March 29, 2010

Hugh's Advice to Lectors

Let them consider what is to be read in the indicative, what is to be pronounced as an interrogation, where there is a distinction in speech or a middle distinction is to be made, since these matters when poorly observed disturb the intellect and provoke those who are of the stamp of grammarians to laughter. The voice of the reader should consult his ears and heart, not his eyes, lest by undisciplined motion or gesture on his own account he make spectators rather than hearers, equally avoiding broken and effeminate sounds as well as coarse and rustic sounds.

--Hugh of St. Victor, De Sacramentis 2,3,6 (Deferrari's translation)

1 comment:

Qualis Rex said...

Ooooooh! He hits below the belt!

Pardon me for saying, but Hugh is right on the money there. As we have all commented on, people are sheep. And men especially are prone to follow the "Alpha-dog", even when it comes to religious figures. If the lector sounds too effeminate or trancy, it definitely turns off many in the pews. However, if the lector speaks with BOOMING authority, the results are very impressive. I have witnessed this first hand.

Priests should ALWAYS speak with authority. Yes, priests are sinners like the rest of us. But it is NOT hypocrisy to speak against sin with authority from the pulpit. It is doing all of us a service. Right on, Hugh!