Friday, December 07, 2007

New USCCB Document on Music

Not that the leadership at many parishes will pay any attention but so that the faithful know what the Church is actually saying about music in worship - here is the new USCCB document on liturgical music. (Remember this is from the USCCB which historically has been pretty lame on this issue)

The use of the vernacular is the norm in most liturgical celebrations in the dioceses of the United States “for the sake of a better comprehension of the mystery being celebrated.” However, care should be taken to foster the role of Latin in the Liturgy, particularly in liturgical song. Pastors should ensure “that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” They should be able to sing these parts of the Mass proper to them, at least according to the simpler melodies.


To facilitate the singing of texts in Latin, the singers should be trained in its correct pronunciation and understand its meaning. To the greatest extent possible and applicable, singers and choir directors are encouraged to deepen their familiarity with the Latin language.
That's funny, our schola was forbidden to chant the mass propers even once per month.
In promoting the use of Latin in the Liturgy, pastors should always “employ that form of participation which best matches the capabilities of each congregation.”
Yea, here's the unfortunate loophole my pastor and others like him will use to get out of obeying any part of this document "but our parish isn't capable of doing it". See we have a policy here, keep the parishioners as stupid as possible lest they become liturgically literate and know how bad of a job we're doing...
"The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman
Liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”
Nothing new here. We've been ignoring this text for some time now, my guess is that many parishes will continue to.
The Second Vatican Council directed that the faithful be able to sing parts of the Ordinary of the Mass together in Latin.
What the hell? I thought Vatican II was all about turning mass into a sing-along??!?! I thought Vatican II was meant to introduce guitars and reggae music into the liturgy. Who knew that the bishops actually wanted to increase the reverence not detract from it? How archaic!
In many worshiping communities in the United States, fulfilling this directive will mean introducing Latin chant to worshipers who perhaps have not sung it before. While prudence, pastoral sensitivity, and reasonable time for progress are encouraged to achieve this end, every effort in this regard is laudable and highly encouraged. Each worshiping community in the United States, including all age groups and all ethnic groups, should, at a minimum, learn Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII, all of which are typically included in congregational worship aids. More difficult chants, such as Gloria VIII and settings of the Credo and Pater Noster, might be learned after the easier chants have been mastered.
Many of us will have to undertake this duty on our own as our pastors will doubtlessly fail to comply with this. CanticaNova is a good place to buy chant materials since you won't likely find them in your parish.
Moreover, “to be suitable for use in the Liturgy, a sung text must not only be doctrinally correct, but must in itself be an expression of the Catholic faith.”
And finally:
Even when listening to the various prayers and readings of the Liturgy or to the singing of the choir, the assembly continues to participate actively as they “unite themselves interiorly to what the ministers or choir sing, so that by listening to them they may raise their minds to God.”
I would forward this on to a few people I know were it not for Jesus' words "do not cast pearls before swine". I have no intention of giving someone more reason for misinterpretation. But just so you know what the Church (even the leadership in America) truly says about music in the liturgy... Also see Father Z's excellent post on the same document.


Joseph said...

So, are you going to hand the new document to your contemporary music director at St. Thomas Aquinas? Or are you just going to persue St. Michael's and let the music worsen at your old parish?

Tim A. Troutman said...

Well my take on the "pearls before swine" statement as it applies here was more or less directed at her and our pastor. It's not like any of this is new - (some of the details are as far as I know - like the exhortation for everyone to learn specific chants by name) but the content is just repeating old stuff.

Its new that the USCCB is finally on board (or at least taking steps in that direction). But in all respect to those in question, neither our music director nor our pastor have the capacity or willingness to follow through with this.

I may send a letter to them but right now I feel they have shown their true colors and dealing with them anymore is a waste of time. If they'll ignore the pope how much easier is it to ignore me?