What is active participation?
Pope Pius XI refers to active participation exclusively as the singing of the Gregorian Chant by the people. (Divini Cultus, 1928) He said the people should sing the chants so that they would be more than silent spectators but engaged in the beauty of the liturgy. Since then, the term develops to mean engaging in the actions of the Mass. The words in Latin for "active" is "actuosa" which can also be translated as "actual," which implies that what the Council desired was real participation in the liturgy as opposed to superficial participation; not active as opposed to passive participation. As Blessed John Paul II has said, "Active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it." (Ad Limina address to the Bishops of the United States On Active Participation in the Liturgy, 1998) The goal of the Holy Fathers and the Council is for the people to take part in the liturgy with their prayers, joining with their hearts, minds and voices to the Mass, reflecting the heavenly liturgy.