You know the picture, right? This is your typical church musician (played ably by Jimmy Stewart) in tough negotiation with the pastor (kudos, Lionel Barrymore) over his salary. It could be Scrooge and Cratchit. Or your last organist and your current pastor, maybe. Take your pick. It’s the same story, pretty much.
Shawn decided to keep our cat and mouse game going, but I did get an early comment in (undeleted as of tonight) on this thread which attempts to tackle the issue of paying organists enough.
There’s a surprising amount of old-fashioned Catholic ignorance and skinflintism surfacing in the motu-waiting room that is NLM. Do you really want to know why I think the mp will be nearly irrelevant to mainstream Catholicism? Listen in (most of this is from the same person, but not all):
I’m not sure I understand why the organist/parish contract should be any different from any other contract in the market economy, that is to say, the employer can always be expected to want to pay nothing and the employee can always be expected to desire a billion plus dollars per hour of work.
… it’s at least worth considering allowing the contributing members of the parish to vote on such matters as staff salaries.
A musician should NOT expect to be paid 40 hours wages if he is not actively busy for 40 hours.
Sorry, but it’s not worth good wages.
… with a high school teacher who can conduct and is willing to teach adults, you can do pretty well. It’s how it was done before V2. I was there and I remember.
Performing isn’t exactly work, you just get up there and do it — anyone could learn that!
Illuminating, to say the least. This kind of stuff shows the attitude of many conservative parishioners–and I’ve known a lot of them in twenty-plus years of ministry. It’s the expectation of getting something for nothing whenever that’s possible:
Let the pope write a three-page letter and that will straighten out those bishops!
Karl Keating will send out his brochure and our pastors and liturgists will immediately leap into compliance!
I will talk to the pastor and make him see reason to do as I ask!
I’ll e-mail Cardinal Arinze in Rome and get him to clean house in my parish!
I’m sorry to bring the bad news here, people, but if you want peace work for justice. Oops, wrong tape. Let’s play it again …
If you want things to change, what makes you think this isn’t a call from God to roll up your sleeves and get to work yourself? Oh, that’s right. The other liberals are doing it that way. And you can’t have that. Plus it might take a really long time. That radical commie Oscar Romero said something about that, right?
Assuming we’re all adults here, Mom and Dad aren’t going to barge in and make it all right. They aren’t going to give you the car keys, pay for college, set you up in business, or even bandaid your knee after you’ve been roughhousing with those mean little progressive bullies in the sacristy.
I will give some of the NLM contributors credit: they are real musicians dealing with real situations in real parishes. They are trying valiantly to implement their vision of Catholic liturgy despite obstacles. I have a lot of respect for that commitment to quality and the sacrifice that is needed for it.
It is harder to respect people who insist on receiving things, having totally overlooked the principles of sacrifice, not to mention the rules of adulthood. In other words, TANSTAAFL.
But if you want to put your faith in a “garage schola” and the kindheartedness of your volunteer chant director who doubles as your teens’ music teacher, go right ahead. I await the day in which another Tridentine parish or two might want to outbid your $5 stipend per service. If it turns out my parish steals away the schola leader, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve engaged a plainsong leader for a parish of mine.
Think about that one for a bit.