Toward a revival of the sung Mass


Fr. Mark Kirby, writer of the Vultus Christi blog, is in Italy for a few weeks, where is to present a talk at the Adoratio conference in Rome. He has some observations on the state of the liturgy in Italy: with priest celebrants omitting the daily Proper texts of the Mass and neglecting to sing, the celebration of the Mass is often impoverished there as much as it is here in the US.

Reflecting on the great letter on sacred music Tra le sollecitudini by Pope St. Pius X, Fr. Kirby offers some suggestions for a new papal letter to revive the practice of the sung Mass, where people and priest sing the real texts of the Mass, and not just songs.


I don't see how singing Mass is part of Tradition.

It's not in the Church Fathers, as far as I can see.

I know Gregory is ancient, but I don't think the singing Mass is ancient. The Fathers were against instruments, and for vocal chords, but I don't know if they had singing Masses.

I know that the Mass was sung on Easter and Christmas, but I doubt it was sung every Sunday.

On one hand, the hymns in Revelation are said to be spoken, not sung, and I would think the Church would take the cue about how to celebrate the Liturgy after the Liturgy of Heaven from that.

On the other hand, the Jews sang the Psalms, as you said, and so I would think the Church would take the cue of how to celebrate the Liturgy from that. If that's a correct understanding of the celebration of the Blessed Sacrament, that is.

Oh, ok!

So does that mean Jesus could have sung His teachings?

Well, if there isn't a distinction between speech and song in Scriptures, at least as far as "He says" and the like go, than that could mean Jesus sang His teachings out loud for the great crowds.

Well, if the singing Mass was handed down from Jesus to the Apostles, and from the Apostles to their successors, I'd say the singing Mass is part of the Church's Tradition.

But I don't know if it was, as I can't find such a thing in the Church Fathers. They talk about some singing parts and some singing on certain feasts, but no singing Mass in general.

So Tradition is basically the life of Christ and the Church?

Hmmm...that'd make it like the seed that grows into a beautiful tree in Jesus' parable.

Alright, so singing Mass is part of Tradition. Does that mean ever form of Mass is Tradition too?

To clarify, I have always thought of Tradition as the oral Scriptures, united to the Scriptures itself as the oral and written Word of God.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on June 4, 2011 12:45 PM.

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