…what is Sacred music in the Mass designed for? What is its proper function?
There are many theories.
It's supposed to foster a sense of community.
It's supposed to help the people participate.
It's supposed to make people feel good.
It's supposed to reinforce catechesis.
It's supposed to help people focus on Jesus.
I've heard all of those.
I think the last comes the closest, but it's not quite right.
The purpose of Sacred Music in the Mass is to draw the attention of the faithful and allow them to more fully express their joy in the eternal mysteries being celebrated.
The purpose of Sacred Music is to draw attention to the fact that this space and this time are set apart from the every day. The Mass is a banquet. A Wedding Feast. Special. Important.
Then too, a well-trained, properly rehearsed choir can give as a gift to the faithful, some of those beautiful pieces of music that are part of the treasury of the church.
One reason that the young people are turning towards chant and polyphony is the other-worldly beauty of it. We have a Schola cantorum at our church made up almost entirely of college students. It's about the chant and the Latin.
That music sounds special. Important. Set Apart. The young recognize and respond to that.
The charismatic Masses on the other hand, with their "contemporary music", my own teens pronounced boring. My daughter's fiance who self-identifies as a charismatic...attended my oldest daughter's Nuptial Mass and immediately asked if they could have that music for their wedding. He, like many others, said it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard.
…I find it interesting that these young people immediately and instinctively seem to grasp that which continues to elude many others: That music in the Mass isn't just an afterthought, tacked on, inserted into the Mass. It's an essential, functional part of what we are offering as a community. It's important.
It sets the Mass apart from our every-day activities (at least it should).
Sacred Music should be beautiful. It should be special. It should offer the best of what we have to offer.
I have better questions.
Why don't you care enough to demand chant and polyphony in your parish?
Suggestion number One.
Stop simply sitting in the pew and complaining to your spouse or friends.
…If you are genuinely concerned about what your children are hearing during Sunday Mass or what you yourself have to listen to, make a determination you are going to do something about the music.
Suggestion number Two.
Educate yourself. Read the documents concerning music in the Liturgy, so when you do start asking for change, you have the proper information to back up your requests…
Musicam Sacram : Instruction on Music in the Liturgy
General Instruction of the Roman Missal
And, she adds:
So start there. Get the facts to back up your requests. If you have friends that feel as you do, send them the links to the documents.
This is definitely a situation in which numbers make a difference. One person is a crank. Ten people are a minority. Fifty people are a movement.