242

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.


242 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.

      1. Bob Chapman says:

        Those pew rack have the Book of Common Prayer, Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal), and the latest ELCA hymnal in them.

        That is where you find good church music.

        1. Melinda L. Richards says:

          I was just about to post this same thing. Thanks. And you’re correct, BTW. TEC is where you find good music.

        2. Elizabeth says:

          The Episcopal Church is not even Christian because it embraces, promotes, condones, mandates acceotance of homosexual deviant perverts.

          1. Scott Knitter says:

            Elizabeth, that’s an ignorant and hateful post. Not to mention way off-topic.

          2. Michael R says:

            Lol
            You’re kinda cuckoo
            Everyone knows the deviant homosexuals are all residing quite comfortably in the Roman Catholic Church … and that’s a fact you can’t dispute.

          3. Bill says:

            Ignorant twat

    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

      2. John O'Brien says:

        I hear you! I have been an organist and cantor for 37 years. about 95% of the funerals I do ALWAYS are; Be Not Afraid, Amazing Grace, On Beagles Wings, How Great Thou Art, and the equally atrocious I Am The Bread of Life. When these horrid pieces of filth came to being in the 1970’s “Folk Group” cults, that was the end of great Catholic hymns. There are so many more beautiful, meaningful funeral hymns out there that NONE of today’s people over 50 never hear because all they remember is The Folk Group Invasion. Most people who arrange a funeral today haven’t been to Mass in years, so of course they will choose The Deadly Five mentioned above. Terrible!

        1. Arla Luna says:

          I really want to hear “On Beagles Wings.” Now THAT is a song! 😉

          1. Dennis says:

            Follow that with Wachet Arf!

        2. John W says:

          To John OBrien: Please never play at a funeral I attend. Your attitude and judgementalism is something I think you should consider before spewing such hateful comments, and perhaps before you serve another family. The songs they choose aren’t good enough for you? How dare you judge what brings them familiar comfort. Furthermore your bias is quite clear as you refer to “folk group cults,” but that you refer to “I am the bread of life” as horrid filth when in fact the words of Jesus are “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35). Seems a bit overboard to call a song based on Jesus’ own words as “filth”

          I get it, you don’t like modern music, you don’t like folk music, and the organ was the only instrument ordained by the Lord for Holy Music (or so it would seem reading your comments). But you are not being fair to the music, or the heart of the people who also like the music, or are comforted by it.

          How can you play funerals with any spirit of love and service in your heart with such hateful and judgmental attitudes?

          1. James says:

            The music is filth, not the scripture they quote.

            The deceased, their families, and more importantly the LORD to whom the prayers of the Mass are offered (for the repose of the deceased’s soul – keep in mind they are not guaranteed heaven!) deserve much better.

            Just because you like a song does not make it suitable for the Mass, ESPECIALLY in circumstances of a funeral where it’s the most important Mass of your recently ended life.

        3. KSLammers says:

          I had to fight to get my Mother’s favorites (Catholic HymnsWith Irish melodies like “Be Now My Vision” and “I heard the voice of Jesus say”]. To be fair once I ran them by the organist, he was fine with it. Delighted even. Even the Panis Angelicus. But the Liturgy police almost nixed it. They were all in the hymnal.
          Irish women take their funeral liturgies seriously! She said if anyone sang “You-who” (Eagles Wings) over her dead body she would make us regret it for eternity

    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.

      2. Diane says:

        I am a pre and post Vatican 2. Catholic I am your parents age SO what music do you guys like?
        And boy do I hate to admit it — you are so correct in the folk rock music feel of those songs.
        I had no idea until you pointed it out.
        Your pod costs are hilarious and thought provoking – love them

    4. janelle says:

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

      1. Mark Westhoff says:

        No they are not for anyone ! They are theologically incorrect for Mass

    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 ..

    8. Nancy Rogers says:

      Notice that the text of the verse repeats the exact words used by the devil during the temptation of Jesus in the desert: this music has no place in the repertoire of the Catholic Church. The sentiment of the words “Be Not Afraid, I go before you always” is very valid. This helpful sentiment should be put into a different musical setting (one in which the congregation can actually sing: even my experienced choirs can’t do the rhythm correctly). I have made an arrangement of just the refrain of “Be Not Afraid” and “On Eagle’s Wings” for those who feel they must have it sung for a funeral. This arrangement uses just the refrain and beautifully intersperses with some truly lovely music. So sorry for your loss, be at peace.

    9. William Noble says:

      Thank you for this. You missed the other horrid offenders: One Bread, One Body and Great things happen when God mixes with man…
      The folk music and felt banners turned me off church for years…

    10. Jason says:

      Hello, I lead a praise and worship group in a small Catholic parish. We were blessed to have a Pastor that was passionate about music. I have played at other parishes as well, and tried to introduce new music. I grew up from kindergarten through high school in Catholic schools. The music program might as well never existed. The truth is the Catholic Church has got to get with it. Families are leaving. There is a huge Christian music movement, and families are listening to the same music in their homes and cars that we are playing in our small Catholic Church. Never were the old hymns a part of the F.M. dial the same way that the artist today are being marketed. Music has to reach another soul to even exist. If we as Christians are leaving Mass and not singing then we might as well not play music at all.

  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.

          3. Margaret O’Hagan says:

            “A Church which only makes use of ‘utility music’ has fallen for what is, in fact, useless and becomes useless herself.”
            Cardinal Ratzinger – The Ratzinger Report

        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.

        6. Tjoy says:

          The music directors sometimes have no choice as they yield to requirements of the clergy or to the most vocal members of the congregations they server. We have an excellent music director who slips in wonderful music (and avoids all the bad things you mention) but what are you going to tell a grieving family who wants Be Not Afraid or On Eagles Wings at a family funeral?

          1. Karen says:

            Umm, “no?”

          2. John O'Brien says:

            I do ONE VERSE and REFRAIN of Be Not Afraid and Beagles Wings. That’s enough.

        7. John O'Brien says:

          And the Pastors allow it…sad!

    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. Kevin says:

            I think that it is disgraceful two Priests slamming hymns written to give Glory to God! Obviously these two have no respect for the Eucharist or the Holy Spirit. I wish there was a way for the Vatican to catch this broadcast so these two can be removed from the Priesthood. They are a disgrace to the Catholocism!! David Haas and Marty Haugen are two of the Catholic Church’s FINEST artists and to this day continue to write for the Mass Hymnal. I want to find out what Diocese these two “Priests” are from so I can report them to their Bishop. They are slamming what they are supposed to be supporting.

        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.

          3. John O'Brien says:

            Deal with it. When you are a parish musician for 37 years and the most requested “Hymns”are from the The Invasion of The Folk Group movement of the 70’s and early 80’s one tends to get a liiiiiiitle irritated when having to play horrid hymns. VERY FRUSTRATING and thankless.

      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…

      6. Eve-Marie says:

        Please!!!! As a professional musician, and a Catholic, I would love this, and so would many I know! Can’t wait!!

    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

      1. John O'Brien says:

        YES!

      2. Judy Richard says:

        Tantum Ergo is beautiful but the English is better. Why sing words that have no meaning for you.?? Hear I am Lord was writte. For friends 1st diaconate mass. It is truly beautiful. And I know what I am saying. Augustine said when we sing we pray twice…..but you have to know what the words you are singing mean. Pa is Angelicus is beautiful but you could be singing the Mickey mouse club theme for all you know. I think this pod cast is so goofy. They want us to go back to pre Vatican II . Been there, have the bilingual missalette. One pod cast recommended bringing back the Communion rail.

    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!

    1. John O'Brien says:

      That’s the other “hymn” I absolutely LOATHE!! UGH!!! heartburn!!

  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.

    1. Ed says:

      YES! Ashes is certainly worthy of a top 10.

  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.

      1. Bob says:

        Then you just lost your shirt, dude.

  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!

    1. Katie winant says:

      Wow! A priest denigrating an entire generation of Catholics. Not a “priest” I can respect.

      1. Christie Jane says:

        Are you kidding me? I’d kill to have a parish priest like him! Where has he been all my life?

  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…”

    1. Michele says:

      Good for you! As I cantor, I refuse to sing the perky “Lord of the Dance”, which I detest both musically and lyrically, and which contains this verse, to be sung with the same spunky, offensive, upbeat music:

      “I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame,
      The Holy people said it was a shame.
      They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high,
      Left me there on a cross to die.

  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.

    2. Jennifer says:

      Maybe that’s part of the problem. Baby Boomers’ pervasive self-centeredness and pushy cliques, along with their wallets, have infected much of the laity-run organizations in parishes, especially the music. Priests haven’t been respected, whether they’re quite holy or not, when they try to exercise their authority. In fact, the holier they are, the more baby boomers complain about “going back in time” to a Church that reflected holiness in the Liturgy. Devout Catholics are sick of this sappy drivel week after week ad nauseum. Time to give it a rest. Look at Portland, OR Archbishop’s letter on music.

  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?

  82. Jeanne says:

    Actually, except for your intro song that makes me shudder and gag the others for some of us is all we really know and for everyone of top loathed songs their are 25 more songs in the hymnal that are never played. I think a lot of it is what tempo the song is played and how it’s done. The versions you’ve found have to be the worst, but done right may just change your mind. In the 70’s and early 80’s Dan Schutte was my choir director at our parish when I was teen and sang in the choir so their will always be a soft spot in my heart for those songs. If you’re really into Christian music you should come check out our Lifest in July, Thursday-Sunday, plan on camping so you don’t miss a minute of anything, take in mass everyday, confessions, reflections, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and even though it’s mostly a non denominational and Catholic presence it’s so awesome to come together as one to hear the messages of the artists as well as their music (everything from rap, scream-o, rock, and contemporary). We’ve been going for at least 10 years. The Green Bay Catholic Diocese has a reserved camping section but it fills up fast but honestly all our camping neighbors have become forever friends that we eventually see the following year. People come from all across the US to attend.

  83. Roger says:

    I recently retired as music director of a vibrant Catholic parish after 35 years of service there, 23 of which were spent as music director. I think the topic of music for Catholic worship is critically important for the Church. The shallow lyrics and sentimental melodies of much of the music used at parishes around the country is unlikely to promote true discipleship in the hearts of those singing. There is so much more that the Holy Spirit wishes to accomplish!

    After listening to this podcast, I felt that if a listener was already on board with your views, then they would enjoy your presentation. If they were not on board, then your podcast was not likely to have any influence on them. While I heard a lot of disparagement (well earned) about the quality of the music you discussed, I heard very little of objective definition about what was particularly bad about the music, nor did I hear much about the characteristics of appropriate and beautiful music for the Catholic Liturgy. So, it appeared you were basing your judgments on personal opinion or unstated common understanding among the presenters. I think it would have been much more constructive to include discussion and demonstration about what constitutes excellent music for Catholic Worship.

    The names of Haugen and Schutte were mis-pronounced (on purpose or accidentally?). While I am no fan of their music, the podcast treated the composers with a lack of Christian charity, which was disturbing. “Be Not Afraid” was mis-attributed; your example was sung by John Michael Talbot, but the song was composed by Bob Dufford.

    Lastly, the use of profanity was unnecessary and off-putting. There is enough of that in the world today; we don’t need it on a Catholic podcast.

    I encourage you to use your platform more constructively and charitably to promote Catholic worship rather than focusing so negatively on what is of poor quality.

    Thanks for listening and God bless your service to the Church.

  84. Ed says:

    Very interesting show. I am a former protestant pastor who was received into full communion 6 years ago. Bad music is one of the things that troubles me about my experience in Catholicism and I find it is also a stumbling block to other potential converts from Protestantism. I tend to agree on your opinion of “Eagle’s Wings,” but, in its favor the lyrics are essentially Psalm 91–those who love this song are at least getting Scripture pretty much straight up. Contrast, for instance, “Lord of the Dance,” (and how could that not be on your list?)

  85. John Salveson says:

    Interesting episode, and a bit painful too. Not because I necessarily disagree, but more because it brought back painful memories of working in the Catholic Church. Though I grew up Lutheran, I was introduced to the Catholic Church by her liturgy and music. Not the music you played on this, but the Hera organ works of the French Church, the Anazing Choral music of the Italian and German Churches. Completing a masters in organ and conducting I sought out and accepted a position in a Catholic Church. I was confirmed and sadly, didn’t know what a good thing I had at that Church.

    Sadly, my next assignments were horrible, ranging from a priest who excused me from a building committee because I serges Ted that perhaps putting a column in the center of the choir and placing the piano and organ in places where the Altar wasn’t visible might be a bad idea to a priest who forbade me to use Latin and threatened to fire me because the choir was “too good” and showing him up.

    After 12 years, I couldn’t do iit anymore. After earning a doctorate, i took a position in a Presbyterian Church. I’ve not been forced to play one of the hymns you listed, and though i dearly miss the liturgy, i can now use the great Catholic organ music written in service to the liturgy, without fear of reprisal from priest and parishioners alike.

  86. Chris says:

    First of all, I had NO idea that Sonseed song was actually a real song! I remember seeing a performance of it on “Glee” and thinking it was supposed to be some colossal joke (which I guess in a way, it is). And I thought TODAY’s contemporary Christian music was lacking.

    Speaking of which, as trite and cheesy as the songs on your list can indeed be, I still prefer them to the influx of CCM Protestant Megachurch Praise and Worship music that is rapidly growing in frequency of use in the Mass. I have no problem with that genre of music on its own aside from the fact that so much of it is creatively lacking, formulaic and derivative – but then what genre of music isn’t these days? It’s when these become part of the Liturgy that I start having a problem. It’s not even the lyrics’ occasional incompatibility with Catholic theology that bugs me as much as the fact that for someone who grew up on both the old hymns and the ’60s/’70s Mamas & Papas-type folk hymns, modern day praise and worship songs can be very hard to learn to sing. They can be all over the place in terms of meter and melody. Maybe this isn’t a problem for some people, but it is for me. I like to be able to sing what I am singing WELL. And the lyrics… well, they’re often just cringeworthy. Even “Eagles’ Wings” is fine poetry in comparison to the unsingable mess that is “Trading My Sorrows.” You wanna talk about a song that music directors schedule because “kids love it” when really kids love to mock it… that’s the prime example right there.

    Here’s another example. The past few years at Easter Vigil, we included a song called “Death in His Grave” that was forced on us by our youth music minister. This song had everything that I dislike about bad contemporary worship music. For one thing, it’s unsingable. If after three years of doing the song a group of trained musicians STILL can’t get the meter and rhythms down, that should be a red flag that the congregation won’t be able to pick it up either. And for another thing, the lyrics are gobbledygook and occasionally border on stream of consciousness territory. There’s even an “oh-oh, oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” hook which makes me cringe to even think about it. It felt more like singing around a campfire than a Roman Catholic Mass. Fortunately this year, our music director put her foot down and banned this song from the Easter Vigil because we never had been able to sing it right. Of course, this same music director also struck “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” (Stabat Mater) from the Good Friday playlist just because “she didn’t like it” and added two blah CCM P&W songs to the Holy Thursday playlist…. oh well, no one’s perfect.

    In any case, there’s some garbage in Gather Comprehensive that puts even the ten songs on your list to shame. Here are my personal least favorites:

    – “Ashes” – “We rise again from ashes/To create OURSELVES anew”? “An offering of ashes, an offering to You”? Problematic on so many fronts. Literally, the Celine Dion song of the same name is better for Mass than this.
    – “What You Have Done for Me” – An awful hymn on several levels: (1) Unsingable. It’s one of those hymns where verse three is COMPLETELY different from the first two, so just when you think you’ve learned the song, you find out you haven’t. (2) Cringeworthy lyrics, especially in verse three which seems to suddenly shift from the in persona Christi tone of the first two verses and the refrain to “I will look to you when life on earth has ended.” Who is supposed to be addressing whom in that line? I tell you, verse three may as well be from an entirely different song. (3) Reductive melody. Once again, verse three is the worst offender with a melody line that is literally lifted straight from “Les Miserables.” Memo to Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schonberg: get your lawyers together!
    – “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” – Speaking of reductive hymns… it’s too bad Dave Brubeck is no longer with us, as he missed his chance to sue the writers of this “hymn” for plagiarism. Lyrically this song is pretty solid; it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t such a blatant ripoff of “Take Five.”
    – “My Song Will Be for You Forever” – This one’s actually a pretty nice song too, but unsuitable for Liturgy unless it’s a wedding Mass. If you’re singing this, you may as well be singing Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love.” Literally no explicit mention of God anywhere in the lyrics. It’s a love song, pure and simple, more suitable for the “Delilah” radio show than for a Mass.
    – “Open My Eyes” by Jesse Manibusan – This one’s just kind of “meh” until you get to the unsingable bridge. Again, a group of trained musicians can’t get those crazy rhythms right and we expect the congregation to be able to sing it? And the last verse has us switch from singing to Christ to singing to “Love” as though “Love” were a person. Just a badly, badly written song.

  87. John Fay says:

    While insipidity is perhaps in the ear of the beholder, there are a couple of objective criteria that one can use to rate Catholic (and other) hymnody. One is the use of God’s Holy Name as a familiar greeting, which the USCCB did have the decency to outlaw some years ago.

    A second abuse, which unfortunately is still allowed, is the practice of speaking for God instead of speaking to Him. The hymn “I Am the Bread of Life” exemplifies this abuse. I am not the Bread of Life; he who comes to me will most likely hunger again after a few hours; I will not be raising anybody up on the last day. In short, I am not God; this is a lesson that I learned late and with difficulty, and hymns like this one did not help. From what I have seen, heard, and read, I am not alone in having this problem.

    A third objective measure is whether or not the hymn contains a doctrinal error. For example, in the fourth verse of “Gather Us In” we find that God is “not in some Heaven, light-years away.” Does the Church really teach that God is not to be found in Heaven? Or have we had a magisterial teaching on the distance between Earth and Heaven? Another example is the dreadful “We Can Make a Difference,” which seems to forget Jesus’ statement that “without Me, you can do nothing.”

    1. Chris says:

      That lyric in “Gather Us In” has always bothered me. The version of Gather Comprehensive we use in our church omits that verse, but that doesn’t make the song any more palatable. May I also add that “dreamings” is not a word in any version of the English language I know of. Any song where the writer has to make up a word to fit a rhyming scheme is an objective example of bad writing.

      “We Can Make a Difference” is not in the hymnal we use, but the very similar “We Are the Light of the World” is. Along with “They’ll Know We Are Christians” and “How Can We Be Silent” which not only has a militaristic sound but reminds me of a gas-station commercial jingle from when I was a kid. Any “hymn” with self-congratulatory lyrics needs to be stripped out of the hymnals as well.

  88. Marcia says:

    For all those who say we “shouldn’t judge”: Actually, we’re called upon to exercise judgment as Christians all the time, particularly through the virtue of prudence. And when I hear “hymns” with banal, 70’s-style-elevator-music melodies, accompanied by silly and theologically-incorrect lyrics, then yes, I am going to point out that these are Bad Hymns.

  89. Henry Law says:

    The mere possibility of having this music inflicted was one of the things that drove me away from the Catholic Church.

  90. Porter Girl says:

    I think much of the problem is with pastors who allow this sort of garbage week in and week out. The older ones especially seem to think these songs are all just hunky-dory. The younger priests, though, are often quite orthodox and are attempting to purge much of this hoakiness out of their parishes. Unfortunately, they often receive pushback from the “music director” (usually a volunteer, or low-paid, untrained hack) along with a group of older baby-boomers (read: big donors) who refuse to respect the fact that our church is hierarchical and that the pastor is the one who gets to call the shots. He soon learns that it’s like fighting city hall, unless he has the courage to fire his staff and hire new people. Not a task for the faint of heart. Pray for our priests.

  91. Philly Phil says:

    What funny… you can see the Jesus bobble head nodding when the priest is talking about how Talbot’s music isn’t for mass.

  92. Philly Phil says:

    What’s funny… you can see the Jesus bobble head nodding when the priest is talking about how Talbot’s music isn’t for mass.

    BTW – I totally agree with this list 100%!!!

  93. Mary says:

    Found this website while looking for music for my Catholic Mom’s funeral. I think you want to return to a time in the church’s history that wasn’t always great for some people, women and children especially. Do any of the talk show hosts want to begin wearing hats (cardinal red, of course) that have the acronym “MCGA’ (Make Church Great Again) across the front?

    Honoring my Mom’s memory with both traditional and folksy Catholic Christian songs. . . and even she wouldn’t be against adding a song written by a Protestant . . . .leaning towards Amazing Grace.

    1. Annie says:

      Funeral Masses are not meant to honor or eulogize the deceased. Rather, they are prayers to God for the repose of the person’s soul. It really doesn’t matter if the deceased loved a certain song or not; music for Mass is of a certain, specific type, i.e. sacred, and is independent of popularity. “Amazing Grace” is a beautiful, traditional hymn and, frankly, of good quality, but it has long been associated with Protestantism that it is tainted for use in a Catholic Mass.

  94. Kathy says:

    Regarding your remarks on funerals – my brother died in February and I cringed at the thought of “Be Not Afraid” and “On Eagles Wings” standards in my diocese. I asked that no post vat II music be sung. The cantor who does the Latin mass took care of the music and this is what was sung:
    Entrance – Holy God We Praise thy Name
    Offertory – Ave Maria (Bach Gounod)
    Communion – Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
    Incensing of coffin – In Paradisum
    Recessional – The Strife is O’er (Palestrina)

  95. Christa says:

    I’m sorry but you forgot one of the greatest offenders – The Supper of the Lord!! You will never hear this the same again:

    https://youtu.be/KDAlnQIlNyI

    https://youtu.be/-OTXp1n0wv4

    I’m surprised there is not a copyright lawsuit over this one!! Heaven, help us!!

  96. James Carroll says:

    I agree on most of those songs. I enjoy singing “Be Not Afraid”, as well as “On Eagles Wings.” The big problem I have had (and ESPECIALLY had with your music selection) was that the musicians and singers were bad. Not as in “couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket” but bad as in “so syrupy you get diabetes from listening to them”. They are singing in voices that I think they intend to be calm and soothing, and they come off as if they are singing lullabies to children. In some of them I wanted to slap their metronomes and get them to pick up the beat, we’re not here to be droned into, we’re here to march into the spiritual battle.

    In short, songs at Mass need to be SUNG with love that’s BOLD — bold enough to hang on a cross for us. NOT sung like we are mewling children whom we don’t want to frighten.

  97. E. says:

    I rolled with laughter through this show because these songs are not all that bad in my opinion! lol!!!
    As a Catholic School teacher, there are much worse songs, as well as those more difficult to sing!
    Good show! Enjoyed it with smiles and laughter!

  98. Ami says:

    How did Ashes not get on that list? It’s the cliche terrible Ash Wednesday song you hear everywhere in North America, and to this day I have no idea what it’s actually about.

  99. Bob says:

    Then you just lost your shirt, dude.

  100. Katie winant says:

    How incredibly offensive. How do you call yourselves Catholic . You completely disrespect a generation of Catholics who were inspired by this music. You should be ashamed of yourselves. There are different tastes of music that shift from generation to generation. Wow! And a priest contributes to this garbage.

  101. Katie winant says:

    Go to confession!

    1. Porter Girl says:

      How is it offensive or disrespectful to desire truly sacred music during Mass? Most of the above mentioned songs do not qualify as such. There are actual Church documents, before and after Vatican II, that specify the nature and quality of music the Church requires for Mass. Sacred music is independent of popularity. It has it’s own criteria for being able to claim the title “sacred music.” It doesn’t depend on a congregation liking it, “feeling inspired” by it, or whether or not it will entice people to come to Mass. It’s not entertainment. It’s the prayer of the Church. Shifting tastes in music from generation to generation should remain in the secular world, not dictate what is sung during the Liturgy. Otherwise, where does it end? Should our priests wear backward ball caps and tank tops to show off their tatoos, so our young men will feel “relevant” during the Consecration? Catholics go to confession to have sins forgiven. There is no sin in ridiculing the ridiculous.

  102. Andrea says:

    Hi guys,
    Music, another form of art, is very subjective, and can evoke personal feelings of joy or despair or disgust. (Ryan Scheel reminds me of myself when I am off and running on something I don’t like at all or approve of. I will run it down to the ground as it offends me.)

    I am older than you three but love new songs and new beats. I think the Music Directors do have a death grip on the music heard today in our church. Most of them are about as old as dirt. I agree with you, the songs you played were all lame and I get the chills when I hear music that is trying hard to be profound and falling flat on its face. I am actually embarrassed to be caught listening to it. Obviously when it is church music we have to stay the course and finish out the Mass. Some music tries to be light-hearted in their liturgical message and just ends up silly.

    However, younger or older, there are people out there who think most of that music is just fine. It doesn’t mean to say that they can’t grow musically if and when they hear better music. I think we need to invest in better music during Mass. I agree with you.

    I may not have Fr. Rich agreeing with me on this one but I don’t like choirs singing in Latin either, unless it is the Gregorian Chant. I feel excluded from the experience or a large part of the Mass.

  103. Jenny says:

    I think it speaks volumes that this music is being laughed at and made fun of. True sacred music isn’t laughable. You never hear people making fun of traditional hymns or chant. But bring up a title from OCP’s fare, and folks just have at it with the jokes. The music is silly,embarrassing, and not suutable for the Liturgy.

  104. Dr. Meler says:

    Why compare Bach and the Beatles? Was Mozart better than Beethoven because he wrote music first? If you lived 1200 years or so ago, would the Carolingian synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant being attributed to Pope Gregory I be sacrilegious? Why not sing the good ol’ Ambrosian chant? All the ignorant, non-musically, trained followers out there should take care to think (or do their research) for themselves before they make themselves sound stupid. You could write a thesis about what makes a hymn or song suitable for today’s Mass, and would likely need to review cultural, temporal, political, as well as theological considerations before addressing the actual musicality of any specific hymns. When it comes down to it, this show and most of the comments are about as sanguine as why wearing green on St Patty’s day is better than orange. Get over it. Stop segregating and dividing our people.

  105. Jenny says:

    Music for the Mass is to direct our focus to God, not to ourselves, in the specific manner that Church documents require. It is public worship in communion with greater Church around the world, hence term “Universal Church.” Parishes become segregated and divided when they attempt to customize the music for a particular “audience.” But, it’s not a playlist, it’s worship, and Catholicism has a very particular way of worship, unlike other faiths. When we cater to various tastes, cultures, and preferences (though well-meaning) it can polticize the Mass and it becomes divisive to worship – the very opposite of the unifying nature of the celebration of Mass, because the focus then becomes directed towards the congregation present instead of toward the altar where it belongs.

  106. Miss Lynn says:

    I am a Baby Boomer baptized in adulthood and carry no emotional baggage regarding these hymns. Therefore, I feel qualified to assure you: they are truly, objectively bad. The first children’s mass I sat through as a parochial school teacher almost had me running down the aisle screaming for mercy; it featured one of the hymns (I think it was the 4th from last) played here. The depth of loathing that people harbor towards this music is not just a matter of taste; with minimal musical understanding, you can recognize them for what they are: simple-minded rip-offs of pop songs with neither the honest simplicity of folk tunes nor the ecstatic grandeur of complex composed music. (Can anyone listen to “On Eagles Wings” and not hear Barry Manilow at his absolute big-orchestra, half-tone modulation worst?) Why has Vatican II been interpreted, at least in the United States, to mean “if it’s ugly it must be true?” Could it possibly be the Protestant majority making the bishops here feel as if they need to apologize for Mozart and Michelangelo? Is it a misplaced sense of guilt over the sometimes ill-gotten riches that we enjoy as Catholics? Sitting through not just hymns but the mass settings themselves is like wearing a hair shirt. Is that the point? Are we be propelled towards sainthood, one excruciating song at a time?

  107. Christina says:

    Yes, the music is torture to listen to, a real penance, and a serious distraction to worship, even when sung relatively well. Many converts to the faith are disappointed when they actually attend Mass, and confused as to why this music is used, and not the chant or beautiful hymns they expected. Note to unqualified, untrained “music directors” (you know who you are), pastors, and bishops: We’re not simple-minded, brain-dead imbeciles who won’t be able to “catch on” to Latin responses or Mass settings with well-written melodies! Stop treating congregations like children watching an episode of Barney. Stop treating children as though they are too young to appreciate good quality music alongside their parents and therefore need these dippy songs to be entertained, just teach them the faith through the appropriate litugy! Stop depriving Catholics of their right to hear proper liturgical music, and allow us to worship the way we are meant. It worked for centuries, folks.

  108. Owen Borda says:

    Hey, as a music director for over 30 years, I have, heard and performed plenty. You guys missed an entire catalog of music that is every bit as “bad” as what you have listed.
    – Bring Flowers of the Fairest
    – On this day O Beautiful Mother
    – O Lord I am not Worthy
    – O Saving Victim Opening Wide

    Questionable lyrics, weak theology with awful sing-song tunes….why aren’t these and so many others – and there are plenty of them – on the list?
    We offer them because they speak to different segments of the congregation and that is our job, to help people open their hearts.
    And I don;tknow that I have ever “Jesus is a Friend of Mine” actually sung in worship.

    1. James says:

      These songs (mentioned by Owen above) were not discussed because most likely they are never sung at Mass anymore. Most people only know of the popular OCP offerings, since most parishes use their publications. OCP is a publishing company out to sell their “latest amd greatest,” and their products are widely marketed to and purchased by parishes with untrained (or poorly trained) music directors and cantors, who are often volunteers. They put out a magazine that instructs parishes on what to sing on any given Sunday, so in essence they have been dictating the music for awhile now. But they are not a branch of the Vatican, and have no real authority to do so. They are in the business of selling copyrights, masquerading as Catholic music experts. However, I agree you can’t argue taste. “Old” doesn’t necessarily mean “better” anymore than new means “improved.” That’s why it’s important for pastors to ensure that the actual texts of the Mass are spoken/sung correctly, and that more importance is given to the ordinaries and propers, because technically hymns and songs aren’t required in the Mass. A choir’s job is to sing “the Mass,” not just “at Mass.” When that happens, congregations are able to participate more and in the correct way. That is true worship in the Catholic Church. Not just a “feel-good-that-I-am here-and-Jesus-loves-me” gathering. Not, “Oh, we need to sing something that teens will think is cool, because it’s a Confirmation Mass.” It’s not about us! It’s about worshipping God the way the Church directs us. Hymns are meant to enhance that worship, but not by putting the focus on ourselves, and not with emotionally manipulative music similar to a megachurch down the road. A lot of the current song choices today are exactly just that, and we sing about us, or how we feel, or what we’re going to go out and do once we leave Mass. The actual texts of the Mass are not copyrighted. They don’t need to be purchased yearly. There is also a wealth of hymns in public domain that can be downloaded and reproduced for free. OCP preys on ignorant parish music directors and uninvolved/distracted pastors.

  109. Chris R says:

    The music director at my parish sent her choir directors a link to this podcast and asked us to listen so we could discuss. I have a few comments for the hosts of the show.
    First, on a positive note, I agreed with your assertion of the primacy of the Liturgy and the importance of good and beautiful Liturgy. I also was happy to hear of your support for hiring good musicians and directors to achieve that level of beauty.
    I found the remaining 40 minutes to be entirely devoid of useful content and unprofessionally done. To simply play a series of songs, from performance recordings, outside of a Liturgical context, and not to provide any objective reasons for labeling them as “bad”, whether from a scriptural or theological basis, or on a musical basis of un-singability discouraging full and active participation, was intellectually lazy and dishonest. Your argument essentially boiled down to a dislike of folk music, and somehow made the leap that your personal tastes are the equivalent of good Liturgy. The only credentials you supplied to support your assertions were that you had a “deeper faith” because you attend daily Mass and go to Confession; these alone don’t give me any confidence in your ability to discern good from bad music.
    The unprofessional approach was further degraded by your attempts at using shocking language. I am not a prude nor easily offended by such language, but it served no purpose. Rather, it made you look like a group of middle-school boys on the playground snickering as they practiced the curse words they learned from their older brothers.
    If that had been the extent of it, I would simply report back to my director that there was nothing of interest and we shouldn’t bother discussing it. However, the tone and tenor of your conversation was a far cry from my expectations for something called, “The Catholic Talk Show.” The mockery you made of the selected songs failed to take into account the millions of people for whom these songs were a comfort, or were an integral part of their faith journey. The personal insults to the composers were inexcusable. I have met several of the composers you so rudely attacked. You, on the other hand, didn’t even have the professional integrity to learn to pronounce their names correctly. Any interest I may have had in your opinions was lost in your crude approach. Bobble-head Jesus may have been nodding at your puerile attempts at humor, but I doubt the real one was amused.
    I am highly disappointed that people who proudly wear the mantle of the Catholic Faith have so little regard for the message of its founder. Jesus practiced and preached compassion, kindness, mercy, and humility. He cared for saints and sinners, rich and poor, tax collectors, prostitutes, Jews, Samaritans, and Roman Centurions. The people he had no time for and to whom he directed his infrequent wrath were the self-righteous hypocrites who followed “the rules”, but looked down their noses at their fellow human beings.
    If you decide to do the hard work of doing objective analysis of Catholic Hymns across all genres and can do so in a Christian manner, I’d be interested in your thoughts. Otherwise, this is the last of your podcasts I will be listening to.

  110. Christopher Reid says:

    Wow, these songs take me back to when I was a child of the 80’s and early 90’s and parents taking me to Church. This was fun nostalgia on the show, but I agree these songs need to be banished from churches.

  111. Diane Bee says:

    Just saw this. I’m really surprised the guys on the podcast think the reason for this music is that the music leaders wanted it. Make no mistake, it was then and has always been because of the priests. And now that many parishes are used to it, it’s the priests who want to keep it for “pastoral” reasons, even if they now hate it. Musicians pretty much do what they’re told.

  112. Francois Ste. Jean says:

    These songs are in fact BAD and are played at just about every Novus Ordo mass I have attended since the ’70’s. Bad music is one thing but what about Catholic music? The show touched on the fact that many of these songs in the hymnals are written by Non-Catholics. We live in an age that if it’s in the liturgy it better be Catholic. Anything less is an apostasy.

Leave a Reply

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

Scroll to top