Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fr. Rob Johansen on Beauty, Subjectivism and Liturgical Music -- also a job opening

Fr. Rob Johansen has a couple of issues related to music up on his blog. One is an interesting piece he has written titled, Beauty, Subjectivism, and Liturgical Music where he discusses the matter of the nature of beauty. Here is an excerpt:

...the idea that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"... seems to me to sum up the thinking of many, if not most, Catholics, whether musicians or those in the pews. On numerous occasions, in my efforts to explain and promote the authentic vision of Vatican II regarding liturgy and music, I have heard from parishioners and others a response something like this:

'Well, Father, you like all that classical music and chant, and the traditional hymns, and that's fine for you. But I [we] like [insert musical genre here], and, after all, it's all for God's praise. One kind of music is just as good as another.'

Alasdair McIntyre, in his seminal book After Virtue, described this mode of thinking as emotivism, that is, the collapsing of all moral or qualitative judgments into mere expressions of personal preference. And this kind of thinking is the besetting sin of the post-modern West.

What is missing in the thinking illustrated above is any sense that the liturgy, and the music of the liturgy, has any objective quality whatsoever.

The fact is, the Church has never treated the liturgy and its music in the relativized and subjective fashion typified above.

In addition, some of our readers may be interested in a music position that has come open at Father Johansen's parish:

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, in Dorr, Michigan, is seeking an
Organist/Music Director. St. Stanislaus is a parish in the Diocese of
Kalamazoo of about 250 families. We have a school whose enrollment is
approximately 90 students.

The position is 1/2 to 3/4 time, depending on how certain aspects of
the school music program are integrated. Depending on the candidates
qualifications, it may be possible to combine this position with
other responsibilities to create a full-time position.

The candidate should possess competency in organ: ability to
accompany congregational singing and familiarity with simpler organ
repertoire. Competency in other instruments would be a plus. He/she
should also have basic knowledge of choral conducting. Knowledge of
Gregorian Chant would be a plus.

The Music Director/Organist plays at the two Sunday Masses (Ordinary
Form), and directs the adult choir, which rehearses once per week.
The Music Director, in consultation with the pastor, also plans and
provides music for the weekly school Mass.

Salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
See full job description [provide link] for more details."

Full Job Description

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: