Two examples of music for liturgy. You decide.

A reader sent me a video which I want to pass along.

Alas, the music was recorded in a concert during a music festival rather in during a Mass or singing of the hours.  This is an Alma Redemptoris Mater for 6 voices by Diego Ortiz (+ c. 1570) performed by Cantar Lontano and Marco Mencoboni at the Poesis Festival in 2012.

By contrast, here is another piece of music often heard in a church, but also recorded (I guess) in a concert.

You decide.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Oh man. Gather Us In is #1 on my top 20 liturgical songs that make me want to convert to Orthodoxy. I once saw that song in a hymnal at a Unitarian Universalist church (I was there for a wedding, don’t ask).

  2. av8er says:

    I thought I heard a lisp in the 2nd example when the 2nd guy started singing. Maybe it was me. Didn’t finish the song though, may I be forgiven.
    A few months ago I called a catholic radio show where the topic was liturgical music. The poll was reverent vs modern. I voted for more reverent and was asked why. I said that tambourines were not very reverent (I should have expounded saying the type of late 20th century music that comes along with it). The Priest, host of the show, asked me about King David, he had tambourine music in his worship, that if it was good enough for him, why not good enough for us? I replied that there was no Eucharist in David’s celebration. As he replied I was disconnected for other callers, his reply was that he felt insulted that I had made such a difference between celebrations. I am still scratching my head over that one. Maybe someone could tell me where I went wrong?

  3. Joseph-Mary says:

    I listened to the first notes of the second music and that was enough. I have been traveling and so many parishes sing this tired old song. Have they nothing else to ‘gather’ with? It follows that heresy that the “eucharist’ comes with the ‘gathering’—-having just relistened to Fr. John Hardon’s Blessed Sacrament series, he quotes from a priest who said just that. I never ever sing this song and if I never hear it again, it will be too soon!

  4. JARay says:

    The first piece “Alma Redemptoris Mater” is beautiful music and demands a level of musical ability to perform. It could have a place in the Liturgy but I would suggest that it just be a one-off and not a regular feature. May I offer a couplet from the poet Alexander Pope?:-
    “And some to church repair,
    Not for the service but for the music there”
    As for that dreary dance theme, “Gather us in”! I hear it so often in church and I hate it. I absolutely refuse to join in the community singing of stuff like that. It requires little musical ability and is even lower in terms of worship. If that is the best we can offer in praise of our God then it is little wonder many have left the Church. So many of this type of guff are churned out in our churches. Often they are protestant in theology with phrases like “We partake in this bread and in this wine….”. No idea of transubstantiation there!

  5. One of those TNCs says:

    You can always tell who is the focus of the song when you listen to the pronouns used in it.

    Assuming I didn’t miss anything, and counting each chorus as well, in the song “Gather Us In,” here’s the tally:

    we: 7 uses
    us: 17 uses
    our: 6 uses
    You: 3 uses
    Your: 2 uses
    Score: 30 to 5, and the people are ahead!!

    You and Your are the references to God, though His name is never mentioned. It’s entirely possible that many people in the congregation will not even know who’s supposed to be doing the “gathering.”

    To give them their due, the song is well-sung, with a strong, clear beat and good emphasis. Too bad the song is so narcissistic.

  6. benedetta says:

    When Haugen apologizes for his anti-Catholic remarks, I’ll feel less resentful of his profiting from marketing his church music to the faithful.

    Pastors, music directors, people want sacred music, not that 70s garbage!

  7. Stephen McMullen says:

    Yah, and so much of that Haugen/Haas stuff is…….as they would say in the magazine “Crisis”…….it is “ultramundane”…….unremarkable………bland……….depressing even.

  8. APX says:

    You know, I really miss Gather Us In during Mass. I don’t understand why the OF can’t mutually enrich the EF with it’s uplifting and catchy music. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Yeah, sure, the other stuff might be more, what they call “reverent” (what really defines “reverence” anyways?), but it’s sooo borrring! Talk about put you to sleep.

  9. Jason Keener says:

    I actually don’t mind songs like “Gather Us In” so long as they are not used in the Sacred Liturgy. The proper places for songs like “Gather Us In” are on Christian radio stations, church basements, parish picnics, and at home for enjoyment/personal devotion.

  10. I’ll let Pope Pius XII end the discussion:

    “The progress of this musical art clearly shows how sincerely the Church has desired to render Divine Worship ever more splendid and more pleasing to the Christian People. It likewise shows why the Church must insist that this art remain within its proper limits and must prevent anything profane and foreign to Divine Worship from entering into sacred music along with genuine progress, and perverting it.

    The Sovereign Pontiffs have always diligently fulfilled their obligation to be vigilant in this matter. The Council of Trent also forbids ‘those musical works in which something lascivious or impure is mixed with organ music or singing.’ In addition, not to mention numerous other Sovereign Pontiffs, Our predecessor Benedict XIV of happy memory in an encyclical letter dated February 19, 1749, which prepared for a Holy Year and was outstanding for its great learning and abundance of proofs, particularly urged Bishops to firmly forbid the illicit and immoderate elements which had arrogantly been inserted into sacred music.

    Our predecessors Leo XII, Pius VII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and Leo XIII followed the same line.

    Nevertheless it can rightly be said that Our predecessor of immortal memory, St. Pius X, made as it were the highest contribution to the reform and renewal of sacred music when he restated the principles and standards handed down from the elders and wisely brought them together as the conditions of modern times demanded. Finally, like Our immediate predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, in his Apostolic Constitution Divini cultus sanctitatem (The Holiness of Divine Worship), issued December 20, 1929,We ourself in the encyclical Mediator Dei (On the Sacred Liturgy), issued November 20, 1947, have enriched and confirmed the orders of the older Pontiffs.

    Certainly no one will be astonished that the Church is so vigilant and careful about sacred music. It is not a case of drawing up laws of aesthetics or technical rules that apply to the subject of music. It is the intention of the Church, however, to protect sacred music against anything that might lessen its dignity, since it is called upon to take part in something as important as Divine Worship.”- Pope Pius XII, Musicae Sacrae, A.D. 1955

    And just in case anyone wanted to invoke the Spirit of Vatican II…

    “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman Liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from Liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the Liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.”- Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 116, A.D. 1962

    Remind me why this is even a discussion? Orthodoxy is clear, the matter is settled. If a Mass is celebrated in the Roman Rite of the Western Church, and it doesn’t contain either Gregorian chant or Polyphonic music, there’s something very wrong with that parish and it’s corporate adherence to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Either orthodoxy binds us all, in popular as well as unpopular matters, or it doesn’t. One can’t pick and choose what one is willing to believe in the Church’s Magisterial teachings, i.e. to follow John Paul II’s lead in his teachings on the Gospel of Life, and then reject Pius XII’s teachings on sacred music and the Liturgy, or accept Vatican II’s teachings and reject St. Pius X’s Magisterium.

  11. APX says:

    Benedetta, Gather Us In was written in the 60s. Shortly after the 1962 Missal came out. Another reason why we should be singing it during the EF. It’s part of the continuity of sacred music from when the 1962 Missal came out.

  12. HeatherPA says:

    The Gather Us In clip led me on YouTube to the clip of what has to be the worst liturgical abuse I have ever seen on video (as of yet) in America.

    Between the life sized ” puppets”, women blessing the crowd, and the dance, as well as the revival tent style singing, I was completely aghast.

  13. mamajen says:

    I have to admit that there are a handful of more contemporary songs that I really enjoy. (*ducks*) My taste in music is quite varied. That doesn’t mean I have to hear the more modern stuff at mass, though–I can look that up on YouTube if I want it. The traditional music is so complex and beautiful, it gives me chills. It’s a testament to God that a human being could come up with all the parts and pieces that make up something like that first video. There’s no contest.

  14. APX says:


    That video is old news now. The bishop emeritus presiding over that, paid a surprise visit to my former parish and informed the pastor we were “really capturing the spirit of Vatican II”.

  15. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Sorry. That second one sounds like an Irish folk tune meant for dancing.

  16. APX says:


    I completely agree. I have quite the collection of uber corny church music on my iPhone, and have its very own playlist. There is nothing quite like cruising down the road singing along to the Polka Mass setting or the St. Louis Jesuits. It’s even more fun when one of my passengers is from our Latin Mass community and is completely unaware of my love of über corny church music. Better yet is when my passengers sing along with me. I have retired Gather Us In from my playlist, however, after I got a speeding ticket while listening to it. It was too distracting.

  17. benedetta says:

    APX, Gather may have been thought up in the 60s but it was fully hatched in the polyester leisure suit nonstop age of aquarius 70s.

    And with its sing songy, skippy dippy beat, it’s not at all reverent. If it’s not reverent, it can’t begin to reach to sacred.

    And, boring is a matter of taste. I find chant and polyphony interesting, challenging, beautiful. Music for the EF should be quality as well but Gather for the EF? Never. And, it’s not the date it was written that makes it suitable or unsuitable…

    The other issue with Gather in particular is its heretical theology. Of course, Haugen not being a Catholic and being bigoted towards Catholics on top of that, he probably couldn’t care less. Hey, if the unitarian universalists sing it for their “worship”, it’s got big problems theologically in a Catholic context.

  18. To paraphrase a good Archbishop, ‘just because the song mentions God, doesn’t make it fit for liturgical music.’

    Gather Us In is set to a tune that is more reminiscent of an Irish Rebellion Folk Ballad and as such belongs to that category of music and should never be heard in divine worship. The instruments used, the guitar, piano, etc. are not on the top of even Sacrosanctum Concillium’s list (the Second Vatican Council clearly considered the pipe organ as the most salutary along with Gregorian Chant).

    Alma Redemptoris Mater, on the other hand – soul stirring and entirely fitting for divine worship. Mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concillium (polyphony) as especially fitting for the liturgy. This hymn is in the big leagues, whereas Gather Us In . . . t-ball pee wee league.

  19. avecrux says:

    “Give us the courage to enter the song”. Or not. Please.

  20. JimGB says:

    I am so sick of hearing Gather Us In. I am also sick of “City of God” and any number of other insipid and banal “hymns.” Yet they are inflicted upon us week after week. When they are the processional, I just stand in silence. When the recessional, I just leave.

  21. benedetta says:

    I really don’t care if people want to download Gather to their iTunes…have at it if you enjoy singing it. It’s just junky for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Unworthy. And many, many others by H&H. Plus it’s so standard still at a great many parishes that it’s the proverbial broken record. Don’t want chant? Fine. Just ditch the Haugen Liturgy, please. There’s all kinds of other good stuff. For ideas, check out chantcafe. It’s been explained a thousand times. There’s a monopoly, only a narrow amount is marketed to the parishes, and people play it over and over and over. Do people like to hear the same stuff over and over and over? Go ahead and survey if you “have the courage to enter the song”. Does it help people toward a life of holiness? Can they pray better after singing Gather?

  22. APX says:

    You guys are way too serious for me.

  23. Fr. Hamilton says:

    “Gather Us In” gets at least one thing correct when it comments on what so sadly passes for churches: “See in this space our fears…!”

    But seriously, how the Church has almost wholesale abandoned the beauty present in the first piece boggles the mind. I suspect what must explain how such an impoverished excuse for sacred music passes today is more than just uneducated preference, but rather the ensnaring and beguiling narcissistic pull of songs like Gather. And to get really nasty… If we believe “lex orandi, lex credendi” then it is likely time to admit that an impoverished ritual (albeit valid) begets impoverished music. These types of nonsensical songs have exploded in number since the onset of the Novus Ordo and its many abuses.

    This Pastor bans Gather in his parish and plenty other songs too.

  24. benedetta says:

    You know what’s interesting though, really…music directors read or hear that orthodox Catholics despise H & H and guess what? They work it that much more. Now how’s that for funny? So, we should really up the ante. Enough whining and complaining on Fr. Z. Let’s ride the bike! Everyone, during September, if you H& H is going at your parish during the Mass, PROTEST! Don’t sing. Fold your hands and look like a scary trad…you know what to do! Then, write en masse to your pastors! The people want something different! Something of quality, something sacred! Something…singable without laughing, eye rolling, or shutting the hymn book (or “missalette” you know who you are) with a loud snap! Let’s do this!

  25. benedetta says:

    APX, we all know that any pastor worth his salt would skip up to the altar if Gather is the processional! Apparently, the people are not actively participating enough!

  26. Patra says:

    I can remember listening to “Gather Us In” during Sunday mass at my former parish where my children attended Catholic school. There in the sanctuary was the piano, guitar, and tambourine players, and on occasion, the off-key trumpeter. I never liked, nor would I sing that “hymn”. Listening to it on the video with that musical arrangement, I found myself envisioning a band of cowboys riding off into the sunset or, worse yet, a bunch of swashbuckling pirates swinging their pints of grog!!

    “Alma Redemptorist Mater” as sung in the video was beautiful…

  27. Legisperitus says:

    “Gather A Sin” reminds me of those mid-Eighties TV commercials for Nabisco Shredded Wheat, where a strange, cultlike group of people in long white robes gathered around a long table in the middle of a wheat field and sang a song about how they always scrunched up their shredded wheat before eating it.

    I guess it all ties in somehow with Extraordinary Ministers and felt banners depicting wheat stalks.

  28. av8er says:

    Gather makes me think of what hobbits in the shire would listen to at the tavern.

  29. frjim4321 says:

    The Ortiz is beautiful.

    But this is an apples and oranges comparison.

    I don’t think there would be more than a handful of parishes that could pull off the Ortiz; and even if they could, it’s not congregational singing. [So what? And Gather Us In isn’t sacred music, either. It is neither sacred nor is it art. It isn’t apt for liturgical worship.]

    “Gather Us In” has never been one of my favorites, though I like a lot of Haugen. It is kind of fun to play and sing, but I’m not a fan of non-scriptural lyrics.

    I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a lot of really horrible liturgical music out there. There are a couple contemporary attempts to set the Magnificat that serious make me want to hurl, and they are all so horribly L-O-N-G. Give me the Eugene Lindusky setting any day.

    [Just remember, when the combox is bringing you down, joy is like the rain.]

  30. zag4christ says:

    Several years ago I was listening to Fr. Mitch Pacwa talking about the importance of the focus of the music at Mass, and he brought up how our Catholic friends in Oregon who do a majority of the music in the the most popular hymnal, and so I started looking at the origin of all of the songs played at the average Mass. Most are circa 1970’s or later and tend to focus on the people, not on the praise and worship of God. I have wondered that if I in my travels need to attend a “Gathering In”, can I count it as sort of a preemptive penance?
    Peace and God bless.

  31. acardnal says:

    I find myself now searching for a recording of Alma Redemptoris Mater for 6 voices on Amazon. Any suggestions? Anyone?

  32. frjim4321 says:

    … I was listening to Fr. Mitch Pacwa talking about the …

    I think his field is scripture, not music. Don’t think he has any music credentials.

  33. MarkG says:

    I’ve never heard Gather Us In before, and I’ve regularly attended Mass all my life.
    I’m surprised it’s so popular, and I’ve never heard it before.

  34. Hank Igitur says:

    Fr Z you are baiting us with this pop music stuff aren’t you?
    You know how to push our buttons and make us respond!


  35. Roguejim says:

    The first piece has a vertical dimension that the second piece does not. Therefore, the first piece is more fitting as worship than the second.

  36. aragonjohn7 says:

    in the first song nearly all those participating looked blissful or at least happy.

    as for the second something always feels wrong when listened to or sung.

    God bless

  37. Moreos1986 says:

    Ironic you post Ortiz’s Alma Redemptoris Mater… been listening to that constantly for the last two days. =)

    Please pray for priests (and us future priests, God willing) who must make liturgical decisions!

  38. Trad Tom says:

    Years ago I signed an online petition that I would join thousands of others who “boycotted” the ‘hymns’ of Haugen, Haas, Roc O’Connor, Dan Schutte, and other St. Louis Jesuits. I do not sing “Gather Us In” or any of the insipid, banal, bordering-on-heretical music that has been foisted on us by these, ahem, musicians. Benedetta is right: PROTEST!
    By the way — Would I be correct in assuming that two of the commenters here are just being satirical pranksters?

  39. jesusthroughmary says:

    In the Blue corner:
    “O loving Mother of our Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea,
    Hasten to aid thy fallen people who strive to rise once more.
    Thou who brought forth thy holy Creator, all creation wond’ring,
    Yet remainest ever Virgin, taking from Gabriel’s lips
    that joyful “Hail!”: be merciful to us sinners.”

    In the Red corner:
    “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.”

  40. Marc M says:

    I agree with the apples and oranges comment. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve never seen recorders come out at any parish I’ve been to. And I used to play Gather Us In, simply, just on the organ, and did my best to make it reverent. It can be done. And the Ortiz… can’t. Most places.

    As much as for the choice of music, I find myself wishing simply for silence. Especially during Communion. The fear of silence at Mass and the sing-along atmosphere is a constant source of frustration for me. But I would disagree that there is something inherently wrong with a song like Gather Us In, or that it’s not “sacred,” only that it’s often misused, put where it doesn’t belong, played in an irreverent manner, etc.

    “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness,” on the other hand, makes me die a little inside when I hear it.

  41. cpttom says:

    I have actually experienced “Gather us in” as an entrance song prior to mass at an EF mass. (It was sung (by the choir) until the priest got to just outside of the sanctuary and then we (the schola) started singing the Introit. Those of us from out of town (our schola was assisting the schola at another parish that was doing its first EF) were very puzzled, until the homily.

    Before the celebrant spoke (a Priest from the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate) the pastor of the parish came out and said, “I’d like to apologize to the Eucharistic Ministers, who we won’t be needing, and the usual Choir, who will sing the entrance and recessional only, about the lack of notice, about this afternoon’s mass being in the Extraordinary Form. I sincerely apologize.” It was at that moment that we realized that he had surprised the congregation with the EF mass. Oh my.

  42. Unwilling says:

    “Not in some heaven” says it all.

  43. Cantor says:

    We sang “Gather Us In” last Sunday, and while it’s not one of my favorites, it served its purpose of bringing the people together in song or — as the GIRM might say it — gathering the assembly. They sang just fine, the priest entered the sanctuary, and Christ was present.

    Our choir has one lady with a speech impediment, so she lisped, av8er, just as she would on “Redemptoreth”. Is that a liturgical error or is it somebody singing with the voice God gave her?

    The folks here aren’t all geniuses, One of those TNCs, but I suspect more of them know ‘who’s gathering’ than what ‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’ means.

    And we’d love to use Pius XII as our reference point, JonathanCatholic, but when he calls for the men and women to be separated, we can’t decide whether to pitch the SA or the TB from our choir.

    Modern musical appreciation, for what it’s worth, does not see chant and polyphony as the appropriate norms for music at Mass. At our church, we’ll have a huge turnout on All Souls Day, when we sing the Mozart Requiem Mass. But Latin and ‘old’ music forms are simply not the common way of our world. (The Mozart, by the way, was inspired by a visit to St. Agnes a few years back.)

    If “[p]astors, music directors, people want sacred music”, benedetta, they can find it readily at the Choral Public Domain Library ( It’s even free to download for cost-conscious churches. But they’re not flocking there, so far as I can see.

    Sure, it’d be nice to sing Schubert, Beethoven, Charpentier and Gregorian Chant on a regular basis. It’s what I grew up on, and it’s what I think of when I think of church music. But it’s simply not done much these days.

    You want to change things? Fine. Write letters? Whine on line? Gripe? Complain? Call names?


    Join the choir. Form a small schola. Teach your kids. Water it. Fertilize it. Let it grow.

    If the people want it, as we would like to think here, they will come.

  44. jesusthroughmary says:

    “Modern musical appreciation, for what it’s worth”

    Not much, according to the Church.

  45. av8er says:

    As a child of the 70’s, I grew up on “Gather us in” and “Lord of the dance” and similar songs. I never knew we actually had a choice for more reverent music until @ 7 yrs ago (when I finally started to take my faith seriously). Any knucklehead like myself can recognize true beauty whether it is modern or ancient. The two examples above by Fr. Z. one is beautiful and one is not. I would imagine if there was an effort made to beautify the music, people would appreciate it and more importantly, we can show God that it is for Him that we..ahem.. Gather in Mass.
    Just because it’s not done these days doesn’t mean we should give up and accept 2nd (or 4th) best. I agree, that part of the solution for us on the trad/orthodox side is to get involved in the parish groups to help change from the inside.
    As for the lisp, lighten up. It was an easy poke at the gather folks because part of the problem with the changes in society as is the feminization of men. Funny coincidence that the lisp was in that song.

  46. JimP says:

    Unfortunately, Gather Us In and other musical pablum of the Haugen/Haas/Joncas/Schutte genre isn’t even the worst that you can hear at Mass. The leader of our parish band manages to trot out a new Gloria or Sanctus from OCP every 3 or 4 months. At least that eliminated the Gloria that sounded so much like a Broadway show tune that I kept expecting the band to form a chorus line behind the altar.

  47. JARay says:

    If I may suggest for “acardnal” who asks for a You Tube of Alma Redemptoris Mater, I offer the following:-
    (Without showing the performers)
    Showing the performers, who are 8 in number + conductor
    Both recordings are of the work of Tomas Luis de Victoria. They are not the same work though, they are different compositions

  48. JARay says:

    Sorry about this. I just tried my first piece and You Tube just told me that it is unavilable. Amazing, I just played it before coming back to post this comment.

  49. JARay says:

    I’ve done it again! So sorry:-

  50. Ellen says:

    My parish doesn’t sing during communion (thank you). The organist plays instead and I love it. We get the occasional Haugen/Hass son but not too often and they stick out like sore thumbs.

  51. RafqasRoad says:

    A friend and I were discussing this very thing a few days ago. We’ve both been a part of evangelical churches in the past of the ‘Hillsong’, ‘Michael W. Smith’, ‘David Phelps’ variety’. Back in 2000-2002 I sang in a worship band and let me tell you, there is nothing more certain in life than a Catholic music worship team’s ability to absolutely ruin the examples I’ve listed above. There is only one – ONE – example to the contrary that I have experienced (I’ll elaborate in a moment).

    Re the likes of ‘Gather’. In my thinking, these are the equivalent of the cheeseburger and ‘McMansion’ they require minimal ability and are cheap, knock-em-out fast-food requiring often only three chords on a guitar or can be sung with backing track easily enough. They are however fast food fluff. yes, one can tolerate or even enjoy a cheese burger every now and then, but as the standard diet, they lack essential nutriants and consumed as the norm rather than the exception are hazardous to one’s health.

    Another facet of ‘Gather’ and friends – they are geared often to the lowest common denominator in a misguided notion that if it’s ‘easier’ or ‘simpler’ or ‘blander’ it is therefore more accessible hence this sort of thing will guarantee the greatest level of participation by the greatest number of congregants regardless of ability.

    This viewpoint in my thinking is fraudulent and is the equivalent of keeping the average jo on pop fiction and music because higher forms are elitist and way above thebeyond the experience of (insert demographic group of choice).

    to this I say – Piffle!!

    Even the simplest of congregations can be introduced to and brought along with the finest sacred hymnity and sacred music with the right leadership and approach. Its not rocket science and to deny anybody the opportunity is an insult to the ability of the human being’s right to grow and develop.

    Additionally, there is SO MUCH MORE out there than a narrow band of 60’s-70’s three chord gruel…so much more!!

    Hubert Parry (SP),
    Herbert Howell, (sp)
    Alfred Dark, (sp)
    Arthur Sullivan (yes, he wrote sacred music),
    John Tavener (both the 16th and 20th century variety),
    Benjamin Britton,
    John rutter

    and so many more – and these are but a snippet of late 19th-mid 20th century composers of sacred music. I haven’t even touched the treasury of sacred music that has come down to us from the 8th century to our time.

    Back to the one exception where I have heard the more popular music more effectively used in a Mass environment; it made up only a small component of the worship music used that spanned the globe and centuries from plainchant to an amazing contemporary polyphonic Kyrie, Agnus Dei and polyphonic ‘verse and response’ psalm setting that was breathtaking and transported one into heaven itself. Plus, a few Latin pieces were sung; the congregation had no problems here…this was done at a university chapel at a typical Catholic uni that many would consider FAR from orthodox. Now, if their Sacraments professor and student Schola could manage this, anybody can.

    We are daily surrounded by the banal, the ‘dumbed down’, the ‘prophane’. We come to church to meet our Saviour in the form of His prescious body and blood, and in an encounter with a reality so much broader than the worker-day world. and humble awe in worship music and the Mass is not alienating to the ‘average Jo’, but a balm, a salve, a refreshing, healing anointing that lifts the spirit, engages the mind, energises the body and ignites the heart.


    Soon to be South Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite).
    PS: don’t be afraid of your liturgical language either; if Maronite, Melchite, Byzantine, Ukranian rite Catholics can organically engage with theirs, so Latin rite Catholics can do also. Case in point – the English Maronite Mass in which the Aramaeic is still preserved in parts, as is the Greek Kyrie (Think the Maronite leadership did the right thing waiting till the early 1990’s to create this edition; and it changes not a wit from the Maronite Mass in Arabic or any other language. Its the same for Sunday and Weekday, regardless of the majority language.

    PPS: Worship music directors, PLEASE desist from choosing ‘Gloria’ settings that are overly syncopated, have the syncopation stresses occurring in unnatural places in the text that interrupt the flow and give it a jerking ‘stop start’ feel that doesn’t sound hip, but renders said ‘gloria’ arduous to sing. No ridiculous interval graduations in the ‘Gloria’ either’; same goes for the Lord’s Prayer…I thank you in advance.

  52. RafqasRoad says:

    Ah Ha!! Someone’s done it now…once ‘Lord of the Dance’ is conjured you do realise that its only a matter of time…:-)

    Now I shall just back out of the room slowly and carefully.


    Soon to be South Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite).
    PS: Fr. Jim4321, you are wicked!! Truly Wicked!! :-)

  53. jflare says:

    Varied thoughts come to mind from listening to these two selections and reading the comments preceding now. In brief (I hope), here they are:
    – I grew up with music of the Gather Us In vintage too; I actually rather like some of it. But only some. A few years ago, I wound up tearing apart an old “Glory and Praise” organ book I’d bought; I kept the music I knew and liked; I wound up tossing close to two-thirds of it. But ONLY two-thirds. Weird, huh? I still kept some of it.
    – I can’t tell why easily, but I can’t STAND most of the music that came about after 1988 or so. Perhaps the music I knew as a kid entertained me enough to get by or mentioned something holy more directly. ..And in English. For some reason, most music I learned in my late teens or early 20’s..simply makes me vomit intellectually.
    – I’m inclined to agree with the assessment about keeping the 70’s stuff for entertainment, but not for Mass. We CAN do better.
    – Perhaps part of the problem lies thus: I can’t say that I ever thought about music as PRAYER per se. I still struggle with that concept. I can remember going home from Mass when I was 10 or 11, telling my folks that “the music was good today”, as though I’d been to a concert of some sort. I never thought about that as a problem, but I’d say it contributes. Mass isn’t a rock concert–or in my case, a country concert!–but a public PRAYER. Like I said, I still struggle with that concept.
    – Partly too, we must define what we mean by “being reverent”. I’ve struggled a good deal with many sorts of music in no small part because..the Church, through my teens, seemed to me to pooh-pooh the idea of “reverence as being silence”. We seemed to emphasize “making a joyful noise” or something along those lines as being another kind of reverence. I’m not so sure that’s entirely wrong. On the other hand, such a view CAN genuinely undermine a person’s chance at silent prayer. ..I’ve tried the latter when a congregation was “singing”. Ow

    – I keep thinking that we, as a Church, should find a better way to reconcile “congregational singing” with “choir singing”. I tend toward being pretty musical myself, so I’m prone to WANT to sing out whenever I hear some piece I know. ..Though oddly, I’ve been slightly startled to realize that..when we had a choir of people singing, I really wasn’t that eager to join in. Weird. I usually would be. ..Of course, at least according to the rubrics..the Church already DID reconcile “congregational” and “choir” singing. There ARE some parts of the Mass that’re specifically designed for everyone to join in, but others that’re intended for listening.
    ..Or at least, that’s what I THINK I’ve learned in the last 5 years.

    – I DO have one objection to music like Alma Redemptoris: Though it’s beautiful, I find it very difficult to meditate on something that..I don’t understand. That’s not to say that I’d be better able to focus on the concepts if they sang in English, sometimes that doesn’t work an ounce better. Sometimes the music is so..drawn can’t understand the words very easily regardless of the language.
    Maybe I’ve got too much musician in me and want to know what’s being said.

    I guess if anything, I’d like to see the Church dedicate MUCH more effort to provoking everyone to learn Latin..and aiding people in the effort. I’ve already more or less begun learning the language, but I’m sorely disappointed that pieces like Alma Redemptoris aren’t more widely known and understood.
    ‘Course I’d also like to see the Church dedicate more effort to causing the faithful to learn how TO chant. It’s not that difficult and even a vaguely trained choir can make some pretty beautiful, prayer..with some of the simpler Chants.

    Hmmm. It’s about 4:30 AM now, and I need to be up and awake at 9. Guess I’d best get to bed. I won’t do much good in (choir) rehearsal tomorrow–er, later today–if I’m dead on my feet.

  54. JonPatrick says:

    Modern musical appreciation, for what it’s worth, does not see chant and polyphony as the appropriate norms for music at Mass.
    Except Vatican II (Sacrosanctum Concilium) would say otherwise.

    But Latin and ‘old’ music forms are simply not the common way of our world.
    Isn’t that what the Mass and the Church are called to be? To not be the “common way of the world”? There is supposed to be a differentiation between the sacred and profane.

  55. Volanges says:

    APX, if “Gather Us In” had been written around 1962 it would explain a lot since Haugen was born in 1950.

    Unfortunately, copyright information seems to indicate that the was about a decade and a half out of his teens when the song was written.

  56. Phil_NL says:

    I must say that, to different words, “Gather us in” would make decent pub music.

  57. benedetta says:

    One time I overdosed on Haugen. True story. “Mass of Creation” plus the so-called hymns every week. Over and over and over and over. And over. Finally, I just quit cold turkey. Now I abstain completely!

  58. frjim4321 says:

    “It is neither sacred nor is it art. It isn’t apt for liturgical worship.” – Reverend and Dear Blogmaster

    The problem I see with this post is the tendency to confuse subjective opinion with objective fact.

    For instance I happen to really, really like “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness.” But this is my personal preference, I certainly would not impose this as an established fact.

  59. The Masked Chicken says:

    “… I was listening to Fr. Mitch Pacwa talking about the …

    I think his field is scripture, not music. Don’t think he has any music credentials.”

    Well, I do and I agree with him.

    “Modern musical appreciation, for what it’s worth, does not see chant and polyphony as the appropriate norms for music at Mass. At our church, we’ll have a huge turnout on All Souls Day, when we sing the Mozart Requiem Mass. But Latin and ‘old’ music forms are simply not the common way of our world. (The Mozart, by the way, was inspired by a visit to St. Agnes a few years back.)”

    Would that be the modern music appreciation that brought us Rap, “music,” because the confidence men who market it as, “music,” are truly musical idiots, since Rap music lacks some essential characteristics of music (like tonal inflection). It is a form of protest rhetoric with a back-beat. It deserves to be in the, “infantile,” prose section.

    There is a continuity to the Mass and, like it or not, music is a part of that continuity. When one finds the perfect and right expressive musical device to match the substance of the Mass, one is done. Where can one go from up? Chant is the perfect companion for the Mass (with Choral polyphonic settings close behind). When one has found the pearl of great price, should he not sell all he has to buy it? Much of modern, “music appreciation approved,” Mass music is like a Cracker Jack ring, instead.

    The Chicken

  60. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The problem I see with this post is the tendency to confuse subjective opinion with objective fact.”

    Fact about what? Sacredness or art? Must we relegate the discussion merely to the level of opinions. How Post-Modern of you.

    I could go into a long discussion of aesthetic theory, but one should not have to in order to prove that much of modern Mass music is sub-standard and inconsequential. Do you believe that all music is essentially equally good or proper or useful? Would my feeble attempts at composing a string quartet be just as good as Beethoven’s? Even Christ pointed out that some people have been given more than others in certain areas. Christ gave someone the genius to invent chant (okay, it evolved from a bunch of people, so it is a collective genius) and it evolved, in part, because genius saw how perfectly adapted it was to sacred expression. Much was given, much was expected, and much was obtained. Modern Church music is not the product of genius. You know how I know – because I could have composed it.

    The Chicken

  61. benedetta says:

    frjim4321, “subjective” and “objective” are not the criteria to determine whether music is sacred and worthy of the Mass, as you well know. Don’t you know your Vatican II?

    It’s also a note of that fatalistic 70s junk that says that we aren’t capable of making rational decisions and choosing with higher values when it comes to art. We are capable. We aren’t animals. God has gifted us with intellect and much more and it would be blasphemous to pretend that we just can’t choose what is beautiful and worthy. There are well established and excellent principles for determining what is beautiful, just as we put a virtue over a vice, a theologically good aim over a faulty one.

  62. Tony from Oz says:

    Fr Jim

    So you like ‘Sing of the Lord’s Goodness’, eh?

    Why, man, it’s now’t but a rip-off from that great sacral musical Jesus Christ Superstar – ‘Everything’s alright’

    Great number for a ripper liturgical dance too, doncha reckon ;)

  63. acardnal says:

    Frjim, there are good reasons why some music is called “Classical” and not “pop”.

  64. acardnal says:

    “Alma Redemptoris Mater” for 6 voices by Diego Ortiz was composed in the 1500s. Do you really think that “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” will be known – or even sung – 500 years from now?!

  65. Robbie says:

    The first song is how I imagine and hope Heaven might sound. The second song sounds like something I might hear when a group of washed up hippies from the 1970’s get together to relive the “glory” years.

  66. Apparently not all here are aware that the question of what qualifies as sacred music for use at Holy Mass is not a matter of personal or subjective opinion–neither as to what is good music or bad, nor what is beautiful or what is not, what is enjoyable and what is not, nor what anyone likes and what they do not, nor even what inspires some people and what does not.

    No, it is an objective fact that the Church has ascribed to Gregorian chant the principal place in sacred music. (As in the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium, for instance.) And an historical fact that the great hymns in the Church’s musical treasury were written for use in the Divine Office and not for Holy Mass.

  67. onosurf says:

    Just looking at the length (in time) of songs, one is composed in perfect pop tune time limits (~3min), and one is not.

  68. Marc M says:

    @Henry Edwards- isn’t that question answered by the local bishops, i.e. USCCB, etc? I was under the impression that any music used during the liturgy had to be approved. That would make it an equally objective fact that the competent Church authorities have determined that “On Eagle’s Wings” is perfectly fine.

    Say what y’all want, but I love chant, and polyphony, and I’m also fond of the Mass of Creation.

  69. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” doesn’t rip off Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s well known that it used the melody of “Take Five;” it’s used with permission. The lyricist was a jazz buddy of the “Take Five” guy.

    Whether or not Jesus Christ Superstar ripped off “Take Five,” I couldn’t possibly say.

    The quality that Gregorian chant shares with the polyphonic “Alma Redemptoris Mater” is that both kinds of music create a sort of space of reverent silence inside the sound of the music. Reverent hymns sometimes create a sort of “joyful noise” (like “Ode to Joy” or “Crown Him with Many Crowns”) or the same kind of reverent silence (“Silent Night” is a good example).

    With hard work and talent, it is possible to interpret “Gather Us In” as a song of reverent silence. With a lot of hard work on doing a much better arrangement and accompaniment than anything I’ve seen published, I think you could manage to make it a joyful noise. But it’s hard work, because it’s not there in the melody; and the lyrics are lazy songwriting and not particularly good doctrine. (Which deficiency of doctrine is exactly what you’d expect from a lyricist who’s not Catholic, so I don’t blame poor Mr. Haugen for it. I blame his Catholic editors and publishers for not helping him do better, and the Catholic pastor who employed him and didn’t give him better guidance.)

  70. Late for heaven says:

    This discussion reminds me of a comment made by my son. He was raised in the 90’s church, all Hagen all the time, and I sang in the choir myself. He is the product of two generations of bad liturgy and worse catechesis. He is a modernist heretic, to my sorrow. He has never seen an EF mass and knows chant only from music classes in High School. Nevertheless, while visiting a Central American country he complained of the loud rock music on Sunday mornings. Each protestant denomination tried to outdo the others in decibels to try to win attendant to their services. “Mom, they have to have lots of loud obnoxious music because they have so little else to offer.”

  71. Cantor says:

    Henry Edwards –

    We disagree.

    SC states plainly that Chant has “Pride of Place”, yet at no point does it define what that means. My grandmother’s china had pride of place in the living room cabinet, and was used twice a year. That’s pretty much Latin/Chant in our diocese. Pange Lingua/Tantum Ergo on Holy Thursday, Adeste Fidelis on Christmas. Period.

    Similarly, the numbering of musical options 1-4 in SC is interpreted by some as showing precedence for sung antiphons, but that view is never established in the document. (Is the 4th Commandment more important than the 7th?) So the fact that hymnody has expanded from the Hours to the Mass is in no way discouraged or inappropriate.

  72. MuchLikeMartha says:

    We use the Gather hymnal at our parish. It’s way better than the old Breaking Bread, but still, ugh. This singsong-y little ditty was our opening hymn yesterday: and I cannot begin to describe how much I utterly LOATHE this song. In fact, we sang it two weeks ago as the opening hymn and a few weeks prior to that when the Archbishop was visiting to bless our construction project. The composer used to be a member of our parish. Thankfully we do not sing his works very often…anymore. Our oldest daughter is being confirmed in October, and I pray they do not play this kind of drivel for that Mass. It would be nice to not have such contemporary garbage polluting this sacred occasion. For the record, the teen in question hates the modern stuff too. The last thing I want to hear from my protestant nephew is how our church isn’t that different than what they do at theirs because of music similarities, etc. That would be tragic.

    Like one of the first posters above, I also refused to sing this song or any other of similar ilk. They serve their purpose better in a “praise and worship” setting (and then for Catholics on a limited basis!), not for Holy Mass. St. Cecilia, pray for us!

  73. rbbadger says:

    There used to be a webpage called the Society of Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, or SMMMHDH for short. While it is no longer active, thanks to the Wayback Machine, I was able to get one of the best parodies of “Gather Us In” I’ve ever seen.

    Gather Them In (for Thanksgiving)

    Here in this place, our family’s meeting –
    Grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts –
    Getting in place for dinnertime seating,
    And to my mother they’re chanting these chants:

    “Gather them in, the turkey and stuffing,
    Gather them in, the gravy and ham!
    And don’t forget that Thanksgiving dinner
    Just ain’t complete without cranberry jam!”

    Out in the den my uncles were spitting
    Curse words in front of the big screen TV
    While watching football (totally fitting):
    Visitors thirty, home team only three.

    “Gather them in,” my mother requested:
    “Gather them in, lest dinner gets cold.”
    And though at first, my uncles protested,
    Watching the walloping quickly grew old.

    Gone from this place, my sister’s new diet.
    Brother’s already demanding more food.
    To our surprise, the in-laws are quiet –
    No petty fighting to break up the mood.

    “Gather the beans, the corn and potatoes.”
    “Gather the pot roast, gather the bread.”
    “Haven’t you got too many tomatoes?
    Just one more bite will render you dead.”

    After our dinner, everyone’s groaning,
    Grousing, complaining, that they ate too much.
    And this one thought has my cousins moaning:
    Turkey breast sandwiches for next week’s lunch.

    “Gather them in, the Pepto-dash-Bismol,
    Gather them in, the Pepcid AC.
    Please do it quick, cuz’ we’re feeling dismal,
    Next year we’ll limit our helpings to three!”

  74. everett says:

    If we’re going to work on objectively evaluating liturgical music, there are two factors to look at, the lyrics and the music. “Gather Us In” clearly fails the lyrics test as being objectively good Catholic doctrine, and on that basis alone should be out, regardless of the evaluation of the actual music. One of the easiest tests in evaluating modern liturgical lyrics is what One of those TNCs did earlier in looking at what the subject of the song is. If the song is more about us than it is about God, chances are very good that it shouldn’t be sung (exceptions might include lyrics that are straight scripture or devotions from the saints). This is in stark contrast to “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” which is pretty clearly a song about God rather than about us.

  75. Cantor, what we might well agree upon is that Sacrosanctum does not say what “pride of place” might mean. However, what the official Latin original of SC actually says (in paragraph 110) is that

    Ecclesia cantum gregorianum agnoscit ut liturgiae romanae proprium: qui ideo in actionibus liturgicis, ceteris paribus, principem locum obtineat.

    However, principem locum is reasonably translated as “principal place” (or “first place”), not as “pride of place”, which looks like a circumlocution chosen precisely because its meaning is unclear.

  76. James Joseph says:

    Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a song called ‘Back Home in Derry’. And, then struck out to sea. Before long she sank to the depths with the ‘Edmund Fitzgerald’. And, then it came back as a zombie to ‘Gather Us In’

    You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  77. MuchLikeMartha says:

    I let my two oldest children listen to that version of Gather Us In, and they got a good laugh out of it because it was so clangy and overly-enunciated. First of all, they thought it reminded them of a part in The Little Mermaid where there were some pirates (or vikings or whatever) singing on their ship. The oldest said that the first music is so much more peaceful and said that she likes it when they play music like that during Confession times. She said it makes her feel more spiritual and prayerful and wishes they would play quieter music during Mass. Her sister and I agree. Lastly, they both said rather disgustedly that if it’s music that you could dance to, it is not appropriate for Mass. They are 15 and 13.

    Rbbadger, that parody is hilarious!!

  78. jflare says:

    “SC states plainly that Chant has “Pride of Place”, yet at no point does it define what that means. ”

    You’re kidding! Right??
    Whether the term is “pride of place” or “principle place”, the point is the same: USE IT.

    I think your analogy to your grandmother’s china says something different from what you might be trying to suggest. It may actually be more meaningful than you intended.

    I recall MY grandmother had china in her cupboard too. It spent most of the time in the cupboards, but some of it spent time in the cupboard..on display. It was made not just for use, but to be admired for it’s beauty.
    (For me to mention THAT says something in itself. After learning to use a mess kit on Boy Scout camp-outs, I tended to have something of a disdain for finery. I still am not often readily inclined toward appreciating finery.)

    Same thing might be said for my parents’ china. We didn’t use it very often, not even for Sunday dinner after Mass very often. No, our china only came out for birthdays and special occasions like Christmas. But that’s precisely the point: We had “regular” dishes for use with regular meals, but ALSO special dishes for special occasions. We never really discussed the idea of “paying attention” to your brothers’ birthday or other events. We never needed such a discussion because Mom always insisted that we treat the dinnerware more carefully than normal. Rather tough to not catch that.

    I would say the same is true for our liturgical music:
    For all that I find some of the 70’s IS just that, entertaining, not prayerful.
    Our music for Mass should not remind us of Woodstock.

  79. The Masked Chicken says:

    “@Henry Edwards- isn’t that question answered by the local bishops, i.e. USCCB, etc? I was under the impression that any music used during the liturgy had to be approved. That would make it an equally objective fact that the competent Church authorities have determined that “On Eagle’s Wings” is perfectly fine.”

    No. Local councils of bishops can approve music as long as they conform to the dictates of sound Catholic teaching, sacred historical practice, and hierarchical tolerance. The U. S. was missionary territory when Gather Us In was originally approved, and, as such, local indigenous music was permitted in missionary territory. Folk music of the Hagen type was considered local indigenous contemporary American music. As such, it was authorizable at the time when the U. S. was a missionary territory. America lost its missionary status in the 1980’s, so, by the decrees on music in Vatican II, American Folk-derived liturgical music was no longer allowed and the bishops had no authority to approve it. I don’t think they realized this, however. Also, the Vatican had very little oversight on musical activities, worldwide up until a few years, ago, so these sorts of things have slipped past the hierarchical boot for a long time. The situation with regards to music oversight by the Curia is improving, but still has a long way to go.

    How we got the Hagen, etc., folk music is, essentially, not by the action of musicians, but but liberal liturgists. The sad history can be read in Msgr. Schuler’s history. It should be read by all:

    “Who is responsible? In the field of liturgical music, those who voiced their opposition to the conciliar directives at the congress in Chicago and Milwaukee were associated with the National Liturgical Conference, Universa Laus, the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy and the Music Advisory Board organized under that committee. The activities of these groups in the years following the Fifth International Church Music Congress provide the answers to many of the questions asked by Catholics who wonder what has become of their musical heritage, what has happened to deprive them of the sacred worship of God that the liturgy should be. They wonder, in a word, why the clear orders of the Second Vatican Council on the reform of sacred music, set out in the sixth chapter of the constitution on the sacred liturgy, have not been heeded and implemented in the United States.”

    The Chicken

  80. janeway529 says:

    I have no problems with ritual music or sacred music.

  81. Masked Chicken,

    “@Henry Edwards- isn’t that question answered by the local bishops, i.e. USCCB, etc? I was under the impression that any music used during the liturgy had to be approved. That would make it an equally objective fact that the competent Church authorities have determined that “On Eagle’s Wings” is perfectly fine.”

    I have not written, here or anywhere else, what this quotation ascribes to me. It evidently comes from someone else.

    But I agree with your subsequent remarks. I might add the following vignette from page 22 of Msgr. Shuler’s chronology illustrating how the present situation–and the substitution of virtually anything somehow musical for approved Mass texts–was maneuvered by a small number of liturgical activists. A “Musical Advisory Board” of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy consisting largely of liturgical activists was set up with then-Archabbot Rembert Weakland (yes, he who later fell into much disrepute as Archbishop of Milwaukee) as its chairman.

    In February 1966, the Music Advisory Board was called to meet in Chicago, with an agendum that included a proposal for the use of guitars and so-called “folk music” in the liturgy. It was clear at the meeting that both Fr. McManus and Archabbot Weakland were most anxious to obtain the board’s approval. The Archabbot told of the success of such “experiments” at his college in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where, during Mass, the students had enthusiastically sung, “He’s got the Archabbot in the palm of His hand.” Vigorous debate considerably altered the original proposal, and a much modified statement about “music for special groups” was finally approved by a majority of one, late in the day when many members already had left. But once the rubber stamp had been applied, the intensity of the debate and the narrow margin of the vote were immediately forgotten. The Music Advisory Board had fulfilled its function; it had been used.

    Elsewhere I have read that this final vote and its single-vote majority had been attained only by the tactic of the chair’s holding out until so late in the day that enough opponents of the proposal had left to catch their scheduled flights home from Chicago.

  82. Mike says:

    “Gather Us In,” reminds of everything that I don’t like with respect to those priests that do not, ‘say the black and do the red.’ The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass becomes, as they say,“their Mass,” as they take liberties with the liturgy in every kind of way. This is one reason that the Extraordinary Form has become so attractive. I was only five years old in 1969 when my home diocese made the change to the Novus Ordo. I was raised in the Novus Ordo in the 1970’s and ‘80’s and only found my way to the TLM in my 40’s by the grace of God… which has been a great blessing in my life. I honestly don’t know a single priest who says the TLM that would ever (and thankfully so) allow the singing of this awful, horrid, and empty hymn – if you can indeed call it a hymn. While we’re at it… the, “Gather,” hymnal should be dumped everywhere. I do still attend both forms of the liturgy and my parish priest (Ordinary Form) has stated that you will never see the, “Gather,” hymnal in our parish. Thank goodness!.. and thank you Father!

  83. Mike says:

    …. besides now the awful tune of, “Gather Us In,” is now stuck in my head and playing over and over and over and over and over….

  84. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Henry,

    “I have not written, here or anywhere else, what this quotation ascribes to me. It evidently comes from someone else. ”

    Marc. M (11:16 am), raised that question when frjim4321 started on the subjective vs. objective idea and both you and I answered frjim4321. I was trying to answer his (Marc M.’s) point which was in response to your point and I left his direction at you in the quote. Sorry.

    In fact, music for the liturgy has never been decided by musicians after Vatican II, thus, I think the entire range of Catholic modern music is suspect. At some point (probably when the coming EMP knocks out all of the electric guitars), the Vatican has got to let musicians be musicians and make their rightful contribution to liturgical music. As it is, for now, the modern post-Vatican Church, at least in the U. S., has become the Church of the Holy Garage Band.

    The Chicken

  85. Cantor says:

    Henry Edwards –

    You hit the nail on the head when you said “which looks like a circumlocution chosen precisely because its meaning is unclear”. Unfortunately, that’s the “official” translation, cloaked as it is in mystery. And let’s not even guess what on earth they really meant by the preparatory “ceteris paribus”.

    My hunch was that it was a section thrown together without adequate thought to its later interpretation. The result is that musicians are left to interpret it as they want it to be, which brings us right back to the question of what “feels” right. Blechh!

  86. Sword40 says:

    I really don’t care for either piece (in the Liturgical setting). Try pure Gregorian chant or polyphony that is written for the Mass ( ) The “Gather us in” thingy” reminds me of when I used to attend the OF Mass. (no more)

  87. trespinos says:

    I hope I never hear “Gather Us In” at another Mass. (I could ensure that by switching to an EF Sunday Mass, but currently that will involve a 52-mile round trip on a somewhat dangerous freeway. Sigh.)
    My reaction to the first piece surprised me. I was predisposed to like it. I like polyphony in general. Perhaps I should have just listened and not watched; the conductor’s antics put me off. I did not begin to appreciate the piece until the musical accompaniment began.

  88. Charles E Flynn says:

    Why write music such as “Gather Us In” when one could just as easily compose some new lyrics (allegedly appropriate for the liturgy) for the theme music to “Knot’s Landing”?

  89. Trinitarian Dad says:

    I’m very surprised that no one has yet noted that Gather Us In seems to be, let’s say, reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” A commenter above mentioned that it would be good if we could learn more latin. Our parish announces its fair share of latin hymns and the congregation doesn’t seem to be fazed when they are announced. I would guess that is because they have learned their latin from repetition from both hymns and Mass propers. (We sing the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei at least once a month on Sundays.) I enjoy singing what you might call the in-between hymns – not classical/chant and not the banjos and bongos stuff. I have been blessed so much lately by paying attention to what the verses of these songs actually say. I’ve found them to be well crafted, doctrinally solid poetry. Some of the H&H stuff sounds rather like solemnly repeated non-sense. “We come to tell our story?” You want to tell your story? Go to confession! I want to hear His Story!

  90. Cantor: “Unfortunately, that’s the ‘official’ translation”

    The only official version of Sacrosanctum Concilium is the Latin original that the bishops at Vatican actually voted on. I’m not sure in what sense (if any) any English translation of this document can be called “official”. In any event, we all now know more than enough about the English translations (official or not) of that unfortunate era. And aside from the fact that no word in the Latin original suggests the English word “pride”–one would think that a translation just “thrown together” without ideological intent would be less artfully deceptive–I understand that “ceteris paribus” does not have quite the same sense in Latin as “other things being equal” has in English.

  91. The Masked Chicken says:

    New name for the debate:

    Gather Us In-famy?

    The Chicken

  92. Marc M says:

    @ Henry Edwards – yes, my question was in response to your statement that what music we have at Mass is not a matter of opinion, but that the Church has spoken, i.e. Vatican II. My point was that the council Fathers didn’t leave the faithful with a hymnal, but rather pointed in a direction; then they let the local churches handle the specifics.

    @ Henry & Chicken – fascinating info, thank you for the responses. I grew up after this revolution, and spent several years away in Evangelical-land, but I was also an organist before I left and have been more recently a musician at a Protestant church, so I probably have a different perspective than many here.

    One thing I found interesting in my experience was, even sometimes leading Evangelical worship, I was never fully on board with the style, and wished for something more reverent. Now that I am coming back home, I find myself craving the traditions that I never even experienced growing up. And yet, I still like plenty of Haugen’s music too–though I wonder how much of that is more directly nostalgia for what I did experience before I left.

  93. Kerry says:

    Although the original score, music and entire chorus was lost to the rising waters, I believe ‘Gather Us In’ was originally called ‘Let Us In!!”, was percussive, pounding drumming, and very cacophonous, as the hordes pounded on the olive wood staves screeching piteously, “Let us In! Let us in!”

  94. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was re-watching some Stargate SG-1 (season 9), last night, and when the Ori appear, to indicate a religious theme and their, “malevolent near-omniscience,” the composer used Chant. How silly would the Ori have appeared if the background music had been Gather Us In?

    The Chicken

  95. netokor says:

    If I had any talent I would write the music and words to “Gather Us Outta Here!”

  96. Makemeaspark says:

    I must say that while i LOATHE the second song, may i never hear it again, amen, i have one complaint about the second song.

    I preface my complaint by saying i am one of the poorly catechized children of the seventies, and i am growing in my ability to sing Gregorian chant, however, I do not know what is the subject of the First song. I deduce from my poor Latin that it is in honor of our lady. I cannot even discern the Latin words being so beautifully sung there. The devastating beauty of the piece is without a doubt. However, if i were not a believer I would enjoy it anyways and give glory to the heavens.

    My eyes are lifted to heaven when I hear the scripture or words in Latin that I recognize as giving glory to God. Please keep singing beautifully to God but also PLEASE be understood!

  97. acricketchirps says:

    James Joseph, the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in Lake Superior not in the sea.

  98. wmeyer says:

    frjim: Sorry, I missed your presentation of your own credentials.

    As to your objection to the Ortiz, truth be told, there are few choirs which are capable of a less than embarrassing rendition of “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness”, which really seems a sort of vocal calisthenics event. And as earlier noted, it’s so completely derivative of Lloyd Webber, I have no idea why it should continue to be published.

  99. acardnal says:

    Some critics view “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” as nothing but a clever copycat version of the melody of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Compare the two below. You only have to listen to a few bars from each before it’s obvious.

  100. wmeyer says:

    acradnal, that was the other connection I had forgotten. Either way, it says the “composer” in this case gets credit at least for recognizing a better composition than most of what is found in OCP.

  101. Palladio says:

    I’m goin’ with the first one. I prefer it in the Mass, truth be told, and so did Marcel Proust, by the way, who feared that, one day, the Mass would be lost due to France going secular. How about that! He was right.

    The second one is a parish favorite. It’s lyrics are rather stupid: what if you are at a night Mass? So much for “the light of this day.” Perhaps they assume nobody attends Mass after 5: 00 p. m. Correctamundo.

    More bad news: Abba, Father sounds a lot like the theme to Star Wars. It dates to 1977, the very year we met Luke, Hans, Darth and the whole gang of space opera characters. I did find the similarity a distraction in prayer.

  102. The 2nd, is not music, the first is rather edifying.

  103. DavidR says:

    When I listen to Palestrina, or de Victoria, I get the sense that I’m listening to the angels in heaven praising the transcendent God; I’ll just leave it at that.

    I’ve stopped singing at our NO Mass; the stuff is just too nausea-making.

    And please GOD, grant us thirty seconds of blessed silence.

  104. goodone121 says:

    I actually prefer Gather Us In, mainly because I can actually understand it, and before you say, “but you’re not conservative”, I can say, truthfully, I am quite so, both politically (I am part of the Tea Party), and theologically.
    PS. To whomever said, “there’s no transubstantiation,” while you’ve got me on the wine, notice Haugen sings at 2:07-2:10,”give us the bread that is You.”

  105. Volanges says:

    Thought you might be interested to see what the people in my childhood parish have to look forward to for music at this Sunday’s Mass. Note “big tent” will be about 500 feet from our 90 year old church.

  106. James says:

    A few years ago I was promoted from being an assistant music director in a parish to being the director. One of the perks: I choose the music. In other words, I never have to sing “Gather Us In” again.

    We pretty much went from Masses where 75% of the music was Haugen/Haas to about 1%.

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