Q: In my liturgy class, I cover Liturgical Law and I have the students interpret case studies. One of the cases is:
- The priest sings the “Mass of Creation” setting of the Eucharistic prayer, set with keyboard accompaniment. Part of the text is spoken with keyboard music underneath.
The answer is in your book, Let Us Pray, #536. However, the student that had this case cited that opinion, but also cited Redemptionis Sacramentum, #53. He thought that since Redemptionis Sacramentum is from 2004, the legislators knew contemporary practice and their mind was to outlaw it. I think that since RS did not change the earlier iteration of the law, only adding an exception for the people’s acclamations, that the intent was still the original intent of the law, to forbid an earlier practice of the organist playing solos during the Eucharistic Prayer. It also seems to me that the mind of the legislator is to promote the best proclamation of the text, which in some cases when it is sung, includes instrumental accompaniment to support the singing of the celebrant. Since you updated Let Us Pray in 2012, I suspect that you are of the same mind. However, one of the aspects of the assignment is for the students to interpret the case to the best of their ability, and then to consult (with Diocesan Liturgy Office, etc) so that their interpretation is not merely their opinion. I want to model the same and would be grateful if you could give a brief response to this.
A: You are correct. When I updated Let Us Pray in 2012, I included Redemptionis sacramentum and concluded that 53 did not change existing liturgical law except to clarify the point about acclamations. I believe that the original intent can still be seen by the way that GIRM 32 and RS 53 group musical instruments with “other prayers or singing;” that is, with activities that would compete with the eucharistic prayer.
I can see where someone would derive a different conclusion, but I still hold that mine is based on the best historical evidence.