Thursday, May 11, 2006

MS 7-8

7. The amount of singing determines the gradations between the most solemn for of liturgical celebrations, in which all the parts calling for singing are sung, and the most simple form, in which nothing is sung. For the choice of parts to be sung, those should be first that of their nature are more important and particularly those sung by the priest or other ministers and answered by the congregation or sung by the priest and congregation together. Later other parts, for the congregation alone or the choir alone may be added gradually.

This paragraph is expanded upon in MS 28-31 (which we'll get to much later). Of note in this paragraph is the "degrees" of importance concerning what is to be sung in the Novus Ordo mass. The implementation of these degrees is usually ignored in current practice.

8. Whenever a choice of people for a sung liturgical celebration is possible, those with musical talent should obviously be preferred. This is particularly the case with the more solemn liturgical services, those involving more difficult music, or those to be broadcast on radio or television. [6]

Hmm. A preference for those with talent . . . doesn't seem very pastoral does it? :) This definitely seems to go against the sensibilities currently in vogue of "come one, come all" when it comes to liturgical ministries.

What do we do about folks that want to join the music ministry with very little musical talent? Boy, do I have some stories . . .

When no such choice is possible and the priest or minister does not have the voice to sing properly, he may recite, audibly and clearly, one or other of the more difficult parts belonging to him. This, however, is not to be done merely to suit the personal preference of the priest or minister.

"Sing well or not at all" is the explication here. I feel, though, that many priests are too lazy to sing what has been requested of them by this document. Well, I hate to generalize like that, but it seems pretty clear that the average congregation in America is not hearing their celebrant sing the important dialogues which are put forth in MS 29.

6. See Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instr. on sacred music and the liturgy, 3 Sept. 1958, no. 4: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 50 (1958) 656-657.


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