the team unequally yoked, etc.). I had to bite my tongue; that organist and her OCP music are among the principal reasons my wife can't presently be moved to convert!
    I'm not saying that Gregorian chant will undoubtedly resolve the Reformation entirely. But there are many serious, thoughtful Protestants and non-Christians of my personal acquaintance who would be much more willing to listen to Catholicism if we took our art and music more seriously. They can be found admiring old master paintings, church architecture, and listening to Gregorian chant CD's, admiring what, as far as they are aware, are the beautiful relics of the past which lives no longer.

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