|Yes, as a matter of fact, I did, in fact, get some leather pants for use in my high school/early college garage band. And no, I'm not embarrassed. Well, except for the cell phone holster that is.|
As is the case with liturgical music, we know that chant and classical are objectively greater forms of art than rock, pop, country and other stuff you'll find on the FM dial. But it also doesn't always feel quite right to crank up Mozart while you're throwing some brats on the grill on a Saturday night. I'm friends with a guy who believes that any non-sacred music is--at the very least--a near occasion of sin because it stirs the senses into a sort of euphoria and is implicitly sexual. In The Spirit of the Liturgy, Benedict XVI seems to agree:
“Rock”, on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe. The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober inebriation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for a few moments. [The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p 148]As somebody who has been to three Bon Jovi concerts, I find this seriously [BAD PUN ALERT] disconcerting.
You know how there are cafeteria Catholics who sincerely love Jesus but just can't get on board with a more serious faith because they get hung up on the contraception prohibition? I'd have that same struggle with giving up my rock music. I'd absolutely do it, but it would be pretty darn difficult.
I've asked a theology expert, my spiritual director and some other folks whose judgment I trust about this question. The closest I could get to a consensus is that the Church is generally silent on the issue and that if we consume rock/pop music, we should do so in moderation while remaining sensitive to overly dark melodies or scandalous lyrics.
I can't say I'm doing such a great job on moderation, but I have been pretty good about trying to screen the content of the songs I listen to. I haven't listened to Ozzy in quite awhile, and I've cut any song that takes an irreverent approach to God or to sexuality out of the rotation.
So that's what I've done. But I want to know your thoughts. Hit up the Comment Box!