Shouldn't we be singing to God?
  • TeresaH
    Posts: 53
    I read somewhere that the USCCB has a subcommittee looking into hymns and that "hymns" in Christ's words to us such as Be Not Afraid, I Am The Bread of Life, On Eagles Wings, etc. are out of place in the sacred Liturgy. Is this documented somewhere?
  • I'm not sure, but this is a committee that needs to be anonymous, otherwise they will get threats from people who love "their" music.
  • TeresaH
    Posts: 53
    Actually, I don't care who is on the committee, it just made me wonder if there is something that supports an arguement against singing in the wrong person.
  • The "voice of God" critique sort of misses the mark, simply by looking at the Mass propers: the schola often sings in the voice of God.

    Really all these issues of text and the controversies around them are easily solved. Sing the Mass itself. The text is a given. No reason to argue about these points, but that's what you get when you replace Mass propers with various random compositions "based on" whatever the poet likes.
  • mahrt
    Posts: 517
    Objection to and argument against "Voice of God" hymns was raised some time ago by Thomas Day in Why Catholics Can't Sing.

    Jeffrey is right that those things which are particularly proper to the congregation, that is the ordinary, mainly address God directly, while the propers of the Mass, being the ministry of the choir, often include texts which represent the message of God to the people, which is quite appropriate. This usage for the choir is a poor precedent for the choice of pieces for the congregation to sing.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dr. Mahrt,

    QUESTION: Did Thomas Day make this distinction?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,345

    you stole the words right out of my mouth
  • mahrt
    Posts: 517
    JMO: Day just complained about the phenomenon of "songs" sung by the congregation in the voice of God; some responded to his complaint that lots of Latin chants were in the voice of God, without making the distinction of who sings them. This is just my response, that Mass propers often contain a message in the voice of God but they are sung to the congregation by the choir.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,686
    Does the choir sing "to the congregation"?

    That seems an odd way of putting things...

    I'd say the choir sings and the people listen, but I'm not sure the choir sings to the congregation.

    Wouldn't this rule out the possibility of a sung Mass with only a choir and priest present?
  • to my knowledge, Mahrt was the first one to make sense of this controversy over Vox Dei. I was of course channeling his thoughts in my first post. His point puts to rest the whole issue, to my mind.
  • Does the choir sing "to the congregation"?

    We could probably reference here Fr. Kirby on sacred music being a word either 1. from God, 2. to God, or 3. about God. I really find this framework that he has established to be very useful in analyzing the various sung parts of the liturgy.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    So, "from us, to us, about ourselves" doesn't make the list?
    Even in these a-changin' times?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Also, I looked at that reference AB gave above.
    Just read the forward, and I cannot believe it was written in 1996!
    I was just starting high school. I wonder how my life would be different if my home parish had (so to speak) "gotten the memo."
  • It's pretty incredible what a Christocentric view of the liturgy can do, huh? I think that what you suggest, Adam, is probably the way that most people thought of liturgical music in this past era: "from us, to us, about us". What a difference it makes in liturgical theology to place the emphasis on God, and, more importantly on Christ's action in the liturgy. This is very much the liturgical theology of V2, I think, also. It is Christ who acts, speaks, moves, worships, in the liturgy. Those who participate in this action of Christ form a part of his Body in some way, head and members. Each has a role. But we cannot forget that we are assembled into Christ, who is the subject of the liturgy, not us.

    Of course, this is very much Ratzinger too. What a difference it will make when our emphasis is on the action of Christ in the liturgy. After this will we find our proper participation in that action.