Loading
January 03, 2012
Psalms to live by
By Father Rocky Hoffman *

By Father Rocky Hoffman *

I had a question about music at Mass and substituting songs for the Psalm. During Mass on the Feast of Christ the King, the proper Psalm for Mass was the 93rd Psalm: The Lord is King, He is robed in Majesty. The musician at Mass substituted a song based on Psalm 34: Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord. He does this on a regular basis, and it disturbs me. I’ve experienced this in many parishes I’ve attended. The impression is that the psalms are interchangeable and any one of them can be selected to suit the particular inclinations of the choir leader or music group director at Mass. My belief is that the psalm for the Mass, like the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel passages are in conjunction with the theme of a particular Mass and cannot be substituted.

Am I correct in this thought? If so, is there a particular Church document that I might reference, tactfully, when discussing this with our music director?  

I have found two citations from authoritative documents which can help answer your question, but in a few words, the Responsorial Psalm between the readings, is more in the nature of a song or hymn, than in the nature of a reading.  That is why it is more commonly sung than the readings. 
 
First, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), stipulates:  “For Sundays and solemnities, three readings are assigned: that is, from a Prophet, an Apostle, and a Gospel. By these the Christian people are brought to know the continuity of the work of salvation according to the God’s wonderful plan. These readings should be followed strictly. During the Easter Season, according to the tradition of the Church, instead of the reading from the Old Testament, the reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.”  (GIRM, no. 357, emphasis added.)  Please note that this paragraph from the GIRM makes no mention of the Responsorial Psalm.  “Readings” are defined as Old Testament (Prophet), New Testament (Apostle), and Gospel.  The Responsorial Psalm is not even mentioned.  Since it is not mentioned, a liturgist or a parish music director could make the case that it is not necessary to follow strictly the assignment of the Responsorial Psalm; in other words, you could substitute it. 

However, the instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum” (2004) points out:  “It is also illicit to omit or to substitute the prescribed biblical readings on one’s own initiative, and especially “to substitute other, non-biblical texts for the readings and responsorial Psalm, which contain the word of God.”
 
With these two authentic citations in mind, we can safely say that no one should substitute the Responsorial Psalm with a “non-biblical text,” but you could substitute the Responsorial Psalm with another Psalm according to the legitimate pastoral needs of the assembly.

Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, JCD (Fr. Rocky) is Executive Director of Relevant Radio.  Ordained as a priest for Opus Dei in 1992 by Blessed John Paul II, he holds a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a BA in History from Northwestern University.  His Question and Answer column appears in several Catholic newspapers and magazines across the country.

« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
Jul
23

Liturgical Calendar

July 23, 2014

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:1-9

Gospel
Date
07/23/14
07/20/14
07/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 1:1, 4-10
Gospel:: Mt 13: 1-9

Saint of the Day

St. John Cassian »

Saint
Date
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:1-9

Homily
Date
07/23/14
07/21/14
07/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: