Why do priests, sing/talk?

I dont know what the word for it is…and I apologize this is not meant to be mocking priests or the tradition of mass or anything, just curious…

But you know how, they like, speak, but their like, singing, like…

oooOOOOhh the hooooly fatherrrrrrr and watch over the people forever and eeeeeeeeverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…aaaaaAAAAmennnnnnn…?? :confused:??

They give the sermon in regular speaking voices, why do they do some parts, kinda like their singing? Is that, just a tradition? or is there any particular reason for this??

I’ve heard it before in Latin, and it sounds really majestic…but I have to admit, in english, it just sounds kinda…weird. Again, no offense…just wondering…

It is chant, and is ancient.

I think it was St. Augustine who said “He who sings prays twice”. Anyway, historically, high Mass was always sung all through. In the 1950’s (I think), hymns were introduced in the vernacular and when this happened, a sort of dichotomy between the Mass and music took place; up until that point, the Mass WAS music, afterwards there was a sort of separation. If you think of it as extra effort, it’s like doing something special for God. Sure you can just say the Mass, but if you put in extra effort and sing it, it’s more beautiful.

The Mass is best prayed in song, although not all of it is meant to be sung (there are silent prayers, and there are spoken prayers which are not sung, and the homily should be spoken). The chant (as it is called) might sound better in Latin than in English, although there is certainly no reason English chant cannot be dignified and sweet-sounding.

I would point you to the General Instruction for the Roman Missal, which discusses the importance of singing, and specifically chant, in the liturgy (emphasis added):

  1. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are of themselves meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation. In the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, however, preference should be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those to be sung by the priest or the deacon or the lector, with the people responding, or by the priest and people together.

  2. All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.

The entirety of the “GIRM” is available from the USCCB website: usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml



“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15

A snippet that may be interesting:

Many of the members of my church come from a nation that speaks very, very quickly and many of the prayers and responses during Mass are said at high speed, not irreverently, but I certainly get left behind. Our priests are starting to use chant more often, because that automatically slows the responses down.

||The Mass is best prayed in song, although not all of it is meant to be sung (there are silent prayers, and there are spoken prayers which are not sung, and the homily should be spoken). The chant (as it is called) might sound better in Latin than in English, although there is certainly no reason English chant cannot be dignified and sweet-sounding.||

Actually, the Collect, the Secret, and Post Communion should be chanted, as well as the Readings, and Words of Institution, if not the entire Canon.

Yes that’s a good point - a very practical reason for chanting parts of the Mass. I know of so many priests who could do with chanting the consecration to slow things down a bit - often they race through the Liturgy of the Eucharist in order, it seems, to make up for spending a bit too long on the homily!

From the description you gave, Charlotte, it sounds that you’re referring to a chant on a monotone. There are more elaborate chants which could be used during the Mass, but I suppose monotone is the most easily accessible…indeed it may sound strange, but I think chant in any form during the Mass brings a much deeper dimension to the Eucharistic celebration. It adds to the mystery, much like Latin, incense and bells do!

Is the singing of the Eucharist Prayer as shown in this video approved?

In, my opinion, it is on the same level if not worse than the Polka Mass.

And this is why I prefer to go to the TLM. IMHO the english chant is pretty weak and overly simplistic. Yet I know folks that love it. Not for me however. Give me Gregorian chant any day.

There are a number of problems with said video…

corsair the Anglican chant tradition (that is, the English chant tradition) is worth recovering.

Is there one sentence that is actually from the Missal? There are not supposed to be any musical instruments playing during the consecration (perhaps the whole Eucharistic Prayer - I’d have to check). I know that the doxology is also not to have any musical accompaniment.

With the priest reading Marty Haugen’s musical score, “conducting” the congregation in acclamations which have no place in the Eucharistic Prayer, it is hard to see exactly where the Eucharistic Sacrifice comes into everything. It is people centred. The priest is, it seems, a performer, rather than the Alter Christus he is supposed to be. I am horrified by this video.

At least one young child in the congregation didn’t seem to like what was going on. I just can’t see why for some people that the wonder of the Eucharist is not sufficient to keep their attention for the few minutes that the Eucharistic Prayer actually takes.

I have heard chant done very beautifully in English. However, the video that I posted was not done in chant at least not the singing of the Eucharistic Prayer. You could say the beginning of the video was done in chant, but not done well, IMO.

That is exactly how it came across to me, not to mention that the seemingly able bodied celebrant did not genuflect after the Consecration.

Wow - didn’t notice that part; I watched the first few minutes and then began to type my response for CAF! That passage from scripture “We must diminish and Christ increase” comes to mind, but for the wrong reasons. I just can’t get my head around the fact that the priest and the people are (or rather should be) witnessing the wondrous re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary, but instead the most sacred liturgy and prayer of the Church is turned into a concert performance.

To clarify what I wasn’t able to earlier regarding musical instruments during the Eucharistic Prayer, I quote from the oft-quoted Redemtionis Sacramentum:

'[52.] The proclamation of the Eucharistic Prayer, which by its very nature is the climax of the whole celebration, is proper to the Priest by virtue of his Ordination. It is therefore an abuse to proffer it in such a way that some parts of the Eucharistic Prayer are recited by a Deacon, a lay minister, or by an individual member of the faithful, or by all members of the faithful together. The Eucharistic Prayer, then, is to be recited by the Priest alone in full.[131]

[53.] While the Priest proclaims the Eucharistic Prayer “there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent”,[132] except for the people’s acclamations that have been duly approved, as described below.

[54.] The people, however, are always involved actively and never merely passively: for they “silently join themselves with the Priest in faith, as well as in their interventions during the course of the Eucharistic Prayer as prescribed, namely in the responses in the Preface dialogue, the Sanctus, the acclamation after the consecration and the “Amen” after the final doxology, and in other acclamations approved by the Conference of Bishops with the recognitio of the Holy See”.’

Also, regarding the fact that the priest does not appear to be using a prescribed text for the Eucharistic Prayer, the previous paragraph of RS says:

“[51.] Only those Eucharistic Prayers are to be used which are found in the Roman Missal or are legitimately approved by the Apostolic See, and according to the manner and the terms set forth by it. “It is not to be tolerated that some Priests take upon themselves the right to compose their own Eucharistic Prayers”[129] or to change the same texts approved by the Church, or to introduce others composed by private individuals.”

So the Church’s position is abundantly clear. I hope someone notified the bishop.

Yes, I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. But the “private” or “silent” prayers of the priest, if I’m not mistaken, are not sung, and I was pretty sure the Consecration was not to be chanted… at least, the GIRM makes it sound like not all of the E.P. is sung: “It is a praiseworthy practice for the parts that are to be said by all the concelebrants together and for which musical notation is provided in the Missal to be sung.”

I’m not sure the Confiteor is sung…

WOW! Totally off topic, but WOW!!! I’ve always wondered why the Pope had it in for Rock music. I could never understand. But your quote of St. Augustine was like a light going off in my head. Thanks!

There are a lot of dorky and little-used but fully approved Eucharistic Prayers – about 12 of them, in fact. If you ever see a hand missal for the OF, you can see them all. (My current pastor loves saying one of them that’s allegedly “for children”.) This sounds like it’s another of the dorky ones that has ooh, a refrain. It sounds about as dorky as I always thought I would.

To be fair, there used to be organists who would play tones to help the priest stay on key when he chanted. But that’s been stopped by the no-accompaniment-during-the-Consecration rule, so this should have been stopped too. (And it’s possible the priest is just ignorant of the regs… even though the GIRM’s been in force for many years now…)