Sacred music of the Catholic Church - Fr. Predmore
  • wow, this book looks like a Q&A catechism on music, with study questions and quizes. anyone know it?
  • This is excellent. I was most interested in the section that talked about the moral obligation (under penalty of sin?) to be faithful to the directives regarding music and the liturgy as established by the Holy See.

    About a year ago, I posited the notion that, because I was using music and especially texts that either contained statements contrary to Church teaching or at the very least had the potential to obscure the truth or confuse the faithful, I was perpetuating a fraud and putting my own soul in peril. When I asked several priests about it they dismissed my concerns as being invalid, even going so far as to say that I was not under any moral obligation with respect to music in the liturgy.

    I don't know if this fully answers the question, but it certainly addresses the issue.

    I'm really thinking I need to purchase this book!
  • I found an earlier version that can be scanned and put online.
  • Insisting that parishes must implement chant-based music programs under threat of sin is not only shaky theology but in my opinion counterproductive. Those types of presceptive regulations were commonplace in my youth; e.g., to attend my annual high school sports banquet held on a Friday night our one Catholic student athlete had to go through the official process of receiving a dispensation to attend. (Come on, this was southern Kansas; not only would the Baptist pastor likely say the opening prayer but seafood would never be on the menu.)

    Let the strength and beauty of chant speak for itself and leave dubious, outdated legalities alone. To do otherwise is to insure that chant and polyphony will remain fringe phenomena.
  • oh that's right and I can't imagine that anyone would suggest that now. But this book takes the subject more seriously than people take it today, and that's a good thing. I'm really excited to see the entire text. Oddly, I don't find any references to it in Ruff or elsewhere.

    Has no one heard of this book?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Due to excessive reading of Fr. Z, and many things in my personal life, I've had it with the sort of fundamentalistic Catholicism that Randolph describes and one finds occasionally in the pages of this book (women must not sing, for example). However, knowing my respected colleague David, I don't think his intent was that a lack of using chant is sinful. Rather, he was clearly speaking of texts contrary to Catholic doctrine and music which undermines orthodox Catholic sacramental theology. I wouldn't use the word sin (for many reasons) for that, but I agree there's some serious ethical issues for anyone who uses music for a Catholic Mass which is in contradiction to Catholic doctrine.

    WRT the book, I find it interesting. Perhaps someone should write a similar "catechism of sacred music" for today. There's too many places, however, where it strays from established legislation and attempts to enforce as law custom or preference. It is valuable for historic reference, and certainly we can learn a thing or two from the seriousness with which the author treats sacred music.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Example: #400: "How should the music be arranged on the music rack?" Very practical advice, yes. But the author should make clear which bits are from legislation and which are personal opinion or best practice.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    I ran an internet search for "predmore sacred music" and found a couple of books online (through Google's book service) that cite Predmore's works in a footnote for some detail or other; one of the citations was for the 1924 book that Predmore expanded to make this volume. So, yes, he's not altogether unknown.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    In a family, when the parents tell or strongly encourage kids to do things, some kids follow them as rules whether they agree or not, because they trust the parents, and they will tell other kids to obey the parents even they were not rules and don't have specific consequences from the parents for not following them. (I can think of my teen who might not eat vegetables every day when I'm not there at their mealtime all the time, even if I emphasize to eat vegetables everyday. But my other younger kids might tell him that he is not being obedient to the parents when they see him doing that. Of course they all ate all the healthy food that I gave them when they were very little. They didn't have a choice.) I feel we have so much choice in practicing music for our liturgy after VII, and many musicians are not really ready and educated to take this much freedom and responsibilities.

    I think we need more books like this that give clear guidelines. Of couse church musicians have choice to follow the guidelines or not, but many of them are already confused about the not-so- specifice rules we have, such as 'other suitable songs, and other suitalble instruments etc, which seem practically open to spectrum of personal preferences and views. And the people who don't really follow the Church guidlines, because they don't think they are strict rules or don't know about them such as the followings in the quote, could find this kind of books with specific guidlines even more practical.

    "An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony"
    Pope Benedict XVI, 2006

    Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Section 54).

    I believe our Holy Church and our Pope as the leader of the Church know more about the liturgy than anyone else. Understanding the litrugy is not just by the human intellect, but by the inspiration from the Holy Spirit that guides our Church and the liturgy. Whether the Church gave more freedom to choose in practicing music in our liturgy, the spirit of the liturgy has been the same from the beginning. The Church trust us now that we will learn more and understand it better than before when we didn't have this much choices.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Someone also mentioned that 'let the strength and beauty of chant speak for itself'. This might work for some people, but there are also others who are not so attracted to chants, and even if some are attraced, but for some reason, they don't want to be bothered.
    My teen knows about the significance of ashes, but not necessarily excited about going to church today (Ash Wednesday). I had to strongly encourage him and take him with me, because I do care about him. And it's my responsibility to do that, even though ultimately he will be making his own choices. Some people need to be reminded of important things and priorities, whether they are strict rules or not, because we do care about the mysitcal body of Christ and our lliturgy where the music helps the faithful to receive the graces more fully.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576

    At the "Conclusion" heading:

    In conclusion, however, Archbishop Lipscomb had planned to offer you some brief reflections on the relationship of liturgy and law as we embark on an implementation of the revised Roman Missal. I ask you to permit me to read them to you.

    We have made a profound journey these past forty years—one which has abandoned a view of rubrics as rigid norms observed in the interest of mere ceremonial or spectacle. We have to a great extent seized a moment of grace and opened our hearts to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our own time.

    Yet, still, some unhealthy and unrealistic attitudes toward the liturgy and her laws perdure. This has been made all the clearer in the months preceding and immediately following the publication of the new Roman Missal. Such individuals just want to know what to do and what to change and how to get on with it. The rich catechetical, historical and doctrinal elements of the Roman Missal are but an impediment to their efficiency.

    Others become lost, to a remarkable extent, in endless speculation on the theological, ecclesiological and doctrinal significance of new liturgical laws. Their reflections, as ingenious as they are endless, petrify and preclude any real action.

    Then there are those who use the law to resolve personal vendettas, to exercise control over those whom they do not trust. Such conflicts, rooted more in relational failures than liturgical issues, even gave rise to a too long lived and increasingly aggravating joke.

    Finally, there are those who exercise an approach to liturgical law which lives by the motto: "the exception is better than the norm." They search untiringly for the exception to every particular norm and use it to justify the setting aside of the law itself. In the resultant vacuum, they gladly assume the role of sole remaining arbiter of the truth.

    I suggest there is but one sufficient antidote to such self-serving attitudes toward liturgical law. It is the virtue of obedience—a virtue even less practiced than it is appreciated. I ask you: if the heart of the liturgy is Christ's kenotic self-giving upon the cross, what virtue is more liturgical than obedience? That is what the antiphon for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time means when it proclaims: The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. Each person who seeks to implement the new Roman Missal must be inspired and driven by precisely such a response.

    That is why the new Roman Missal speaks about posture by saying: "The uniformity in posture, which must be observed by all participants, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the Scared Liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the mind and spiritual attitudes of the participants"(GIRM, no. 50).

    Patience, conviction, and courage are needed as we embark on an implementation of the new Roman Missal. Discernment is crucial and must be complimented by a strong measure of common sense and pastoral sensitivity. But in all this we must never lose an appreciation for the prescient words of the responsorial refrain for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, eft94530, for posting it. (otherwise I would have missed it.)
    When you hear truths, your heart rejoices, because they are beautiful. I pray that we, especially the church musicians, open our hearts and give ears to hear the truths. Amen.
  • Ok, I've been reading this book, which is fascinating but hard-core Caecilian, if you know what I mean. Rules, rules, rules, rules, every word as table pounding and dogmatic as every other, and it becomes difficult to distinguish what is truly required from what is recommended from what is the hoped-for world of the Caecilians. I really doubt that there would be much point at all to putting this in print. It might even do harm.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Agreed 95% with what Jeff said. The 5% is that I think this would be valuable in print, with a caveat at the beginning describing the failures of the book and cautioning it is recommended as a historical resource and advisory, not to be taken as law.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I didn't get much impression that this book is concerned so much on the rules, but more on the spirit behind the rules and give practical guides on how to follow the confusing rules with conscious mind and wisdom.

    Example: #400: "How should the music be arranged on the music rack?" Very practical advice, yes. But the author should make clear which bits are from legislation and which are personal opinion or best practice.

    Something like this is almost a common sense for a musician to make the mass flow without interruption. I cannot imagine anybody thought this as a rubric. It's not a rule, (I didn't think he needed to verify that) but even this kind of basic preparation advice is needed for some musicians especially in these days. I've seen and experienced in many churches.

    The rules or rubrics are there to make the litrugy more holy and beautiful, not to trap you and frustrate you. There are different groups of musicians I've seen: those who follow them just because they are rules and without really understandg them, or at least trying to understand the meaning of them. Others who either ignore the rules or confused. But then there are others who try to understand the meaning and follow the rules. When the musicians try to follow them as best they can with better understanding, they will certainly experience the beauty of them and delight in His discipline.

    Yesterday we had an exciting latin class with a great latin teacher who asked us to review our Engligh grammar first. I remembered that the rule of grammar is a disciplie which helps us to use the language more beautifully, although my kids complain about so many rules.
    There are books on grammar, excercise books of the grammars, books on writng in general and so on.

    We have rubrics, books to help us understand the meaning of the rules and the Spriit of the litrugy, and we also have guide books on how to. This is our journey. I don't think I want to stop my journey here or turn back. And these books guide me and help me for my journey.