NorthernTenor wrote:Presbyter: I believe you are asking liturgical musicians for things that are outside the scope of their role as such, which is to help ensure the Mass is sung.
Helping to ensure that the Mass is sung is a painfully and woefully inadequate description of the role of a liturgical musician. The role of the liturgical musician is to enable the assembly to enter into full, conscious and active participation in the prayer of the liturgy. It is a pastoral ministry.
NT, you seem to me to want to reduce the role of a liturgical music to that of a technician and functionary. Well if that's all a liturgical musician is, how far would you go? Let's take, for example, those few churches that can afford to employ professional or semi-professional singers in their choirs (and thinking particularly of three such establishments, the majority of adult singers in those choirs are not Catholics). Could we not, then, apply the same principle to other liturgical ministries? If all we need are competent technicians and functionaries in the celebration of the liturgy, why not buy in non Catholic - non Christian even - Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist? Anyone could easily pick up how to distribute Holy Communion, after all.
I’m sorry to say that your comments are a good illustration of the kind of attitudes that have driven many Catholic musicians away from liturgical music. On the one hand is the suspicion of beauty in excellence; on the other, the ill-defined demand for a commitment to non-musical responsibilities and party enthusiasms.
NT - go and watch this: http://www.abcm.org.uk/Beatification/video/video.html. It's just a little something I put together and directed last September for the Bishops. If after watching, you still think I am suspicious of beauty and excellence or am partisan in my approach to liturgical music-making, by all means come back at me.