Feedback on a new hymnal please
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Hello, everyone. My parish is changing our hymnal from' Gather,'(comprehensive, green color) to 'Ritual song.' ( Red I believe it's by GIA.) First of all, our priests don't like the title, Gather. I'm just wondering we are not wasting money on the hymnals, if it's not much different. I didn't have a chance to look at the inside of the Ritaul song very carefully (our church had a display for possible donation last Sunday), but the priests and our new MD seems to think it's beter. Any feedbacks? I'd appreciate any info or thoughts on this.

    Mia Coyne, a concerned parishioner
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,100
    Here's a review at Amazon:

    The reviewer says "Marty Haugen has over 100 entries in the book". Enough said.

    Is there any chance the priests and MD might like "Worship III" better? Of course, this is no time to be buying a new hymnal that contains service music, with the new translations coming.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Frankly, I think Ritual Song contains too much material that is unworthy of church and not enough that is to be at all useful. I've been a few times to a local parish that uses the Adoremus Hymnal, I must say I'm really impressed with that one.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    It's "RitualSong"… one made-up word, no space, with a capital "S." Ugh.
  • Mia,
    For the stand-alone question you asked, "GATHER" or "RITUALSONG," I believe the latter is a better choice. That said, is your parish so flush and awash in funding that it can afford such a significant monetary investment now, knowing that in 3-5 years the Ordinary settings and much of the Psalter will render it "incomplete?"
    I believe we're smack in the middle of a major paradigm shift regarding "worship aides" in the U.S. Changing hymnals because of a "name" in these economies ($ and liturgical) seems odd.
  • One important and simple test for a hymnal. It's a basic test of belief. Go to the index and look up: "Look Beyond".

    If you find it, chuck the hymnal in the trash immediately.

    From another list:

    "I have heard that Father David has questioned the lyric: ‘Look beyond the bread you eat, see your Savior and your Lord.’ I would agree that this is slightly off the mark of what we understand by a sacred sign. "

    Look beyond It to see you Savior and your Lord? IT IS IT.

    AND THESE HYMNALS ARE PRINTED WITH AN IMPRIMATUR....that is not worth the ink nor does the person signing it deserve respect.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 312
    Well, Mia, since it sounds like a done deal, you had better get yourself a copy of the hymnal and prepare for its coming! You will need to have arguments at the ready to dissuade your MD from choosing the worst offenders, and encouraging him/her to use some of the better choices in the book.

    All of the above well-derved criticisms notwithstanding, it *IS* possible to have a very respectable music program using judiciously-chosen selections from RItualSong. I'd say there are at least 100 pieces of music in that hymnal worthy of the Mass. (Unlike "Gather." I think I once counted no more than eleven.) If I were dropped in a parish with RItualSong, I'd certainly make it work.
  • It's true that anything works in a pinch. We use the OCP hymnal at our parish!

    The best thing I've seen is the Liturgical Press thing called Celebrating the Eucharist. It has excellent hymn choices.

    If you have to have a hard hymnal, I might suggest Collegeville. In general, however, conventional hymnals are overrated and unnecessary.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Sigh... I'm hearing what I was afraid of hearing. I might have to suggest my new MD read this thread. Often times I find myself asking whether it's a humility or cowardness to keep silence. Thanks for all the input.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I like what I saw in the "St. Michael's Hymnal" --- to me, that seems the best...used with the Chabanel psalms, of course!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Refusing to use a hymnal based on the presence of something some people consider objectionable? That's a bit extreme. Why can't we measure hymnals by what good things are in them rather than letting the bad things spoil the whole resource? Should we all throw out our PBCs because they have the Death Mass? Give me a break! And I should add that if one looks at RS with the criterion that I gave (namely how many worthy hymns does it have), it is clearly disqualified.

    I would advocate the OCP hymnals for parishes looking to make the shift that don't want to dump the status quo music just yet. They have a lot of useless stuff in them, but also a lot of good, decent, usable hymns.

    And silence is neither cowardice or humility, it's part of keeping your job.
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • Gavin...

    If you purchase a hymnal that ALL people find objectionable because it does not teach the Catholic are guilty of spreading teaching that is not Catholic.

    Even if you say you will not sing from it that hymns that are theologically misleading and unsound, some bored members of your church will open it during a sermon and read the words of Look Beyond and then believe that they should indeed look beyond the bread and wine and not see the Lord in it.

    Is that something that you really want to do?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "Should we all throw out our PBCs because they have the Death Mass?"

    This is very odd sentence. Did I miss something in my PBC? I never saw anything about a "Death Mass" ??
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,100
    FYI, Brian Michael Page's "Christus Vincit" podcast did a comparison of the two editions of Gather in show #137.
  • "Should we all throw out our PBCs because they have the Death Mass?"

    This sentence goes beyond analogy into the realm of the ridiculous.
    It is a facetious comparison and an offensive characterization of the Church's liturgy.
  • Umm, that Death Mass comment refers to the Liber Usualis's identifying Mass XVIII as the Mass of the Dead. It was on a different thread and make sense in context.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    FNJ mentions that the hymnal has an imprimatur. Have any of the critics here written to the signatory and asked for an explanation?

    If there is really questionable Catholic teaching here we have a much more serious problem than a mere book. We have a bishop or cardinal who is approving it.

    If it's the worn out old complaint that somebody doesn't like Marty, then it's time to give it a rest.
  • WHOA, FNJ is wrong...these "hymnals" do not have an imprimatur...I found one with CONCORDANT CUM ORIGINALI by the local Bishop, but that looks like a way of saying nothing.

    Starting a new thread....
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Even if you say you will not sing from it that hymns that are theologically misleading and unsound, some bored members of your church will open it during a sermon and read the words of Look Beyond and then believe that they should indeed look beyond the bread and wine and not see the Lord in it.

    Is that something that you really want to do?

    I can live with that, yes. Again, I'd prefer a resource that didn't waste paper with such drivel. I really think the next hymnal I buy for a parish will be (in this order of preference): A) the Adoremus Hymnal, B) the PBC, or C) something I put together myself. But it doesn't bother me that people in my church will look at an unused piece of music in a hymnal and wonder why they don't ever hear it at Mass. You may disagree, and I would then propose we merely have a difference in philosophy as to which resources can be utilized in a less-than-ideal situation. I doubt we would do anything different if we were both in the position of buying a new hymnal for a church.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Many people in the church don't know which hymns are liturgically sound. There are some dangers some group of people, including teens, pick up the hymnal and sing whatever there is and whatever is interesting to them. They think all the songs in the church hymnals are safe, which they should be. Often times music director cannot control the selection of music of all different groups, not to mention individuals and families. I heard many people say if it's not a appropriate song why it's in our hymnal, and why do we have this in our church, and eventually blame the MD.
  • Such zeal seems surreal
    The Way, the Truth, the Life is
    The Word, not lyric
  • Actually Gavin I was just in that mode, ended badly, very badly with the publisher losing money.
  • Charles, so lyrics are exempt from being theologically sound. I like that argument!
  • Come on Noel, satire via poetic license? The sky is not falling. And I wasn't arguing.
    My feeble attempt at Haiku, tho', is theologically sound.
    I've spent about 8 hours of the last 24 (over last night and today) doing prison music ministry. Forgive me if I'm not putting "Look Beyond" on the front Bunson Burner.
    Don't worry, be happy I'm pushing B16, ad orientem and worshipping God instead of our "gathered community of felons" in chapel and the retreat. (A few are also thirsty for more chant!) And I don't get the static I'd get from any presbyters when I advance such an agenda behind bars.
  • I love the satire and enjoyed it! Should have put a smiley face on my post.
  • It's long been my argument that none of the hymnals we use have the imprimatur and nihil obstat. People (in the pews as well as staff and priests) seem to think when one points this out that simply because it says "Published with ecclesiastical approval," it's OK.

    I think I pointed this out in a similar discussion a long while back.

    But, I think there's a bigger problem than poor texts in the hymnals. I'm afraid the whole of the American Church is rife with poorly-monitored materials being used, especially by our DRE's and religious ed programs. Unless you're using materials from Ignatius Press, you're probably teaching a great deal of heterodoxy, if not heresy (Oh, there DA goes, using that ugly, ugly word!). For catechetical materials it's really no different than music resources; it's about the $$$. Sadlier, et al., are desperate to control the market share for the vending of catechetical materials, and they'll do whatever they need to in order to make a profit. For example, why is it that in any given summer our vacation bible camp program uses exactly the same pre-packaged program that the Baptists down the street are using?
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    if the topic were schola hymnals rather than congregation hymnals, I'd suggest:

    the Church of England’s The New English Hymnal (an updating of the English Hymnal for which Ralph Vaughn Williams was the musical editor) which has, I am somewhat chagrined to note, more catholic coverage than some contemporary Catholic hymnals (for example, the section for Holy Communion starts with two Saint Thomas Aquinas hymns, translated by J.M. Neale).
  • Having done some more research I'm finding that the nihil obstat-imprimatur process seems to have been both made harder to get and also made to be seen as unimportant.

    Two opposite ends of the spectrum. Strange.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Shouldn't we, musicians who care about our Liturgy request to those who are in authority to print only the approved text to be in the catholic hymnal, instead of just talking about the problems over and over? The musical style is hard to dispute where people live mostly with pop culture and grow up with poor music eduaction. But the text should be controled by the people with authority in the Church. This would be the first step. As we know, music is very powerful and can confuse the faithful greatly.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Two problems come immediately to mind, mia:

    1) there are no approved hymn texts in the USA. Not one. It's my understanding that the New English Hymnal is approved by both the Church of England and the English bishops, but we have no similar situation. And,

    2) Even if there were to be approved texts, who says the bishops are even half right on this? I could name names, but we all know them, from LA to Erie. Even with "conservative" bishops, at how many cathedrals are the songs in Noel's "heresy list" used? I don't want the bishops who let "Let there be Peace on Earth" be sung at their Masses to dictate to me what texts I can and can't use. You don't need to tell me not to use that one, I figured it out on my own. And nothing would be scarier than a USCCB Hymnal.

    3) This just came to mind: TECHNICALLY, due to "a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop," AKA Option Four, MOTET AND ANTHEM TEXTS would fall under requiring the same imprimatur if we pushed for it. Could the bishops POSSIBLY make a big enough list to include all of these? Of course not! I'm not going to give up "O Magnum Mysterium" even if it means some other MD has to stop singing "Supper of the Lord". Let him have his heresy, I'll do things right.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Gavin, you are very practical. But it sounds pretty sad. It's like having a giant rock in front of us, a rock that we cannot move. I guess we need to suffer more and share Christ' suffering.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,071
    Could the hymnal change wait? The new Mass translation is really going to render almost everything obsolete...

    RitualSong, to me, has some okay stuff in it, but an awful lot of questionable stuff. They added the Missa de Angelis as the Latin setting, which is nice, but there's not a lot else. As someone who maybe likes the Anglican tradition too much now that he's swum the Tiber, I think a lot of the tunes for the better hymn texts tend to a little "Low-church" bent (especially vs. Worship III). That said, nothing out there right now is really great.

    RitualSong would be an improvement over Gather, but still lacks a good psalter, and seems to be a choice (in places where they should be doing better) that is inoffensive (i.e., lots of good stuff, but On Eagles' Wings and all that stuff to keep the "Spirit of Vatican II" alive).

    I'd like to make the switch at my parish to a "real hymnal" (we use the OCP softbounds now), but there's nothing right now that really makes me happy about the prospect.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    It seems that GIA is offering new mass settings when the new translation comes out at the free of charge.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,071
    I had heard the same thing, but what will they be? Also, the texts in the hymnal will still be wrong, even if a supplement is added. Having a "permanent resource" could then be a disadvantage, as you couldn't really replace it, and would be stuck with some outdated material.