No more tropes-Agnus Dei
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Praise the Lord! I hope it's true.
  • Considering SttL directly contradicted Redemptionis Sacramentum on this point, the stipulation was moot anyway.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Yes, but it's easy for people to say: "See! STTL says it's fine!" and ignore anything else, because they have a supposed liturgical document supporting them, even though that document had no authority.

    We pretty much knew all along that this was coming... it was more of a "when" than an "if."
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • Oh good. Now we can actually use the approved texts instead of having to be all creative!
  • I can't wait to say "I told you so" to a few folks... LOL

    I am curious why they asked that the changes be made to STTL if is truly an advisory document and carries no force of law anyway? Perhaps they recognize STTL more than some here would like to admit.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,852
    Whether or not STTL has force of law, it has a heck of a lot of influence. I don't think people on the forum are greatly different from people in general. They tend to dismiss what doesn't fit within their agendas. Why would anyone expect otherwise? At a practical level, musicians and priests in the parishes do point to STTL as justification for what they do. That being so, I am glad for the clarification. I never went along with adding those extra verses to the English "Lamb of God," even going as far as rewriting the wording for the dreaded Mass of Creation. May it rest in peace.
  • The 2010 revision of MoC changed the wording for the Agnus Dei, too. It no longer included "tropes," nor the variation of "Jesus, [insert title here]."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,852
    I know. I still don't want to use it. In our case, everyone has heard it so much we are all sick of it.
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    As if... prior to the new translation it was ok to change the texts of the liturgy, but it's suddenly not anymore?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,852
    It was never OK, but too often done. Why, I am not sure. I never saw what the composers/liturgists thought they were gaining by changing texts.
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Charles, you're just a big creativity stifler.
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • One can parse the technical legal definitions of the canonical status of STTL all you want - but - when a conference of bishops issues a document that is said to guide the liturgies in their conference, that is going to not only have influence, but also LEGITIMATELY has some influence, since the bishops are the chief liturgists in their local churches.

    Yes, I know - the CONFERENCE doesn't have the same authority that an individual bishop has - I know. Once again, the LETTER OF THE LAW officially verses reality. Just like in civil law.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,852
    Creativity? In holy Liturgy? Is definite outrage!

    I got tropes, you got tropes, all God's children got tropes.
    When I get to heaven gonna sing out my tropes.
    Gonna trope all over God's heaven...
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    Historically, the trope was inserted as any one of a variety of rhymed, metered texts inserted after the words Agnus Dei and always concluded with miserere nobis or the final dona nobis pacem.

    The modern, abusive, post VCII tropes, most notably demonstrated by the infamous "Mass of Creation" destroy this pattern by replacing the words Agnus Dei with other Christological references ("Prince of Peace", "Bread of Hope", "Cup of Love", etc., ad nauseum) rather than expanding on the sacrificial nature found in the invocation "Lamb of God". These other invocations seem to point to other qualities of the nature of Christ not directly associated with the sacrificial work of Christ on the Cross who is offered again in a bloodless sacrifice on the altar. Liturgical texts contain and convey a special and specific meaning. To tamper with those carefully crafted texts and meanings with these kinds of "creative", but careless, texts and tropes only serve to weaken and destroy the meaning and therefore the sacramental theology contained therein.

    Also, from what I have gathered in my reading and research, it's not altogether clear as to whether or not these ancient troped forms of the Agnus Dei were actually sung during liturgies. It would seem, although I'm open to further enlightenment on the subject, that these troped versions of the various chants were more commonly used in devotional para-liturgies and NOT within the context of the Mass, and may not have been as widely popular or employed for nearly as long in the history of troped chants as we've been led to believe.
  • I've read that before, too, David. The "tropes" would have taken the form of:

    "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Bread of life, have mercy on us."

    I don't know about their use in liturgy either. It really doesn't matter. Our current liturgical texts do not include their use, and altering the text of the Mass is specifically forbidden by Redemptionis Sacramentum (and doubtlessly elsewhere), regardless of what SttL says.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,668
    since the bishops are the chief liturgists in their local churches

    OK, I'll bite (and parse.)

    Under Canon Law, Rome reserves to itself all liturgical law. That means the Pope, although he may delegate to Cong/Worship. Therefore, the phrase "in union with the Pope" has meaning in this context, too.

    Secondly, a committee of Bishops is not to be confused with The Bishop, just as the USCC is not to be confused with The Bishop.

    Prof. Mahrt, among others, noted that STTL is a strange document, seemingly written by two differing people (or camps.) It is a fine example of cognitive dissonance in many regards.

    So which of those 'liturgists' should be obeyed?
    Thanked by 1benedictgal
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,852
    So which of those 'liturgists' should be obeyed?

    The one who signs your check, if you like being employed. That is what it often comes down to.
    Thanked by 2Andrew Motyka ryand
  • Actually, it was about time that the tropes were trumped. Over at another forum, I was trounced for insisting that this sort of thing should not be happening. It seems to me that when the authors of Sing to the Lord came to this particular section, they should have consulted with Liturgiam Authenticam, which specically states that:

    60. A great part of the liturgical texts are composed with the intention of their being sung by the priest celebrant, the deacon, the cantor, the people, or the choir. For this reason, the texts should be translated in a manner that is suitable for being set to music. Still, in preparing the musical accompaniment, full account must be taken of the authority of the text itself. Whether it be a question of the texts of Sacred Scripture or of those taken from the Liturgy and already duly confirmed, paraphrases are not to be substituted with the intention of making them more easily set to music, nor may hymns considered generically equivalent be employed in their place.39

    Had SttL been submitted to Rome for recognitio, I daresay that the document, in its entirety, would have been cleaned up.
  • The folks over at Pray Tell are flipping out....It's pretty entertaining....
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,283
    I'm sorry, but- wasn't this covered in a dubium or something like last year?
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    In my 25 years' experience of sacred music at the parish level, what words are sung at the Agnus Dei have never, EVER, been an issue amongst the faithful of the congregation. This stuff is forced into "issue status" by agenda-driven professional activists. Agnus Dei tropes are way more important to Catholics With Agendas than they are to the faithful in the pews who pay the heating bill. My next-door neighbor sings tenor in my choir. He could not care less about the activist agenda. He just wants to support the Church. The real Church.
    Thanked by 2ryand irishtenor
  • I highly doubt that all the tropes I see in my facscimiles of ancient graduals were made for "pretend" masses... Who can seriously believe that?

    It would be amazing if the book:
    "Tropen zum Gloria, Sanctus und Agnus Dei im Graduale Romanum
    hg. von Anton Stingl jun., 2012, EOS Verlag Sankt Ottilien"
    were published at the same time as they are than officially banned for usage with the Mass.

    http://www.gregor-und-taube.de/index.html

    Yes I have an agenda, but it's a medievalist pre-trent continuity agenda... not the 1st century pseudo-protestant humanist agenda of the contemporary camp.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,336
    Does this ban affect the altered text of the 'agnus' appearing in Requiem Masses used in the Novus Ordo; that is, if you are using Faure's Requiem at a Novus Ordo is it permissable to use Faure's agnus as is, or do you have to change dona eis requiem to miserere, etc, or do you not sing Faure's setting and just use the plainchant instead? What about the plainchant Requiem agnus using the changed text?

    I am thinking of this because I played and cantored a funeral yesterday, the accompaniment that I like for the agnus is from an old book (with the old text) and without thinking I sang that text (dona eis requiem [sempternam]). It didn't bother me then, but I does now.
  • I must echo john m's opinion...

    I challenge you to find 3 people in a congregation of 500 who care or even notice when these tropes go away. The only people who are objecting to this are those with an agenda or who resent the Holy See inserting itself into ANYTHING.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW francis ryand
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,100
    95% of the people who come to Mass don't care about the trimmings. 2.5% are there to remake it to their own purpose, and the other 2.5% are trying to reform it the Church's wishes. (those are fictitious percentages that I pulled out of the air, but I bet it's not too far off)
  • I would think that most people want to do what the Church asks, but don't know what that is -- because they've been served pablum versions of it for years. If you ask most people why they go to Mass, I think you would find some who said that they wanted to worship God, while others might say that they (as a community) wanted to praise God and share Eucharist (not THE Eucharist, but merely Eucharist).

    Out of the mouths of 6 year olds come gems like this one, which I've cited before: "Daddy, why does the priest have his back to Jesus for the whole of the Mass?"

    Some people will genuinely not see anything wrong with the mindless tropes, because they assume good will on the part of those who compose and find their works in books approved by bishops. Others don't know that there is, in fact, a set text to be used, not as one option among many, but as the assigned text. Liturgy has become, in the minds of many, what WE do, instead of what God does and what the whole Church does in obedience to God.

  • The legitimate proponents of tropes point to the medieval use of them and indeed no one debates that it was so. It was a different time; moreover, the Gothic mind was one of addition. A mind that wanted to express more and more. Look at the architecture of the time and the parallel is quite obvious. Look at art and architecture in our time and (if you have the stomach) think of the parallels.

    Generally in our time, we seek to minimize and obscure. Innovation in the Liturgy is often motivated by the personal taste of the innovator with little regard for the integrity of the Rite or the efforts our Church are attempting to purify the OF and get back on track.
    Sometimes we can get lost in the study of the liturgy and what is possible and what was done and what could be done and forget to just live it and care for it and take our personality out of it.
    Thanked by 2Spriggo Chris_McAvoy
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I'm sure many of the sacred musicologists (Mahrt, Doug/Mike/CHG et al) could clarify this, but the invention of "troping" sacred scripture texts certainly predates not only the medieval Church, but in reality, are as old as the emergent texts eventually consolidated into our liturgical rituals. I'm just relying upon old research memories from my grad studies.
  • Not with certainty, but I remember the discussions of the Agnus Dei itself possibly being used (Based on St Gall 349) before Pope Sergius, perhaps as early as before 680? Certainly no later than Pope Sergius I. Tropes also considered to show up at the same time as Charles rightly points out. I think the account of the Venerable Bede was not entirely clear. I also recount the only direct mention of the Agnus Dei being of the second half of the 8th cent. Certainly it was fixed by the mid 9th cent. with "miserere pro nobis". "Qui sedes" and "Rex Regum" as tropes that certainly appear by the mid-tenth Cent. But I hope to hear someone speak with certitude.

    Early middle-ages, and moving ahead I think my point is still germane even if my certainty about the exact time of the use of tropes in history is off or more recent research has uncovered something else?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,668
    Given the history of tropes (and assuming that it's accurate), all we've learned is that church musicians are STILL o.c.-syndrome folks: fill every hole with mo' MUSICK!!

    Now and then a gentle administration of the 2x4 across the noggin would help.
    Thanked by 1benedictgal
  • dad29, I was thinking more along the lines of a Gibbs' head slap.
  • STTL, what a great example of a decoy document.
    Craft something close to what you're suppossed to do, insert random liturgist cravings, mix in funky and flowery language to shift focus, and voilà! Who cares about the real deal?

    Why was STTL needed? Oh yeah, a CYA attempt to bring MCW into line with reality. But, alas, times had changed so much that the more faithful STTL (less creative than CWA, but closer to MS and the current GIRM) was still far enough off the mark that no one even tried to go for recognitio.

    As usual, what we have is a battle for authentic ecclesiology. Thank God things are being clarified in Rome. The identity crisis in the Church continues... but a little clarity is heart-warming.
    Thanked by 1benedictgal
  • David Andrew, you're cracking me up.
    'Cup of Love' as a trope? Really? That evokes memories of Jesus Christ Superstar. Oh, the cheesiness!
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    MaryAnn, ya just can't make this stuff up! (At least, I can't.)
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Ah guys, double down already: "Lamb of God....hunka hunka burnin' Love, have moicy on us!"
    Leaving the building now.
  • I'm with melofluent; if you're going to be bad, be awful. Be an A or an F.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,283
    I honestly do not understand why anyone makes a big deal out of this either way.

    Why the desire to add extra words to the Ordinary in the first place?

    Why bother with a crackdown on a practice that isn't all that bad (relatively speaking)?

    Why respond to that crackdown with indignation and protest?

    On the one hand, people should follow the rules. On the other hand, I don't see a strong need to enforce/edit the rule, compared with all the other problems that need to be addressed. And then back on the first hand, people should follow the rules. Then, with that second hand again, I think some discretion ought to be considered when deciding what is worth and not worth getting people riled up over.

    Bad all around.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Dunno, Adam. I see your point.
    Maybe the unnecessary cheesiness factor was enough to irritate some people in Rome?
    Sadly, people who want to define the Church and her worship along the lines of their own preferences are prone to pushing the envelope. This time it was 'returned to sender'.
    Cue: melofluent.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I think the elephant in the room is that the practice of adding verses to the Lamb is closely related to the custom of including as many extraordinary eucharistic ministers as possible. I've been at several Masses where the fraction rite was prolonged so that six or eight men and women both could gather around the altar (sometimes being given the Blessed Sacrament to hold in their hand until the Ecce Agnus) for the distribution of communion to the faithful. And all this while priests (i.e. ordinary ministers) were present who did not participate, and for a congregation of only 100 people.

    A better solution for prolonging the Agnus would be to do a more florid chant, or to alternate a simple chant with an alternatim polyphonic setting. Using only ordinary ministers, one may find they need more music at Communion. In this case, use verses for the communion chant, or follow it with a motet.

    www.euouae.com
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    "Wise men say 'only fools rush in....but I can love- tropes in the big trash bin!" (Does anybody have some peanut butter and a banana, stat?"
    Bravo solution, SMO!
    As someone who never, ever did MoC, my only experience was with B. Farrell's ubiquitous version back in the 80's. Seemed silly then, so dropped it like a bad habit.

    I'm here all week.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,852
    I have a less-than-love relationship with MOC. When I began as organist at my parish, I worked under a choir director who wanted music to be "relevant and moving." When she retired, I think she might have been shocked to find the congregation never wanted "relevant and moving," but the traditional music they had grown up with. MOC was the diocesan mandated default mass for years. When the revised missal was implemented, the cathedral music director pushed something called "Misa Luna." It was so awful the pastor effectively banned it by saying, "I never want to hear it again. I never thought I would hear anything worse than Mass of Creation, but this is." Both works are dead as far as I am concerned, and I won't be using either. Works for me!
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    You bring up an interesting point at the end of your post, incantu. The GIRM no. 83 actually specifies that the normative way of singing it would be the congregation responding to the choir or cantor.

    "The supplication Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is usually sung by the choir or cantor with the congregation replying;"


    Most places that even do this usually have the cantor sing "Lamb of God/Agunus Dei" with the congregation taking it up from there. But being a litany, the more logical choice would be for the congregation to only sing the final phrase "have mercy on us/miserere nobis and grant us peace/dona nobis pacem."

    If we are to follow the GIRM closely, and taken in context, this would easily open us up to a polyphonic agnus deis with a simple chanted response from the congregation, since the congregation already is assumed not to be singing, except for the final phrase of each line.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,283
    "is usually" is descriptive, not prescriptive.

    I find it interesting how often that happens in liturgical documents.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 784
    What I find interesting (rather disapointing) is that while MOC in it's revised version conforms to the Missal, many of the newly composed settings pushed by the Big 3 do not. Suffice it to say most of the highly marketed newly composed settings are also musically inferior as well.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • Why bother with a crackdown on a practice that isn't all that bad (relatively speaking)?


    It's easier to crack down on little things. That is, simple things which are unsound but against which there is not wide, popular attachment. Though ad orientem is more urgent, it is less possible exactly because it is more obvious, more of a shibboleth.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    Maybe it's because I'm in "da U.P." (Bishop Sample's diocese, may the good Lord protect him and keep him with us!) and out of touch with the world below the Bridge, but...this strikes me as such a non-issue. Catholics who have a problem with singing the given text, the whole text, and nothing but the text, clearly have a problem not with the text, but with the Church. As a parish musician, their problems are not my department. They need to take their concerns to the Pope. Good luck to them. I think his Holiness has bigger fish to fry.
  • Catholics who have a problem with singing the given text, the whole text, and nothing but the text, clearly have a problem not with the text, but with the Church.

    Just to check, was that also true during the Middle Ages, or is it only valid for today?
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    Having not been present during the period you mention, I could not say, sir.
  • The church was more decentralized in the middle ages, and it was better that way.

    People didnt try to bring heresy into the church as much as start their own new churches/sects. I wish people who are following false teachings would go back to that method.

    Why people within the Catholic church are allowed to destroy it from within is beyond me. The use/misuse authority within the church is not ment to destroy the faith, but to preserve it.

    Historically whats happening now makes no sense. The church is not what is was 800 years ago. The hierarchy is responsible for this situation...but it didnt happen over night it was a slow boil over the last few centuries, a different culture of what it means to be catholic emerged, rather too secular/sentimental for my taste. Only now have the frogs legs become cooked, as long as the heads alive, maybe it will live.

    It's kind of like the dogmatization of papal infallibility...why did it take 1860 years for it to be made a dogma. If it's always been true, than it should be self evident.

    People shouldnt have to be taught to not break the rules of sacred music/liturgy. There should be a living tradition that clearly shows what is the norm and what is not.
    It should be like breathing air. We don't go to an "oxygen bar" to be healthy, free air is everywhere...its not necessary to be instruced or use it.. with proper health it comes naturally to our human bodies to use.
    Thanked by 1PMulholland