ICEL preparing musical settings based on Gregorian chant

A reader alerted me to this interesting piece of information from ICEL about musical settings with the new translation.

Music for the Roman Missal

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, while working on a new translation of the Roman Missal, assembled a small committee of expert musicians to prepare musical settings of the texts that are set to music in the 2002 Latin edition of the Missal. They were directed to follow as closely as practical the Gregorian melodies given with the Latin text. The Music Committee has worked closely with the translators.  ["Gregorian melodies"]

The Commission has now approved settings for those parts of the Order of Mass that received recognitio from the Holy See in June 2008, in accord with Cardinal Arinze’s expressed wish that the publication of these texts ‘facilitate the devising of musical settings’. The Commission is now making these settings available on a secure website, accessible by a password, which has been communicated to the Chairmen of the Liturgy Commissions in each of ICEL’s Member and Associate-member Conferences. They will distribute the password as they see fit[!]

The Introduction, giving a rationale for the choices made, is accessible to all.

Work continues on music for the remainder of the Missal. This will be made available when the final texts are known.


From the Introduction:



For the forthcoming English translation of the Roman Missal (sometimes called the Sacramentary), the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) will offer to the Conferences of Bishops of the English-speaking world chants for everything that is set to music in the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia (2002):

  • The dialogues between the celebrant and the assembly such as the Sign of the Cross (“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”) and the Dismissal (“Go forth, the Mass is ended”);
  • Tones for singing the presidential prayers (Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Prayer after Communion) with all prayer texts pointed for singing;
  • The chants before and after the readings such as “A reading from the book of…” and “The Gospel of the Lord”;
  • Separate tones for singing the First Reading, Second Reading, and Gospel;
  • The Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful;
  • The Preface Dialogue and Prefaces, including a musical setting of every Preface;
  • Full musical settings of Eucharistic Prayers I, II, III and IV, and the concluding Doxology;
  • Other elements such as the Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Lord’s Prayer;
  • Chants for particular days and feasts such as “Hosanna to the Son of David” on Palm Sunday, the Universal Prayer and “Behold the wood of the Cross” on Good Friday, the Exsultet (Paschal Proclamation) at the Easter Vigil, antiphons for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd, and the Proclamation of Easter and Moveable Feasts for Epiphany.
  • Some of the Latin chants will also be provided, including the Sanctus, Pater noster, Agnus Dei, and intonations for the Gloria and Credo. A chant setting of the Greek Kyrie from Mass XVI will also be provided.

In some cases, following the example of the Missale Romanum, both simple and solemn settings have been provided.

ICEL’s work in preparing chant settings of the English translation has been guided by several principles:

  • To preserve and recover the tradition of unaccompanied singing in the Roman Rite, since the liturgy “is given a more noble form when . . . celebrated solemnly in song” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1963 [hereafter SC] 113);
  • To facilitate “full and active participation by all the people,” which is “the aim to be considered before all else” (SC 14);
  • To take full account of the accentuation of the English language, since “the nature and laws of each language must be respected” in the adaptation of traditional melodies (Sacred Congregation for Rites, Instruction on Music in the Liturgy Musicam Sacram, 1967, 54);
  • To retain vernacular chants now in use where possible, since “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them” (SC 23).

The Commission’s musical consultors have undertaken a detailed analysis of the Latin settings, creating tables of accent patterns and musical formulas. Likewise for the new English translation, tables of the accent patterns have been created, in order to arrive at the best solution where the English text has accent patterns not found in Latin. The musicians have found it helpful to look at the work of other vernacular chant adaptations such as Spanish, French, and German. German-language scholarship has proven helpful, both because German-speaking scholars began investigating vernacular chant adaptation as early as the 1920s, and also because the German language has some similarities to English, for example, in the accent often falling on the final syllable of a phrase. The musicians also examined the previous work of English language chant adaptation in the liturgical books of 1966, 1970, 1971, and 1973. With all this in mind, their uppermost concern has been the actual celebration of the liturgy by worshiping communities and ministers.

Some of the Most Commonly Sung Chants
Preface Dialogue
For the Preface Dialogue at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, the setting currently used in most of the English-speaking world is retained, with appropriate adjustments for the revised text:

Take a look and discuss!

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  1. chironomo says:

    Wow… I had heard that this was coming, and that it will be accompanied by some type of a more comprehensive document from Rome on the issue of music. I had been thinking “no way” to both, but seeing this as it is being released and kept under lock and key, I am beginning to think that there are larger things going on.

    I will remain cautious about this, but it is a great sign …..

  2. Sacerdos ignotus says:

    There are few things I find more ridiculous and repugnant than pseudo-Gregorian chant in English.

    English simply lacks the vowels which makes Latin the perfect language for plainchant.

    In hylomorphic terms, Latin is the matter, plainchant the form. Please do not separate.

    Leave aping chant to, eh, apes, perhaps?!

    But there again, I am a purist.

  3. Liam says:

    I believe this is an echo of what happened when the 1965 and 1970 Missals were prepared: the widely known plainsong version of the Our Father was adapted by Snow from the melody in the Latin Missal for the 1965 edition, for example. When sung a cappella, it’s a wonderful thing to hear congregations singly with vigor, as it usually is in my own experience at least.

  4. fh in Houston says:

    I would encourage people to read carefully what is being discussed here. Some would think that this is only a return to Gregorian chant. In reality, this is ensuring that any “chant” performed without music by the priest and/or the congregation is uniform and properly notated with the new English translation. It appears that they will also be adressing accompaniment as well to be normalized for all churches. As a musician in the Church, this is a good thing.

  5. AlwaysCatholic says:

    Interesting that the same agenda-driven group (ICEL) is given such an important task. It would be nice to know which “expert” musicians have been assigned to this IMPORTANT job. Not surprised that ICEL has a password protected site, that’s their usual MO. I have had personal experience with this group in the past and I am saddened by this information.

    Perhaps even the most hardened of offenders can rehabilitate. Everything is possible with God. Funny, though, when I was working out of their library in DC, (found a way in so I could actually research what they were doing) it did not appear that the work I witnessed was well, not very Catholic at all. The atmosphere was extremely political and very much in the Call to Action mentality.Maybe things have changed. I would like to be wrong about this, but I doubt it. BTW, the info I researched was used in a paper that I wrote for a class.

    My minor at college was in Sacred Music so it will be an interesting watch on this developing story.

  6. Sacerdos ignotus: Leave aping chant to, eh, apes, perhaps?

    So is it your view that the great mass of Catholics ought simply be deprived of any plainchant in the Mass?

  7. Andrew, medievalist says:

    “To retain vernacular chants now in use where possible, since “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them” (SC 23).”

    Hold on a moment! So now we’re citing “no innovations” from Vatican II in order to freeze in place what was clearly an innovation and departure from the intent of that self-same Council, namely that Latin would retain pride of place? And I thought “progessives” derided “traditionalists” as backward-looking.

    Don’t get me wrong because I wholeheartedly look forward to the new translation. It’s just the “logic” of some statements that gets to me.

  8. chironomo says:

    Just popped over to the ICEL sight and read the intro…

    There is much there to be hopeful about. There are some interesting and indicative things said such as this when speaking about the reasons for keeping the English chant of the Sanctus so close to the original Latin…

    But it was decided to imitate the Latin with its displaced accent more closely here, in part because the Latin setting is likely to be sung with great frequency by congregations in the future, which argues for similarity between the Latin and English settings.

    This is a very bold thing to say considering the past 40 years. There has been a lot of work put into this effort, and I am beginning to imagine that there will be a major “training effort” for Priests to learn these settings before the new translation is implemented. If done in that way, the new translation will be more than just new words, it will, for many, be a new way of experiencing the liturgy.

  9. Ohio Annie says:

    They can look to St. Meinrad for help, they were at the forefront of working English into chant. (I know, I know).

    I like my chantin’ men in black.

  10. chironomo says:

    Perhaps even the most hardened of offenders can rehabilitate.

    Keep in mind also that there are new captains at the helm at ICEL, among them Fr. Wadsworth, who are FAR DIFFERENT from the “call to action” types that have been there in the past.

  11. TJM says:

    I think this sounds like a positive development. I believe what will make this all possible in parishes are the younger priests who are much more
    favorable to sacred tradition and music. Tom

  12. Ioannes Andreades says:

    The tone settings for readings the prefaces are certainly a welcome advance, as it seems reasonable that propers and commons are in the vernacular in the NO.

    My worry is that the vernacular chant settings of the ordinary will further entrench the vernacular at the expense of Latin. I can imagine a situation in which a pastor of music director might opt against Latin chants in preference of these chants.

    An interesting thread is also developing at the Musica Sacra forum:

  13. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I’m not a professional musician, but I like what I’m seeing and reading. Cantemus Domino!

  14. Tominellay says:

    I agree that this sounds like positive news.

  15. It would be wonderful if we could have something like that, but 1) we have not one musical tradition, but quite a few and in most parishes do a mix because the parishes are not monoethnic; 2) not only are the texts prescribed by the church for the whole service, but for some things, so are the tones (eight, which correspond to the Gregorian modes) which change from day to day, so you have to have the same troparion, for example, in all eight tones (then multiply that by the number of musical traditions you do in the parish); and 3) three services are done weekly, Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy, and the first two mentioned reasons apply to all three, so again, multiply (and I’m not counting holy days when we celebrate additional monastic services, such as Great Compline). Those of us involved in liturgical music in our parishes have to cobble together music from different sources, and although some kind of central compendium of liturgical musics would be a great idea, it would be a massive amount of work, and nobody has taken it on.

    Good for ICEL. I’m jealous. I also beg to differ about English, which works extremely well with chant, as does Greek, Romanian, Arabic, every language I have chanted in.

  16. AlwaysCatholic says:

    chironomo : Thanks for the info. Been involved strictly with the EF since then and I am grateful to be proven wrong. Deo Gratias!!

  17. DG says:

    “But it was decided to imitate the Latin with its displaced accent more closely here, in part because the Latin setting is likely to be sung with great frequency by congregations in the future, which argues for similarity between the Latin and English settings.”

    Yes, chironomo, very bold.

    I read the above in the document and thought for a second I wasn’t on an ICEL page! Wow.

  18. Mark says:

    I’d like to see the “scholarship” on different accent patterns and the “tables” they’ve made of “formulas” for accommodating it. I doubt that’s really necessary, music often does weird things with accenting that wouldnt be done while speaking.

    For example, here I have kept the exact melody of the simple tone of the Salve Regina (I apologize for my poor singing skills), and the traditional English translation. Perhaps such an adaptation already exists, maybe even famously; I’m incredibly ignorant of what’s out there. Still, it makes a point.

    One might say it doesnt “flow” correctly, and indeed some of the emphases or accents may sound awkward…but would a native speaker of Latin believe that the flow was correct in chant? I doubt it; but who cares? Music, especially sacred, is affected and stylized that way. And the Salve Regina simple tone is really more of a song than a chant, which is harder to adapt. Plainchant propers could, by their nature, be even more adaptable.

    English is indeed harder because we have many vowel-blends that arent pure (like i,ay, etc). And one can certainly argue about the specific choices I made of where to split up the words, which syllables to assign more than one note, etc…I’m sure people might have more ingenious solutions than I, I cooked this translation up in just 15 minutes.

    But, to me, the essential principle of this example shows how chant transcriptions into English should be done: all talk of “different laws of accenting” aside, there should be no change to the original melody, or as little as possible. If anything is really too awkward, the people while singing will natural adapt it on their own and BAM, there’s organic development for you.…h? v=xuE9_4Hqp7g

  19. As one who has been involved at a low level in the CMAA’s independent efforts to set some melodies of the Latin Kyriale Romanum and Simplex to the new ICEL translation, I find the results overall quite satisfactory — most of all, they are clearly identifiable as having Roman-rite roots.

    As for reading Sacrosanctum Concilium ¶23 — “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them,” I argue that, regardless of its long-standing usage, the spoken Mass is the innovation, especially with regard to the Sunday celebration. I suspect that our Eastern brethren, who know nothing of spoken Divine Liturgy, would agree with this assessment.

    “Cantáre amántis est” – “singing is a lover’s thing” – is an observation that holds, regardless of the language used.

  20. dad29 says:

    Looks to me as though the (E-flat) key signature is missing from the samples provided…

  21. Sacerdos ignotus says:


    Thank you for posting this link:

    It illustrates brilliantly why I find English “plainchant” both ridiculous and repugnant.

    Henry Edwards:

    No, it is not my view “that the great mass of Catholics ought simply be deprived of any plainchant in the Mass”; it is my view a. that English “plainchant” is not plainchant at all, but is absurd; and b. that all Catholics of the Latin Rite should be taught to sing Gregorian chant in Latin, as urged by the Second Vatican Council.

  22. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    I think there is much to be grateful for and much that gives hope. Of course, this should have been done from the very beginning. Thank God that it’s happening now with the new translation. Two examples of the things that give great hope are:
    1- that chants will be provided for everything that is set to music in the Missale Romanum. That’s really good news.
    2- that the chants for the ordinary (like the Gloria) is being done “with the hope that a common setting will become known throughout the English-speaking world.”
    Also, as it has been pointed out above, ICEL is making it clear that these texts are not being given to suppress the Church’s Treasury of Sacred Music. Hopefully, they will facilitate the recovery of it, as Sacrosanctum Concilium stated clearly should be retained. I see this as a starting point to elevating the state of music in the Church from the terrible things being done now to the eventual recovery of Sacred Music.

    With that said, I am profoundly discouraged that they decided to use modern notation. The CMAA and others tried to get ICEL to see the supreme importance of using Gregorian notation. However, the Intro. that ICEL gives states, “But pastoral considerations argued against this approach. There is danger that the traditional four-line notation would pose a practical hindrance and psychological barrier for some singers.” This is nonsense. Any Pastor who has initiated a renewal of Sacred Music in his parish can attest to the ability of the faithful to learn to read the notation of the Church’s Sacred Music.

  23. Sacerdos ignotus says:

    …and may I continue? If we adopt this English chanting thing, everyone will think it is just fine, and never will we hear a widespread use of true Latin chant again; whereas, if we resist it, and keep the English text either spoken or sung according to its own melodies, then the Latin chant will appear in all its beauty by contrast, and there is more likelihood that it will revive.

    That’s my strategy anyhow.

  24. Mark says:

    High Church Anglicans I have heard chant in English, very often more closely adapting the original Roman Melody (often with no real changes at all, as far as I can tell) than many of the “taking accent into account” adaptations that one sees in Catholic churches. It is neither absurd nor repugnant when they do that.

    It might be nice to know what the native plainchant was like for Germanic languages (almost all peoples have a shamanistic trance-inducing plainchant tradition that we could adapt)…but I think a millennium of Latin as the sacred language probably erased all trace of memory of that.

    I’m sure native Latin speakers would have found the medieval chants absurd pronunciations and accentuations, and I’m sure the medievals would have many critiques of the Solesmes method of interpreting the neumes.

  25. Mark says:

    English chant is just fine. I’m all for Latin, especially for the Ordinary parts of Mass…but many of the Eastern churches (though not all) have used the vernacular, at least for the propers, in many places for a long time. I attend the TLM exclusively, so dont get me wrong, but at a certain point I worry that the Latin just becomes an esoteric point, and a red herring, for traditionalists. Like they WANT it to be a psychological barrier to scandalize and drive away people.

  26. “Thank you for posting this link:

    It illustrates brilliantly why I find English “plainchant” both ridiculous and repugnant.”

    With all due respect to the person who did the video and posted the link, that isn’t chant. That’s a hymn, which is an entirely different thing, as Mr. Esguerra will verify. A hymn has a specific meter, for one thing, and chant does not. With chant, one merely fits the chant to the syllabification; with a hymn, one must do the reverse (and hence, the odd tracking). It has always been Eastern tradition to do the services of the church in the local language (Slavonic was a deviation from tradition, in a sense, a Westernization); we have been chanting in local languages for two thousand years, quite successfully. But one must differentiate between chant and hymnody. The two are quite different. Sometimes hymns work in a different language; other times, not. A good example of the latter is Greek and Arabic, which almost never can be substituted with hymns, while Arabic and English (or Greek and English) is an example of the former (there’s a linguistic reason for this, but I assume few others are linguists and probably aren’t interested). But chant will, by definition, work well with any language.

  27. EJ says:

    You cannot hope to gain much ground through the imposition of Latin, people must be allowed to learn to love it and be allowed to CHOOSE it and to approach it, that is why yes, it should be available as an option everywhere possible – but imposition does not work.. if we’ve learned anything over the last 40 years of liturgical dissaray, hasn’t it been that? To say that a manner of worship which is legitimate is “repugnant” is so extreme and simply senseless in a civil and reasonable debate – not to mention offensive to the millions who already sing some form of vernacular plainchant in responses etc. We aim to heal a rift here, the POPE aims to work towards healing this rift, not to throw more salt on the wounds of the last 40 years.

  28. Mark says:

    Yes, thank you for explaining that about metered hymns and true plainchant, rightwingprof.

    It’s what I meant when I said, “And the Salve Regina simple tone is really more of a song than a chant, which is harder to adapt. Plainchant propers could, by their nature, be even more adaptable.”

    But, as this shows, even hymns can be exactly adapted (if, indeed, awkwardly). What’s more, in the traditional Roman Breviary translations I’ve seen…the hymns (something used only in the Office, but not Mass, in the traditional rite anyway) were traditionally usually translated specifically with the idea of maintaining the same meter in mind (even if this meant sacrificing some of the literalness of the translation).

    Chant, as you say…you just need to transfer to the translated syllabification. When there is no set meter, “accent” shouldnt be a concern. You should be able to adapt with no change to the original melody.

  29. I note also that the melodic formulas for the readings may be used in those Extraordinary-form Masses that employ English for the readings.

    That said, this observation should not be taken as an endorsement or a condemnation of the practice of using vernacular for the readings in the Extraordinary Form Mass. Those with decry the practice should take them up with the PCED, who not only has permitted the practice but also has more authority than this commenter.

  30. Disgusted in DC says:

    I have a few quibbles, most notably I don’t agree that the solemn tone for the sursum coda is unworkable in English, but all in all, I think ICEL has done a good job and has done the Church a great service by having (mostly) standard chants for the English speaking world. I’m particularly pleased that they have explicitly included reading tones, the use of which is (sadly) incredibly rare.

    Winfred Douglas’ “Missa Marialis” is a plainsong adaptation that has well served Episcopalians for nearly a century. It proves that, contra our ignorant priest friend, plainsong can be done quite well in English. I would have personally prefered something closer to the Douglas work as it is how I chanted as a child, but what ICEL has done is mostly pretty good. Incidentally, the rector of my childhood parish would sometimes chant the preface in English based on the solemnior tone without any trainwrecks.

  31. gary says:

    “imposition does not work”

    Well, in one big respect, the imposition of the OF worked just fine: it’s everywhere. If imposition of Latin chant could have a similar result, I’ll take it.

    Sorry to be cynical, but people won’t have the chance to learn to love Latin unless they’re exposed to it in full. English chant may seem like a nice brick-by-brick compromise, but if that’s what catches on, chances are that that’s where things will stop: people will end up by getting used to it and Latin will still seem weird and foreign to most.

    And count on it: English scholas will start messing with the words, the same way that too many priests mess with the words of the OF. English chant is a major can of worms; here’s hoping the notion dies on the vine.

  32. “I note also that the melodic formulas for the readings may be used in those Extraordinary-form Masses that employ English for the readings.”

    Do we really need a new set of tones for that? We did the Easter Vigil readings (new rite) according to the tones from the Latin Graduale without much difficulty (though we did write them out in advance.) I don’t hold myself out as an expert on chanting the readings though.

    The goal, eventually is to be able to chant the readings without writing them out in musical notation, just pointing them. That’ll be harder if we have six tones to learn… (and that’s ignoring the extra tones ion the old rite). Perhaps the difference is the un-simplified versions of the old tones (that is before the permission given IIRC in the twentieth century) is what they’re comparing the new tones to. I’m writing without reference books at hand so forgive any errors here…

  33. JBS says:

    It should be noted that almost all the parts of the Mass that can be chanted have had official notation for their use in English for years, found, if unused, at the back of the Missal (at least the USA edition).

  34. Canon King says:

    Disgusted in DC:
    Actually, Canon Douglas arranged all of the standard Latin plainchant Mass Settings for the English of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer while staying at the Convent of the Community of Saint Mary in Peekskill, NY in the 1930’s. (Whether our mystery priest would find them acceptable is, of course, a different matter.) All set to traditional chant was the Monastic Diurnal used by the Sisters. All was in tradiional Gregorian notation.
    Since then, the Sisters, now resident in Greenwich, NY, have redone both the Mass Settings and the Diurnal for contemporary language (Episcopal Rite II) still in traditional notation. The Sisters use both on a regular basis.

  35. I see some of the concern about different settings… there’s frequently a bit of a crack-up when the ferial tones are used in the lead-up to the Pater Noster at the Latin Mass! But in time, with repetition, people do figure this stuff out…

    (And we should remember that the proper time frame is years of experience, rather than expecting instant results.)

  36. Mary Jane says:

    I think this will be a huge step in the right direction. The trick will be getting the priests, readers, etc. to use this chant. And that’s going to take some serious work. Otherwise, your average “I can’t chant” parish priest will continue to speak his lines.

    Some days I think I will lose my mind at Masses that alternate flat, spoken English from the celebrant with sung parts from the choir and congregation, especially after there’s been a fairly well-executed Sanctus or Holy, Holy. I spent too many years with the Orthodox who never, ever spoke except for the very short homily and the announcement that the sisterhood were hawking refreshments in the basement.

  37. Samuel, not having seen ICEL’s formulas for the prophecies and the Gospel, I can’t address them at the moment, but the Epistle tone currently posted is very, very close to the tone provided for the Latin (as outlined in the Liber Usualis).

    Having test-sung the solution for the Epistle tone for Ascension and Seventh Sunday of Easter, I find it’s very well done, logical, and retaining the characteristics of the Latin formula. Best yet, simple text pointing is all that’s needed once the formula is acquired — though, at the mediant, one may want to underline the three syllables that precede the accent. (I am familiar with the Latin formula, so the learning curve in my case is minimal.)

    The formula for the interrogations/questions still needs to be posted, however this shouldn’t be problematic; it’s rather simple in the Latin and pretty much standard across all readings, give or take a semitone.

  38. Didn’t review before posting: the interrogation/question formula is posted. Méa cúlpa.

  39. Warren says:

    I see/hear these developments as a step in the right direction. There are some bumps to be overcome regarding rhythm and melodic shape/pitch content. If the “experts” are deeply steeped in the culture of chant (i.e., singing the plain chant daily, living and breathing the original chant) in addition to being first rate scholars, surely they have understood the need for a healthy balance between what their “modern” ears tell them and the dictates of chant practice.

    Certainly, this recent develop gives everyone the opportunity to inform the discussion and improve literacy regardless of one’s leanings. Now, if the music periti can retain the theological implications found in the original melody shapes and rhythms… wouldn’t that be amazing!

    As for comments that damn the project of converting Gregorian melodies to the vernacular, I would merely point to the process concerning the adaptation of Jewish melodies to Latin and Greek texts. The melodies will survive the adaptation process. And of course, some songs will simply never be adapted. They are best in Latin and best left alone.

  40. Disgusted in DC says:

    I looked up Canon Douglas’ works on the Anglican History site, and it lists all of the chant settings he did for the Episcopal Church liturgy as then-existing. It’s quite thorough – – I hope his work was consulted by ICEL.

    I’m glad to hear that the Community of St. Mary still has good liturgy. Are they still FiF sympathizers or have they raised the white flag with all the new Episcopal innovations?

  41. MAJ Tony says:

    St. Meinrad uses chant notation, and frankly, I find it MUCH easier to follow it than modern notation. Of course, I have a pretty strong musical background, mostly instrumental, well into college. Once you figure out the meanings of the notations, they flow much more clearly than the modern notation.

  42. Marilyn says:

    I think that the use of good English chant will actually prepare people for the return of Gregorian chant, so I think this is a hopeful sign. A pastor I know does the exact chant listed on this post except for the \”And with your spirit\” because the translation is different. Every time I hear him do this the same thing happens; people who will not sing a note of any of the modern hymns chime in beautifully with the responses. More of this would certainly mean more real participation in the mass, as people would be singing the actual text of the mass rather than pasted-on hymns.

  43. Charles in CenCA says:

    Sacerdos ignotus, may I ask you if you endorse the practice of singing the 1970 Missal entirely in Latin, ala Dean Applegate/Cantores in Ecclesia/Inclina Domine and similar practices at St. John Cantius?

  44. Matt says:

    mehhhh. Another revision. I can hear the aging 60’s hippies bemoaning “Why are you changing our Church? We like it this way.”

    EF for me and my family for the last 10 years. I have tried to stay out of all OF masses. The ones I have attended have NEVER been by the book. Always an innovation or abuse. The only reform we need is to dump the OF. Better instruction in the EF will be the true reform. The EF is home after a long travel. The OF is like traveling; It’s fun for a while then you start to realize why you can’t wait to get back home.

  45. Widukind says:

    I am most pleased with this development by the ICEL and look forward to using the music. This is a great step forward and I am most optimistic about the betterment of the Liturgy because of it. I see this as part of Fr. Z’s vision of “brick by brick”, which is a most prudent way to progress. However, I feel disgust with the comments of some of the “Krazy Kat Katholics” who would rather hurl the bricks than build with them. The OF is here to stay, so let us make the best of it and make it better. No matter how much wishful thinking there is about it disappearing, it is today the liturgical reality of most worshipping Catholics. When something this beneficial comes along, stop the carping because it is not what you want. But, it is something we in the trenches do want. I keep struggling with the haphazard choir of my small parish, seeking to improve it bit by bit. Weaning them away from protestant hymns and the like, and getting them to taste again something that is Catholic is not easy. There is always some resistance. These folks do not read music well, and cannot sing in parts. So the more “user friendly” something is, the more beneficial for us. Gregorian notation, as well as a deluge of Latin, would be a great obstacle and would undoubtedly sweep away any gains that have been made. I believe that it is of great importance that these people hear the traditional melodies and learn to sing them, in whatever way possible. They need to know these melodies as if they were a second nature. I believe they must encounter them experiencially – “to enter into the mystery” -, so that the innate power of the melodies themselves can work silently in their hearts and build up a Catholic sense. The rest can come later once they have been strengthened and begin to yearn for it. At this point, whatever is simple, yet absolutely on the mark, or rather, authentic, is they only way we can build a lasting structure.

  46. Widukind,

    Excellent. Also, this wonderful ICEL initiative is directed no less (and perhaps less) at the people and choirs than at getting priests to chant the liturgy as they should. (In the introduction to his book on great hymns, Fr. Rutler remarks that the whole Mass is one great hymn, and that only by indult may it be merely said or recited rather than sung. I wonder whether this is really so.)

    And those like you who work in the parish trenches know what may elude some internet experts — that the typical current priest would take one look at the Mass in traditional Gregorian chant notation, and that would be that. (And this has nothing to do with the fact that he may not know how to read modern musical notation either, nor with the argument that classical chant notation may be easier to learn.)

  47. RichR says:

    The Anglican Use within the Roman Rite has all the Propers set to music already. I’m talking about the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion chants … In English. Maybe they can contact one of them. I’d suggest Deacon James Orr of Our Lsdy of the Atonement in San Antonio……if anyone is even interested.

  48. Melody says:

    I’m all for this. There is a sad lack of chant in ordinary parishes. Plus it would mean throwing out stuff by Haugan and Haas.
    At the abbey where I often attend mass the canons sometimes chant the readings and when the Liturgy of the Hours is said, the psalms are chanted in English.
    The original melodies do have to be adapted slightly to fit English syllables, but this is actually a very easy hurdle to cross in most cases. Ironically, at least my experience, the key to doing good English chant is familiarity with the Latin.

  49. Andrew says:

    Is it possible for a Diocesan Bishop to give faculties to SSPX Priests operating
    within his Diocese and therefore allow the faithful of his Diocese to assist at Mass
    offered in the SSPX chapel? Are there any examples of this happening anywhere in the

  50. Veritas says:

    Why reinvent the wheel? The Anglican Church in publications such as the Manual of Plainsong has done the job years ago. The English is good too, one of the glories of the English language, not the production of a committee. It could be adopted in toto, just a Luther’s hymns have been adopted by German Catholics, and the Book of Divine Worship by American ones.

  51. Does anyone sense that Vatican II is now being implemented? With the twist that worship in the Novus Ordo is being revitalized in the way that the Council recommended that worship in the Tridentine rite be revitalized. Namely, by finally doing what Pope Pius X and succeeding 20th century popes had urged.

  52. RBrown says:

    English simply lacks the vowels which makes Latin the perfect language for plainchant.
    Comment by Sacerdos ignotus

    I agree–and disagree with Mark.

    English chant might be improvement over the contemporary gruel served to Catholics (what wouldn’t be?), but it would not be the quality of Greg Chant–or Latin chant.

    The attractiveness of Latin chant comes from its love of vowel endings and disinclination for monosyllabic words. For example, the last two verses of the Credo (Et in Spiritum Sanctum . . . ) contains 16 monos in Latin and 49 in English. Further, words often end with a dactyl foot–one accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables (e.g., DO-mi-num), as in a waltz).

    This gives chant a certain wistful sound that cannot be imitated in English chant.

  53. @Henry Edwards

    Does anyone sense that Vatican II is now being implemented? With the twist that worship in the Novus Ordo is being revitalized in the way that the Council recommended that worship in the Tridentine rite be revitalized. Namely, by finally doing what Pope Pius X and succeeding 20th century popes had urged.

    This is exactly what I have been thinking lately. There are still priests and bishops who will fight this to the death. They are doing everything they can to delay the implementation of Vatican II. But, it does look as if it is finally happening.

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