Wednesday, October 21, 2015. 4:15 - 5:30 pm

Music, servant of text? Liturgical deliberations at Vatican II

by Dr Michael O’Connor. Senior Lecturer. St. Michael’s College University


Michael O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer at the University of St. Michael’s College. His areas of expertise include Cajetan, music and liturgy. Dr. O’Connor’s academic scholarship and practical music-making overlap in the theory and practice of liturgical music.  He has recently published, "The Liturgical Use of the Organ in the Sixteenth Century: the Judgments of Cajetan and the Dominican Order" and has a monograph due out next year on Cajetan's biblical exegesis. In addition to teaching in the college undergraduate programs at St. Michael’s he runs a weekly Singing Club on campus and directs the USMC Schola Cantorum. Dr. O’Connor is a board member of the Royal School of Church Music Canada.

In the context of Christian worship, music is often said to be a "servant of the text" (or a "servant of the rite"). This is found across denominations and centuries -- e.g., among Calvinist reformers and twentieth century popes. This presentation will first of all consider the implications of this assertion and then the surprising decision, at the Second Vatican Council, to omit it from the Constitution on the Liturgy. The presentation will conclude with some reflections on the consequences of this decision, which remain to be worked out in practice.