From Sacred Song to Ritual Music identifies the shifts in understanding that have led to significant changes in Roman Catholic worship music theory and practice during the twentieth century.
In this guide, nine documents are chosen to answer five questions for the future: What is Roman-Catholic worship music? What is its purpose? What are its qualities? Who makes it? and How should it be played?
Father Joncas documents the changing attitudes about Roman Catholic worship music in papal, conciliar, and curial documents for the Roman Rite throughout the world, and then narrows his focus to bishops' conference and scholarly documents produced in the United States. The nine documents he examines are Tra le sollecitudini, Musicae sacrae disciplina, De musica sacra et sacra liturgia ad mentem litterarum Pii Papae XII "Musicae sacrae disciplina" et "Mediator Dei," Sacrosanctum Concilium, Musicam Sacram, Music in Catholic Worship, Liturgical Music Today, The Milwaukee Symposia for Church Composers: A Ten-Year Report, and The Snowbird Statement on Catholic Liturgical Music. He concludes with reflections on the theories and practices marking the United States' liturgical renewal.
From Sacred Song to Ritual Music clearly identifies for Roman Catholic church musicians, pastors, and liturgists the revolution that has occurred both in theory and in practice this century. Father Joncas shows that these nine documents are a source of inspiration and encouragement for all who generate, participate in, lead, sustain, and evaluate the worship music of the Roman rite in its journey "from sacred song to ritual music."
J. Michael Joncas is assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds liturgy degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute. He has served in parish work and campus ministry and is a composer and editor of liturgical music.