Eucharistic theology and prepositions, adverbs, nouns, O my!
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    I know this horse has danced around the ring, and is tired, but-
    in certain "other suitable songs," what determines a text's theological integrity in the "bread v. Body" arena?
    Rosania's "The Supper of the Lord" refrain begins with "Precious body, precious blood, here _in_ bread and wine..."
    and ends with "...come, share the supper of the Lord." Is there a genuine concern with the choice of "in?" Is there an overt or implied deficiency with "supper?"
    Chris Walker's "One in Body, Heart and Mind" has a two line refrain, the last of which is "Christ be love within this sign, shared for all _as_ bread and wine." Same questions over both "as" and "sign."
    Lastly, Rev. Manalo's "Ang Katawan ni Kristo" bridge asks "Is not the meal that we bless and share a communion in the life of Christ? One bread, one blessing, one cup make us one body in our Lord." Simply put, is the latter sufficiently orthodox?
    I have no hidden agendae within my query. Thanks for any responses.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I feel that it became a concern and sensitive issue since we start to notice the statistics that many Catholics don't believe in the true presence? If we all believe that 'Bread' is refered to as the Bread from Heaven and Jesus' presence, we didn't have to be so sensitive? Even in the New Testament, isn't 'bread' mentioned without further clarification? Our priest askes us not to sing hymns that say just 'bread' after the consecration, I think he has a good reason to say so, but I don't really know whether you can make a rule out of this. It looks like it depends on how individuals perceive and interpret.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Charles, I vehemently object to "The Supper of the Lord", as it seems to teach the Lutheran doctrine of the Body being "in, with, and under" the bread (to be precise, they believe the bread and Christ's Body, and likewise the wine and Christ's Blood, occupy the same location, as opposed to the bread being annihilated). I find it hard to look at it any other way, and it seems wholly opposed to the doctrine of transubstantiation.

    As for "as" bread and wine, I think that is ok. Christ IS bread - He said so Himself. His Body is bread to us in the sacrament. However, I think Mia makes a very good point - pastorally, we should question the wisdom in use of the term "bread" at a time when faith in transubstantiation is at a low. But then again, no one here is a PASTORAL musician, right?

    I think the judgment has to lie with the musician, as overseen by the pastor. We have to make the judgment as to the compatibility of a text with Catholic teaching. And that is a subjective question; it depends upon how one interprets the text. For me, I would not use "Supper of the Lord", and made an effort, when using communion hymns, to utilize texts which speak of Christ's Presence. And where I was unsure, I consulted the pastor.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "Precious body, precious blood, here _in_ bread and wine..."

    I'm not sure we can say 'Jesus in bread,' instead of 'Jesus in the form of bread,' even though aesthetical aspects of the text may benefit from changes in wording.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    These texts are either heretical or deficient and should be avoided in favor of the umpteen million other texts that can be used.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Those little words make a big difference. My pastor insists on saying "For it is through Him with Him in Him..." rendering the doxology syntactically nonsensical. The same this happens with "who with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified." "The Lord be with you" becomes "The Lord is with you" and "Let us pray" becomes "We pray." Yes, the devil is in the details.
  • I would tend to agree that, in the current climate (in which one has read that up to 75% of 'Catholics' do not believe in the objective Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament), any text which does not explicitly reinforce Catholic belief and the explicit words of Jesus should be avoided. One may not need to exercise such scrupulousness if one is certain of the orthodoxy of a given congregation; but, in general, in this country, faithfulness and wisdom would seem to call for it.
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    Incantu and MJ Osborn amplify Miacoyne's points by adding into the equation the apparent necessity that basic catechetical instruction in Eucharistic Theology and edification by clerical/presidential authority to the Faithful has proven inept at worst, inconsistent at best.
    So, would a banishment of hymns/songs as I quote above actually be noticed and embraced by an average (not orthodoxically atuned) congregation? I suppose I'm also wondering, vis a vis Gavin's great point, whether critical and more accurate word substitutions would positively reinforce orthodoxy? This notion would be a necessary point in the "brick by brick" scenario, I think.
    Of course, I'm ready personally to jump the fence into the pastureland of Propers, whether in Latin or vernaculars; but my predilictions are clearly out-of-sync with 99.999% of my parish congregations. They wouldn't: a. get it; b. care; c. hate it and run me out on a rail.
    So, if the Vatican can get the attention of the USCCB about the tetragrammaton, couldn't they also get the attention of the USCCB/BCL about these issues, which then would get the attention of the "Schuttes" and their publishers?
    Hence, my wondering about "as" being better than "in."
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Charles: "what determines a text's theological integrity in the "bread v. Body" arena?"

    Lots of helpful info here ...

    Mysterium Fidei
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 989
    While "official" banishment would be nice, "local and informal" retirement is probably what you can manage. Songs can just "go on vacation" and forget to come back. No need to catechize the uncatechizable or take a heroic stand. (Of course, you are welcome to attempt both of these.)

    Then substitute something from the umpteen zillion other texts and tunes.
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    You're always so sensible, MJB! Can I be like you when I grow up?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, eft94530. This is really important document by Pope Paul VI. (especailly the parts on 'Proper Wording of Great Importance,' and 'Greater Clarity of Expression Always Possible')
    It seems like he is already warning about the hymns that will be used more in the liturgy.
    This makes me think that it is so important to restore Propers (which have proper texts) instead of the hymns of personal devotions which can be interpreted in many different ways. I also think that music directors have to be more careful in selecting hymns because not all the 'approved hymns' in Catholic hymnals are safe to use for their music ministry, and many people in the pews seem to get excited with catch tunes more than the texts with the sound doctrine.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    miacoyne: "already warning"

    The encyclical was dated Sep 3, 1965
    which is during the Council, in fact before the beginning of
    Vatican Two Session Four (Sep 14, 1965 through Dec 8, 1965).

    10. For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions on Masses celebrated in private or on the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith, just as if it were all right for someone to take doctrine that has already been defined by the Church and consign it to oblivion or else interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the recognized force of the concepts involved.

    Karl Rahner SJ (transfinalization)
    Edward Schillebeeckx OP (transignification)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    I just don't program weak theological hymns whether about the Eucharist or any aspect about reducing the Sacrifice to a communal meal.
  • Bruce E. Ford
    Posts: 412
    Cognoverunt discipuli Dominum Iesum in fractione panis"--Alleluia for Easter 3 (Luke 24)

    "Panis angelicus fit panis hominum; dat panis caelicus figuris terminum"--Thomas Aquinas.

    "Ego sum panis vitae..."--Jesus

    "Pinguis est panis Christi, et praebebit delicias regibus..."--Antiphon, Lauds of Corpus Christi.

    "Laudis thema specialis, Panis vivus et vitalis Hodie proponitur.."--Lauda Sion

    "Ecce panis angelorum factus cibus viatorum, Vere panis filiorum, Non mittendus canibus."--ibid.

    "Quoltiescumque manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis, donec veniat..."--Communion antiphon for Corpus Christi in the 1962 missal

    If you refuse to sing texts that refer to the Eucharist as bread, you will not be able to sing a significant portion of the texts in the Graduale and Antiphonale.

    The Eucharist is, of course, a sacrifice; but it is also a communal meal. In recent time the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist has been given short shrift. For a few preceding centuries the "communal meal" aspect was given short shrift. To speak of the Eucharist as a meal is not to denigrate is sacrificial aspect. See:
    "O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur, recollitur memoria passionis eius, mens impletur gratia, et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur." This text contains no SPECIFIC reference to sacrifice.

    The kind of heresy hunting evident in this discussion is not profitable. Almost any text can be given a heretical interpretation by those intent upon giving it such an interpretation.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I believe the interpretation of the text for the public prayers is done by the Church not by the individuals, no matter how great his knowledge and faith is. It's the Holy Mother Church who teaches us to have one same faith. The Gregorian chants have a valid permission to be used in Roman liturgy by our Church, and the Church placed the interpretation in the right context. But there are many modern hymns don't have that (not even by the tradition yet), and many hymns are composed and used in Mass without much restrictions these days. I think this is an important issue since VII, which gave a permission to use 'any other suitable songs in the liturgy,' that the musicians in local parishes have to be much more careful in selecting hymns since they are ministering through those songs.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576

    It is less about heresy hunting,
    and more about identifying the better words to convey the Reality,
    and preferring to use those better words whenever possible.

    None of your examples are in vernacular.
    None of your examples are sung to a catchy tune.
    These two factors change the situation quite a bit:
    they demand effort of their hearer and moves from the casual and facile to the sober and serious.

    Even in translation your examples provide plenty of individual words
    that move the focus from mundane to elevated:
    recognise, angels, final end, sacred, banquet, passion, grace, glory.
    We currently find these words with far less frequency than one would expect
    in texts about the Source and Summit of our life.

    Given the texts and tunes most of us have access to, we should be discriminating.
    Four of the senses apprehend the meal, and have always done so.
    Only one sense can transmit the sacrifice and the Real Presence.
    Rather than drawing further attention toward the obvious,
    and remaining silent about the matter of faith,
    we should prefer sound to be dedicated to its unique contribution to strengthening the faith.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575

    When the ancient texts and hymns were composed that you mention, the church was not struggling with a disbelief in the true presence. For our day, this is a PRIMARY issue. (see "Christ Has No Body Now But Yours"). It is errant theology and subtley gives support to a protestant mentality. Besides, we have NO issues with the chant texts. They are the best! Even the ones about bread. It is the modernists that spin the new texts that are bent on desacralizing the Mass.

    Here is an article that talks about this kind of masked theological error in new hymnody.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    The full Walker text:
    One in body, heart and mind, we are one by love united,
    Christ be love within this sign, shared for all as bread and wine.

    Christ be love:
    this did not seem clear, so I went looking for the first line
    love connects both lines but why imperative "be" if transubstantiation occurred?
    and still not clear about what love
    has the same difficulty as others noted for "in"
    beneath could be better
    non-standard use of term, what is sign: oneness/unity? love? sacrament?
    signs are species of bread and wine ( )
    Christ ... shared, but then what purpose the intervening text?

    I do not know; am I over-analyzing?
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    "wondering... whether critical and more accurate word substitutions would positively reinforce orthodoxy"

    Not really on topic, or an answer to your originally posed questions, and no judgment on any of these specific songs, but this is an important point, I believe -- IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE ASKING TO SING THE WORDS.

    That 60 year old lector who, no matter how many times he is gently corrected, still refers to the "wine" that he "never takes, I don't like the taste," maybe not...

    But that five year old who likes showing off that she can read a lot of the words at Mass?

    Words impressed on the mind at an early age have a great chance of taking hold, so unless mine were a demographically dying parish, that was also so contracepting itself out of existences that no child, no grandchild, no minor person was ever liable to darken the door of the vestibule, or they had a sign on the door jamb, "you must be this tall to pray at this church," I wouldn't program any number of songs that might be conceivably used with a better and thoroughly catechized congregation.

    I think with the songs many of us have been singing at least since I was a kid we've been demonstrating that none of this is really important, and we don't REALLY believe what we sometimes say we believe, and what does it matter what you believe anyway as long as you're a nice person, let it begin with me -- and I think that carelessness with the texts we sing is bearing fruit.

    Really, really rotten fruit.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 989
    G's penultimate (how I love that word!) truly nails the problem with much hymnody. It's full of theological slippery slopes with cozy tunes and warm feelings. And I'm not just thinking of 1980s forward. Some of the greatest vernacular hits of the pre-Vatican II era are treacly and way too personal.

    When I ask many people what they think about the words they sing, the response is often "Oh, I don't really care. It's got such a nice tune."
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    ... which means the speaker's standards are merely those of entertainment; he or she isn't engaging intelligently in an act of worship. But the Church wants to engage all our faculties in the adoration of God.