Music In The Liturgy Of The Roman Catholic Church

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Music in the Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church

Music in the Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church


Liturgical music can be defined as that music which weds itself to the liturgical action, serves to reveal the full significance of that rite and, in turn, derives its full meaning from the liturgy. Foley's definition is an apt beginning for this chapter on Roman Catholic theology of liturgical music for it captures the starting point with striking clarity: the theology of music used in Roman Catholic worship music is rooted in Roman Catholic theology of liturgy. For Roman Catholics music is a necessary and integral element of liturgy because it is intimately connected to the liturgical action. Music functions as an essential component of ritual enactment of the mystery of Christ and of the Church and draws its theological identity from this role.

The Celebration (seen as the liturgy in action) is a fundamental category to define the Liturgy as representative and recent action of the mystery of Christ and the history of salvation. This liturgical action (the celebration of the faith) has four components: the event giving rise to the conclusion (evoked by the word of God), the assembly celebrant (the Church as the subject of the action), the ritual action (answer to the word God through song and prayer, Eucharistic Prayer) and the festive atmosphere (place, time, signs and symbols) that pervades everything.

This research paper will study the first mode of response to the Word of God, singing. Along with the song must deal with the music, not only accompanies, but is, herself, a role in the celebration.


The song is a religious reality in the entire Bible and particularly in all the Gospels. The Lord Himself came to the synagogue as usual (cf. Lk 4, 16) and there took part in the singing of psalms. At the Last Supper sang the hymns of the Easter rite (cf. Mt 26, 30).

Biblical Spirituality

Singing in the Bible is preceded by recognition of the presence of God in his works of creation and it's saving interventions in history. The best example are the psalms, which include all forms of speech sound from the shout and joyful cry to the song accompanied by music and dance (Ps 47,2.7, 81.2; 98,4.6, etc.). The invitation to sing often at the beginning of the praise (cf. Ex 15.21, Is 42.10, Ps 105.1), gradually becoming messianic and eschatological connotations, referring to the new song that all land should chant (Ps 96.1) are met the magnificent promises of the Lord (Ps 42.10, 149.1). This song has begun in Christ's victory over death, to be sung by the entire redeemed Rev 4.9 to 14, 14.2 to 3, 15:3-4). The early Church continued the practice synagogue singing of psalms and other hymns.

Testimony of History

In the early second century Christians met before dawn to sing a hymn to Christ as a god "(cf. Pliny the Younger, Ep. X, 96.7). In the patristic testimony about the liturgical chant ...
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