Friday, June 02, 2006

MS 15-16

15. The faithful carry out their proper liturgical function by offering their complete, conscious, and active participation. The very nature of the liturgy demands this and it is the right and duty of the Christian people by reason of their baptism. [13]

This participation must be:

a. internal, that is, the faithful make their thoughts match what they say and hear,
and cooperate with divine grace; [14]

b. but also external, that is, they express their inner participation through their gestures,
outward bearing, acclamations, responses, and song. [15]

The faithful are also to be taught that they should try to raise their mind to God through interior participation as they listen to the singing of ministers or choir.

This is a very important paragraph in regards to our understanding of the call for "full, conscious, and active participation" in SC. Many liturgists have interpreted that to mean that the people should be doing, saying, and singing everything that the priest is not. This document clarifies SC and says that not only is participation external, but also internal--the last tag applies this internal participation in regards to the role of the choir in their particular and important ministry.

In other words, yes, the choir can sing by themselves sometimes.

16. A liturgical celebration can have no more solemn or pleasing feature than the whole assembly's expressing its faith and devotion in song. Thus an active participation that is manifested by singing should be carefully fostered along these lines:

Am I misreading this first sentence? Surely the Eucharist is a more solemn and pleasing feature . . .

a. It should include especially the acclamations, responses to the greetings of the priest and
the ministers and responses to the litanies, the antiphons and psalms, the verses of the
responsorial psalm, and other similar verses, hymns, and canticles. [16]

All fine until we get to "the verses of the responsorial psalm"; it seems the other documents relegate these to the music ministers in particular.

b. Pertinent catechesis as well as actual practice should lead the people gradually to a more
extensive and indeed complete participation in all the parts proper to them.

This is one where we've definitely dropped the ball as a church. I don't think many of the people in the pews truly understand the role of liturgical music and the role that they themselves are to play.

c. Some of the congregational parts may be assigned to the choir alone, however, especially
when the people are not yet sufficiently trained or melodies for part-singing are used. But the
people are not to be excluded from the other parts proper to them. The practice of assigning
the singing of the entire Proper and Ordinary of the Mass to the choir alone without the rest
of the congregation is not to be permitted.

Fair enough. The choir should not usurp completely the role of the people in musical worship. But again, they are allowed to do some parts without the congregation.

The second half of the first sentence strikes me: it assumes (at least in this translation) that the people will eventually be "sufficiently trained." What are the parameters in this context for sufficient training?

13. See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 14.
14. See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 11.
15. See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 30.
16. See Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 30.


At Friday, June 02, 2006 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

I’m glad PT is getting to these sections of MS. This document has many trappings of being the work of a compromise of a committee, such as the stipulations to have our cake and eat it, too.

I wonder if the fact that so few in the pews understand the integral role of music in the liturgy because of the “songs” we sing. They like the *song* “On Eagles’ Wings”, but the idea of Proper texts during the processions - sung texts rather than songs - would blow people away if they could see what this is all about.

I’ve said many times that I think we need an extension of the Tietze “Introit Hymns” for the other two processions: a “People’s Gradual”, to be formally put forth by the U.S. Bishops.

The “sufficient training” clause often sticks in my mind, esp. when later we get to the encouragement of popular singing of the Proper. Wholesale replacement of the Proper was not what the *document* envisioned, though it may very well have been what some (i.e. Lucien Deiss) had in mind, even those who contributed to the document.


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