Sunday, March 12, 2006


This from Bishop Slattery of Tulsa:

“I ask them to pay special attention to the sections devoted to Sacred Music (Chapter 6, 112 – 121) that those who share responsibility in a parish for the implementation of the Council’s liturgical norms might reacquaint themselves with what the Council Fathers actually wrote concerning the requirements of proper liturgical music, and in particular the principle which places the text in importance over the melody, thus acknowledging the primacy of Gregorian Chant among the Church’s musical traditions, not merely from the position of its great venerability and beauty, but also because chant, having no rhythm, never forces the text to be rewritten to fit a specific meter. Chant allows us a certain sacred space within which that Word which God spoke in ancient times can be heard today with greater clarity and fidelity. I understand that this review of music must lead to changes and that changes will often be irksome and problematic. For this reason I would caution that this gradual, but definite, reintroduction of Gregorian chant into our parishes and communities be done with careful study, deliberate consultation and much prayer. However, as a sign of the seriousness with which I approach this topic, I am asking that pastors move with some dispatch to introduce their congregations to the simpler chants of the Kyriale, including the Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei.” (Eastern Oklahoma Catholic March 6, 2006).

“I am also asking our people to recover their sense of the sacredness of the anctuary by refraining from idle conversation in Church before and after Mass.” Or, how about this: “If… our attention is repeatedly pulled away from the altar to the presence of the cantor or the choir, then our participation at Mass can become a kind of tennis match, and our response in prayer remains shallow and disjointed. … (W)e should be honest enough to acknowledge that the placement of the choir, cantor and the musicians (in the front of the church) has proven to be a terrible distraction in many parishes.”

Hat tip to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, who says, "I love this guy" (referring to the Bishop). So do I, and I'm only nine states away from his diocese. Similar articles and references have popped up in The Curt Jester, Open Book, Pontifications, Musica Sacra, The Cafeteria is Closed, and Hymnography Unbound. Did I miss any?


1 comment:

Kathleen Pluth said...

Don't forget me!