Mass Music

US Bishops to consider revisions for regulating liturgical music


A document regulating music at Mass will be presented for approval to the United States Council of Catholic Bishops at their Fall General Assembly in Baltimore.

Bishop Donald Trautman, outgoing chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, wrote that the document “represents a significant rethinking of the structure and substance of what needs to be said about this important aspect of the liturgical renewal,”

The document, titled "Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship," expands upon the judgments to be applied in the use of music in the Liturgy.  The judgments focus upon the liturgical, pastoral, and musical appropriateness of musical works.  The document also explores the role of the composer, music in the celebration of sacraments, instrumentation, language and cultural issues, technology, copyrights and participation aids.

The document is a revision of a text first published in 1967 and revised for the first time in 1972. The newest revision includes a reflection on Redemptionis Sacramentum, a 2004 document from the Congregation for Divine Worship that concerns respect for the Holy Eucharist.  The revision introduces the concept of "progressive solemnity" as a guide to choosing proper music for the Mass.  It is a product of extensive consultation with musicians, composers and others involved in liturgy and music from throughout the United States.

The bishops' meeting will also consider approving new liturgical books and revisions of the translation of Sunday and Weekday Mass readings for Lent.

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