Preparing Music for Liturgy: SttL Outline

Section IV of the US Bishops’ document Sing to the Lord treats the matter of “Preparing Music For Catholic Worship.” This is a vitally important topic, and our shepherds devote nearly 3,000 words to it–a bit more than one-tenth of the document.

Over the next few days I’d like to take a careful look at preparing liturgical music. I invite your comments as we progress on the topic. Just to whet your appetite, this is how the American bishops organized the preparation of music in numbered sections 110 through 136:

  • A. What Parts Do We Sing?
    • The Principle of Progressive Solemnity
    • The Parts to Be Sung
    • Sacred Silence
  • B. Who Prepares the Music for the Liturgy?
  • C. Care in the Choice of Music for the Liturgy
  • D. Judging the Qualities of Music for the Liturgy
    • The Three Judgments: One Evaluation
    • The Liturgical Judgment
    • The Pastoral Judgment
    • The Musical Judgment

We’ve already covered the bishops on progressive solemnity here and here, and on silence here. We’ve also the three judgments from time to time, including here. For the next few posts, I think we’ll just focus on the “who” and look at the overall approach by our American bishops.

Maybe the first notable bit is the choice of words: preparation instead of planning. What comes to mind when you read or hear liturgy preparation instead of liturgy planning? Is it a good thing?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgical Music, Sing to the Lord. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Preparing Music for Liturgy: SttL Outline

  1. Liam says:

    I understand the intended difference between preparation and planning, but under oath I’d have to admit that it would be difficult to draw as strong a difference in actual practice….so it’s not something I think is as important as I used to think it was.

    • Todd says:

      It’s a bit of a poke at some colleagues who seem to think the Missal and antiphonary give you everything you need, and liturgy is just about preparing the given ingredients. Still, I prefer the term “preparation,” as I think it aligns with my own attitude.

  2. Thanks – this is timely. I have a Theology On Tap presentation on music in the liturgy coming up in mid-June, so I will be thinking about these issues. Will be following…

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