Heavy Metal Mass: St. Mary’s, Eugene

Is the LIFETEEN Mass necessary?


REFORMS OF THE NEW MASS COMING?: Its been reported here that in March, Cardinals and Bishops members of the Congregation for Divine Worship voted almost unanimously in favor of:

…a greater sacrality of the rite, of the recovery of the sense of eucharistic worship, of the recovery of the Latin language in the celebration, and of the remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentations, and inappropriate creativity.

No talk of reforming the reform, however, helped deliver our family from the LIFETEEN Mass held on Sunday, August 23rd, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Eugene, Oregon. A Mass that will forever be ingrained within my memory and filed under, “The Heavy Metal Mass of 2009”.

FEEDBACK — Hendrix turning over in his grave

Guitar feedback has been described as a cat chasing its tail — amplified sound reaches a microphone and is amplified again causing screech. The old saying, “Come to a screeching halt” can be applied here. As that is exactly what happened within the Mass at St. Mary’s Sunday–it came to a loud screeching halt, and that, on at least four different occasions.

The re-presentation of the mysteries of this divine and saving faith discovered within the Holy Mass took a back seat to the overamplification of sound, ala, Jimi Hendrix. Here’s what was happening within me spiritually:

Christ has died: SCREEEECH‘Hold on a second, Jesus’.

Christ is risen:  SCREEEEEEECH‘Wow! Did that happen again?’

Christ will come again: SCREEEEEEEE-CHEEE-SCREECH‘Oh, Come on, the volume is too loud, and microphones to close!’

Receiving Holy Communion: SCREEEE–EEEE–EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH‘Okay, that’s it, tell the kids, honey, that after reception we’ll meet outside in the garden by Our Lady to pray in silence…”


Thanks be to God for the Priest…

His homily was on the modern-day Catholic understanding of, well, being authentically Catholic in the Church and world today. That includes accepting with holy faith Church teachings on the moral life, and this priest of God pounded home the message with a constant reprise of Jesus saying, “Will you leave me also?” following each moral issue: Fornication outside of marriage… Contraception… Abortion… In the spirit of ‘this’ Mass my wife and I pounded knuckles.

On our way out of Mass following reception my Ten-year-old son, Andrew, stated the problematic reality of the LIFETEEN Mass clearly:

Andrew: “Dad, promise me you won’t take us to another LIFETEEN Mass.”

Me: “I’m curious, Andrew, why do you say that?”

Andrew: “Because, it’s inappropriate for the Mass.”

The young man with the white sword will be leading future uprisings against the use of LIFETEEN within the Holy Mass.
ASK ANDREW: The young man with the white sword will be leading future uprisings against the use of LIFETEEN within the Holy Mass. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)


I’ve taught all my 5 children to remain in Church until the priest exits following Mass. This is the teaching norm of the Church and is the norm for our family. It was with no little hesitation, then, that I brought my family out of Mass on Sunday to pray following reception… But, if the priest were to ask me as we exited, “Will you too leave me?” I think, I would have responded in this way:

“No, Jesus, I’m only going out into the garden to hear your Word…”

EDITORS NOTE: I’ve intentionally avoided here all the many reasons that LIFETEEN is inappropriate for the Mass because I wanted to focus on this experience of the St. Mary’s Mass alone. Click here for further information/comments on the subject from other concerned Catholics dedicated to reform of the reform to learn more about LIFETEEN.



6 thoughts on “Heavy Metal Mass: St. Mary’s, Eugene”

  1. Tragic. The so called “reform of the reform” is, of course welcomed only because it is paving the way for a complete restoration of the Traditional Mass. But, James, how you can “knuckle thump” because your priest preached an apparently sound enough moral sermon, when the screeching and undoubtedly other liturgical abuses are entirely his fault, is beyond me.

    Thank God for the SSPX!

  2. My Dear– Good to hear from you!

    Two things:

    1. This priest, if I’m not mistaken, is not the pastor. I’m not sure if he was visiting or not, but from previous attendance I’m pretty positive that St. Mary’s is not under his pastoral leadership–I’ve talked with the pastor before. This would mean the priest celebrating the Mass has no say…

    We ourselves were out of town visitors, and St. Mary’s is where we go when visiting (my mother-in-law) in Eugene. We reside in the southern portion of the state.

    2. As for preaching a morally sound sermon. I’m sorry Patricia, I should have been more clear within my post. Our “knuckle thump” was a result of excitement and zeal for hearing a morally challenging sermon in these here parts–a refreshing rarity I’m afraid to say…

    I was too annoyed to notice, but, my wife commented afterward on the presence of same sex “Catholic couples” in attendance. Eugene, Oregon, (as is the entire West coast of this state) is very liberal. The moral sermon, (if statistics hold true here in the states), probably stung the conscience of 50% or more of those present. Which, in my book, merits a knuckle thump…

    Hope this helps.
    Grace. Blessings. Peace to you and yours…


  3. Thanks for that warm welcome, James. Yes, of course I understand “where you’re coming from” as they say these days (along with”24/7″ and “don’t even go there” and so on!)

    It just underlines the dire state of play when we’re delighted to hear a sound sermon on basic morality, doesn’t it? Indeed, over here, diocesan parishioners are getting to the stage of knuckle thumping if God gets a mention in a sermon!

  4. As both a student of Theology (though not primarily liturgical theology, which I have studied nonetheless, particularly the Mass) and host of a metal radio show I have a few notes:
    1) Jimi Hendrix is not heavy metal/metal.
    2) From what you describe (screeching feedback, etc) if you describe it accurately, you more likely heard punk/punk rock, as that feature is more common in that genre.
    3) You haven’t described any liturgical abuses. Now I’ve seen some very close to liturgical abuses using other kinds of music, for instance playing some background music during the actual Consecration, obviously distracting from the most central and Sacred of events taking place at that time (and not in the same way that bells are used to emphasize those moments). However, if the content of the music being played were, for instance, specifically out of season without reason, or did not have the appropriate scripture references (for instance during the psalm, as well as other times) we might have an abuse on our hands. As well as in many other cases of improper content, or at inappropriate times. There are many ways music can constitute abuse, including ways many don’t realize (“Here Comes the Bride” at a Catholic Wedding is a no go, for instance)
    4) The priest celebrating any particular Mass has full control over that Mass, whether Pastor or not, within certain obvious restrictions.
    5) Much of Metal Music is actually extremely rooted in Classical Music, to a greater extent than much of the rest of our ‘praise music’, and in fact the “neo-classical” movement is a movement within the metal community/genre, which isn’t an argument one way or the other necessarily.
    6) For Patricia McKeever: The current form of the mass is actually more Traditional than the Pre-Vatican II/Tridentine Mass, which I would presume is what you refer to. Unless you actually prefer to the very early Church Masses, in which case I have heard nor read from what has been released of the new reform nothing indicating we will go back to a multi-part Mass, nor bring our livestock and produce at the offering. The translations of things do seem to be changing though, for the better in most cases I’d say.
    7) Your Link to learn more about ‘LifeTeen’ doesn’t give any direct information about the group, other than that they officially denounce one of their founders who has not had involvement with them in many years and has more recently been excommunicated.

    I’d like to say that I do not defend, nor condemn, the ‘lifeteen’ Mass or anything else associated with them. Indeed I’ve never participated in one nor heard of them until now (we don’t seem to have them on the East Coast). But, maybe a little more detail would help to understand why you might see liturgical abuses here. I would also like to again note to you that, from your description “heavy metal Mass” is seems inappropriate. Is that how the ones playing the music described it?

    I agree, though, that music should be carefully selected and appropriate for the Mass at all stages. It is often troubling when things seem unnecessarily off, and I suppose I have my own tastes (I think, if it is sung at all, “Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy, Lord have Mercy” should be rather solemn, penitent, and maybe sorrowful, rather than upbeat and joyful). You may even agree with me that it is inappropriate to change the responsoral psalm at Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil as they are usually designed to quote the particular Gospel being read at that service, which varies between them (whether from John or one of the Synoptics based on the Year).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s