The Holy Mass VS The Vulgar Mass

NOTE: Post Photo (MY LITTLE PONY) is from this article.

The Holy Mass…. the Sacrifice of the Mass…. Calvary ! WOW! Amazing right? Yes!

This means that our Dress, our respect & reverence for the Real Presence of God.

This also means reverence in the Music played at mass.

I think I’m just going to get right to the meat and potatoes of the matter:

What Vatican II Says About Music & Liturgy:

The Document on the Liturgy FROM VATICAN II, (I put it in caps so you can hear my voice yelling it in your ear.. just so you know.. 🙂 )says this about the music that must be played during the Sacrifice of the Mass;




116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.

Yes, I readily admit that Sacrosanctum Concilium & Musica Sacra are written so vaguely that any dimwit (sorry…. “dim-witted person”) could take it and twist is around to fit his own evil agenda – see photo below:

“A Latin Mass with a Maple Flavor” – Maple Syrup Mass in Parish, Saint-Honoré, Beauce, Quebec.
“Clown Mass” (Not a myth) Archdiocese of Campobasso-Boiano, Italia.

BUT NOTICE – both Vatican documents say, “SACRED” music.

“Eagles Wings” “Gather Us In” are NOT… in fact.. Sacred Music. But more on that later….

(Link to Liturgy Article)

Lesson – Sacred vs. Secular Music

Sacred vs. Secular Music – Lesson and Discussion

This is part 1 of 8 on Chapter VI “Sacred Music” taken from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium solemnly promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963. Please also read Vatican II and Sacred Music by Kurt Poterack, Ph.D found in the Spring 1999 issue of Sacred Music.

It is a pretty good guess that just about every person in this world loves some type of music. Whether it be rock, hip/hop, rap, pop, classical, country, blues, jazz, techno, or any kind for that matter. Just as much as we all love music, the Church also loves music. The Church loves music so much so that she has her own music. There are two categories of music: sacred and secular.

What makes music “sacred”? Sacred is “the holy or divine.” The sacred is that which pertains to God, as distinguished from what pertains to human beings; that which is eternal, in contrast with the temporal; the heavenly as opposed to the earthly; the mysterious and therefore not the rationally explainable; the infinite and not the finite. In all religions, the sacred is the Absolute, which does not change, whereas the profane is the relative, whose essence is to change.”[i]

Sacred comes from the Latin sacrare, which means to set apart or consecrate. There is music set apart or consecrated for use within liturgy. This music, which is set apart, is called sacred. This sacred music is for use within the church.

What is secular music? Secular is “that which belongs to this life, in contrast with the sacred, which pertains to the life to come. The secular, therefore, is the earthly and not celestial; the human and not the divine; the created and not the uncreated; the temporal and not the eternal; the visible and not the spiritual; the humanly rational and explainable and not the mysterious and ineffable; the relative and therefore changeable with time, place, and circumstances, and not the absolute, which is immutable because and insofar as it is assorted with the unchangeable God.”[ii]

What is the difference between sacred and secular music? The following chart is helpful in seeing the difference between sacred and secular music:

Sacred Secular
Pertains to God Pertains to Human Beings
Eternal (Heaven, Spiritual) Temporal (Earth, Physical)
Does not change Changes
Used within the church Used outside the church

Catholics love music, we love sacred music, we love secular music. The separation and distinction between sacred and secular fosters this love for music. For example a Catholic can go to a beautiful liturgy and soak in the wonder and mystery of sacred music and then after liturgy go to the local music venue, pub, or restaurant and appreciate the beautiful art of secular music.

Why can both sacred and secular be appreciated? We appreciate the sacred music because it pertains to God. Through the use of Sacred Scripture the text not only pertains to God, but is the Word of God. Sacred music’s intention is to elevate man to the eternal, the spiritual, helping him arrive at heaven. Sacred music by nature does not change.

Why does sacred music not change? It does not change in word because it is the Word of God. It does not change in form or style. We appreciate secular music because it pertains to humans. Secular music is the stuff of “man”. It speaks of hurt, loss, struggles, love, joy, emotion, etc. The lyrics are the words of men, not of God. Secular music speaks of the here and now, the physical and earthly. Secular music changes so rapidly based on culture, time, and place that it has to be categorized in genres and even within a genres complete change and new genres can be formed even within a decade. When we look at rock, rap, or even country music we can see the degree of change even within a few decades. This is why we call secular music “pop”, because it is popular and what is popular changes. The change is so evident that we even characterize decades by a style or type of secular music or even secular music by the decade such as “80’s music”. Secular music is used outside the church, in our homes, our cars, our restaurants and bars. It is safe and correct to say that sacred music and secular music can best be appreciated when they have their place, or put in their place, and stay in their place.

TV Show – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – History of Rap – POP CULTURE CONNECTION – 3:23/10:24
This is a sketch that Jimmy Fallon did with Justin Timberlake over the course of year took a person through more than 30 years of the evolution of rap.

Can sacred music be bad or evil? No. Sacred Music can be performed poorly but by its nature it cannot be bad or evil.

Can secular music be bad or evil? Yes. Music needs to be true, good, and beautiful. When music presents a false reality it bears false witness and speaks not of truth but of falsehood. If music does not lead us to the truth, but creates in us confusion and false reality, then it is not true. Music can not only be bad in form (sound bad) but its’ message can separate us from God. Although secular lyrics are not specifically about God, they can point to the truths and goodness that God writes upon the human heart. Does good prevail over evil? Does the song leave us with hope or despair? Does the song instill virtue or lead way to vice? These are questions that help us determine whether the secular song is good. There is a level of perfection to all art, some are falls short, some is considered the standard of perfection. The beautiful inspires, it elevates the mind and heart. This beauty can be found in both the form or style and the lyrics.

What are some examples of Sacred Music? The Church specifically names two examples Gregorian Chant and polyphony. “The Church acknowledges Gregorian Chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy…But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations…”[iii]

What is Gregorian Chant? Gregorian Chant, or plainchant, is monophonic (one voice) and was developed for use within the liturgy. It dates back to Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century.

What are some examples of Gregorian Chant?  Some of the most famous Gregorian Chants are the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) (Simple Tone / 14th Century) and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) – (7th Century)

What is polyphony? Polyphony consists of two or more independent melodic voices. STAB (Soprano, Tenor, Alto, and Bass) is an example of four independent melodic voices. This is different than monophonic music with just one melody or a main melody with harmony included.

What are some examples of polyphony?William Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus and Handel’s great Amen

Why are Gregorian Chant and polyphony considered sacred? Both Gregorian Chant and polyphony use either the liturgical text or Sacred Scripture and fit the melody to the text. The goal of both is to elevate the heart and mind to heaven. Both styles of music do not change; in fact they are relatively the same today as they were over 1000 years ago.


[i] Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, Page 479
[ii] Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, Page 496
[iii]Sacrosanctum Concilium; Chapter 6, Section 116



  Now, the three most popular writers of “Catholic” (and protestant) Hymns; Dan SchutteDavid Haas & Marty Haugen, that are unfortunately used profusely at Holy Mass are neither anything but Liberal Catholics.
And their music is anything but “Sacred.” They can fall easily into the category of not only, “terrible” in depth, but terrible for the liturgy.
 Here’s one good article on this topic. Heck, here’s another one!
 So, let’s start with
  • Dan Schutte. We all know his music; City of God, Sing A New Song,  Gather the People, Here I Am Lord.
“Schutte is no longer a priest but is now publicly identified as a partnered gay man. He is best known for his song, “Here I am, Lord, ” a song that has become the anthem for the dissenting gay rights movement within the Catholic Church.” 

OMPOSER DAN SCHUTTE, formerly a Jesuit priest, published a musical setting in 2012 of the Glory To God which has been widely criticized because it changes the words. 1

To me, however, something else is even more problematic. Please listen to these brief excerpts and see if you can guess what I’m getting at:

* *  “Glory To God” • Refrain by Dan Schutte

* *  “My Little Pony” • Mp3 Audio Excerpt

Am I crazy, or is this resemblance jarring?

  •  David Haas; 
 His ministry Creed is a little unnerving for any serious/faithful Catholic…
 Good Lord.
 Marty Haugen isn’t much better –
“Marty Haugen was raised in the American Lutheran Church (ALC) in Minnesota, and also writes contemporary hymns and liturgies for the Lutheran church despite being a member the United Church of Christ. Despite being a non-Catholic, his music has found favor in the both liberal Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations.” source

 So it really all comes down to… IS IT SACRED MUSIC ? If not, it has NO place at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Think differently? Well, sorry bub; the Catholic Church knows a lot more than you about what is and isn’t proper / appropriate when it comes to giving Almighty GOD; the Creator of all things, His DUE respect. 🙂

 Some REAL Sacred music ideas for “Liturgical Worship” / Music for the Sacrifice of the Mass.
List of Sacred Music Composers:
 Until Next Time God Bless & Keep It Trad!

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