Progressive Solemnity
  • How would you describe "progressive solemnity" to someone? How would you recommend a new pastor put this into practice?
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Musicam sacram is an excellent example of progressive solemnity, whereby the parts of the Mass which are to be sung. I would encourage your pastor to read it and take it to heart.

    Musicam Sacram splits the sung parts of the Mass into three degrees that build on each other (ie, you don't use the second without the first, and if you use the third, you are also using the first and second).

    1st degree:
    **All** of the priest's dialogs with the congregation, the three collects, the preface, sanctus, and Lord's prayer.

    2nd:
    Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus, Creed and Universal Prayer (intercessions)

    3rd:
    The propers or hymns at the entrance, offertory, and communion, the alleluia/tract, and the readings of the Mass themselves.


    You may notice that this seems backwards. Typically at daily Masses, there may be 2 hymns sung and the alleluia. This is precisely backward to what the church asks of us! Instead, the priest should be singing his parts of the Mass first and foremost before any other music is added (as you may note, the first degree is primarily the prayers of the priest).

    You'll also note that the first degree is also the easiest music to sing. I don't think this is a coincidence. The liturgy is best when it is sung, and this document tried (and in most parishes, failed) to help us out of the low-Mass-culture that is so pervasive, where there may be a few hymns, and not much other music.

    I would strongly encourage you to propose this to your pastor, and help him discover and implement one of the most ignored post-conciliar documents.

  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Also see Sing to The Lord, nos. 110-114, and the footnotes thereto.

  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    Backing up a second to explain why there's a phrase "Progressive Solemnity"

    In the past there were two options: High Mass and Low Mass.

    At High Mass, everything was sung. All of it.
    Also, rubrics which require a deacon and sub-deacon (and, I think, acolytes and/or additional servers).

    At Low Mass, nothing was sung. In fact, it wasn't permitted to be sung.
    Also, rubrics did not require a lot of additional ministers.

    The problem here is an all-or-nothing state of affairs where if you couldn't pull off a High Mass with all of the everything, you were stuck with a Low Mass that had all of the not everything.

    The concept of Progressive Solemnity, which is now the rule in the Ordinary Form, is that you can sing as much as you are able. As your resources/skills increase, you can progress towards a more solemn liturgical practice.

    Ben Yanke's quote above from Musicam Sacram lays out the order with which various sung parts of the Mass should be 'added.' The idea being something like, "If you can only manage to sing one thing - it should really be this. Then, if you can manage to sing a little more, it should be this."
    Thanked by 1kenstb
  • KARU27
    Posts: 104
    Where does this "Progressive Solemnity" phrase/ concept originate? Is this something that your average American priest would be familiar with? I suppose not, looking at the original post....
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    IIRC, the phrase itself first appeared in official documentation in no. 273 of the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, but certain ideas about it appeared a few years earlier in Musicam Sacram. Many American priests would know about the idea.

    273. A celebration with singing throughout is commendable, provided it has artistic and spiritual excellence; but it may be useful on occasion to apply the principle of "progressive solemnity." There are practical reasons for this, as well as the fact that in this way the various elements of liturgical celebration are not treated indiscriminately, but each can again be given its connatural meaning and genuine function. The liturgy of the hours is then not seen as a beautiful memorial of the past demanding intact preservation as an object of admiration; rather it is seen as open to constantly new forms of life and growth and to being the unmistakable sign of a community's vibrant vitality.

    The principle of "progressive solemnity" therefore is one that recognizes several intermediate stages between singing the office in full and just reciting all the parts. Its application offers the possibility of a rich and pleasing variety. The criteria are the particular day or hour being celebrated, the character of the individual elements comprising the office, the size and composition of the community, as well as the number of singers available in the circumstances.

    With this increased range of variation, it is possible for the public praise of the Church to be sung more frequently than formerly and to be adapted in a variety of ways to different circumstances. There is also great hope that new ways and expressions of public worship may be found for our own age, as has clearly always happened in the life of the Church.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    At High Mass, everything was sung. All of it.
    Also, rubrics which require a deacon and sub-deacon (and, I think, acolytes and/or additional servers).


    In the EF, there is a difference between a Solemn High Mass ("Missa Solemnis") and a High Mass ("MIssa Cantata") regarding the ordained ministers, but the music and duties of the singers is the same for each.
  • Since everyone has done a fantastic job of defining progressive solemnity, I will move to the second question. When I was appointed to my current post almost a year ago, it was the Rector who wished to implement this model of progressive solemnity. It was the first time I had ever heard this term. (There are priests who are getting it! Please pray for them!) Until this point, I had never heard a priest sing any of the dialogues.

    How fortuitous that Advent was on the horizon! Liturgical seasons are always a great time to implement some changes simply because there SHOULD be noticable differences between the seasons of the liturgical year. We decided to implement the dialogues, the collects, and the prefaces. We sing the Our Father at certain OF Masses, but not all of the weekend Masses (yet).

    We already had a working Mass setting in place (ICEL), so we didn't have to waste time there. We may move to another English Gloria since it is not as pleasing to our priest as the Gloria from Mass VIII (which we have sung in OF Masses).

    I have never heard the Creed sung at an OF Mass. It is probably something indiginous to this particular diocese, but because we would be the first ANYWHERE in the region to do it, it will probably be the last thing that we implement. The first time the Intercessions were chanted was for Good Friday of this past Lent. I'm hoping that since the deacon did such a good job, that it will become a regular addition to our OF Masses.

    The OF choir that I direct immediately did all of the Propers and the Alleluia/Tract. The only thing we are missing for those Masses is the chanting of the readings, intercessions, and singing the Creed. The hard part for this choir is that it only does Holy Days of Obligation and certain feast days required by a Minor Basilica, so it is not a regular example to the other choirs of how OF Masses should be sung.

    That being said, the other OF choirs are still doing the 4 hymn sandwich, though they have adopted all of the same Mass parts (except for the Gloria). With the new accompaniments that came out for SEP this month, we are hoping to begin implementing those one at a time throughout the next year or two. This may happen a little faster since our seminarian this year was the DOM at our Cathedral, and has worked with CMAA for a few years. We're going to pick his brain for ideas of what is ok to press ahead with, and what we should wait on.

    We're doing it slightly out of order, but I think it goes back to doing what you CAN do as soon as you can. I will say this: it does make all the difference if you can have #1 in place. When the priest is chanting his parts, he is committed to progressive solemnity. He doesn't have to be a fantastic singer, but he does have to be willing to do his part. I have noticed since we started doing this, that Masses where the priest doesn't chant the dialogues, collects, and prefaces feel a little empty. It really does make all the difference, even if your priest is a terrible singer!

    If you, or someone is willing to work with your priest on chanting these things, the rest will eventually fall into place (this is my hope at least).

    Thanked by 1canadash
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    The notion of "progressive solemnity" may have originated with the GILOTH, but it's been given greater credibility (in some circles, anyway) by its use and recommended application in SttL beginning at paragraph 110 et seq.

    I have long maintained (and taught to students) that "progressive solemnity" is loosely based on the three degrees of participation codified in Musicam sacram, but in their re-application some things have been stood on their head. For example, I agree whole-heartedly that the dialogues between priest and people should be sung at every Mass where there is to be singing. This includes weekday AND weekend celebrations. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that by doing so the Faithful are more fully and authentically drawn into the action of the priest at the altar. By extension, I also assert that the remainder of those elements described in the first degree of participation in MS ought to be sung at every Mass:

    - The dialogue before and after the proclamation of the Gospel (for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with these terms, what was called the "gospel acclamation" in the EF is now more aptly referred to as a dialogue, while the "gospel acclamation" as we now have it replaced the "alleluia" or "tract"; in the case of daily Mass, as there is only one reading before the Gospel, the GIRM clearly provides for its elimination if not sung - a practice that I find is often ignored, and the priest often chants the "alleluia" and the verse himself, which is not appropriate);

    - The Sanctus, and by extension the "memorial acclamation" and "amen" [N.B. there is no "great" descriptor that belongs to this particular iteration of the "amen", that was an addition made by the progressives, so please stop referring to it as such!]

    - The Lord's Prayer

    The assertion in SttL that the "responsorial psalm" should be always sung, and that the processional chants at entrance and communion should also be sung greatly distorts the difference between degrees of solemnity, degrees of participation and how the various members of the Mystical Body rightly and appropriately participate in the Liturgy. If a parish has the luxury of a properly-trained cantor available to chant the responsorial psalm at daily Mass, then by all means do it. Similarly, if a parish has a cantor or group of singers capable of chanting the Introit and Communion (say, from the SEP, for example?), then more's the better. However, I also believe (albeit without documented support for my argument) that the daily Mass more properly resembles Missa recitiva while the Sunday Mass ought to resemble the Missa cantata, and that the degrees of solemnity are actually embodied in the levels and complexities of the ceremonials and NOT the music.

    What I've experienced more often than not is that the daily Mass is a modified "four hymn sandwich" wherein those elements prescribed for the first degree (to be applied any time there is singing) are often completely eliminated, while those elements belonging to the third degree (which are elements properly sung by a schola, not by the whole assembly) are placed in the position of always sung, but replaced with hymnody (the fourth option out of four, but always the default).

    Ultimately, there is a logic to the degrees of progressive participation set forth in MS, a logic that was pulled apart and recast as progressive solemnity, which to my mind has no logic to it - it's just a confused noise.

    It was once asserted at a "breakout session" on the anniversary of MS (at an NPM convention) that because MS was written with a view to the EF (as the OF had not yet been invented from whole cloth by the ever-manipulative "concilium") that it is irrelevant and has neither discernible meaning nor binding force. This assertion was made by several noted "scholars" and "experts" in the field and it's an assertion I find lacking in intellectual honesty. With little effort, the principles set forth in MS can be applied to the OF by those who wish to maintain as much of an organic development of the liturgy as possible, thus rendering the non-binding and poorly-crafted "guidelines" of SttL the document that is irrelevant.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    Is there a better phrase we can use for this rather than 'Progressive Solemnity'?

    Up in my neck of the woods (New England) Progressive Solemnity is used as meaning that certain things, say the Gloria, are only sung on Christmas Day and Easter Day, or that Incense is only used at Funerals or when the bishop shows up, etc.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    I see nothing wrong with progressive solemnity. Salieri, what you are describing is not progressive solemnity, that's somebody's made up whims pretending to be progressive solemnity. Progressive solemnity as required in musicam sacram is a very good thing.

    When you have the chance, if you encounter these odd implementations of supposed progressive solemnity, I would suggest asking them what the church documents say about their practice, and when they can't back up their silly views in any way, show them musicam sacram. That's true progressive solemnity: starting with the most important things: the prayers of the Mass itself.
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 798
    "graduated solemnity"?
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    One variation on progressive solemnity as I've read some newer priests write about it is thinking of it in terms of the different liturgies of the same liturgical day. (The music-free early morning Mass, then varying degrees of music thereafter.) While not entirely foreign to the idea of progressive solemnity, it misses the mark: it's a progressive solemnity that would only be noticed by the ministers who are participating in multiple liturgies of the same day. Most American parishes are really a co-existing alliance of sub-parishes that tend to worship at regular times, with some variations due to variations in peoples' schedules. Anyway, your average pewsitter is not experiencing progressive solemnity when it's mostly about variations between liturgies of the same liturgical day. As opposed to what the documents mostly appear to be contemplating, which is variation of liturigies of different liturgical days and seasons.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    Agree 1,000% Ben.

    Just as a phrase it leaves me with a queasy feeling - like 'social justice', 'folk Mass', 'separated brethren', etc. There's just something about it that conjures up an image of priests in Bermuda shorts wearing polyester overlay stoles. But maybe it's just me.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    Is there a better phrase we can use for this rather than 'Progressive Solemnity'?

    "Singing the important things before you bother with the rest...?"
    But I agree with Ben, the term suits.

    that conjures up an image of priests in Bermuda shorts wearing polyester overlay stoles.

    Well yeah, on the memorial of Blessed DJ Jazzy Jeff, maybe.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • I suppose that 'graduated solemnity' is better than none at all. Of course, we all know that the Eastern rites, the Orthodox, and Anglican Use, would find the notion rather amusing (as well they should!). I, too, find it amusing (as well as historically eccentric), but par for the course for Roman Catholics.

    To answer the original question, though, Ben's offering is the best advice. It is a travesty that priests aren't taught this in seminary as a requirment for ordination. The Orthodox will not ordain a man who can't, or won't, sing.

    Here is what should be sung at every mass, especially at the chief mass of the day and all solemnities:

    The entrance hymn and/or the introit
    The salutation
    The penitential rite
    Kyrie
    Gloria
    The collect of the day
    The first reading
    The responsorial psalm or the gradual
    The second reading
    Alleluya and its verse
    The holy gospel
    The creed
    The universal prayers (petitions)
    The offertory antiphon followed by a hymn or anthem
    Sursum corda
    Sanctus
    The canon (optional)
    Per ipsum and Amen.
    Our Father and embolism
    The rite of peace
    Agnus Dei
    The communion antiphon followed by hymn(s) and anthem(s) or psalm verses
    The post-communion collect
    The rite of dismissal
    A hymn and/or an organ voluntary at the dismissal

    In other words, from the Salutation through the Dismissal the only words that should be rendered in the spoken voice are the Homily and the priest's private offertory prayers. Nor should anyone, priest or lay, interject at any point a single word, observation, comment or announcement that is not a part of the ritual text as outlined above.

    If you really just can't do this, then 'graduated solemnity' is better than nothing, half-baked as it is.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW francis Gavin
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,114
    Progressive
    So
    Sol
    Sole
    Solemn
    Solemnity
    This?
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Then, Charles, your Solemnity is So Solemn when it begins and ends on Sol, and singing is the Sole manner of speech throughout???
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Gavin ghmus7
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,325
    Yes, the ability to sing should be a requirement for ordination. (But it isn't.)

    And this requirement should actually have been made a few hundred years ago. (But it wasn't.)

    And low Masses should never have been permitted. (But they were.)

    And, yes, "the Orthodox will not ordain a man who can't, or won't, sing." (Even though I have met more than a few who can't, or won't.)

    And, Pope Francis, who can't or won't sing, should never have been elected supreme pontiff. (But he was.)

    And everything should be sung at every Mass, especially at the chief Mass of the day and all solemnities, as proposed by MJO. (But it isn't.)

    And there should be no such thing as particular law in the Catholic Church. (But there is.)

    And, yes, MJO, so much in life the Roman Catholic Church is, as you term it, a "travesty." But, lest you forget, you freely signed onto this ship of fools. So LIVE WITH IT.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007
    It is what it is and I didn't say I like it that way. I have mentioned before that no one on this forum has the authority to either change laws or enforce them. So let's change the name of the church to Travesties R' Us! ;-)
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,325
    David, if what you wrote is what you thought I was saying, either you or I - or both of us - need to go back to English I.

    Let it be stated for the record that I think ALL presbyters of the Roman rite should be able to chant all the chants of the Roman Missal.

    Good. Does that satisfy you? Does it improve the present situation of chanting priests in the Church? (I think not.) And are you willing to confront a bishop about to ordain a presbyter who CANNOT chant the chants of the Roman Missal in an attempt to convince the bishop NOT to ordain that man?

    Finally, I was not slamming anyone, particularly not Jackson. From time to time, when he does one of his hyperbolic flame-outs and throws around words such as "travesty," I call him on it. That's all that was, honest.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Yes, the ability to sing should be a requirement for ordination.


    Fr K,

    I know this has been a joking matter in the past, but I'm dead serious when I say that recto to no is always an option. The amount of priests who couldn't sing reasonablly recto tono if they really wanted to and had practice is much smaller than you might think. One does not need to use the specific melodies of the preface and other dialogs if they are a burdon.

    My pastor follows the requirements of musicam dacram, and although he doesn't use the preface tone in the missal, he chants it to a simpler one, because he realizes the importance of obedience.

    And yes, he chants the dialogs with the people at daily Mass. There's nothing absurd about that.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    My Two Cents:

    Particular Law is good. Particularly, liturgical law. Singing is natural and inherent to being human as a worshiper in spirit and truth. Those who shy away from singing, shy away from worshiping fully, and those who dismiss its importance, don't understand the nature of worship at its very core.

    Beauty is a good goal. Particularly, liturgical beauty. It happens on many levels; architecture, furnishings, vestments, the pace and timing of movement from all involved, including the pace of text spoken and/or sung, the demeanor of the priest and assisting ministers, the music, the instruments, and it goes on and on. It IS the great drama, and should be carried out better and more carefully than any opera staged on any stage, any movie ever produced, any sports team that gives their all. If we aren't aiming to do this, we are not giving God our best, and our worship is wanting.

    Goodness is a great goal. All that we can muster to do the best we can makes it GOOD. We can never be TOO good, and our expression of worship will never attain the best GOOD that God deserves, but we should do our darndest!

    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Thanks for the comments, everyone. This is also my understanding of the concept as presented in Musicam Sacram.

    Maybe this is isolated to my area of the country (Heartland), but it sounds like it is present in New England as well.

    Allow me to explain: it seems that for many years, probably in the seminaries, an idea of "progressive solemnity" was advanced that ignores MS completely. In application, this means that a priest who is observing the principles of progressive solemnity would speak everything on weekdays and Sundays of Ordinary Time. He perhaps would sing the preface on the Sundays of Advent. The preface and Lord's Prayer would be sung during Lent. Nearly everything would be sung on Christmas Eve, Easter Vigil, and Pentecost.

    Has anyone else encountered this? It's a sort of progressive solemnity that applies more to the liturgical year/season than to any one individual Mass. I can see the logic of this position, but I think it is inadequate and only serves to make the congregation sing their responses badly since they only do it 3-5 times per year.

    Of course, then the priest thinks that the congregation does a terrible job on their responses and must not like to sing them, so he'll just dispense with it altogether. I believe this is a very prevalent idea of "progressive solemnity" in my area.
    Thanked by 2francis hilluminar
  • 'Travesty' is a real word with a real meaning that was chosen deliberately for its real aptness in the above context. It has nothing to do with 'flame-out', whatever on earth sort of silliness that is. And, I shall say it again: it is a travesty that priests are not required to be able to sing the mass as a condition of ordination. I know some priests who can sing very, very well, and who do not ordinarily sing the mass: this, too, is a (greatly compounded) travesty. Not singing the mass, all of it, is a categorical negative. It would be comforting, for some, if we lived in a world without standards and spiritual categories that were higher than they would like (but we don't).
    Thanked by 3francis kenstb Gavin
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,325
    It is a travesty that priests are not required to be able to sing the mass as a condition of ordination.

    And, MJO, when you become pope and acquire the authority to impose such a condition, I will support you. I will also support anyone else who becomes pope and wishes to impose that condition. (But I will not support Ben's lessening of the condition and permitting recto-tono-ing instead.)

    The point I was trying to make at 4:15 PM is that there are things in the Church and in her liturgy which each of us wishes were different, but they are not. For some matters, we are able to offer our contributions to making things better. For others, we have no standing.

    When we have no say, we thank God and sing "Alleluia" anyway.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Has anyone else encountered this? It's a sort of progressive solemnity that applies more to the liturgical year/season than to any one individual Mass.


    Yes, it is somewhat common around here, sadly.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    One need not be the pope in order to advance what the Church asks of us, nor is not being the pope an excuse for ignoring what the Church asks of us.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Nor is it necessary to suddenly dismiss the use of recto tono as an application of making the better the enemy of the good, when opting for the worst possible solutions in opposition to the ideal has been the stock-in-trade of the progressives for the last 50 years.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    I represent your remarks, DA, and I stand for them on every account. We should all ascribe to strive for the best and not 'settle for less' than what God deserves. Things would be MUCH different, despite who the present pope happens to be. We need not wait nor look to any pope or prelate to be our best. God alone is looking to each of us, however, for OUR best.
    Thanked by 1kenstb
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    As a colleague once said, it's not our task as sacred musicians to be successful. Rather, it is our duty to be faithful.
    Thanked by 2Ben Yanke Gavin
  • Dear Fr Krisman -
    I will thank you, Father, for your support should I be elected pope. I and many others hope dearly that such a fate would not befall the Church. There could be no man less qualified or worthy. Seriously, though, it doesn't exactly speak well of the Church as a whole, nor of its members individually, that we do something meritorious only because it has been legislated by a pope or some other 'competent authority'. We should do what is the the best because it alone is appropriate and because we love the One to Whom it is offered, not because it has been legislated by a Church which is often more concerned with legislation than with love or what is, objectively, most fitting. It is, in fact, an historical aberration to say the mass not with chant and song but in a spoken voice; many are the historical witnesses to the fact that from the very beginning ALL was sung and not a word was uttered in the spoken voice (Simeon of Thessolonica, et al.). Legislation didn't enter into the equation. Singing was what one did when worshiping the All Holy. Singing, chanting, or cantillating worship is all but universal in humankind's historical experience of the sacred. That law should be needed would be a sure sign of liturgical corruption from what is humanly, and divinely, normative.

    As for obedience to legislation and competent authority: is there any higher authority than the express will of successive popes and of the IInd Vatican Council, all of whom admonished that the faithful throughout the world should know the mass in Latin, that Gregorian chant and the Church's heritage of sacred music be preserved, and that choirs be assiduously cultivated? Yet how many bishops and priests could we name who disobediently PRESUME WITH GROUNDLESS AUTHORITY to forbid these things either in their parishes or dioceses!? Speak of disobedience!!! Yet these very disobedient churchmen love nothing on this earth more than obedience to themselves. How can one speak of legislation and obedience when such shameless effrontery is evidenced by incompetent and inauthentic authority. To use your term, Father, such bishops and priests actually have 'no standing' to 'forbid' the things they do. They just do it, and, amazingly, no one higher up says 'no' to them. (This is, one amusingly observes, actually rather Anglican: legislation and admonitions are couched in language which can be read any number of ways, and WILL be read any number of ways by those of diametrically opposed views. This is how Catholic minded and Protestant minded folk got along with each other in the Anglican Church for 500 years - an accomodation that has been fast unravelling.)

    I know of bishops and priests who 'forbid' chant and good music who are fearfully obeyed. But it doesn't work the other way: I know of one cardinal-archbishop who loves sung liturgy and wishes for all to sing it, yet who said that he would have a rebellion if he required his priests to chant the mass. I know of priests who wanted chant and a little bit of Latin, whose people all but tarred and feathered them. Our beloved pope emeritus set examples that he wished to be taken up, and for his trouble he became a laughing stock to many. Many of his bishops didn't mind telling him in no uncertain terms that they wouldn't do this and that. Obedience? What does that mean? It certainly isn't a universal. It certainly doesn't apply to all, and it doesn't work both ways. It is highly selective. Do you know the formula?

    (And... a parting shot... recto tono is better any day than no-tono.)

    (And another one... so far as has been revealed to us, Holy Father Francis' lack of singing is due entirely to his having but one lung, not to preference.)
    Thanked by 3Spriggo Gavin ghmus7
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    I prepared and played for a very special liturgy last week. It took me many hours to prepare, to arrange the music for the musicians involved (a trumpet player and a violinist). I think it contained twenty or more excellent compositions, including solos, duets, trios, a polyphonic ordinary, musical dialogues performed by the bishop, cantor and congregants.

    I had to drive three hours there and back for that one liturgy. (I prepare for it every year) That single Mass IMHO, was more pleasing to God (as far as the goodness and beauty of the worship from those who attended) as compared to the collective value of hundreds of other liturgies to which I have given service in other places and other times. Is it possible that God does not value quantity as much as quality? Does not everyone believe we should have the same aspirations? Does the Great Almighty deserve any less?
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    When I was a child, a person criticized my attempts at composition so cruelly that I was tempted to stop writing music. Thankfully, a great old priest told me "an ignorant person with more power than you can destroy in one minute what took you years to build. Build great things anyway." It doesn't matter who the pope or our priest is, or whether they can sing. In the end they won't be with me when I have to give an account of my stewardship to God, who gave me this talent. We are obligated to try to leave the celebration of the mass in our parishes more sacred than we found it.
    Thanked by 2francis hilluminar
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Returning to the topic of the thread, "progressive solemnity" would appear to be a pale imitation of "progressive participation", or the degrees of participation set forth in Musicam sacram which to my mind is more accurately viewed as additive rather than selective. It operates from the basic presumption that the chief celebrant of the liturgy, the priest, will take care to execute those duties vis-a-vis the chanted parts of the Mass that properly belong to him. This is not just reflected in MS, but is reiterated in Sacrosanctum concilium, and the duty to properly train priests in this area was placed upon seminaries. Whether or not this mandate was ignored, the mind of the Church in the matter remains clear, and it is nothing less than a display of laziness to claim historical precedence or lack of solid example on the part of the Holy Father in excusing oneself from such duty.

    In short, how can we genuinely expect that "the people" will fully, actively and consciously participate in the sung parts of the Mass if the clergy excuse themselves from any such participation?
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 798
    As Our Lord said to Catherine of Siena, "Listen, Daughter, I am He Who Is, you are that which is not. Patience, patience, patience. Think on me and I will think on you. I do not ask of you a perfect work, but infinite desire."
  • donr
    Posts: 940
    We should do what is the The Best because it alone is appropriate and because we love the One to Whom it is offered, not because it has been legislated by a Church


    MJO, be careful here. I agree with the majority of what you have to say but the Lord left a Church precisely to legislate in his absence.
  • kenstb
    Posts: 358
    "In his absence"??? I'm not sure that's accurate.
    Thanked by 1Spriggo
  • donr
    Posts: 940
    Ok, bad choice of words I guess, the Lord is not absent from the church because he is the head of the body. The Church however was left to legislate. To spread his message and make decisions so the faithful throughout the centuries know what is proper and what isn't. The Lord knew that we are sheep and need direction. Could you imagine what the church would look like if it were left on its own for $2k+ years. Just look what has happened in the last couple hundred years.
    Thanked by 1Spriggo
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Holy Father Francis' lack of singing is due entirely to his having but one lung, not to preference"

    This is not true. He had a small portion of one lung removed as a child, which does not affect his present-day breathing ability.

    He has stated openly that he does not sing at liturgy because he doesn't feel confident in it - same reason any other priest will give.
    Thanked by 1MarkThompson
  • Gavin! - I am tempted to say that your observation about the holy father is 'unhelpful'!

    But, about that matter of confidence: confidence isn't just something we have or feel: it is something that has been instilled in us, one could say even bred into us. Like the confidence to play a recital. Or the confidence to chant one's part of the mass. If one wishes to do it, one will build the necessary confidence, and try and try again until he succeeds. If one believes in a thing, he will learn to accomplish it. If he doesn't believe in a thing that is objectively desirable for the good, he is acting in the wrong capacity, or has been poorly prepared and taught.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    The idea that Musicam sacram tried to convey with its plan of three degrees was not about progressive solemnity: it was about a stepwise implementation of a fully sung liturgy, which was and remains the goal presented to us. So a term like that would have a sound basis.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,847
    ...you don't use the second without the first, and if you use the third, you are also using the first and second...You may notice that this seems backwards.
    Seems in no particular order, actually, and I have to doubt whether Musicam sacrum spells out the first part. At least, I don't yet plan on taking my cue from a spoken greeting from the visiting bishop and turning off the organ blower and sending the choir to the pews, secure in the knowledge I was carrying out "what the church wants" according to the internet.

    Like others, I associate the term Progressive Solemnity instead with the relative weight given to various Sundays and feasts of the year, and once heard it used as a reproach for using Victoria's Missa O quam gloriosum on a weeknight Mass when many fine singers were available: "All Saints isn't really that big a deal".

    GIRM doesn't seem to use that expression, but rather "preference":

    40. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of peoples and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are in principle meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people not be absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on Holydays of Obligation.

    However, in the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, preference is to be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those which are to be sung by the Priest or the Deacon or a reader, with the people replying, or by the Priest and people together.[49]
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    The "backwards" appearance of MS's schema is only in comparison to the typical music of the Roman Rite in most US parishes, in which Alleluia and its proper verse are sung, but even basic dialogues of the priest and people are often spoken.

    You're right about the way some people speak of a notion they call "progressive solemnity", as if the Church wanted a Mass bloated with extra music on major feasts and really didn't want the full liturgy sung daily. To that mindset the sanctoral and weekday chants don't exist.
  • All Saints is a very 'big deal': it is a solemnity. All solemnities are 'big deals', no matter the attendance, day, or hour. Mass on a solemnity is to be celebrated with 'full solemnities', meaning it is the OF equivalent of an EF solemn high mass. I have seen priests amble out and announce that 'today is the solemnity of...' and proceed to mumble their way through mass as though it were just another mass - no acolytes, no incense, no chant, no choir, no joyful solemnitas, no nothing. This is not what the Church expects on a solemnity.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,847
    I readily conceded the "big deal" point as valid in that we don't do polyphonic ordinaries on Christmas, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost &c. The answer was the 'pastoral' consideration towards visiting Sunday giggers starved for musica sacra: when better to take the Sanctus away from the 'people' but at a mass where the choir (nearly) outnumbers them?
  • If the choir nearly outnumbers the rest of the faithful on All Saints, your pastor (or whoever made the insipid comment about All Saints not being a big deal) has bigger things to worry about than complaining about using a polyphonic setting on a solemnity.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Seems in no particular order, actually, and I have to doubt whether Musicam sacrum spells out the first part. At least, I don't yet plan on taking my cue from a spoken greeting from the visiting bishop and turning off the organ blower and sending the choir to the pews, secure in the knowledge I was carrying out "what the church wants" according to the internet.


    No one is advocating that, Richard. What we are saying is that singing the dialogs of the Mass first is the most important, and that when we are given the chance, we should be working toward that. Also, this isn't some idea by some random person on the internet, it's from the church's document on music, Musicam Sacram.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007
    The date on the copy of MS I read had a publication date of 1967. Unless revised in more recent times, it applies to the EF mass and has little, if any, connection to the current liturgy. Much of the jurisdiction for that has passed to the conferences of bishops, for better or worse. MS is a worthy goal, I think, but it doesn't have the force of law.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,064
    Doesn't it? If we apply Sanrosanctum Concilium to the Novus Ordo, why wouldn't we apply Musicam Sacram? It's actually a more recent document.