Organ at EF Votive Mass in Advent
  • Could someone advise as to whether solo organ playing is allowed at the First Friday Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart during Advent (and also during Lent)? I was previously under the impression that it is not, but I recently read the claim in another forum that the organ is permitted during Advent and Lent at almost any Mass that is not de tempore (except Requiems, of course), but no citation of any document was given. DMS states that
    the organ may be played, and other instruments used on holy days of obligation, and holidays (except Sundays), on the feasts of the principal local patron saint, the titular day, and the dedication anniversary of the local church, the titular or founder’s day of a religious congregation, and on the occasion of some extraordinary solemnity (83a)
    and the CE specifies several feasts days during Lent. Considering a third-class votive Mass offered every month an "occasion of some extraordinary solemnity" seems like a stretch, but if it's allowed, we would avail ourselves of the opportunity. Does anyone have a definitive answer?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 804
    "Likewise excepted are feasts and ferial days occurring during Advent or Lent, which are solemnly celebrated by the Church, such as the feasts of Saints Matthias, Thomas Aquinas, Gregory the Great, Joseph, and the Annunciation, and the like, occurring during Advent or Lent" - Ceremonial of Bishops (1906), Book 1, Chapter 28, quoted in Hayburn's Papal Legislation on Sacred Music (1979), p. 486


    My two cents is that you have a choice between two aesthetic models:
    1) The regular music for First Fridays, or
    2) Something different for Advent/Lent, which involves less organ and more of something else, perhaps a cappella polyphony or chant.

    Given the difficulties of Covidtimes not foreseen by prior legislation, you might ought to settle for #1.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • The "regular" First Friday High Mass but without the organ solo during Communion is what we've done before during Advent and Lent and would be my preference next month as well, but no singers are available this time, therefore the two options are Low Mass with organ or Low Mass without music.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 804
    The 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia has the following, emphases added:


    With some exceptions, the organ is not to be played during Advent and Lent. It may be played on the Third Sunday in Advent (Gaudete) and the Fourth in Lent (Lætare) at Mass and Vespers, on Holy Thursday at the Gloria, and on Holy Saturday at and, according to general usage, after the Gloria. Moreover, it may be played, even in Advent and Lent, on solemn feasts of the saints and on the occasion of any joyful celebration — as e.g. the Communion of children [S. R. C., 11 May, 1878, 3448 (5728)]. Moreover, by a kind of indult, it would seem, the organ is admitted, even in Lent and Advent, to support the singing of the choir, but in this case it must cease with the singing. This permission, however, does not extend to the last three days of Holy Week (S. R. C., 20 March, 1903, 4009). At Offices of the Dead organ music is excluded; at a Requiem Mass, however, it may be used for the accompaniment of the choir, as above.

    It is appropriate to play the organ at the beginning and end of Mass, especially when a bishop solemnly enters or leaves the church. If the organ is played during the Elevation, it should be in softer tones; but it would seem that absolute silence is most fitting for this august moment. The same may be said about the act of Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. It should be observed that the legislation of the Church concerns itself only with liturgical services. It takes no account of such things as singing at low Mass or popular devotions. But it is fitting, of course, to observe on such occasions the directions given for liturgical services.


    Perhaps this provides some insight into the meaning of "is forbidden for liturgical functions" of paragraph 81 of DMS.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,222
    This is more than a little out of date and out of sync with current regulations.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 804
    DMS is the "current regulation", which is what we were discussing.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • This is more than a little out of date and out of sync with current regulations.
    Yes, organ playing at the Elevation is forbidden in DMS.
    the legislation of the Church concerns itself only with liturgical services. It takes no account of such things as singing at low Mass or popular devotions
    Organ playing is not the same as singing. While organ playing is allowed at popular devotions in Advent and Lent, the same rule does not apply to Low Mass, which is a liturgical service, even though it has no prescribed chant or music of any kind.

    The former Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei answered the following just three years ago:
    Dubium: As far as sacred music is concerned, is Low Mass (Missa lecta) to be considered a “liturgical function” in the sense described in paragraph 81 of De musica sacra et sacra liturgia?
    Response: In the affirmative.
    Dubium: Is it lawful to play organ solos at Low Mass during Advent and Lent and at Low Masses for the dead―for example, during the distribution of Holy Communion?
    Response: In the negative, save the cases referred to under n. 83 (a) and (b) of the aforementioned Instruction. (Prot. N. 39/2011L - ED)
    What remains unclear is whether a third-class votive Mass has the same degree of solemnity as the two third-class feasts mentioned in the CE: St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Gregory the Great.
    Thanked by 1Chrism