ANY KNOW FR. ROBERT SKERIS as a professor at the Catholic University of America. Others knew him when he was head of the Theology department at Christendom college. In the CMAA journals, Msgr. Schuler often referenced “Fr. Skeris of Rome” since he ran the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music during the 1980s. I was present when Fr. Skeris gave a lecture to the Sacred Music Colloquium—which he helped found 30+ years ago—and received a standing ovation from a packed auditorium. The audience just kept applauding for the longest time…to the point where my ears started to hurt!
I recently obtained a marvelous interview (7 January 1998) where Mother Angelica of EWTN asks Fr. Skeris to explain the Theology of worship.
This excerpt addresses participatio actuosa (“active participation”):
Mother Angelica asks why liturgical music has to be sacred:
Fr. Skeris mentions what the fathers of Vatican II actually voted upon regarding Latin in the liturgy:
You can obtain this 60-minute DVD by searching Google. I think it was in the range of $17.00, and you’ll enjoy hearing Fr. Skeris give candid answers to excellent questions from the audience. He speaks about the relationship of text & music; why Gregorian chant is the Church’s preference; whether we can use orchestral Masses based on secular tunes; and numerous other topics. I like the part where Mother Angelica presses Fr. Skeris to tell his favorite piece of music!
EWTN posted a 1990 article by Fr. Skeris:
* * PDF Download • “Participatio Actuosa” (1990)
If you doubt the importance of discussions by the fathers of Vatican II, read this 1976 reference to the Conciliar relationes.