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Sung Prayer
Question from Mark S on 12/20/2016:

Lately, the priest has been using the term "Sung Prayer". As in "Soon we will all join in Sung Prayer as we begin the Mass." What is meant by this term and is it even Catholic? Is this some modernist phrase meant to blur distinction between contemporary church music and traditional hymns?

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 3/14/2017:

He is probably suggesting that the singing of hymns should be considered "sung prayer" or "sung praise," an ancient, very Catholic idea, attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the 4 great Fathers of the Church shown as holding up the Chair of Peter at the altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica. In his explanation of Psalm 72 St. Augustine wrote,

"For he who sings praise, does not only praise, but also praises joyfully; he who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him about whom he is singing. There is a praise-filled proclamation in the praise of someone who is confessing God publicly, in the song of the lover (there is) love."

So, it's a very traditional idea, one that finds full flower in a Mass sung in all its parts.



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