Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Got this USCCB blurb from Gerald: (snarky remarks mine)

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will vote at their annual Fall General Assembly on the approval of the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, a revision of the guidelines for music at Mass.

The document “represents a significant rethinking of the structure and substance of what needs to be said about this important aspect of the liturgical renewal,” said Bishop Donald Trautman, outgoing (thank God!) chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, in the documentation sent to the Bishops for their review.

The document retains and refines some of the more important elements of the original document, including the “three judgments” (liturgical, pastoral and musical appropriateness) (watch out for that word "pastoral" - it's not what you think it is) applied in consideration of the use of music in the Liturgy. “The revised text is of significantly greater length than the original and benefits from the various new Church documents, as well as from the experience of thirty-five years since its original publication,” said Bishop Trautman.

The draft articulates more clearly a theology of the liturgical celebration and includes a reflection on Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 116, the latest Vatican document related to the issue. It incorporates the concept of “progressive solemnity” (another fearsome pair of words subject to blatant misinterpretation by some left-wingers out there) to outline the process of choosing what to sing from among the various parts of the Mass. The text also explores the role of the composer, music in the celebration of sacraments, instrumentation, language and cultural issues, technology, copyrights and participation aids. (I'm curious, but fearful of what will come from their collective pen in this matter)

The original document was published in 1967, and then revised and reissued in 1972 (If I remember correctly, it was "Musicam Sacram" in 1967, "Music in Catholic Worship" in 1972, but then the latter document bastardized and reissued again around 1980). In line with the liturgical reforms called forth by the Second Vatican Council, it sought to provide basic principles for understanding the role of music in the Liturgy while highlighting its ministerial function. The new text is twice the length of the original and came about after extensive consultation with musicians, composers and others involved in liturgy and music from throughout the United States. (Twice the length? Twice the BS?)

I, for one, hope to see a decent revision, but I fear it will be the same old crap reworded, given what we're often stuck with in the English-speaking Church, despite what the Vatican really calls for.

Our hope would be for the better bishops like Slattery, Serratelli, and Abp. Burke to take the reins of the BCL.

1 comment:

Chironomo said...

First time visitor here... picked up your link on a search about "Sing to the Lord". I too am a little skeptical about whether or not this document will really have a lot of impact, although I do believe that there is a lot more coming down the pipeline from Rome on this topic. An interesting word from the Pope speaking at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music on Sunday seemed to suggest that the Pontifical Institute and the CDW would be working together on an "updating" of the Church's Sacred Music heritage...did you happen to see this? If interested, I have it posted (with comments) at