Criteria for USCCB approval of Liturgical books
  • As I noted in my earlier post, which I cannot seem to locate, the USCCB is dragging its feet in approving the Simple English Propers.

    Question: What are the criteria that Fr. Hilgartner uses in this determination? I notice the antiphon translations already have an imprimatur, and the revised grail psalter is also approved. Is Fr. Hilgartner judging the musicality of the book or the theology ... or both?

    To answer a question on the (earlier) entry, yes we do Latin chants. Puer Natus Est Nobis at Christmas, Resurrexi at Easter, and all the major feasts through the year. However, we have always fallen short of preparing all the proper chants I would like, especially during the summer months, and I thought the Simple English Propers might help in this regard. We tried By Flowing Waters, but, frankly, I find many of the adaptations in that book deplorable. I have no doubt that the editor was trying to do a good thing, but his work lacks sensitivity to the true Gregorian feeling. I much prefer the Simple English Propers; they capture the Gregorian spirit. That is why I don't understand why the USCCB is calling this into question.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,530
    I suppose it depends on whether the SEP is being considered as a translation of antiphons from the Graduale Romanum or as "another collection of Psalms and antiphons" (GIRM 48) or as a collection of "other suitable chants". The criteria to be applied in each case would probably be different. There are some non-trivial questions involved, so I'm not surprised that the Committee is taking a while to decide.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • Please! the USCCB is not calling this into question. There is no issue, no controversy, no feet dragging. This is a schola book that doesn't even need approval given its status (as you point out). It didn't even need to be submitted. I sent it more FYI than anything. If USCCB wants to give it a boost, great, but these things don't happen overnight.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • Yeah, you're probably right, Richard. But the nonchalant response of Rv. Hilgartner et al, if based upon either classification or, heaven forbid, procrastination still doesn't justify the delay of a simple endowment of an imprimatur. If, as you cite, it merits consideration under options 3-4, if not justifiably 1 (which is understandable, we're in new waters here), where's the beef?
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    I think the CMAA did the right thing in submitting the settings to the local hierarchy, even though it did not need to do so. It is better to attempt to work with one's Bishops' conference than to ignore it. Bureaucracy being what it is (and the Church has the world's oldest and most successful example), there may be misunderstanding on the way, especially in those corners where the spirit of ultramontanism lingers; but our engagement can help inform and improve.

    ps I speak ruefully, with some knowledge of inefficiencies and other problems in another jurisdiction!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,530
    I wonder if CMAA members might share the SEP with their local diocesan office for worship and obtain approval for it at the diocesan level.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • We've been using SEP for about two months now and the response from the clergy at the parish has been good. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the bishop happens to be at the Mass where the SEP is being used to see his reaction.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,025
    It might be even more interesting to see what would happen if the SEP were used in the bishop's cathedral.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I would be curious to know whether the judgment will be a theological one or a musical one.

    Also, I think it is important to note that SING TO THE LORD (USCCB) specifically says: "Antiphons from the Graduale Romanum or Graduale Simplex might be sung in Latin or vernacular."
  • @CHGiffen, we can only hope...

    The White Mass is coming, but, there is not an SEP for St. Luke.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,113
    @CHGiffen
    I've actually sung SEP during some daily Masses at the Cathedral Parish here in Madison, but the bishop wasn't there. It was received very well though.

    Now... to get it to the Sunday Masses...
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,025
    @Ben
    Indeed!! You're in Madison WI? It's my alma mater, and my youngest son is in his third year there.
  • OK, I was finally able to locate a quote I pulled off a forum at the St. Gregory Society a few years back {http://www.ssg.org.uk}

    Fr. Hilgartner responded to the question of whether chant adaptations in English are "automatically" approved by virtue of their very nature:

    Question submitted by F.L. regarding a document called: "New Policy for the Approval of Musical Compositions for the Liturgy: The following policy was approved by the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy on November 10, 1996. This policy will be used by the Secretariat for the Liturgy in decisions concerning the release of liturgical texts for musical compositions." The third paragraph says: "Only those musical settings of liturgical texts from the Order of Mass Which have received the approval described in this paragraph may be used in the liturgy in the United States of America." But, according to this paragraph, the liturgical music of Palestrina, Gregorian chant, and Mozart Masses used for Papal Masses would also be forbidden at Mass. They do not have "the approval described in this paragraph."

    On June 25, 2008, Fr. Richard Hilgartner responded:
    I would suggest that the rule only applies to new compositions. Since the same documents speak of the nobility of chant and the rich musical heritage of polyphony for the liturgy, those musical forms are by nature "approved" for liturgical use.

    Fr. Rick Hilgartner
    Associate Director
    Secretariat of Divine Worship
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    3211 Fourth St. NE Washington, DC 20017
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    If that is accurate, it would seem to weigh in on the side of the "automatic" approval by virtue of form. But again, is the approval theological or stylistic in nature?
  • Like yourselves, I also have been quite perplexed that it is taking this long to receive an imprimatur for the Simple English Propers.

    One comment I hear lately when it comes to focusing on new endeavors of any sort, is that the concern with the new mass translation is putting many other issues on the backburner for the time being. I have no idea if that applies in any way to the Rev. Richard.

    Now though I like the Simple English Propers, I also think that eventually something like it can be done which is even better. A harmonized or polyphnic version might be good too. Something akin to Healey Wilans work, but less sentimental. Than we would truly be able to sound much closer to the average ukrainian or ruthenian byzantine catholic parish. There is a youtube video of the Liturgical Institute of St. Mary of the Lake University singing a harmonized psalm tone with the SEP and it goes off like gangbusters, everyone comments that they want to hear that kind of harmony in their parish.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOjaaaZfkkQ

    Mr. Ormonde Plater in New Orleans has nearly completed his english language adaptaption of the Graduale Simplex. It should be available for free download sometime in February. This is possibly something that will be of interest to some of us.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I think the USCCB has some information about their process posted on their website.
    Thanked by 1E_A_Fulhorst
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Are there files for these harmonisations available to download? I've got a few people who are not particularly interested in plainchant, but like to sing in harmony and polyphony. This would be a good half-way house to get them into the whole music program.