Sunday, April 11, 2010

the Non-Singing (Catholic) Congregations

I stumbled upon this very sensible article on Catholic (non) singing which, I think, is worth our consideration. I really agree with what the author says about the real place of Music in Catholic Liturgy.

"The music is part of the liturgy, integral and native to it. The people are not making it. It is not generated by us. They can be part of it but it is not their primary responsibility. And when they sing, it is not to reinforce their perception of membership in a community. It is to more fully participate in sacred actions taking place in a liturgical manner. It comes from within the structure of the liturgy and is not imposed from without. It does not come from the people. It comes from the prayer in which the people are invited, but not required, to participate. You can issue all the proclamations you want to. You can yell and demand. But in the end, this Catholic sense of the role of the people's song will not change. Here is the controversial claim that I would like to make: there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, the people might be more correct here than their pundits who are always denouncing them. And if the people ever do relent and start singing like Bapitsts, the new ethos will gut the primary focus of the Roman Rite. The Catholic ritual is not people based or people centered. It is not given by the community as a gift each to other. It is a gift from God that we offer back to God, something we receive humbly as a blessing and an occasion of grace as we offer our lives back to God in sacrifice. "

"Think of observing a miracle even in a non-liturgical context. Is the impulse to sing as loudly as possible or is it to become quiet in its presence? If someone interrupts the scene with loud outbursts, we might wonder if they are fully aware of what is going on. Even in our times of mundane liturgy and plain talk on the altar, the embedded Catholic sense is still there to regard the liturgy as solemn, not something we make on our own but something to which we must submit. The driving impulse here is toward being quiet. Yes, we are free to sing the Gloria, the dialogues, the Sanctus, the Agnus, provided it is compatible with a prayerful comportment. But we all try not to push our voices above the volume of the activity around us. This is a humble impulse. Arrogance and sticking out is contrary to what we believe we should be doing. "

Follow this link: In Defense of Non-Singing Congregations

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