An Unmet Need

     These days, I am perpetually weary. I know I’m not alone in that. A great many Americans feel more beleaguered than they’ll openly admit. We’re supposed to be the “Can Do” nation, ready for anything and fully prepared to cope with the worst. (“We walk around with hardons and guns blazing all the time.” – Richard Hoyt) But “the worst” isn’t, pardon the phrasing, the worst of it.

     “The worst” is the noise. The perpetual din. The endless screaming, wailing, moaning, hectoring, begging, and cursing. The ceaseless demands from politicians. The carping from the unsatisfied. The orations of the world-savers. The unending gimme gimme gimme of those who want something they can’t get for themselves and will never realize that no amount of free stuff will make them happy. And of course, the “media” of all varieties, every one of which insists that we must all stay right-up-to-the-minute on What’s Happening Now. Yes, including the bloody Internet.

     The great need of our time is silence. We’re starved for it. The din is making us crazy. We’re unable to cope with its relentlessness. And the greatest of all ironies is that in nearly every case, we collaborate in our own deprivation.


     As is usual for me early on a Sunday, I’m getting ready for Mass. My parish holds three Masses per Sunday. Two are, as is apparently customary today, “sung” Masses where the congregation is expected to sing responses and selected hymns at many points. But the earliest one, which I prefer, is essentially silent.

     It strikes me as more appropriate to the Mass than all the singing. The Mass is a re-enactment of the Last Supper, the night before Christ’s Passion was to begin. I find insane the notion that He and the Twelve Apostles celebrated that seder with a lot of peppy songs.

     In case it hasn’t come through clearly, I despise modern “liturgical” music. It strikes me as offensive to the solemnity of the Mass. But my pastor, in all other regards a worthy priest of Christ, is trying to force that music into the 7:30 Sunday Mass, destroying its blessed silence. I have no idea what to say to him…and that’s probably a good thing.


     I saw something inexpressibly beautiful a moment ago, over at Gab:

     That is the sort of person America needs today. Someone who will help you resist the din. Someone with whom you can keep company without being obliged to blather. Someone who’ll “keep his mouth shut in a pleasant tone of voice” (Edgar Pangborn) Someone who wants nothing but to share peace in company. Where such people are to be found, I have no idea.

     Dear Gentle Reader, I wish you a day of silence. A day free from the din. A day, whatever its demands on your labor, that makes no demand that you listen. A day when your interior voices are audible, unobstructed by the clamor the world seeks to impose on us.

     That’s all from me for today. May God bless and keep you all.


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    • doubletrouble on August 20, 2023 at 7:09 AM

    Fran- PLEASE try a Traditional Mass if you have the opportunity. The congregation remain essentially silent, except for the entrance & exit hymns. And hymns they are- none of that ‘peppy’ music; the music director is called Director of Sacred Music, & sacred it is. No guitars or drums either- beautiful choir voices accompanied by the pipe organ. Have a blessed Sunday. 

  1. Start by asking other attendees of the mass if they prefer the silent mass. They may, or they may just attend because of the timing of the mass. Once you have that information, approach the priest about your concerns.
    If you want to improve your chances of getting him to keep the mass the same as it’s been, you might want to START with the idea of making it a fully Traditional mass. Your silent ‘compromise’ might have a better chance of winning.

  2. I am in full agreement with modern church music. It seems to have been written by hippies who had far too high an opinion of their musical talent, and who decided to throw in various key changes and odd time signatures just to prove that they could. Vapid, empty, and irritating is how I would characterize it.

    Compare the modern hymnal to something like St. Gregory’s or St. Basil’s hymnal, and you will see just how much beauty and tradition the modern church has thrown away. Not lost, as if they set it down and forgot where they left it, but thrown away, discarded on purpose.

    • SiG on August 20, 2023 at 1:11 PM

    I’m in complete agreement on the din.  If I never again hear the name of that most fowl offspring of the mentally deficient resident of the White House, I’ll go peacefully into that good night with a smile on my face. It’s getting to be quite a list of names like that.

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