Do We Have to Sing Along During Mass?

I really don’t like singing, and I’m hoping if I’m allowed not to sing.

No not at all. Active participation includes silently praying and meditating.

In fact, much of the preferred music for the Mass is really designed for the choir only.

Don’t feel bad at all.

Absolutely not. You don’t even have to say any of the responses.

Like, we ain’t got no choir! I’ll revise that - in our parish the whole congregation is the choir, and boy, do we sing!



There is more cheer in a graveyard than with you guys.


You don’t have to, but I do, even if I can’t sing.

The bible says “Make a joyful noise unto the lord”, it doesn’t say it has to be pretty.

Did the occasion call for cheer? Here I thought the thread was a simple question about rules. Anyone who fakes a cheerful response to a basic question about liturgical requirements beholden on the laity would do more damage than good.

To stay on topic, that principle would also undermine bellowing out a hymn for the sake of being heard.

Well, I would say if it were painful or uncomfortable for you to sing, you shouldn’t. But it isn’t bad if you cant sing all too well. Everyone can sing, regardless of their voice quality. But it wouldn’t be horrible if you didn’t.

In fact, much of the preferred music for the Mass is really designed for the choir only.

For which form of the mass?

In the ordinary form of the mass singing is a good way of participating.

In the liturgy the function of the Choir is the to lead the congregation, not perform.

Singing is prayer.
Singing is participation.

St Augustine says that “To sing once is to pray twice” (Qui cantat, bis orat):thumbsup:

perhaps not “have to”, but might want to …

Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat; qui cantat laudem, non solum cantat, sed et amat eum quem cantat. In laude confitentis est praedicatio, in cantico amantis affectio.

For he who sings praise, does not only praise, but also praises joyfully; he who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him to whom he is singing.

St. Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmum 72

… just a thought!



Well I’ll tell you how.

Except I’ve got to go read Charlotte’s Web to my kid - so I’ll get to it later.

Some of us only sing the Catholic stuff, which we don’t have very often in many of our parishes.

Well, since we’re not trying to be cheerful, but just talk about ‘rules’, here’s what the GIRM (‘General Instruction on the Roman Missal’) says:

“96. Moreover, [the faithful] are to form one body, whether in hearing the Word of God, or in taking part in the prayers and in the singing, or above all by the common offering of the Sacrifice and by participating together at the Lord’s table. This unity is beautifully apparent from the gestures and bodily postures observed together by the faithful.”

So, I think that it’s fair to say that the GIRM envisions that the congregation will be praying and singing. However, that’s not to say that it mandates it, per se.



If it isn’t, it may not make other people very joyful. :wink:

Personally, I would prefer that certain people don’t sing. One bad singer has a tendency of making many others sing badly as well, including less-experienced choir members. It will also disrupt timing as certain people (who always seem to sing the loudest) will either sing way too fast with complete disregard for any accompaniment that may be helping the pace, or too slow.

For those who can’t sing well, I would make one suggestion: “If you’re going to make a [joyful] noise, make it quiet!”

If you’re singing the Mass parts (Gloria, Agnus Dei, etc) and you can sing (some folks can’t), I’d say it’s commendable. If you have a sore throat or a lousy voice, maybe try to follow along mentally, which IS active participation just as much as physically singing.

However, when your music director has a Dan Schutte fetish and “Here I am Lord” is the Communion song (it’s not a hymn!) every week, complete with the “folk group” dressed in rainbow regalia, I’d say silent protest might be more reverential.

As for the Bible (BTW folks, would you please get this right, the word Bible is always capitalized, just like Koran, I will keep reiterating this in every post I see it until the evil is stomped out) “declaring to make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” I don’t see what that has to do with the Mass. Seems the Church’s centuries old teachings on music and her traditions in that regard, and the rubrics, are more to the point of singing during Mass. We are not protestants, the Bible is not the first and last reference point for every aspect of our religion, particularly when there are much more specifically defined guidelines.

I think loud discordant protest might be more effective. :smiley:

You are right it’s not the first or last point of our religion, we have Tradition as well. But the two are not mutually exclusive… they are one Word. Tradition and the Bible go hand in hand, not one above the other or one excluding the other. They work together, for both are the Word of God.

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