Three principles help us to choose music for liturgical songs - liturgical holiness, musical beauty and pastoral universality.
What is Holy? Sacred music is considered "the more holy in proportion as it is more closely connected with the liturgical action" (Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, 112). It must be able "to express adequately the mystery grasped inthe fullness of the Church's faith" (John Paul II).
Music, including sacred music, is not liturgically holy if it is incompatible with the liturgical action or Church teaching.
What is Beautiful? "The criterion that must inspire every composition and performance ... is the beauty that invites prayer." (John Paul II).
Requires sound form, true art,full adherence to the text it presents, synchronization with the time and movement in the Liturgy for which it is intended, appropriately reflecting the gestures proposed by the rite. (John Paul II).
What is Universal? Three requirements: 1. "must comply with the legitimate demands of adaptation and inculturation"
2. "must respect specific criteria such as the search for musical expressions which respond to the necessaryinvolvement of the entire assembly in the celebration.
3. "nobody of any nation may receive an impression other than good on hearing them." (John Paul II).
How Much Singing?
How Much Singing? (General Instruction, 40):
The amount of singing should correspond to the degree of solemnity of the occasion, with due consideration for culture and ability of the assembly; "preference should be given to those (parts) of greater importance and especially to those to be sungby the priest or the deacon or the lector, with the people responding, or by the priest and people together." More detail
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