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We need better church music, say Catholics in the Philippines


Cristina Menina | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 05/11/21

The survey asked the question, "“Based on your experience of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, what aspects of its celebration do you think need more improvement?”

The celebration of Holy Mass would be more uplifting with a great sound system and “carefully chosen” songs. This is how more than half of Filipino Catholics answered a recent survey from the Church-run Radio Veritas (VTS). The online questionnaire was responded to by 1,200 faithful with a +/- 3 margin of error.

Manila Bulletin reports that he survey was conducted between March 31 and April 30, 2021. It asked: “Based on your experience of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, what aspects of its celebration do you think need more improvement?

Responses varied, but the most common concern was the quality and clarity of church music. As many as 27% of respondents suggested that church sound systems needed improvement. This was closely followed by 24% calling for more adept choirs and more carefully selected songs. 

Music and its presentation may have been a primary concern, but they were not too far ahead of pastoral elements. Both the priest’s homily and a reverent church ambiance each garnered 20% of answers. Only 5% said they would like better lectors and even fewer suggested Church volunteers could be friendlier. 

Generational differences

VTS head Brother Clifford Sorita noted that concerns seemed to vary by age group. The “young adults,” aged 21-39, were the group most likely to call for better sound. “Adults,” aged 40-60, were most likely to ask for more careful music selection and better choirs.

The “elderly” group, aged 61 and up, was most concerned with the pastoral homily. The most interesting answers, however, came from the “teens,” aged 13-20. In this group, church ambiance was the most important aspect of the Mass. It would appear the next generation does not feel they need church music, so long as they have a reverent space to worship.

Father Anton Pascual, president of Radio Veritas, said this is just the first survey they intend to conduct. VTS, Pascual explained, plans to launch a series of surveys on Filipino Catholic practices and preferences in 2021. He commented: 

“We hope that through this social research initiative, we may be able to help the Church to continue to fulfill its mission beyond these 500th Year Festivities.”

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