when it comes to music at Mass!
So says Jeffrey Tucker over at The Chant Café, drawing our attention to the fact that the New Missal has a change in the instructions on what music can be sung at Mass. Hymns - however good or bad - are not a part of the Mass. The chant of the Missal - Scripture laden and hallowed by centuries of Christian prayer - is the focus of music within the Mass.
The new translation of the General Instruction removes the discretion from the music team to sing pretty much whatever it wants. The new text, which pertains to the new translation of the Missal that comes into effect on Advent this year, makes it clear beyond any doubt: the music of the Mass is the chanted propers of the Mass. There are options but these options all exist within the universe of the primary normative chant. There can be no more making up some random text, setting it to music, and singing it as the entrance, offertory, or communion.
True liturgical reform has been trying to get us to use chant as the mainstay for centuries.
In the 17th century Blessed Cardinal Tommasi, "Prince of Roman Liturgists", tried to encourage it, introducing it into his own church.
Pope Pius X tried in 1903 with "Tra le Sollecitudini":
Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the suprememodel for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down thefollowing rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.
The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.
Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.
The Second Vatican Council was in accord with the same desire in the document on the Sacred Liturgy "Sacrosanctum Concilium":
16. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
Can we hope that it will no longer be anything goes but that pride of place will once more be given to the chant urged on us by Pope Pius X, Vatican II and the new Missal?