Thursday, December 6, 2007

NPM announces the new "Music Document"

The following from NPM in their e-mail update newsletter. I may be reading a lot into their language, but it seems that they're not thrilled with this document. The first thing that they say about it is that it is not legislative, perhaps implying that it doesn't really constitute law and perhaps doesn't need to be followed to the letter. It also adds the odd comment that this document will be published together with the Directory for Music and the Liturgy, described as norms for approving texts for liturgical songs, while noting that the Directory has not yet been approved by the Holy See. This was a bit troubling to me... Sing To The Lord cites the Directory as a source for a lot of it's statements, and yet the Directory hasn't been approved yet. If it isn't approved, would the parts of Sing To The Lord that draw from it be cast into doubt? Anyway, here is the NPM "announcement":

"You may now view and download Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (PDF), a new set of guidelines for music in the liturgy approved overwhelmingly (88%) by the U.S. bishops last month. The document had originally been proposed as a legislative document, but the bishops opted instead to issue it as an official statement of the USCCB, which still required a two-thirds vote of Latin rite bishops.

Sing to the Lord is longer (more than 250 paragraphs) and more comprehensive than its predecessors. It addresses some topics not covered in earlier documents, treats other areas more expansively, incorporates the norms of recent official liturgical documents, and draws on the experience of celebrating the current “ordinary” form of the Mass for the past thirty-seven years.

The USCCB is planning to publish the document together with the Directory for Music and the Liturgy. These official norms for approval of texts for singing at the liturgy were adopted by the U.S. bishops in November 2006 and are still awaiting confirmation from the Vatican.

If this document had proclaimed that pop-style liturgy music was the "new voice" of the Church, that Guitars and Drums should be given equal status as the Organ, and that Chant and Polyphony represent the sounds from a now irrelevant past, NPM would be holding nationwide seminars to instruct Music Directors in its immediate implementation and there would be a special issue of Pastoral Music dedicated to the history of liturgical music since 1970 and the series of events that have led up to this "monumental document" that truly expresses the Spirit of Vatican II. However, this document being what it is, they at least provide you with a web-link so you can read it.


Dad29 said...

Well, there's also the possibility that they are not very proud of their opus.

Chironomo said...

I think that at least NPM will do everything possible to NOT emphasize this document as being important, which will be tricky since they always touted MCW as being "the most important" music document from Vatican II. The original draft was quite in line with the NPM viewpoint, however the eventual revision seems to have "gotten away from them" and took on a direction of its own. Although the call for an increased use of chant was certainly expected, I think the suggestion to use the Introit and Communion Antiphons from the Graduale Romanum rather than a hymn or song was not something they supported.

Brian Michael Page said...

God only knows NaPalM did nothing in terms of posting anything about Summorum Pontificum in their website. But like you said, if it were that guitars, etc., had to be either equal or of higher esteem than organ/chant/etc., they'd be teaching that in a heartbeat (they wouldn't be doing anything they haven't done before, trust me).