Place of Vernacular Hymns in a Traditional Catholic worldview
  • The following are all acknowledged:

    1) St. Jerome translated Holy Writ into Latin - which was at the time the Vulgar tongue.
    2) There are persons who maintain that no vernacular singing belongs within the context of the Mass.
    3) There are other persons who maintain that the persons mentioned in #2 are repressed and need to get a life.
    4) Both the Mass and Vespers have prescribed texts.

    Here is the question I wish to discuss, instead of any of the above:



    Here are some thoughts:

    1) If we have processions (i.e., what used to be called Corpus Christi processions, but also May processions) could/should one use Lift High the Cross on September 14th. -- as just one example.

    2) "Sing-along" is a non-Catholic conception of music.

    God bless,

    Chris
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    could/should one use Lift High the Cross on September 14th.
    Yes.
    "Sing-along" is a non-Catholic conception of music.
    WHAT do you mean by "sing-along"?

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    If the procession is devotional and not prescribed in the liturgical books, on what basis might "Lift High the Cross" not be suitable?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    We don't "sing-along." We sing with all the saints in glory. ;-)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    . . . who toiled and fought and lived and died
    For the Lord they loved and knew.

    And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
    And one was a shepherdess on the green;

    And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
    And one was slain by a fierce wild beast;

    You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
    In church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;

    For the saints of God are just folk like me,
    And I mean to be one too.
  • CH Giffen,

    I think Liam has effectively answered the question about "sing-along". This song has a place at Episcopalian summer Bible study courses and some kinds of Anglican school assemblies (in England) where the singing of such stuff is (or used to be) encouraged, but I don't think it has the right feel for the public worship of the Church.

    In a different context, I must certainly concede, if one believes that Low Mass is the one created by God, and High Mass, Solemn High Mass and Pontifical High Mass are mostly the creations of the evil musicians who escaped from their jail cell (I know people who hold views like this) "sing-along" could mean "any singing other than hymns at a low Mass or Marian procession".

    Chonak,

    usually involves a strong, solid organ to accompany it, in much the same vein as Onward Christian Soldiers and For All the Saints and I bind unto myself this day do. In the absence of an organ (either because the parish lacks one or because the procession is outside) these hymns would suffer.

    I think you mean "proscribed", not "prescribed", don't you?

    Thank you (all) for your helpful comments. Please continue.

    Chris
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    Oh, I meant 'prescribed'. I was wondering if someone was going to suggest that *vernacular* hymns would be excluded. Such a suggestion would mean applying liturgical (EF) norms to a purely optional (not prescribed) event, a devotional, non-liturgical procession.

    After all, the heading of this thread mentions a "traditional Catholic worldview". The hymn's effectiveness without organ accompaniment would seem to be a matter independent of the traditional or other viewpoint.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Ivsee this all the time. Basically, alot of Latin Mass Catholics argue that vernacular hymns have no place in the liturgy because they want sung propers to Gregorian Chant.

    The fact is rhat there were many Latin hymns sung during the liturgy through the centuries. Gaudete, Christus est Natus and Jesu Dulcis Memoria are probably two of the most famous.

    Hymns have always been a part of our liturgy. Vernacular hymns were permitted before Vatican II and all that happened at Vatican II was the loosening of restrictions surrounding the practice.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    There is also the fact that there are many that advocate vernacular hymns to the exception of anything else because they DO NOT want propers and chant. And even in some cases only want a specific hymn.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I think the notion that there is one particular set of opinions that could be called the "traditional Catholic worldview" is.... not very Catholic (or traditional).
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    Chris,

    The juxtaposition of your two items ("Lift High the Cross" and "sing-along") made me wonder whether you were implying they might be somehow related ... or that perhaps you regarded any vernacular hymnody as sing-along.

    To me you just were not very clear, and hence my question.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Let's consider two important factors:

    1.) Liturgical Needs
    2.) Music Resources

    Your average suburban Catholic Church just wants there to be music at Sunday Mass. Most congregations would prefer poor music to no music at all. This is why there is a plethora of volunteers with their guitars singing all sorts of sacro-pop.

    The resources of the average suburban church are often very limited. The first being budget. Many churches can only afford to pay an Organist/Choirmaster for the main Sunday Mass.

    Then there is the resource of singers and musicians. Serious singers or musicians won't go near church music because of the poor standard there is today. How many organists would prefer to play a song like "Come As You Are" week in and week out over say a Bach prelude and fugue?

    The demands of good church music are quite high. In most protestant churches you sing 3 or 4 hymns and maybe play a prelude or postlude. In the Catholic Liturgy, there are many more items of music.

    A professional church musician can be easily expected to provide the following in the space of about 60-90 minutes:

    a. Prelude
    b. Introit/Processional
    c. Kyrie/Sprinkling Rite
    d. Gloria
    e. Responsorial Psalm
    f. Sequence
    g. Gospel Acclamation
    h. Offertory
    i Credo
    j. Sanctus
    k. Mysterium Fidei
    l. Great Amen
    m. Pater Noster
    n. Agnus Dei
    o. Communion
    p. Thanksgiving
    q. Recessional
    r. Postlude

    Not to mention improvising interludes and fanfares where appropriate/required. 18 items of music is a heck of a lot of work to do to a high standard, and yes, this is the standard that the church demands.

    Now, your average volunteer musician in your average suburban parish is generally not capable of preparing this sort of program from week to week. You'll see that in many churches, the psalm, credo and pater noster are said, there are rarely preludes and postludes. They are of course going to use familiar hymns as much as possible instead of having to learn a new set of propers each week.

    If you are a musician capable of this sort of workload, you'll be in demand. If I could tri-locate every weekend, I'd still be flat out providing music for all the churches that want this high standard of music, but can't find the people to do it.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    Everybody scoots before the postlude begins anyway at my parish.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    My dear old organ professor, who also worked in a Methodist church on Sundays, gave me the following advice on postludes. Turn on the sforzando and put both elbows on the great manual. They are all headed for the door and wont know the difference.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    All of a sudden this thread seems to have meandered to the needs/whims/problems of organists ... rather than the question of the place of vernacular hymns in a traditional Catholic worldview.

    Now that "sing-along" has been flogged, how about explaining the "traditional Catholic worldvieww" ... from what era and perspective does this come?
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I am afraid the "traditional Catholic worldview" has meandered all over the place over time. What exactly is it anyway, or what is it that some of you think it was/is?
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    I'd like to point out also that when "traditional Catholic worldview" is mentioned, one is essentially claiming to be discussing the worldview of literally millions of different people. Perhaps the "traditional Catholic worldview" is not definable for this reason.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    Perhaps the "traditional Catholic worldview" is not definable for this reason.
    That's the way I feel, too. But perhaps the original poster has something more specific in mind?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    I wonder if the issue with lift high the cross is the way most of the theological meat of the song is in the verses, which end in that dramatic cadential segue that musically says, "EVrybody now!" Then everybody goes, "Oh yeah, I know this part. Nanananananana nananana, hey Jude."
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Ok., let's see if I can nail some parts of the "traditional Catholic worldview" to the masthead.

    1) Our life is, by nature, and should be, by our actions, oriented with an awareness of the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell.

    2) Our Worship of God should be just that: worship, and oriented toward God.

    3) If we all share the same faith, and if the essentials of the Mass are the same everywhere, cultural differences (between, say, the Germans and the Irish, or between the French and the Italians) are a diversity to be celebrated each character within its proper framework, not a mindless polyculturalism to be enforced on everyone.

    4) An indigenous clergy is helpful for evangelization and for nurturing the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith, not the Church of This ZipCode

    5) The individual believer has his individual temperament, but the public worship of God, including processions beyond parish property, is normal and healthy.

    6) Singing ability is not a requirement for singing.

    7) Liturgical order, even within liturgical clutter.

    8) The Mass is the source and summit of our Catholic life, but is not the only part of it.

    The following are NOT part of a traditional Catholic worldview:

    1) Everyone MUST sing everything, ALL THE TIME, or Mass didn't happen.
    2) IF you can't see and hear everything as if it were piped to your personal hand-held device, Mass didn't happen, and the community was damaged.
    3) Microphones must be in church.
    4) Carpet must be in Church.
    5) Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour?
    6) Feast Days should be blended into Sundays.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    it seems the reality is:
    1.) Everyone doesn't sing everything. They look at their smart phones or read the bulletin.
    2.) You wont see everything while looking at the iPhone.
    3.) Many churches are so acoustically dead microphones become necessary to hear much of anything.
    4.) Carpet is part of the microphone problem
    5.) Not required for salvation, but welcome to the touchy-feely-all-about-me church
    6.) Most feast days are blended into Sundays, if not ignored completely.
  • Charles,

    Some of us still have what we lovingly call "stupid phones". I can't use the internet or anything interesting like that, and I don't carry mine often enough to bother learning what features the phone can do, besides sending and receiving telephone messages.

    Of course carpet is part of the microphone problem, and microphones are part of the carpet problem -- and neither belongs in a Catholic church, because part of the Catholic ethos is a recognition that the building should aid singing.


    Beyond that, here are some thought I penned from a while ago.

    "Liturgical Song" Parodies: by Christopher J. Garton-Zavesky

    I'm not Afraid....

    You shall cross a barren desert,
    caused by jingles such as this.
    You shall wander far from safety,
    singing "I am on my way".
    you shall mangle words in "modern" tongues
    and none shall understand.
    You think you're replacing God. How sad!

    I'm not afraid: your time won't last for always.
    Come back to God,
    and He will give you rest.

    If you pass through raging tempers on the way,
    you shall not frown.
    If you walk away from ICEL's charms,
    You SHALL NOT BE HARMED.
    If you stand with God against the foe,
    and death must be your call,
    Know that He is with you,
    through it all.

    I'm not afraid: your time won't last for always.
    Come back to God,
    and He will give you rest.

    Blessed are the poor,
    for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
    Blessed are those who've wept and mourned,
    who've prayed "God's will be done."
    And if wicked men at ICEL hate you
    for your love of God,
    Blessed, blessed are you.

    Be not afraid: the end is close at hand.
    Come back to God,
    and He will give you rest.



    On Eagles' Wings ...

    Yoo hoo!, here in the shelter of the Lord,
    we abide in His shelter for life.
    Hear from the Lord, your refuge:
    "In sin you should not trust"!

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.

    The snare of the fowler can't catch a bird like you,
    and famine can't bring you to heel:
    if you know better than God,
    what need have you of shield?

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.

    You needle each and every little thing
    which you see and you think has gone out.
    Though thousands tried before you,
    they erred and so do you!

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.

    For to His angels (HIS angels don't you see?)
    He's given the charge to call home
    ungrateful souls,
    so they bear you up.
    Would you turn away their earnest plea?

    And He can raise you up on Eagles' wings,
    He can keep you safe from harm,
    make you soon shine like the Son,
    but only if you're in His Hand.



    Sing to the Mountains

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?

    We will take thanks from you, My lord.
    We are so great and strong:
    We have saved your church from death,
    We are the church, hear Our SONG:

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?

    Holy, Holy, Holy Cow!
    Heaven and earth are full of Our Glory!!!

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?

    This is the day when the lord is made
    modern and hip, up to date.
    We have turned the church around:
    each person now their own pope !

    Sing to the Mountains, sing to the Sea
    This is Our new Liturgy!
    This is the day which We have made,
    Why doesn't earth rejoice?



    City of God

    Awake from your slumber,
    arise from your sleep:
    we're shearing the plumper
    of god's little sheep.
    From people in darkness
    we've hidden the "Light",
    the "Truth" which can guide them
    though dark is the night:

    Let us build the city of Us,
    so their fear be turned into prancing,
    for our lord, our hand in his glove,
    has freed the lambs, let them stray.

    We are children of morning,
    we are daughters, okay?
    The One who has loved us
    will do as we say.
    The lord of all blindness
    has called us to see
    new light in His People
    The Church newly Free.

    Let us build the city of Us,
    so their fear be turned into prancing,
    for our lord, our hand in his glove,
    has freed the lambs, let them stray.

    Got the lite? In Us there is no darkness.
    Let us walk in our light, the children of new birth...
    O comfort the people;
    make gentle god's words.
    Proclaim to our city
    the day of her birth.

    Let us build the city of Us,
    so their fear be turned into prancing,
    for our lord, our hand in his glove,
    has freed the lambs, let them stray.

    O City of Gladness,
    O Vatican Two,
    Proclaim our New Tidings,
    OUR Church is brand new!

    Let us build the CITY TO US,
    so that fear is turned away prancing,
    see: the lord, from heaven above,
    has given us newly a WAY.



    I have loved you with a narcissistic love

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.

    Seek the place of the Lord since he's been moved
    if you find Him I'm not doing my job.

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.

    Seek the place of the Lord if you're so bored!
    If you find Him I'll board up the door.

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.

    Seek in place of the Lord the people here
    in the presence of "Voice of God" songs.

    I have loved you with a narcissistic love,
    I have seen you, and you are me.....
    I have loved you with such narcissistic love,
    We can worship, just you and me.
    Thanked by 1ZacPB189
  • "There are persons who maintain that no vernacular singing belongs within the context of the Mass."

    Before you venture out into the murky waters of opinion and personal taste -- refer to the law, and always hold the law as your foundation first. Extraordinary Form masses always fall under the authority of the liturgical and musical regulations in place in 1962, except what was explicitly changed by Pope Benedict XVI (such as the Triduum clarification).

    Ordinary Form masses fall under the authority of the liturgical documents of Vatican II (e.g., Gregorian chant being essential, and modern practices always being quantified as "when appropriate"). It's not that complicated.

    Now, after the law, many good things have been said in this thread, but I really want to make the point that you MUST involve the priest in your musical decisions when you begin to make changes. It is through priests that true musical reform will happen on a greater scale than a choirloft brawl. He will be the first person to wipe out all your work, or to promote and defend it. That's his job, for good or bad.





    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I have one of those dumb phones, too. All you can do on it is talk or text, and I generally refuse to do much texting. BTW, it is never my phone that plays some stupid jingle during mass. It is the less-than-smart owner of the phone who doesn't think to turn it off.

    I love song parodies and enjoyed these very much. My favorite is still:

    One bed, three bodies
    Menage a trois...

    I was having a discussion with an older and experienced deacon last Sunday about pipe organs. I mentioned averaging the yearly cost of a pipe instrument, probably repairable in 100 years, as opposed to the digital instruments that would likely need replacement every 20 years. Our conversation drifted into contemporary church buildings. We concluded that some churches don't plan to be in their buildings in another 25 years. Why would they install an expensive and permanent instrument in a temporary building. It's the throw-away culture at work.
    Thanked by 2kenstb ClergetKubisz
  • kenstb
    Posts: 360
    Funny!
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    I see this all the time. Basically, alot of Latin Mass Catholics argue that vernacular hymns have no place in the liturgy because they want sung propers to Gregorian Chant.

    The fact is rhat there were many Latin hymns sung during the liturgy through the centuries. Gaudete, Christus est Natus and Jesu Dulcis Memoria are probably two of the most famous.


    From the Latin Mass Society ordo, "During High or Sung Mass nothing may be sung in the vernacular."(De Sacra Musica - Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on Sacred Music and Liturgy 3rd September 1958)

    Yes, I know that some people have ignored this, but we (in the EF) have been Instructed not to sing in the vernacular during Mass. Low Mass with English songs, well if we have people to lead Hymns we have enough people for a Sung Mass.

    Hymns have been sung during the Liturgy, these include the Gloria in Excelsis and the Sequence. Processional hymns are another group but these are generally used before Mass eg. Salve Festa Dies and its many imitations, Vexila Regis, and Pange Lingua (both hymns).

    As far as I understand Gaudete, Christus est Natus... while popular is a secular piece that should not be used during the Liturgy. Secular melodies / texts have been banned in the past. A religious themed song is a distant relation of the Ordinary and Proper Music of the Mass.

    Jesu Dulcis Memoria is a poem of 42 verses written around the 13th century, other verses have been added over the years to give 79 verses not including variations. In 1721, partly due to the popularity of this piece 15 verses were used to form the Office Hymns of the Feast of the Holy Name. While ideal for the Divine Office, processions (it is found in processionals), Benediction, and for devotional use, I cannot se a use for it during the Mass apart from as a communion Hymn to be sung after/ before the Communion Proper.

    As much as we may like the popular strophic Hymns or songs, they are not an important part of the liturgy. Our Liturgy (EF) as found in the approved books is designed to look outwards, and to call us all together across all peoples / nations. If we bring in extra hymns and songs, and the vernacular, our Liturgy 'can' then become very inward looking, appealing only to our ethnic group / nationality / class.
    Thanked by 1Jenny
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    tomjaw

    very well said.

    once hymns are eliminated, any 'preference' or 'favorite' or 'catchy tune' or 'innovation' or whatever else is finally not an option and the Mass is sung in all its pristine glory.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • Or not sung, as the case may be. Hymns, of course, were not introduced to take the place of "lame" propers in high Masses, but to fill up "boring" silence in low Masses. Simply subtracting hymns from the Mass, then, does not mean that all that dead air will be magically filled up with "pristine glory" of any sort.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I am afraid that in the storied past of high mass legend, all was not pristine or glorious. They had bad choirs, terrible soloists, crappy instruments, and poorly written music in too many parishes. The mediocrity of liturgy is a constant from age to age.
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    The mediocrity of liturgy is a constant from age to age.


    For the poor in taste you have always with you, immediately occurred to me, but then I realized the next phrase is applicable as well.

    and whensoever you will, you may do them good.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    People forget the the Solemn High Mass wasn't the norm before Vatican II. The norm was a spoken low mass with maybe a hymn before or after mass.

    LATIN HYMNS were often sung at Sung Masses in addition to the propers, although in many places the propers were sung to PSALM TONES rather than the proper chant melodies.

    Permission to sing vernacular hymns at mass also came before Vatican II, but only at low mass.

    If we are to use hymns the liturgy, the first place one should look is to other liturgical sources such as the Divine Office or Breviary and the liturgies of the Eastern churches. Let All Mortal Flesh comes from the Cherubric Offertory hymn of the Divine Liturgy of St James. On the feast of Phillip and James I always use this as the offertory hymn as a nod to the Eastern churches.
  • Hartleymartin,


    You switched meanings of "norm".

    Low Mass with hymns wasn't what the Church prescribed. It may have been what many parishes allowed, encouraged or even mandated, especially in certain geographic locations.

    Using your meaning of "norm", the American norm is serial, perfidious monogamy.


  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    Yeah, but don't forget we started out by thumbing our nose at the Europeans.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 794
    I'm a little confused about the question, as it has not really been defined very clearly.

    The list defining the "traditional Catholic worldview" doesn't help too much since those who hold to these positions may have no interest in the traditional mass (which is usually held to be a - if not the touchstone - of traditional Catholicism). It also says nothing about where such a person might stand with regard to vernacular hymns. Some traditional congregations sing them at high mass (entrance and recessional), some at low mass, some never sing them. Some people who attend the Novus Ordo regularly may hold to these positions as well, and among these, some like four hymns all the time, some do not, others don't care one way or the other. Or do you mean to distinguish traditional Catholicism from traditionalist Catholicism?

    If the questions is "given someone is a traditional Catholic (who hold these positions), how should they think about vernacular hymnody," again - the question is too broad to be answered as stated. If the intended answer is that one should simply follow what the Church says about the matter, I think most people on this forum are in agreement, at least in principle. Of course the rub is how to put this into practice given the vicissitudes of money, resources, people, pastor, congregation, etc. etc.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Vernacular hymns at low mass were approved in 1958, althoufh it seems to have been a practice for some years earlier. Cecelia magazine suggested that the first hymn be sung up until the homily was to begin back in 1937.
  • As far as I know, there is no record of vernacular hymns at low Mass ever being universally disapproved. What's new in the 1950s is the emergence of the idea that the dialog Mass with vernacular hymns fosters active participation and is to be preferred over the High Mass in the typical parish.
  • People forget the the Solemn High Mass wasn't the norm before Vatican II. The norm was a spoken low mass with maybe a hymn before or after mass.


    The norm for daily mass in the USA was the High Mass.

    The norm for Sunday Mass was the High Mass, with added Low Masses if needed.

    The Solemn High Mass was rare because many parishes did not have enough clergy to fulfill the three positions.

    When the Bishop arrived once a year for confirmation, Solemn High Mass was always said.

    The Daily High Mass was a money-maker, organists/singer made $1 a Mass in the 1950's in Ohio and the stipend it came out of was higher than Low Mass.

    See this to learn more about stipends than you wanted to know and then read page 127 for a bit about Extraordinary....well, you'll see.
  • As far as worldview, this from Austria a few days ago in a discussion about hymn singing in Catholic churches.

    On the contrary, people in Austria only sing very reluctantly. There normally isn’t any choir to lead the congregational singing, so very often you would play one voluntary after another (Introit, Graduale, Offertorium, Communio, Recession), and just Gloria and Sanctus are sung.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    Getting back to the topic of the thread...

    I note that many comments mention practises of the last 200 years... but it may help to read a little further back in the History of Hymns to understand the place they have now, and the place they perhaps should have.

    St Augustine describes a hymn as the praise of God in Song. The earliest hymns include the Gloria in Excelsis and of course the Psalms, a non repeating / non metrical composition, strange for us that this is known as a Hymn. We also have Sequences, that are also described as Hymns, these are usually metrical and also have repeats, and many can be sung antiphonally.

    This brings us on to St Ambrose who wrote many metrical Hymns of which more than a few are still with us and are sung to their original text, or in translation. We are told that his compositions were popular among the people and widely sung. Considering that the printing press had yet to be invented, one presumes that these hymns would have been sung from memory, and I also suspect that a large number of those singing would have been illiterate.

    Interestingly we are also told that St. Hilary, who was also writing Hymns at that time. "That the Gauls were not very clever in singing Hymns..." so even then the ability or inclination to sing hymns was not universal.

    These Hymns of course had no place during Mass and would have been sung at popular devotions, and during the Office.

    For the next 1000 years countless Latin hymns were written, many can be seen in the many volumes of the Analecta Hymnica. The Analecta also tells us how they were used, mainly as Office Hymns and Processional Hymns. I suspect that the singing of Hymns was very popular across Europe... even though these Hymns would not have been in the native language of many of those singing.

    Further reading on the history of Hymns can be found in the following books.

    The introduction of this book is well worth reading,
    http://musicasacra.com/wpcproduct/the-hymns-of-the-breviary-and-missal-matthew-britt/

    Another excellent book with historical discussion of Hymns is,
    http://www.fraternitypublications.com/hyofroli.html
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    St Augustine describes a hymn as the praise of God in Song. The earliest hymns include the Gloria in Excelsis and of course the Psalms, a non repeating / non metrical composition, strange for us that this is known as a Hymn.


    Yes. I have made this point over and over. The meaning of the word hymn today is nothing what it meant throughout history. In essence, a true RC hymn is much more like Gregorian Chant than the SATB homophonic style we have in our hymnals today.

    What would be an interesting study is to see how many of the earlier hymns (percentage) talk about US/WE in comparison to those of today.
  • What would be an interesting study is to see how many of the earlier hymns (percentage) talk about US/WE in comparison to those of today.


    Why don't you try that study on the Psalms first and then get back to us? ;-)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    # references/verses (RGP)
    1 0/6
    2 1/12
    3 7/9
    4 4/9
    5 5/13
    6 9/11
    7 9/18
    8 1/10
    9 6/21
    10 0/18
    11 1/7
    12 2/9
    13 6/7
    14 0/7
    15 0/5
    16 11/11
    17 12/15
    18 28/51
    19 5/15
    20 4/10

    On the other hand, some of the "I" references are really Christological or Davidic in nature: they aren't a reference to the contemporary congregation.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Hymns should supplement rather than replace the liturgical chants.

    There are many hymns worth singing at mass. During advent I would like to see the chant hymn Conditor alme siderum become more commonplace like Veni Emanuel either in translation or in the Latin.

    I would like to be using O filii et filiae during easter but it isn't going to happen this year. I was happy to get Godhead here in hiding sung on 2nd Sunday of Easter (Gospel on doubting Thomas). My music coordinator has requested a translation of Jesu Dulcis Memoria be added to the repertoire and I am only too happy to oblige.

    Given time we may eventually add chants drom SEP or the Graduale Simplex, probably just singing the antiphon and a few psalm verses before launching in the communion hymn.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    MarkThompson

    Sorry, I should have more specific. I/WE referring about the congregation present is exactly to what I was referring. And I was also speaking about the body of hymns that were specifically composed that were mentioned by tomjaw - Ambrose, Aquinas, Hilary, etc.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    The Psalms are an unfair comparison, these have been, at least in the Latin, declared to be the inerrant Word of God...

    Francis is referring to Vernacular songs / hymns and their obsession with I and we, these references will read very badly in the future when comparing modern vernacular songs and ancient Catholic Hymns.
  • A congregation should be expected to sing the Music of the Mass....the Kyrie, Gloria, The Credo, the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. That's all. in their Language and Latin.

    Once they know and sing them heartily, meaning at least 3 out of 4 are singing, then it's time to think about hymns that change. But not before.

    The strongest singing in every parish is the repeated responses.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    Noel, do I HAVE to sing the Ordinary in English? Please can I stick with Latin.
    N.B. I have not attended the O.F. since 2005
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    It would be better if we still sang the ordinary in Latin. It's uo to individual parishes to decide. There is a growing trend for Gregorian chant ordinaries to be used because they are sung every week, but then to use English hymns in the place of the propers.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    We use a Latin Ordinary during Lent and Advent, then use the ICEL chant mass the rest of the year. It wasn't our design, but it did work out with something for both Latin lovers and haters. Both camps seem happy.
  • Charles:

    Even though your intents were to keep both sides happy and to instill in our appreciation of Lent and Advent a sense of mystery, what you did was - in the first place - teach that Mass is about compromise, and - in the second place - confirm in the minds of the Latin haters that Latin really is only a penance.

    Would SOMEONE, somewhere, invert this paradigm, and reserve the vernacular for Advent and Lent?

    Thanked by 2francis Liam
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    It wouldn't matter to me if we did vernacular for Advent and Lent. However, the pastor decided we would do the reverse. I am not complaining, since some DMs are not allowed to do any Latin at any time. Half a loaf is better than none.

    Now what some of the purists would do, is force Latin down the congregation's throat, tick everyone off royally, get themselves run out the door, and guarantee the congregation would not experience Latin for years to come. Not a good thing.

    I wouldn't want anyone to compromise on the essentials of the Mass. Latin is not an essential.