Friday, October 15, 2010
NO SONGS TO BE SUNG AT HOLY MASS?
Below my comments and highlights of Archbishop Ranjith of Columbo's prescrption for liturgical renewal in the ordinary Form in his diocese is his complete talk. Simply press the link.
All of the Archbishop's points caught my attention, but number eight seems very controversial:"(8) No songs to be sung in the Holy Mass. The Priest is not to be a protagonist in celebrating the Holy Mass, but it is Lord Jesus who is present in the Priest while he celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist. Holy Eucharist is not the place to show off our talents, instruct your faithful to dress properly when they are coming to read the Word of God or read the intentions or when bringing offerings to the Altar."
I'm not sure about the later part of this paragraph about being a "protagonist" but the first part I think is very important but might need some clarification. I don't know what the music culture of the Archdiocese of Columbo is, but there must be some problems as in the USA. What the Archbishop is asking is that the Mass, meaning its texts be sung, these are the "hymns" or "songs" of the Mass. One the things that most parishes in the USA do not do is to sing the texts of the Mass and to see the texts of the Mass as the actual hymns and music of the Mass. What most parishes do is to sing other hymns and songs at Mass which are not integral to the Mass, but "fillers" for other actions and "additional" music not integral to the Mass itself.
For example, the actual hymns of the Catholic Mass are: 1. The Official Entrance Antiphon also known at the Introit. I know of almost no parishes that actually sing the Introit in some form of Chant because the current rubrics of the Mass does allow for it to be "substituted" by an "appropriate" hymn. This was a grave mistake in my humble opinion and this mistake goes all the way back to 1969. 2. The Kryrie; 3. The Gloria; 4. The Creed; 5. The official offertory antiphon (this has disappeared altogether and is not even printed in the Roman Missal, but it does exist! 6. The Sanctus; 7. The Mystery of Faith; 8. The Great Amen; 9. The Lord's Prayer; 10. The Agnus Dei; 11. The official Communion Antiphon (we sing the refrain once at St. Joseph, but not the complete setting).
In addition to the parts above, the priest is encouraged to sing the entire Mass, beginning with the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, the opening collect and all other orations; the preface dialogue and preface, parts of the Eucharistic prayer, the embolism of the Lord's prayer, and the final blessing and dismissal.
Do you see hymns out of a hymnal in any of the above? Certainly though, pious custom has allowed additional hymns and motets and we have a rich treasury of these in our tradition. So in addition to what is highlighted above, I would have very little trouble with an additional metrical "Entrance hymn", motets at the offertory and at Holy Communion as well as a recessional hymn (which by the way is not even mentioned in the rubrics of the Mass.)
So what do you think?
By the way, in terms of what theologians suggest and what some bishops might permit, I would not be allowed as a lowly priest to implement kneeling for Holy Communion, because the norm in the USA and in our Diocese is to stand. I could not even encourage our faithful to kneel because of this "norm." Our bishop could offer us an indult to do so, but that's his decision not mine. However, no priest should ever refuse someone who does kneel for Holy Communion. I would say this is true also of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, where kneeling for Holy Communion is the "norm." No priest should refuse someone who stands at one of the Masses. We're still at the stage of talking not implementing. But in terms of the Mass and what to sing, the norms I highlight are the norms and what we should be doing or at least strive to implement.