Is Worship IV a Catholic Hymnal?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    As to Heath's question about congregational reception and congition, see new post.
  • Randolph Nichols wrote:
    Back in the days when I was director of music in an Episcopal Church, I tried to introduce the hymn "By Gracious Powers," F. Pratt Green's adaption of a Bonhoeffer text paired with the tune Intercessor by C.H.H. Parry (#695 in The Hymnal 1982). Though everything seemed right about this hymn, it never caught on. I think this is a case where perhaps too much is asked of the congregation. The text requires serious reflection and the tune only grows on you with repeated hearings.

    If Episcopalians were reluctant, you can imagine the resistance from the Catholic community if I were to program such a hymn.
    This same text appeared in Worship III at #577, although it was paired with a tune by Joseph Gelineau called LE CENACLE.

    Despite this hymn's pedigree (Bonhoeffer, Pratt Green, Gelineau), our Worship IV core committee reluctantly decided that it not be included in Worship IV, due to some of the same issues that Randolph mentioned.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Gosh, Mark, your response simply allays all my suspicions entirely. Once again, well argued.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Fr. Chepponis,
    But I’d like to raise a related issue that I occasionally wonder about: Can a hymn text sometimes be too poetic, in a sense? In other words, how immediately should a text be understood by the congregation? Can a hymn text have so many obscure references that it becomes unintelligible or confusing to the people in the pews, although it still might be considered a work of art on the academic level? If we sing “Those Who Love and Those Who Labor” as the closing hymn in my parish on Labor Day, I’m sure that most (if not all) pew folks will simply close the hymnal at the conclusion of the hymn, and not continue studying the text to ponder its deeper meaning. And chances are that they wouldn’t even see the text again until next Labor Day, unlike their contemplation of a work of art at a museum or the thoughtful analysis of a poem in a book of poetry. Of course, that’s not an excuse for banal hymn texts. So, I’m just raising some questions.

    Your comment reminded me of something from John Newton, author of Amazing Grace and co-author with William Cowper of the great Olney Hymns.
    There is a style and manner suited to the composition of hymns, which may be more successfully, or at least more easily attained by a versifier, than by a poet. They should be Hymns, not Odes, if designed for public worship, and for the use of plain people. Perspicuity, simplicity and ease, should be chiefly attended to; and the imagery and coloring of poetry, if admitted at all, should be indulged very sparingly and with great judgment. The late Dr. Watts, many of whose hymns are admirable patterns in this species of writing, might, as a poet, have a right to say, That it cost him some labor to restrain his fire, and to accommodate himself to the capacities of common readers. But it would not become me to make such a declaration. It behoved me to do my best. But though I would not offend readers of taste by a wilful coarseness, and negligence, I do not write professedly for them. If the LORD whom I serve, has been pleased to favor me with that mediocrity of talent, which may qualify me for usefulness to the weak and the poor of his flock, without quite disgusting persons of superior discernment, I have reason to be satisfied.--John Newton, Olney Hymns

    Simplicity and ease are hallmarks of Newton's hymns, but not, generally, of Cowper's. There is room for both.

    I've had the daunting experience, twice, of witnessing people really studying my hymn texts after the Mass ended. Once was at last year's Colloquium, and the other was during the mourning period for Blessed Pope John Paul II. In both cases a text I'd written was sung as the recessional, and some people (not all, and not very many) sat down to read the text. What I think happened was that some of it got through during the singing, and that the texts had enough energy, if I may say so, to encourage further reading. In both cases the hymns were about something important, with a lot of allusions to knowable texts.
    (On a different note… in response to a question you raised earlier...

    Thank you for your very kind words!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    um... at the risk of appearing uninformed, when did labor day make it onto the catholic liturgical calendar?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Every year, when your priest threatens to fire you if you don't program something patriotic.
    Thanked by 3Spriggo marajoy Ally
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    By Gracious Powers is one of my favorite hymns, and I love the Gelineau, but it is very hard for congregations or even choirs to pick up.

    In my parish there was less congregational singing at Offertory than at other times of the Mass. We did presidential chants and everything--there was a lot of singing. So I'd program BGP two or three times a year at Offertory, but I always had these questions about its difficulty. I felt similarly about I Sought the Lord--another great hymn.

    I remember a priest friend announcing a hymn once. I was in the procession. He said, "Our opening hymn is #xyz, Come Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain. [Aside to me:] whatever the heck that means." But I think that had something to do with the caesura.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    Thank you Adam. I thought I was loosing my sense of identity.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Every year, when your priest threatens to fire you if you don't program something patriotic.


    That's what America the Beautiful is for.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    It's still pretty. Ambered waves of grain, etc.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    ooohhh! you mean to the eyes!.. (nothing to do with our spiritual grounding, beliefs or faith...)

    but... i thought... catholic text should be, well... CATHOLIC! ...if it's to be in our Catholic Hymnals!?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    francis, per Kathy's last citation of MATERNA'S text, I think she's lauding Budweisers.
    Beer or wine goggles are occasionally handy.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    melo

    Now, that is something I can praise! (Just not at the HSOTM) Besides... who will be 'the Weiser, Bud?!'
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    Is ATB (All That Bud)(I am soooo sorry, America The Beautiful) in Worship IV? If so, I think the whole hymnal is then questionable. 'Cause from now on, when I sing "ambered waves of grain", because of YOU (mr melo, and I don't mean MARSH), I will now always just be thinking of the next cold one! Good thing it's ONLY ever a recessional hymn. (has anyone ever sang this as an entrance or offertory... I mean 'presentation' hymn?)

    This reminds me that I have heard that some of our devout hymns were actually originally drinking songs and the church STOLE them! Is it possible that this is the first time a patriotic hymn will be stolen by the bars?
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,367
    By Gracious Powers is one of my favorite hymns, and I love the Gelineau, but it is very hard for congregations or even choirs to pick up.


    Kathy, your comment touches on a really serious issue that arose in the selection of hymns for Worship IV. I forget the exact number, but I think about 100 hymns included in Worship III which are somewhat "eye-catching" because of their text and/or tune were not included in Worship IV. A number of these had contemporary texts using quite uncommon meters. So the tunes used for a number of these texts were also relatively new ones.

    The principal reason most of these hymns were not included in Worship IV: they simply failed to catch on with the users of Worship III.

    I love the hymn tunes of Calvin Hampton. A number of them were included in Worship II, four in Worship III, none in Worship IV.
  • redsox1
    Posts: 202
    I know it virtually unknown in most RC parishes, even those with Worship III, but I REALLY love ST. HELENA and greatly miss not having it in Worship IV. "There's a Wideness..." takes on such a different affekt with that tune as opposed to IN BABILONE (which I do think is a very worthy tune.)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,943
    Ambered waves of grain? No, it's "amber waves of grain."
    For purple mountain's majesties? No, it's "for purple mountain majesties."

    At any rate, "America the Beautiful" is a patriotic song, or a pseudo-national hymn, but not a sacred music sort of hymn.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Aaron
    Posts: 108
    I second the comment by redsox1. If you are not familiar with ST. HELENA paired with "There's a Wideness", have a listen.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Thread digress warning.
    I don't think MATERNA was ever a pub song, right CHG? "O say can you see..." and "Yankee Doodle" fo' sure.
    Secondly, I'm not responsible for your beatific visions when liturgical worlds collide, francis, especially as regards brew. I'm all about Napa'd rows of vines, so as not to displace "purple."
    I don't often drink beer, but when I do......it's Dos Equis. Stay Churchy, my friends."
    The Honorable Bill Mahrt.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Adding up the counts in Kathy's opening post, it seems a little over 200 hymns in W4 are by non-Catholic authors; is that right? That would make the proportion --- what, about one-third?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    tangential thread apology:

    actually... i really like the RM's that come from your part of the Americas...
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    [RM=Roman Missal?]
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    Robert Mondavi
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    I quite miss the text With Jesus for Hero which was found in Worship II and III. This was a wonderful text for children to sing - truly artistic and beautiful imagery.

    Also I was upset to see nothing set to the hymn tune SIOBÁN NI LAOGHAIRE which was with the previous text in Worship III and with a Marian text in Gather Comprehensive II.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    Anyway, the point I was making with the whole patriotic theme, is that publishers of hymnals have all come to one big generic intersection of what they believe an 'american ecumenical' hymnal is supposed to be, and it all has NOTHING to do with Catholicism nor the Mass. Adam Bartlett and Jeff Ostrowski have made significant bold moves that equal a paradigm shift in restoring and recapturing the Catholic ethos, and by golly, they have begun the revolution and I think it's just the start.
    Thanked by 1MHI
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    Even with the offensive verse removed, "Gather Us In" doesn't pass the merry-go-round test. It's a trivial ditty.
  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    The bottom line is that Worship IV is a needed, very useful hymnal. While I agree with a lot of what has been said, you have to meet the people where they are. Regardless of how bad a text "Gather Us In" is, it's probably safe to bet that on a random Sunday in Ordinary Time, it is sung more times across the US than there are parishes who have the Vatican II Hymnal. Great reason to get rid of the song for good, sure...until you realize that there are plenty of pastors and music directors who would never go for a hymnal that doesn't include those kinds of folk songs.

    Could Worship IV be better? Of course. Is it worse than Worship III? I think that depends on how you slice it. Worship III was really only useful for communities that had no interest in contemporary (meaning 70s+) music (or had enough money to buy a second hymnal). As I've compared the two, I haven't seen much that was in Worship III but not in IV that is great loss, but the inclusion of more contemporary stuff gives it a much broader appeal. Parishes that would not purchase VII or St. Michael (or even Worship III) would go for Worship IV.

    I personally would complain more about the small number of through-composed Glorias in WIV than I would about the hymn selection. But then, I'm in Breaking Bread land, and WIV>Breaking Bread, no contest.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    Mike said:

    The bottom line is that Worship IV is a needed, very useful hymnal. While I agree with a lot of what has been said, you have to meet the people where they are. Regardless of how bad a text "Gather Us In" is, it's probably safe to bet that on a random Sunday in Ordinary Time, it is sung more times across the US than there are parishes who have the Vatican II Hymnal. Great reason to get rid of the song for good, sure...until you realize that there are plenty of pastors and music directors who would never go for a hymnal that doesn't include those kinds of folk songs.


    IMHO, Your bottom line is false. The Catholic Church does not at all NEED Worship IV, and in fact I believe it contributes to the loss of Catholic Identity in the liturgy. Comparing WIV to BB is like comparing bad to worse. It's time to consider what is truly authentic.

    We would ALL do well to discourage ANYONE to purchase ANY hymnal that has the silliness of Haugen or the likes as part of its content. And we should do ALL in our power to discourage anyone, (priest, parish or individual) to consider the emerging alternatives for future purchases that are faithful to the church's mandate of musica sacra.
    Thanked by 1kevinf
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I dunno, francis, your last paragraph has much more resonation with NYC Mayor Bloomberg's rationales resulting in the banning of vessels containing more than 16 ounces of sugared soda. I'm not disagreeing with the intent, but doubt its efficacy in practice. In the other thread you linked again to the article reviewing R. Shaw's book. In that book I'm reading much more about the never-ceasing tension between American plurality and Latin Catholic loyalty. Tough nut.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    Melo

    If the Catholic Church was a democracy I would concede my point, but it is not. It is a benevolent dictatorship.
  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    I agree to an extent, Francis. But most places HAVE worse, not bad.

    Sometimes I wonder where you all go to church. Because there is literally not a single parish in my entire diocese (or likely in the diocese where I grew up) that would purchase something without Haugen and Haas. I don't get it, but the people here like the stuff (even the young people). Even the one parish which has a lightly-attended Extraordinary Form Mass has WLP. A small handful of young priests would maybe go for dropping all the folk music, but even they recognize that it has to be done gradually. Worship IV is much, much more traditional than what more than two entire generations now have grown up with.
    Thanked by 1Spriggo
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    Come to the Diocese of Phoenix. Join the sacred music revolution.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Matthew, I didn't keep up on your comings and goings! So you're saturating "LifeTeenLand" with Adam (under Bp. Olmsteads aegis) with the gospel of sacred, universal and beautiful. Do let me know when you guys get to my sister's parish and say "howdy" to Jaime Cortez.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    Yes, I've been down here since Advent. The desert is quickly becoming THE hot spot for a complete sacred music revolution. Other notable CMAA names will be moving here in the coming months.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 873
    I can't keep up with all the postings! I agree with you Francis, I really do. Still, I think there is a place for ecumenical hymns and hymnals, even patriotic songs in a Catholic community. For me the issue is when and how they are used. A hymnal is not a missal or a Kyriale or a Gradual. One book can't be all things to all people. A parish who only purchases a hymnal as its only musical/worship resource is doing a disservice to its parishioners. Most parishes I think require a two book system or as mentioned earlier in this thread will need to print supplements. Now it would make sense to FIRST purchase a quality missal/kyriale for the congregation to follow and pray the Mass and THEN purchase a supplementary hymnal that can be used for singing hymns before/after Mass, prayer services, devotions, school music classes, etc. Further, every Catholic family should have a good quality hymnal in the home.

    The inherent flaw I find with many all-in-one books is that it is marketed as the only book you'll ever need for Mass. My pastor honestly thinks this. Yet there isn't a complete psalter, no Gospel Acclamation verses, no propers etc. Nor should there be as the book is already too unwieldy.

    I'd like to see a Catholic hymnal that was just a hymnal--no psalms (well maybe all the psalm texts but not multiple paraphrased/metrical versions of the same few psalms), no readings, no order of service. And while it could and should include some quality ecumenical christian hymns, they need to be orthodox. This is were a hymnal publisher could market to a more niche market whether a parish wanted more Spanish hymns, more world-music, more children's hymns, more contemporary more traditional, etc. though I do think there should be a core repertoire (with fixed texts) that was common to all hymnals. All of this is superfluousness for what is actually required to Worship at Mass. That's why a good Latin/English hand-missal should be the first priority.

    This discussion, as I see it, has two branches: 1) the functionality, usefulness of a hymnal for Catholics, and 2) the orthodoxy, quality and beauty of the hymn texts therein which has generated several other break-off discussions.

    My point being, while I wouldn't discourage the purchase of this hymnal (or Gather) on the basis that is contains non-liturgical musical (written by non-Catholics etc.) I would caution the potential buyer (and current owners for that matter) to be aware of what it is--that is, it's not a missal. Furthermore, even as a hymnal, it's lacking in certain areas and unnecessarily excessive in others. And I still question many of the texts in terms of the apparent liberal progressive agenda. But I will save that for another post.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    While the Catholic Church has the form of an early modern monarchy, in substance it's a medieval rather than early modern monarchy. (American Catholics are very prone to missing this distinction, because we have no cultural history of medieval monarchy). That is, the monarch and hierarchs, when fulfilling the call of their offices, are supposed to be behaving like a Benedictine abbot, a spiritual father engaging in deep consultation with a spiritual family, and understanding that they have to eat their own cooking and better not lean too heavily on their power. Collegiality is a deeply medieval concept.
    Thanked by 2Mike R CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    For those inclined to acquire some portions of knowledge and history via television, NETFLIX has a series, "A History of the Monarchy," that illustrates Liam's contention quite thoroughly all the way back to the pre-AngloSaxon era in 6th century England.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,931
    earl

    Excellent points, and I believe the "single book as a hymnal" mentality is on it's way to being relegated to the reference section of the library. The church is waking up to it's liturgical roots, and I am excited with the prospects!
    Thanked by 2Earl_Grey CHGiffen