Hamilton Diocese : Liturgical Instruction "Gathered Into One"
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    H.E. Bishop Douglas Crosbie, OMI, Bishop of Hamilton (Ontario) issued a Liturgical Instruction, Gathered Into One, written as numbered General Norms, dated March 25, 2018.

    There is a preamble and then 41 numbered paragraphs grouped into six sections. All of them are interpretations, clarifications, and in many cases restrictions, of regulations or instructions in the GIRM or elsewhere.

    Many or most of the provisions reiterate with emphasis the obligation to "do the red and say the black", and to use the Canadian books. The existing liturgical norms are said to be "not arbitrary" and are to be "followed faithfully".

    The practice of singing solos or choir anthems during Communion is disallowed, but at Offertory a choir anthem is recommended. This is not common practice around here but fitting all the same. Also it is practical and traditional and in keeping with the rubric.

    However, some of the newly stated norms are surprising to me. "It is not permitted to add extra prayers after the dismissal" -- what's that about? No more prayers for Vocations (as at one local parish)? No more Marian antiphon (as at at least one other)? Anyone heard of such a thing?

    "The text for the [Responsorial] Psalm is always to be taken from the Canadian Lectionary" -- this on the face prohibits not only the US Revised Grail translation (not very surprising) but also the CBW III with the 1963 Grail. The new CBW is not ready yet.

    The methods of singing the Responsorial Psalm and the "Gospel Acclamation" are specified in detail, but to the exclusion of most of the alternate options in the GIRM.

    In general it is impossible to follow these norms and sing plain chant from the Gradual in Latin or in the vernacular. Also new music is forbidden: only music pre-approved by the Bishops is allowed. (As a matter of fact that's more or less what the GIRM says anyway at #393.) It would be impossible also to introduce a new practice, such as singing the Lord's Prayer, for it must a) be a pre-approved melody, and b) be already familiar to the commumity!

    At our parish we have for years sung the Communion proper from Richard Rice's Simple Choral Gradual. I think such a practice, singing the proper by the choir at communion, is forbidden by the new norm.

    Anyone care to read and comment on these norms? Even if you're not subject to them?



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  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,877
    This is very sad. My condolences and prayers.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 931
    There are so many things to say, but I will focus on one:

    "It is not permitted to add extra prayers after the dismissal" -- what's that about?


    In my opinion, this is clearly intended to prohibit the Leonine Prayers (St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle...) without actually saying it.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 G
  • NihilNominis
    Posts: 304
    And yet many of these norms are arbitrary. It is sad to me to see a bishop clearly in mind of the need for liturgical propriety and unity, and yet lacking both the vision and generosity to allow space in his regulations for something abnormally beautiful to flourish, since it is not really impropriety at all, but rather any kind of outlier at all, that must be crushed.

    Hopefully, on specific request, exceptions will be generously granted by His Excellency.
  • Our Bishop seems reasonable enough, I think he's misguided due to the people who are advising him. Bishops are busy and we must pray for them, especially when they say or do something that we fail to agree with.

    I'm sure he'd grant exceptions in exceptional circumstances.
    In the Archdiocese of Toronto, the St. Michael Prayer has been reinstated after the Ite Missa Est at all parishes as a directive from the Cardinal.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 966
    In general it is impossible to follow these norms and sing plain chant from the Gradual in Latin or in the vernacular.
    I thought the bishop was fairly clear that GIRM is the prime authority. So (& similarly in other parts):
    #62a. Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale. ...
    Also new music is forbidden: only music pre-approved by the Bishops is allowed. (As a matter of fact that's more or less what the GIRM says anyway at #393.)
    Surely this applies only to the Ordinary and Common texts, certainly #393 only refers to these. I agree that obstructionists might argue, particularly to block wider use of Latin.
    Chapter IX of GIRM seems to be entirely new though incorporating points previously made elsewhere, and in extending contol to melodies at all, seems to be an innovation.
    It does seem odd that the prayer to St Michael should be required in Toronto and forbidden by a suffragan.
    NB I don't have a Canadian GIRM, so have used E&W.
  • For those who are interested, here's the GIRM 393 in Canada.

    393. Bearing in mind the important place that singing has in a celebration as a necessary
    or integral part of the Liturgy, it is for the Conference of Bishops to approve suitable
    musical settings especially for the texts of the Ordinary of Mass, for the people’s responses
    and acclamations and for the special rites that occur in the course of the liturgical year.
    Likewise it is for the Conference to judge which musical forms, melodies, and
    musical instruments may be lawfully admitted into divine worship, insofar as these are
    truly suitable for sacred use, or can be made suitable.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 166
    It has always been ironic to me that all of these ostensibly well-intentioned directives never end up fixing the problems of inappropriate modern music in the Mass, and only serve to restrict the traditionalists.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 251
    I've just glanced at it, but it reads like it was written by someone who is relying on half-remembered things heard in seminary or maybe at workshop, but lacking any deep knowledge of either the liturgical tradition or the current norms. To pick but one example, the requirement that the song at communion be about the Eucharist is, if one looks at the traditional texts of the communio, something that has never been a requirement. I almost wonder if the person who wrote it is even aware that the Graduale Romanum exists.

    A (very) little knowledge is a (very) dangerous thing. And rigid legalism combined with ignorance is the most dangerous thing of all.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,544
    I've just glanced at it, but it reads like it was written by someone who is relying on half-remembered things heard in seminary or maybe at workshop, but lacking any deep knowledge of either the liturgical tradition or the current norms. To pick but one example, the requirement that the song at communion be about the Eucharist is, if one looks at the traditional texts of the communio, something that has never been a requirement. I almost wonder if the person who wrote it is even aware that the Graduale Romanum exists.


    This is pretty much an accurate summary of the state of Catholicism in Canada.

    If the USA ever tried to kick me out (I'm a citizen now, so that would be difficult), they would have to very literally drag me kicking and screaming.
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    I expect the Instruction was largely authored by Msgr Kroetsch, who is the Chancellor of the diocese and who signed his name to the Instruction (under the Bishop's). Kroetsch wrote the Companion guide to the CBW. He used to be chair of the Canadian Bishops' Music Commisssion and he used to be head of dio. Hamilton's liturgy office.
    Msgr Kroetsch is deliberate and careful, and doesn't rely on half remembered anything. He definitely knows what the Roman Gradual (and the Simple Gradual) are.

    I think (I hope) that these norms are framed this way, not to out-and-out prohibit things (typically, more traditional things) that the GIRM allows, but to emphasize the mainstream practice, and to prohibit off-the-table things by means of a very narrow whitelist.

    Unfortunately, as @Schönbergian mentioned, it gives support and ammunition to those who do want to restrict tradition.

    And yes I particularly regret the insistence on exclusively "communitarian" singing at the Communion. Based as it is on a dubious explanatory remark introduced the in the 1969 rubrics. (At the recent Musicians' Retreat we were treated to an example ideal choice of music for this purpose. It was possibly the most yeah-whatever boring pieces of "liturgical music" I've even been made to sing, and that's covering a fair bit of ground.)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen canadash
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 105
    Two points:
    My understanding was that legislation could not be enacted to forbid or even preference worship versus populum over ad orientem. Is my understanding correct? If it is, how does His Excellency get around that?

    Also there is a strong norm that the mass be celebrated in the vernacular. But, given that, I wonder how the people are to be able to say in Latin those parts of the mass which pertain to them?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,564
    the requirement that the song at communion be about the Eucharist


    That was a common teaching in the first phase of The Reform, c. 1965-68. Similarly, the teaching was that hymns sung at the Offertory should be concerned with "offering." That was tricky--at the time, Catholic hymns on "offering" numbered about three. Maybe four.
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    Two points.
    1/ This is the real world.
    2/ See 1/ above.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 694
    It's 2018 and someone is still trying to push the notion that everyone has to sing everything at mass all the time? Even the loosey-goosey "Music in Catholic Worship" from the 1970s said that the choir could sing some music by themselves.

    Besides contradicting Church law and teaching, the document actually contradicts itself. In support of the notion that the people must always be involved in the singing of the Kyrie (section 2.3), the GIRM is quoted as saying that it is "usually" executed by everyone - clearly leaving open the option of having the choir alone sing it.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,922
    (Purple) WE ARE COMMUNITY! EVERYONE SINGS EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME!
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  • The level of ignorance (or deliberate obfuscation) here is indeed embarrassing. Does anyone know what the legal status of this document is, when it contradicts the provisions and permissions of the actual GIRM?

    Just one bizarre example: although the (CANADIAN!!) GIRM explicitly states at #48 that "This [entrance] chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone."
    The Hamilton instruction says at #2.2 that for the entrance chant "A song sung by the
    choir alone is not appropriate."

    The (CANADIAN) GIRM continues at #74: "The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory Chant (cf. no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance Chant (cf. no. 48)."

    And yet the Hamilton instruction says of the Offertory at #2.7: "A hymn may
    be sung by the assembly or by the choir".

    So - the choir is OK at offertory, completely arbitrarily, simply because the writers of the document feel that way.

    The most charitable thing that can be said of an instruction like this is that it was thrown together in sloppy ignorance (and thus there is no intention of doing harm). The less charitable interpretation is that it was drafted in knowing and explicit contravention of the Church's published norms, in the hope that the readers would be too ignorant or incapable of basic reading comprehension to notice the glaring errors.

    It's sad too because it makes the local hierarchy look so foolish. Why not take some care with a public instruction published in your name?
  • And I would add that the sloppiness and internal contradiction has the added effect of trivializing some very solid and worthwhile points - such as the importance of respecting the liturgy as found in the liturgical books, rather than adding or subtracting practices. Not to mention the generally laudable practice of respecting instruction from legitimate local authority (i.e. the local Ordinary). When the local bishop quite seriously tells you to respect the GIRM, and then in the very same document turns around and explicitly contradicts the GIRM, what are you to do? I would expect most people to just ignore the whole silly thing, which is unfortunate.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    My initial and overall reaction is that these mandates will prove onerous in so many diverse ways and parishes.
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    Yes! Jared, that's exactly the irrevocable worst thing. I really want to follow this instruction. I want to make the good words at the beginning and end our own, and make respect for the Bishop's authority and direction be why we do what we do. But the details construed narrowly make much of what we have begun in the last few years, restoring traditions while following the GIRM carefully, no longer possible.

    Furthermore, those many unauthorized changes, adaptations, omissions, and unwarranted playings fast and loose, which we see and might want to encourage the correction of... this can't help us despite its warm language, unless we obey it ourselves.
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 966
    I don't have the Canadian text, but I think neither US nor E&W versions give the Diocesan Bishop any power of variation of the norms except as listed in #387, or for the US the open stable door of substituting for the propers. "#48 (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop." They do give the Diocesan Bishop the responsibility of seeing that the norms are followed.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 636
    They will be ignored by the priests and parishes that want to ignore them and followed by the priests and parishes that want to follow them. Sometimes I feel that instructions about the liturgy wind up being a waste of paper.
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    Here for reference is the Canadian GIRM. It's identical to the other English GIRMs except exactly in those places where adaptations are foreseen in the typical text, signaled in the local versions by phrases like "In the dioceses of XXX..." . I think there are ten such places. Of course, there is nowhere provision for the Bishop, still less the Bishops Conference, to change the rules on his own: only to direct their being followed.

    Therefore, the only proper interpretation of the Instruction is to read into it the missing details from the GIRM, and take the whole as a firm reiteration of the existing liturgical law.
  • Having read it all, it is a pointless document that will only cause confusion.
    The interpretation of various points in the GIRM are so subjective that it borders on the mendacious.
    I suspect it will be widely ignored. And I hope it is immediately revoked by the next bishop.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 251
    Msgr Kroetsch is deliberate and careful, and doesn't rely on half remembered anything. He definitely knows what the Roman Gradual (and the Simple Gradual) are.
    My ascription of simple ignorance was my attempt at a charitable interpretation.
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  • Liam
    Posts: 3,462
    It would have benefited from an extended comment period in draft form before being released.

    Before you dismiss that as too much of a whiff of democracy, there's a significant aspect of being a Catholic bishop that assumes (in practice wrongly) that they will engage in consultation in the way a Benedictine abbot familiar with his monks engages in it (because the abbot knows that he will have to eat his own cooking, as Benedictines take a vow of stability). That's the medieval context of collegiality, rather than the early modern understanding of autocracy...

    If I were in that chancery, I'd recommend that the ordinary revise the issuance of this to indeed be a draft inviting comment....
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    I cannot find any suggestion anywhere -- liberal, conservative, loony left, rigid right -- that a Bishop can introduce new restrictive liturgical law on his own authority. No interpretation of even of Can 838 says that.

    (Edited : well, in Notitiae. But not absolutely, and in April 1964 (so even before Inter Oecumenici) and for the 1962+Sacram Liturgiam rubrics, and for the 1917 Code. So does it count?)
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 166
    It is worth noting that Murray Kroetch is behind many of the Canadian hymnals, including CBW4 and the questionable Celebrate in Song. Not the first time a bishop's been bamboozled.

    For what it's worth, I wrote personally to the Bishop and forwarded some of the comments made here.

    Some of the odder parts of the document, to me:
    "In the Diocese of Hamilton all the faithful are to be encouraged to observe a common posture for receiving Communion, namely, standing. All servers, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, and those in leadership roles in the liturgy are to model this posture."

    "There is to be no transferring of rubrics or gestures from the Extraordinary Form of the Mass into the celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae which is the Ordinary Form of the Mass and therefore, the principal Form."

    Were these grievous sins against a unified liturgy even a problem anywhere?
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    I know of servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who will be excluded from that role because they personally receive kneeling and on the tongue.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 166
    And was this ever a problem?

    Were parishes regularly lifting parts of the EF wholesale for use in the OF, destroying any unity in the diocese?
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 760
    Could we tone it down a bit? This Instruction is not useless and not purposeless. It has flaws but so does the GIRM. It has some good language too. And some of us must be obedient to it and to the Bishop, for the love of Christ's Church. It has to be open-eyed, intelligent obedience.

    Monsignor Kroetsch is also worthy of respect. If he is the author. He surely would not write this or anything else from a "personal" point of view, but because he commends it for the good of the local church.
    Thanked by 2roy2 Paul F. Ford
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 166
    Andrew, everyone who works within the Church does so for its good. I highly doubt that anyone who promulgates any document nowadays, whether it condones conservative or liberal theology, does so out of a desire to harm the Church.

    We at CMAA support our brand of music for that reason - because we believe it to be the best for that purpose. I am sure that Haugen et al. do the same for the same reasons.

    But if people are misguided, or seek to impose what is clearly a personal interpretation (and a self-contradictory one), I believe we should call them out on it, not on any personal vendetta but for our own collective good.

    Where the GIRM is flawed, it is because it does not go far enough, perhaps. It is deliberately broad and was crafted with that purpose in mind because a narrower set of guidelines would be disregarded even more frequently. An Instruction such as this has far fewer constraints on its specificity and relevance - and yet you have already mentioned it will have a profound, if not negative, impact on your parish which operates entirely within the GIRM.

    Let's call it like it is.
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 966
    So - the choir is OK at offertory, completely arbitrarily, simply because the writers of the document feel that way.
    Although GIRM gives the same range of options for the Offertory and Entrance chants, there is a difference in the surrounding description. GIRM#47 speaks of fostering unity, and #46 'come together as one'. Similarly at Communion, GIRM emphasises the community aspect. We might think that GIRM should be changed, but at the moment that's what we are working to. And perhaps be grateful that there is a space for some complex music.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,564
    Let's call it like it is.


    Hear! Hear!!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,922
    Let's call it like it is.
    ...and if they do not heed, wipe the dust off your feet.
  • af hawkins

    This is true - there is different language surrounding the introit and communio. However, only the language regarding the communio specifically mentions "unity of voices". And the tension between this general language and the specific permission for choral-only music during the communion procession has been much commented on here and
    elsewhere.

    As far as the introit, "fostering unity" does not necessarily imply that all must sing. A group of people listening to a reading or dynamic homily are also unified in focus and intention, without outward activity. A choral introit can absolutely gather up the individual pre-mass devotions of the faithful, and foster their unity as it focuses them on the beginning of Mass.

    Regardless of the ideological debate about fostering unity, the GIRM explicitly allows for the choir to sing alone at entrance, offertory, and communion. In its description of what can be sung at offertory, it actually just references back to the instructions given for the introit. So yes, absolutely, to disallow what the GIRM allows in one case (introit) and recommend it in another (offertory) is to pick and choose based on personal ideology.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    If I may, this reminds me of a letter (and template) of regulations to be followed when our local bishop presides over parish confirmations. So much of his minutiae was patently in opposition to GIRM stipulations it was laughable. After a year or two, we simply submitted ordo's using his template, but pretty much in practice "did" what we knew to be correctly allowed. No notice was taken after the liturgies for years. Could it simply be that such a corrective document has a narrower intent, such as mitigating "bad liturgy" in ritually impoverished locales, rather than a unilateral, "do-what-I-say" sort of panacea?
    Thanked by 2G Andrew Malton
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 966
    JaredOstermann
    To clarify: I was not addressing what I think ought to be done, or what I would prefer, just pointing out that GIRM gives support to the choir having more scope at the Offertory. Yes GIRM allows the choir to do all the propers (except that the word Alleluia is, if sung, to be repeated by the people). I know of churches with a miserable collection of singers, not deserving to be called a choir, who monopolize the singing with ditties intended for the active participation of schoolchildren.
    melofluent
    If I were bishop I would conduct a post-mortem on liturgies in which I participated. Discussion of a concrete example is often the best way of teaching. Writing universal laws is not an effective way.
  • G
    Posts: 1,381
    I was thinking something similar, Melofluent.
    My first reaction was very negative but then I realized I have never been to that diocese and hadn't even been to Mass north of the border in 20 years; I can't claim to know what is going on.
    There may be specific problems that this general instruction seeks to address without calling anyone out.
    In the US I have heard bizarre prayers for local sports teams that I can see the directive against prayers after the dismissal (seemingly aimed at the leonine prayers,) may be intended to address.
    There are dreadful Ordinaries aimed at the "yoot" Masses, usually performed by silver-tressed banjo players that no one under the age of 60 would ever sing, that may be preempting the assembly from joining in.
    I have from time to time "made a rule" as the most charitable method I could devise to prevent a But-We've-Always-Done-It-This-Way choir soloist from embarrassing herself yet again; and then rescinded it after a decent interval.
    I've known EF communitites that do not model good liturgy, use and make abysmal music, and hiss at people who dare say the responses - who's to say some of that hasn't seeped into the other form in some places?
    Mayhaps the bishop and his chancellor have their reasons.
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,492
    Andrew, everyone who works within the Church does so for its good. I highly doubt that anyone who promulgates any document nowadays, whether it condones conservative or liberal theology, does so out of a desire to harm the Church.


    I disagree.
  • I think it's a little unfair to put out a blanket statement on either side. There are certainly some who are corrupt in the church, but I'd be inclined to agree more with the statement that most people are trying to do what is good for the Church, or at least what they believe. That said, I have no doubt that there are also many personal agendas which are being vyed for in this debate.
  • JonathanLCJonathanLC
    Posts: 37
    I would like to see a document come out of this community (CMAA). I would wholeheartedly offer it to my bishops in South Africa for consideration. Any takers?
    Thanked by 1Felipe Gasper
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 760
    Congregational singing at communion is awkward, in my opinion. People are getting up, walking, etc., making room for other people, .. and all while ostensibly holding onto a book and singing from it?

    As was noted above, the bit in GIRM about communal singing at communion does not imply that the communicants are the ones singing. (The English translators goofed on that.)
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 760
    (deleted …)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 966
    Congregational singing at communion is awkward ...
    Unless you do what the Graduals suggest. GS offers Psalm 33 to be sung responsorially at any Mass, with response/antiphon 'Taste and see that the Lord is good' or 'Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia'. No need for a book! (I have, however, never heard it done!)
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 158
    it's a little ridiculous to use the same communion antiphon every week when most of them are tied directly to the gospel of the day
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,492
    it's a little ridiculous to use the same communion antiphon every week when most of them are tied directly to the gospel of the day


    And this is THE problem.

    Too much music that changes resultsin a congregation that does not sing. They didn't think of this back then. And haven't realized it even now.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 966
    Settefrati93: Perhaps that's why I have never heard it done, but it is an official suggestion. GS does provide more choice than that of course. And GR far more.
    In the past the Church has simplified things for the people much more drasticly, given them the Rosary with 150 Aves as a substitute for the 150 Psalms. And, foreseeing an objection that the Rosary is not liturgy, I point to a cleric ascending the pulpit and starting the Rosary as a fellow Friar was proceeding to the altar for Mass. (He did pause and kneel at the consecration).
    Afterthought: We sing the Gloria quite a lot. And clerics had just one canon for quite a few hundred years
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 760
    I don’t think the awkwardness of singing at communion is a function of familiarity; it’s the act itself.

    When else do we sing while we eat—as well as all the other commotion at that point?
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 158
    There is, however, nothing wrong (in my opinion at least) with singing the proper communion antiphon while communion is being distributed; and then sing a hymn afterwards. I do this regularly. At the choir mass in place of a hymn is usually a motet of some sort.