I had this from a reader, with my emphases and comments.
Does this eye-opening piece by Jeffrey Tucker … at NLM bear further comment?
Can Hymns Licitly Replace Propers?
In short, in 1969 the [Bugnini] Consilium was asked this question. Their reply:
"That rule [permitting vernacular hymns] has been superseded. What must be sung is the Mass, its Ordinary and Proper, not "something", no matter how consistent, that is imposed on the Mass. Because the liturgical service is one, it has only one countenance, one motif, one voice, the voice of the Church. To continue to replace the texts of the Mass being celebrated with motets that are reverent and devout, yet out of keeping with the Mass of the day amounts to continuing an unacceptable ambiguity: it is to cheat the people. [That seems on the surface to be precisely the sort of thing I have argued with WDTPRS for years.] Liturgical song involves not mere melody, but words, text, thought and the sentiments that the poetry and music contain. Thus texts must be those of the Mass, not others, and singing means singing the Mass not just singing during Mass." [Right… the texts and music must not be separated and sacred liturgical music is not simply an add-on.]
This response was cited by the USCCB BCL newsletter in 1993. Jeffrey says he’s "still trying to think through the implications".
Pretty obvious, aren’t they?
My initial reaction is to say… "Yep! Sounds right to me!"
But… we must consider the source.
I don’t think that what is being advanced by Fr. Bugnini, under the guise of … dare I say it… liturgical continuity in the texts of Holy Mass – are entirely "obvious".
I suspect another agenda.
It seems to me that this is part of Bugnini’s jihad against a centralized control of liturgy, against a "Roman" control resting in the Curia.
Bugnini worked zealously that local churches should develop their own translations without interference from Rome. The texts and their translations were part of the arsenal he fired against the Congregation for Rites.
The use of non-liturgical hymns would have dulled the urgency for translations and slowed his deeper agenda.
To get a sense of what Bugnini was really trying to do, read the book that came out under [Archbp.] Piero Marini’s name, A Challenging Reform, which lays out with amazing clarity – the clarity of open admiration – what the Consilium was engaged in.