Reading Recommendations on what the Church says about Women Being Allowed to sing in choir
  • Hi,

    I’m giving a talk at my church about what the Church (ie Catholic Church) says on women singing in choir. I’m most interested in women being permitted to sing the propers in a mixed schola in the EF and where that permission comes from, but I’m interested in everything the Church has to say on the matter. I’m looking for primary sources and secondary sources that interpret the actually Church documents in the historical context in which they were written.

    Suggestions?
  • Sponsa Christi,

    Did you bring your beekeeper's netting, gas, gloves and other attire?
  • sergeantedward
    Posts: 134
    22. The choir can consist, according to the customs of each country and other circumstances, of either men and boys, or men and boys only, or men and women, or even, where there is a genuine case for it, of women only.

    23. Taking into account the layout of each church, the choir should be placed in such a way:

    (a) That its nature should be clearly apparent—namely, that it is a part of the whole congregation, and that it fulfills a special role;

    (b) That it is easier for it to fulfil its liturgical function;[20]

    (c) That each of its members may be able to participate easily in the Mass, that is to say by sacramental participation.

    Whenever the choir also includes women, it should be placed outside the sanctuary (presbyterium).

    - Musicam Sacram, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_instr_19670305_musicam-sacram_en.html
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • Did you bring your beekeeper's netting, gas, gloves and other attire?

    What are you suggesting? I know it’s a controversial topic.

    I didn’t realize Musica Sacram also applies to the EF now as well.
  • Sponsa Christi,

    I think you'll find that, since the document in question was written (and promulgated) before there was an Ordo of St. Paul VI, this document is supposed to apply to the Ordo of St. John XXIII.

    The question of what the choir can sing (and therefore what a subset of the choir, the women, can sing is a different question.


    [the singing of the faithful] should first of all include acclamations, responses to the greetings of the priest and ministers and to the prayers of litany form, and also antiphons and psalms, refrains or repeated responses, hymns and canticles.[16]

    (b) Through suitable instruction and practices, the people should be gradually led to a fuller—indeed, to a complete—participation in those parts of the singing which pertain to them.

    (c) Some of the people's song, however, especially if the faithful have not yet been sufficiently instructed, or if musical settings for several voices are used, can be handed over to the choir alone, provided that the people are not excluded from those parts that concern them. But the usage of entrusting to the choir alone the entire singing of the whole Proper and of the whole Ordinary, to the complete exclusion of the people's participation in the singing, is to be deprecated.


    This last point (c) is curious, to say the least.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 144
    I sing in a mixed schola. I'm often the only woman (the other woman is often away). We sing outside the sanctuary. I'm actually surprised I'm allowed to sing the propers. I've never encountered a woman singing EF chant propers at other EF celebrations unless it's all women, at a convent. I figure it could change at any time (new priest, changes in schola leadership, complaints from the congregation, etc). I'm surprised no one has complained about me yet. lol.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,685
    Did you bring your beekeeper's netting, gas, gloves and other attire?


    Class 3 body armor and a sidearm and/or Taser may be a better choice.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,685
    To my knowledge, there is no regulatory nor legal bar to women singing Propers in the EF aside from "custom." At one of my assignments, the women sang with the men (small choir--6 members, split 50/50) on the Propers. We would also alternate M-F for some items.

    That permission arrived in December 1955, IIRC: Pius XII's Instruction.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,411
    @CatherineS
    We have a mixed schola, and people have complained, well all of two, I told them where to go.

    Anyway here is what they were going on about, Tra Le Sollecitudini – (On Sacred Music) November 22, 1903 [Motu Proprio]
    V. The singers
    By this it is not to be understood that solos are entirely excluded. But solo singing should never predominate to such an extent as to have the greater part of the liturgical chant executed in that manner;
    IV. External form of the sacred compositions
    10. The different parts of the mass and the Office must retain, even musically, that particular concept and form which ecclesiastical tradition has assigned to them, and which is admirably brought out by Gregorian Chant. The method of composing an introit, a gradual, an antiphon, a psalm, a hymn, a Gloria in excelsis, etc., must therefore be distinct from one another.
    12. With the exception of the melodies proper to the celebrant at the altar and to the ministers, which must be always sung in Gregorian Chant, and without accompaniment of the organ, all the rest of the liturgical chant belongs to the choir of levites, and, therefore, singers in the church, even when they are laymen, are really taking the place of the ecclesiastical choir. Hence the music rendered by them must, at least for the greater part, retain the character of choral music.
    the solo phrase should have the character or hint of a melodic projection (spunto), and be strictly bound up with the rest of the choral composition.
    13. On the same principle it follows that singers in church have a real liturgical office, and that therefore women, being incapable of exercising such office, cannot be admitted to form part of the choir. Whenever, then, it is desired to employ the acute voices of sopranos and contraltos, these parts must be taken by boys, according to the most ancient usage of the Church.
    14. Finally, only men of known piety and probity of life are to be admitted to form part of the choir of a church, and these men should by their modest and devout bearing during the liturgical functions show that they are worthy of the holy office they exercise. It will also be fitting that singers while singing in church wear the ecclesiastical habit and surplice, and that they be hidden behind gratings when the choir is excessively open to the public gaze.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    While the application of Musicam Sacram to the EF can be disputed, there can be no doubt about De Musica Sacra(1958)
    100. Wherever such a choir cannot be organized, a choir of the faithful, either mixed or consisting only of women or girls, can be permitted. But such a choir should take its place outside the sanctuary or Communion rail. The men should be separated from the women or girls so that anything unbecoming may be avoided. Local Ordinaries are to issue precise regulations about these matters, and pastors are to see to their enforcement (Decr. Auth. SCR 3964, 4210, 4231, and the encyclical Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS [1956] 23).
    Since the congregation is encouraged to sing, and women are in the congregation, a choir of the faithful can contain women!
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 144
    I love this guideline!

    "Finally, only men of known piety and probity of life are to be admitted to form part of the choir of a church, and these men should by their modest and devout bearing during the liturgical functions show that they are worthy of the holy office they exercise. It will also be fitting that singers while singing in church wear the ecclesiastical habit and surplice, and that they be hidden behind gratings when the choir is excessively open to the public gaze."
  • Catherine,

    The same "only men of known piety and probity of life" standard is supposed to hold for lectors, Unnecessary Ministers of Holy Communion and Organists.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    SponsaChristi - there is a book 'Papal legislation on sacred music ...' by Hayburn, running from the AD 95 to 1977, if you can find a library copy.
  • a_f_hawkins,

    Thanks! That’s the kind of stuff I’m looking for. I’ve just located a copy at one of the universities in my city. There’s another book that Jefferey Tucker references in an article he wrote some time ago as well, Sacred music and liturgical reform : treasures and transformations by Fr. Anthony Ruff that gets into the whole Cecilian Movement.
  • Two other resources (for some perspective): Why Catholics Can't Sing and The Renovation Manipulation
  • We have a mixed schola, and people have complained, well all of two, I told them where to go

    Thanks. If people have complained about me singing with the schola (we don’t have mixed voices, we all sing in the same range), I haven’t heard of it. I’ve only had one issue with one priest. It’s a real blow knowing schola members who aren’t as committed and don’t know the propers as well as I do are perfectly fine to sing in the schola by virtue of being men, but I, regardless of my level commitment and knowledge of the propers, can be told I can’t sing because I’m a woman. It bothers me that that’s allowed, or at least tolerated and I’m expected to be a good obedient Catholic and just accept it as is and not challenge the status quo. It makes me question whether there’s any point in investing in becoming more proficient and knowledgeable of singing Gregorian Chant. They tell you to “develop your God-given talents to glorify God”, but then say no, you can’t use them because you’re a woman. That’s messed up.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 66
    Surely women are permitted so long as they are dressed in ecclesiastical habit and surplice?
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • Incardination
    Posts: 615
    Sponsa,

    I strongly agree. I once had several men who objected when I opened the group up to women. They were convinced that I was in violation of Church law - secondarily, that they felt the vocal blend was unsatisfactory because of the different ranges. One of the male members (someone who later returned to an EF seminary, but dropped out just before Major Orders) was very earnest about his position in this regard.

    I had a pastor (different EF parish, but same priestly order as the seminary above) who was very unsettled when I started having the ladies sing alternate sections of sequences and began having them as cantors or (some time later) having ladies-only Propers for certain Masses (just as I had men-only Propers for certain Masses). After I had been choir director for six years, he finally demanded certain things including no more women cantors, only backing down when I offered my resignation.

    Certainly there is a component by which we hope that participation in choir might spark thoughts of a vocation... but women AS WELL AS men are both called to the religious life... so I've never understood the narrow-minded view-point of those who would preclude either from being enabled to lift their voice in praise of God during the Liturgy.

    Even for the Divine Office, I find a way to implement ladies-only responsories - just that the ladies are outside the sanctuary and the men, vested in cassock and surplice are inside the sanctuary for the men-only responsories - or with both groups singing together for polyphonic responsories.

    I can even recall my old high-school forfeiting a boy's 8th grade basketball game in the 1990's... because the only ref available was female. The headmaster explained that this subverted God's natural order because it required the boys to be subordinate to a woman.

    ????

    What statement did that send regarding boys being obedient to their mothers? To their - gasp - female teachers? To Sister?

    That kind of thought process is not theology - not philosophy - not logic - and certainly not Catholic. It is not a precursor to women priests. It is quite simply the height of stupidity. Period.

    Sorry, off my soap-box now. :)
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,411
    I think we should use all the talents at our disposal to produce beautiful music... If that means we have a female Cantor, or ladies singing the Propers so be it, or even have male and female Cantors, or mixed choirs... so be it.

    Anyway we are lucky if our ladies are singing on their own or alternating with the men we will always get compliments, I think they sound like angels.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,885
    That kind of thought process is not theology - not philosophy - not logic - and certainly not Catholic. It is not a precursor to women priests. It is quite simply the height of stupidity. Period.


    Agreed. Also equally dense are those who bring up old documents from another time and place and try to impose them on others today. Documents become out of date and are often superseded by later documents and legislation.

    Anyway we are lucky if our ladies are singing on their own or alternating with the men we will always get compliments, I think they sound like angels.


    Keep the angels and appreciate them. Most of us who have volunteer choirs are blessed to have what we can get. We can't get on archaic soap boxes and dictate to others on obscure and irrelevant points.

  • Wouldn’t the current Canon Law supersede everything that was written that limited/barred women from singing? While it specifically states that men can be duly instituted lectors and acolytes, it makes no mention of sex when referring to cantors.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • I clearly hold the minority position here, at least on this point.

    For what it's worth, when one choir in which I sing comes to Propers which are manifestly the words of Christ Himself, the strongest voice for men-only singing came from the ladies in the choir.
  • Chris Garton-Zavesky,

    It’s not what we think and feel that I’m after, but rather what the Church says on the matter and how it applies in our current time. Sometimes there are so few men available to sing the propers that if I wasn’t part of the schola, there couldn’t be a high Mass for many feasts. Sometimes the young men in our schola are needed to serve Mass. As a celibate, woman with no children and a life that revolves around attending Mass, and the the God-given ability to sing in the tenor range, it just makes sense for me not to sit on the sidelines from the schola, especially for such a lame reason as being a woman.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 144
    Just to point out that who can do what is heavily impacted by social dynamics. Canon law can be used to try to force this or that technically correct activity but if people don't get along or become highly stressed by the change, it won't work. Becoming a cheerful colleague goes miles towards problem solving, in any context.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    Can I dodge that argument about the role of women, since we won't have time or space to resolve it, and raise a somewhat different point.
    The idea that we can have have a 'liturgical' choir of clerics may be natural to those who govern the church, and are surrounded by many clerics. It is the reason why we have a Liturgy of the Hours suited to Monasteries and Cathedrals but not one suited to Parishes. The Missal evolved from a plethora of service books, because itinerant Franciscan preachers needed something portable and complete (or at least adquate). AFAIK nobody before Cranmer achieved anything like that for the daily office, though I have not really looked at Quiñones.
    Thanked by 2jchthys Elmar
  • stulte
    Posts: 235
    SponsaChristi wrote:
    Sometimes there are so few men available to sing the propers that if I wasn’t part of the schola, there couldn’t be a high Mass for many feasts. Sometimes the young men in our schola are needed to serve Mass. As a celibate, woman with no children and a life that revolves around attending Mass, and the the God-given ability to sing in the tenor range, it just makes sense for me not to sit on the sidelines from the schola, especially for such a lame reason as being a woman.


    It sounds like the men with the musical talent need to step up. Or, some folks need to pry open the wallet. Your situation (and this whole question really) strikes me as a symptom of other issues.

    a_f_hawkins wrote:
    The idea that we can have have a 'liturgical' choir of clerics may be natural to those who govern the church, and are surrounded by many clerics. It is the reason why we have a Liturgy of the Hours suited to Monasteries and Cathedrals but not one suited to Parishes.


    Speaking of other issues...part of the reason we run into the issue of whether women may sing in the EF is due to the fact that musical talent in boys is not sufficiently cultivated in our times. And it seems to me that musical liturgical piety among boys and men is too often limited to members of a few idealistic and determined families...usually when dad sings. Even if we had more clerics (not just priests, but guys in minor orders or "instituted ministries"), we'd need to spend the time and money on cultivating programs in our parishes where boys and men can learn the art of music and take part in the Liturgy. If a parish invested enough time and money and could have a director build a group of 6-10 boys and be assisted by 4 or 5 gents who were trained musicians, we wouldn't be having these discussions (and we'd have Sung Vespers to boot).
  • part of the reason we run into the issue of whether women may sing in the EF is due to the fact that musical talent in boys is not sufficiently cultivated in our times. And it seems to me that musical liturgical pi


    You’re joking, right? You do realize that in the secular world as well, music is a male dominated field and it has only be of recent that women have been permitted to be part of orchestras, etc? As it is, auditions are done blind as to avoid the bias towards choosing men over women. There was a story of the Venetian Symphony allowing a female harpist for a televised performance but the cameraman was told not to film her so she couldn’t be seen on tv.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Sponsa Christi,

    Fair enough.

    The following are, therefore, true:

    1) The question of who can sing in a choir is not exclusively a musical one, but not at all a question of women's equality.
    2) If we treat the question as one of equality, we utterly miss the point of the Church's teaching.
    3) Clerics wear clerical garb, and in the public worship offered by the Church, clerics wear liturgical clerical garb.
    4) Women can not be, by definition, in any liturgical role which is reserved to clerics: they can't be clerics, so if a role is reserved to clerics, it is reserved from women.
    5) Women's voices are different from men's voices in timbre.
    6) Women may not serve within the Sanctuary, because this is an area reserved to clerics. (See #4)
    7) Until Pope Paul VI reorganized reality, lector and porter were minor orders (and therefore clerical in a nascent state).
    8) Historically speaking, in the last 50 years there has been no widespread attempt to cultivate men and boys' choirs within the Catholic Church. That there are notable exceptions only proves the rule.
  • stulte
    Posts: 235
    You do realize that in the secular world as well, music is a male dominated field...


    We're not talking about the secular world. And I'm completely serious. We don't have enough boys being trained to sing in the Church. How many parishes have boys' choirs? It's a very small minority.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    Outside monasteries, I don't think any Catholic church in the British Isles has had a clerical choir since the Reformation. IMHO the 'liturgical' choir of boys and men dressed as clerics is just a fabrication (simulacrum).
    Thanked by 2Incardination Elmar
  • Hawkins,

    Sang in one as a child (not Catholic). I know they exist in this country, but they're rare, even if real.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    Westminster Cathedral tried to get a clerical choir on first opening, by importing Benedictine monks from Downside. But the diocesan clergy were outraged and blocked the move. They have had, of course, an excellent choir of men and boys, and long may they sustain it.
    The point about the timbre of women's voices is true, and it was probably the case that castrati had a different timbre from boys, we live in a turning world.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Women's voices are different from men's voices in timbre.
    This May be true, but every voice’s timbre is different. My voice, despite being a woman, blends well with the men. It adds a richness that is lacking when I don’t sing.

    6) Women may not serve within the Sanctuary, because this is an area reserved to clerics. (See #4)

    This isn’t absolute. For example, even in the EF, for the Rite of Consecration of a Virgin, the virgin(s) after they’ve been consecrated sit within the sanctuary throughout Mass and ascend to the altar for communion, receiving from the hands of the bishop, kneeling at the altar.

    For Nuptial Masses, the bride and groom, as well as the maid of honour and best man stand within the sanctuary, and the bride stands within the sanctuary at the bottom step of the altar to receive the Nuptial Blessing (when the rubrics are followed, which they rarely are in modern times, but if you look at old pictures of weddings, you’ll see what I’m talking about).
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Incardination
    Posts: 615
    Chris,

    • This isn't about equality (any more than it is a precursor to women priests).
    • Being part of the "liturgical choir" in the most broad sense of the term is NOT reserved to clerics.
    • Being part of the "liturgical choir" in its true sense of the term IS reserved to clerics.
    • Most men who sing in "liturgical choirs" do so in the broad sense and are NOT clerics. A man who sings in the choir is not somehow a cleric by that fact; he (like women who sing in a choir) is acting in place of such a cleric that would otherwise be so entrusted. Laymen who vest in cassock and surplice are not thereby somehow imbued with the quality of being a cleric - anymore than boys serving Mass or a layman standing in as a Subdeacon (although most properly, such a one SHOULD be at least a cleric).


    So I'm struggling to see the point(s?) you are driving at. Are you really arguing that women should have no place in singing the Liturgy? How should convents function? How should nuns sing the Office? Your position (IMHO) seems specious... but perhaps I'm missing some context here. Can you explain further?

    If being in choir should be reserved to clerics (or perhaps if one is being generous, consecrated religious) - then most of us (men included) should be out of a job.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 143
    Re CGZ’s 4, 6, and 7:

    What clerical role does the choir fill that is in any way different from the lector’s? They are proclaiming the proper texts of the day as they chant, just as the lector is doing when s/he chants reads the first and second readings.

    If a) women are allowed by the Church to serve as lectors, who b) by definition must carry out their role from the sanctuary, and c) there are not two parallel Holy Orders in the Church, divided between the EF and OF, how can there be any reasonable way to assert that there is some sort of clerical role of the choir not accessible to women, that would bar their presence in the sanctuary?

    Furthermore: I know of no place outside a monastery in which an entire choir of males are instituted lectors. There is already a substitution happening, in which lay folk stand in [the sanctuary] for clerics. On what grounds, then, could one assert that women must be excluded from the liturgical choir, if, according to the old code, they cannot be lectors? There are already a whole number of Not-Lectors and Ineligible-To-Be-Lectors in Westminster Cathedral Choir and every other male choir in Christendom.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 66
    @Gamba just a brief note to point out some confusion on the definition of a lector. Prior to Paul VI, was a minor order reserved for men. Since Paul VI, it is an instituted ministry, and is still reserved for men (as with the ministry of acolyte). In the absence of an instituted lector, the readings may be proclaimed by a lay man or woman. Thus, I believe, your argument that the role of lector requires women to operate within the sanctuary doesn't quite hold up.


    I would however, be more interested to hear a refutation of the argument based on houses of women religious. The habit of some brands of Augustinian canonnesses included a rotchet (i.e. variation on a surplice) for liturgical use. My comment above might needn't have been quite so purple...
  • Gamba's brought up something I've wondered about too >> What clerical role does the choir fill ?

    If the Introit, Gradual etc, Offertory, Communion are read by the priest, those parts of the Mass have been duly celebrated. The priest does not sing them; but if they're not sung by anyone, they are not therefore omitted.
    After all, sung or psalm toned Propers do not make a sung Mass. All that's required for that would be that the priest sing the parts that the rubrics require him to sing.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 615
    After all, sung or psalm toned Propers do not make a sung Mass.

    Not in the "traditional, EF" understanding of Liturgy. The liturgical choir (whether true or someone standing in their place as with a lay choir) is a prerequisite for any of the elevated forms of Liturgy. The requirement would be that the Ordinary, Propers, and responses are sung.

    The singing of the Propers is not a requirement for the lawful celebration of the Mass, it is a requirement for the Mass to be celebrated as one of the elevated forms (Sung, High / Solemn, Pontifical High), just as the use of incense and the sacred ministers are required for Solemn High, for example. Likewise with the Office. What distinguishes sung vespers from recited vespers is the singing of the "liturgical choir".

    That distinction doesn't exist in the OF.
  • >> The singing of the Propers is [...] a requirement for the Mass to be celebrated as one of the elevated forms

    Well, I am no liturgist, was just going by the 1960 code of rubrics under John XXIII, which do not agree.
    >>" 271. There are two kind of Masses: sung Mass and low Mass. A Mass is called sung if the celebrating priest actually sings the parts which are to be sung by him according to the rubrics. Otherwise it is called low."
    http://divinumofficium.com/www/horas/Help/Rubrics/Missal1960%20rubrics.html#1
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 302
    Just coming to this thread. Our mixed choir sings from a gallery.
    Musicam Sacram says of a choir, as quoted above:
    (a) That its nature should be clearly apparent—namely, that it is a part of the whole congregation, and that it fulfills a special role;
    Recently a parishioner complained that by being in the gallery our choir is NOT part of the congregation. I see now that he has some backing for his complaint. So what is the general feeling on this?
    i don't see where else we could go unless it was in front of a side altar, which is not ideal. Singing from the gallery is best for acoustic quality. And surely, once a choir wears any kind of robe/cassock whatever, it is setting itself apart from the congregation.
    I'm confused.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    Viola the situation is confusing, because there are unresolved contradictions in the Church's directives.
    1/ Apart from the Ordinariate, we have three licit forms of Roman Mass. The EF which follows the 1962 Missal as interpreted/modified by the Commission Ecclasia Dei, the OF which follows the 2002 Missal, as interpreted/modified by your local Bishops' Conference, and in England&Wales it is licit, with the approval of the local Ordinary, to use the 1965 Missal as amended/modified up to 1967. MS applies directly only to the 1967/5 Missal, which AFAIK is never used.
    However since MS is the latest general document on music, people often resort to it to interpret directives in GIRM and elsewhere
    2/ Church buildings are generally inflexibly attached to the liturgical ideals pertaining when they were built, as interpreted by their architects and those commissioning the buildings. Views on the nature of the choir have changed, more than once, over the last 150 years. Few of us, I think, have spaces which satisfy all the conflicting requirements.
    Thanked by 2Viola Elmar
  • Incardination
    Posts: 615
    Mme,

    I don't think the rubrics are intended to be the definitive explanation of Liturgics. My read of 271 would be a that it is a very simplified description rather than "these are definitively the types of Mass". There's no mention of the High (i.e. Solemn) Mass in that rubric, for example. And bishops are not supposed to celebrate the Missa Cantata - they either celebrate a pontifical Low Mass or a Pontifical High Mass (whether of the faldstool or the throne depending on their jurisdiction).

    The 1962 Fortescue (which was updated by O'Connell for the revisions subsequent to his death in 1923) distinguishes all the variants, not simply the sung and low.

    • Low = Mass, with or without music, that does not meet the requirements of other forms.
    • Pontifical Low = Mass, with or without music, bishop is celebrant.
    • Sung = Mass, with or without incense, with the choir that sings Ordinary / Propers / Responses (congregation can be the choir).
    • High = Mass, with ministers (deacon and subdeacon); with incense; with choir that sings OPR.
    • Pontifical High = Mass, bishop is celebrant, with ministers (deacon and subdeacon, assistant priest, 2 deacons at the throne); with cappellani; with incense; with choir that sings OPR.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,296
    De Musica sacra (1958) To qualify as a sung Mass there is no requirement for anybody other than the priest to sing. Whether there are rubrics requiring or inhibiting a choir from singing the propers is another question, I see none in this document.
    3. There are two kinds of Masses: the "sung Mass" and the ''read Mass." . The Mass is called a .. sung Mass" if the priest celebrant actually sings those parts which are to be sung according to the rubrics. Otherwise it is a "read Mass."
    Furthermore, if a sung Mass is celebrated with the assistance of sacred ministers, it is called a solemn Mass. If it is celebrated without the sacred ministers it is called a "Missa cantata."
    .....
    16. Gregorian chant is the sacred chant, proper and principal of the Roman Church. Therefore, not only can it be used in all liturgical actions, but unless there are mitigating circumstances, it is preferable to use it instead of other kinds of sacred music. ...
    17. Sacred polyphony may be used in all liturgical functions, on condition, however, that there is a choir which knows how to perform it according to the rules of the art. ...
    18. In the same way, modern sacred music is permitted in all liturgical actions, if it is really in accord with the dignity, seriousness, and sanctity of the liturgy, and if there is a choir capable of performing it according to the rules of the art.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,487
    And, of course, there's always the anecdotal account (fictional, albeit) of Aunt Kate in "The Dead".

    Joyce apparently was not a fan of Tra Le Sollectudini, and told his aunt in a letter that he spat on the image of Pius the Tenth in response. Yet one more reason, of many, not to like Joyce.
  • FWIW: in the EF, in the absence of altar servers to make the responses, the Church also allows for a woman to make the responses for the priest from outside of the sanctuary.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 144
    In my experience in Brazil the EF is frequently celebrated 'dialogada' with the congregation making all the responses together with the servers. This seems to be the preference in the OF too, which has way more congregational responses than I've ever heard in other countries (and in some congregations a whole series of gestures to go with the responses. Also never seen that in other countries (US, England, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Italy are my data set). (spelling corrected - I was typing in a taxi)
  • >>There's no mention of the High (i.e. Solemn) Mass in that rubric, for example. And bishops are not supposed to celebrate the Missa Cantata - they either celebrate a pontifical Low Mass or a Pontifical High Mass

    this misunderstanding is my fault; I only quoted one of the sections of #271 in the 1960 code, which seems to line up with De Musica Sacra; the whole section 271 says

    271. There are two kind of Masses: sung Mass and low Mass. A Mass is called sung if the celebrating priest actually sings the parts which are to be sung by him according to the rubrics. Otherwise it is called low.

    Further, the sung Mass (in cantu), if it is celebrated with the assistance of sacred ministers, is called a solemn Mass; if it is celebrated without sacred ministers, it is called simply sung Mass (cantata).

    Finally, a solemn Mass which is celebrated by a bishop or by another who has the faculty, with the solemnities prescribed in the liturgical books, is called a pontifical Mass.

    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Maureen
    Posts: 651
    The gallery or the choir loft is not inside the sanctuary. If an area is outside the sanctuary, it belongs to the congregation.

    When I was a kid, it was common for the ushers to shunt some occasional overflow parishioners up to sit with us in the (hugemongous) choir loft, and people knew to be as quiet as church mice in the corner away from the choir.
  • Maureen
    how much would you charge for that humongous choir loft?
    I dream about having more space :-)
  • Maureen
    Posts: 651
    Um. Well. When they enlarged my home parish church, they decided that they should:

    - Build a half-circle/wedge church next to the old church.

    - Orient it toward the North, instead of toward the East like the old church.

    - Turn the old church into a giant storage area/meeting space.

    - Turn the back of the old church into a wedding chapel facing West, because the giant stained glass window at the back was so.pretty, and because they feared the wrath of the parish mothers if they destroyed the "Mother Window." (The chapel is pretty and prayerful, but also pretty dumb. Nobody is happy about squeezing into a tiny space when the whole old church nave is empty behind them, and it is weird to be squeezed into what used to be the vestibule.)

    - Tear down the choir loft, because the chapel footprint is actually smaller than the choir loft was (because it stuck out a little into the nave), and nobody could have seen the windows.

    - Refuse to include a choir loft in the new church, and make sure the new church has all the acoustics of a wet carpeted bag with weird pleats. (The old church was brick with wood paneling in places.) Put the organ on the floor in a corner surrounded by plants, so you can only hear it through speakers.

    - Build an office level that runs up against the second floor of the new church, so the secretaries can complain about noise from the school Mass, and the school Mass can hear office visitors. Provide no practice area for a choir, and sit them in that far corner next to the organ. Give them lousy microphones, too.

    A lot of people left the parish and went elsewhere, like my parents, because the pastor and the parish council signed off on the contracts before revealing the plans were even up for discussion. I have seen uglier, but it was all stupid and unnecessary.

    The choir loft was big enough and engineered well enough that we had three rows of pews and kneelers up there, on stairstepped levels, as well as a music closet and all sorts of extra room for storage and fuses and church control stuff. There was a full row of pews in front of the organ right against the wooden front of the loft, so we kids were always tempted to rest books or papers there, or test out vertigo. The next row was split around the organ, so sopranos were physically separated from altos. Then there was a walkway where the organ bench was, and then another full length pew for the tenors and basses. (And room to put chairs alongside the back.pew at big Masses, and I think there was a little space behind the back pew also.) We kept our hymnbooks and Missalettes and music in the same kind of hymnbook holders that the congregation had.

    So there was a lot of space except when the choir was very large, and the music director often kept that front row open for the overflow folks (if they were not afraid of heights). Sometimes it could make you nervous, because it was so open and well-lit, and the wooden front did not look tall if you were standing in back, at the top of the terraced levels. But really it was quite safe, and the terraced levels were not steep. You could walk up and down the levels in both sides of the loft.

    There was an narrow open space at the back with a railing, to let the Mother Window pass through and give some air circulation. The stairs were on the right hand side, and went all the way down to the undercroft as well as to the vestibule.

    Things got messed up somewhat when somebody decided the loft was not accessible enough, and the terraced levels should be turned into slick ramps -- which was silly because you could only get up there by stair -- and there was talk of only letting the organist up there. I forget if they ever got around to trying to install a wheelchair elevator. Probably. (I lived elsewhere by that point.) They also took away the pews and replaced them with rattly metal folding chairs at some point before the end, which was not good for the acoustics. A lot of weird anti-choir, anti-organ stuff occurred, which I was not there for.

    But yes, when the parish was founded in the Fifties by an engineer-heavy congregation, they went to a lot of trouble to design a good choir loft into the church, as well as a church that was designed well. And it outlasted Vatican II, but not the Nineties.
    Thanked by 2cesarfranck Elmar
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,685
    All to prove what? That the parish can spend a lot of money regardless of need?

    We see altogether too much of that--almost as if the pastors have been instructed to 'burn all the cash.'
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck