Should Publishers or the Church Dictate Music in the Pew?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    This thread got going on one of my other posts, "Composers of Authentic Catholic Music Unite" but it was getting way off topic. I want to keep composers talking about gathering and collaborating with CD, DM, etc. But this is a very heated topic that I have thought long and hard about and struggled with for many, many years. What do YOU think?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Hi Ian:

    Sorry to keep pushing this button... but are you a composer? If you are a composer who has been published, then you can speak from experience such as those of us who have been in these trenches for many years.

    My concern was that your seemed to be on the verge of suggesting that composers of liturgical music should not make money from it. Janet wrote: "How very generous of you to offer your compositions so freely". In reply, you said: "This is the way of the Church. It should never require copyrights, constraints, etc. This is all tied up in the desire for money, power and control, and has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God and His Church." It was this statement that Nicholas seemed to be responding to, in defence of the copyright on his CD of liturgical music... ...And it's probably not true to say that if the publisher "sells out", they can do what they like with the music - it's unlikely that the composer will have given away all rights.

    Ian... PLEASE send money!

    I have dealt with many publishers all throughout my career. The Catholic publishers were very demonstrative in that they dictated how to compose, what texts to use (especially the inclusive trash), what level of difficulty, etc. I wasn't bending to their wishes just to be marketable, nor was I signing my rights away as did many of my colleagues. Signing away rights is exactly that. You no longer have ownership or authority over any part of the music you have signed away and you cannot get it back! And just as you mentioned, publishers can then 'strong arm' authors to alter the original work, or even do it themselves! This is dangerous territory when it comes to sacred music because the Mass and sacred music is not about anyones opinion about religion or espousing 'my way to God'. It has to do with the approved texts of the Church--period. Many of the original works of my colleagues have all been converted to inclusive language and remain that way today. They all rose up at one point in resistance, but that didn't stop the publishers.

    I am totally in agreement with Nicholas. He should maintain TOTAL ownership of his work and give it away or sell it to who and where he pleases. All of my work is available for free on sibeliusmusic.com. Right now I am not limiting who utilizes it because I don't have the mechanism to dictate who or who does not print it out. But if I was able, my music would only be utilized in the Catholic Church. Think about it. If Catholic musicians only had their music in the Catholic church, our musics wouldn't homogenize, or "new-agize" a generic understanding of The Faith, which is a BIG theological issue with me. I won't even take a post in a different church. A few years ago a conductor wanted to premier one of my large scale Masses that I had composed at St. John Divine in NY with the Brooklyn Phil. NO WAY JOSE! I am totally devoted to the OHCAAC. I feel I must remain true in this time of confusion, even if it hurts me financially.

    You then went on to suggest a different problem: that church has made " 'church' a business", by getting involved with copyright. This can be true of text: I understand some composers have had problems with ICEL. I'm not sure of the extent to which it's true of music, unless perhaps you believe that the Bishops need to distance themselves from publishing operations. This is an interesting area of discussion.

    That's just the tip of this iceberg.

    I can't agree with your contention that the Church should look carefully at who has written the contents our hymnals. Such an approach is likely to become moralistic, judgemental and divisive. We should stick to assessing the worth of text and music.

    This is where you and I differ greatly. First of all, NO ONE is judging any of the text or music except the publishers themselves! There are NO checks and balances with regard to quality of music, or the texts being sung. You ARE what you EAT, and you BELIEVE what you SING.

    Oh yea, babe! I definitely insist on morality! ...and the objective kind, at that! Secondly, being judgemental and divisive does not supercede the responsiblity of proclaiming and holding fast to the truth. We must follow Jesus' example and overthrow the "money changers" in the temple.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    For a project in a church music seminar I took as part of my DMA, I actually interviewed Robert Batastini, now retired senior editor of GIA. I asked him some rather pointed questions regarding inculturation, inclusive language in texts, incorporation of "other styles" of music, etc.

    Keep your eyes peeled. When I get home and can lay my hands on my questions and his answers, I'll post them to this thread. You may find it enlightening.

    As for my own observations, I think that it's fairly transparent that GIA and OCP in particular (among the "Big Three") have a very clear agenda with respect to the kind of music they're willing to market or not market, and believe you me, profit margins are at the heart of it. Don't forget, GIA is a for-profit corporation. I found it particularly interesting that several years ago in their "Quarterly" magazine/planning guide, they were congratulating one of their biggest rain-makers, Matt Maher, who had a degree in musical theater and was going on to get a degree in musical theater composition. Musical theater composition? Should we wonder that so much of what they market is of the broadway show tune variety? I think we have our answer.

    OCP, while not for-profit, still has an agenda, and it's pretty obvious from their marketing strategies. Did anyone else recently receive their slick, multi-page, black and white glossy brochure in the mail, with the picture of the hands cradling an infant? The cover says, "For more than 80 years, OCP has responded the the diverse and changing needs of parishes and worshipers around the world . . . " and it goes on from there. I should add that the ONLY photograph in 9 features actual musicians in the act of making music. . . a guy at the piano, another guy with a geetar strapped on, and two other guys, all with their own microphones. . . and, here's the real kicker. . . I can tell, because the shot of the pianist was taken from over his shoulder, he's not even reading from a piano score. You guessed it, he's reading off of a "lead sheet" with chord frames and melody line only. I simply can't make this stuff up. Not a single picture of a traditional choir or an organist. Not even an organ.

    No, these publishers don't control what makes it into the pews. What ever gave you that idea?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    By the way... Jesus called and He wants his religion back!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I have an LCMS Lutheran friend who recently published a few compositions, including a polyphonic version of Luther's "Prayer before Communion". He published with what he considered a relatively orthodox Lutheran company (NOT CPH), and the whole time he was awaiting publishing he was in a rather foul mood. His experience was much like what Francis described, that no matter how well written the music may be, the publisher always thinks they can make it "better". So it's NOT just GIA or OCP, it's a common thing in publishing. He told me a rather foul joke about publishers, which isn't appropriate to repeat here.

    As far as should publishers or the Church dictate what belongs in the pews? I say neither. The MD should, in my opinion, have full control over that with the priest supervising. And thank God I think that way, because WLP is the most horrendous publisher I've ever seen. As bad as the publisher's selections are, what if bishops Mahoney or Clarke had to pick what music was in or out? And the conservative bishops probably wouldn't be much better: any hymn by a protestant composer is out, anything but "moldy oldies" is out. Either that or "chant or nothing". And in between, most bishops just don't care about music one way or the other, so there wouldn't be ANY restrictions from them. Let's stick to knowledgeable MDs using what they need to and, when possible, relying on public domain works.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    Please forgive me, but I have two problems with your posts. Firstly, you really need to decide what you want to say, and then express it clearly and concisely. Scatter-gun doesn't encourage focussed discussion.

    Secondly, you need to kick the "holier than thou" impression that gets in the way of so much of what you want to say. Whether it's publishing ethics or unspecified issues of the personal integrity of un-named composers or hymn-writers, it's uncharitable and counter-productive.

    If you can do these things, then you may be able to contribute constructively to useful discussions of copyright, and the relationship of composers, publishers and the Church. If you can't, that would be a shame, as these are subjects you clearly feel strongly about, and in which we are likely to be interested.

    Regards,

    Ian.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,191
    IanW,

    As a frequent contributor to the forum, may I suggest that you refer to the thread entitled, "Forum Etiquette ver. 2.0?"
  • Don’t forget, too, that the copyright on the texts plays heavily into this situation. I don’t see how anyone could work in the public domain with, say, the vernacular Lectionary or Missal texts without needing to get clearance from the USCCB (Lectionary) or ICEL/ICET (Missal). Those guys don’t give away their texts for free - or else the Lectionary (in its entirety) would be online, as would the Missal.

    Not that I would in any way be opposed to freely downloadable versions of the Missal and Lectionary. IMO, that is what should be made of every official edition and translation of every official Church document and rite. I should be able, for example, to find the Anointing of the Sick in Latin should I ever want to study it. It apparently, though, is not even available for sale anymore.

    On a related note, in my opinion, the absence of any copyright statement at all in the Chabanel Psalms project looks very shady. I really wish Jeff O. would address this.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    David and Francis,

    I'm sorry for any offence caused.

    Let me try to explain my very real concerns. When Janet wrote: "How very generous of you to offer your compositions so freely", Francis replied "This is the way of the Church. It should never require copyrights, constraints, etc. This is all tied up in the desire for money, power and control, and has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God and His Church." I clearly wasn't the only one to understand Francis to be saying that composers of sacred music should give their compositions away for free, and if that were so, the words used would be gravely offensive to composers, like Nicholas, who don't think so. Francis subsequently had to re-state his position to indicate that he's happy with composers receiving money and establishing copyright. A little forethought and clarity would have made this unnecessary.

    In addition, I would suggest that the duty of intelligent and civil comment not only applies amongst contributors, but also towards non-contributors on whom we comment. There's sometimes a fine line between the robust and the uncharitable, and some of F's comments appeared to cross that line, particularly in the attack on the morality of un-named composers or hymn-writers.

    The idea that there should be some kind of religious and moral audit of those whose music and words we sing is dangerous and offensive. We must focus on the suitability of text and music to its purpose; anything else is likely to lead us into the worst kind of narrow-minded and moralistic irrelevance. Where would it stop? No Poulenc or Britten because of their homosexuality? No Haydn because of his adultery? No Bach setting of 'O Sacred Head Sore Wounded' because he was a Lutheran? This is the kind of approach that resulted in the artists' unions in the Soviet Union, with their focus on the political and philosophical correctness of their members.

    All this distracted from a topic of interest to us all, whether singers, organists or composers: copyright. I'm glad Francis has raised it, even if I believe there are problems with how he has done so.

    Regards and best wishes,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Dear Ian:

    I compose my thinking just like I compose my music. There is no scatter-gunning here. It is all long thought through, pondered, prayed about, carefully crafted offline, and revised after posting.

    Thank you for your post. No offence taken. As you may readily see, I am not making judgements toward ANY person or their particular actions. But we have every right AND a greater responsibility to judge and weigh the very fruit of their actions, ESPECIALLY if it is being introduced into and influences the thinking, morality and doctrine of our faith. I simply hold to a very grounded position with regards to a moral conscience, truth in beauty and art, sound doctrine and the things of the Church. As for your saying that I am narrow-minded, I simply try to apply this word from the scriptures.

    13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' 24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall." (Matthew 7:13-27 NASB)

    None of us are without sin. But it is SIN which causes all of the problems that we have. I will continually comment to your post inline.

    In addition, I would suggest that the duty of intelligent and civil comment not only applies amongst contributors, but also towards non-contributors on whom we comment. There's sometimes a fine line between the robust and the uncharitable, and some of F's comments appeared to cross that line, particularly in the attack on the morality of un-named composers or hymn-writers.

    I have never commented on the morality of any hymn writer. All my comments are directed toward their work (as you stated in your own words) 'assessing the worth of text and music.'

    The idea that there should be some kind of religious and moral audit of those whose music and words we sing is dangerous and offensive.

    We (CMAA) are already making the religious and moral audits. It is in the public for all to see. The name of every composer is attached to their work prominently at the top right of each composition that they have created. Why do you think there is a moratorium on certain composer's music to which many of us in the CMAA have signed our names which is also a public record!

    http://www.mgilleland.com/music/moratorium.htm

    [DEFINITION: moratorium
    n. legally authorized delay in the payment of money due; abandonment of debts; temporary cessation of an activity (especially when dangerous or harmful)]

    Since the bishops have been negligent to address this critical area of our faith-life, we as musicians with pastoral responsibilities cannot and will not turn our heads.

    We must focus on the suitability of text and music to its purpose; anything else is likely to lead us into the worst kind of narrow-minded and moralistic irrelevance. Where would it stop? No Poulenc or Britten because of their homosexuality?

    We have all 'judged' Poulenc and Britten's music as acceptable and we utilize it in our liturgies. I personally sing and purchase the recordings of Poulenc myself. YOU have raised the issue of their homosexuality.

    No Haydn because of his adultery? No Bach setting of 'O Sacred Head Sore Wounded' because he was a Lutheran? This is the kind of approach that resulted in the artists' unions in the Soviet Union, with their focus on the political and philosophical correctness of their members.

    We utilize Haydn's music. I am a great admirer of Bach. His music is some of the best. We all love and use his music. YOU have raised the concerns about adultery and religious upbringing.

    All this distracted from a topic of interest to us all, whether singers, organists or composers: copyright. I'm glad Francis has raised it, even if I believe there are problems with how he has done so.

    Hmmm... Copyright is not the subject here, nor is morality of a composer.

    We need more forums:

    Composers Should Write Music; not Doctrine

    and

    Composers/Publishers : Who should 'right'fully own the copy?

    and here is the real kicker:

    What is a bad tree?

    Would you like to start them Ian or would you like me to give it a go? (oh... and I still don't know if you yourself are a composer)
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    I should probably let this sleeping dog lie, but this thread ties into a conversation I have been having lately.
    Do you think that, (and this has nothing to do with his morality,) if an author does not believe what the Church believes it is more than probable that the texts he writes are not capable of being effective evangelically or catachetically, and should not be used in the Church's liturgy?
    Surely if the words of a "Eucharistic" text has failed to convince its own author of the truth of the Real Presence, for instance, it is unlikely to have a good effect on anyone else in that regard.
    Our liturgical texts shouldn't be like political campaign advertizing, where a skilled hired gun with no convictions may be the best man for the job.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Hi G:

    This doggy is up and is maddly wagging his tail!

    This is exactly the point I am trying to make.

    Jesus warned us about 'false prophets'. Wolve's in sheeps clothing. OK. Let's apply this thinking pragmatically.

    HOW are they a 'wolf'?

    By 'eating' the sheep, perhaps?

    And does he mean that the wolves actually physically eat us? Well, maybe eventually they do! -- the coffers of the Church are being emptied by scandal as I type this.

    However, Jesus was truly concerned about those who 'eat' away at the faith. Those that pervert the very doctrine of the Church. They are the ones among us... dressed in 'priestly garb', but do not subscribe to its truths... having the form of the faith, but denying its very power. It is with great cunning that this happens. It is HARD TO DETECT. I just put a huge piece up about 'Gift of Finest Wheat' just before I read your comment. At first I saw nothing. Then I asked God for a little insight and I became sorely troubled. (see 'Gift of Finest Wheat' on this forum)

    True shepherds have always warned us (the Church) and defended us from these marauders. Pope after pope have written bulls, encyclicals, writings, letters, etc, warning us of heresy, apostasy, and schism and those that perpetrate these cancers. Isn't it a bit odd that we RARELY hear any of these warnings now in a day and age when the Church is under the most severe attack in its history? Who is standing up in defence of truth?! Strike the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.

    So I ask, what 'business' has someone who is a 'hired gun' doing feeding the flock of God? Do we let 'strangers' sleep in our children's bedrooms when they try to convince us that they want to 'watch over them?' Good tree, good fruit -- Bad tree, bad fruit. You can ignore that reality (to your own harm) but you can not refute it.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    Please be specific. Precisely who and what are you condemning? It would help greatly if you were able to answer in no more than 500 words, and avoid recourse to CAPITALISATION.

    Ian.
  • Jscola30
    Posts: 116
    I dunno, if it was a setting of the Ordinary or some other prexisting text (psalm or canticle) and the author didn't fool with it, I dont' think a non-believer would necessarily have a questionable text.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    I wasn't speaking of the Ordinary, (the text of which, at least, one would think a non-Catholic would have the grace to leave alone,) or propers or other scripture, but of original, "poetic" texts, written by those who do not share our theology.
    My concern isn't with music, per se, but with the texts.
    If someone who doesn't believe in the Real Presence is comfortable writing/proclaiming/professing a particular text about Communion, it seems to me that such texts, as a steady diet, are probably dangerous to the Faith, particularly of children or others in early stages of formation. It is not that they would necessarily be wrong, but dangerously incomplete, that they would be neglecting vital Truths.

    At least that is my fear.
    And I am seeing it realized in the implicitly, (and sometimes explicitly ,) expressed concept that many putative "Catholics," including some in leadership positions, have of what it is they are doing at Mass and Whom it is they are consuming.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Jscola30
    Posts: 116
    Point taken, just wanted to be clear, I do think you have a good point.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Hi Ian:

    I condemn no one. That is up to God.

    The problem occurs when composers are writing text that is not compatible with scripture or with Catholic doctrine and are included and admitted into the liturgy. What is worse, is when those works (lyrics, prose, text) are in fact, heretical, (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07256b.htm) schismatic and downright pagan, goddess worship, earth worship, and more.

    Here is another board of musicians discussing a similar topic.

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/stribe/1923372319517287950/

    If you are baiting me to name names, well that is not what this forum is about. This forum is about judging the texts and musics, not any person.

    (sidenote: there are no rules about length of posts or capitalization on this forum) Capitalization is used for emphasis (not screaming) since it is easier to format.)
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    No baiting was intended. I wanted to better understand your thinking, and that seems to have been achieved. Thank you for explaining that your focus is on belief as expressed in text, as opposed to morality; some of your previous statements might have been interpreted otherwise. For example, when I suggested that we should assess the worth of text and music rather than its authors' morality, you replied: This is where you and I differ greatly ... Oh yea, babe! I definitely insist on morality! ...and the objective kind, at that!

    Thank you also for the refreshing brevity of you last post. I hope you won't take it amiss if I observe that it bears out the relationship between concision and clarity.

    And finally, thank you for the absence of capitalisation and exclamation marks. While the intent might be emphasis, the effect can be uncomfortable on the ears.

    Best wishes,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Hi Ian:

    However, let's not forget the part about the fruit and the tree! So, if we see good fruit from a tree, that is the place we should revisit with confidence. If we see bad fruit, we should be suspect.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    Would that be ideas fruit or moral fruit? And if moral, what bearing do you think it should have on our use of text or music from the same tree?

    Best wishes,

    Ian.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    To give an example, or two, do you think it is edifying to have a Catholic people praying these words? (because singing a text in church is, or should be prayer.)

    "This place where we are meeting is nothing more than a building, walls and floor and roof, until WE arrive."

    -or-

    "Our mission as a Church is not to preach what we believe, but to be neighborly."

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    G,

    These statements are problematic in terms of what we believe. However, my question of Francis addressed his 'however', which looked like it might just possibly relate to moral issues (please cut me some slack, Francis, if that's not so - I'm just trying to tie it down).

    Regards,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Ian, G:

    Fruit is any and all that is borne from any tree. (eg., works, deeds, thoughts, writings, musics, art, etc.) Morality is not a fruit. It is a state of mind-soul-spirit. One is either walking toward morality (God) or away from it. There is no neutral territory when it comes to the state of a soul. Morality is the element of the 'tree' that either provides nourishment (or cancer) that forms and 'bears' fruit.

    We are all 'consuming' tons of fruit every day. TV, radio, ads, books, internet, talks, etc. When we go to Mass, the music, the homily, the prayers, etc. are all fruit of individual Catholics (supposedly). Some fruit has a name attached to it (composer, author, etc.), or is delivered by the one and the same person.

    Usually, when I see, hear or consume bad fruit, I tend to remember the source (tree)! It is part of the moral conscience that God gives each person.

    Let's reframe this another way.

    If you see a woman hanging outside a bar scantilly dressed at 1am in the morning, and she is glancing at every passer-by, what do you think the 'fruit' of her actions will lead to? I don't expect she is going to invite me to a Mass which is being celebrated a 2! (at least not the kind of Mass I usually attend!) So the fruit of that 'tree' is likely to have an immoral consequence for her and for anyone that entertains her solicitation. Let's say her name is Jane Doe.

    Next day, you find a flyer with a picture of Jane Doe tucked under your windshield wiper in the church parking lot as you are leaving Mass. It invites you to a talk given by Jane Doe at a church down the road. The talk is "ALL Love comes from God - For God is Love".

    Now answer this question with all honesty. Have you already formed a judgement about the upcoming talk based upon seeing Jane Doe the night before?

    Let's go further.

    This isn't the first time you have seen Jane Doe in front of a bar. You know Jane has been doing this for years. It's a lifestyle for her. Does that have any bearing on your already formed judgement about her upcoming talk?

    It's as simple as that. Tree, fruit.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    Sorry to push this, but I'm sure we'll get there in the end.

    In your penultimate posting, you said that you are interested in the ideas of those whose work is used in our churches, rather than their morality:

    I condemn no one. That is up to God.

    The problem occurs when composers are writing text that is not compatible with scripture or with Catholic doctrine and are included and admitted into the liturgy.


    Yet in your latest posting you seem to be saying that those whose ideas you (and I, probably) disagree with are immoral - it's difficult to be precise about this, because you seem to be reverting to damning your targets obliquely, using the analogy of sexual prostitution rather than a clear, concise statement of what you think.

    So which is it, Francis?

    Regards,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Ian:

    There IS nothing precise about this. You will have to arrive at the end by yourself. I damn no targets obliquely or transparently. Heretics, aspotates and schismatics have plagued Mother Church since she arrived on earth. Their doctrine is nothing new; it simply emerges and re-emerges over and over guised in a new mask or presents itself in a new flavor.

    I speak indirectly on purpose. I use metaphors and similies for a reason. I create scenarios, likenesses and stories to illustrate the point I am trying to make.

    Do you compose music? Do you compose texts that are used in the liturgy? Send one to me, and I will give you my review.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Francis,

    Your posts force me to conclude, with regret, that's it's not possible to have a rational discussion with you on these matters. As this is a discussion board, that's a shame.

    Regards,

    Ian.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Ian:

    Our discussion has been completely rational to this point in time and I have made many points, illustrations, comparisons, and judgements toward text and music. While I have solicited your ideas, music, texts and examples, you have not given me a single one. So I have not stopped the discussion. You simply did not participate. Do you compose music or text that is used in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Ian:

    Some clarifications need to be made, because when I reread your last post, you misunderstood what I was saying.

    Sorry to push this, but I'm sure we'll get there in the end. In your penultimate posting, you said that you are interested in the ideas of those whose work is used in our churches, rather than their morality.

    I did not say that at all. I am saying that their work (fruit) is inseparably bound to their morality (tree). I assume you are speaking about the RC Church when you say, 'work used in our churches'. Am I correct on that point?

    Yet in your latest posting you seem to be saying that those whose ideas you (and I, probably) disagree with are immoral - it's difficult to be precise about this, because you seem to be reverting to damning your targets obliquely, using the analogy of sexual prostitution rather than a clear, concise statement of what you think.

    And the fruit is this:
    But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’.

    So, the fruit will expose the tree. As much as it wants to produce good fruit, a bad tree will never be able to do it.
  • Interesting topic.

    I want to go back to the initial question: Should Publishers or the Church Dictate Music in the Pew?

    Based on my own experience: Do we really want publishers to put music that's like the Gather hymnal in the pew?

    My answer: no.

    Being part of the church, we learn so many things, like The Ten Commandments, for example. If we weren't ever told such things, how would we ever know and understand what is really right and good? If the church were to dictate to us what music we should put in the pews, then it should be our obligation to obey that and understand that it's right and good.

    I think a lot of the "hymns" we do today should have gone through some type of approval process by the church, because I don't feel good about doing hymns from a non-Catholic, and hymns that don't even mention Christ.
  • Sorry I got in on this one so late! Referring back to comments up near the top. There is a BIG difference between having composers receive money for their work and the establishment of an "ad hoc" institution that dictates Catholic liturgy in the way that OCP and GIA have done for many years. The problem is not that they publish music, the problem is that they MARKET it in collections which they call hymnals which then become the de facto source of liturgical music in most parishes. About 15 years ago I served on the committee to revise and update the Pilgrim Hymnal for the United Church of Christ and it's affiliated member Churches. The result (the New Century Hymnal) was a collection of hymns, both older and modern, that clearly expressed the theology and traditions of that Church. Another most important feature of this hymnal was that it EXCLUDED a great many hymns and songs because of content that was contrary to those beliefs. The "vetting" process for the hymns and songs was extensive... the project actually began in 1977, got well under way by 1988, and was completed in 1995. By that time, any hymn had to go through a rigorous review by several different groups of musicians and regular "people in the pews"and ultimately had to be approved by the "folks at the top". The list of what hymns were "able" to be included was then sent back to committee(s) to narrow it down to the very best of those which were then voted on nationally and finally compiled into a final hymnal. OK... such a process in the Catholic Church would be a fiasco... the point I'm making here is that it was the CHURCH that decided which hymns would be included in its hymnal, not the publishing company. The initial round of vetting was actually a lot of fun... we would read through a hymn, and someone would bring up a criticism like "that seems to be saying that we can know how Jesus would feel about this or that..." and we would put it in the discard pile. The most common criticism, "it doesn't mention Jesus or God at all..." would get an instant trip to the discard. Wouldn't you just love to go through a process like that with Gather Comprehensive or Glory and Praise?
  • BTW... please don't get the impression that I endorse the general concept behind the NCH... the mandate to use "inclusive language" makes this a truly annoying book at best, and it is a decidedly liberal-Protestant effort. My contribution was to research and verify sources and editions that hymns and songs were drawn from, including many very old (19th century) editions, for licensing purposes.
  • Chironomo,

    The problem with “it doesn’t mention Jesus or God” is that neither does much of Scripture. I think especially of the Song of Songs.

    In theory, I believe Liturgiam authenticam mandates an episcopal “vetting” process. The GIRM does as well, I think. There is supposed to be a Directory on Sacred Music percolating around from the USCCB that will go to Rome for recognitio and become particular law. It’s been on the burner for some time, IIRC.
  • In an ideal world, a composer would be able to (a) write something; (b) try it out with his/her choir; (c) make the necessary changes; (d) perform it at a liturgy or service; (e) gauge the responses of the congregation and clergy (esp. with regard to the text); (f) make further changes as necessary; and (g) publish it IN THAT FORM. That is a much healthier honing process. Oh well.
  • JDE
    Posts: 582
    Are we all to become musical Donatists?

    See the parable of the workers, some of whom started at sunup, while others started later and later in the day. Yet all received the same pay.

    Now, how is that fair?

    Because God is God, and I am not. He gives out his talents as he sees fit, in ways that might seem downright perverse to the ordinary pious person.

    God may also use the ungodly to work his will. Passing up the Haydn masses, not to mention the various liturgical works of Mozart or the Catholic-appropriate works of Bach, would be beyond presumptuous. Call not thou unclean isn't just about food, you know.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    I think you'll find, Yurodivi, that most contributors would agree with you. It's the text and the composition that count, not the author's or composer's morality. On that basis, it's reasonable to review widely-used material, and if we find much of it problematic or lacking, examine the possible reasons for that, including structural ones.
  • musico48
    Posts: 16
    I read a book called the History of English Hymns published in 1913 what struck me was the author warning the readers bout "market' driven hymnals!!!! Unfortunately while we like it or not ALL HYMNALs are to a degree market driven, whether it' bethe St. Michael, Adoremus, or the Traditional Roman Hymnal. The point here is that how else do we find out about their availability? What we need to understand is BY WHOSE AUTHORITY do any hymnal get placed in the pews. Perhaps a Nihil Ob stat and Imprimatur need to be revisited. A Concordad cum Originali which appear in many hymnals may not be enough.
    One more thing concerning this discussion could it be that market driven could also mean "by popular demand? If true, then Houston, we have a problem. As Catholic the challenge is to sacrifice time and money to scour all hymnals from the mid 1800's to the present time and compile a truly Catholic hymnal for our parishes. God bless all who undertake this endeavor!!!!!!!!!