What follows is an untenable claim: Hymns should not be sung at Mass, says the church.
  • Church instructions are clear that the Mass is not to be delayed by music.

    The processions that are accompanied by music have historically been in a format that supports this ruling by the church: Short antiphon, verse, antiphon and so on, so that ending is simple, comes quickly and follows the instructions of the church.

    There are hundreds of antiphons, perfectly suited for entrance, offertory and communion since that's what they were written for.

    Hymns are invariably lengthy musically and also suffer when verses are dropped out since hymns are poetry that conveys thought, dropping verses out fails to deliver the entire text as intended by the writer.

    Today many of us stand during the entrance hymn and have to weigh the alternatives.

    1. Do I drop verses?
    2. Does this priest get angry if he is forced to wait for a hymn to finish or is this priest one that does not care.
    3. Do I just go forward and sing the entire hymn and hope for the best?
    4. Are the people going to complain because the Mass goes beyond an hour?

    If hymn writers want to write hymns for Mass they need to be written in the format required by the church: Short antiphons followed by verses.

    In protestant worship communion is often only a quarterly event, as the worship service downplays the importance of communion and rather focuses on study, preaching and singing of hymns. As a result of that hymns have grown drastically in importance and everything stops for the hymn.

    In catholic music hymns have been reserved for special purposes at special times, instead of being an integral part of the Mass. Hymns are part of the Hours where they, like protestant hymns, stand on their own and are part of the worship.

    Inserting hymns into Mass fails to honor the restriction that music should not delay the Mass and also denigrate hymns since they, written to be sung without shortening, are presented in truncated versions.

    Hymns are very important to the church, but should be used where they belong instead of replacing music specifically composed for the processions of the Mass.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Noel, you sound like Todd. Lol.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,631
    Who will live longer, Noel or hymns at mass? Only God knows, but I am putting my money on the hymns. They are pretty well entrenched in most places, it seems. I don't look for them to go away.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    I'm not sure why it's considered polite to end Psalms, from the BIBLE, after a few verses, but not hymns.
  • Permitting hymns to replace propers resulted in:

    "Be Not Afraid" (Bob Dufford)
    "Amazing Grace" (John Newton)
    "How Great Thou Art" (Stuart W.K. Hine)
    "On Eagle's Wings" (Rev. Michael Joncas)
    "Prayer of St. Francis" (adapted by Sebastian Temple)
    "Let There Be Peace on Earth" (Sy Miller and Jill Jackson)
    "Here I Am, Lord" (Daniel L. Schutte)
    "Now Thank We All Our God" (Martin Rinkart)
    "Morning Has Broken" (poem: Eleanor Farjeon, music: Bunessan-Gaelic melody)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Almost half of these match your criterion: "If hymn writers want to write hymns for Mass they need to be written in the format required by the church: Short antiphons followed by verses."
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 269
    "Church instructions are clear that the Mass is not to be delayed by music."

    It seems if we follow this statement to its logical conclusion, the longer chants would not be proper to the Mass, either. At our Saturday Vigil Masses, the introit with verse and Gloria Patri always is much longer than the procession.

    We routinely cut the introit short at the Cathedral on Sunday Masses, because it is longer than the procession for which it is assigned. This is far from ideal, but it is the way our liturgist prescribes.
  • Noel has some very good points, particularly addressing the reality that a hymn should not be butchered by singing two out of four or six+ stanzas. This notwithstanding that a good number of our 'complete' hymns are themselves centos of lengthier poetry. One cannot assert correctly, though, that the Church says that hymns cannot be sung at mass. What it says, rather, is that hymns are permitted in lieu of the (preferred) propers. It does not at all harm the liturgy for a complete hymn or anthem to be sung though a procession has reached its destination or the offertory action is complete. This is not mere 'waiting'. It is liturgically and thematically appropriate action, viz., the singing of an intelligently chosen hymn or anthem which further illuminates the day's teaching. If there are those who fume and consider this to be mere waiting, they are grossly ill-advised in their attitude to the sacral time in which their role is but one of many. As for the shortening of psalms, I half way share in Kathy's puzzlement, and think that an entire psalm, also, should be sung - even if it means that Somebody has to 'wait'. As Charles pointed out, hymns are here to stay and they are undeniably licit. There is a vast repertory of fine hymnody from which to choose; and a mass with (good) hymns can be quite as beautiful as one with propers. It is a different but legitimate aesthesis. Having said all this, however, I will again go on record as championing the Roman Rite as best exemplified by the singing of the appropriate propers. We need both. In two thousand years many liturgical innovations have found their way into our tradition. The late XX. century legitimisation of hymnody at the mass is one of these. The question is not whether hymnody, but of what quality it must needs be. We have now a very good choice of two aestheses and should appreciate them both.
  • Then you also agree that all the readings of the Mass can be replaced with writings of later, even contemporary writers, and there is no reason to restrict the readings to scripture?

    Seriously, if one does not believe that scripture of the church is not necessary for the entrance song, the offertory, the communion, then why not substitute modern writings for the readings?

    It has been the practice of the church since the beginning to sing only as many psalm verses as required for processions. This appears in writing. There are no writings that I have ever seen that say, "It's okay to delay the Mass so go ahead and sing the entire psalm." I'll gladly apologize and fake my own death to fulfill the prophecy above if this is written about the entrance, offertory and communion.
  • " It does not at all harm the liturgy for a complete hymn or anthem to be sung though a procession has reached its destination or the offertory action is complete."

    That's not what the church states.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,631
    Then I routinely harm the liturgy, without apology. Our associate pastor stands before the altar after the procession, and waits until the last verse of the hymn to move behind the altar and begin the mass. I also have the choir and cantors sing all the psalm verses that we have in the book. I never shorten them. Where else does anyone need to be that is more important than the liturgy. So it takes a little longer. Does that matter?

    BTW, we are the church that sings all 7 psalms at the Easter Vigil. Less is more, but more is better!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,888
    For the record, would Noel give us some quotes from Church documents about the inappropriateness of delaying the Mass?
  • Who said anything about readings other than the Scriptures? Where did that come from???
    I will continue to assert that no harm is done to the liturgy by singing complete hymns and anthems. Again, anyone who fumes because He has to 'wait' should not be at mass in Any capacity. Singing is not waiting - it is doing something that fits into and enhances the liturgy. These people will attend or watch a sporting event and not look at their watches for the three or four hours of unbegrudged time that it takes. They should have the brass to complain that the most sublime of human activities takes so much as even one hour or an hour and a half?! We are being ill-served and ministered to by such men. They just don't 'get it'.

    Further, a few hymn stanzas or an anthem are not 'delay'. Most of many celebrants' ad libitum commentary, however, IS.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,631
    Amen, Jackson. Amen.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "Further, a few hymn stanzas or an anthem are not 'delay'. Most of many celebrants' ad libitum commentary, however, IS."

    Aren't the hymns also commentaries of individuals, many of them written by lay people?
  • Church instructions are clear that the Mass is not to be delayed by music.

    Not as clear as you think, Noel. The GIRM says:
    The Entrance

    47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.

    . . .

    Greeting of the Altar and of the People Gathered Together

    49. When they reach the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the ministers reverence the altar with a profound bow. As an expression of veneration, moreover, the priest and deacon then kiss the altar itself; as the occasion suggests, the priest also incenses the cross and the altar.

    50. When the Entrance chant is concluded, the priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, makes the Sign of the Cross. . . .

    "[A]t the chair" is underscored because this phrase is new to the GIRM 2000.

    I emphasize "When the Entrance chant is concluded" because it seems to me that only after it ends can the priest stand for the sign of the cross.

    A close reading of this section suggests to me that when the presider senses that the celebration has been opened, the unity of those gathered has been fostered, the thoughts of all have been introduced to the mystery of the season or festivity, then he signals to the schola that it is time to sing the doxology and thus to bring the entrance chant to an end.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,509
    Do I have to be the one (gulp) who suggests that it is no more an abuse to keep a priest waiting than it is to rush through a procession or action? I suppose an angry priest trumps all documents, though.

    Noel is going a bit beyond what the documents actually say about hymnody, and I think even A Mighty Fortress has more logical stopping points than Precatus est Moyses, so I'm not sure what his point is exactly. I do get that he prefers chant, like many of us, but when it comes to keeping an unknown priest happy I know (by experience subbing at other churches) that I can probably get into more trouble by singing the propers.

    Today we dropped vv 2-4 of the closing hymn, All Creatures of Our God, so we could get to v6 "...You lead to heaven the child of God Where Christ our Lord the way has trod..." Introit was We Walk by Faith ''...we may not touch his hands and side, nor follow where he trod..." :-0 I just work here ;-)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Hymns are allowed, in black and white, in the legislation. We've had enough, I think--40 years--of liturgists randomly imposing rules on everyone else. I don't appreciate this attempt, at all.

    That being said, it's the easiest thing in the world to sing a Psalm with an antiphon during the Communion procession, and I can't imagine a good excuse not to do so. If they're used to singing a hymn, that's perfectly legitimate: it can be sung after the Psalm.
  • "VII. The length of the liturgical chant

    22. It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy. According to the ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be over before the elevation, and therefore the priest must here have regard for the singers. The Gloria and the Credo ought, according to the Gregorian tradition, to be relatively short.

    23. In general it must be considered a very grave abuse when the liturgy in ecclesiastical functions is made to appear secondary to and in a manner at the service of the music, for the music is merely a part of the liturgy and its humble handmaid."

    Tra le Sollecitudini
    Instruction on Sacred Music
    Pope Pius X

    Motu Proprio promulgated on November 22, 1903

    Paul Ford is correct: " then he signals to the schola that it is time to sing the doxology and thus to bring the entrance chant to an end."

    The chant is sung until the celebrant determines that it is time to stop. It is an act of rebellion for a music director to sing all the verses just because they are there. Your associate may not be ready to go on with the liturgy and willingly stand to the end of the hymn, but this is not your decision, it is his.

    Saying that there is no reason not to sing and make the priest wait is not what Pope Pius X says:

    "23. In general it must be considered a very grave abuse when the liturgy in ecclesiastical functions is made to appear secondary to and in a manner at the service of the music, for the music is merely a part of the liturgy and its humble handmaid."

    The legislation of 40 years ago permitted hymn singing as an option after hundreds of years when they were not allowed. Decisions can be re-evaluated, and are being re-evaluated.

    If it rids us of hymns that are poorly written and fail to teach the theology of the church, banning all hymns from the Mass would be worth it.

    Not having hymns for hundreds and hundreds of years didn't seem to hurt the church. How has it helped?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Well that's fine. But you should consider the difference between "I, Noel, call for a re-evaluation of this legislation" vs. "Hymns should not be sung at Mass, says the church."
  • We, on our own, cannot change the legislation.

    We can choose to stand up for and program By Flowing Waters, The Graduale Simplex, and other Propers chants.

    Butchering hymns by cutting verses shows a lack of respect for the hymn and fails to teach the people that hymns are important.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Noel, perhaps you should say that in the title of this thread, rather than making an untenable claim.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,888
    Beating a dead horse doesn't seem to hurt the horse. How has it helped?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Hahaha. That's better.
  • Well, I have heavily invested in a buggy whip factory. It's not cruelty if the horse has already died a natural death.

    I've modified the title as requested.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,631
    Pius X is dead - great saint that he was - and the whole world has changed since then, including the rite of mass currently in use. What Pius X called for in the EF has little bearing on the OF regulations currently in force. It amazes me the folks who want to apply EF regulations to the OF, when we are commanded that there is to be no mixing of the rites.

    Hymns are a legitimate part of the mass these days, and they don't appear to be going anywhere. Granted, if we are going to sing hymns, they should be the best ones we can find.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,153

    The Legitimate Liturgist, just this weekend, suggested very plainly that hymns have their place but NOT as a substitute for the Propers.

    The first objection is, of course, that hymns are poetry--but that the text is forced into the procrustean bed of the melody, the diametric opposite of the Word (text) driving the melody, as is the case in the Propers.

    As to the 'standing around and waiting' thing, Froggy's right, but of course, there is 'reasonable' and 'UN-reasonable' waiting around. It is true that the Mass is not a bells-and-smells concert venue.
  • Noel, sometimes it's best to take the advice of John Lennon: "I don't wanna spoil the party so I'll go oh oh...." ;-O
    I have to stand with Kathy. And she's a lot prettier than you, FNJ.
    @Richard Mix- good programming! Which means we did exactly the same with "Lasst uns..."

    I have to say, I love my schola. We sang Heath's "Jesu, dulcis memoria" arrangement beautifully as a prelude, de la Rue's "O salutaris hostia" wonderfully after communion, and Rice's SCG Communio perfectly as a "sight sing."

    Then I gave a 2 hour RCIA presentation to catechumens on "Liturgy," went very well. I'm happy and pooped.
    Pooped is a very theological adjective. Kathy, can you work "pooped" into a hymn translation? "Ye, who are pooped, I will thy yoke upon my shoulder."

    Hopefully will help not with a dark night of the soul, but a dark night of REM sleep, a rare commodity since colloquium.

    Raiders are sucking wind too, on DVR no less. Noel thinks he has problems. I'm a Raider fan. Is it no wonder why JT asked me to contribute to the cafe? My Joseph Heller cum John Zmirak cum William Burroughs' loquation; but I feel like Mister Ed- they do shoot horses don't they?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,797
    Hymns, Shmyms... They have taken FAR to great a presidence in the present Roman Rite. Here is the FK take. (and I would say up front... I LOVE HYMNS!) But that doesn't give nor should it give that form free reign.

    They are supposed to be SPECIAL pieces (like the Sequence, for instance?) where elaboration and other artistic and poetic thought bring introspection to the topic at hand. It's just like music in the movies... If you fill the entire movie with music, well then, there is no contrast. You become oblivious to the very thing that is supposed to give rise to the mind and heart. There is nothing more effective about music than the silence that proceeds it. The longer the silence, the greater effect has the music when it enters the air.

    And then there is the density of the texture that can also overwhelm and distract. Introduce harmony and all of sudden we all start focusing on the MUSIC and not the text. The text is king, the music serves. Some musical arrangements are like walking through a mind-jungle with a machette. (God, help us get to the finale!) The chant, however, unencumbered by complexity in form (harmonic or contrapuntal), can bring a certain pristine dignity and simplicity which is WHY the church wants it as the MAIN form of music... the most fitting to the Roman Rite.

    I LOVE hymns... I LOVE hymns... I LOVE hymns... I DO believe in Ghosts!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    On the topic of better and worse hymns:
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,797

    EXCELLENT article. Wish the Church authorities and publishers would read and heed!
  • Another chief? place for hymns is in devotions and processions.
    We seem to have gotten to a very impoverished place for devotions and processions in the Church today. Everything meaningful to communal devotions is shoved into the Mass.
    It doesn't have to be that way.

    Oh, and Charles,if you insist on repeatedly telling us the specifics of the (beautiful!) rep you program, I'll have to work harder at finagling a way to get to Visalia...
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 269
    Reading all these comments, I can't help but think about a joke that our diocesan director of divine worship (a liturgist to the extreme) told on Wednesday. "What do you do if you're in an elevator with a liturgist and a terrorist? You shoot the liturgist twice, because you can negotiate with a terrorist." LOL. I hope I'm not rubbing anyone the wrong way here, as I also am a liturgist of sorts, and have been told myself that I'm too inflexible.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,631
    There is room in the mass for both hymns and propers.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,797
    Yes, but relatively speaking, chant belongs in the living room, and hymns in the study.

    (I don't think this debate will ever end!)
  • I really, really have to laugh.

    Here we have people desperately trying to justify singing hymns when the majority of Catholics will NOT sing them.

    It's called, "Let's all keep trying to force people to sing."

    The Catholic religious experience involves belief, an intellectual thing, rather than physical participation. It's always been this way.

    Catholics will sort of sing the hit tunes of the church....meaning the acclamation and amen. And, if repeated enough, singable mass ordinary.

    They will not sing music that changes, taking them out of their comfort zone. The church has always realized this, indicating that a schola should sing an antiphon (repeated....see the connection?) and verses by a cantor or a small group (music that changes) of the propers.

    The propers make it a special Mass, different from all others said during the year. Honoring the feast of the day. It's always been a very special thing.

    Singing hymns makes all Masses generic in comparison.


    I sincerely doubt that the church fathers who spent years and years determining who should be canonized, what scripture verses truly fit a Mass which honors them on their feast day are pleased today as they look down from heaven, to see generic hymns that the people like to sing eliminating the Propers and the reverence due the feast.

    The feast day Mass was about them. Today, it's all about us. The hymns we want to sing.

    The Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, Archangels

    Entrance Antiphon

    Bless the Lord, all you his angels: make the day glad with thanksgiving to our God.

    Modern replacement: "It's a Saints Day! We only know one saint's hymn. We will sing For All The Saints!"

    Offertory Song

    The angel came, holding a golden censer, and stood at the altar.

    Modern replacement: "Gosh, we don't know any other Saints hymns. Let's sing For All The Saints! again!"

    Communion Song

    All you angels, praise the Lord in heaven."

    Modern replacement: "Gosh, we don't know any other Saints hymns. Let's sing For All The Saints! again!"

    It's not LOL, it is LOT....lots of tears.

    Diluting down the Catholic experience means that just on this day alone, children would not have heard that angels bless the lord and make the day glad with thanksgiving, that angels may come and stand by the altar with a golden censer at the offertory and that angels praise the Lord in heaven.

    Hymns are wonderful except when they replace the Propers.

    People should not be fighting to revise the Mass the way they want it for their own reasons and should be fighting to reinstate all of the devotions that are built around hymns.

    We all know that if we were to sit down around a table with the church fathers that were behind Vatican II, we would discover that what they intended is not what they got in many cases.

    Sing hymns at Mass. But only once you have fulfilled the job entrusted to you of singing the Propers.

    No one can go up and say, "I've decided to read a different Gospel today than the one specified." or, "Mary Lou has written a lovely eucharistic prayer that I am going to say today instead of the one from the Sacramentary.

    The restriction of what may and may not be said and sung at Mass preserves the Mass.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    I really, really have to laugh when I think about how Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was probably totally disappointed that they sang his hymn Praise to the Holiest in the Height, which pretty much sums up the scope of all the orders of creation, and redemption, and the Eucharist, as the processional for his beatification Mass.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,797
    Nah... that was probably the only fitting hymn sung on that day and totally special. (However, did it replace a proper for such an important event?) If so, I wonder what all the other Saints had at their Mass in the same place? I bet it was... Greogorian Chant!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Oh, and then the Pope quoted the hymn to conclude his homily. So, yes, hymns are terrible.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,797
    Kathy... hymns are wonderful! They should not be an all consuming fire, however.
  • I don't believe it is objectively accurate to characterise metrical hymnody as inherently music oriented, whereas plainchant isn't. This really is not tenable. A very finely crafted hymn tune is as much a servant of the words as is a plainchant tune or melody. As examples, one might refer to 'Down Ampney', 'Lauda anima', or 'St Denio', just to name three that come to mind which really do serve their texts. On the other hand, these (or other) fine tunes can fall flat on their faces if paired to just any text which happens to share the same metre. Ditto a text ineptly paired to a given tune just because the tune is 'familiar'. Further, I would suggest with some degree of certitude that there are quite a number of plainchant tunes in which the thrill is as much in the music as it is the text. This is not inherently evil - it is human. Examples might be Veni Creator Spiritus, Te Deum, a favourite ordinary, etc. Metrical hymnody is not sui generis always a music centred genre as opposed to plainchant, which (some might have us believe) never is. Nor is it bad to enjoy the musical half. We all do this, regardless of metrical or plainchant genres. St Augustine (of Hippo) wrote of this tendency, felt somewhat guilty about it, but still enjoyed it. So should we! It is a gift of God. We love plainchant, and, if we're honest, must admit that we are stirred by it. This debate is really not, cannot objectively be, about whether metrical hymnody is spiritually and liturgically valid. The Church (very wisely stating the obvious) has said that it is. It, instead, has its foundation in what seems to be a constitutional tendency of some to draw a dichotomy which does not objectively exist because they just don't like hymns at mass. Probably because they haven't shared the good fortune of having heard or experienced fine hymnody done well as an handmaid to the liturgy. As for the time and waiting factor? Well, there are introits and offertory antiphons (not to mention graduals) which, because of their complexity, may cause 'delay' in the liturgical action if properly done. Would anyone suggest that we should butcher them and stop the singing when too much time had passed. Absurd! We wait! And, whether chant or metrical hymnody, the only real (and appropriate) waiting being done is waiting on the Lord in his sacred time and space. Also, Charles is very right to point out that every pontifical pronouncement from the past is not binding for all times and circumstances. If this were true, we would still be worshiping according to the Didache, we would not have polyphony - - - there is no end to what we would not have.
  • LIQBITDTTEIPAPA. (Laughing internally, quietly because I'm too damn tired to engage in pedantic and purposeless arguments.)
    Have we nothing better to do here than use the GIRM, Tra le, MS, CSL as mandates to do a Crime Scene Investigation forensic debate on principles? What are we so worried and worked up about? If you have a crime scene liturgy in your place, do something about it there. If you don't have a "there," get out there and find one for whatever compensation you can personally live with. Colloquium provides us models and inspiration. It doesn't give us a mandate to wear a sandwich sign saying "The End of Liturgy is Near!"
    For every National's Stadium Mass, you'll find a complimentary opposite Liturgy of the Hours at the Basilica and some sort of compromise, composite Catholic hit parade such as was heard at St. Patrick's. So what?
    Yes, I/we believe in the paradigm, as well as the heirarchy of the legislation to which we are bound to honor. But it is ridiculous to trumpet heralds calling for the musical practices of this global institution to turn on a coin. What is the hurry? Are we likely to die before personally witnessing the imposition of absolute uniformity, just as it may be? That, it seems to me, has a reek of vanity that might contradict a higher discipline: that of the gospels.
    Okay, we agree that certain aspects/portions of the Second Council might have been misappropriated and misapplied into practice over four decades. But, in the history of the church, how much time passes on average before the effects of an ecumenical council can be reasonably determined? Uh, I think we're talking centuries there.
    Personally, I think Newman's ear is tuned closer to the fulfillment of those "languages" we name "music" and "text." That fulfillment is imagined in both the psalms and the melodies and poetry of hymns here in this time.
    Good hymnody is not something that we have to cry over with shouts of "Violence....how long, O Lord."
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,797
    Long diatribes about this way or that way are pointless. We are not discussing music here! We are not discussing meter... it's not the metrical music, it's not the plainchant, it's not the polyphony that is on trial. It is the liturgy itself. MusicaSacra is simply the vessel through which the rite passes. However, what IS at issue is that the rite has been displaced! Because it is the WORDS that ARE the rite. It is the texts themselves. It is Christ who said so himself! I am the Word. I am with God and I am God! Logos! Music is just the vessel. If there was no Word, music would cease to exist. If the LOGOS never appeared, there would be no hymn, no chant, no choir, no altar, and no Priest. All would be damned. Last month I suffered a priest who altered the Words of consecration. He might as well said, 'let them eat bread!' How far will our pride and our own designs remove us from the heart of the truth, from the center of the Church?

    So let it be hymns if you please, but be quite careful what you do with the Christ. Do not let your hymn or your chant or the musics replace the LOGOS Who IS the center of the liturgy! For then you shall at some point wonder what has become of the Christ! What has become of the Altar! What has become of the Tabernacle! Has not moving the furniture and the altar and the priest and the music out of the rite caused a great scandal already in our own lifetime? Have not we practically moved out of the church itself? "Surely, we can just sing to the mountains and among the trees and the birds will sing the song!"

    And we all must shudder to think that we who serve such a Terrible and August God, may at once face Him one day who might say, "Where, O man, is your faith!"
  • From Francis, a healthy and always relevant admonition, whatever genre is our music. All are holy, and all can become polarised ends in themselves - and thus, not holy.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    Some mentioned the introit with verse and Gloria Patri being longer than the procession. For what it's worth, everyone here should check the preface to the 1974 Graduale. I believe it says that for short processions the verse only (without Gloria Patri) should be used, and for even shorter processions, only the antiphon. This is not alius cantus aptus - this is in the instructions!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,631
    Granted, I have had my days when I wondered what the fathers at Vatican II were smoking. They did not seem to foresee the logical consequences of their actions, to be sure.

    I don't know what happens at your individual churches, but I know what happens at mine. Yesterday, at all 4 morning masses, I heard the congregation singing. I am in the loft close to the organ, yet I heard them singing hymns and mass parts over the organ. They didn't sing the communion proper, but they don't have copies of it. Only the choir and/or cantor sing it. What the people had printed music for, they sang. The key to that, I suppose, is that I chose music they knew and COULD sing.

    Popes do not have the authority to bind future popes with their liturgical pronouncements. Pope Benedict has the same authority to set or change liturgical law as any of his predecessors.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,562
    As do his successors....
  • If you're going to do hymns, I would say that they should be done "right"—in their entirety.

    In some parts of the world, especially around Germany and Austria, the singing of vernacular hymns instead of propers goes back over 400 years. (They also use paraphrases of the Mass parts with permission from Rome—though that permission was in question after LA, until our current Pope came into office.)

    I've found a couple of interesting quotes from Noel on his website regarding vernacular hymns—"Catholic hymns in the vernacular have been part of the church for centuries prior to the 1970's..." and "Vernacular songs have always been a part of the Catholic Faith..." (Source Here)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    At yesterday's Red Mass in DC, the homily was built around a hymn, the sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus.

    The homilist was Pope Benedict's appointed Secretary of the CDW.
  • I fully support hymns, otherwise I would not have created a resource for people looking for the hymns of their youth. Hymns that were theologically sound, vetted and given the imprint, hymns such as the ones Kathy writes. I would have no fear in singing a hymn by Kathy who has proven her fidelity to the fath.

    Hymns have their place when processions are extended in any circumstance, including the Mass.

    But...putting them on equal footing with the Propers of the Mass, permitting them to be sung in place of the Propers, opening the door to a time when the odds of hearing the Propers at a Sunday Mass are not even a long-shot...

    Was that the intent of Vatican II?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    Thanks, Noel.

    There are 2 places in the Mass where hymns might be sung without displacing the propers: the post-Communion hymn of praise, and the "recessional hymn," about which the GIRM is silent but which folks have expected for decades if not centuries.