Catholics should do many things. Catholics should attend Mass as much as possible, especially on Sundays and holy days of obligations. Catholics should pray and meditate on the rosary. Catholics should be charitable. Catholics should know the teachings of the Church and be a walking example of the life laid out for each one of them by God. Catholics should evangelize.
But should Catholics listen only to Christian music? The question falls in line with many others like it: should Catholics watch secular movies? Read only Christian-based books? Interact with only Christians?
In the question of whether Catholics should allow themselves to listen to secular music, of course they should. We have free will and are responsible for our salvation. We have been given the way to redemption and salvation through the resurrection.
Secular music comes in a variety of styles and genres. On one hand there is inappropriate context in just about all secular forms of music, whether it is Lil Wayne objectifying a woman in his lyrics or a country song, like Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party,” which involves bonfires, drinking, tailgating and one-night stands.
On the other hand, Jojo Siwa speaks of having innocent fun as a child, while Pharrell Williams’s song “Happy” is about just that: being happy. Secular music involves much more than what is on the radical ends.
The Cranberries sang about how wrong war is in “Zombies.” Toby Keith makes music about being a proud American that connects the hearts of every American on Sept. 11. Lee Ann Womack sings about wanting the absolute best for another in her song “I Hope You Dance”.
All of these songs are with secular intent, considering they do not involve God. They are songs that connect people in our consubstantial state with one another (consubstantial is being used here in the terminology given by Burke, who believed that people were individual and yet of the same substance.)
To believe that Catholics should only listen to Christian music is obscene. Christian music is, more often than not, Protestant based and full of heresy, based on the emotions of the individual and what God can do for them. Unless we go back to strictly the hymnals, there is absolutely no way to 100% be sure that what a Catholic is listening to is “safe.”
Catholics should listen to secular music and Christian music. Catholics should listen to every word and phrase. This ensures that they are able to distinguish between wonderful music and trash, especially considering that both exist in both secular and Christian-based music.
The most difficult part of this “should” is the ability for a Catholic to distinguish between what is and what is not acceptable. This requires a Catholic to follow all of the other “shoulds” to be holy here on earth — the constant conversion of the human person to reflect as Christ enables us to recognize what does or does not contribute to the greatness of our existence. Since music affects our subconscious, striving to holiness will ensure that whatever type of music listened to will be the good for our souls.