Where the rupture began . . .
  • I'm in the midst of research preparing for a series of presentations for my parish on sacred music, the reform and the impact of the corrected translation on music in the liturgy.

    In re-reading Musicam sacram, I stumbled upon what I believe may be the source of a large part of the rupture we've experienced in sacred music during and after the Council.

    Tell me what you make of this paragraph:

    32. In some places there is the lawful practice, occasionally confirmed by indult, of substituting other songs for the entrance, offertory and communion chants in the Graduale. At the discretion of the competent territorial authority this practice may be kept, on condition that the songs substituted fit in with those parts of the Mass, the feast, or the liturgical season. The texts of such songs must also have the approval of the same territorial authority.

    (Translation from Documents on the Liturgy published by Liturgical Press, with my emphasis. It is worth noting that the wording of this translation is significantly different from the more commonly used English translation.)
  • This is 1967, and clearly disastrous. But consider that in 1955 with Musicae Sacrae we had this, which is the real root of the problem.

    62. As We have said before, besides those things that are intimately associated with the Church's sacred liturgy, there are also popular religious hymns which derive their origin from the liturgical chant itself. Most of these are written in the language of the people. Since these are closely related to the mentality and temperament of individual national groups, they differ considerably among themselves according to the character of different races and localities.

    63. If hymns of this sort are to bring spiritual fruit and advantage to the Christian people, they must be in full conformity with the doctrine of the Catholic faith. They must also express and explain that doctrine accurately. Likewise they must use plain language and simple melody and must be free from violent and vain excess of words. Despite the fact that they are short and easy, they should manifest a religious dignity and seriousness. When they are fashioned in this way these sacred canticles, born as they are from the most profound depths of the people's soul, deeply move the emotions and spirit and stir up pious sentiments. When they are sung at religious rites by a great crowd of people singing as with one voice, they are powerful in raising the minds of the faithful to higher things.

    64. As we have written above, such hymns cannot be used in Solemn High Masses without the express permission of the Holy See. Nevertheless at Masses that are not sung solemnly these hymns can be a powerful aid in keeping the faithful from attending the Holy Sacrifice like dumb and idle spectators. They can help to make the faithful accompany the sacred services both mentally and vocally and to join their own piety to the prayers of the priest. This happens when these hymns are properly adapted to the individual parts of the Mass, as We rejoice to know is being done in many parts of the Catholic world.

    So compress this and you have the following: popular religious music can replace propers. And this was Pius XII! I'm certain that he had no idea what he was unleashing here.
  • Does this also sound familiar?

    47. Where, according to old or immemorial custom, some popular hymns are sung in the language of the people after the sacred words of the liturgy have been sung in Latin during the solemn Eucharistic sacrifice, local Ordinaries can allow this to be done "if, in the light of the circumstances of the locality and the people, they believe that (custom) cannot prudently be removed." The law by which it is forbidden to sing the liturgical words themselves in the language of the people remains in force, according to what has been said.

    Also from Musicae sacrae disciplina of Pius XII.
  • Keep in mind here that these documents unleashed a problem that Sacrosanctum Concilium set out to correct, and hence the language about the primacy of chant and the need to sing the Mass. This is backdrop. The hope: put a stop to the proliferation of vernacular hymnody and bring about singing the Mass itself.

  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    We have to consider that the 1955 passages must have been written in response to a real historical practice. Ideas like these don't appear out of thin air. Although I haven't done any real research on it, my hunch is that they were intended for populations like German-speaking Catholics (and others), whose vernacular hymnody far antedated any modern liturgical reform. There is nothing irresponsible about that--or inherently problematic.

    It is only the retrospective universal application of these principles that is irresponsible. (Or the vilification of Pius XII, depending on where one falls on the ideological spectrum)
  • I think that is more or less what Fr. Ruff says.
  • popular religious music can replace propers. And this was Pius XII!

    Maybe I'm missing something, Jeffrey, but it doesn't seem like any such thing would happen. At low Mass, the propers are not sung at all, just said silently by the priest, which he would obviously still do. At high Mass, the popular music could not be used "without the express permission of the Holy See." The net result is no decrease in the propers, and allowing the congregation to sing music at low Mass instead of standing there in "dumb and idle" silence. So which propers, exactly, would be replaced under the permissions expressed in Musicae Sacrae? Under what circumstances? Like I say, maybe I'm missing something.
  • Likewise, with respect to the OP, I'm curious under what circumstances one could say that it is a "source of rupture" to decree that a "lawful practice, occasionally confirmed by indult, . . . may be kept." To my ears, that sounds more like continuity than rupture.
  • Query: Many have inquired whether the rule still applies that appears in the Instruction on sacred music and the liturgy, 3 Sept. 1958, no. 33: “In low Masses religious songs of the people may be sung by the congregation, without prejudice, however, to the principle that they be entirely consistent with the particular parts of the Mass.” Reply: That rule has been superseded. What must be sung is the Mass, its Ordinary and Proper, not “something,” no matter how consistent, that is imposed on the Mass. Because the liturgical service is one, it has only one countenance, one motif, one voice, the voice of the Church. To continue to replace the texts of the Mass being celebrated with motets that are reverent and devout, yet out of keeping with the Mass of the day (for example, the Lauda Sion on a saint’s feast) amounts to continuing an unacceptable ambiguity: it is to cheat the people. Liturgical song involves not mere melody, but words, text, thought, and the sentiments that the poetry and music contain. Thus texts must be those of the Mass, not others, and singing means singing the Mass not just singing at Mass. [Notitiae 5 (1969) 406.]

    The original Italian:

    Da più parti è stato chiesto se è ancora valida la formula della Istruzione sulla Musica sacra e la Sacra Liturgia, del 3 sett. 1958, al n. 33: “In Missis lectis cantus populares religiosi a fidelibus cantari possunt, servata tamen hac lege ut singulis Missae partibus plane congruant.”
    La formula è superata.
    È la Messa, Ordinario e Proprio, che si deve cantare, e non “qualcosa,” anche se plane congruit, che si sovrappone alla Messa. Perché l’azione è unica, ha un solo volto, un solo accento, una sola voce: la voce della Chiesa. Continuare a cantare mottetti, sia pure devoti e pii (come il Lauda Sion all’offertorio nella festa di un santo), ma estranei alla Messa, in luogo dei testi della Messa che si celebra, significa continuare un’ambiguita inammissibile: dare crusca invece di buon frumento, vinello annacquato invece di vine generoso.
    Perché non solo la melodia ci interessa nel canto liturgico, ma le parole, il testo, il pensiero, i sentimenti rivestiti di poesia e di melodia. Ora, questi testi devono essere quelli della Messa, non altri. Cantare la Messa, dunque, e non solo cantare durante la Messa.

    Source: Documents on the Liturgy 1963–1975: Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1982), edited and translated by Thomas C. O’Brien of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Here: DOL 4154 (p. 1299).
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,611
    "64. As we have written above, such hymns cannot be used in Solemn High Masses without the express permission of the Holy See."

    Solemn High Masses have pretty much disappeared in this part of the country. That might be part of the problem.

    " At low Mass, the propers are not sung at all, just said silently by the priest, which he would obviously still do"

    When we use propers, we are imposing them on what has become the norm, a low mass. The mass as it is commonly practiced would likely have been called a low mass in the old days.
  • Thank you, Dr. Ford.

    My original post was during the flush of beginning my research.

    I own a copy of DOL, and I haven't yet dug into the supporting material such as the Notitiae entry you cite above.

    I'm hoping to have a much better perspective on all of this after more study.

    With respect to Pius XII, I seek not to vilify, only to clarify.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    David, I was just trying to paint two extremes of interpretation.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    isnt this all why we had reform in the first place?
  • MarkThompson, of course you are right. I meant of course in musical terms.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Again, I recommend
    Look at a century of documents as layers of shellac, not paint.
    Start with the first document and the following documents makes sense.
    When skim-read in order, the exercise makes you say to yourself several times
    "This is a almost identical to what I just read that a few minutes ago in an earlier document".

    I am still hoping to find a website that was popular in the 1990s,
    into which instructors provided term-papers for plagiarism flagging.
    I have wanted so much to subject the Vatican website documents to this scrutiny.
    Many sentences are so similar to earlier documents,
    but the lack of footnotes hides the fact.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Also ...
    There are more than a few CMAA Forum discussions in the last year
    that make so much more sense when you read all the other posts from around the same time.

    The same applies with these church documents;
    you need to wander around in the time warp to "get it".
    I find the following most valuable ...

    Thirty-Five Years of the BCL Newsletter 1965-2000
    by USCCB

    Using the Forum Search (radio button Comments, "BCL Newsletter"),
    you should get plenty of useful quotes to entice you into purchasing a copy
    and getting even more of the USA story.
    It is like reading testimony of eye-witnesses to a crime recorded on a police report.
    "Just the facts, ma'am."