Progressive solemnity article in Worship
  • Hi all,

    Did any of you folks read the article on progressive solemnity in the latest issue of Worship?

    To me, the discussion of music seemed to reinforce, disappointingly, the old model of “hymns and Mass parts” that most places still follow. I was surprised that he seemed to justify his presentation by referring to GIRM and Musicam sacram, when those documents pretty clearly establish that those things sung by priest and people together, or that are dialogues between the assembly and a minister (lay or ordained), receive first priority for singing.....which would relegate the processional chants to a secondary, or even tertiary, status.

  • Richard R.
    Posts: 731
    Long ago, after slogging through a fair stack of BCL Newsletters of old (at the insistence of a singularly unenlightened Grad school prof), I concluded that "progressive solemnity" was simply a code word for "we don't like this High Mass/Low Mass business anymore". One perhaps can appreciate a more gradated approach to music in eucharistic worship. Unfortunately, in jettisoning the distinction, we also lost the impetus to aspire to anything more aesthetically noble than an ever narrowing expression of the status quo. A victory for the populists (i.e., iconoclasts), but a defeat for those who value the riches of our sacred patrimony and the Church's glorious sacrifice of praise.

    Beware, then, those who pretentiously designate this or that element of the Mass more or less important than another. In practice, anything deemed theoretically less important becomes, in due course, expendable.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Does the Worship article point readers to the instructions in Musicam Sacram? That would be a good thing.
  • Richard,

    Actually, I have always thought that progressive solemnity is an idea that makes sense and squares well with the idea of preserving liturgical use of, say, polyphonic Mass Ordinaries and the like. But, your point of view seems I had never thought it questionable to designate one part of the Mass as being more important than another. Certainly every major document on music in modern times takes that approach.


    There are many citations of Musicam sacram in the article.

    I wrote to the author requesting an explanation, but I haven’t heard anything yet.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,061
    I agree with Richard, to an extent. The concept of progressive solemnity seems easily mangled. All it takes is a very utilitarian understanding of the Mass and liturgy in general, and big problems happen. For example, I think many priests lose the idea that every Sunday of the year ought to be a "big deal": using incense on Christmas and Easter is fine, for example, but why not every week? Why not sing the dialogues every week? I know the concept is elaborated upon in some documents, but just like the "Spirit of Vatican II", "progressive solemnity" seems to be a couched term that is easily hijacked.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    "Progressive" solemnity means presiding at a Clown Mass without a wig.