A reader asks:
My priest recently mentioned that there is a document (he does not remember what it is called) that forbids the use of choir lofts and the singing of Latin chants unless the congregation is able to sing along. Do you know of any such document? It can’t possibly be so…
No. It cannot be so. It isn’t. That would be absurd.
The priest’s fundamental problem here is that the priest thinks that "active participation" means that everyone has to be able to sing everything. Listening is somehow not "active participation". That is the priests fundamental error.
I suspect you won’t get him out of his mindset, especially if he is over, say, 60.
But you might ask Father to read aloud and then explain the following paragraphs from the Second Vatican Council’s liturgy constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium:
36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. …
54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.
Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.
116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.
Why isn’t he obeying the Second Vatican Council? Why can his congregation sing Gregorian chant?