Some Upcoming Liturgy Posts

Fr Austin, aka The Concord Pastor, asked me about posting some of my presentations from the Loras College Liturgical Music Conference. My role in the event was actually quite small. The noted liturgist Kevin Seasoltz gave a marvelous talk Wednesday unpacking the notion of aesthetics in liturgy, and developing a really profound application of the Three Judgments. Other speakers, as you can see in the link, tackled the qualities of artistry, transparency, ritual, freedom, tradition, and innovation as they apply to Catholic liturgy and its music. It was all good. I enjoyed the side talks, the dinners, and the wrestling with applications with the attendees and speakers.

My role was to lead two breakout sessions on the theology of choir and assembly. And since I have so much material (I prepared enough for about four to six hours), some of it untouched, yes, I will post some re-formed essays on the topics.

In preparing for the conference, I read through Sing to the Lord, the US bishops’ document on liturgical music. I read it through a few times. I found much surprising and good. Some surprising and weak. But it’s a rich mine for starting the discussion. And I say “starting,” because I think the real work of applying its principles has barely begun. It’s one reason why I still have an inner chuckle at the “reform of the reform” movement. There’s quite enough to reform in the liturgy itself without quibbling over twenty, thirty, and fifty years ago, and whether or not the right fork in the road was taken. The liturgy is here and now, with us, and that is what needs attention.

In the coming days, I hope to elaborate a bit on these topics:

Progressive Solemnity (a few posts, but the original ideas will address how progressive solemnity can and should be applied to the entire Catholic sacramental system, not just the Sunday Eucharist and the liturgical year)
Ministry and Volunteers: What’s the Difference?
Formation of Music Ministers

Maybe a few other topics. Rather than tackle SttL in an orderly/thorough way as I have other Vatican and USCCB documents, I might instead look at principles worth discussing and pulling in documentation from Vatican II and the other liturgy documents. If that sounds like a good plan, feel free to suggest any other topics.

Generally speaking, I’m happy to ponder any liturgical or musical subject within my competence. My e-mail address is in the sidebar.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Some Upcoming Liturgy Posts

  1. That sounds great, Todd. Glad to have you back (but grateful for Neil’s covering your absence) and looking forward to what you have to offer on the topics you mentioned.

  2. I say this honestly, but with tongue somewhat in cheek, Todd: the three judgments you speak of are-“holy, beautiful and universal,” right?

  3. Todd says:

    I reply honestly: I wouldn’t mind examining those three judgments, either. In some ways they are even more challenging that “liturgical, musical, pastoral.”

    The first is dependent entirely on God and divine inspiration. Perhaps it goes without saying that holiness is more of a hope of God’s grace. An exclusive focus on holy “things” might easily erode into idolatry.

    Beauty we can wrestle with as well. Are there moments in the liturgical cycle when beauty is trumped by other concerns: Good Friday perhaps?

    Universal I would consider a bit troublesome, wouldn’t you? Liturgical elements with a “universal” appeal would be rather narrow, if existent at all. If you want to e-mail me the reference and context–is it TLS?–I’d be happy to tackle them–seriously.

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