172

The 10 Worst Catholic Church Songs Of All Time

In this episode of the Catholic Talk Show, the guys reluctantly listen to 10 awful songs that should be torn out of the hymnals and never be sung in a Catholic Church again.


Advertisement

172 comments on The 10 Worst Catholic Church Songs Of All Time

  1. Maria says:

    First of all, I love your show! As a 25 year old catholic, i think this episode was pretty spot on. However, there is one song that I can’t agree with. I think “be not afraid” (as I’ve heard it sung in mass) is one of the most powerful songs for someone who’s just suffered a loss. These past two years I’ve lost two people very close to me (my mom this past december) and this song is one of the first things that came to mind. Maybe not the song in itself, but the words of comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I sing in a choir and we sung songs from Mozarts requiem at my mother’s funeral… but in times of grief and meditation, “be not afraid” is always a good one…
    And NO to Eagles Wings 😉

    1. Becky says:

      I agree with Maria. Be Not Afraid was the first song that I clung to when my brother died last year at Easter. I often hum it when I’m troubled.

    2. Michelle says:

      Sorry, but Be Not Afraid represents some of the WORST in music for the Mass. The whole thing is BANAL. I loathe hearing it at funerals when there is so much that is FAR SUPERIOR to this dreck.

      1. Lila Lee says:

        I am in total agreement. There is beautiful music that is available

    3. Rebecca Ann Taylor says:

      I agree with you, Maria. They missed the absolute WORST: “Sons of God,” by Lee Schofield. Perhaps that song has been expunged from all Catholic hymnals.

      1. Lydia Ross says:

        I sing in a choir and we have an older group of parishioners who love these songs. I grew up hearing and learning to sing the music you guys like and frankly, gag me. It I heard 4 part harmony and sang it once I heard it and sang it hundreds of times so cannot agree. As far as it goes, I personally think “BE NOT AFRAID” is overused at funerals and that is a song I could do without. However, having had people who attain comfort from its words including our organist who lost her husband last Christmas, I sing it and do my very best. Music is like books. To each his own. Let us just agree to disagree.

    4. janelle says:

      I love “On Eagles Wings” had it played at my wedding. Guess the songs are for certain people and not others.

    5. Theresa Barnette says:

      I chose to include this in my Momma’s funeral mass. You are right! That was about 25 years ago.

    6. Anne Carroll says:

      I agree, Be Not Afraid is tremendously comforting!

    7. I like eagle’s wings and most of the songs on this list .. Music is a matter of taste and the way it makes one feel .. However, I have heard beautiful songs mutilated by choirs ..

  2. pam says:

    Wow you guys are mean. What are the best 10 songs?

    1. Marie says:

      I agree. Your opinions are presented in a bullying attitude. And you fail to recognize there is a reason parishes continue to celebrate with these songs. Unchristian uncatholic 👎

      1. Yes. There is a reason parishes play these songs. It’s because the music directions have bad taste.

        1. Philippa says:

          Catholic Talk Show, I agree with you on just about all of this. “War criminals against good taste in music”… hilarious!

        2. NORMA STEFANCIOSA says:

          As a long time church musician, to be fair, the renditions you played are absolutely terrible! So cloyingly sweet, drippy and sung with no energy!
          But you did miss one that is still in the Gather book — Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. GAG ME!! I refuse to play it.

          1. Lisa says:

            What’s wrong with Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence? This is one of my favorite songs, top 10 for sure.

          2. Dians says:

            Let All Mortal Flesh is one of the best hymns. Music haunting, words profound

          3. Dee says:

            The parish we are currently and reluctantly attending is in the grips of what we call, “the church diva”. She and her minions make every mass for us an utter chore. Picture, semi-Protestant pop rock interspersed with bongo drums and vocal solos by the diva singing amazing Grace. It’s such a distraction. We are a younger couple with 4 kids and have very limited options as we live in a more rural community. I love the mass, and I love the faith, but attending has become a practice in correcting my perpetually grimacing face. Love the show! Keep up the good work.

          4. Aaron Anderson says:

            “Let all mortal flesh” needs to be played far more. It is a message for us humans and how we are to respond to God. We should be silent and trembling, and if you cannot understand why it means you have no proper fear of the Lord.

          5. Sonia says:

            Let All Mortal Flesh is the perfect Holy Communion hymn. We should be silent, and fearful, and be thinking of nothing else but the blessings that God gave us in His Only Son. That music with those lyrics is exactly what is needed before the receiving of the Eucharist. We should be solemn, and trembling, and have our minds fixed on nothing but the precious gift we are about to receive. I cannot understand why anyone would be so negative about it? May I ask you to elaborate as to why you dislike, and refuse to play it, please?

        3. L says:

          My problem with this show was that you didn’t give reasons. BAD music? How? Why? Are the lyrics incorrect? They are simple and easy to sing but that may be why people hum them later. I think you could have presented in a more informative manner instead of just yukking it up. I wanted more from you.

          1. Michelle says:

            Perhaps this portion of Sacramentum Caritatis, written by Benedict XVI can help you understand why the music listed in the program is so bad.

            Liturgical song

            42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that “the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love” (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).

          2. DeaconV says:

            There are all kinds of masses for different people. There are young adult, thus, young adult music. Thee is Traditional Novus Ordo, thus Traditional Novus Ordo music, for mostly baby boomers and older. There is teen masses who probably have a list of 10 of your worst songs ever. Just shut up, attend mass and walk in “The Way” as us old geezers taught you and the world will be Catholic.

        4. Brenda says:

          Not sure where you guys are located but not all parishes have unlimited $$$$ to hire the quality you seem to think is necessary. I have never listened to you before and not sure I will again.

          1. Nicole P says:

            How could you mention that “Lord of the Dance” is a bad song that leads to terrible liturgical dance, and then leave it off the list?? I have the clearest memory of my parish priest dancing to this on the altar on Easter morning, AFTER making the cantor and organ player start over specifically so he could dance after processing in.

          2. Tomahawk says:

            Sorry, William Byrd’s Mass for Three Voices and Mass for Four Voices require just that: three or four voices and no instruments. You do not need lots of money to have beautiful music.

            Additionally, even if it did require more money, I’d rather give God my best instead of the self-absorbed, infantile noise produced in our times (see Cain and Abel for details). A childish picture drawn by a child is a beautiful thing; drawn by an adult, it is silly and embarrassing. It’s the same with music. The Church has such a rich history of beautiful, awe-inspiring music and it’s sad to see us jump on the directionless, talentless modern bandwagon of absurdity.

            Duc in altum. Put into the deep and don’t settle for mediocrity or mere sentimentality. Thank you Catholic Talk Show for fighting for the good, true and beautiful.

        5. Soph says:

          I’m sorry @thecatholictalkshow but your response to Maria’s comment has caused me to lose any respect I may have had for you. I think that everyone should be able to express their opinions, but instead of responding to Maria’s opinion with a respectful disagreement or discussion, you responded with more snark. Rethink what it means to be Christian before actually branding yourselves as such. Because you all do not act like Christians– just like people who don’t recognize that it’s possible for anyone other than yourselves and those exactly like you to have opinions or deserve respect.

    2. Robert Dennis says:

      Yes, you are! Lets hear the songs you have written! Bullies!

      1. Denise says:

        I think you missed the mark. Music as art is subjective. You should have focused on the theological unsound songs and ther are plenty used in our liturgies.

        1. Mavanduff says:

          I have decided to stop listenou ng to this nonsense. The mockery used is offensive. So based on subjectivity that it is unhelpful. Everybody has their personal taste – doesn’t make it bad!

          1. Cl says:

            Stop hating on the music director. In our parish the pastor is the one telling me to use bad music in the liturgy!

        2. DeaconV says:

          Thanks Denise. Spot on!

        3. Dwight S. says:

          False. Art still needs to have skill (the origin of the word art) and beauty to be properly called art. Even though the expression of that skill and beauty can change over time, it is still objectively there. This means you cannot crap in a can and call it art (which has been done, sadly). Yes, as stated above by one responder, what’s beautiful can change depending on whether the artist is a child or an adult, but by my last count, there are many more galleries for adult art than child art. Objectivity or coincidence?

          Yes, theologically unsound works are intellectually ugly, but the means by which a theological message are conveyed should be considered as part of that theology. By your argument, a priest could say Mass on a pony in a hula skirt. As long as it’s “thelogically sound,” it hits the mark, right? Maybe you’re okay with that kind of Mass, but I doubt anyone would get anything out of it besides a few laughs if it’s not presented beautifully.

    3. We’ll be doing on an episode on GOOD music soon!

      1. JIm Brennan says:

        May we suggest each parish offer a variety of masses. When I lived in Picayune, MS they had a “Life Teen” mass that attracted the youth with the progressive music played by a live band. If you know of Picayune, you know it’s a relatively small community. If they can support the idea, I’m sure most parishes can. We need to attract the future of the Church without selling our souls in the process.

        1. Ana says:

          I found this HILARIOUS! Who hasn’t made fun of those songs growing up and can still sing them?

      2. Christopher says:

        I recently went to a TobyMac Concert and was blown away. Fantastic, but no, I would not recommend his music for the liturgy, of course, but he is an inspiration to us all – that we can devote our talents to God. Remember folks like Michelangelo et al, they had sponsors who commissioned their works – unfortunately today’s Billionaires are more concerned with funding abortion than giving Glory to God.

      3. Rahnna says:

        Can’t wait to hear what you think is the 10 Best Songs. And are they singable. People
        like to feel comforted at Mass and will sing if the songs have a tune that you can sing to. I think your podcasts are great but this one missed the mark for me. But hey I am not here to judge you. Peace

        1. Bob Lavery says:

          Let’s be clear, it’s the Parish Priest who is in charge of the liturgy in his Church. It is he who allows the music not the musical director or parishioners or “parish mafia”.
          I was saddened in the way that you tried to belittle the sincere efforts of others. I thought it was nothing short of bullying and most definitely unChristian. I couldn’t imagine Christ sitting with you and joining in support for what you were saying during that discussion.
          I like both traditional and contemporary music in the Mass but only when it’s done well. Good ‘folk’ music is as good as any plainchant or Gregorian Chant and arguebly more relevant to more people today. I listened with interest to your comments and no, I regret that I will not now be subscribing to the podcast.

          1. Brian T. says:

            Bob, you gotta lighten up man. So they joked about some pretty lousy songs and the “sincere efforts of others.” Who cares.

          2. Gary B. says:

            Bob, its not just that they are “folksy”. Its that using those same songs over and over again is lazy and fails to show a sincere reverence for the Mass. At one church I attended, they played “Rain Down” every Mass, regardless of what time of year and what feast was being celebrated. It became a joke.

      4. Philippa says:

        Fantastic… this just spoke volumes to me.. and these songs are the reason I now attend the Latin Mass! 🙂

      5. Deborah Arrup says:

        Well you can tell I have some age!!!!I really like “”””Hear I Am Lord””””””and “”””””Be Not Afraid“””……
        Your LAUGHTER,,,,,,and light hearted style,,,,,,is just what is needed these DAYS!!!!!!!!
        I would like to share this quote,,,,seems ,,,most appropriate for your SHOW!!!!!!!
        “”””””””We need saints without cassocks, without veils-we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends
        (…) We need saints that drink Coca Cola, that eat hotdogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat
        a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports,
        theatre. We need saints that are open, sociable, normal, happy companions. We need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or
        mundane. We need saints.”””””””””””
        Pope Francis,,,,,2013

        What an amazing man,,,,,,our Pope is “””””right on”””””””
        Love in Christ,
        Deborah Eve Arrup

        1. Gabriel H says:

          Deborah… Pope Francis did not say that…

    4. Stephen Claxton says:

      What makes these guys experts. What are their qualifications? Attacking some I love this music that they are blasting. Tell these 2 to go and do penance to our lord. Sing a new song and weremember we believe great hymns .Are we sure these 2 guys really Catholic?

      1. They disagree with my musical taste so they must not be Catholics? Wow.

      2. Michelle says:

        We Remember was written by a Protestant who DOES NOT understand Catholic theology, let alone sound Catholic liturgy. The piece has some theological problems to it. Perhaps you need to read Sacramentum Caritatis No. 42.

        Liturgical song

        42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that “the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love” (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).

      3. Stephen says:

        If you two knew why some of those songs are sung not to the parishioners. Not for entertainment. You are singing to the lord. If you go back to the 60’s there are songs that are timely and some you might call hokey. The lord I would think loves all the music that is sung for his glory. There is always going to be good messages for this generation in the decade we are singing. I don’t hate you for your take on all catholic music. Humble you self’s and go to mass this week and ask for forgiveness. All music in the church is inspired by the Holy Spirit much like the Bible. I must admit some music is not timely. This doesn’t mean it is bad or out of date. Listen to the words.The problem is you are judging music that meets the lords expectations not yours sorry I won’t condemn you. Be smarter next time in choosing a topic.

        1. Erin says:

          There’s lots that’s not quite right about the theology you’re putting out there. All music is inspired. Actually, no music is inspired except the written out hymns and canticles that are actually in the Bible itself. What we do and sing at Mass is important because it either expresses eternal truths about God and a way that draws the heart to heaven or it doesn’t. In the 60’s maybe some of these songs did that musically because they were similar to other moving secular songs of the time. However, it’s not the 60’s any longer and as one who grew up with all these songs, I can say they are very damaging. I never really had any sense through them about the anything that inspired awe or reverence for God or how our worship is due to Him. It basically made Mass for me something that was about ME and how I feel, and then when I didn’t feel it anymore because I was a moody teenager I stopped going. The wounds that resulted from a life lived far from Christ, although it sounds hard to believe, and partly due to this kind of music which taught me literally nothing about theology or even God in most cases and reduced my faith to feeling.

    5. Remedios Barry says:

      I belong to our church choir and I enjoy singing those songs you branded as “awful songs” that should not be sung in a Catholic church! I consider these songs as prayers, and we are singing praises for the glory of God. I always feel the choir of angels singing with us every time. Sorry, I disagree with you!

      1. Sandy says:

        I am a bit dismayed at this list of songs and have been trying to put it into words. I think Mr Barry says what I want to say. I’ve been singing in a Church choir since I was 6 back in the ’50’s and have sung all types of sacred music. Even currently, we sing a combination of sacred music and these types of hymns, one in particular for Easter “Hear I am Lord” which is in beautiful harmony. I love both types of music, so also disagree with you.

    6. Janet Boyle says:

      Holy God, we praise Thy name.
      Jesus my Lord, my God, my all.
      Tantum Ergo
      O Salutaris Hostia
      Ave Maria
      O sanctissima
      Come Holy Ghost
      O Lord I am not worthy
      Panis Angelicus

    7. Stephen Claxton says:

      What makes these guys experts. What are their qualifications? Attacking some I love this music that they are blasting. Tell these 2 to go and do penance to our lord. Sing a new song and weremember we believe great hymns .Are we sure these 2 guys really Catholic? Are you sure you guys aren’t Protestant. Hating on the liturgy. I won’t condem you. You did it to yourselves.

      1. Ryan says:

        Haha, Claxton must be really fired up to come post the same exact post 2 days in a row! I’m sensing a disgruntled (former?) music director here. And they didn’t claim to be “qualified experts” of music…this was a fun episode to discuss their opinions on some church music and, like their other episodes, gets us thinking about any and all things Catholic. Try lightening up a tad…you’ll enjoy life more!

    8. Most if not all of the songs are from the old paperback Glory and Praise “hymn” book. For a real critique of these “songs” refer to the book, Why Catholics Can’t Sing by Thomas Day. Day’s best description of one of the songs on the podcast is for Here I Am Lord. “The musical notes for ‘Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night’ are, by coincidence, similar to the music for ‘Here’s the story, of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls.’ Two thousand years of music for the Christian church, and all of it gets shoved aside for The Brady Bunch.” All the songs cited on the podcast pale in comparison for the turn of the 20th Century hymns that were mostly translated from Latin texts. The folk songs of the 60s and 70s used at Mass are of very poor taste. That is why, when the same congregation sings both Gather Us In and Holy God We Praise Thy Name, Gather Us In loses in decibel levels every time. You guys are not mean, just honest.

  3. De says:

    I have to say that I think you are contradicting yourselves. I would love to know what songs you approve. gregorian chant is beautiful, but how many congregants can sing along. Singing in Latin is making a big come back, but most people have no idea what they are saying. I can also name songs that are so much worse, ie “Grains of Finest Wheat”, “Children of God”,

    What are the top ten songs that should be sung by the community you would choose?

    1. Ria Z says:

      These guys have a Catholic radio show with language like that? Never heard of these blasphemers before,and this once was emough! Disgusting!! By the way,when my Dad passed away in his sleep on Holy Thursday 1999,I had “Here I Am Lord” played at his funeral. It’s a beautiful song!!!

      1. Christopher says:

        I can vouch for Ryan because I too am from Cleveland. I can only speak for myself, but I learned to talk that way when I was about 2…maybe younger…but I have been to Ireland and it made me blush.

      2. Angela says:

        Amen..

  4. Frank Reeves says:

    I would add: “Drop kick me Jesus, through the goalposts of life,” and “Don’t it beat Hell, how Jesus loves me!”

  5. Marcia says:

    “Here I Am, Lord” is the Brady Bunch hymn. Just compare: “I have heard you calling in the night” to “who was bringing up three very lovely girls.” ARRRGH!

  6. oh my! they played that last month at my church ! Companions on a journey…. yikes…

  7. George says:

    Ryan you have some hot takes my man…

  8. Jerry Roma says:

    The dirty language is not necessary to get your point across. I like quiet. I think music in church is distracting when praying & meditating. Some church choirs sound like each individual is competing for attention & trying to out perform each other. Maybe churches should have song adoration where they meet in order to sing but leave it out of the mass.

    1. Erin says:

      Definitely not. Music in the Mass is supposed to be there liturgically. If it’s done well it should be something that leads into and out of the different liturgical movements in a way that is not distracting and helps people move more deeply into the mysteries that are being celebrated. There are also specific times during the Mass where there should be extended periods of silence as well

  9. Keith says:

    We sing almost all of these at my old Roman parish. I was laughing so hard I was in tears. Thank you for the light hearted amusement. I have a soft spot for a few of them, but wouldn’t choose any of them for Mass if given the choice. God bless you all.

    1. Trista says:

      People have strong feelings about things they’re emotionally attached to (like church music from their childhood lol), and don’t like harsh truths, which makes a lot of the comments…unsurprising 😉
      I come from a JW background, and – more harsh truth here – you swap the guitar or organ for a piano, and mid-century Catholic music is indistinguishable from their music….and JWs are definitely not known for great music.
      But ultimately, if you don’t grow up with this stuff, it’s immediately obvious how trite and cheesy it is. It’s fine to like trite and cheesy, but it’s not worthy of the sacrifice of the mass. It’s just not 🤷‍♀️

      1. Morrie says:

        Yes, perfect analysis. For those youths that now go only to TLM it is because they have become red pilled to the truth that that mass above all is a true sacrifice that deserves proper reverence in all words and actions. I am a boomer and have come to recognize just how awful is the so called “poetry” of many of the boomer songs. . I also recognize how awful most of the songs of contemporary masses are. Sentimental does not equal reverence. The first tugs at our emotions. The latter gives to God what is due. We are in an age of me, me, me, and my precious feelings. The outside culture was allowed to pollute the sacrifice of the mass. Hopefully we are turning a corner.

  10. Meghan says:

    As a 25-year-old Catholic who is very involved in my faith, I can’t agree with you guys on all of these. A couple of them are not good songs and I’ll give you that (what even was that first one). I think most of them though are good songs and can be liturgically appropriate, but are overplayed for sure. I think the way you’ve portrayed them through playing a YouTube video of the song, where it is clearly a performance (and not a very good one), is not an accurate portrayal of how these songs are sung during the Mass. And I don’t think it’s accurate to say a song can be bad because it’s performed rather than worshipping God. Are there cantors, choirs, or musical groups out there who put on a performance during the Mass rather than using the liturgical music to praise God? Absolutely, and I am the first one to point that out. But the song itself is not necessarily bad because of that. I know a lot of young people who prefer these 60’s folk songs to the contemporary ones that Parishes are trying to bring into their churches now because a lot of the contemporary just isn’t liturgically appropriate. Again, I absolutely would say that these songs are overplayed and there should be a better variety of liturgical music, but I wouldn’t rip them out of the hymnal.
    I’m glad you guys brought up the point about young people trying to get more involved in their Parishes and being shut down by the older people who have been there forever. I thought I was mostly alone in that frustration. Since graduating from college and settling in a Parish, I’ve had so many parishioners tell me how great it is to have a young person there and how I should get involved in x, y, and z ministries. But then when trying to get involved, the people who have been running those ministries aren’t willing to let me help out in areas that I want to or have skills to, and it’s been super discouraging. They basically just want you to fill in a role that is vacant because someone moved down south or died, even if it’s not something you’re interested in doing. Parishes need to encourage young people to volunteer for the things that they are passionate about, not the things they don’t want to do, or else the young people won’t want to be involved at all.
    This is the first time I’ve seen your show, and I really enjoyed it, even though I didn’t agree with most of your musical selections. It was super entertaining nonetheless, and it’s cool to see other young Catholics talking about the faith!

  11. OMG… you left out Lord of the Dance???????

    1. David says:

      It’s a great song at a Dubliners concert.

    2. John peters says:

      I was about to say that!!! Worst hymn ever.

  12. Stephanie Jarvela says:

    I love folk music! So some of these comments are harsh. I think if you have an active choir in your church even if the songs aren’t up to your standards you are blessed. I love be not afraid. I sing in our choir and it’s my favorite and have requested that I want it at my funeral. I grew up with these songs. I loved the guitar mass as a teen. I think if you leave “the” church because of music you just want an excuse. I don’t care for when we sing Latin songs. I do it and find it difficult but I don’t understand it so I don’t feel as connected. We have had priests tell us what\how they want things sung and that is helpful when there is communication and compassion lots can be accomplished. I did however just in the past few years heard Jesus is a friend of mine. It’s fun, maybe even in a bible camp but I would NOT sing it in church! It reminds me of when they opened the men’s choir in our church a few years back so my husband and I joined. They were going over the song Wild Irish rose. OMG! I never saw the lyrics on paper and I said um, I’m not singing this in church! So I understand your compassion for wanting beautiful music in the Mass.
    God Bless!

  13. Gcgee says:

    Thanks, you guys, for covering this. This needs to be heard. As a convert, the only thing I miss from the Anglican Church is the music. If it weren’t for the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord present, the boomer folk tunes would chase me away.

  14. Shaun says:

    How did “Make me a channel of your peace” not make that list? Great episode, I had a few laughs and agree with many of the songs you listed.

  15. Jodi says:

    Another great episode! For years I have been disappointed with the music at mass and would love to have more update songs in the mix.

  16. Paula says:

    I love the majority of these songs mentioned. Hymns are prayers that are sung and not for our entertainment but to bring us closer to Jesus. One of the songs you attack is On Eagle’s Wings which is taken out of sacred scripture and absolutely loved by so many. I am part of a phenomenal choir in a very large parish and we sing most of these hymns from time to time. Our congregation will let us know when they like or don’t like a song. Because we are such a large parish, we have multiple Masses and those who do not appreciate the more traditional mass with the organ and choir know to chose times other than the 10:30 mass. I realize that many churches don’t have the attendance numbers and cannot afford that luxury. I agree, we need to include and reach out to the youth but the Mass itself is meant to draw us closer to Jesus, prepare us to receive his body and blood which is a very serious and contemplative act. The music in the Mass plays a huge part in setting this tone. This is one hour, not for our entertainment but to come into communion with Christ. Because the young and a lot of older people prefer a more evangelical means of worship maybe churches need to look at having a praise and worship hour before or after Mass.

    1. Paul Fletcher says:

      Hey Paula! Hah! Snuck yours in whilst I was writing a dissertation! 🙂 I could not agree more with your definition of what liturgical music should be.

      My only pause is about congregation: How much weight should be given to what the congregation likes and doesn’t like? Asking the question may sound harsh, but is it not more about worshiping God than that?

    2. A baby boomer who somehow is not.... says:

      Paula,
      In all kindness and compassion, our formation has been dismissal for many years and your perception that Mass is meant to draw us closer to Jesus and to prepare us to receive His Body and Blood is a misunderstanding of the Mass. The Mass is worship. And worship is sacrifice. It is not about us. It is not meant to be about us. It is about the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to His Father and the Father’s generosity in allowing us to unite ourselves to the ultimate gift of sacrifice, worship and love. As a gathered community the most important part of Mass is not our reception of Communion — though personally it has great import — but rather the Eucharistic Prayer and the Consecration wherein the sacrifice of Calvary is re-presented on the Altar. We don’t need any music to prepare to offer ourselves to the Lord in a united sacrifice with Christ. Worthy, sacred music gives glory to God. Trite and banal tunes and words have us gaze at our navels and contemplate ourselves. Look at the words we tend to sing at Mass — almost every one of them focuses on us.

      1. Marcia says:

        Absolutely spot on! So many so-called “hymns” are all about us, us, us. If I hear “Anthem” played one more time in church (“WE are called, WE are chosen, WE are Christ for one another…”) I am going to scream.

    3. Vivienne says:

      This is spot on👍🏽

  17. Paul Fletcher says:

    I’m glad I read all the prior comments; sort of refreshed what I was thinking throughout. Just for intro, I listen to THE CATHOLIC TALK SHOW frequently and am always entertained. But…
    First: Come on, dudes. And YOU, Father! Leave the “shits” out of the conversation, for Heaven’s sake! Maybe some think this is trivial, but what kind of witness is it???!!! I’ve never heard a foul peep out of any of your mouths before this…
    Next, I wish you would have defined what you think liturgical music should DO, even if only a quick bullet list before descending to how each of your ten choices failed to deliver on that list. Instead, I’m left with “folksy sucks.” Ok. Why?
    I understand the concept of “lazy music director.” Hey, my criminal actions from 34 years ago preclude me from the title, lazy or not; but recently my new pastor allows me to be the “emergency fill-in” when the regulars are not available. So what do I try to do when choosing music for liturgy?
    * pick songs that I can sing without sounding like I’m screeching. Distracting!
    * pick songs with a message that “fits” the readings, as overtly as possible.
    * pick songs that many others can sing, if only they are led. Is not participation supposed to be part of the equation?
    * and if at all possible, given my limitations and that of the missalette, pick songs that convey a sense of the Sacred!
    Take John Michael Talbot, for instance. In my humble opinion, he is an awesome talent and servant of God! That being said, not all of his songs are appropriate for liturgy. Fellowship outside Mass? Absolutely! But he does have MANY songs that fit each of my four criteria above.

    Hey, to a degree we are a product of our experiences. I recall in 1975, my senior year at Mater Dei High School. We had a Mass where a classmate with a wonderful voice and skilled guitar sang Cat Stevens’ FATHER AND SON. He did a great job! I am sure we all thought it was so very cool! But now, looking back, I wonder how in heaven’s name did the people running the school allow that song as part of liturgy!
    That is the battle ground! We have been trained post-Vatican II to go for feel goodsy music, rather than truly focusing on the awesomeness and magnificence and glory and splendor of our Almighty God, soon to be Present in the Eucharist! For me, ultimately, I don’t think Liturgy is supposed to be a horizontal thing — like taking the Sign of Peace and turning it into a meet and greet for everyone in the Church! Verticality! We listen to His Word! We pray. We anticipate His Coming this very moment in Consecration! With reverence and focus and a spirit of worship we approach the altar to receive Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity!
    Sense of the Sacred…. would you guys please share which hymnals you know of that truly provide liturgical music that contributes to the sense of the Sacred? I would be thrilled to try and talk my pastor into using them, even if I have to buy them myself!
    I look forward to your description of what Liturgical music should be. And even more, I look forward to your upcoming episode on Ten Great Examples of Liturgical Music!
    God bless!

    1. Katherine says:

      I agree, no dirty language, very unbecoming, especially for priests! Whatever motivated you to do a show on this subject?? Doubtful it was from Holy Spirit. I’m surprised at you, and disappointed. Not funny.

  18. JJ says:

    So true but where is “Lord of the Dance”??? And in my old parish “God bless America” is sung near any patriotic holiday. Even the anthem!!!

  19. David says:

    When I first heard the music of St. Hildegard von Bingen, I wept for its beauty. I went to Mass ten minutes later, heard a song by Dan Schutte, and then wept for an entirely different reason.

    To give a talented choir this music expecting a holy liturgy is like giving a chef peanut butter and jelly, expecting a Michelin-worthy meal.

    1. Amazing comment. Great analogy.

  20. Christopher says:

    Awesome episode guys. I’m 54 years old, yet I still have my Catholic elementary school principal’s (Nun) email – and I want to send this link to her, and say, “SEE, I was RIGHT! That music was AWFUL!” Sister Mary is cool – we recently drank a couple beers together, but I just want to remind her that I was right…this proves it. Thank you.

  21. Jean says:

    Many of these songs would be SO much better sung faster! Part of the problem is the way they’re presented. It comes across as dirge rather than joyful! Be Not Afraid and Eagle’s Wings are sung at ev..er..y funeral. From my perspective as a cantor, it’s TOUGH to sing these over and over. But, I have to remember that from the family’s perspective, it’s meaningful. Again, TEMPO is everything. Even Ave’ Maria, which is such a beautiful song, sung over and over and over at funerals and weddings, ugh, it’s hard from my perspective, not from the families’. Love your show!

  22. Laura Ludovici says:

    I agree with Becky–you left out “Lord of the Dance”? And whether you like many of these songs or not, they are held in esteem by many parishioners. I am a parish secretary & prepare the funeral programs for everyone, and many of these hymns are those chosen! “On Eagle’s Wings” is chosen by at least 75%! I will agree on “The King of Glory”…I can remember, back in the 70’s when we first sang that song during Advent and my Dad had to walk out of Mass early! Some of those hymns seem to have already gone away, such as “Sons of God”!

  23. Sharon says:

    I can’t believe the perennial Ash Wednesday favorite “Ashes” didn’t make the the cut.

  24. Ray says:

    I strongly disagree. I am a 75 yr. old male who regularly goes to the Mass on Sunday and usually once during the week. When I was not disabled I would often go to Mass ever other day.

  25. Not surprised to find I knew which songs you were going to choose. I think I got 7 out of 10 right. Whenever I hear a song at Church that I like, I look in the hymnal and find it is from the 1800’s. Sadly, we have no Gregorian chant and no Latin. I would love to hear Panis Angelicus, if only at a funeral. Worse, if people ask for it, the pastor allows “O Danny Boy” at funerals even though it is not approved.

  26. Cindy says:

    We have the most soul crushing music at our parish. I feel for the priest who is trying to go back to tradition, but you are correct, the music director and EMs hold onto their territory with a death grip. Here is a possible solution, though may not be doable in most parishes. The priest should gather around him those who are trying to reinstate tradition. They could form a community of like believers who wish to have Mass as traditionally as possible and they could ask the priest to celebrate once a month. They are separate from the parish, at least in that they are not governed by existing ministry directors, and may gather together for prayer services and other events. Their main goal would be to hold each other up in this secular world still controlled by my generation of aging hippies. There could be a music ensemble who are (separate from the parish and not under the music director) but who call the parish their home who could be asked to “provide the music”. All the ministers who are craving a more reverent and traditional approach to the new mass could be in charge of the rest, under the guidance of a well informed, like minded priest. This community of like-minded believers may have to have their Mass at different churches every Sunday or one parish every Sunday. But this would be a good way to have Mass with traditional elements; sacred music, all all the other elements currently missing, without pushing out anyone else.

  27. Jon Hickman says:

    For the most part I can’t say that I disagree with your selections. As a 60-something Catholic, these songs have been a continuous thing for me since my late teens or 20’s and I agree that most are horrendous. However, some of the language you use really muddles your message and your legitimacy to criticize others. It is a shame that you cannot build an argument against the 70’s feel-good Mass music genre without using curse words to do so. I had been a fan of Fuzati and the good it is doing on behalf of Holy Mother Church, but I am seriously questioning my previous position.

    I look at Bishop Sheen, folks like Scott Hahn or Jeff Cavins, apologists like Patrick Madrid (and so many more) and cannot think of a single time they resorted to the use of cursing in their support of the Church. Gentlemen, cursing does not make you cool, it makes you appear too uneducated to select proper language to argue your point.

    Such a shame that you would choose to muddy your message by the use of inappropriate language.

    1. What about Saint Paul using the same word in Scripture?

      Philippians (3:8)
      ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, διὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω…

      σκύβαλα (skubala) = sh*t.

      Not the nice excrement, dung, or poop. In Saint Paul’s day σκύβαλα/sh*t was used in polite conversation about as much as we use it now.

      We actually did a segment on another episode of vulgar language and the lines that shouldn’t be crossed and discuss this in more detail.

      1. Jon Hickman says:

        So your argument is that your podcast – just as St. Paul’s writings – are inspired of God? I give Fuzati a lot of credit, but not sure I’m ready to place you on par with Sacred Scripture.

        Frankly an argument of “he said it so I can, too” harkens to the logic of a 3-year old. You can do (and normally, do do – see what I did there?) better. Wallowing in the mud is no longer the place for a beloved son – ref: Luke 15:11-32 – we were called to be free from that.

        The secular world is all too eager to point to any small point as reason to ignore the whole message – why give them easy ammunition when there are many other ways to to express oneself?

        1. Christopher says:

          Unfortunate slip of the tongue I assume. Live radio is very unforgiving.

        2. Jon, we promise to do better on the vulgarity.

          1. Jon Hickman says:

            My comments were offered only in the spirit of fraternal correction.

  28. Momsof4 says:

    This is great!! Thank you. I have to say there are MANY more songs that should have been added. This was a good start. I am happy to have found this talk show. Never knew you existed. 🙂 God bless!

  29. Fr. Wm. Tom Davis, OSA says:

    And people wonder why our parishes are becoming empty….
    We’ve become people who accept mediocre ministry, and we have become so complacent that when new people come, they are polite and say nice things, but you never see them again. It’s the same things with banal homilies and lifeless services.
    Mediocrity is killing our church!!!
    paz,
    ~ Fr. Tom Davis, OSA
    OMGC in Los Feliz

    1. Christopher says:

      Yes, I agree. The guitar mass of the 1970s was painful and cringeworthy. It didn’t drive me out, but it came close – as a matter of fact, my age group – 50 to 59 is the 2nd worst for church attendance – I’m not surprised – it was the awful music. I am happy to see the younger generation filling the pews. Music is important.

  30. Fr. Ernie Davis says:

    Did you know that your webpage is a photo of the back of a pew from an Episcopal Church, not Catholic? Those red books are the Book of Common Prayer and the Blue ones are the Hymnal 1982! That’s the tradition I left to become Catholic 20 years ago! I do have to say that you’ll probably hear more chant in an Episcopal parish, but you will not find the fullness of the Catholic faith.

    1. Good eye. Did not know that. Honestly, it was picked because it was the best photo available on our stock photo subscription.

  31. Gerianne says:

    I would rather have no music and silence than bad music sung by bad voices. The actual songs and style of music is subjective. I commend anyone who truly wants to serve and don’t wish to insult anyone but it really is necessary that the music doesn’t distract from the mass. It needs to lift our minds and hearts to the transcendent. I was lucky enough to be in a parish for 25 years that had a wonderful music ministry. It truly lifted your mind and heart to God. Nothing was perfect but it was very good most of the time. The one thing that I find most music ministers have a problem with is moments of silence. We don’t need to fill every quiet moment with back ground music. I am now in a parish that really lacks in the music area. I would prefer that they offer a few masses every Sunday that don’t have music if the music ministry in the parish is lacking.

    1. Gerianne says:

      And I don’t mind your sense of humor on the subject. We need to laugh at ourselves!

  32. mike says:

    First, its lent, shame on you for playing the word that should not be said.

    Second, most of these songs are great, you just have really bad renditions of them.
    Sung in mass by people that put their hearts and souls into with a great pianist and great lead singer can make them sound wonderful.

    Third, I can’t stand most chants and Latin songs, they are not easy to sing along with, so I don’t and then its boring.

    I can’t wait for your 10 best songs.

  33. Veronica Quercia says:

    Lets hear your 10 favorite or best songs. You werereally harsh and have no regard for the people who may like these songs.
    People are different and have differet likes and dislikes. Try to more Christian when you present the 10 berst songs. Cant wait to see what you pick.

  34. Scott says:

    I’m the music director in the parish, and agree with a lot of it. I won’t do a lot of these songs that are considered favorites more than once every three months. And of course I don’t play them like the recordings on here…

  35. Gabe Theriot says:

    Father Richard, I agree with you about the burial. De Mission de Nombre is a very special place to my wife and me. We love going there every time we vacation in St. Augustine. I feel such a presence that this is the site of the first Mass celebrated in the USA.
    Several people on Facebook and on this site are asking for the best songs for Mass, according to you guys.

  36. Den says:

    Way off the mark. Most of those songs are beautiful. Be Not Afraid and Eagles Wings are beautiful and meaningful. Terrible ones are like the one that goes “been too busy praising my Jesus, been to busy to die.” That one is horrible. What do you want? I hope not junk like Snoop Dog or AC/DC!

  37. De says:

    I also don’t think this is “Boomer” issue. I’m one and I didn’t grow up with the songs you played. I grew up with the older hymns, like “Jesus Christ is Risen today”, “Holy Holy Holy” and “Ave Maria”. The songs you played came out later in popularity. I never heard them until about the 90’s.

  38. Dave says:

    Dissing On Eagle’s Wings? Cold man, just cold. Also John Michael Talbot is a guitar virtuoso, nice singer, great heart, and highly talented.
    I have been to some Masses with “traditional” music where the organ is distracting by playing odd dissonant chords and showing off their chops. I would rather hear a guitar strumming than that any day. Either way musical taste is subjective whether you think so or not.

  39. Michelle says:

    I am a parish secretary. I have heard the funeral “top 10” songs over and over again. On Eagle’s Wings and Be Not Afraid are on that top 10 list. Many people take great comfort in the lyrics of those songs. Personally, there are times they make my skin crawl. With regards to ‘On Eagle’s Wings’ – just a note to songwriters everywhere……………do not start a song with the words “You who”. Sung by a professional, I suppose it could be pulled off. Sung by most of the shrill sopranos in church ministries…….it’s a whiny “YOU HOO!” Trust me. I’ve heard it all.

  40. Julie Smith says:

    I was sternly thinking that ‘On Eagles Wings’ had better be the worst and was happy that it was listed as the worst! I thought the list was too short. I grew up in the church of 70’s and 80’s nightmare liturgy and stripping of our beautiful churches to a more protestant look. Now in my 50’s I am just starting to learn about the truth of my faith including beautiful liturgy. Such a difference! Great show.

  41. Anne-Marie Cottone says:

    What’s wrong with Lutheran songwriters? The term shouldn’t be used as an insult. What I’ve noticed lately in my parish is an incursion of “contemporary Christian” music, which is just as bad as any of this stuff. Accompanied of course by hand waving. I can’t even.

  42. Anne says:

    Great show!!! You are spot on about these horrible songs! A generation of Catholics know nothing about their faith and may have even lost their faith because the music didn’t teach them anything. We need great songs back like God Beyond All Praising, Alleluia, Sing to Jesus, and Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.

    You did miss some more terrible songs though… All Are Welcome, One Bread, One Body, Ashes.
    Let me see what’s on this Sunday at Mass and I’ll tell you some more!

  43. Alfred Aquilina says:

    It is clear that taste in music (liturgical or otherwise) is rather subjective. Although I agree with some of your picks, I cannot agree with all of them. The unfortunate thing is that in the past few decades we “lost” some of our Catholic traditional music (and I don’t mean just from the 1900s) and have overworked some hastily composed songs/hymns to replace them. New is not necessarily better. However, some new music is quite good and spiritually uplifting.
    An even deeper problem is that many in church (organists, pianists, guitarist, etc.) are not very good. Neither are many musical directors. This is an absolute shame. Unfortunately, an attitude of “good enough” is prevalent. This is often also true of choirs. I am often so distracted by the music that I stop ‘worshiping’ and get angry at what I’m hearing. That is too bad because liturgical music is suppose to do the exact opposite.
    In my opinion, it is not necessarily the song itself that is “bad”. It is the often quality of the delivery. Music directors — these messages are for you!

  44. Amanda says:

    Yep, I’m attached to many of these due to growing up with them.

  45. Angela says:

    Please consider there are new people attending church for the first time every week. The songs you hate may be the one seed God uses to help someone who is hurting or seeking Him. Only in America do we have the luxury to go to Mass and find fault.
    There are thousands who would love to take your place.

  46. Laura says:

    LOL Did you intend to have the header picture on this website be pews in an EPISCOPAL Church????

  47. pam says:

    AND thank you for propping up the protestant stereotype of Catholics….There is only one way to worship God and everyone else is inferior!…Way to spread the Catholic love.

  48. Elena Brandt says:

    These kinds of critical attitudes do nothing to lift anyone up. The so-called worst hymn is sometimes, the most beautiful part of someone else’s week. Church musicians burn out and grow cynical because we are bombarded with viscerally critical, highly opinionated observations on the regular. I felt sad when I saw this being shared by colleagues on social media. There’s good in everything, and when we can see that, we are that much closer to God’s presence.

    Your content looks well designed and well-prepared. I think you can do better than this.

    Peace and good-will.

  49. Janet Irvine says:

    I hate to tell ya but the pew shot on this page is of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and the Episcopal 1982 Hymnal. Just sayin’. i love that ecumenical feel!

  50. Darlene says:

    My husband and I thought this list was hilarious, but how could you not include “Go Make a Difference”? That’s got to be one of the most awful, trite songs I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing at Mass :p

  51. Mandy says:

    We often sing Sing a New Church at my parish. I wonder if that didn’t make the list because the guys can’t imagine such a heretical song actually being used in the liturgy?
    Like they said, some of the songs are slightly palatable because of their sentimentality. There is nothing charitable to say about Sing a New Church.

  52. Lydia Bellipanni says:

    To start my comment with “I hate to tell you” is redundant but everyone has an opinion and we know what they say about opinions…. From a smaller parish, to have any music is a blessing but I left mass not long ago and said the music was terrible. But I never think it’s the song as long as it praises but the musicians themselves that are the problem (and I sing in the choir but not that Sunday). I think you dissed without a real reason except your opinion. Please do a top ten to make up for this!

  53. Edmundo Serrano says:

    That’s their personal opinion – 10 worst songs. Very easy to criticise but did they give suggestions what to sing instead? NONE. So, just shut up.

  54. Samuel K says:

    Okay so “Be Not Afraid” I’m a fan of because it was like the best out of the horrible songs when I went to boot camp so I have special memories with it lol but by far the eagles wings I agree is the worst!

  55. Deb says:

    Fortunately, for all of us, God has created each one of us uniquely. That includes taste in music and different styles of worship. The music you deemed unworthy probably speaks to the hearts of many, albeit yourselves. Didn’t Jesus ask us not to judge? And by the way, watch your language boys. PS Not all your listeners are youngins.

  56. Linda says:

    Wow! Can you get any meaner talking about the people who wrote the songs? My respect for you all dropped a lot!

  57. Sara says:

    Whenever I hear any of those songs at Mass, I offer it up for those who cannot go to Mass because of illness or persecution.

  58. Marie Mulhern says:

    Wow. “Table of Plenty” is the song I dislike the most out of those you played. But I give that recording credit for giving the song a completely different feel from how I’ve normally heard it played/sung. I’ve usually heard it done in more a mariachi style. I always thought it sounded kind of like the music you hear from a carousel. My choir and my family all knew I thought the song was ridiculous.

    When my kids were young and the choir sang that song, they would all turn around and look at me with smirks on their faces. I suppose I do fondly remember those looks, but not so much the song that inspired them.

    When I first learned “On Eagles’ Wings” back in 1980, I thought it, (like it’s friend, “Be Not Afraid,”) as one of the most pretentious songs ever. But after so many years I’ve kind of gotten numb to it. I do notice if the 16th notes are not sung exactly as written, which is the case for 99% of Masses where it is sung.

  59. Betty Garcia says:

    On Eagle’s wings is absolutely the worst. Can’t the families of their dearly departed come up with something better? For my husband’s funeral recessional, I requested the Battle Hymn of the Republic and it was rousing and glorious. For the entrance, I requested The Litany of the Saints chanted. It was stunning.
    That “Dancing in the Forest song is positively idiotic.

  60. B. Hoffman says:

    LOL Marty Haugen is to Lutheran as Prius is to hotrod. The Catholics asked that hack for his hot garbage. Most Lutherans laugh at his Mass.
    When a church (Roman Catholic or other) flushes their liturgy and hymnody, is a sign of the greater problem… entropy. I 100% agree with your assessment of those hymns though.

  61. Renee says:

    JM talbot did NOT write be not afraid!! You guys are on with lots of this commentary but JM talbot’s music is really good.

  62. Jean Allen says:

    Can’t listen to this whole program bc of time constraints, but I agree w most of your choices so far (got to about 4th or 5th). Don’t know if you included it or not, but one of our local churches has a Sat afternoon “teen Mass” — w a rock band (mostly 50 and 60 year olds, lol) who VERY annoyingly and disrespectfully do little tune-ups right before Mass and also short jam sessions w jazzy electric guitar sounds right after Mass — both during times when some of us want to pray in silence. And, you guessed it — most of the congregation attending that Mass are flower children of the 60’s who sway in their pews to the non-Catholic “music” and who REALLY get into the Sign of Peace hand-holding, forming a human bridge between the aisles. Ugh. Thankfully, it is not our parish, and I only attend there if forced to. One of THE worst songs they “perform” — bc it is much more about the band than the Mass (grrrr) — is “Our God is an Awesome God”, which starts out sounding kind of low and dicey, then goes into a sort of march at the refrain. Absolutely, hands-down, THE worst song for Catholic Mass ever! A young, Protestant coworker of mine was arguing with my older, Protestant boss at work about the phrase “awesome God”. He was trying to explain to her the real meaning of and proper understanding of fear of / “awe” toward God, our Creator. She just could not grasp that concept, saying “awesome God” meant that He is fantastic, etc. (rolling my eyes) My hatred for that song doubled after listening to her ignorance.
    P.S. This radio/video program could do with some cleaning up of your language. Is it really necessary to use words like “crappy” and “shitty”? No, it is not — and you’re not leading our Catholic youth well by using them. And I’m certain I heard, “Oh, God!” and possibly “Christ!” said under the breath. That is taking our awe-inspiring Lord’s name in vain, which is still very much a sin, my friends.

    1. Jean Allen says:

      Correction — 60 and 70 year olds. I’m 59, and, thankfully, never liked the ill-fitting Protestant influence that my older siblings seemed to enjoy.

  63. David Gatwood says:

    I know it’s hard to pick the ten worst examples of modern Catholic music, given that the Lord has deigned to bless us with such plenteous abundance (double entendre intended 😁), but I think you mostly missed the mark with your list. Most of the music on your list didn’t even make my “bad music” list, much less appear anywhere near the top of it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of folk music in church by any means — I’m a strong proponent of polyphony (or at least good homophony), and I wouldn’t typically choose music from the folk music genre unless specifically asked — but most of the things on your list were actually among the *better* examples of Catholic folk music, at least musically speaking. That’s why we didn’t burn them way back in the 70s and 80s like we did with the majority of the music from that era. And your supposed worst was nowhere near the worst. I mean sure, some folks criticize “On Eagle’s Wings” for its musical quirkiness (the first couple of notes in particular), but it has a much richer chord vocabulary than at least 90% of the Catholic music I’ve seen from post-Vatican II, making it about as far from terrible as folk music can get.

    So if these really are the worst you know about, count yourself lucky. That means your choir directors already filtered out probably 95% of the actual worst of the worst ahead of time. It means you never got to experience the joys of chord progressions that make no sense at all, or the comically excessive and clumsy use of syncopation from the so-called “teen” music, or the shallow lyrics therein (as one of my then-teenage friends once put it, “If you sing ‘yeah’ in a song, your music is bad”), or ludicrous amounts of ornamentation in every phrase, or melodies that consist of one phrase repeated four times in the refrain and eight more times in the verse, or music that sounds like famous TV show theme songs…. The list goes on. You all know what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of music out there that really is downright awful. This isn’t it, IMO.

    So maybe it’s not Verdelot, but then again, what is? Well, I mean except Verdelot, obviously. 😁 (Mental note: Sing more Verdelot.)

  64. Susana Duboy Och says:

    I disagree. The music may be dated; but, for this, now 45 year old, Catholic School graduate, these were pretty much the only bible I knew or had memorized. Sing a new song (aka Psalm 96), Here I am Lord (inspired by the Bible verses Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3); Be not afraid (from Exodus 33 and John 6); and Eagles Wings (Psalm 91) helped us meditate on scripture. I really came to appreciate this later… many of these songs spoke in to my life and spiritual walk in very uplifting ways.

    1. Susana says:

      Eagles Wings (Isaiah 40 also)

  65. Brian T. says:

    Though the Mountains May Fall – this should take the crown as the worst Catholic song ever.

  66. Fantastic episode! I think you had a lot of really great insights on why, when we’ve been blessed with 2000 years of amazing hymnody and liturgy, we insist on the schlock that comes out of the 19th and 20th century. I was happy that I had never heard, sung or seen in our hymnal any of the hymns you talked about… except that last one. On Eagles Wings. OMG I hate that one with the burning passion of a thousand moons. I always think that it sounds like the theme song to a 1980s action TV show like A-Team or SWAT.

    One push back though, there were quite a few songs that you called “Lutheran” meaning they sucked. Which for Marty Haugen, ok that’s fair, him being a Lutheran at all. But if you want to know what “Lutheran Liturgy is REALLY like” you have to look at the chorales by folks like Philip Nicolai, John Heerman, Paul Gerhard or even some more contemporary stuff like Martin Franzman. One of the most amazing Masses I’ve ever heard is the Praetorius Christmas mass. Although admittedly, that one is not an authentic mass because we have no record of Praetorius writing a Christmas Day mass, but instead it was pieced together from his various works by someone in the 1980s and recorded using period instruments.

    More or less what I’m saying, if “Lutheran” refers to Mary Haugen music, then “Catholic” should refer to The St. Louis Jesuits.

  67. Carla Landry says:

    I’m a choir director at a diocesan parish that offers the Mass in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form. I also have a degree in music performance, and studied in a master’s program for three and researched sacred and liturgical music. I do agree with you about your criticism of this music, as a musician and a Catholic. The style is not appropriate, and there is Papal legislation and church documents, including Vatican II documents, that back that up. I wish you would have used this show to educate people about the actual church teaching rather than your own personal tastes. Based on the comments, the dictatorship of relativism is alive. Also, you can use this show to educate people about the via pulchritudinus.

    I have to call you out on your criticism of people in music ministry. Your not wrong about people’s desire to hold on to power, but let’s be honest. The pastor is in charge, and the buck should stop with him. He needs to make liturgy a priority including the music. I do know that many parishes may not be able to afford professional musicians or even just an educated, trained director, but I really think many pastors find someone to “take care of the music”, and then never think about it again unless parishioners complain. There are many other demands that take his attention away from this important aspect of pastoral duties, but many people underestimate the power of music and beauty in the care of one’s soul. People have forgotten that God is Beauty, Goodness, and Truth itself.

  68. Mary says:

    John Michael Talbot didn’t write Be Not Afraid. Bob Dufford a St. Louis Jesuit composed it. John MIchael Talbot just recorded it. JMT has some beautiful stuff, but mostly for meditation. For the record, The Song of the Body of Christ…. boring…. But I agree with the comment above, the pastor usually has the last say. I do think that various mass times should have different types of music. Ultimately we want folks to come to Mass, regardless of the music. We need to bring souls to Heaven, and if they like guitar music and come, then so be it. Having been in music liturgy as a layperson for over 35 years, I’ve seen and done it all. Thanks for such a great show and ministry!

    1. Francis Frassati says:

      I would bet my money that Marty Haugen’s music never brought anyone to heaven.

  69. Danelle Urban says:

    As a lifelong Catholic, parish music ministry of 30+ years, and someone with a Masters in Theology, I loved and appreciated this show so much!! I totally agree with every song on that list. There is one huge reason why some of these songs do make our skin crawl as well-formed Catholics. “Companions on a Journey” and “Gather Us In” are written with the singer, the congregation, as the main focus of the song. Liturgical music should be God-focused. Even if we may not be able to articulate why songs like that feel “off” to us, many times it is because they do not direct us towards God.
    I know so many people enjoy “On Eagles Wings” and most of the lyrics are directly taken from scripture, but it’s so overused and, honestly, not a song easily sung as a congregation. The range is too broad for most singers. In choir we call it the the “yoohoo song” because of the first line 🙂 I also think it’s hilarious that such an awful song quotes the same scripture that the devil also quoted when tempting Jesus in the dessert…..just saying…..
    Thank you for your show! I love listening!

    1. Danelle Urban says:

      I believe all liturgical musicians should have to read Ratzinger’s “Spirit if the Liturgy”. In regards to not being able to afford good parish leaders for music, I’m not saying that hard work shouldn’t be rewarded nor that there is not a place for compensating liturgists, but in my 30+ years as a parish musician, I have never been paid. It is my stewardship to my parish, giving back to God the talents and gifts he has given me.

  70. Brian Delaney says:

    Some of these songs were great when they were new for their time. Today? Not so much. It is like trying to keep tie-dye and neon as acceptable fashion forever. Also, some of these songs may be okay sentiment for the grieving at funerals, yet we sing them all the time at Sunday Mass. At my parish we sing some songs just too many times, no matter how good they may be. We probably sang Amazing Grace about 20 times this year, an emotional song for many, and now I am so sick of it, that I don’t want to hear if for another 10 years, yet I will. God bless the dear priests. At many weddings and funerals they hear the same songs sung every single time. In fact some parishes give a canned list of pre-approved songs that they will provide at a wedding Mass or a funeral. How lazily efficient is that?

  71. RNC says:

    Just as long as there are guitars playing and Mass, they can play whatever songs they want! Oh and let’s not forget the drums!

  72. Kathryn Hichborn says:

    Awful!! All of them!! And PLEASE don’t call them hymns!! They do not have the verticality of hymns. Completely different structure. My argument would also be that no hymns actually belong in the Liturgy of the Mass. I am a musician and have served as organist and music director in Novus Ordo parishes over the years, until I could take it no longer. I am SO happy to have found our incredible TLM (FSSP) parish. We love it so much that we have driven 76 miles one way for over 25 years. The entire parish chants the Ordinary of the Mass every Sunday and our schola does a heavenly job on the Propers. It’s NOT a parish of grey-haired ladies, either. In fact, 10 of our grandchildren are now parishioners there and love it!

  73. Barb says:

    A few comments –
    1. As a first time listener, I was surprised at the ‘tone’ of your conversation, and your enjoyment at making fun not only of the music, but of the composers themselves. Not very Christianly.
    2. If you asked 10 people about their ’10 Worst Church songs ever’, you would most likely get 10 different answers. Same for their favorites. Music is subjective.
    3. If you are going to criticize a composer, the least you could do is to know how to pronounce his name correctly (Marty Haugen = How-gen – not Hagen).
    4. As others have mentioned, for many of the songs you chose to play terrible renditions that I imagine the composers would cringe upon hearing! Tempo and instrumentation is important – I do agree that not all directors are proficient in these areas.
    5. In many churches, the pastor either chooses or ‘strongly recommends’ the music selections. Music directors are not always at fault.

    1. Nettie - Maryland says:

      First- I just stumbled across your podcast and am SOLD! I need more friends like you guys.
      Two- ALL THESE SONGS ARE HIDEOUS!!! You are correct on worshipers not coming to mass due to the awful music selection.
      Three- What can we do to get this list circulated to the archdioceses?
      Keep doing what y’all are doing, love it!

    2. Francis Frassati says:

      In my years of ministry I’ve only been to one Church where the pastor directly is involved insane what gets played and what doesn’t. And that is my church where I’m in charge. I’m sorry but only baby boomers like that folk crap.

      1. Angie says:

        What percentage of your congregation is baby boomers? Do they not get to hear music they relate to? I am a baby boomer who enjoys more traditional and classical musical styles, but style is very subjective and calling it crap is confrontational and divisive.

  74. Hey – Switch out your cover pic. Your Episcopal brothers and sisters don’t appreciate being painted with the broad brush of bad Catholic music!

    1. Pastor Dorothy says:

      Hey, Beth, hopefully with both of our comments, they will get the message.

  75. Excellent podcast! The worship-styles war is ongoing in every denomination. You have given me grist for my adherence to musically and theologically substantial liturgy. AND . . . You had me laughing, thinking, cringing and agreeing. The audios you played are definitely schlocky “performances”. Some of these songs can be very meaningful if played and sung the way that normal people would sing them. And I almost fell out of my chair laughing at your references to Lutherans. Marty Haugen is the patron saint of Lutheran music, and he’s ok, if not predictable musically. Bless you all and the work you do. From a Lutheran pastor…who happens to be a woman…BTW, where did you get the photo for this episode? What Episcopal church are you secretly hanging out in? 🙂

    1. Francis Frassati says:

      Haugen’smusic is not predictable. It’s terrible. And it represents his post-Christian theology. I have banned all of his music from my Parish.

  76. Francis Frassati says:

    I knew this combox would be full of butthurt boomers. They never disappoint. Eagle’s Wings has been played at every funeral for every family member of mine ever, including my father and my grandmother, and I still say it’s $h!t .

    My only complaint is there are songs way worse than some of the ones you picked: Sing a New Church, Anthem, Lord of the Dance, Marty Haugen’s “Canticle of the Sun” (that’s the one with “dance in the forest and play in the field”) All are Welcome; Go Make a Difference, City of God, Seed, Scattered and Sown, Ashes, You Are Mine, Let there Be Peace on Earth are all infinitely worse than Chicken Wings, or whatever it’s called. I love this episode. And, BTW, I’m a priest. Peace!

  77. Aubrey Kemper says:

    1. Yes to all of those songs being the actual worst
    2. Dan Schutte, more like Dan Shoot-me-in-the-head
    3. I also wish I could be buried on the Mission grounds in St. Augustine, as I went there often to pray and reflect – and occasionally attend a weekday Mass – when I was in college!

    1. Marcia says:

      As to your comment No. 2: Hee! I was going to make a comment about one of the bad songwriters mentioned in this program, to the effect that he is “Haugen” the spotlight in many liturgies.

  78. Fr. Dan G. says:

    I banned “Remember My Love” from my parish as the refrain is identical to “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka. There is another hymn that the choir will choose just to hear me sing, “Nationwide is on your side…”

  79. Angie says:

    I was expecting the songs to be vilified because they were theologically unsound, but you chose songs that you simply do not like. Are we all supposed to agree with your pseudo-artistic snobbery? Most of the songs you chose contain lyrics that are direct quotes from scripture and you are laughing at them.
    As an English teacher, I will now question your network’s choice of professional communicators who use highly unprofessional and poor quality linguistic choices – especially your use of the word sh***y which is a perfect example of lazy, banal verbal expression. Is that the best you can do to explain the qualities that you do not appreciate about these songs? When you are able to express yourselves in a way that does not cause our “ears to bleed,” then you will have an artistic platform from which to judge the work of others.

    1. M says:

      Spot on, Angie.

  80. Matt Y. says:

    I’m an 18 year old Catholic and I’ve only ever heard these songs at mass. Could you guys do a 10 best songs so I can compare and hear something other than these bad songs

  81. Cathy says:

    While I don’t agree with most of the songs you call the worst (probably because I don’t know what you are comparing it to as good), I do wholeheartedly agree with ‘On Eagles Wings’ being the worst. I’m the sign language interpreter at my church and I can’t figure out what that song even means. It’s ridiculous and over played!
    So, when will you have the 10 greatest songs of all time?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top