In the Catholic Church there is an assumption that there should always be music at Mass. This is based upon the liturgical teaching of Vatican 2 and is a reaction against the silent Latin Low Mass of pre-Conciliar days.I will say,when I first encountered one, musicless Masses seemed nothing but a flight from bad music. But having experienced one in the EF my attitude changed utterly, and they offer their own, positive riches.
Many people need music at Mass; they enjoy singing hymns and listening to the choir: they are uplifted by the sound of sacred music and find it essential to worship. However, some react differently and find music very distracting. I am convinced that these people should be equally catered for and that regular silent celebrations should be available wherever possible.
I have the happiest memories of the old silent Latin Low Mass: I was educated to love it and feel that a lot has been lost through noisy congregational participation, both spoken and sung. Silent, internal participation should be an essential part of worship. Noisy declamation can be very offputting for some people.
I suggest that the occasional Mass without music and the barest minimum of external participation should be an essential part of the Parish Worship programme. Many worshippers would welcome this and find such Masses extremely spiritual and helpful.
Saturday, 3 May 2014
The Beauty of a "Silent" Mass
The great Colin Mawby's newsletter, Vivace, contains this, this morning: