Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I'm sure many have heard about the music lists for the Pope's forthcoming Masses in NYC and in DC. Ah yes, Massive Cremation is programmed for the DC Mass. A lot of people, bloggers and commenters alike, have put up a stink over it, and rightfully so. I truthfully think the Pope deserves a lot better than Mass of Creation. I don't necessarily mean look for those big choral or orchestral Masses from the 1500-1800's. But at least give him something decent.

That said, Marty Haugen himself left a comment at the Catholic Sensitivity blog. Of course, there is that chance it could be a troll posing to be Mr. Haugen. For the time being I'll give the benefit of the doubt that it was the real Marty.

For twenty plus years I have been told, mainly anonymously through the internet, how I have been personally responsible for destroying Roman Catholic worship. I have never responded; however, I wish to offer a few comments now.
First of all, although I am not Roman Catholic, I have a deep love and respect for and faith in the worship tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. My own hesitancy about joining the Church is not about its eucharistic theology, but rather around the unwillingness of the Church to commission, ordain and welcome all humans as Jesus did–male and female, married and unmarried, saints and sinners. I believe that the Church, God’s people and all of creation have suffered from this omission.
I do not think of my own music as central or important to Roman Catholic worship, present or future. I began writing as a parish musician; I still keep the vision that to be “catholic” is to learn and love and embrace the best of the past tradition and to welcome the “best” of what is new, as Gods [sic] speaks through all cultures and expressions (see “Lumen Gentia” [sic]). I leave it to communities and to the Holy Spirit that will (more than us, thank God) guide the future choices that will last.

I had nothing to do with the choice of “Mass of Creation” for a Papal Mass. Having said that, I believe that attacks upon Tom Stehle in his efforts to engage a congregation with what he hoped would be familiar and meaningful to them (using parts of the liturgy with currently approved texts) were unfair, un-Christian and beneath those of us who truly care about how God speaks through our Sacraments.

OK - I believe that Mr. Haugen did have nothing to do with Mr. Stehle's choice of Mass setting. Whatever BS story he or the DC organizers used to get Rome to approve it is beyond me. Was it even approved by Rome in the first place?

The problem is - Marty, your tunes are not that singable. Further, you claim you don't think your music is important to Roman Catholic worship. Yet, one of the largest Catholic publishers, GIA, has picked up all but a small handful of your abundance of published music. Worse, the other major publisers, WLP, OCP, and LitPress, have also picked you up big time. Most of the NPM cronies I've had the displeasure of running into on these boards go ga-ga over you and shun the music that the Roman Catholic church itself has called for to gain pride of place, and that's Gregorian chant. Pope Benedict XVI has decried, both as Cardinal Ratzinger and as Pope Benedict XVI, pop styles of music at Mass. But yet, guess what pops up...

No, it may not be your SINGULAR fault. However, I find fault in all that have promoted this sort of stuff - not just yours, but many like it.

As for your reasons for not joining the Catholic Church, I will commend you for not claiming you're Catholic. I'm still curious of how supposedly-Catholic publishers got to pick up music from someone whose beliefs oppose the Church's.

I say this with all due respect.


Aristotle said...

IIRC, he was on the editorial staff for a number of GIA hymnals including Gather Comprehensive. Whether or not that means anything, I don't know - I wasn't on the editorial staff.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Totally agreed with what you have to say, but simple solution: Ban OCP, GIA.

Jason Pennington said...

I find it FASCINATING how some priests in some dioceses will fire teachers at their parish schools and staff members in their parish administrations because they are divorced, yet those selfsame priests may insist upon using music by a non-catholic composer who stands for the ordination of women and the inclusion of "all persons" (I think we can fill in the blanks what we mean by "all"). Whether or not I agree or disagree with Mr. Haugen regarding his contention with the Roman church, or whether I prefer some of his compositions or not is not the issue here. I find the irony utterly delicious that some clergy, for the sake of appearing "traditional ROMAN Catholics", will insist on missing the forest for the ROMAN Catholic trees, yet in the same breath they will insist upon the use of music by a composer who, were that composer gay or had he been divorced, would have been handed a pink slip by the crooked necked Father Pious with a note attached stating, "I can't stand with this". This irony we do not call "piety". This we call hypocrisy.

Mr. Haugen as a non-catholic can support the ordination of whomever he wishes, and as an American citizen, I give him my full support to believe as he feels fit. However, for a priest, who must conform to the mandates of church law, it seems quite another matter. Here again we see the disconnect between what Rome says and what many priests and bishops do. We hear mainly from the laity that Cafeteria Catholicism is out, and sometimes even from the pulipit, but that only if a clergyman has an axe to grind, or is calling upon his parish to help him work out his own psycholigical issues which he is projecting on his unfortunate flock. For the most part, however, the all-or-nothing concept is not what we see many clergyman embracing. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander, as they say. I suppose a good many of the merry fathers consider themselves the stars of some warped reality show: at the end of each round, their beloved collars give them immunity from elimination. But what happens when all the clear thinkers have been eliminated and only the collars are left? I like that quote from Cardinal Wolsey: "When the cow rideth the bull, priest, beware thy skull."


Dad29 said...

Rome has not had "go/no-go" authority over music for worship since...maybe the early 1800's.

Generally that's left to Bishops as rulers of their Dioceses. That is still the case, but pragmatically, the USCC's "Liturgeist Committee" has held sway since about 1965--when Bert Weakland took over at the behest of J. Bernardin.

Jason Pennington said...

Dad, you drive home my point! Although, I do think Pius X's moto proprio had some following, and still does among the clergy who actually know who Pius X was and that he issued a motu proprio.

That said, I might venture out and play advocatus Diaboli. I've witnessed countless times the cafeteria concept among Roman priests who think they are allowed to pick and choose what they want to believe and put into action when it comes to what Rome says: The General Instruction was just a vague suggestion. The use of Latin, chant, and polyphony, just random comments by a crotchety old man tucked away neatly between fountains and frescos in some ancient, stinking city. If it's all so relative (ironic, that word...didn't we hear a suggestion recently from the 16th Benedict about the evils of relativism??), why do we even bother having a pope at all? Is he just an ecclesiastical mascott for us so that we can set up an impressive yellow and white flag in the sanctuary? So that his trappings of authority can help legitimize our own short comings? We celebrate Life each January, yet we so willingly and frequently abuse the liturgy, and defecate upon the Church's instruction regarding it. If we would consider the Liturgy like a child, would we be so eager to abuse it? Can you picture a preist walking up to a little girl at Mass, telling her "Annette, your feet make you too tall. You need to be shorter," then proceeding to cut off her feet? And what about experimentation? Let's see what happens when we light a cigarette and stamp it out on little Julie's cheeck. Oh, well, I guess that didn't work so well. Anyone have better suggestions? Let's do the same on a harder surface and with a cigar. How does it feel to have a cigar touch your shin, Julie? Hmm.. that didn't work so well. Those of us in the pews who cringe at liturgical abuse find it just as reprehensible as the outrageous acts I just described. As a music director who is bound by his very position to uphold the rules the Church lays out for him in his office, to be called upon to abuse the litrugy is in itself an abuse of authority on the part of clerics. To acquiesce to such demands is to condone them de facto. To stand up for the liturgy and suffer for it is to become a martyr for the Divine Liturgy. I recently re-read Peter Weiss' chilling play Die Ermittlung which recounts reports by former prisoners and guards at the infamous Auschwitz camp during the Hitler regime. The texts of the play is taken from actual transcripts of war crimes trials. We hear time and again the accused who shot the crippled child because he held up the line, who tossed the zyklon B into the gas tubes, who administered the phenol injections into the heart muscle to bring on instant death, who, who, who, exusing their actions with the simple phrease: "I was only following orders." Considering the importance the Church places upon the celebration of the Eucharist (remember the 2nd John Paul issued an encyclical suggestion not long ago regarding the Church and the Eucharist -- good read, at least by those priests who chose to believe it), and it's eternally lasting effects upon the soul, is the one who willing enters into and condones liturgical abuse so far removed from the villain who skins alive the poor fellow just to see what might happen, simply because his boss told him to pick up the flaying knife? As for the one who gave the orders, we can only imagine what awaits him eternally.


Cathy said...

I don't blame Haugen - not even a little.

I loathe the man's music, but the sorry state of affairs is *not his fault.*

He is a man who makes scads of money doing what he does. Bravo.

The fault and responsibility lie solely with the priests and church musicians who let this music happen within their four walls.

The fault lies with the people who abandoned the tradition of Catholic sacred music.

Marty Haugen has taken a lot of heat, and I'm sorry he's seen nasty things on the internet. No matter how bad he is at music, no one likes to read nasty stuff about themselves that strangers write.

I am guilty of it myself. I have slammed him time and time again.
But I am done doing that. From now on, I'll slam the Catholics who should know better and leave poor Marty alone.

It's our fault - not his.
He's simply making a living.

Jason Pennington said...

Ma Beck, it's good to hear that ours are not the only voices crying out in the wilderness. You are absolutely correct! As I was reminded recently by a diocesan cleric (no, not the Abbot of Cockaigne!) that the pastor is in charge of his parish and he can do anything he well pleases (I didn't ask the hypothetical question whether this behavioral carte blanche extended so far as to withholding funds from the diocese which would have been earmarked to ring in the coffers of the Bishop's Services Appeal. I would imagine at that point, the master's yoke would have been replaced post haste! As we are taught early on, only two things cause the gates of heaven to slam shut: 1) sin and 2) lack of cash). This notion we saw played out again very recently in the diocese of Regensburg, Germany, with splendiferous effect as several dozen Bavarian egg yokes dripped down the esteemed and most excellent visage of Gerhard Mueller.

All this time I had been living in error. May the Lord have mercy upon me. It seems, you see, that the tail does wag the dog, and indeed that the sun does rotate about the earth. Likewise, it has turned out to be a false idea that the Pope was the Holy Father of the Church and the bishops looked to him as their example and implemented his edicts and mirrored his liturgy, and likewise did priests look to their bishops and mirror their liturgies after those of their superiors.

But, the reality is, under the guise of "pastoral reasoning", the Pope and his dusty verbiage can be and frequently is dismissed at the whim of the pastors, yet if the Pope in Rome has something to say to the pastors' expedient use, why, then, the mouth below the tripple tiara speaks the word of God (at least for a time, until father's Friday prime rib gets cold).

As for Mr. Haugen, I agree with with you again. He saw a chance to profit from the Catholic clerics running around clubbing each other like the Keystone Cops. The Clerics themselves created what they believed to be a musical vacuum and Mr. Haugen and many many of his colleagues filled the vacuum. This is American Capitalism. We can't fault him for that in the least. Just as much as we can't fault Mr. Teztel. The jury is still out regarding Leo, however....and dare I say.....Clement....


Argent said...

Bri, don't forget, Mr. Haugen was honored and feted at last year's NaPalM (otherwise known as National Pastoral Musicians) convention as Pastoral Musician of the Year. Blech!

What the heck is a pastoral musician?

Brian Michael Page said...

Jason painted a very good definition of a REAL pastoral musician...

Not to be confused with NaPalM's definition.

BTW, doesn't it seem funny that if we cry foul on something, we're "uncharitable"? Something's drastically wrong here.