I was bothered by Charles’ comment in the B16, Meet Marty Haugen thread.
(F)or Mr. Haugen to formally state his personal convictions that the institution (The Church Christ founded) that he has purposefully benefited financially from throughout his career, starting even as a “parish musician,” is essentially at odds and in error with Jesus Christ’s commission (as Mr. Haugen sees it) as regards Holy Orders, seems intellectually dishonest at the least, hypocritcal at the worst. Does he not receive royalties every time a publisher reprints “All Are Welcome” in their hymnal or a recording of it is sold or played on a commercial broadcast? But yet, he does not believe, in fact, that “all are welcome” in the Roman Catholic Church? Hello?
The Catholic Church as an institution does not hire musicians, and it doesn’t utilize the music they compose.
Pastors, staff members, and parishioners make these choices. And in any case, their understanding of ecclesiology need not be perfect or orthodox in any sense for them to pay a musician, either by salary or royalties, who may or may not be completely orthodox. If the morality of a composer were any sort of determining factor in using that person’s music, are church musicians prepared to study biography in detail? Or are we being a tad hypocritical?
I suppose a principle strongly held might cause a person to brush up against cooperation with what they perceive as evil, wrong, misperceived, or less than a good thing. I’d suppose that abortion opponents might choose to practice tax resistance rather than cooperate with a society dedicated to the destruction of the unborn. More often, a convenient choice is made: to attempt to punish those who do not believe with full congruence.
I remain unconvinced of the philosophy of “love it or leave it,” or as the neo-orthodox would rephrase: obey or get out. It struck me as rather dumb when applied to Vietnam War protesters in the 70’s. It seems more an exercise in anger today than an exercise in logic.
As a lay person in the employ of Catholic parishes for the past twenty years, I identify far, far more with the people I serve than with the institution. My retirement portfolio is laughable. The institution contributed zero to the cost of my schooling. I think the pope, curia, bishops, and clergy make catastrophic errors in judgment almost daily. If they asked me, I’d get specific. Parishioners have confirmed my call from God, and they make serving as a liturgist fruitful, worthwhile, and a blessed opportunity.
Yet why don’t I feel I’m a hypocrite?
Because I work for the people. I don’t serve my “superiors.” My pastor can hire and fire as he wishes, giving two week’s notice or two week’s pay. The institutional Church owes me nothing and the same’s true in the opposite direction.
Marty Haugen says he differs with the institutional Church. And I say, “So what?” People are free to buy, use, sing, play, ignore, burn, or criticize his music. What I often detect from his critics is an immature sense of envy. “My compositions are better. Why aren’t I published? Why isn’t my music sing for the pope, played in parishes, or the subject of adoring fans?”
My only answer for envy is that no matter how good you are or that you think you are, nobody owes you a darn thing. Tough news, but somebody has to break it.
Or if you want to get Biblical, why do the wicked thrive and the just suffer? If you really want the answer, turn the clock back a few weeks.