Thursday, August 11, 2011

To Sing, Or Not To Sing?

One of the big issues which has dominated liturgy in the last forty years has been that of "active participation" on the part of the laity.  In its name we have seen all sorts of shenanigans and the emergence of various abuses.   We have seen laity invade the sanctuary, take over what the priest should be doing often with the priest's consent and introduce all sorts of gimmicks into the Holy Mass.  Thankfully these things may be on their way out as one generation of priest pass away and another, younger generation are ordained and are ready to nip the bud and restore decorum to the sacred liturgy - the new translation of the Mass will help that.

I was reading a very interesting post on Fr Longenecker's blog about this thing of "active participation", and it is well worth a read.  Here is a question which it might well be heresy to ask these days: do we really have to get the congregation singing?  Yes, it is wonderful when they do, but does it upset some great eternal plan, as Tevye would say, if they don't - can we not just have a good choir who ornaments the liturgy with good, orthodox, sacred music?  Is it not better than our people are praying and entering into the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice and not lament about their refusing to get up on the seats, clap their hands and praise Jesus for coming down the mountain?  After all, the Church survived for 1,960 years or so without congregational singing being imposed and it still produced saints and holy people who loved the Mass.

Perhaps, without getting into panic and running around the church before Mass and getting people up to the ambo to wave their hands around like the tote, we might just look to enhance our choirs and concentrate on a renewal of sacred music and traditional hymns.  Maybe the congregation will join in and maybe not - no panic.  A few thoughts.  Read Fr Longenecker's post and think about it.

1 comment:

  1. I agree entirely. Liturgy and sacred music are very important but they should never become an idol. The obsession with the liturgy in the modern era century has been counterproductive. More liturgical legislation was issued in the 20th century alone than all previous centuries combined.