Why Not Josh Groban At Mass?

Fr. John Hollowell delivers an excellent sermon about the role that music plays in Mass. I know the cardinal rule of videos on blogs is that if it goes over two minutes people will turn it off. Well, this is a bit longer but it's worth it. Mass, he says is not about eliciting an emotional reaction. It isn't just about seeking to make us feel a certain way. We each must approach God in our own way.



  1. I'm trying to understand what he's saying.

    I'm with him at the not-drums-at-Mass. I'm also with him that some styles of music are not well-suited for Mass, especially ones that come to us from the Protestant world.

    I get that music at Mass is not a performance, but is actually part of the liturgy.

    But all music, by it's very nature, whether it be rock and roll or gregorian chant, elicits an emotional response. All music, any music, can theorectically make us responsive to God.

    Should all songs be happy? No. Should all songs be sad? No. But to have music that elicits NO emotional response as so to respect the emotional state of any parishioner present...

    ... then there should be no music, period.

    Is that what he's saying? Because otherwise I don't get it. And I'm not purposely not being obtuse.

  2. Carolyn is correct. All music elicits an emotional response. As philosophers have known since Plato and Aristotle, some forms of music are designed to excite and stir the soul, some to induce romantic feelings, etc. Gregorian (and Byzantine) chant, building on both Greco-Roman musical ideas and the liturgy of the Jewish temple, is deliberately designed to induce calm, peace, contemplation in the listener. Gregorian chant and other traditional liturgical forms are Apollonian, and elevates the soul to contemplation, while much other music, from African tribal music to European folk tunes to modern rock, is Dionysian, stimulating the senses and suppressing reason and contemplation. The Church has reflected on this for centuries, up to and including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It's a pity that a priest trying to make this point couldn't have done so a bit more articulately.

  3. I'm feeling grumpy. I'm growing tired of everything on the web going to video instead of the written word. Some of us can't hear well, so videos are lost on us. Is there a transcript of this video?

  4. Isn't he the same priest as in this video? He's not exactly credible.



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