Very good 3-part article series about liturgical music
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,041
    New at Word on Fire:

    The first two articles end with a link to the next article in the series.

    Excerpts from part 3:

    I would like to suggest that a reading of the documents from the Second Vatican Council shows that the council intended something other than what our most common experience has been with music in the liturgy since the 1960s when the revised liturgy was rolled out to parishes.

    It should be evident that, contrary to some opinions, Vatican II did not authorize a radical change in the nature and ethos of Roman Catholic worship. Any vagaries in the documents can be clarified and understood in their context by coming to know the Tradition.

    It is also important to note that personal preference or taste has never been a consideration in the development of music determined worthy for use at Holy Mass. Cultural adaptations, certainly, but within the same parameters of propriety so that the reverence for the sacrifice of Calvary remains clearly at the core of our worship is not compromised.

    The warm fuzziness of a spiritual atmosphere enhanced by rhapsodic piano music, strumming guitars, and sappy hymns doesn’t communicate the harsh, beautiful, frightening reality of what we believe we participate in at Holy Mass. We can see from the level of disaffiliation from the Church and denial that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist how fragile our belief is. It must be presented richly to the senses in the liturgical action, the environment of the Church, the manner of celebration, and perhaps most especially in the music we sing.

    In our current Spotify culture, we only know music as entertainment and not as ritual. This orients our appreciation or lack of appreciation for the music that is sung at Mass. Entertainment has never been music’s purpose in the sacred liturgy. To paraphrase Pope St. Pius X and his comment about Gregorian chant, the more music becomes like entertainment, the less it is acceptable for use in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    With almost sixty years having passed since the liturgical changes, we should now be able to step back and honestly assess the impact of those changes on the Church. There is little disagreement that the liturgy as we have it was not the vision of the Council Fathers.

    It would be naïve to suggest that other cultural changes haven’t played their part in undermining our faith, but it would be equally naïve to assume the liturgical and musical changes, as they have been carried out, have had no effect either.

    So, what went wrong? To answer that question, we have to become deaf and blind to the liturgy wars, study our past, and retrace our steps back to the ancient liturgy of the Church, and then move forward once again with a purified vision of what the Council called for.