Rorate Caeli

Irish cathedral to ban the use of secular songs in ceremonies

This may not be much, but it is a start. This cathedral was designed by the great A.W. Pugin himself. CAP.

St. Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy

From ciNews:
Songs that are not religious in nature will no longer be allowed at ceremonies in St. Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy.

The cathedral’s authorities, who are concerned at an increase in the use of such songs, in particular during wedding and funeral liturgies, have told parishioners that pop music and folk songs will no longer permitted. The authorities feel that although pop or folk songs involved may well be beautiful, they do not respect the sacred character of the liturgy.

Curate Fr. Richard Lawless said he and his colleagues were very mindful in particular that newly-bereaved people were going through a difficult time and would be ‘diplomatic and not dogmatic’ in dealing with requests for the use of various songs. He said the priest involved would explain why a church was, or was not, an appropriate setting for certain music.

“The primary role of a priest is pastoral care, but in the event of a family pointing out the importance of a certain piece of music, that they say must be used for a ceremony, we will look at facilitating and accommodating the request,” he told the congregation. “We are really asking people to respect the sacredness of the building and also the occasion,” he added.

Fr Lawless said certain songs could be used, if so wished, in a funeral home or in a cemetery when the prayers and the Christian part of a funeral service are over. It was the wish of the parish not to upset or offend parishioners in the matter, he went on.

Fr Lawless pointed out that St Aidan’s parish had a beautiful liturgical tradition and was currently served by four choirs and several solo performers. Quoting from the words of St. Paul [...], he told parishioners that churchgoers ‘should sing the words and tunes of the psalm and hymns, and to go out singing and chanting to the Lord in their hearts.’

by Fintan Deere

Picture is from


  1. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Good first step.

    NOw I wish the USA Catholic Church would ban the use (prevalent in the USA at least), of contemporary Christian or distinctly Protestant music from the Roman Catholic Mass.

    I, and I am sure alot of faithful Catholics, don't need to go to Mass and feel more that we're at a Baptist "Camp Meeting", or at an evangelical revival, or a little Pentecostolist Church in the hills in the BLue Ridge Mts. of Virginia etc.

    Also, the seemingly popular but totally inappropriate hymn considering it's composer (Martin Luther)..."A Mighty Fortress", should not be used in a Catholic Church.

    Just ban it.

  2. If that were the only problem! There are a host of other un-Catholic anomalies that require proscription. Perhaps they are beginning to notice how the churches are emptying out in Ireland these days.

  3. Actually each episcopal conference is supposed to put together a "white list" of hymns and other music suitable for Mass (Liturgiam Authenticam 108).

  4. Deo gratias, another step in the right direction. Slowly but surely the course correction is being made, and we must pray that much more to ask Our Lady's help in this endeavor to restore all things in Christ.

  5. This is just an implementation of the Apostolic Exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" from 2007. There it is adviced that "Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. ---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. --- Gregorian chant --- suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy."

    However, few bishops and parish priests seem to observe these words from the Chair of Peter. According to these instructions, even a concert piece of Bach is awkward in the liturgy. (We should not mention Disney film tunes and top list winners with more or less Christian lyrics in sentimental style)

  6. Aquino4:38 PM

    dcs - you're right, of course. But, thankfully, that has not been done here in the UK.

    If it had been done, we'd have ended up with all sorts of 'formalised' heterdox theology. This is one instance where I am glad our bishops have disobeyed Rome.

  7. Anonymous6:09 PM

    Fix the Liturgy of the Hours while you are at. Luther's swan song and many other protestant ones are in there with the blessing of the ICEL.

    Better yet say the Breviary instead and avoid wounding your conscience.

  8. Anonymous6:09 PM

    It sometimes surprises me that such good things come out of small parishes and Dioceases in often a country where we would not expect it. Yet in the big cities, with their "leadership" labels attached to them, the same old goes on and on often ignoring Catholic tradition and directives from Rome. I suppose this is a good example of planting the seeds. God Bless Ireland.

  9. Anonymous7:41 PM

    The solution is simple: ban everything added since 1960 and let various hymns back in the door if they pass a rigorous test set by Rome. One condition would be that nothing which started in Protestantism could be added.


  10. Anonymous1:24 AM

    What happened to the altar in the pic? Yuck

  11. Anonymous1:49 AM

    They ushered in novelties so very quick, let them out the brakes on now just as quick. Go back to pre 1960 like PKTP suggests.

  12. Finally, the Irish are taking the lead on an issue of continuity. Run with the ball, lads!

  13. If only "On Eagles Wings" could be banned from every Catholic church.....

  14. One condition would be that nothing which started in Protestantism could be added.

    So no Bach? or could his music be included because he was said to have Catholic sympathies, and one of his sons converted to Catholicism?

  15. Anonymous3:00 PM

    For PKTP,
    "‘Diocesan institute’ to be formed for Episcopal nuns joining Catholic Church"

  16. Anonymous5:24 PM

    What?!?, No more "Danny Boy"?!?

  17. Joe B5:46 PM

    It has taken me a few years to discern the beauty in chanting, but now that I've crossed the threshhold I see why the church has had a preference for it over the ages. It just takes time and a suitable environment and mass, but truly it is more beautiful than I gave it credit for, and in my opinion, given those conditions, more beautiful than any other form of music. It should have precedence.

    Of course, it took SSPX to show that to me. Even in their masses of less than 200 faithful they seem to excel in choir quality.

  18. How the liturgy looks in that cathedral:

    Not a joke, sadly.

  19. In Europe it is quit common to use concert music as background effects under Holy Communion or after the supplication. Air of Bach or a cello suite could be used. That is not liturgy. It was written as entertainment for royal courts.

  20. Anonymous8:38 PM

    We'd be very glad if you'd post a link to our blog:

    We'd also be delighted if you could let your readers know about our forthcoming Mass:

    For which our Bishop has granted the Plenary Indulgence for the Holy Year for Priests.

    God bless you!

    St. Conleth's CHA

  21. John - scandalous.

    I once visited this Cathedral (during the incumbency of the previous bishop - now happily emeritus) and was less than impressed with what had been done to a beauthiful Pugin gem (though nowhere near as bad as Killarney Cathedral). The whole thing had 'sadness' written all over it.

    Hopefully, there has been a turning of the tide with a new bishop.

  22. Jean said...
    Finally, the Irish are taking the lead on an issue of continuity. Run with the ball, lads!


    We are St. Joan,
    Philomena, Campion.
    The Faith in its whole
    Is what we do champion.

    We are St. Margaret,
    Pearl of York,
    Where the bowels of the Faith
    They tried to torque.

    We are Sir More,
    That's Thomas, the Saint,
    Whose reputation
    They could not taint.

    We are vocations,
    In Ireland, kneeling,
    Adoring His presence,
    It's not just a feeling.

    We are descendents
    Of Irish and beggin'
    To stop all the men
    Who are turning us pagan!

    We are the poor,
    Uneducated ones,
    But in faith, well-informed,
    The heretic shuns.

    And when we are told,
    "Don't kneel anymore."
    Since we don't hold doctorates...
    We kneel and IGNORE!!

  23. Indeed Quanta Cura!

    The eagle has at last landed - let us hope it will be grounded with the rest of the un-Catholic paraphernalia that goes with it.

  24. Pre vatican 2 there was no issue of "choice": funerals were simple and dignified - one had a proper sung requiem mass in black to the sombre ferial tone and that was that. Today most funerals aren't real Requiem's they are "celbrations of the life" of the decased not devout prayers for the fate of the deceased's immortal soul. Tpoya's so called requiem's are usually not celebrated in even in purple they are in white, one is lucky if any prayers are made for the repose of the soul and instead we get a panagyeric on how good the deceased was: "never came to mass but love his garden" etc etc, all accompanied by a few modern hymns or even worse a tape of some popular song: My Way or the like.

    The solution is simple bring back the real Requiem Mass (inclding the Dies Irae) celebratred in black and accompanied by chant!

  25. Saint Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford (Diocese of Ferns) was designed by the English Architect, AW Pugin and construction started in 1843. However, building stopped during the Great Famine and it was not dedicated until 1860. The Spire was completed in 1873. It was restored to its original Pugin splendour in 1994 and is well worth a visit. The church has a wonderful decorative stencilling. The colours and motifs of the stencilling were painstakingly and faithfully reproduced by analysis of paint scrapings taken from the walls and the scrutiny of old photographs. The paints were compounded specifically to replicate the originals.

    The interior was "re-ordered" in the late 1960s and was typical of its time. Restoration was undertaken while Brendan Comiskey was Bishop and had his full support. The project was initiated and completed thanks to a succession of capable Cathedral Administrators esp. Fr Matthias Glynn who was known for his interest in literature and the arts and who shared Pugin's Gothic passion to the full.

    The old reredos, nine caen-stone panels showing scenes of sacrifice from the OT, had survived the 1960s re-ordering. The old tabernacle and its spired canopy were set in front of the reredos on a stone table. Sculptured panels for the decoration of the table were obtained from St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry which, by an odd irony, was reordering its own sanctuary and no longer had use for them.

    Father Desmond Forristal in his Intercom article of November 1995 said
    "The restoration of St Aidan's Cathedral may well mark the end of one era in Irish church architecture and the beginning of another. It is certainly an occasion for looking back on the last thirty years, the period that has elapsed since the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965."

  26. Can we not have 'Irish Church to ban the use of secular songs in ceremonies'....this is long over due. Well done Diocese of Ferns !


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