Friday, July 09, 2010

What we should see in the liturgy

~A Catholic musician's take on the whole liturgy debate. Here Gary Penkala, of Cantica Nova Publications (bookmark the page and order stuff from them and get unplugged from the giants of OCP/GIA drek) outlines what he would like to see happen with music in liturgy.
Catholics of the Roman Rite need to be less concerned with hymns and more concerned with propers. Hymns as such are almost entirely foreign to the Roman Rite Mass. They're indigenous to the Divine Office [the Liturgy of the Hours] where each hour begins with a hymn. They're borrowed from Protestant worship. They're not our tradition at Mass. Gradually, with measured pace, let go of at least some of the hymns at Mass. How about a simple Entrance Antiphon with psalm verses [see CNP Mass Propers] once in a while? Further, there's no need for a closing song — the rubrics don't even call for one. Let the priest and then the congregation exit to a rousing organ recessional. It really can work — I have practical and popular substantiation on this!
Yes!! How much richer will liturgical celebrations be when the Propers are truly properly restored and the faithful hear them. It is a rare thing to hear them nowadays. Most people don't even know what Propers are. Do you know how much time I waste in planning for a hymn that closely matches the Proper that it replaces? Introit, Offertory, Communion antiphons? There are no hymns that can truly replace these.

What I would like to see is a parish that is familiar enough with psalm tones so that the psalms prescribed with the antiphons can be chanted by the faithful. Do you know how much more powerful it is to chant psalms than be titillated by a stupid ditty like "Sing of the Lord's Goodness"? If you are able, try to attend a Sung Vespers, how much more prayerful, how much more one is transported to the heavenly courts with the antiphonal psalm verses chanted alternately. It is a beautiful marriage between song and words so that it truly becomes sung prayer.

1 comment:

Patricia Cecilia said...

Check out Fr. Longenecker's four-part series on music at/of the Mass:

One more Tiber-swimmer with heart and head in the right place vis-a-vis liturgy!