If you live long enough…

… you’ll see just about everything.

Brick by brick.

I have nothing else worthwhile to add to that.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oh my goodness gracious.

    That tune makes even Latin sound awful. I guess it’s the valiant attempt to shoehorn it into the meter.

  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    further proof that Latin alone is not sufficient for solid liturgy.

  3. oh, dear. I couldn’t even finish listening.

  4. GirlCanChant says:

    Did I hear a sushi in there?

    This reminds me of Christopher Walker’s Laudate Dominum – yeah, don’t let the Latin title fool you, it’s still modern trash.

  5. marcpuckett says:

    So that’s the infamous Gather Us In; thankfully, I’ve never been quite sure because I really do just tune such nonsense out, 90 percent of the time, and I guess I’ve been ‘lucky’ in my parish churches over the years.

  6. The-Monk says:

    Ferguson is correct: even Latin can’t improve something that is dreadful in its inception.

  7. FrCharles says:

    Finally, I have seen the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Roman rite called for in the cover letter to Summorum pontificum.

  8. lucy says:

    GirlCanChant – I heard sushi in there, too!

    This is atrocious ! Thank God we have an EF Mass here that is really wonderful.

  9. Tradster says:

    Ouch! Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!

  10. Jason says:

    That was disturbing. Sort of like putting on a tuxedo to mow the lawn.

  11. Jerry says:

    For those who are interested, the author has posted the lyrics in the info box on YouTube (http://youtu.be/W9_RZQ3GLmI)

  12. Raymond says:

    I’m having visions of a Welsh court minstrel entertaining a medieval English king and his guests after dinner!

  13. Mario Bird says:

    To all the haters out there:


    Gather Us In is a quaint and precious little ditty in the right context. And that context is lute, flute, tambourine, and drum. The only legitimate beef about this tune is that The Haug brought Monty Python’s “Brave Sir Robin” into sacred space.

    I wish the brilliant wag who put together the Latin here would arrange this ditty as it ought to be heard.

  14. rtmp723 says:

    This sounds like a terrible song used at a Spanish Mass I once attended. Gah hurts the ears >_<

  15. Tom in NY says:

    Et Latine cantus factus est, traductione jucundus, voluptate nobis.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  16. dans0622 says:

    Too bad he didn’t employ some dynamic equivalence methodology and translate out the (at least implied) heretical ideas.


  17. AnnaTrad51 says:

    Oh please give me strength.

  18. germangreek says:

    I think if it were done as satire, then the attempt is gravely venial. If it were done in a sincere attempt to worship God, then it’s mortal.

  19. trespinos says:

    I think it’s safe to say Orff’s Carmina Burana is not threatened by this.

  20. catholicmidwest says:


    But then look at the altarpiece. It looks like it was drawn by a toddler. My apologies to toddlers everywhere who will grow up and learn to use a pencil properly.

    This reminds me of my fears for the new translation. Right now, you’re very likely to hear a latin Agnus Dei right next to the most obnoxious rendition of some modern jingle. It’s completely incongruous and ugly as homemade sin. It really makes religious observance sound like a bit of a joke.

    Somebody should throw over-ripe vegetables at the singer of this thing, seriously. Or hymnbooks which might stop him sooner, but only since hymnbooks have more mass.

  21. MJ says:

    Ouch on the ears!

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    On the other hand, bring it on. This might mean the demise of progressives everywhere, since even the dogs will howl, the babies will cry and the aging hippies will even break down in despair.

    Progressivism everywhere has jumped the shark and everyone is becoming increasingly aware of it. Maybe the tide will turn. And it’s way past due. Hoping it’s not too late, in fact.

  23. basenji says:

    What is the proper form for: Hootenannaeum ad nauseam?

  24. Warren says:

    @Mario Bird

    Unless I’m missing sarcasm, “Gather Us In” is an atrocity, both in terms of its neutered language and shoddy construction. The “poetry” is utterly banal and the melody is uninspired.

    The song is hardly deferential supplication. It is a list of demands (give us… call us… nourish us… hold us…) sung by a congregation forced to become petulant children who might as well be singing “gimme, gimme” (“we will take…”) to some anonymous deity. The word “God” is not used. Not once is the Father, Jesus nor the Holy Spirit mentioned explicitly by name in the text. Please don’t argue that the context is understood. This song could be sung by a Brahman.

    And, these lines of verse four:

    Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light years away;
    but here in this place, the new light is shining; now is the kingdom, now is the day.

    Laughable lyrics. John Lennon’s “Imagine” comes to mind. It is equally quaint and precious.

    Given the abundant evidence that the composition displays a lack of musical integrity due to shoddy counterpoint and a banal lyric, it is not hatred which motivates one to identify something as repulsive. Rather, the motivation is, at least on my part, a love of truth, goodness and beauty in music that compels a critic to disagree with any suggestion that “Gather Us In” has artistic merit.

    As for the Latin version – amusing.

  25. Andrew_81 says:

    For some this would be a wonderful example of reintroducing Latin back into the Liturgy.

  26. momravet says:

    Finally, just what everybody needs, elevator music in Latin.

  27. MarkJ says:

    At least for liberals, who claim ignorance of the Latin language, the heretical lyrics are disguised and rendered unintelligible, and the tune shows itself for all its ugliness. (I’m looking for a silver lining in the storm clouds that are “gathering in” all the liberal santuaries… Hopefully the dark cloud of unknowing will be followed by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and a return to sanity and Tradition.

  28. jray says:

    This summer, while visiting Gaylord, Mi., I was told that the newly appointed Bishop Hebda would be substituting for the pastor at a small parish nearby. When I arrived for Mass I learned that the pastor had recovered more quickly than expected, and Bishop Hebda would not be celebrating. Hmm. The absence of kneelers was a clue. Then a rousing Gather Us In began. The recessional hymn was “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine”, sung with great enthusiasm, so much enthusiasm that many people were still singing it while leaving. In relating this I don’t intend to make light of the enthusiasm, or their love for the Lord and His Church. But it is sad that they believe this is normal music for Mass. Please pray for Bishop Hebda, formerly of Pittsburgh and Rome, as he helps this diocese. By the way, he is supportive of the Latin Mass, and is one of the few bishops not contributing to the CCHD.

  29. O M Wow! I think my ears are bleeding.

  30. momoften says:

    “For some this would be a wonderful example of reintroducing Latin back into the Liturgy.” Andrew, this would be a bad way of introducing Latin into the liturgy. This song is so….70’s junk I grew up on. I hope you are kidding? This is just BAD music….I believe someone referred Marty Haugen music as cheap Broadway music…this does fit the pattern….UGHHHH

  31. Geoffrey says:

    “This reminds me of Christopher Walker’s Laudate Dominum – yeah, don’t let the Latin title fool you, it’s still modern trash.”

    I ignore the silly English verses, but you can’t go wrong with the Latin refrain… straight from Sacred Scripture. It often cheers me up. “Laudate, laudate Dominum! Omnes gentes, laudate Dominum! Exultate, iubilate, per annos Domini omnes gentes!

  32. Supertradmum says:

    You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

  33. JosephMary says:

    Spare us, O Lord!

  34. Great, now I need brain bleach.

  35. Bthompson says:

    The author was my next door neighbor in the Seminary last year. He does not mean this seriously, it is a joke born of looking down the barrel of a long pastoral internship year away from school.

  36. tygirwulf says:

    Great, just when I thought I had gotten this song out of my head, it makes a Lazarian reappearance and I once again find myself humming it at odd moments! :p

  37. markomalley says:

    Thanks…the first time I could ever say that a Haugen song put a smile on my face (not for the song, but for the faces I could imagine if somebody actually belted this song out in Latin during the procession for a NO Mass in most of the parishes around here)

  38. AnAmericanMother says:

    geoffrey –

    here, I think this’ll go down a little easier —


  39. historyb says:

    I don’t get it, what is so wrong with the song. Sure it don’t sound good in Latin but I find it quite catchy

  40. mdillon says:

    I played this and my dogs urinated on the floor.

  41. medievalist says:

    Whose ears bleed more at this? Liberals, for hearing Latin, or traditionalists, for hearing the tune?

    I think we chalk this one up in the general ‘crimes against humanity’ column.

  42. momoften says:

    JRAY—Sorry, you were subjected to bad music. I am from Gaylord Diocese. Bishop Hebda has only been here since December…and we have bad music ingrained in out parishes over a long period of time. It is something that can’t be changed overnight. Next time you are here…if you are…go to Cedar’s Holy Rosary–good music at the NO Mass and EF Mass or the Carmelite Monastery in Traverse City. I have met the Bishop he is a GOOD man, give him time, things will change-BUT do pray for him he will have a difficult time getting rid of Marty Haugen music as people don’t know what sacred worship means much less what sacred music is in this Diocese..as Fr Z says brick by brick….we have hope for better up here finally!

  43. AnAmericanMother says:


    I don’t get it, what is so wrong with the song. Sure it don’t sound good in Latin but I find it quite catchy

    That’s the problem! “Catchy” music is inappropriate for Mass.

    I’ll let somebody in a higher pay grade explain why:

    The writings of Plato and Aristotle on music show that the Greek world in their time was faced with a choice between two kinds of worship, two different images of God and man. Now what this choice came down to concretely was a choice between two fundamental types of music. On the one hand, there is the music that Plato ascribes, in line with mythology, to Apollo, the god of light and reason. This is the music that draws senses into spirit and so brings man to wholeness. It does not abolish the senses, but inserts them into the unity of this creature that is man. It elevates the spirit precisely by wedding it to the senses, and it el­evates the senses by uniting them with the spirit. Thus this kind of music is an expression of man’s special place in the general structure of being. But then there is the music that Plato ascribes to Marsyas, which we might describe, in terms of cultic history, as “Dionysian”. It drags man into the intoxication of the senses, crushes ra­tionality, and subjects the spirit to the senses. The way Plato (and more moderately, Aristotle) allots instruments and keys to one or other of these two kinds of music is now obsolete and may in many respects surprise us. But the Apollonian/Dionysian alternative runs through the whole history of religion and confronts us again today.

    The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius, 2000), p 150-151]

    I’m not sure this rises even to the level of sensual music. But it is definitely not “Apollonian”.

  44. Re: the translation, it’s obvious that the original songwriter was not really even thinking of gathering a flock into a fold, but rather just a generic “gathering song” with the lyrics defining the genre. But actually “to gather in” (and “congregare”, for that matter) is more often used as an expression for bringing harvested grain into a barn.

    Thinking of this song as a song about asking God to speed our inevitable deaths, instead of a lame song about making demands of God at Mass (and Mass as seen by a Protestant songwriter, at that), makes it a much happier and humbler piece. Be sure to tell all your friends. :)

  45. Agnes says:

    I will get this to our director of worship straight away. I’m sure it will go over well, along with:

    Kum By Yah in Latin
    Aliquid flet, Domine me: accede,
    Aliquid flet, Domine me: accede,
    Aliquid flet, Domine me: accede,
    O Domine, accede.

    Bubbles, anyone? Puppets?

  46. historyb says:

    Catchy was not the right word when I used it. I still see nothing wrong with the music in 70 years there will be people saying the same thing about their music and pointing to songs like these as the good old days.

    While I love the good old days sometimes we have to come forward and live in the now. Easier said then done

  47. Jayna says:

    Yes, but this song isn’t living in the now. This song is living in a commune in 1975.

  48. Although actually, when I review the text, it sounds more like we’re already dead and about to meet our final judgment by the stern and just judge. I mean, the darkness has already vanished away, so obviously we’re dead. The only way we could have been sung through _all_ of history is if history is over and space/time has ended. You need courage to enter the song if your soul is naked before the Lord and everybody. And so on. It all makes so much more sense.

  49. AnAmericanMother says:

    Suburbanbanshee –

    I like the way you think!

    I am going to try out this interpretation on the next hippie I meet.


    In 70 years nobody is going to remember this one.


    My mom was living in a commune in 1948, and I assure you their musical taste was better than this! (Black Mountain College) John Cage may have been a loon, and his work is sometimes incomprehensible, but he would never have been guilty of such bad taste.

  50. GirlCanChant says:

    medievalist, good call – they successfully managed to offend both parties, quite the feat!

  51. Hidden One says:

    Everything’s better in Latin… but ‘better’ is a relative term.

    Is there a Latin version of that silly jingle about riding an eagle?

  52. historyb says:

    AnAmericanMother I will have to disagree. Maybe were just to sensitive, I still find nothing wrong with the song and remember singing it at my first Mass I ever went to

  53. Gail F says:

    Historyb: Well, everyone has different tastes. The song is popular so I assume a lot of people must like the tune. I don’t — it’s a cross between a folk song and a drone, without the good parts of either. And the words are just awful, especially: “Give us to eat the bread that is you.” AAAAAAAAAA!!!! Can we just revoke that poetic license now?? I would be ashamed to ever write anything that awful.

    As far as the Latin one goes, I had to listen to the whole thing — it wouldn’t turn off! My penance for the day. Boy, what a hideous church.

  54. spock says:

    Thank you. Now I am permanently dane bramaged.

    Not exactly a corporal work of mercy Father.

    Kind of like something I should have to listen to during Lent as a Penance.

    What’s next, Latin versions of “Resucito”, or (Heaven help us) “Lord of the Dance” ?!?

    Kyrie Eleison,


  55. How’s about a Latin version of “Kum by ya”?
    How wouldn’t that do the trick:<p****!

  56. spock says:

    nazareth priest,

    See above by Agnes.

    God Bless,


  57. Thank you, spock…missed it…oh, dear Baby Jesus!!!

  58. And, as for this “mess of pottage”…Latin cannot redeem EVERYTHING; and this, HARDLY.

  59. Geremia says:

    It’s better than this rap version of the Requiem introit, but God forbid that rap ever be used at mass! Gregorian chant lifts up our intellects; rap and this hippie music don’t.

  60. C. says:

    Here’s one Latin version of On Eagle’s Wings, for whoever asked.

    And here’s the official Latin version.

  61. Geoffrey says:

    “I don’t get it, what is so wrong with the song. Sure it don’t sound good in Latin but I find it quite catchy.”

    “That’s the problem! ‘Catchy’ music is inappropriate for Mass.”

    I think that is a very good distinction. Some modern “hymns” and songs are very nice and moving… for private devotion, Catholic music concerts, etc., but NOT for the liturgy. There are a few modern hymns that I like, but not in the liturgy. So let modern Catholic musicians continue writing music, publish CDs, perform concerts in parish halls, etc. But keep it out of the liturgy.

  62. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Okay, I will go public, that OUTSIDE of Mass, this is not all that bad for “a catchy song” The theology expressed NEEDS to be corrected.

    I will put this in the hopper with other “carols” and songs to sing, just NOT at Mass.

    Hiking on a pilgrimage with a bunch of Scouts… it could be used, but please, we have to have legitimate teaching in the words!

  63. Geremia: That might go over on the fourth floor of a local hospital (if you catch my drift…the PSYCH ward!)…how utterly awful.
    But I guess that’s the “zeitgeist”; make it as ugly, dehumanizing and an assault upon one’s senses as possible.

  64. TMA says:

    I once sat through a Haugen/Haas/Joncas reunion concert at which they announced a little game they liked to play – “What’s going to last?” They were very aware of the shoddy product they were producing, and even laughed about it, but the people at the concert, especially women were just lapping it up. You’d have thought it was Elvis up there. Of course, right afterwards there was the frantic rush to buy the sheet music and cds. That was 1989, and it was the first time I recognized planned obsolescence in the Catholic music industry.

  65. TMA: I think I was actually at a similar concert earlier; you got it right…”obsolescence”…and the very sad, tragic part of it; these men MAY have actually, given the right spirituality, love of the Church, and genuine depth, made a wonderful contribution to the Roman Rite in the Church in America. Very sad.

  66. TonyLayne says:

    Reminds me of something H. L. Mencken wrote about Warren Harding’s writing and speaking:

    “It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of a dark abysm … of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.”

  67. TonyLane: LOL!!! Spot on, mate!

  68. Fr Matthew says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that a lot of those who commented above took this video too seriously (it IS in Fr Z’s “parody song” category, after all)… I just got a good laugh out of it! My respects to the creativity of the fellow who concocted the translation.

    I’d file this in my folder along with the Latin translation of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

  69. Dorcas says:

    Wow, people really have a hate on for this song…we sing it at my parish, along with many other ‘hated’ ‘heretical’ songs. I agree that many of them are banal, but what are the alternatives? I never see anything except these kinds of folk-pop songs…and anyway, I’m not sure that songs should not be upbeat (catchy). Singing is a kind of emotional expression; it should allow people to use their voices heartily. If you are not a trained singer, I think these songs can be easier to sing, as well. Anyway, weren’t many old-time hymns very close in style to contemporous popular sentimental songs when they were first composed?

    Again, what are the alternatives, and are people going to sing them like zombies, or with emotion/devotion…for many this is the same thing, and there is no need to pooh-pooh that. The songs are well-loved by many, and I think people are maybe engaging in a kind of musical snobbery.

  70. pelerin says:

    Interesting comment from Dorcas that ‘Singing is a kind of emotional expression.’ I find certain hymns relate to the event at which they were sung. For me one of these is ‘Our God Reigns’ which many put in the category of the banal. However I once sang it in Wembley Stadium London in 1982 during the Mass celebrated by Pope John-Paul II and have been waiting for an opportunity to sing it again ever since. I still find myself humming it reminding me of that wonderful occasion.

    This morning we finished Mass singing the Lourdes hymn and everyone sang with great gusto. I believe the tune is based on a Pyreneean folk song and some would no doubt find it repetitive but for me it immediately takes me back to the torchlight procession in Lourdes and I could have happily sung all the verses!

  71. TNCath says:

    This reminds me of when we were in high school and were attempting to translate popular songs into Latin, such as Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” (“Puellae malae”).


  72. eyeclinic says:

    For the first time in my 50+ years, I think I finally understand the term “Cognitive dissonance” and how bad it can feel…parody or not…how does one say “heave” in Latin?

  73. Geremia says:

    This goes to show that those who support the EF do not want it because of wanting a sentimental return to the past. We want it because (1) it is not Protestant [I know a Lutheran married to a Catholic who even realizes, being no theology student, that the Novus Ordo mass, which they attend, is more similar to her Lutheran service than the pre-Vatican II mass.] and (2) it it the fullness of our faith tradition. Why bury it?

  74. Jayna says:

    AnAmericanMother: In 1948, everyone had better taste in music.

  75. AnAmericanMother says:


    Even Spike Jones? :-0


    The merciful hand of time has removed a good bit of the bad music from 1948.

    The sooner the same thing happens to the Haugen/Haas oeuvre, the better.

  76. AnAmericanMother says:


    It’s not musical snobbery, I’d take strong exception to that. Is it “snobbery” when your doctor tells you that some food is good for you and other food is unhealthy? Is he ‘bunging on side’ or being snobbish by distinguishing between good food and bad? Music is the same way — musicians are not being snobbish when they tell you that some music is good food for your soul and good for the Mass, and other music is . . . not.

    The problem is that Catholics have been deprived of their musical birthright and sold a mess of pottage. It’s difficult to state that simple fact without sounding snobbish. But some music is factually better than what is served up at many Masses.

    The problem that serious musicians have with this horrible stuff is that it keeps getting shoved at congregations year after year after year. As though we were nutritionists watching a school feed our kids greaseburgers and mystery meat and assuring them, “It’s GOOD for you – and besides, those doctors don’t know what they’re talking about, and besides, this is all you are fit for.”

    We can get pretty hot under the collar — especially when it’s plain, as TMA notes above, that the composers know perfectly well that their output is nasty, brutish, and short, and laugh about it.

    I agree that many of them are banal, but what are the alternatives?

    1. Chant (remember, ‘pride of place’?) It is not difficult to sing, despite what you may have heard. You can get it in modern notation for those who don’t want to learn the Solesmes method.
    Even the Episcopalians have it in their hymnal.

    2. Decent Catholic congregational hymns, either from the English (Fr. Faber, for example) or Winkworth’s translations of the German hymnals. These are simple melodies with reasonable range, and with the support (not too loud) of an organist anybody can follow them, whether they read music or not.

    3. The old American Catholic devotional hymns – with caution. Some are treacly sentiment on a par with Haugen and Haas (but without the heresy in the words), but some are very nice indeed.

    4. Charles Wesley’s hymns. He was doctrinally much more conservative than his brother John, and the words he used don’t usually present problems.

    5. Other traditional sources – protestant hymnals, Original Sacred Harp, Southern Harmony, etc. Pick and choose, but there are treasures here. The Episcopal hymnal (1982) has hundreds of good hymns (including a ton of old Catholic hymns – you will find St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Faber well represented, as well as the German hymns), they may be a bunch of heretics but their music is a good place to go to learn. Actually, just about anything composed before about 1960 in that hymnal is pretty good, with a few exceptions. Anything by Richard Proulx is fine. He did all the chant arrangements in the 1982 Hymnal.

  77. AnAmericanMother says:

    One last thing . . . .

    if your congregation is going to have kittens if somebody suggests they chant in Latin — that darned Episcopal hymnal has beautiful and accurate English translations.

    The ZENIT website notes that some of the translations are by Gerard Manley Hopkins (although he is not credited in the hymnal). In any event, they are worth looking into.

  78. Jordanes says:

    GirlCanChant said: Did I hear a sushi in there?

    My son’s comment: “Did I hear ‘cheese’? . . . Oh, there’s ‘sushi.'”

  79. Gary Page says:

    The official music of the Church for MASS (according to Vatican II and many official Church documents over the last 150 years) is Gregorian chant and highly to be recommended is sacred polyphony and the great patrimony of sacred hymns from centuries past. While modern compositions are not excluded, in 2003 Pope John Paul II made it clear that the suitability of new compositions for the Liturgy is directly proportional to the degree to which they approximate the style and melodic form of Gregorian chant. The piece in question and similar such music doesn’t even come close.
    I also note that those who defend such music do so on the basis that they like it, and do not deal with the real issues of what the Church has taught about the uniqueness of the Sacred Liturgy and the need for music which properly addresses that uniqueness. St. Theresa of Avila says that when we pray we must remember Who it is that we are addressing. I would add that when we are at Holy Mass we must remember the nature of the event into which we entering: the re-presentation of the Sacrifice on Calvary. “Catchy” or banal music is offensive in such a setting. Prayerful silence would be much more appropriate, if there really are no alternatives.

    One last point: the Mass is meant to be sung. Hymns and other songs are just “singing at Mass.” Gregorian chant allows us to actually sing the Mass. As AnAmericanMother notes above, most chant is in fact easier to learn and sing than most people realize, and no composer can create more fitting words for Holy Mass than the sacred liturgical texts themselves.

  80. AnAmericanMother says:


    If you see your next-door neighbor, tell him that I completely admire the absolute lack of ‘expression’ with which he recorded this — no mean feat.

    And it lays the music (or lack thereof) absolutely bare.

  81. Re: “sushi” —

    Exsuscitabimur, probably.

  82. archer says:

    As a liturgical composer myself, I often have to humbly place my pen back into the inkwell and wonder why I even try sometimes. I find that within a even a few bars of composing, I have not written anything original, just in imitation of the old composers themselves. The old style of Palestrina and Mozart seem to lend the whole feeling of nobility and sacredness to the Latin words themselves. I am often chided for my lack of “modernity”. This is fine, as I only see it as more of a musical rebellion than a creative process. Only God knows why I continue on with it. Latin requires very subtle phrasings and inflictions to render properly into musical phrasing. English is even more difficult to work into flowing phrasing, but Handel and Purcell show us that it is possible. But if Handel or Purcell were alive today, they would be out of work, sadly enough. Latin must breathe, and every word in the liturgical musical phrase must be handled with care. The Gregorian Chant treats each word in a unique way, particularly when the Holy Name of Our Lord is spoken.

    Perhaps I am living in a cave today, but I believe there are canonical laws that actually govern this, but someone else here may be more educated on this and could be more specific. I am aware of a necessary few, but not all. The Vatican actually has a list of works that are “blacklisted” due to infringements, even though the composer may have not even been actually aware of them. The rules exist, but few liturgical composers follow them. One hears the results, as not all works are always sent for approval first.

    Gregorian Chant is the highest form of liturgical music as well as one of the oldest (although there are some older, but obscure) that has been historically notated and preserved very faithfully. The Renaissance and Baroque periods produced great works as well, but they are often beyond the abilities of most choirs. After Mozart, who culminated the end of great liturgical composing, about 100 years after, the music became more banal and very noisy. Music is a direct reflection of society, not necessarily of the composer themselves.

    The work above in question is more in the style of a medieval folk melody (a typical and often trying sound for much of V2 music). It is not the melody that is really not working, but the placement of the Latin. It is works like that which make me to believe I am doing something useful, even though I am 250 years behind the “vogue” of neo-medieval music styles we often encounter at the New Mass. In all essence (musically), folk and rock music are closer to medieval music than the works of the Baroque and Classical eras. Yet, I place myself in a devil’s fix, as the Traditional Latin Mass has enough great music to last forever and possibly beyond, so what use are my works? I leave the future to decide that. Oh, well I can happily live with my obsolescence and hope that at least the current trend of choirs singing Gregorian Chant will continue to increase. That would be the greatest step in the right direction, although some believe it is actually a step backwards. Sometimes we have to step backwards to see where we are going by judging the value of where we have been.

  83. Dorcas says:

    AnAmericanMother: thanks for the tips!

  84. AnAmericanMother says:

    No worries! I hope that’s some help — surely your music director can find something there to like . . . . just for a little occasional diversity, of course.

    It just occurred to me that the 1982 Hymnal has a modern setting of Fr. Faber’s hymn “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” by Calvin Hampton. It’s a very effective setting for the words, much better than the old thumpy tune of “Beecher” that everybody knows. It’s perhaps a bit difficult to sing (has a key change in the middle) and you have to have a good organist to play the accompaniment (what makes these modern composers decide that they simply have to have all those sharps and flats?) But it’s still relatively simple and not a musical abomination. I found a preview of the melody (no accompaniment) here


    unfortunately all the new compositions in the ’82 are still under copyright.

    I was just thinking that if your music director is contemporary music minded this might be the thin end of the wedge.

  85. Luke says:

    Is the little blackish box to the left of the crossish thing in the center where our Lord is reposed? It seems to me that one can get a sense of what the music will be like from the rather confused sanctuary setting. I suppose that the architect is to blame for that. . . .

  86. AnAmericanMother says:


    It’s an unusual church, with a long history. St. Boniface Whitechapel was founded to serve the German immigrants in East London and is still considered a “German church” though it now caters mostly to German tourists.
    The old building was bombed out in WWII and the new building completed in 1960. Which of course accounts for the strange architecture and the very 60ish mural (done by a German artist about whom I can discover nothing because he shares a name with a prominent current German politician.)

  87. smcollinsus says:

    Aha! I was just by the church a couple of weeks ago, when I was visiting Whitechapel Bell Foundry just a block away. I obviously made the right choice in NOT stopping by to check it out!

    If this is Latin being used, (I had to listen carefully) why does it sound so much like Spanish? Could it be just the music?

  88. AnAmericanMother says:

    The pronunciation is Italianate rather than classical, and it probably sounds worse because of the tune (as well as the deliberately neutral voice of the singer).

    I hope you were going to the Whitechapel Foundry to order a ring of 8 bells for your parish!!! (if I hit the lottery I will seriously consider that, because our parish has a handsome tower with no bells in it!)

  89. trentecoastal39 says:

    Whoa,This Translation sounds like It came from a Troubadour!

  90. historyb says:

    Gail F – “Give us to eat the bread that is you”

    But isn’t that what Catholic doctrine is, that one is eating the body of Christ. A big deal is made out of Christ being truly present and this appears to say that

  91. AnAmericanMother says:


    That’s not the point in the case of that phrase — it’s bad English, and from a poetic point of view it’s hideously bad (hence Gail’s comment re revoking the author’s poetic license).

    The same doctrine is conveyed correctly as follows (please tell me that you can see the difference!)

    Humbly I adore thee, verity unseen
    who thy glory hidest, ‘neath these shadows mean
    lo, to thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed
    tranced as it beholds thee, shrined within the cloud

    Taste and touch and vision to discern thee fail
    faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil
    I believe whate’er the son of God hath told
    what the truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold

    O memorial wondrous of the Lord’s own death
    living bread that givest all thy creatures breath
    grant my spirit ever by thy life may live
    to my taste thy sweetness never failing give

    Jesus, whom now hidden, I by faith behold
    what my soul doth long for, that thy word foretold
    face to face thy splendor I at last shall see
    in the glorious vision, blessed Lord, of thee

    – St. Thomas Aquinas, Adoro te devote, trans. attrib. Gerard Manley Hopkins

  92. historyb says:

    Not really, no

  93. AnAmericanMother says:

    [ sighs, rolls up sleeves ]

    OK, I’ll try to explain.

    If you have sung or heard the Latin version, this English translation of St. Thomas’s hymn to the Blessed Sacrament tracks the rhythm of the chant-like melody itself, although it is constrained (slightly) to the 11.11 doubled meter. The rhyme scheme exactly tracks that of the Latin (aabb).

    And even though translations have to strike a balance among rhyme, meter, and meaning, this (based on my very shaky Latin ability) is a fairly good paraphrase of the original.

    So you have rhyme, rhythm and meaning. In addition, the language is more elevated than the Haugen, but does not use any difficult or obscure words. I would argue that elevated, complex language is absolutely necessary when discussing the great mystery of the Sacrament.

    Surely you’ve noted in our worthy host’s explanations of the various collects and prayers the regular comparison of the ‘lame duck’ ICEL version to a more literal (and thus more poetic) translation. The latter is obviously better. It reverberates: it points to associations, explanations, echoes, mystery. That is what the language of worship is supposed to do – open up distant landscapes of ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’.

    Pedestrian, simplistic, dumbed-down language (i.e. ‘the bread that is you’) is not only devoid of rhythm and beauty — it is also devoid of mystery and apprehended meanings. It reduces the worship of God to an ‘efficient’, humdrum, dull exercise. Mostly, it doesn’t worship at all.

    Here’s another version, directly credited to Hopkins:

    O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
    Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
    Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
    There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

    Isn’t that recognizably better than “the bread that is you?”

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