Top Ten Statements to Support Correct Liturgical Music
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,929
    Hi All:

    We just got a new catechetical director who will be working closely with the teens and of course, the DoM (me). I sat down to talk with him about music and forming a good teen choir, etc. He was somewhat quick to dismiss the idea, and said he is open to having a praise band with drums.

    I mentioned that my elementary choir is singing gregorian chant and polyphony and loving it and that my teenage son doesn't think guitars belong in church. (He is in his class.)

    I am looking for a distilled list of why the church should not accept sacro pop (with citations from docs and any other pertinent material). I have all the sacred music docs on our church's sacred music website, but I think it is too much to give him. (They are the same ones on the home page of

    Now is a good chance to educate a primary mover and shaker of our church to influence the teens in the right direction. He also truly loves the TLM, but sees nothing wrong with having drums and guitar at the liturgy. (scratching head over this one.)

    Give me your best shot to convince him otherwise. The real trick here is that I want to present him with a few paragraphs that really deliver a good punch. Try to stick more to facts and less to opinion. I already have a lot of opinions.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    francis, you might find a good punch line, or it might take time for you to convince him. I don't have a punch line I can think of right now, but I wanted to mention that I sent the link of "David Haas' ecclesiological challenge to SttL" form this forum to our priests and music director. They must have and should have ideas and education on liturgy, and I wanted to see what they think of all this, instead of me telling them. I find that many people forgot what liturgy means and supposed to be, maybe that should be taken care of before you can talk about the music.

    It's sad that our Holy mass is twisted, patched up and cut-off so much and people cannot recognize mass as a 'mass' any longer. It's like if a woman who goes through lots of cosmetic surgeries and caked with thick make-ups, and her own children cannot recognize her as their mom? ( I know this is probably a bit too womanly and strange analogy. It just happen to occur to me.)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I just remembered there was an article by Jeffrey on Praise &Worhip band.

    I've got it. here it is. This might help.
  • I'm somewhat startled by the chemistry in this situation. You are the choirmaster, not he. How are his thoughts on the music program relevant, or even appropriate: it wouldn't seem to me that this is his purview. One might, rather, based on his seeming musical taste, question his catechetics. That one could think of performing the music he has suggested at mass requires a basic irreverence and a psychology that does not treasure nor comprehend the mass for what it really is. This is, indeed, a catechetical matter of grave spiritual import.

    "Liturgical Music vs. Devotional Music

    Music in the Catholic Church can be divided into two categories. Liturgical music is appropriate for a Mass or any other ritual action that is under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. Devotional (worship) music is music that has been produced to be used in worshiping God, but not in a liturgical setting.
    The third edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal suggests that Gregorian chant is proper to the Roman Liturgy and should be regarded as the music that is proper to a liturgical setting. It also says that other types of music, such as polyphony, are appropriate if they “correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action” and “foster the participation of all the faithful.” Going hand in hand with the types of music used for liturgy is the types of instrumentation used. In a later paragraph, the Instruction states that the preferred instrument for liturgy is the organ. Other wind, stringed or percussion instruments may be used as long as they can be rendered “truly apt for sacred use.”
    In other words, liturgical music should adhere to, and be used within, the context for which it was created. Liturgical music, traditionally, has been written for the organ or for the small ensemble of instruments it is designed to mimic. Many pieces have been written to include both the organ and the ensemble. Instruments that do not require amplification are preferred within the liturgy. This is so that we may complement the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ with our own sacrifices. It takes more work to create music that can properly fill the church without amplification. Any instrument that requires amplification is a failure to live up to our prayer that this sacrifice of not only the bread and wine but our labor to give glory and praise is truly the work of our human hands.
    Devotional music and authentic devotion is supposed to lead us back to the mystery of the Mass and to draw us deeper into the mystery of Christ. As we said last week, authentic devotion can be done anywhere. Therefore, devotional music can exist anywhere. Whether we are caught in a traffic jam, shopping, or participating in the parish charismatic praise and worship group, this music keeps Christ fresh in our minds. It also helps to lead us into a greater understanding of our participation in the gift of life. Like devotion in general, devotional music takes a free form and can be played with a variety of instruments. Amplification is not an issue with devotional music because the assembly is usually smaller, and the sense of sacrifice reserved for the Mass is replaced with the idea of giving praise and thanksgiving to God for his many gifts.
    Since devotional music is intended for a smaller group, this community should have greater control over what types of music and instruments are played. The devotional setting is the proper place for instruments such as guitars and for groups that prefer to play “rock” style music. Christian “praise bands”, and the songs that they play should be reserved for the devotions of the Church. This is so that the people attending may participate as they wish. A question that should be answered before devotional music is used, and before authentic devotion may take place is; “How does this activity lead us back to the life, death and resurrection of Christ that is present in the Mass?”
    Next week, we will complete this series of articles by discussing the prayers of the Church when it comes to liturgy and devotion, and also the places where liturgy and devotion take place.

    Quick Notes on Liturgy are prepared by the Office of Liturgy of the Diocese of Columbus."
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,929
    I forgot to mention that HE requested that I show him the documents to back up the church's position on sacred music. Yes, I read JT's article when he first published it. Will definitely read it again.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,929
    Ok... JT... This article is perfect. I will let you know how he responds. As per his opinion, I do not want to alienate him as he will have a significant influence over the formation of parishoners. It is better to win people over than to alienate them from the start. One of the important aspects is for people to realize that the church has guidelines and that it is not just a matter of personal musical taste.
  • I posted the Columbus article because I thought it significant that a media "organ" of any diocese would actually print something as definitive as the above. When I held a meeting last Tuesday of cantors and other directors under my management, I used it as a dialogue starter. It got a few folks' attention in a hurry.
    The point being, it seems we're crossing a threshold where some bolder ecclesial authorities are beyond making timid recommendations and actually preparing their people for the implementation of legislated standards. Of course, if said authorities "talk" but fail to provide resources, then it becomes an unfunded mandate.
    But as I instructed my folks, they need to accept that the liturgical landscape will be changing. God grant me enough life to see some of it realized in my own parish and diocese.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,929
    Thanks, Charles, miacoyne, and M. Your input is much appreciated! Charles... good stuff from Columbus, my ole hometown! Perhaps I should go back... they have a wonderful organ at the Cathedral!

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! It makes me drool ever time I see the pics!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Farancis, I am not an expert on Church documents, but all the documents after Vatican II I've read seems to give so much options in terms of music. They list what seems to be the 'first choice' in a way, like organ, proper chants, but then there are always listsings afterwards that are allowed, and to me it looks like almost anything is possible.
    At the beginning of the GIRM, It mentions that the faithful should understand the sacrificial nature of the mass, and it also says "No catholics would now deny lawfulness and efficacy of a sacred rite celebrated in Latin the Council was able to grant that the use of the vernacular ..." (p.11)etc.. And the VII gives further instructions to preserve the true spirit of the liturgy and put efforts to be more fruitful in this endeavor in our time. But many people these days really don't understand the 'true spirit' that the document is talking about, and when they just look at the specific instructions, it seems there's nothing specifically prohibited. They can say, guitar, drums, we are using them the for mass and using them for the 'sacred' music. How can you stop them? The Church documents don't really say 'no'. This is very frustrating part for me, because I cannot say that I know what is sacred more than they do. I wish there were more specific instructions.
    One of the church ministry person said yesterday that GIRM supposed to be really a general guideline, and supposed to be followed by more specific guidelines? which hasn't happen yet, lack of concensus in specifics? Is that true?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I have attached a document that may help.
  • Try reading this article "Vatican II and Sacred Music" by Kurt Poterack here:
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,929
    JO... excellent! Thanks. Janet... excellent issue.

    I already sent JT's article, and now I just purchased his book. These are all great weapons for the arsenal of defending our faith tradition.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    This is from the above link (Janet's post)

    'History and comment on 'Guitar Mass" on P19 was interesting, and the last paragraph gives a good advice...

    "What is to be done about the many folk and "contemporary"
    groups which have been playing at Masses throughout this country for the past 35 years? The answer is that, quite simply, they must be phased out. Now the twin virtues of charity and prudence will have to be exercised
    by the pastor and music director. Perhaps, for the time being, the prescribing of the good rather than the proscribing of the bad, will be the prudent course in many locales. However, if we are to have a recovery of the sense of the sacred on a large scale among our Catholic populace, eventually instruments and music with heavy secular associations will have to be excised from the liturgy and the talents of the people involved in such music employed
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,929

    I hope you can convince OLPH to join in your plight! All we can do is keep educating the naive and the ignorant with patience, humility and charity.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Honestly I was very interested in your post because we are starting a new mass schedule next month, which includes a mass with another contemporary group (this will be replacing a mass with cantor and organ). I'm afraid it's going to be Praise & Worship kind. Our pastor is trying to attract young adult and youth. And this is scheduled for 5 PM, so it's convenient for young people who miss "early' Sunday mass can still come.
    It's pretty disappointing, because we have a pastor who is very holy and caring, and we have a young talented MD who just gracuated from CUA with MA on Sacred music. But music prgram seems to be heading towards a wrong direction. (besides this new young adult group, we have youth contemporary, which is a high school group and adult contemporary group, each group plays at a different mass every Sunday.) I did sent the link of the thread on Haas from this forum to our priests and our MD. After a while, this thread will be the next to have them read. And yesterday I got an email from MD asking about music budget, and I brag about CMAA how they help church musicians and give so much music for free.(unlike other publishers whose main goal in making a profit) I invited other gourps (contemporary groups) to check out for all the wonderful resources). I know it's going to get better. (I also started to wear my head cover in this contemporary church. I'm the only one, but somehow I don't feel out of place. I feel just right to do so.) In the meantime, our parish people will also hear our small schola singing our Church's most sacred music quietly and beautifully as best we can from the corner of our church. Pray for us. Today I'm starting a Novena to St Cecilia. So much to pray. (remember to pray for Jeffrey's book too. I'm buying a few to give to my priests and MD as from Easter bunny.)
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Sacred Music (Winter 1998, Vol 125 No 4) (page 18, PDF page 19)

    A brief history of the "liturgical folk guitar" and the "folk Mass" may be
    instructive. [...]

    The specific impetus for this, however, seems to have been an address given
    by the influential Benedictine liturgist, Father Godfrey Diekmann in New York
    City to a meeting of the National Catholic Education Association in April 1965.
    In this address he promoted the folk Mass, or as it was then called, the
    "hootenanny Mass" for young people. At the beginning of the school year that next
    Fall there were reports of such Masses at Catholic colleges and high schools.
    Eager to gain official approval for this trend, some liberal liturgists pushed for
    a statement from the Music Advisory Board of the Bishops Committee on the
    Liturgy. A considerably modified form of such a statement was passed by one
    vote in February 1966 at the end of a long meeting after many of the members
    had left. Though the statement had no official status and was never approved
    by the full body of bishops, it was widely reported in the Catholic and secular
    press as having given formal approval for the "guitar Mass." [...]

    So, what was that "February 1966" statement?

    Below is an April 1966 statement.

    Thirty-Five Years Of The BCL Newsletter 1965-2000 (pages 31-32)
    BCL Newsletter (April 1966, Vol 2 No 4)
    [The brackets that delimit the first paragraph are in the original.]
    [The brackets with sic or brackets with ellipses are mine.]

    Statements on Church Music

    [The following three statements concerned with questions of music in the liturgy were approved by the
    Bishop's [sic] Commission on the Liturgical Apostolate at its meeting of April 18, 1966, after recommendations
    had been made by the Commission's Music Advisory Board:]

    1. The Role of the Choir

    2. The Use of Music for Special Groups

    In modern times the Church has consistently recognized and freely admitted the use of various styles of
    music as an aid to liturgical worship. Since the promulgation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, and more especially since the introduction of vernacular languages into the liturgy, there has arisen a more pressing
    need for musical compositions in idioms that can be sung by the congregation and thus further communal

    Experience has furthermore shown that different groupings of the faithful assembled in worship respond
    to different styles of musical expression which help to make the liturgy meaningful for them. Thus the needs
    of the faithful of a particular cultural background or of a particular age level may often be met by a music
    that can serve as a congenial, liturgically oriented expression of prayer.

    In this connection, when a service of worship is conducted primarily for gatherings of youth of high school
    or college age, and not for ordinary parish congregations, the choice of music which is meaningful to persons
    of this age level should be considered valid and purposeful, The use of this music presupposes:
    a) that the music itself can be said to contain genuine merit;
    b) that if instruments other than the organ are employed as accompaniment for the singing, they should
    be played in a manner that is suitable for public worship;
    c) that the liturgical texts should be respected. The incorporation of incongruous melodies and texts,
    adapted from popular ballads, should be avoided.

    3. The Salaries of Church Musicians

    --Bishops' [sic] Commission on the Liturgical Apostolate
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Continuing on ...

    Sacred Music (Winter 1998, Vol 125 No 4) (page 18, PDF page 19)

    [...] In response to
    this trend the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the Consilium issued a joint
    statement on December 29, 1966 prohibiting profane music in church. When
    Consilium spokesman Monsignor Annibale Bugnini was asked at a press conference
    what was meant by "profane" music, he said that this referred to such
    things as "jazz" Masses and instruments such as the guitar.

    This statement, of course, was not heeded.

    Here are those two documents ...

    Documents On The Liturgy 1963-1979 Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts (pages 127-128)
    DOL 35 (29 December 1966) SC Rites, Declaration, Da quoalche tempo
    repudiating arbitrary liturgical innovations

    For some time now certain newspapers and magazines have been providing for
    their readers reports and pictures of liturgical ceremonies, especially celebrations of
    the eucharist, that are foreign to Catholic worship and quite unbelievable. "Family
    eucharistic meals" followed by dinner are celebrated in private homes; there are
    Masses with novel and improvised rites, vestments, and texts, sometimes with
    music of an altogether profane and worldly character, unworthy of a sacred service.
    These travesties of worship, springing from mere private initiative, tend inevitably
    to desacralize the liturgy, the purest expression of the worship the Church offers to

    Appeal to pastoral renewal as a motive is completely ruled out; renewal
    develops in an orderly way, not haphazardly. All the practices in question are at odds
    with the letter and spirit of Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy and harmful to
    the unity and dignity of the people of God.

    Pope Paul VI said on 13 October of this year: "Diversity in language and
    newness in ritual are, it is true, factors that the desire for reform has introduced into
    liturgy. Nothing is to be adopted however that has not been duly approved by
    authority of the bishops, fully mindful of their office and obligations, and by this
    Apostolic See. Nothing should be allowed that is unworthy of divine worship,
    nothing that is obviously profane or unfit to express the inner, sacred power of
    prayer. Nothing odd or unusual is allowable, since such things, far from fostering
    devotion in the praying community, rather shock and upset it and impede the
    proper and rightful cultivation of a devotion faithful to tradition."[DOL 84 no 634]

    While deploring the practices described and the attendant publicity, we
    urgently invite Ordinaries, both local and religious, to watch over the right application
    of the Constitution on the Liturgy. With kindness but firmness they should
    dissuade those who, whatever their good intentions, sponsor such exhibitions.
    Where these occur, Ordinaries should reprove the abuses, banning any experiment
    not authorized and guided by the hierarchy and not conducive to a reform in
    keeping with the mind of the Council, so that the noble work of renewal may
    develop without deviation and produce those results in the life of Christians that
    the Church expects.

    We add the reminder that apart from those cases envisioned by liturgical law
    and therein precisely defined, celebration of Mass in private homes is unlawful.

    Documents On The Liturgy 1963-1979 Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts (pages 129-133)
    DOL 37 (29 December 1966) SC Rites, Press Conference
    A Bugnini regarding the Declaration of 29 December 1966
    [only the fragment on music]


    4. Song. There is also an allusion to music that is "profane and worldly." The first
    adjective, it seems to me, refers to the type of music; the second, to its style of

    A great deal could be said about this issue, which so much engages public
    opinion; but I will be brief.

    St. Pius X, the first to deal with the issue of singing as a part of pastoral liturgy,
    in his well-known Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitunini (1903) forbade "lascivious" songs,
    and instruments that are "raucous and frivolous." It is, we must admit, not always
    easy to identify these two qualities. As to the words of songs, the question is easier
    because, reflecting as they do the fads and fashions of the moment, sentimental
    verses are readily recognized.

    But what of melody? Every age has its tastes, preferences, and mode of expression.
    Like all art music is a sign revealing the times.

    As for musical instruments, St. Pius X was quite explicit in banning those that
    are "raucous and frivolous" from places of worship. Clearly he had in mind the
    Western culture of the Latin Church. Is such a criterion valid today? Only partly so.
    This is the reason that, after recommending use of the traditional instruments, the
    Constitution on the Liturgy adds: "Other instruments also may be admitted for use
    in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial
    authority [i.e., the conference of bishops]. This applies, however, only on condition
    that [1] the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, [2] are
    in accord with the dignity of the place of worship, and [3] truly contribute to the
    uplifting of the faithful" (art. 120).

    This is the necessary basis for judging new musical forms. The Declaration
    asserts that, at least in some instances, these three conditions have not been respected.
    The music it mentions is "profane," thus not worthy of the place of worship;
    "worldly," that is, of a style whose performance requires or seems to require movements,
    gestures, and attitudes unworthy of a sacred service.

    Does that foreclose every further development of today's percussion music for
    liturgy? The Declaration does not permit such an inference, but it is not difficult to
    perceive that there would have to be a great deal of sacralization before that kind of
    music can legitimately cross the church threshold.


    Just two months later in the USA ...

    Thirty-Five Years Of The BCL Newsletter 1965-2000 (pages 71-72)
    BCL Newsletter (February 1967, Vol 3 No 2)
    [complete statement]
    [The brackets that delimit the first paragraph are in the original.]
    [The brackets with sic or brackets with ellipses are mine.]

    Statement on Masses in Homes and on Music

    [The following is the text of a statement issued on February 17, 1967, by the Bishops' Commission on
    the Liturgical Apostolate. The joint declaration of the Congregation of Rites and the Postconciliar Liturgical
    Commission to which the statement refers was published in L'Osservatore Romano on January 5, 1967,
    and dated December 29, 1966.]

    The joint declaration concerning unauthorized "family eucharistic banquets" issued recently by the
    Congregation of Rites and the Postconciliar Liturgical Commission (Consilium) has been the subject of
    misinterpretation. It was not a new decree or new legislation, much less was it a "papal ban" on the use of
    contemporary music. The confused reporting of this statement is a reminder that the official texts of such
    documents should be examined carefully and calmly.

    1. The warning to observe the present liturgical discipline was directed against abuses, not against the
    proper celebration of Mass in homes and neighborhood communities with the authorization of the local

    As the chairman of this Commission pointed out last November, private innovations in the liturgy disrupt
    the desired unity and order in the community. They divide rather than unite. They divert us all from true
    liturgical progress, because they are directly contrary to the intent of the Council.

    2. Diocesan programs for the celebration of Mass on weekdays in private homes or small neighborhood
    communities are not affected by the warning against abuses.

    For a long time local bishops have permitted Mass outside a church for sufficient reason. They have thus
    brought consolation to the sick confined to their homes for long periods. Obviously other serious reasons
    will prompt the use of such faculties, in particular, diocesan programs for weekday Masses in homes and

    The assembly in small communities for Mass should not ordinarily be restricted to one or two families.
    The purpose should be to form a small worshiping community in which the genuine sense of community is more readily experienced. In turn this experience can contribute significantly to growth in awareness of the
    parish as community, especially when all the faithful participate in the parish Mass on the Lord's Day. The
    parish is the basic unit of the total ecclesial community and it is in the parish that the Church exists in

    3. It is difficult to give an easy answer to questions concerning music worthy of the liturgy. If free from
    improper associations, the music of any age can be accommodated into the service of the liturgy. The
    character of music "is to be considered the more holy in proportion as it is more closely connected with the
    liturgical action" (Constitution on the Liturgy, art. 112).

    We therefore repeat our recommendations of last April, calling for "musical compositions in idioms that
    can be sung by the congregation and thus further communal participation:

    "Experience has furthermore shown that different groupings of the faithful assembled in worship respond
    to different styles of musical expression which help to make the liturgy meaningful for them. Thus the needs
    of the faithful of a particular cultural background or of a particular age level may often be met by a music
    that can serve as a congenial, liturgically oriented expression of prayer.

    "In this connection, when a service of worship is conducted primarily for gatherings of youth of high school
    or college age, and not for ordinary parish congregations, the choice of music which is meaningful to persons
    of this age level should be considered valid and purposeful, The use of this music presupposes:
    a) that the music itself can be said to contain genuine merit;
    b) that if instruments other than the organ are employed as accompaniment for the singing, they should
    be played in a manner that is suitable for public worship;
    c) that the liturgical texts should be respected. The incorporation of incongruous melodies and texts,
    adapted from popular ballads, should be avoided."

    Finally, both the developing programs of neighborhood Masses and the newer modes of meaningful
    music, which are the responsibility of the local bishop, must not be deterred by the regrettable abuses of

    Our concern is to satisfy legitimate desires for needed liturgical change. The condemnation of abuse must
    never obstruct desirable and necessary programs of liturgical renewal. It must never encourage or give
    comfort to a negativism which is foreign to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for change in our day.

    A positive and open approach is needed. This means taking advantage of the changes already accomplished
    and making them more deeply effective in vital Christian living.

    --Bishops' [sic] Commission on the Liturgical Apostolate

    A distinction must be made between
    --the Declaration
    --the Press conference

    Folks, there is a lot more to these than what is quoted above;
    you really must read them. Unbelievable!
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    hi, jcecce.

    My understanding is that Pius XII changed the practice --- years ago, mixed-marriages were performed in Church rectories --- Pius XII changed the practice, and said all marriages must be in front of the Altar. Later Popes have made further changes.

    That is the reason that practice is "practically non-existent" --- it was changed.

    But I would not recommend, for example, "tossing out" the Second Vatican Council simply because it took place in the 1960's.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I find it amazing how UTTERLY DEVOID these comments are of anything SPIRITUAL

    I'm not sure I see your point. There are many aspects to our Church---many parts of the entire package.

    One of the aspects is that Christ founded a CHURCH, and He gave that Church powers, including the duty to guide all followers of Christ to salvation. I'm not sure how else you can guide without making pronouncements and declarations and explanations.

    I'm not sure the TEN COMMANDMENTS are "devoid" of spirituality --- they are merely part of the package, the whole package.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    It amazes me to see the kicking and screaming - and downright hostility - by those who don't like the new direction that liturgy is heading.

    Face it - the 60's are over. The Church is changing. And it's changing for the better.

    Come along or get out of the way.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "What I was getting at was the lack of connection between what we do musically and spiritual lives of he people we are called to serve. There is no mention of bringing peace through music to the widow who is in Stage 4 metastatic cancer. There is no reference to the young man who's wife is cheating on him. There is no mention of the HS student who didn't get into the college she wanted to go to. No mention practically of JESUS or the HOLY SPIRIT! That's the part that is scary."

    I feel that in the liturgy, we are primarily called to serve our Divine Savior, Who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Also, I feel that there are many parts to the package. For instance, my keyboard training book that I slaved over for years and years was very DRY, BORING, TEDIOUS, etc. but this is all part of the package. Learning to play the keyboard is part of the package. Studying music is part of the package. Just because that keyboard method book doesn't mention a sick widow or even Jesus Christ, doesn't mean it doesn't play a role. The fact that a sick widow is not mentioned in legislation on music at Mass doesn't mean that sick widows are not important. The ten commandments make no reference to our Divine Savior at all, but that doesn't mean that the ten commandments are not important to the life of a Christian. I hope this makes sense.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    As a native orinetal living in America, (Even if I maybe politically 'incorrect,' I prefer to be called as an Orinental than Asian, because it carries my cultural background with me than just geographical distinction. it's just me), I learned to say prayers in Korean first, then in English. After I move here I don't expect to use my native language in public places, because I live in America, I learn to speak English. After I learn more prayers in English, I learn prayers in Latin, because they bring me close to our Universal Church, and they are also sacred and beautiful.

    In my long journey of religion from Budhism, Baptist to Catholicism, I found the Truth in Catholic faith taught by the Church. My experience of excitement through up-beat style or emotionally drenched music gave only temporary satisfaction and didin't last long. When I read Church's history, all the saints kept the Church's teachings and fought for them, whether they were majorities or minorities. Most of the popular beliefs were often against the Church's teachings throughout the history, but the number of the people itself didn't make their practices necessarily right.
    If I don't receive the holiness and share the divinity of Christ in our Mass, where else can I get them? Where do I experience the Heaven on Earth? Even there's no music in daily Mass, I learned to see the Heaven in Mass now, because of my continuous experience of sacred music in the litrugy. Learning to sing and listen to sacred music is the most precious blessing to my faith. The liturgy has a totally different meaning to me now. It's truly from God through our Church as Christ our Lord intended and instituted.

    The music speaks more than what the words can. The music truly helps you to experience the holiness of the Liturgy and the Heaven. I'm sure people have to start from whereever you are in your faith journey as a Catholic, and there are options in the Church's instruction, but what the Church desires as the highest goal for every Catholic is very clear, and that is the truth. Sadly not many people, especially youths don't understand that truth these days, because they are fed by the adults with their preferences without the Church's instruction. The Church has the duty and right to teach the faithful, because the Christ wanted that way, and I don't believe He changed His mind. (maybe Protestants don't agree.)
    I believe that there ARE sacred music all the faithful should know and learn to understand them as the integral part of the liturgy as Catholics. And I found many youths are deprived of the right to learn the sacred music of the Church.
    The following is what the Pope and the Church say to restore and continue the sacredness and reverance in our liturgy.

    "An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony" Pope Benedict XVI, 2006

    "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given first place in liturgical services." (Section 116, the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

    "Steps should be taken so 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." (Section 54, the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592

    forgive me if I am paraphrasing, but I understood the gist of your posts as being that some people are too "dumb" to appreciate Gregorian chant and polyphony. And so they need popular & emotional music, similar to what they hear on the radio, to be moved, correct?

    Again, if I misunderstood what you were getting at, apologies in advance.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    miacoyne, I am actually watching you on my screen right now ---- editing video from the Colloquium !!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    ((Removed by author))
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "This isn't the Republican party where plumbers and hockeymoms decide everything for us."


    For the first time, I am actually seeing a negative effect of the CMAA forum. It might be time for moderation.

    This conversation has steered WAY off course! I'm not sure my comments helped keep it on course, either.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Jeff, a tip on editing the Colloquium video. I look actually better in real or behind the computer screen than on the screen. I hope this helps ;-)
    (soory for the side track.)
  • Jeff,
    While I see your concerns, I wouldn't be too quick to call for moderation. I can speak from experience that it takes quite a while to get one's bearings when first entering and then maintaining a discursive presence in this forum (and the comboxes elsewhere such as NLM.) I think JT keeps a very watchful eye for the extremely rare occasion that the lines of propriety are truly crossed. But, I think it speaks better for CMAA and ourselves if we can self-monitor ourselves as to what constitutes "civil and intelligent." And if there are indiscretions, then we can follow Christ's mandate for charity by approaching one another with intent to reconcile as Christians first.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "perhaps the most crucial part of my post: the part of the "package" that matters most, i.e., not so much sacrifice but MINISTRY and the sharing of the Good News of the Gospel."

    I cannot imagine any Christian Ministry without sacrifice and humility of Christ, and His teachings and examples of 'love with sacrifice and humility'.' His love is the perfect love because of His perfect sacrifice and humility, and He came down to teach us that love. If we teach youth, doing whatever makes you feel happy concept in our liturgy how we are going to teach Christ's love? If we don't show them how to follow His love of sacrifice and humility, how do they even learn to appreciate and receive His love?
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576

    Feb 19 this Discussion was started with a request for some info, several folks responded with some items

    Feb 20 several more members replied, one suggesting an article

    ... almost six months passes ...

    Aug 10
    I used a Search engine and one of the items returned was this Discussion.
    I read all of these posts, first through last.
    The discussion did not have what I was looking for.

    I saw an article cited, was curious (other people had put their content in the body of their post),
    and took the time to read the article,
    paying particular attention to another post comment which used the word "History"
    (I have enjoyed reading History since fourth grade).

    In the article paragraph is a reference to the Music Advisory Board of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy.
    I was curious.
    I happen to own a large book entitled "Thirty-five Years of the BCL Newsletter 1965-2000".
    Since the book is expensive, and few people own it,
    I thought I would contribute to this discussion the content of that reference,
    took the time to try to locate the item, but was not successful, hence my
    "So, what was that "February 1966" statement?"
    and I provide what I *was* able to find, something from April 1966.

    The next few sentences has a reference to a joint statement by the
    Sacred Congregation of Rites and the Consilium.
    I was curious.
    I happen to own a large book entitled "Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979 Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts".
    Since the book is expensive, and few people own it,
    I thought I would contribute to this discussion the content of that reference as well.

    Then, because I have these two volumes sitting open, I start reading more.
    And when I find things from two volumes (Vatican versus USCCB) do not quite match,
    I try to understand the situation better. Hence my statement
    "Folks, there is a lot more to these; you really must read them. Unbelievable!"

    As employees of our parishes we do what the pastor asks, or what the pastor permits.
    That does not stop anyone from studying the topic of Church Music,
    including its recent history.

    My recent reading of Church Documents started in Nov 2002.
    I had just been hired by my parish.
    It was the fourtieth anniversary year of the start of the Vatican Council Two.
    I went to the Vatican website and started with the first document of the council,
    Sacrosanctum Concilium, and read it all, including skimming the footnotes.
    In that document are a good number of paragraphs about music.
    Following through on some of the footnotes exposed me to more documents and more footnotes.

    I am sorry the thoroughness of my research, and the desire to share what I read, has offended you.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    jcecce: "justify a particular PREFERENCE for musical style [...] the comments occur as if in a vacuum."

    I think you will find that the preference promoted on this website
    is in line with what the Church is asking of us.

    jcecce: "Our leaders pushed many good people away pre-Vatican II and in the years surrounding the council."

    Please define: leaders, pushed, good people, and the time period.
    Please suggest: books and articles that I can read to learn more about these events.

    jcecce: "quoting antiquated documents is not very productive"

    The Bible is antiquated.
    The forum members prefer to quote from the Bible during liturgy.
    The largest body of music that quotes from the Bible is chant and polyphony.

    jcecce: "Here is an example [...] I'd be interested to see eft94530 weigh in on this."

    It is the job of the Pope to govern, and many popes have weighed in.
    Their decisions, for the good of the Church, are provided in written form.
    Pope Peter is attributed two letters in the Bible.

    More recent papal documents are not scripture, but are freely available too (see the Vatican website).
    Pope Pius X weighed in, as did his successors.
    Pope John XXIII called Vatican Council Two, it had four sessions, each Autumn of 1962-63-64-65.
    Pope Paul VI created the Consilium, to properly implement the Council decisions.

    Annibale Bugnini was involved with Council preparations, proceedings, and was assigned to the Consilium.
    Bugnini is the architect of the Mass as we now know it.
    Bugnini is quoting Pope Piux X.
    Please re-read the quote in its context. I am not withholding data.

    Bugnini summarized his labors (Council and Consilium) in a book "The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975".
    It is large, and expensive, and few people own it.
  • Jcecce,

    "I find it amazing how UTTERLY DEVOID these comments are of anything SPIRITUAL!"

    I think if you stick around, you'll see that this forum is populated by people who have earnestly devoted their lives and careers to the service of God and His Church. Having spent perhaps the best week of my life worshipping and making music with these men and women earlier this summer at the Sacred Music Colloquium, and having returned changed, I'd urge caution in making judgments about anyone's devotion to service, or as you wrote, to ministry.

    The discussions on the forum tend to be more academic and practical in nature than devoted to faith-sharing. Sometimes, particularly uplifting stories are shared, but mostly, the forums seem to be about sharing musical resources like sheet music, clarifying questions on music-related statements by bishops and other authorities, asking for help planning particular liturgies.

    The education and resource-sharing is PRECISELY motivated by a spirit of service: we want to do our jobs as fully and capably as possible, so that all involved receive every possible fruit from the music of Mass. That's why all the information; we want to be ready for the task.

    As far as particular musical styles go: many of us are so devoted to chant because the chant is coupled to the "proper" texts for a day. "Proper" is opposed to "Ordinary", not to "improper", and means those texts that change at every Mass, like the Gospel does, as opposed to those like the Lamb of God, which is always used. In the liturgical books along with the Old Testament and Gospel readings, there are texts for the rest of the music of every Mass (Processional, Alleluia verse, Offertory, Communion), not just for the Psalm. So, by singing the chant, you sing the "proper" text assigned to the day, just like reading the assigned Gospel. By introducing other music, you sing different texts, which is almost like selecting a different First Reading or a different Epistle. Even on the forum, there are differences of opinion on this, but many people are mostly devoted to the "propers", over and above the style in which the propers are sung.

    Until recently, Latin chant was about the only way to get the propers, followed by polyphony. But, recently, a lot of English-language chant became available, and some composers are writing SATB, 'modern' choral versions of the propers. The poetry of the saints can be sung in all these many styles, and others.

    Many Catholics never have an opportunity to hear the poetry of written by the saints through the ages, the lyrics of the Gregorian chant, the poetry that fed Catholics for centuries, and instead only hear poetry written during the last 40 years. If students were only exposed to novels written since 1960, never reading Shakespeare, or the Romantics, or other important pieces of literature, we'd all agree there was a deficit, but there, all that is at stake is a knowledge of literature. But in not being exposed to the poetry of the saints, much, much more is at stake. The people of God are not being given easy access to one of His great gifts, the wisdom and prayers of His saints. And we feel very strongly about that, even mourning over it, sometimes ranting and raving about it on these forums.

    All of it is motivated by the desire to give that widow with cancer that you mention what she needs. She needs nothing more and nothing less than God. And we will sing to her and with her the prayers of the Church, that we might all be part of that great and universal Church that extends through the ages, the Church of the God of Jacob and Isaac and Moses, the Church of the Psalmists, the Evangelists, and all the saints, the Church of Christ. She will sing or listen, knowing countless widows have gone before her uttering and hearing the same words, perhaps even the same melodies, all marked with faith, and that the same God that comforted Martha and Mary and all those thousands of widows comforts her.

    New poetry isn't outlawed, and new poetry and new melodies can certainly be enriching as well. But if you wish to question these men and women's motives, please do so carefully. Devotion, knowledge, and experience DO sometimes look exactly like this, like well-studied, well-documented, vocal support for beautifully executed traditional music.

    Yours in Christ,
    Rebecca Bridget C-
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    And to the regular CMAA readers/posters ...

    Robert F Hayburn wrote "Papal Legislation on Sacred Music 95 A.D. to 1977 A.D."
    Big and expensive.
    Also in my library. :-)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Jeff: it was a joke. You may wish to see here:
  • Is it just me, or is jcecce wasting people's time here? He or she joined exactly 7 hours ago. there is no real name attached to the login. So far as I can tell, all of his or her posts have been combative and attempting to caricature the sacred music position, and his/her postings are forcing people to go over areas well trod and answered many times and many people, including in the FAQ.

    also, his or her first post I had to remove because it was, quite frankly, ghastly. I'm not going into the details.

    If this poster is banned before day's end, don't be surprised. this is a peaceful community of thoughtful people, not a mud wresting arena.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    jcecce: You may wish to read the Sacred Music FAQ, which will explain the liturgical/musical viewpoint of the CMAA.

    As for people leaving, it's unfortunate, but it happens. However, people leave all the time. Some leave because the Church won't let them remarry after divorce. Some leave because they just plain don't believe in the Catholic faith anymore. You don't seem like you would advocate altering the Church's moral laws to keep people from leaving. Nor would you advocate changing Catholic doctrine to keep people in. So why should the liturgy change to keep people from leaving?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Actually I find him/her quite interesting as a different opinion, but I wish s/he'd stop assuming the worst of us.
  • ok, I've banned jcecce. He or she can still read the forum but not post. If you want back on, we need to talk about manners etc.
  • Thank you, Jcecce, for your response. It's sad to hear that you and your friends have experienced music directors who seem exclusively interested in the music, rather than in the faith.

    Let us give you some new experiences. We too really exist and really sing in parishes. As I understand it, the whole purpose of the CMAA is to help make it so that you don't have to settle for that parish with mediocre music, but that you can have have BOTH, excellent music, directed by musicians devoted to the church! You're certainly right that right now, it's hard to find people that are both, but that's what this site is all about. It's devoted to addressing earnest, devoted Christians, and helping us to make the best music we possibly can, all for the greater glory of God. That's why virtually everything mentioned here is free, and available for instant download. This has grown grassroots, receives no external funding, has no paid officials, etc. We're not the establishment, and we're not a bunch of paid scholars spinning our wheels: most of us are volunteer musicians, a great many of us have no formal training, and almost all of us learn several new things daily, just by reading others' comments here.

    I don't know where you live, but maybe you can come and sing with some of us, and see what we are up to in person. In our own individual ways, we all try to foster both excellence and faith. Both together, knowing that faith does not exclude excellence, but encourages it.

    It's easy to become disillusioned, but there are many, many places that have both, and we're all working towards increasing the number. Maybe we can help you find one.
  • Well, not the forum's best day, through no cause of its own. I know that I articulated hope for reasonable, self-moderation to prevail, but I have to conclude that-

    "An archdiocese on the east coast had a cathedral music director for about 10 years who was partnered to a gay man, and clearly was not living a Catholic life. But he is a very talented musician. Only God will judge ultimately, but the point I wish to make is that this director was quite disconnected from the spiritual life of the cathedral; he made good music and beyond that he did not have a very good reputation for being a model Catholic. My fear is there are many others like him: hired because they use a parish as an outlet for their talent to make good music, but not out of a desire to serve the people of God.
    I would rather go to a parish with mediocre music, in which the music program is directed by a faith-filled person who lives as a practicing Catholic."-

    was wholly unnecessary, inflammatory, divisive and decidedly off-topic. Sorry you had to make that call, JT.

    Ask (for it) and ye shall receive (it).

  • [All posts that digressed from the original topic have been removed. Apologies to all for having had to exercise this measure.

    This post will self-destruct in 4 hours.]
  • ChrisPT
    Posts: 9
    I'm a little confused. When did the church - as these postings would suggest - stop approving of instruments clearly mentioned in historical accounts, including the Bible? Please explain to this newcomer. Even the early Christians borrowed from secular and pagan styles. I would assume the instrumentation followed as well.

    Just askin'.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Basil Cole, OP's book "Music and Morals" presents material from the Church Fathers regarding their attitudes toward, among other things, instrumental music.

    There was a strong bias in the early Church against the use of instruments in favor of the human voice, and instruments associated with pagan cults were particularly reprobated. At times, Christians were forbidden to learn them at all.

    I wouldn't assume that instruments mentioned in parts of the Old Testament were still in use in Jewish worship by the time Christian worship arose.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    ChrisPT, welcome to the exploration of Church Music History and Church Documents!
    Many who post here have ventured awhile after a question such as yours crossed their mind! :-)
    I provide the following quote to hilight the value of what @chonak wrote above,
    and to give a taste of the Hayburn writing style (to whet your appetite to purchase).

    Papal Legislation on Sacred Music 95 A.D. to 1977 A.D.
    by Rev. Robert F Hayburn, Mus.D.

    ---page xi---

    This book brings together the writings of the popes on sacred music.
    Many of these documents are almost totally unknown, some are found only
    in Latin, and a great number are inaccessible to the average musician. They
    form a vast panorama of legislative thought. Fragmentary references are
    found in the writings of such early popes as St. Damasus (375-384),
    St. Celestine (422-432), St. Sixtus (432-440), St. Leo the Great (440-451), and others
    of this era. More important steps were taken by Gregory the Great (590-604),
    Leo IV (847-855), John XXII (1316-1334), Benedict XIV (1740-1758),
    Pius IX (1846-1878), and Leo XIII (1878-1903).

    All of these documents accumulate in power as one great crescendo
    which reached its fortissimo with St. Pius X's Tra le sollecitudini of November
    22, 1903. This motu proprio on sacred music was the climax of all previous
    legislation on Church music, and it still remains the highlight of Church music
    law. The documents which follow it are explanations and augmentations of
    the principles laid down by Pius X. They add little that is new, but rather
    set forth in greater detail and for current usage the liturgical and musical
    norms which he envisaged.

    In approaching this work the first problem was to learn how many papal
    documents [...]

    ---page 1---
    Chapter One

    Early Popes

    Church music has been the concern of the popes during the entire history
    of the Catholic Church. From the first through the twentieth centuries the
    Supreme Pontiffs have regulated the use of song and musical instruments
    in relation to the sacred liturgy. Some of these acts of legislation have been
    incorporated into documents of a liturgical or disciplinary nature; others
    have been separate documents on music alone. These latter documents are
    found in nearly all the various types of ecclesiastical pronouncements, such
    as papal constitutions, circular letters, motu proprios, bulls, decrees,
    encyclicals, and other forms of ecclesiastical communication.

    "Papal documents" is a comprehensive term used to designate any of
    the various acts emanating from the Holy See. These have undergone a
    long and interesting history, until the end of the nineteenth century, when
    Pope Leo XIII (1873-1903) issued a motu proprio which made official
    documents uniform in character.

    The legislation of the early popes was sparse. (Since this work treats
    only papal documents, reference will not be made to the apostles,
    Evangelists, and the Church Fathers.) The popes' writings occasionally contained
    references to the use of music in the services of the Church, but for the most
    part one must rely on secondary sources for information. One of the most
    important of these is the Liber Pontificalis edited by Duchesne.[1] Other rich
    sources are the great volumes of Migne, Patrologiae Graecae cursus completus,[2]
    and Patrologiae Latinae cursus completus.[3] Only since Pope Leo IV
    (847-855) are official documents of a legislative character extant. In the
    case of St. Gregory the Great (590-604), the works of authors who lived soon
    after him will be cited as support of the Gregorian tradition.[4]

    The first successor of St. Peter to write concerning the musical practices
    of the liturgy was Pope St. Clement. He ruled the Church of God from 92
    or 93 to 101 A.D. In his writings he gave a positive precept in favor of the
    chant in the liturgical offices, and a negative precept, by which he forbade
    the use of the psalms and hymns outside of the services themselves. It was
    he who fixed the basic principles upon which the future legislation would
    be based. He wrote that the chant of the Church pertained to the liturgy

    ---page 2---
    in the early Church, and that a division must be made between the liturgical
    offices, where the hymns and chants were prescribed, and the non-religious
    meeting, where these same religious pieces were forbidden.

    The first source is [...]

    From the death of St. Clement until the fourth century, there were no
    further references in the writings of the popes to the liturgical use of music
    in the services of the Church. Perhaps this was due to the trying times in
    which the Church found herself, or it may have been due to a preoccupation
    of the popes with things of a more pressing nature. Or again, it may be that
    the lines indicated by Clement and followed by his successors had been
    sufficient in the period of formation. During these first three centuries the
    Church Fathers taught, and the popes legislated, and abuses were revealed
    and eliminated in those things which pertained to the worship of the Church.


    1. Louis Duchesne, ed. Liber Pontificalis, 2 vols. (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892).
    2. J. P. Migne, ed. Patrologiae cursus completus: Patrologiae Graecae, 167 vols. (Paris: J. P. Migne, 1857-1866), hereafter cited as PG.
    3. J. P. Migne, ed. Patrologiae cursus completus: Patrologiae Latinae, 217 vols. (Paris: J. P. Migne, 1844-1855), hereafter cited as PL.
    4. F. Romita, Jus musicae liturgicae (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1947); A. Pons, Droit ecclesiastique et musique sacree, 4 vols. (St. Maurice, Switzerland: Editions de l'Oeuvre St. Augustin, 1959-1961).

    And if you are adventurous ...
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    I have corrected a few typos I noticed in the above (hand-typed) quotes from "DOL" and "Thirty-Five Years",
    and replaced a few bracketed ellipses and bracketed comments with the actual text.
    While at it, I also provided the book sources and pages from whence they were quoted.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    From Age To Age: The Challenge of Worship With Adolescents (1997)
    by National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM)

    page 14

    65. Though the music of the liturgy has the power to unite us symbolically in common
    song, there is much tension in our parishes regarding musical styles. Everyone, young and
    old, has a favorite musical style. The function of music at liturgy, however, is to support the
    community prayer, not to entertain. This is sometimes difficult for teens to understand.
    Pastoral musicians have a difficult task balancing the threefold judgment described
    in Music in Catholic Worship--liturgical, musical, and pastoral--when choosing music for worship.[73]

    There are other bits of the booklet that might be salvaged and used.
    The nugget ...
    not to entertain. This is sometimes difficult for teens to understand
    ... seems to be overlooked by their own NFCYM 2009 convention promo video ( ).

    Also remember that Music in Catholic Worship (MCW)
    has been superceded by Sing To The Lord (Nov 2007)
    and that a free copy of STTL is available at ...
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    The real problem is they don't think those worshipping music is an entertainment. To them they are praying with the music they can "relate to." (This is the term I heard from someone who is support of those music for teens.)