Why Catholics can’t sing

St. Augustine is sometimes quoted as saying,

He who sings prays  twice.

However I’ve always thought there seems to be a reluctance amongst church-goers to participate in singing hymns and parts of the Mass.

A couple of days ago an ABC program called Earshot explored this, and posed the slightly provocative question:

In the midst of a bitter half-century struggle over what ‘progress’ means for Catholics, can they ever enjoy good communal singing in church?

It’s a great program examining the history of singing in our church, from the time it was all in Latin, but parishioners were not to sing, to later periods when  singing was sort of OK, but not for women, to where we are today with many churches having sung Masses with strong participation from the congregation.

It’s just 28 minutes, and I recommend it for all choir members. Here’s the link the the ABC web site:


You can listen online, or download a copy to your desktop, tablet or smartphone for listening later.