Liturgy and Music: March 2004 Archives



Formation... It sounds so proper!

Why can't be just educate people through formation instead of having the Vatican issue "repressive" documents about liturgical abuse.

Fact is: the document on liturgical abuse is meant to be used in formation. It addresses the dos and don'ts in areas where some people who have in the past been responsible for formation have failed.

People who are on the CreativeLiturgy™ Bandwagon - take heed! No more stones instead of bread. Stop adding a few tablespoons of yourself into your liturgical activity and pay attention to hundreds of years of standard practice and to the actual text of the Vatican II documents instead of the Voice of Vatican II that you hear in your head.

Seriously. I've had it and skulls will be cracked if you don't pay attention.



I'm looking forward to the Vatican document on Liturgical abuse in the same way I look forward to a constitutional amendment that affirms marriage is between a man and a woman.

What's the correlation?

It's the in both cases, the "informed professionals" have sought to impose norms that are counter to what the average person knows to be true.

If you see a nun in a leotard prancing about the sanctuary during the 1st reading, the average person knows that's wrong.

When mayors are "marrying" same-sex couples, the average person knows that wrong, that it's not a marriage but rather a farce and a political statement.

So the idea that guidelines on liturgical abuse could be "repressive" is quite outrageous. If the liturgists who brought us the Mass of the Unordained Women or the Dance of the Winter Solstice had repressed their own desire to remake the liturgy in their own image, we wouldn't need the document.

People are longing for truth and a prayerful liturgical atmosphere. I'm sure the guidelines will help with that in as much as the Do-it-yourself-Liturgists can bring themselves to obey them.

Liturgical Lessons Learned


In the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, it is customary for someone -- a server or other layman -- to assist the priest as he chants the Gospel. The server stands in front of the celebrant and bows his head, and the priest rests the Gospel book open upon it.

This does not work very well when the server is about 4 inches taller than the celebrant, even after bowing his head.

It's a good thing this maladroit arrangement happened at a liturgy on Saturday morning, and only nine people were present. I can't really tell what it looked like, because my head was underneath a book at the time. Anyway, Bishop John was very nice about it later.

Comments, Please


Should liturgical music feel good? If so, not so - why?

Choral Tidbits


RC conviced me I should start posting my Catholic choir tidbits here, so I will. He has root access to our Web server after all...

So item 1 is this:

Brian Baldwin mentioned he found the Latin Mass with no singing to be a spiritually uplifting and peaceful experience. I can relate to that, primarily because as a musician I can be easily distracted by the music.

Why is that? Trained musicians like Brian who have years of teaching experience, a graduate degree and thousands of hours of performance experience have had one thing drilled into them: a focus on quality. Mediocrity has no place in musical performance, whether it be a lousy composition or an ensemble that just doesn't cut it.

And so when Catholics like Brian and me get the hit parade of Top 40 ditties composed since Vatican II, mostly mediorce pieces performed by well-intentioned people with a wide range of talent and training, we often can't shake our own training and listen in a uncritical manner.

Critical listening doesn't lend itself to prayer. So we find ourselves wishing for holy silence, or at least lower lowels of clap-trap and ching-ching and God forbid the whap-jingle of the plastic tambourine.

Liturgical Music and Prayer


I started reading Music and Morals this week because the author, Basil Cole, OP is part of duo of Dominicans preaching a mission at our parish. I'll blog more specifically about the book at some point, but one of Fr. Cole's key points is that the function of liturgical music is to facilitate prayer.

And I was thinking about some folks who think that if you can't sing along it's not good liturgical music. I know some music directors that minimize the role of the choir because if the choir sings by itself the congregation can't participate. I've experienced people taking offense that they can't sing everything on the program - every note and every word of every piece. There's a gentleman with a loud voice that sings lots of things that are intended for the cantor simply because he knows them (sometimes we have the cantor sing the refrain to the communion hymn prior to the congregation coming in.)

That's simply a misunderstanding of prayer and the role of liturgical music. Vocal participation on the part of the congregation must happen, but just as prayer is a conversation with God and one must listen to God, there are time where a person should listen to the choir. One-way prayer from a person to God doesn't facilitate long term spiritual growth.

So - the drumbeat of "participation" as reflected in having the congregation sing everything is actually not what's intended with liturgical prayer. In the same way we don't say all the prayers of the priest there's a role for the choir to lead and act in some ways as the voice of God at certain times.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Liturgy and Music category from March 2004.

Liturgy and Music: February 2004 is the previous archive.

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