I feel that at last I need to respond to John Daly's letter, "Liturgy" (September AD2000). I say "at last" because I have read many letters over the years which seek to demean what I do in my service of the Church, but Mr Daly's letter was exceptional in the breadth of its generalisation and in the uncharitableness of its tone.
I am a liturgical guitarist who has used his guitar for liturgical music for 30 years. I am sure for much of that time I was an "average church guitarist" (although this seems such a subjective qualification).
Mr Daly's view that "silence is infinitely to be preferred" to "strummed guitar accompaniment" is breathtaking in its exclusivity. God has given different people different talents, all of which are designed to be used for His glory, therefore, those who have a musical talent should be encouraged to use it within their parish, even if they are guitarists.
Since the guitar has become an integral part of the music culture among many societies and peoples both in popular music and in art music, to exclude it and other instruments on the basis of the quality of its practitioners is unfair and hypocritical (there are many church organists who perform poorly).
The issue is more: the positive and practical encouragement that should be given to parish musicians to receive "genuine liturgical training" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Art 115) so that their "average-ness" is transformed into prayer.
I refer Mr Daly to the documents that deal with music in the liturgy and see if he, like me, hears the call of inclusion and the challenge to develop the offering of artistic talent.
Mt. Druitt NSW