The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the inclusion of the Salve Regina at the end of Sunday Mass this month. This ancient Marian antiphon is traditionally sung from the end of Easter until the beginning of Advent, and is particularly appropriate this month, with October being the month of the Rosary.
I find myself somewhere in the middle! Certainly, the liturgy can enjoy sumptuous adornment from the Latin polyphony of old, with the likes of Byrd, Palestrina and Victoria providing a liturgical repertoire which contains some of the finest music ever written for the human voice. Still, as a child born into a post-Vatican II Church, "full, active participation" has always been the highest of my liturgical priorities!
Is there a way to fully hold on to our liturgical heritage whilst maintaining a liturgy which is fully participatory? The debate will not be silenced in a hurry! However, I feel a healthy dose of Latin once in a while, used in the right place at the right time, will go some way to bridge the gap between the two sides of the spectrum. Backed up with further explanation of WHY we sing the things we do, the exposure of Latin anthems, such as Salve Regina, aligns us with that great authority of the Church - tradition - which binds us as the people of God as we approach his altar.
This is the music which our ancestors sung - yes, even the saints! When we are gathered together with our Lord in the great hymn practice of heaven, we don't want to be the ones mumbling at the back!