What People Are Asking
donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

Choirs at Mass & ‘Active Participation’




TIA,

I have a question for Dr. Carol Byrne on her series on the Dialogue Mass.

M.K.

Dear Dr. Carol Byrne,

First I would like to thank you for your work and study on this topic.

Is a dialogue Mass acceptable if it's done as a liturgical function by either an all male parish choir or a monastic choir, and not as congregational singing?

Did St. Pius X allow and/or promote all male parish choirs and monastic choirs to chant in Latin Gregorian Chant what is normally the servers responses at Mass as an option? Or was he merely promoting the custom of the all male choir chanting certain prayers like the Gloria as the priest says it in low tone, the non dialogue sung Mass?

What about Dom Prosper Gueranger, was he having his monastic choir chanting in Latin Gregorian Chant what was normally the servers response?

I guess the question is, was St. Piux X saying the dialogue Mass could be done if a monastic choir chanted in Latin Gregorian Chant the responses normally said by the servers only. Or if an all male parish choir dressed in cassock and surplus chanted in Latin Gregorian Chant the responses normally said by the servers only? Would such a dialogue Mass be acceptable in your opinion?

The reason I ask, and I could certainly be wrong, but it seems like there is a certain amount of evidence or at least we seem to be led to believe that both Dom Prosper Gueranger and St. Pius X were going in this direction. Keep in mind in this case both the monastic choir and the all male parish choir would be truly engaging in a liturgical function, it would not be considered congregational singing!

In my opinion if I concluded that the dialogue Mass was acceptable as a liturgical function done by an all male parish choir or a monastic choir. I would argue chanting more than the servers response, like the entire Pater Noster, was part of the progressivist hijacking. I would also argue the rearranging of the parish church to put the parish choir where the monastic choir is, rather then in the choir loft, is part of the progressivist hijacking also.

It would also seem that Nuns in a Convent doing the dialogue Mass in this fashion would be giving a liturgical role to women, so Convents could only do the non dialogue sung Mass!

     Thank you,

     M.K.
______________________


Dr. Carol Byrne responds:

Dear Dr. Carol Byrne,

First I would like to thank you for your work and study on this topic.


Dear Mr. M.K.,

Thank you for your appreciation of my studies on the liturgy, and for your various questions which I will attempt to answer below.

Is a dialogue Mass acceptable if it’s done as a liturgical function by either an all male parish choir or a monastic choir and not as congregational singing?

Let us start by defining our terms. I think we should distinguish between what is normally understood as a “Dialogue Mass” and the various types of “Sung Mass.” In the former, the people make the verbal responses, and in the latter, the choir sings the Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei etc. while the priest is required to say these prayers silently. I have never heard of a sung dialogue except at the Opera or the Novus Ordo, which could be classified as a sort of opera buffa.

Did St. Pius X allow and/or promote all male parish choirs and monastic choirs to chant in Latin Gregorian Chant what is normally the server’s responses at Mass as an option? Or was he merely promoting the custom of the all male choir chanting certain prayers like the Gloria as the priest says it in low tone, the non-dialogue sung Mass?

At a Sung Mass in the traditional rite, the choir has its own repertoire of chants which, apart from the Kyrie, do not form part of the server’s responses. So, we cannot say that Pius X wanted the choir to sing the server’s responses. Besides, the priest and server recite their respective prayers independently of the choir.

What about Dom Prosper Gueranger, was he having his monastic choir chanting in Latin Gregorian Chant what was normally the server’s response?

The last answer applies here.

I guess the question is was St. Piux X saying the dialogue Mass could be done if a monastic choir chanted in Latin Gregorian Chant the responses normally said by the servers only. Or if an all male parish choir dressed in cassock and surplus, chanted in Latin Gregorian Chant the responses normally said by the servers only? Would such a dialogue Mass be acceptable in your opinion? The reason I ask, and I could certainly be wrong, but it seems like there is a certain amount of evidence or at least we seem to be led to believe that both Dom Prosper Gueranger and were going in this direction.

There is no record, as far as I know, of this being done by Dom Prosper Gueranger or St. Pius X.

Keep in mind in this case both the monastic choir and the all male parish choir would be truly engaging in a liturgical function, it would not be considered congregational singing!

By defining liturgical singing as a clerical function, St. Pius X was implicitly drawing a distinction between the choir and the congregation. Even though the parish choir is made up of members of the congregation, liturgical singing is still a clerical function.

In my opinion, if I concluded that the dialogue Mass was acceptable as a liturgical function done by an all male parish choir or a monastic choir. I would argue chanting more than the server’s response, like the entire Pater Noster, was part of the progressivist hijacking. I would also argue the rearranging of the parish church to put the parish choir where the monastic choir is, rather then in the choir loft, is part of the also.

It is true that these two developments are part of “progressivist hijacking,” as you put it.

It would also seem that Nuns in a Convent doing the dialogue Mass in this fashion would be giving a liturgical role to women, so Convents could only do the non-dialogue sung Mass!

This eventuality was provided for by the 1917 Code of Canon Law (Canon 1264 §2) which allowed religious women to sing the liturgy in their own convents provided that this was included in their Constitutions and that they had the permission of their Bishop.

     Thank you,

     M.K.


     You are welcome.

     Dr. Carol Byrne

Posted September 4, 2014

______________________

Related Works of Interest


A_civility.gif - 33439 Bytes
donate
A_courtesy.gif - 29910 Bytes