Identity Crisis
  • henry
    Posts: 193
    I would be very happy if all Masses were celebrated in the Extraordinary Form. The most beautiful EF Masses I have attended have been at a parish of the Institute of Christ the King. However, I still like music such as "Glory and Praise to Our God", "The Summons", "Sing to the Mountains", etc. which of course have no place in the EF. Does anyone else like music from both camps?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,532
    Listen to such music outside of Mass - your entire experience with religious music need not take place within the context of Mass.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,290
    Glory and praise to our dog - dyslexic version.
    Will you come and dance a jig with me if I call your name - dance music.
    Drink to the mountains, drink to the sea, seize your stein and raise it high - good drinking song.
    Two fishermen who met along the Sea of Galilee- sounds like the beginning of a tawdry romance.

    Those songs have no place in the NO, either. Listening to them for entertainment, or in a similar vein as gospel music doesn't seem to do any harm.

  • No.

    No for me, too!
    I can't fathom how bad music and poor literature can be entertaining or enjoyable.

    Two fishermen who met along the sea... - sounds like.... a tawdry romance.

    ...and a 'gay' one, too!

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    it would be akin to putting the engine of a rolls royce inside the body of a ford fiesta... why would you EVER want to do that or even entertain the notion? in my mind you would deserve to become a schizoid at that point. certifiably insane.
  • I would not entertain the notion of using these at Mass (either OF or EF), but that was not the OP's question. This paragraph from De Musica Sacra (1958) says:
    51. Popular religious song is to be highly recommended and
    promoted. By means of it, in fact, Christian life is filled with
    religious spirit and the minds of the faithful are elevated.
    Popular religious song has a place in all the solemnities of
    Christian life, whether in public or in the family, and even during
    the labors of daily life; but it has an even nobler part to play in
    all the "pious exercises" performed inside and outside the church;
    and it is sometimes admitted in liturgical functions themselves, according
    to the norms set down in numbers 13-15.
    The widespread loss of the "pious exercises" and "popular devotions" was another regrettable effect of the liberation of so-called 'liturgical reformers'. May I add, for the avoidance of confusion, that I was and remain a supporter of the call by the fathers at VII for a measure of liturgical updating.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,159
    it would be akin to putting the engine of a rolls royce inside the body of a ford fiesta

    fk, I think the analogy would be best served by reversing the order of vehicles.

    With respect to Henry, the topic should be a non-starter. Neither he nor anyone else suggests any P&W overlap into the EF, or any other "high" liturgy. What we "like" is irrelevant in the scheme of things CMAA.
  • In the scheme of things "Popular religious song is to be highly recommended and
    promoted." I take popular to include the meaning "what people like". CMAA members are surely among those who should be "promoting popular religious song", with due regard to all separation from liturgy proper, and to the avoidance of heresy.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,198
    "what people like"

    What does this mean? It is really just more of the silliness that has effected what is sometimes called modern thought.
    How can people know what they like if they have only been to McDonalds?

    As with so many things our tastes need to be educated.

    The same can be said for
    Popular religious song
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    rolls royce-EF
    ford fiesta-NO


    the EF does not enrich the NO nor vice versa.

    and I would argue that the songs listed don't even fall under the category of religious music... more properly, refuse.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,543
    more properly, refuse.

    I'll quibble!! I'd call it teeny-bopper pops. You say "refuse" I say "pops for 14-year-olds."
  • True the tune Kelvingrove, of unknown origin (i.e. Folk music), is not 'religious', early records are in collections of jigs and reels, for fiddlers (where it is in 4/4 time). And the first words collected were rewritten for publication to make it a tale of courting rather than rape and abandonment. And John Bell's use of Mark 1:16ff has four verses in the voice of Jesus, which renders them totally unsuitable for Catholic liturgical worship.
    But does the hymn 'The Summons' not call our attention to a most fundamental question - How would I react if Jesus directly called me? Or more generally - How do I react when God calls me to do something. It seems to me that pondering this does have the consequence: "Christian life is filled with religious spirit and the minds of the faithful are elevated" YMMV!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    miles definitely vary between a rolls and a ford
  • Henry Ford's vision was different from that of The Hon. Charles Rolls. More mileage has been achieved in Fords.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,159
    engine of Ford Fiesta (sacropop) cannot be put into Rolls Chassis/Body (EF), is how I kapish'd it, francis. Hope that doesn't further muss the karma.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    you can't muss karma because karma is a farce. my karma has run over your dogma. i am glad your kapish is still intact. and remember... the trentmobile has gone far more many miles than the VII bug (nini) :)
  • Sacropop should be excluded from both EF and OF Masses. Unfortunately there is a loophole even in De Musica Sacra :
    14 b. In a read Mass, the priest celebrant, his ministers and the
    faithful who participate directly in the liturgical functions with the
    celebrant must pronounce in a clear voice those parts of the Mass
    which apply to them and may use only the Latin language.
    Then, if the faithful wish to add some popular prayers or hymns
    to this direct liturgical participation, according to local custom, this
    may be done in the vernacular.
    Of course the celebrant can forestall this by chanting his part, so that it becomes a sung Mass.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    i think de musica sacra was one of the first docs that started to put forth modernist philosophy. go back to tra le sollecitudini if you want the real thing
    Thanked by 1CharlesSA
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,419
    The Revolution began with Pius X.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,286
    The meaning of the term "popular religious song" isn't obvious to everyone.

    In "The Hymnal 1982 Companion", Carol Doran interpreted it by just looking up the meaning of "popular" in an American dictionary, and said that "popular religious song" is that religious song which appeals to a broad spectrum of people.

    I'm skeptical about that interpretation: "commonly liked or approved" is one meaning of "popular" in English, but not the only one, and when the Holy See referred to "cantus popularis religiosus", the "popularis" probably just meant "relating to the people".

    Fr. Joncas, in one of his books, takes the next logical step and treats the term as meaning "culture-specific religious music".

    He also notes that different documents of the Holy See have described it with different characteristics. Musicae Sacrae Disciplina, he writes, placed popular religious song within the category of hymns (i.e., metrical songs based on strophic liturgical poetry) and claimed that such popular song arises from chant, while in contrast the 1958 Instruction "De musica sacra et sacra liturgia" does not make those characterizations. The 1958 Instruction also describes the source of "popular religious song" as being the "religious sense" which man possesses universally; hence it seemed to include songs with music not based on chant, and with texts from other sources such as Scripture or non-liturgical (i.e., devotional) religious poetry.

  • When people talk about "traditional" music, there are Catholic publishers who market On Eagle's Wings and How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace as traditional Catholic music. When this happens, the terms "traditional", "Catholic" and "music" stretch to mean things they don't, originally.

    To address the OP, for a moment, it seems that there are two questions you're asking.
    1) What music belongs at Mass (OF or EF)?
    2) Is it right-minded to think, as you do, that some of the modern stuff is really quite good for .....something ?

  • Well, I'll admit that I like Owen Alstott. I consider him the Melancthon of the post-V2 musicians - "the best of a bad lot."
  • It's okay to like songs that don't belong in the Mass; there is a time and place for them. Today my teenagers (17yodd and 19yo ds) performed at our local old folks home with a trumpet and piano duet of "It is Well With My Soul" and it brought tears to my eyes knowing the story behind this song. It is a beautiful tribute to resignation to the Divine Will. But still, these songs do not belong in Mass. It's okay to say that too.

    At the NO Mass today, we were subjected to the "4-hymn sandwich" of "hymns" that were ALL inappropriate to the Holy Mass, so my family absented. Really, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"????
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    "the best of a bad lot."
    ouch. sorry Owen. We still love you as a brother in Christ, even if your music suffers from mediocrity and the tarnish of coming out of OCP.

    Owen Alstott is prolific composer with a special mastery of sung texts for liturgy. Born and raised in Oregon, he attended high school seminary and the novitiate at Mt. Angel Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the Willamette Valley. He graduated from college at Mt. Angel with a BA in philosophy and from the School of Theology in 1974. He also attended Willamette University for advanced studies in pipe organ and Marylhurst University where he worked toward a degree in music. Owen served OCP 1976–1992 as music editor, editor of missal and music publications and eventually as publisher. In 1992, he moved to London, England, where he founded a company that publishes and distributes religious education materials.

    A gifted song text writer, Owen is a master of adapting, translating and setting texts to music for assemblies and choirs to sing at Mass. He is the composer of the popular Heritage Mass, as well as the chant-style responsorial psalms and Gospel acclamations in Respond & Acclaim, used by more than 10,000 Catholic parishes across the US. He is also the composer of beloved hymns such as “Come, O Holy Spirit,” “Gather Us Together,” “O Holy Mary” and “Wood of the Cross.”

    Currently Owen lives in London with his wife, British composer Bernadette Farrell, and their daughter. He was appointed to the OCP Board of Directors in 2015.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,334
    Henry: I grew up with the music you describe. I like it too. My kids don't though.
  • I would have to agree in substance to Chonak's offerings up above.

    As for the meaning of 'popular' when it comes to 'religious' songs, I am reminded of a certain Supreme Court justice of some decades ago who said, concerning pornography, 'we can't define it, but we know it when we see it'. One might go so far as to suggest that some, not all, but some, popular religious (not to mention non-religious!) music is pornophony - and that we can't define it, but we know it when we hear it.

    Some of these popular religious songs, while not ever appropriate for liturgical or ritual use, are entertaining to some.
    Some of them are not entertaining but tolerably innocuous.
    Some are offensive, literarily and musically.
    Some are absolutely insulting to human intelligence.... and
    Some are, insofar as that they are detrimental to a healthy mind, immoral.

    Too, to call a hymn or a religious song 'popular' can be misleading.
    Certainly 'Eagle's Wings' and 'Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven' (to name but two examples) are, in a loose sense, popular; but while the former might be said to be a 'popular religious song', the latter, being in a category of fine hymnody and music, could not. It is a broadly liked hymn, but it not a 'popular religious song'. Etc....

  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,159
    Anybody else catch the opening Mass of the USCCB conference from Baltimore basilica yesterday?
    It seems to me the mashup of the Communion piece, "Blest are we/Pange lingua," represents a number of dichotomies present in the discussion thus far.
    "Never the twain shall meet" was the cliché that came to mind.
  • I'm kind of partial to "Gifts of Finest Wheat", as long as it's not done as a waltz (as I once heard a P & W band do). I have nostalgia for "They will know we are Christians by our love". And I love "Bring flow'rs of the fairest". But none of them really belong in the Mass. The last belongs with your buddies around the piano, with the "water of life".

    You know, this whole forum just got trolled. :-)
    Thanked by 1mattebery
  • 'They will know...

    Ha! I'm happy that I had forgotten 'They will know we are...' ever existed.
    Now, I will have to forget it all over again.
    The same for 'Gifts of...' and 'Keep in mind...'
    By what twisted and ill-taught logic did anyone ever think that those songs and their progeny to this day were 'modern'! And, only a mind that missed out (as in, just didn't get it) totally on eucharistic catechesis could have injected them into a mass.

    It isn't that the thought expressed in them didn't represent some genuine concerns of their day, concerns which perhaps needed emphasis in a world which continues to be in need of hearing them (and living them!). It is that they are expressed with such a repellently maudlin (when not 'happy-clapppy') music and a humanly subjective literary focus such as makes them fit for any sort of gathering except ritual and liturgy. As such, they bespeak an age which ushered in the thought that the mass is all about the subject person and 'assembly'. No memorable musical or literary doctorals there.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,159
    Jackson's thesis on post conciliar musique popular herein:
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876
    they was havin church until the little fishy showd up
  • Yes.

    There are very few forms of music which I do not like. (Jazz, heavy metal, house).

    As to what's appropriate for worshiping God - check your bible to see what Jesus recommends, and how much emphasis he puts on good taste (sic) vs loving your neighbour.
  • Pax.

    In addition to checking our Bibles, perhaps we should consider what the Church has always taught about music and the august ceremonies of the worship of God.
  • much emphasis...

    The equation of 'good taste' with not loving one's neighbour is noxious, oh so tiresome, arrogant, and is a philosophical non sequitur - all in addition to being essentially unloving and presumptuously judgmental.
    As is also the implication that 'bad taste' and loving one's neighbour are ipso facto bedfellows.
    (My observation is that they seldom are.)
    There seems to be a certain kind of mentatlity (if, indeed, 'mental' is a relevant signifer here!) that automatically calls love into question the moment heritage and taste are entered into, but never when 'bad taste' is a part of the equation.
    One might even say 'eccentric'.
    (And 'eccentric' doesn't just mean 'odd' -
    it really means 'off centre'... in other words, 'unbalanced'.

    There is, in fact, nothing quite so ontologically loveless as bad taste and the defense of it; nor, equally, anything so ontologically loveless as the purposeful rejection of good taste.
    Good taste and heritage are sui generis and in their essence ontologically lovefull.
  • Imagined conversation, taking place on a pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean, as the sun sets in the west:

    Man: Dearest, I love you.
    Woman: I'm sure you do, but when you're ready to show me that love, you'll turn off that wretched music and address me, instead of it!
  • Carol
    Posts: 310
    Someone mentioned "The Summons" and I have to comment. Every time I hear this song I shudder! I cannot sing it and I know I will never "kiss the leper clean ( Mentally I go quack, quack) and do such as this unseen ( quack quack). This may be one of the worst hymns(?) ever written.

    I try to love my neighbor, but I can still recognize "Schlock" as my father would have called it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,290
    I agree it is schlock, but I have had another experience with "The Summons." A diva soprano, well past prime singing age, who could never sing the thing as anything faster than a dirge. She said, "It has a lot of words in it." I said, "Last time I looked, it had one syllable per note."
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,419
    The Summons has a killer moment: the UU ("you" you) moment. It never failed to trigger giggles or at least something like eye-rolls. How that made it past an editor (assuming there was one) is beyond me; that's the kind of thing a good editor is supposed to fall on his/her sword to kill an author's little darling in order to ultimately save the author.

    While not as criminal as the entirety of "Anthem", someone who defends programming that verse as poetic and things like it loses some credibility in excoriating the unnecessarily Latinate syntax and over-reliance on not-great cognates of some of our current collects.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,286
    As to what's appropriate for worshiping God - check your bible to see what Jesus recommends, and how much emphasis he puts on good taste (sic) vs loving your neighbour.

    In Scripture, Jesus recommends that we take up our Cross for his sake, and the gift He gives us is that He goes to the Cross for our sake.

    That event is what the Mass is about. When we attend Mass, His sacrifice becomes present again to us.

    That is what motivates our concern about the fittingness of the music at Mass. We desire that the music express the holiness of that act: an act that transcends the limitations of time to be with us. And we desire to lift up the heart of our neighbor, by means of the art of music, away from the burdens of the here-and-now, away from the time-ticking measured moment, away from the self-conscious self, and up, up to glimpse the gift which God is ever ready to bestow.
  • As I've said before, also check your Bible for detailed instructions regarding temple ritual. I mean, Leviticus isn't just for confounding sexual deviants, people. (Or am I being too mean and 'Old Testament'?)
  • Listen to such music outside of Mass - your entire experience with religious music need not take place within the context of Mass.

    But Matthew, we must do everything at mass! We should pray the Rosary, pray in front of the Sacred Heart statue, read our breviaries . . . that's what Mass is for! Not the rest of the week! We should basically do everything at Mass . . . except sing the responses. Or follow the texts. I mean, let's be serious here.

    < /LowMassMentality >
    Thanked by 2CharlesW bhcordova
  • To add a gloss to Chonak's pelucid observation just above...

    'A beautifully crafted Music is as an Holy Icon written in Sound:
    Of Realms Invisible it offers a Glimpse,
    whilst Those Visible it reveals in a Perspective more Profound.'


    Wherein music fails in this, whether it be sacred or non-sacred, it fails as worship, as companion, as guide, as tutor, as entertainment, as friend.
    Thus does it fail as music and is but a tawdry, currupt and corrupting 'thing'.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 635
    Y'all made me look up the words to "Kelvingrove" again. Now I'm going to have to control the urge to sing "My bonnie lassie-o"... sigh....

    If a young man is out walking with a young lady in a song in Scots, there can be courting, rape, consensual sex, or murder. (Same as in bluegrass, except in a different key.) The tunes and lyrics are pretty much interchangeable, too.

    It's not unprecedented to set sacred song lyrics to secular songs, of course, but the bit I don't like about "The Summons" is that it scans to its version of the tune so awkwardly, and yet the tune is also that little bit off from the folk version.

    And of course the "kiss the leper" is a reference to St. Francis -- except that he wasn't trying to heal the leper or clean him off. He was just greeting the poor guy and treating him like a human. Jesus healed lepers, but not by kissing them. So yeah, that line is an untrue conflation, used a dumb rhyme choice, and then went on to repeat a dumb rhyme choice at the next line. Nothing a rewrite couldn't fix, but typical of today's first draft hymnwriters.
    Thanked by 2Carol CharlesW
  • Carol
    Posts: 310
    Thank you for the bio above on Owen Alstott. I didn't know they were a couple. I think Bernadette Farrell is one of the best contemporary hymn writers. She is not usually given to "nice guy-ism" or psychobabble lyrics. Her tunes are easily singable for a congregation. I am not a fan of Owen Alstott's settings of the Sunday psalms. They often have harmonies that are filled with exotic and unnecessary (and/or misleading) chords and the Gospel Acclamations occasionally have counter-intuitive leaps with exotic chords for accompaniment which are not helpful. Sometimes the rhythm doesn't match the logical or theological emphasis in the text. For this Church musician who has an above average musical ear, I think they discourage some singers from trying to have chanted psalms. What they put for guitar chords is often ridiculous!
  • Carol
    Posts: 310
    Maureen, you get my complaints and know the version to which I was referring. I didn't know it was referring to St. Francis, although that doesn't really help with the flaws. A good use of a folk tune with decently crafted and adapted lyrics is "The King of Love My Shepherd Is." Also, "Be Thou My Vision" is very nicely done.
  • Pax.

    In addition to checking our Bibles, perhaps we should consider what the Church has always taught about music and the august ceremonies of the worship of God.

    Absolutely. Scripture and Tradition go hand in hand.

    But keep a clear eye out for words like "always". For example, the church has not "always" taught that the organ has a place in worship. Especially not the type of organ that requires electricity to pump its bellows. That doesn't mean that it's wrong to use it now.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,876

    Where does one find the word "always" and in which docs are you referring?
  • Francis,

    the Church has always taught


    I grant the small part of your point, but I would insist that the Church has NEVER taught that sacropopschlock is acceptable for the august ceremonies of the worship of God.
    Thanked by 1Carol