STtL supercedes MCW?
  • I had a brief conversation with one of our clerics today who posited that STtL does not supercede MCW. My understanding is that neither document is regarded as authoritative in that they weren't submitted for curial scrutiny. But as the latest formal document from the USCCB regarding liturgical music practice in the states, doesn't that trump MCW?
    Aware that MS/GIRM/CSL are authoritative, and the US documents are advisory.

    After reviewing previous threads, two aspects that bolster my response that STtL does supercede MCW-
    1. MCW was not endorsed by the entire body of bishops at a USCCB plenary, STtL was.
    2. MCW was removed from the USCCB website concurrently with the promulgation of STtl.

    Other thoughts?
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    On the opening page it says it's a revision of MCW. Seems like enough evidence to support your case without getting into issues of authority.

    If you look through some back issues of Sacred Music online, you will find William Mahrt's contribution to the deliberations and his commentary after its publication. He goes into the issue of authority in some detail, if there is still a question.
  • Yes, Doug, I've read them. But I went for the quick fix, as the priest in question is an MCW kinda guy. Cliff-notes oriented.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793

    I don't see how anyone could dispute the word "revision," so I feel for you if that's not enough!
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,536
    MCW was actually adopted in the early 1980s as liturgical law by the bishop's conference; however, the one legislative aspect to StTL is that it effectively rescinded MCW in that regard, though StTL is not itself liturgical law except to the extent a local ordinary adopts it as part of diocesan liturgical statutes (and then only to extent not pre-empted by superior legislation). (The rules for how the episcopal conferences adopt such liturgical legislation had changed in the intervening generation.)
  • Doug and Liam, thank you very much. I'm glad you parced out the nuances, Liam. That might come in handy should I need to press the point.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,865
    While the NCCB adopted MCW in the 1980s, and perhaps intended to make it liturgical law, it is not obvious that the Conference had authority to make new law which would modify the legal effect of the Roman Missal in this country.

    Canonist Duane Galles addressed this point in regard to another NCCB document some years ago in this article. In short, Conferences do not have generalized authority to make laws.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,536

    That commentary was offered in the context of EACW, which never got the full conference adoption that MCW did (albeit a decade after its release by the BCL). And it was years after that when Rome put the present regulations into place about legislation at the conference level.

    In any event, it is now all moot.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,865
    Some of the points in Galles' piece only apply to EACW -- for example, the issue of committee approval vs. approval by the whole NCCB.

    OTOH, his questions about whether the conference has power to make binding law could apply to MCW also, even after its adoption by the full conference.

    But, yes, it's moot. I just hope that the clergy aren't burdened with more confused attempts to cling to MCW.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,152
    IIRC, technically speaking, a Bishops' Conference does not have law-making capacity.

    Only Rome can "make" liturgical law--and the Pope must authorize such. However, individual Bishops are granted the ability to make exceptions (or addenda) to such law, IFF such are approved by Rome.

    The Bishops' Conference may recommend certain things, as was the case with ECA, MCW, and STtL, and individual Bishops may then act upon them, or not, as they choose.

    See, e.g., the "altar girls" story.
  • MCW is a dead letter, like many have stated here.
    But for someone who won't accept that, or the statement on the opening page, or the two questions might make it more clear-

    1- why was STL written if MCW was sufficient?
    2- in areas where the two docs clash, which one is correct?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,536
    Well, back when MCW was adopted by the conference, the issue of the limits of the conference's ability to do so was not fully defined by Rome to cast its ability into doubt.

    StTL was written because MCW was both outdated (by the 2000 edition of the Roman Missal) and due to a the desire to repeal whatever legislative force it might have had.

    There is no clash between MCW and StTL because, effectively, MCW is to be treated as if it did not exist.