Choral Agnus Dei
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    GIRM #83 states, in part: The supplication Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is usually sung by the choir or cantor
    with the congregation replying; or at least recited aloud.

    This seems to suggest congregational participation and seems to suggest that a choral only setting is innappropriate.

    Is this your take as well?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,172
    It seems to me that "usually" does not imply "always" - and the "at least recited allowed" is the minimum on one side of the "usually" stipulation. I would therefore think that a choral setting is certainly permissible, even if not the "usual" practice.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133
    The GIRM uses “usually” (de more) to state a norm which admits of occasional legitimate variation, for example:

    52. [re: the Kyrie] Each acclamation is usually (de more) pronounced twice, though it is not to be excluded that it be repeated several times, by reason of the character of the various languages, as well as of the artistry of the music or of other circumstances.

    61. The Responsorial Psalm should correspond to each reading and should usually (de more) be taken from the Lectionary.

    There is no indication or suggestion that legitimate variations are inappropriate.

    The rule of thumb not to be forgotten is that exceptions should not become norms.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Yes, "usually" is definitely a key word there.
    Also, it could possibly be interpreted to mean "The Agnus Dei is usually sung by the choir.... OR the cantor with congregation."
    Perhaps the Latin would clear up that ambiguity?
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133
    Supplicatio Agnus Dei a schola vel a cantore,
    populo respondente, de more cantatur, vel saltem elata voce dicitur.


    It does not seem to support your interpretation Marajoy, but it is a little vague. If the authors had wanted to group the people with the cantor, it could have been stated more clearly. The commas suggest that the OR is between the choir and the cantor, with the people responding.
  • Adam Schwend
    Posts: 203
    Everything needs to be read with tradition in context. I would have a difficult time accepting that the intent of IGMR is to suppress choral settings of the ordinary...a venerable practice going back nearly 800 years.

    We cannot read these documents in a vacuum, as if the liturgical life of the Church began in 1969. Rather than debate what is proper based on the placement of a comma, I suggest we view the situation in light of tradition. If choral settings of parts of the ordinary are not permitted, then the Masses of Palestrina, Victoria, Byrd, and the like become banned. That is something, despite the desires of some, that I highly doubt the Holy Father would approve of.
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133
    “I would have a difficult time accepting that the intent of IGMR is to suppress choral settings of the ordinary....”

    An odd way to put it. It is perfectly clear that the GIRM does not “suppress” choral settings of the ordinary. The GIRM does however reflect that fact that the Church now gives priority to the singing of most of the ordinary by the people and not exclusively by the choir. If you have a difficult time with that, then you are not simply at odds with a document, you are at odds with the Church’s vision of the typical celebration of her divine worship.

    “We cannot read these documents in a vacuum, as if the liturgical life of the Church began in 1969.”

    Absolutely, just as we must avoid devolving into personal interpretation.

    “Rather than debate what is proper based on the placement of a comma ...”

    In other words, we should ignore any clarification punctuation provides if it undermines our position.

    “I suggest we view the situation in light of tradition ...”

    ... and override the intent of the instruction in favor of my historically-informed opinion.

    And where does theology enter in? And if the Church changes her tradition, what then?

    The question of a choral Sanctus is particularly nuanced and much debated.

    The GIRM’s intent is to set forth the typical celebration of the Roman Rite, indicating norms and exceptions. Elevating the importance of congregational singing of the ordinary to the level of a norm is not the same as banning the Masses of Palestrina, Victoria, Byrd, and the like, but grants them a secondary place in the typical form of the celebration. I see no indication that Pope Benedict has any problem with that, and I see no indication that he wishes to alter what is typical and what is exceptional in this regard. I would be happy to be corrected with supporting documentation.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,697
    I think in matters where the GIRM is not totally clear ("usually"), we can look to the example of Pope Benedict XVI... :)

    If he (the Pope) uses a Choral Agnus Dei at the Masses he celebrates, I feel fairly comfortable using them also... as long as my Bishop/Pastor/Etc... is fine with it.
    Thanked by 1Paul_D