Imagine my dismay when the communion hymns at Mass yesterday included a stanza or two from the Beatles song Let It Be. At least it wasn’t my home parish.
After surgically extracting my fingers from my wife’s knee (no permanent damage done there) and realizing that, in fact, my ears weren’t deceiving me, I wondered what might be next. Lady Madonna? The theme song from There’s Something About Mary?
Here’s a news flash for directors of worship who are culturally tone deaf: Not every mention of “Mary” is liturgically acceptable. This is all the more true of modern music: if the performers aren’t Catholic, the likelihood that a mention of something Catholic-like will be suitable for the Mass is basically non-existent.
Likewise, not every melody is suitable for worship. There is a “Christmas song” which unambiguously and unabashedly borrows from the tune to The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island. I wish that I was making that up. In principle I don’t have a problem with such borrowing, but you just have to exercise a little good judgment. The Beatles don’t belong in the Mass, and neither do reminiscences of the castaways.