• Jani
    Posts: 441
    ...but did not exactly find clarity. Should we or should we not sing songs that portray us as the body of Christ/go and be bread for the world/now to become bread and wine, etc? Specifically referring to Haas’ Now We Remain, which is being sung at a funeral this week. Not trying to start a fight about composers or rehash the subject - just need a little guidance. Thanks!
  • MarkB
    Posts: 975
    In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. The fact that this song was selected for a funeral by the family shows where they are at. If I were leading music for the funeral, I'd just go along with it without saying anything about it. Funerals are not the time to catechize grieving families about liturgy nor liturgical music; that should be done before the funeral in the parish's liturgical ethos, and eventually funeral music selections will gravitate toward the parish ethos.

    For Sunday parish Masses, that song isn't a great one even if the composer's music weren't under the ban.

    It's okay for songs to present the Church as the body of Christ: the Church is the mystical body of Christ.

    It's okay for songs to urge the faithful to be bread for the world: it's a metaphor.

    But there should be balance and a comprehensive expression of Catholic faith about the Eucharist over time in a parish's repertoire.

    If you are not familiar with "Catholic Hymnody at the Service of the Church," you should read it. It's about evaluating hymn lyrics.

    Different hymns may legitimately express
    or reflect different aspects of one doctrine, but if all of
    the hymns relevant to a particular doctrine express only
    one dimension of the doctrine to the exclusion of others,
    then the catechesis offered by the hymnody would, as
    a whole, not be in conformity with Catholic doctrine.
    For example, a collection of hymns that emphasized
    the Eucharist as table fellowship to the exclusion of the
    vocabulary of sacrifice, altar, and priesthood, would not
    represent the fullness of Catholic teaching and therefore
    would catechize those singing such hymns every Sunday
    with a deficient sacramental theology.

    https://www.usccb.org/resources/Catholic Hymnody at the Service of the Church_0.pdf
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,774
    I changed my tune (heh) on this a little bit, because I really like the Proulx arrangement of "I Am the Bread of Life," which is at least Scriptural (though unlike the vast majority of traditional propers which quote Our Lord… it's more obvious that it's a quotation, even for an audience that either knew Latin or wouldn't be entirely religiously illiterate as to the Gospel texts). I mention this hymn, because there was a rather rousing debate on the Catholic internet about this a decade ago, but to be honest, it looks silly given what has transpired since, and Sr Suzanne Toolan was at least faithful to her vocation.

    Funerals are not the time to catechize grieving families about liturgy nor liturgical music; that should be done before the funeral in the parish's liturgical ethos

    "That's not in our repertoire, but here are similar things that are" is a perfectly acceptable response, even if, at some point, you have to explain yourself. The DM who told me that never got the least pushback. They happily looked at other things and usually expressed some form of gratitude later.

    The fact is that this document, while an improvement on other texts, is two-clicks-to-the-right conservatism. It doesn't address the musical character, and I'm not sure that the bishops and the conference staff want to do so, certainly not now.

    The text of the song in question is confused, because it is a prayer to Christ that then switches to the third person when referring to Our Lord in order to navel-gaze. Pastors or DMs now have an excuse that basically everyone can accept if they wish to eliminate it and the rest of David Haas's music from the parish without a fight.
  • Jani
    Posts: 441
    Thanks. I never used to even think about things like this, and now I obsess about it :)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen RedPop4
  • There is a chant proper from the Requiem Mass, Ego sum panis vitae, which literally translates to, “I am the Bread of Life”. Just some food for thought.
    Thanked by 2Jani RedPop4
  • Jani,

    No, those "hymns" shouldn't be used. Skipping all the other valid reasons to avoid this nonsense, however, I come to one: so much bread in a Mass at which a large percentage believe that the Eucharist is just symbolic and "we are the church" needs to be counteracted by that which strengthens the faith, not weakens it.
    Thanked by 2Jani RedPop4
  • Sponsa,

    There is, indeed, such a Proper, but the Requiem you refer to is the Ordinary Form.

    There's nothing wrong with quoting Holy Writ, but there is something wrong with failing to provide context. "There is no God" is a quotation from Scripture, but not adequately shown in context. So is, "I am the Lord thy God", but if it follows 3rd person references to God, then, surely, the goal is to convey that the singer, in the pew, is the Lord Thy God.

    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Jani
    Posts: 441
    Hahaha, oye! Thanks again for the input.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,774
    That one might be, but the antiphon for the Benedictus in the (trad) office of the dead is a quotation of the Gospel of John, "Ego sum resurrectio et vita" without any qualification. It's still not my favorite genre, and I think that being careful about it is warranted, because these pieces are still exceptional, IMHO.
  • Remember that the Devil can quote Scripture, and so the fact that a song quotes Scripture doesn't, by that fact itself, make it good or suitable for liturgical use. Please note, also, that good and suitable are two different decisions. (I can think that Holst's Planets is good music and still think it wholly unsuitable for use at Mass.)
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,774

    Besides, even if it’s overused on special occasions to appeal to almost everyone without causing hurt feelings, Thaxted is a stirring tune.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW Jani RedPop4
  • francis
    Posts: 10,530
    Thaxted may be a stirring tune, but when singing it I think of nothing but Jupiter the bringer if jollity. That was the INTENT of the composer. It really is not sacred music. Let’s leave it in outer space and in planetariums.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,866
    It's also the only appropriate tune for "I Vow To Thee, My Country" by Cecil Spring-Rice, 1918 (UK Ambassador to the USA during WW1):

    I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
    Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
    The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test,
    That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
    The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
    The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

    And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
    Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
    We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
    Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
    And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
    And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
  • davido
    Posts: 797
    I used to feel that way about THAXTED, but after 10 years of using it as a hymn, the planetary connection really doesn’t bother me. I’ve created enough church associations with it.
    Also, most pew sitters are not up on classical music enough to know where it comes from. They know it only as a favorite hymn tune.

    What I can’t stand is that arrangement that puts new words to it and tries to make it a communion hymn with a refrain. Ew.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,530
    lol...I just made a video setting all of the NASA images to Holst’s planets. For me, Thaxted will always be Jupiter. For others I suppose ignorance is license.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,774
    On the subject of "I Vow to Thee, My Country": it's beautiful, but I don't see how a Christian can sing it.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,013
    I hadn't paid any attention, not being British, but wow, just wow: that's the most perfect expression of state idolatry ever. I can hear a whole amphitheater full of immanent lion food bursting into praise of Caesar.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,866
    If the first verse were sung alone yes. But the second verse is something of a rebuke to the first. If memory serves, the poem was subtitled "The Two Kingdoms". The context is a reflection on World War I, and the experience of that war was not one that would have left many to sing the first verse alone, shall we say, but only sing it as a reflection of what they felt going into the war, not how they exited it. It's not a triumphal nationalistic hymn (the kingdom of the first verse is never named), but an elegy. The American experience of that war was not Europe's; it marked America's rise, and Europe's fall.

    (without words) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbaSIxyhpgw

    (with words) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvouc8Qs_MI