I know that's not a simple question, but have at it, you theological types.
Update 3/7/10: Several Facebook friends have posted informative comments. Excerpts:
- "Instead the purpose of removing the alleluias is to promote a more reflective view of praise."
- "It isn't necessarily a time of sadness. But, it isn't a time the church has chosen to rejoice about our sins. Its a time to consider them. I personally don't know why we 'can't' say Alleluia, or why Hallelujah is verboten. I get happy when I think of what he'd done for me. BUT, it is good to remember what he has done, and that I needed Him to do it."
- "Now, as for the Alleluia thing... the point is not to keep you from praising, i.e. confessing God's work for you. In fact, the entire point of it IS to make a confession! In Lent, the Church Catholic refrains from alleluias in order to set aside this time for special reflection of how sinful we are. It is a time when the Church confesses her sin and the need for repentance. Also, consider this: by refraining from the alleluias now, it makes saying alleluia all the more significant during Easter, where the Church Catholic confesses the reason why we are no longer enslaved to sin and doomed to death.
- "Sometimes it is good, right and salutary to be sad and filled with sorrow! I certainly hope all of you feel sorrow when the Law crushes you and you feel the weight of your sin. For only if the Law crushes does the Gospel bring sweet relief."
- "I guess my point is this: praising = confessing; and one can make a pretty darn good confession simply by refraining from singing alleluias for forty days."