Saturday, May 06, 2006

MS 5-6

I. General Norms

5. A liturgical service takes on a nobler aspect when the rites are celebrated with singing, the ministers of each rank take their parts in them, and the congregation actively participates. [4] This form of celebration gives a more graceful expression to prayer and brings out more distinctly the hierarchical character of the liturgy and the specific make-up of the community. It achieves a closer union of hearts through the union of voices. It raises the mind more readily to heavenly realities through the splendor of the rites. It makes the whole celebration a more striking symbol of the celebration to come in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Pretty straightforward paragraph other than what I have italicized. What exactly are the authors getting at at this point? Are they referring to the hierarchical character of the liturgy *itself* or the hierarchical differences between the ministers and people gathered?

Pastors are therefore to strive devotedly to achieve this form of celebration. They would do well even to adapt to congregational celebrations without singing the distribution of functions and parts that more properly belongs to sung services. They are to be particularly careful that there are enough necessary, qualified ministers and that the people's active participation is helped.

There seems to be a call here for singing even at masses that are not distinctly "sung" services. One conclusion that could be initially drawn, it would seem, is that the pastor would lead some of the music himself, i.e. through sung dialogues between himself and the congregation.

The truly successful preparation of a liturgical celebration is to be achieved through the cooperation, under the parish priest (pastor) or rector, of all who have a part in the rites themselves and in the pastoral and musical elements of the celebration.

6. To give its true structure to the celebration if the liturgy requires, first, the proper assignment of functions and the kind of execution in which "each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, does all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy." [5] But an additional requirement is exact fidelity to the meaning and character of each part and of each song. To achieve this end it is above all necessary that those parts which of their nature call for singing are in fact sung and in the style and form demanded by the parts themselves.

This paragraph again hints at the different roles that the ministries perform within the liturgy, which is elaborated more later in the document. The italicized sentence and the following one bring up an important principle: sing the text if its very nature demands it. A glaring example of this is the Gloria; though the GIRM allows it to be spoken, it seems that by its very nature, this text should be sung.

4. See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 113.

5. Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 28.

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