Hello fellow CAF members. While I appreciate that a lot of people will not like what I say, I’ll post it anyway and hope for some responses. Anyway, in the Mass at my Church now, I have placed myself on the liturgy committee because frankly there are a lot of abuses and I am trying to sort them. I sent out a general email, which I will post, to the members. I got an interesting response, which shocked me - and in a bad way. I had a bad feeling that people were taking liberties with the Church and making it their own little shindig and now… anyway, here is what I sent out.
Most quotes are from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Regarding the Kyrie:
“52. After the Act of Penitence, the Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Act of Penitence. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is ordinarily done by all, that is, by the people and with the choir or cantor having a part in it.”
I highlight the words to bring to attention the fact that the Kyrie should be done by all; in our services the language barrier hinders this, and the exclusivity of the choir does the same.
Regarding the Gloria:
“53. The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text. The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other.”
Our services have a mixed bag and the Gloria is not entirely clear; language and choir confusion. I am not opposed to a different language, but the faithful and the collective unity of the congregation as a whole should be placed above choir exclusivity. The words of the Gloria may not be replaced or changed – and until due permission is given, I think we need to stick with the words as given to us in the New Translation.
Regarding singing/choir functioning
“39. The Christian faithful who gather together as one to await the Lord’s coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (cf. Col 3:16). Singing is the sign of the heart’s joy (cf. Acts 2:46). Thus Saint Augustine says rightly, "Singing is for one who loves."48 There is also the ancient proverb: “One who sings well prays twice.”
- Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are of themselves meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.
In the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, however, preference should be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those to be sung by the priest or the deacon or the lector, with the people responding, or by the priest and people together.
- All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.”
Sacred music should be given preference, and other types of music are not allowed unless deemed to be sacred. When choosing music, and music style, we need to consider whether or not we are participating with this in mind. Possibly our Bishops could be more clear on this; but I am not convinced that we are entirely in line with this instruction.
Participation of the faithful is once again emphasised.
In addition to this: