Celebrant Chanting vs Speaking
  • Hello all,

    I've had a couple of conversations, and now recently heard of others about an interesting perspective one of our priests has on singing vs speaking the presidential parts in the mass. Another priest routinely sings the introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer. I don't notice a sense of routine on my part when he does it.

    It seems the first priest's take on this subject is that if he were to regularly sing parts of the mass, the impact of singing would be lessened; it would become routine.

    I found a passage in SttL that speaks to singing vs speaking parts of the mass.

    19. The importance of the priest’s participation in the Liturgy, especially by singing,
    cannot be overemphasized. The priest sings the presidential prayers and dialogues of the Liturgy
    according to his capabilities,(33) and he encourages sung participation in the Liturgy by his own
    example, joining in the congregational song. “If, however. . . the priest or minister does not
    possess a voice suitable for the proper execution of the singing, he can render without singing
    one or more of the more difficult parts which concern him, reciting them in a loud and distinct
    voice. However, this must not be done merely for the convenience of the priest or minister.”(34)

    However, I don't have any other resources that would "speak" to this issue. My gut tells me that the sung prayer has more.... well, more. But my gut isn't much of a reference to cite.

    Could anyone help put this priority into context?

    Thanks in advance.
  • Aquinasadmirer:

    True about your gut, but, it always works for Special Agent Gibbs on NCIS! :)

    Seriously, with the advent of the new Roman Missal, I believe that these parts of the Mass are already set to music. We might also do well to look at the footnotes referenced in No. 19 of Sing to the Lord; these might re-inforce your gut.
  • I think the best thing to "cite" would be the fact that the things in the missal that are set to music ought to be sung. That's a good place to start.
  • I believe the Ceremonial of Bishops states that whenever something is to be "[sung] or said" then "[singing]" is preferred, and that includes the collects, etc. I'm not at home, so I can't check my CB.
  • Whoa! Whoa! Sound the klaxon!!!

    Sing to the Lord is not authoritative! The document was hijacked by the NPM and the FDLC to the point that it did not have any real teeth to it! Furthermore, it suggests things that are contradictory to Liturgiam Authenticam and Redemptionis Sacramentum! It failed to get the necessary 2/3 vote of the Latin Rite bishops in order for it to be sent to Rome for the required recognitio!!!

    [This rant is de rigueur when SttL is mentioned. I can scarcely believe it was omitted above. ;-)]
  • Yeah Mark T,

    I know SttL has about as much authority as a babysitter, that's why I'm looking additional reading. :)

    I looked up klaxon.... I'm going to have nightmares about them being used during the consecration at a clown mass... Aaaaargh!

  • Routine??
    What does that mean!?
    That it might become commonplace and be done lazily, thoughtlessly, without cogency?
    Well... the same can happen if it's spoken all the time! Can't it!?
    The problem is not with singing or saying (though in liturgical language they both mean the former).
    The problem, the challenge, is with the celebrant.
    If he wishes to sing with conviction and meaning time after time he will do so, just as with speaking.
    And singing with conviction will always be more powerful than saying with conviction: it requests more of one.

    I have a friend who is fond of telling how Yul Bryner sang The King and I every night for more than a thousand nights, and each time was better than the last. It never got stale because he was living the part with all his being every time.

    That is the secret - live it with all your being every time you chant it and chanting it will only get better.
    It won't have a chance to become 'routine'.

    (Maybe the pastor in question doesn't want to put that much of himself into the liturgy, to make it THAT alive!
    Maybe he does prefer a 'routine' spoken mass as the undesired norm,
    even while the Church is demonstrating very clearly that such a spoken mass should be abnormal.
    Maybe the pastor is afraid of liturgy that is ALIVE!) (Or, maybe he is afraid of Being Alive.)