Changes in the rubrics for music in the new, corrected translation.

My friend Jeffrey Tucker of the estimable The Chant Cafe has a fascinating post about changes in the noew, corrected translation of the Missale Romanum which will affect sacred music in our worship.

Here is his piece, which I am cutting down so that you will be forced also to go to his place and read the rest… as I am sure you will want to do anyway.

My emphases and comments.

Dramatic Changes in Music Rubrics for New Missal
Posted by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Some of the most advanced thinkers in the world of music and liturgy have long identified the critical problem in Catholic music today. They have pointed out that the Mass itself provides for the texts and the music for the Mass, but in the General Instruction on on the Roman Missal, there appears a loophole. Musicians can sing what is appointed, or (“option 4”) they can sing something else, and that something else is limited only by what the musicians themselves deem as “appropriate.” What this has meant, in effect, is: anything goes. This is why it often seems that when it comes to music at Mass that, well, anything goes.  [Thus the texts of Mass, the actual texts, are in large part ignored, unknown, and the sense is implanted firmly that we can do anything we want to the Church’s official worship.]

I’m happy to report that the legislative ground has just shifted, and dramatically so. The new translation of the General Instruction removes the discretion from the music team to sing pretty much whatever it wants. The new text, which pertains to the new translation of the Missal that comes into effect on Advent this year, makes it clear beyond any doubt: the music of the Mass is the chanted propers of the Mass. There are options but these options all exist within the universe of the primary normative chant. There can be no more making up some random text, setting it to music, and singing it as the entrance, offertory, or communion.

I have no doubt that the practice of singing non-liturgical texts will continue but it will now continue only under a cloud. If I’m reading this correctly, any text other than an appointed text for the Mass will now fall outside the boundaries provided for by the authoritative document that regulates the manner in which Mass is to proceed.  [Thus, we shall see that many people simply don’t care that they are violating the rubrics on yet another level.  Will ecclesiastical authority do anything about that?  Sure!  They will probably place more roadblocks for traditional expressions of our liturgical worship.]

[This is good…] We can be sure that gigabytes of digits will be produced with the intention of explaining to me and everyone why what we can clearly read below does not really mean what it seems to be saying, that there has been some mistake in phrasing, that taking this literally is only the penchant of “traditionalists,” and that the prevailing practice surely has equal normative status. Nonetheless, the text is there, clear as a bell, and will be printed in all editions of the Missal that is now in preparation.

Catholic musicians of the world, the GIRM would like you to meet a new friend: the propers of the Mass.

Let us compare old and new:  [Hey!  Great idea to do that!  Maybe someone should do this with the prayers too!]

The Entrance

2003 GIRM:

47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.

48. The singing at this time is done either alternately by the choir and the people or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

2011 GIRM

48. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Gradual Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduate Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

Comment: There are several crucial differences. The new version clearly elevates the antiphons from the Roman Gradual or the Roman Missal as the core text. The old version had a mistake that had been confusing for years: it referred only to the Psalm from the Gradual. The new version clearly states that it is the antiphon and Psalm that are applicable from both books. Option three makes it clear that we are not talking about any song; we are talking about the liturgical chant, and there is a huge difference. Finally, option four blasts away the vague word “song” and again emphasizes chant, and with this important proviso: “suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year.” One would have to be deliberately obtuse not to see that this refers to the proper text of the day in question.


For the sake of length I will slice this off here.  Do go read over there as well.

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  1. RichR says:

    I’m in a men’s gregorian chant group, and we try to do the Propers as much as possible when we make an appearance at a parish. Also, younger music directors are using the Propers more and more.

    However, without enforcement from the higher and lower clergy, this is a dead letter. The best you can hope for is a priest who won’t put up a fight. Rarely will you see priests enforcing this because they are afraid their bishop will get nasty letters and the pastor will get a phone call from the chancery.

    The people have to want it. If they do, then the supportive legislation is there. If they don’t, then “Option 4” will stay the de fact standard.

  2. Rich: If they don’t, then “Option 4? will stay the de fact standard.

    But the old option 4

    (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

    is replaced with the new option (4)

    (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

    Wouldn’t this exclude most “songs” one ordinarily hears in the typical 4-hymn sandwich.

  3. aladextra says:

    Why not force the recitation of all of the propers at every Mass if they are not sung, in a manner like how the introit must be recited after the entrance hymn in an Extraordinary Form low Mass? That would represent an incremental step we might achieve immediately as we work toward the goal of getting them sung. Than at least this significant part of the Mass wouldn’t just get left out each and Sunday Mass, at least.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    What we need now, since the USCCB has not yet approved any list of suitable liturgical chants, is for one bishop, or a province of bishops, to promulgate an approved list of suitable liturgical chants, and direct that these and only these are allowed for utilizing option 4. New liturgical chants could then be submitted for later approval, but keep a tight rein on this. Come on bishops!

  5. “[Hey! Great idea to do that! Maybe someone should do this with the prayers too!]”

    O-o-o-oh, I get it! ‘cos that’s what Fr. Z does.

  6. Nathan says:

    This would be an incredibly difficult thing to implement in the majority of US parishes. There’s simply too much money and power in the current “liturgical establishment” (headed by OCP and GIA, with significant ties into music programs in universities, religious orders, and chanceries) for the “option 4” to be changed, in practice, in any substantial way without a drag-out fight.

    In Christ,

  7. Tina in Ashburn says:

    I’ll be very interested to see if and how any of this is followed by parish music programs. Have all the dioceses been instructed on these new rules?

  8. Tim,

    The new GIRM will be effective only if it is rigorously enforced (as the old GIRM has not been in the past–except for prohibitions against kneeling for communion, etc.). Assuming this is to be the case, wouldn’t it really be better if the bishops did not approve any list of approved liturgical chants.

    Then there would not exist any liturgical chants “approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop” that qualify for use under option (4).

    In which case only the preferable options (1), (2), and (3) would be available for use.

  9. KAS says:

    I won’t hold my breath that the folk choir with guitar and drums, standing up on platforms behind the altar during mass is gonna be switching over to actual chant– yeah rrriiiiiiigggggghhhhhttttt.

    We are lucky if the hymns chosen have ONE that wasn’t written between 1960 and 1990…. no matter which choir is singing.

    At least there isn’t a charismatic choir anymore breaking out in tongues during the consecration…. Can anyone say “distracting”?….oh and the microphones were sometimes still on too! The “youth” choir is an improvement but I don’t think they know that the Catholic Church has a lovely history of great music because they use a lot of protestant-style worship music borrowed from the local bible churches.

    I am glad to see improvements in the GIRM, and the new mass translation, but I sure won’t hold my breath expecting any major changes in the parish I attend.

  10. gambletrainman says:

    Henry Edwards

    I have to agree with you. There are still quite a few bishops who “hate” the old mass, and refuse to implement any new changes with the reasoning of “going backwards to the awful days of pre-Vatican II”. In one instance you read that the return to the 1962 Mass is preferred, another section or a follow-up letter says that the Bishop is still in charge.

    The same with the new version of the Novus Ordo. The liberal bishop will still “be in charge”, and, if he wants to do “Kumbaya” or the Mickey Mouse Theme Song, the way he reads option 4, he’s still the boss. Nothing has changed. I agree that the only way to do strictly at the “letter of the law”, is to drop option 4.

  11. Much as I wish that there had been some change in the rule as to what can be sung at Mass, the comparison of these two translations is misleading.

    The are translations of the very same Latin version the GIRM, the 3d edition of 2002 . There is no change in the liturgical law, only the translation. Here is the text that underlies both translations:

    Adhiberi potest sive antiphona cum suo psalmo in Graduali Romano vel in Graduali simplici exstans, sive alius cantus, actioni sacrae, diei vel temporis indoli congruus, cuius textus a Conferentia Episcoporum sit approbatus.

    “Cantus” can mean “chant” but it also can mean “song.” As the Gregorian chants that could be used have already been listed (they are only those in the Graduale Romano and the Graduali Simplex), it would be redundant to read “cantus” as meaning “chant” (i.e. Gregorian) exclusively.

    As the law is the Latin text of the GIRM, not its English translation (save where something is specific to the U.S.) there has been no change in the GIRM on what can be sung at Mass.

  12. TheRani says:

    We’re clearly going to need a new edition of the “Glory and Praise” book!

  13. Also, as this text does have a few modifications for the US, one should observe that a “cantus” can be used if approved even by a diocesan bishop. I suggest that people check there copies of “Gather” “Glory and Praise” etc. My hunch, perhaps wrong, is that each of these hymnals has an imprimatur (approval by a diocesan bishop) on the copyright page.

    I am on Mr. Tucker’s side on this question as to what would be best, just as it is stretching to say that the GIRM “now” requires chant, so too the idea that no hymns are “approved” is also probably over-reaching.

  14. Fr. Augustine,

    But haven’t we frequently seen a faulty English translation of a law or norm used as a basis for not doing what the original Latin prescribed?

    Which is precisely why it seems significant to me that we finally have an accurate translation–in plain English for all to see–of what the norm has actually been along. It’s more a question of what the effect of the law is, than of what it says.

    People have been applying the GIRM not as stated in Latin, but as interpreted in the provisional 2003 translation, which the new Roman Missal will state is superseded by the new translation, which will now be the single official English translation of the GIRM for the English-speaking world.

  15. Dr. K says:

    Is the new GIRM translation available online?

  16. Tina in Ashburn says:

    I sure like the idea of a good change in Liturgical Music, but like others, I am doubtful there will be widespread support.

    With the implementation of Vatican II music rules [however loose they are], the choice of options was ALWAYS with submission to a Diocesan review board. This implementation, though spelled out, was never executed. No Diocese as far as I know ever created a commission or board to review song choices for each parish. The idea was to chant Latin, but if you got approval, you sing other stuff. Well, that was abused, and everything BUT Latin got sung in parishes, without reviews or permissions.

    These boards were supposed to be comprised of competent liturgists and musicians. Since none of these ever got created, that set of experience withered away into the utter uncultured ignorance we have today. Yea, a Diocese might have an official Director of Liturgy, but these folks can’t possibly manage a true review of Diocesan musical practices with all the other responsibilities dumped on them.

    In regard to an approved list of music or chant, the Church today just doesn’t have that kind of experience among bishops, priests, or music directors to execute such a work. The old ‘blacklist” and “whitelist” that enumerated forbidden music and approved music had been created by a large effort by serious church musicians steeped in church musical tradition and highly educated. The publications of such lists had the full cooperation and direction from an educated and appreciative hierarchy. No such depth for this kind of effort exists today. Nor can we expect a clergy that has a musical clue or appreciates liturgical nuances. Yes, yes, there are clergy and laity that have competency, but not enough of them!

    My 91-yr-old mother sang in the parish choir in the 50s. She remembers very well the parish priest and music director following to the letter these lists [last updated in the late 40s]. There was no argument, no options, no discussion. That environment of obedience is also generally gone.

  17. TNCath says:

    I read the entire article over at The Chant Cafe and agree that this is a significant and positive change. However, Father Anthony Ruff over at the Pray Tell blog is spinning it in the direction of the status quo, so already the talking points are being formulated. I predict it will be a long time before we are finally rid of “All are Welcome,” “Anthem,” and “The Summons” as “Gathering Hymns.”

    That said, we can only hope that with these new rubrics, the term “Gathering Hymn” is finally removed from the liturgical lexicons of parishes throughout the U.S. and replaced with “Entrance Chant,” “Entrance Hymn,” or just “Entrance.” The word “gathering” has been hijacked by the prevailing liturgical establishment for some time now and literally makes me nauseous whenever I hear it.

  18. benedetta says:

    This is an excellent development. I understand Fr. Augustine’s point however for the vast majority it will be a revelation that the GIRM in use as well as this new translation has prioritized for our liturgical music these beautiful chanted prayers which we may participate in and help us to pray the Mass for the day. Whereas a folk song which may glance at a “season” or contain a word or two from any of the readings, or even not at all, really then comes down to an expression of the personal choice and favoring of a liturgical minister and not at all the collective prayer for that Mass in which all may equally participate.

    This should be incentive for Bishops to generously approve of this greater variety in order to support the prayers of the faithful via music.

  19. Matthew the Publican says:

    If one wanted to simply chant these minor propers, is there an version of the Roman or Simple Gradual in English that is approved for use? Also, and this may be a dumb question, in the NO, where does one find the Offertory sentence seeing that it is not in the Sacramentary or Lectionary?

  20. amenamen says:

    Fr Augustine,

    After a quick perusal of the copyright pages of several hymnals/songbooks, I have not seen an Imprimatur. One hymnal claimed to be “published with ecclesiastical approbation.” That does not sound quite the same.

    I wonder who is minding the store.

  21. Tim Ferguson says:

    Many thanks to Fr. Augustine – I have to confess that, my last day before a week’s summer vacation, my mind was a bit fuzzy. He’s absolutely correct, the Latin is the law, and the Latin has not changed, therefore the law in force hasn’t changed. Hopefully, the more accurate translation of the law will give those involved a better sense of the propriety of the chanted propers (bad and mild pun intended), but sadly, this will probably have little effect.

    And amenamen, “published with ecclesiastical approbation” is the same as an imprimatur, it’s simply language that is more in keeping with the language of canons 823-829.

  22. “Why not force the recitation of all of the propers at every Mass if they are not sung …?”

    Because that is part of the problem to begin with. For most, the Mass is a series of words and texts to get through, as though, on the night He was betrayed, Our Lord didn’t say “Do this” but rather “Say these words.”

    You go to diocesan websites, to any publisher of any liturgical books, and most if not all of the discussion is about the words. The very idea of an officially designated chant or anything sung at all is a non-issue. Getting people to sing at all is a big part of the problem. Short of actually mandating something to the exclusion of all else, there will still be singing, and they won’t sing something they know nothing about. Those priests who are aware of it, who claim “I’m not a singer,” confuse singing with chanting. Culturally, historically, musically, in every way imaginable, singing and chanting are two different things. In the absence of awareness of one, they will find an excuse (even a bad one) to resort to the other.

    “Father Anthony Ruff over at the Pray Tell blog is spinning it in the direction of the status quo, so already the talking points are being formulated. “

    I rest my case. The publishers are heavily invested in churning out one collection of Haugen/Haas CDs after another. Many offer chant resources, but they do not constitute the major portion of their inventory. (If they did, Mr Tucker could not begin to compete with their efforts to the very able extent that he does now.) The musicians, the composers, the little twits who are trotted out on guitars after knowing four chords, backed by a “keyboard” to make them sound palatable, all are invested as well.

    Personally, I’d love to ask the guy who runs the worship office in my excruciatingly orthodox diocese how they intend to handle this issue, if at all. In fact (and there are people from my diocese reading this now), I’m probably going to be held to this. They can rest assured …

    I know exactly what he’s going to say.

  23. Maltese says:

    Why not just return to the Extraordinary Form, and trash-can the “liturgy by commission,” in the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger?

    This wringing of hands over this-or-that detail is giving me a headache!

    Vatican II was a Revolution within the Church, wrought by 1960’s revolutionaries, the sooner we get that point clear, the sooner we can return to Tradition and beauty in the Church.

  24. amenamen says:

    Tim Ferguson,

    Maybe. Yet most of the hymnals I have seen do not have any reference at all to ecclesiastical approbation.

  25. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Seriously? This is an improvement but that 4th option with the Bishop’s approval scared the jeepers out of me. If he’s a snarky liberal bishop, for all we know it’s the perfect excuse to keep those awful Gather hymanls. By the way in Canada it’s even worse. We only get 4 options for the musical settings of the Mass, and 3 of the 4 compositions are horrible hippie music. See more info here on Vox Cantor’s blog: including a link to our “wonderful” compositions. He sometimes posts on here as David in T.O.

  26. frjim4321 says:

    Pastors are probably still going to act in the best interest of their people and not make rash decisions or dramatic changes that would push them out the door at an even greater rate.

  27. Tim Ferguson says:

    frjim, you have a greater confidence in pastors than I, based on my own experience. Liberal pastors seem to wantonly make “rash decisions or dramatic changes” such as ripping out altar rails, quashing traditional choirs, mandating the “hi how are you” minute at the beginning of Mass, etc, and do so with impunity. More conservative pastors tend to be a bit more careful and thoughtful in their changes, for fear of getting their heads chewed of by the local ordinary.

    Thinking outside the box – if people are already getting pushed out the door, as your comment implies, wouldn’t that in and of itself call for some rash decisions and drastic changes? Maybe presenting the undiluted authentic liturgy of the Church to them would stop the exodus?

  28. benedetta says:

    The currently prevailing song stylings may certainly be familiar to most and therefore have a comfort level in that people are used to it and expect more of the same, and often people like sameness and repetition just for the comfort factor but that doesn’t mean they have a magical quality. If it is true as frjim postulates that some will flee rather than be denied the Haugen and company in parish, then, let there be options at least so that laity may discern for themselves. Even within a parish. Especially within a diocese. The GIRM (as always apparently) sets forth no less than 4 options for just this aspect excerpted. The straight-up Haugen hymn sandwich Mass may be one of many options in a diversity, isn’t this supposed to be the grand envisioning of heterodoxy? Why must the Haugen song festival be imposed upon places open to and hopeful toward praying within any of the other 3 options set forth? So that frjim’s parishioners do not run away in protest without the usual, let them have it. But that cannot be adequate or decent basis for denying everyone else the opportunity to pray something quite beautiful and which has and still supports the prayers of the Church.

  29. Glen M says:

    The easiest way to avoid Option 4 is to get thee to an E.F.

    Just saying…

  30. jasoncpetty says:

    Matthew the Publican, both of your questions are answered in Mr. Tucker’s article.

  31. Matthew the Publican says:

    Reading the whole article would have helped… I am still baffled as to why the Sacramentary/Missal/Lectionary doesn’t include the offertory, or to why there is no official English version of the Gradual.

  32. moconnor says:

    Maltese, check your history. Vatican II was the result of about a century of the Liturgical Movement. It happened at the worst possible time, though. The 60s-era amplified some of the wackier positions and put barricades to proper implementation of what was decided. What we see now is not what most of the fathers envisioned or likely agreed to. The minority, sizable as it might have been, ran amok and the priests they taught in seminary are who we have today. In the U.S. the foundational Protestant culture has caused too many Catholics to want to “fit in” with the prevailing culture. I fear that the a-religious culture here has begun to do even more damage. The EF is the antidote IMO.

  33. TNCath: “That said, we can only hope that with these new rubrics, the term “Gathering Hymn” is finally removed . . . “

    Of course, the term “gathering hymn” signifies a change in theology that is dear to liturgists–the gathering of the community to share a communal meal, rather than the entrance of the ministers to offer sacrifice.

    The Order of Mass in the new translation begins like this (emphasis added):

    The Introductory Rites
    1. When the people are gathered, the Priest approaches the altar with the ministers while the Entrance Chant is sung.

    When he has arrived at the altar, after making a profound bow with the ministers, the Priest venerates the altar with a kiss and, if appropriate, incenses the cross and the altar. Then, with the ministers, he goes to the chair.

    When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest and the faithful, standing, sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, while the Priest, facing the people, says:

    In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

  34. Andreas says:

    I have a question that I fear might reveal my naivete in all of this, but here goes. Here in the Tirol, we use a hymnal during Mass that contains neither Haugen nor Haas…nothing from Oregon…our Hymnal (The Gotteslob) is filled with lovely music, some of it very old (chant) and the rest being wonderful hymns, many of which date back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The Hymnal is overseen and approved by the Bishops of Austria, Germany and the South Tirol. It also contains Masses of Michael Haydn and Schubert, the melodies from which those in the pews sing very well at Mass. On special feast days we might also hear a Mass by Mozart, Haydn, Hasse or others as part of the liturgy. With this in mind, I do not see why so many must live with music during Mass that is anything less than truly sacred, beautiful and beloved. Whilst European in original, the music and text are those of the Catholic Church. Could not the same hymns be employed in Hymnals in the United States just as they are here in Europe?

  35. TNCath says:

    Henry Edwards: “Of course, the term “gathering hymn” signifies a change in theology that is dear to liturgists–the gathering of the community to share a communal meal, rather than the entrance of the ministers to offer sacrifice.”

    Henry, you have hit the nail on the head; this is exactly what they are doing. My fear is that they are going to completely ignore the term “Entrance Chant” (as they do so much in the GIRM) and continue the same old same old.

  36. benedetta says:

    Andreas, that is very beautiful. It seems that one justification has been the notion that the States lack one more definitive cultural patrimony. However you rightly point out that this is the cultural patrimony of the universal Church and we all share a “common root” in one way or another.

    One could look at it and say that for the very reason that America has welcomed every nation to its shores that all the beauty of the Church’s music in worship should be included and encouraged here.

    And who does not want, for themselves and their children, Haydn ,Mozart and chanted prayers…

  37. Bryan Boyle says:

    While this gives me immense hope that the banal Peter-Paul-and-Mary-ish and Haugen/Haas/St Louis Jebbie bong water will eventually disappear from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…I’m also not going to hold my breath or invest my 401(k) savings in a retirement scheme that’s betting on the proper implementation.

    Versus 1969 where we were pretty much at the mercy of whatever THEY (whomever they was…) wanted to tell us about the changes, in 2011, 42 years later, there is an immense distribution mechanism (that I’m sure the Church hierarchy is still struggling to cope with…) that, like the net itself, routes around obstructions, obfuscation, and bland, non-committal statements. I’m thinking a LOT more people know about this correct translation; Mr Tucker highlighting the necessary items in the instructions can only help Joe and Mary Catholic (if they’re interested) in knowing what SHOULD be done, versus what Fr. Rockstar Wannabee and his back up band take advantage of what can be done as a concession to be eventually phased out…and the resultant ‘why are we doing this’ that will (may?) arise from the pews.

    While I personally welcome this and wish, on the 1st Sunday of Advent, that Puff the Magic Dragon and the 4-hymn sandwich disappeared like a bad dream upon awakening…I thinking that many of the bishops and local clergy formed in the 70s and 80s and fully read into the zeitgeist of the ‘Spirit of VII’ are still fixated on the ‘pastoral’ approach and tapioca-textured homilies will studiously ignore it until the full fruits of the 2011 Missal, the 2011 Instruction, and the correct translation (ie the Biological Solution) are realized. While I’d like to be proven wrong, I do believe, when dealing with human nature, that if you have low expectations, you’ll never be disappointed.

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    The music alone isn’t why most people leave the church if they do. As bad as the music is, that’s kind of amazing in my view, but it really isn’t the reason.

    According to a Pew Research Study released in 2009, the top 3 drivers for Catholics becoming Protestants are: spiritual needs not being met, found a religion they liked more, and gradually drifted away. For Catholics becoming unaffiliated they are: gradually drifted away, stopped believing teachings, and spiritual needs not met.

    These all seem to run much deeper than what musical selection we ravage with reckless and tuneless abandon about every fifteen minutes for one hour once a week.

  39. Alice says:

    In the United States we do not have one official Catholic hymnal, but we do have what are commonly called “traditional” hymnals with many old European hymns. Part of the reason we attend the parish we do is because we seldom have to deal with the folksy songs by Marty Haugen, David Haas, and the rest. Why in the comboxes the choice always seems to be a black and white, bad hymns OR chanted antiphons with no room for appropriate congregational hymns never makes sense to me. There are plenty of ways to have both sacred hymns and the appropriate Antiphons and Psalms.

  40. Denis says:

    The following is just my hunch, and I hope that I’m wrong. This will change nothing. The protestantizing establishment is too firmly entrenched, too willing to spin new instructions and sabotage attempts to improve the liturgy. Haugen-Haas-Joncas and the 70’s protestant/charismatic spiritual aesthetic are inextricably linked with the Novus Ordo and will fight any attempts at being exorcised from it as fiercely as Pazuzu. All of my hopes for positive change in the church are invested in the EF and the traditionalist movement.

  41. AndyMo says:

    Matthew the Publican:

    I am still baffled as to why the Sacramentary/Missal/Lectionary doesn’t include the offertory

    Because the antiphons included in the Missal were always intended for recitation when there was no music at Mass. For this reason, a good number of the Introits and Communios aren’t even the same texts as the ones in the Gradual. There is reference in the GIRM to singing the antiphons provided in the Missal, but this has always been a bit historically ignorant. The antiphons in the Missal are meant to be spoken. The antiphons in the Gradual are meant to be sung.

  42. Mike says:

    I hope you’re wrong, but I think you’re right. When the wretched “Rain Down” is sung while your daughter is confirmed, as mine was this spring, by a Cardinal of the RCC, well…it shakes you a bit, in all the wrong ways.

  43. benedetta says:

    Alice, I think that the combox indicates the reality which is that in some places right now there is only the Haugen and that stuff offered for NO Mass and perhaps one EF, or not at all. It is only through travel, the internet, possibly EWTN on occasion, and through commenters such as yourself that it might dawn that there is anything else which could be sung/prayed when it comes to some locales and it is not because these are technically without resources or particularly far flung or because people have risen up to choose as preference but because for so long nothing else is permitted at all, even for one parish among, say, thirty. But just as you say, given the wide diversity of what is available or possible, and given the facts of our education and states in life, our mobility, technological sophistication, one would expect, everything offered in equal amounts, everywhere since it is the universal Church. But why this is not how things are in reality I can’t explain either.

    That you have found a parish that taps into the variety nicely is overall very hopeful though. I think that these places are worth looking into and should be supported for offering, an option for people in supporting their prayers.

  44. Matthew the Publican says:

    Andy Mo: “Because the antiphons included in the Missal were always intended for recitation when there was no music at Mass. “

    So why was it that an offertory sentence was dropped from NO? There is still provision for the recitation of the introit, gradual/tract (in the form of a psalm) , sequence and alleluia verse…so why did this one minor proper get the axe?

    As an Anglo Catholic priest trained in the Anglican Missal traditions, which demand the recitation of minor propers of the pre-62 Missal, I just don’t get why this was dropped. Strangely enough, Anglicanism in it’s official texts dropped all the minor propers save the offertory!

  45. Keith Kenney says:

    Matthew the Publican:

    My understanding of why there is no Offertory Antiphon in the Roman Missal is that there was originally intended to be no “offertory” in the sense that the Offertory would consist of simply the Prayer over the gifts. It still boggles my mind that clearly there was a move to “restore” the Offertory Procession yet no antiphon was provided for it, and as all we Catholics know music is merely traveling music. My hunch is that the antiphons weren’t considered all that important seeing as how the local community (in reality a committee of those with little training and a concomitant lack of taste) would select appropriate music as part of inculturation which allows for communal expression. At the same time the Graduale Romanum was prepared without this ideological concept. Hence, there’s a Gradual where the Responsorial Psalm is provided in the Lectionary and an Offertory where none is provided in the Missal. I think it is precisely because the Graduale Romanum seems to have been prepared outside the influence of the Consilium. It’s never been translated as an official book for a couple of reasons. The liturgical establishment doesn’t really want us using propers and secondly Chant purists really don’t want chant to be done in the vernacular because the melodies are very much reliant on the Latin text. If you change the text, you clearly change the melodies.

    One other thing to take in consideration is that the Graduale Simplex had already come out in 1967 so there was a move for the parishes to abandon (if they hadn’t done so already with the low mass four hymn sandwich arrangement) the ancient melodies and even texts for seasonal antiphons. In fact, I doubt many parishes were all that familiar with the ancient melodies since many were using the Rossini propers or something like them. And if there was a really special occasion it was more likely to be polyphony.

    So all in all I don’t think the Consilium actually considered the propers of the Graduale Romanum to be unalterable texts for use at the Holy Mass. Yet somehow the Graduale Romanum survived as an official liturgical book. Perhaps this is an instance of God’s providence. But it still isn’t required for the Mass. A parish can go without EVER using a single proper (I know cause I never heard one until I was around 30 years old) and they haven’t committed a single rubrical abuse by opting out. Of course they almost inevitable replace it with happy clappy nonsense. Did I mention that not only can I sing One Bread, One Body from memory put that I can also do it in sign language? And we had no one who was hearing impaired at my parish . . .

  46. What I don’t seem to get, why are we replacing the Words of Scripture with our own? The Word of God is better than what we can come up with on our own. It seems to by default create an anthrocentric type of worship when we replace the Words of Scripture with our own, but those are just my thoughts

  47. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Andreas, my parish uses the Collegeville Hymnal which has some great traditional style hymns and some chant sections in it. The Latin Gloria is used often, it appears on page 666 (!) and is the one that is normative to the OF Mass. This hymnal also has the excruciatingly, for me, difficult to sing tune Dierdre for the Breastplate of St. Patrick and some other very interesting stuff.

    There is also a book called the Adoremus Hymnal which is more traditional still, with much more Latin and chant.

    We never use the very modern praise music style stuff like the Mass of Creation. And there are things in the hymnal which we would avoid like the plague such as Lord of the Dance which is opposed to our orthodox Dominican teachings. The day we sing that I’m outta there.

  48. Charivari Rob says:

    I’m not sure what Jeffrey Tucker is talking about. The GIRM was issued in English several years ago, after the current edition (2002, 3rd edition, I believe) of the Roman Missal was approved. The Missal that will be in force as of next Advent is the official translation of that edition for use in the English-speaking world. If the Missal translation we use is finally catching up to the GIRM translation (and neither the Missal nor the GIRM in Latin have changed), why then would there be a “new edition” of the GIRM?

    He does link information at the end of his article that confirms this is a new translation of the 2003 GIRM – (unsurprisingly) described as the single official translation for the English-speaking world.

    I think Father Thompson made some excellent observations in his comments above.

    By the way – Can I assume that there will soon be a flurry of articles around the blogosphere that embrace the exclusion of polyphony from the Mass?

  49. Leonius says:

    This isn’t going to change anything and is not worth getting excited about.

    “(4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.”

    ie. anything approved by the USCCB is fine and they will approve everything that is done now so nothing will change.

  50. jbpolhamus says:

    “This isn’t going to change anything and is not worth getting excited about.”

    Of course it isn’t going to change anything. All you have to do is go to a dictionary to know that the origins of the word “chant” in French from the Latin mean exactly “song.” In German, “Gregorianische gesang” means, Gregorian SONG. In French, “Le Chant” means “The Song [of the church]”, in fact I have a book on chant by Maria Pirek entitled the very same.

    “(4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.”

    Now if it had said “another GREGORIAN or ANGLICAN style chant…” etc., then we would have seen some changes, I can tell you. And then there’s the broadening of “the day, or the time of year…”, how specific? Please. I really hate to be pessimistic, because I want it to change ALOT. Heck, my chant group is probably the only one in the united states to have sponsored New Rite masses in Latin, with a chanted Latin lectionary, ad orientem, with full Gregorian propers, Roman vestments, and no half-brained, saccharine, prayers of the people. That’s how much I’d like it to change, but this is like trying to seal the hole in the hull of a sinking boat with Swiss-cheese. Would that it were with the Swiss Guard instead.

    “ie. anything approved by the USCCB is fine and they will approve everything that is done now so nothing will change.”

    You are correct, sir. The publishers will see to it.

  51. jbpolhamus says:

    “There’s simply too much money and power in the current “liturgical establishment” (headed by OCP and GIA, with significant ties into music programs in universities, religious orders, and chanceries) for the “option 4? to be changed, in practice, in any substantial way without a drag-out fight.”

    Nathan, what you say is true. But from one painful point of view, the judgements against whole dioceses around the country has brought that fight to the court. In one way, would that it were not so. In another way, what the church is unwilling to purge for itself, the civil courts are going to do for us, and will remove through large judgements of monetary damages some of that money and power from the establishment, perhaps weakening it to the point that it will have to either conform to Roman orthodoxy or functionally cease to exist. Then the process of rebuilding will begin again under Vicariates Apostolic. I’m not sure how long it will take, but that’s the path they’re on. Perhaps you’ll live to see the final stinking “fruit” of such liturgical “loopholes.”

  52. catholicmidwest says:


    Ah yes, I believe it’s referred to as “drawing straight with crooked lines.”

    Powerful people often forget that the authority they wield is only theirs for a time, it’s been delegated to them often not through their own merit, and if their leadership fails the job will be left to others over whom they have no control. Powerful people are only mortals, after all.

  53. schmenz says:

    It has been well noted by those who already responded but it really can’t be emphasized enough: once you give the innovators a taste of “freedom” (freedom to ignore or create rubrics, songs, whatever) it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to take it away again. The Protestant Reformation should have shown us that clearly enough.

    I do think it somewhat amusing that the Novus Ordo devotees are grumbling about the coming “changes”. Where were they when we needed them in 1969-1970?

    As a side note this type of musical tampering is not, alas, only to be found among the modernists. Our traditional Mass here in Milwaukee is being administered by the Institute of Christ the King and the pastor, otherwise a very fine man, has abominable taste in music and, like the Institute itself, is quite autocratic about seeing his awful ideas carried out. Thus we saw the firing of a brilliant choir director of twenty years, his replacement by an amateur, and the Low Masses now saddled with a constant, never-ending cacophany of bad organ music.

    Musical illiteracry is, sadly, a universal problem.

  54. “All you have to do is go to a dictionary to know that the origins of the word ‘chant’ in French from the Latin mean exactly ‘song.’ In German, ‘Gregorianische gesang’ means, Gregorian SONG. In French, ‘Le Chant’ means ‘The Song [of the church]’, in fact I have a book on chant by Maria Pirek entitled the very same.”

    The norms for liturgical translation, which apply to all languages, not only mandate an accurate translation, but the accurate meaning of the word(s). The text must not only be literal, but faithful. Both those who translate, and those who review the translation, know this.

    Not to mention know languages other than Latin and/or their own vernacular.

  55. Martial Artist says:

    Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    P.S. I had already read this on Chant Café Friday while eating my lunch at my desk. Had a big grin most of the rest of the day. And I still do, whenever it comes to mind.

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