Protestant music in your Catholic Liturgy
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 217
    In the next few weeks our choir will be singing "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by John Rutter and "The Borning Cry" by John Ylvisaker, these are scheduled for Offertory. We are also singing "A Living Faith", Gather #677. It begins with "Faith of Our Father"s, by Fr. Faber, the other verses are from different sources, I don't know if they are Protestant sources or not. I like "Faith of Our Fathers" but I don't understand the need to changes the verses. I can't say if this is true in other parishes in the Cleveland Diocese but our parish for sure.

    I was just curious how many of you schedule choral pieces or hymns from Protestant sources as part of your music for Sunday Mass?
  • [full disclosure: although I treasure The Piper of Hamin, I'm not a fan of John Rutter's music in the aggregate, and I oppose the infiltration of Protestant music and theology within the Catholic Mass].

    What were your options?
  • How many of you sing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" at Christmastime, for instance?
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 195
    Don 9of11, I'm not a fan of those pieces at all. But that being said, in a Novus Ordo context:

    Catholics have 50 years of experience with vernacular-language liturgical music, which does not include devotional hymnody sung at Low Mass or at devotions. Our Anglophone composers are still finding their way to beauty, and failing 99% of the time. There's some great ones, but as any Catholic hymnal will show you, the project is still in its infancy and burdened with an unlimited quantity of works that never should have seen the light of day.

    The Protestant tradition of liturgical music in the vernacular is nearly ten times as old. They've had 500 years of experience in writing serious choral music and congregational hymns in the vernacular in Germany, and almost as long in England.

    Now that we are permitted to sing in the vernacular, why in the world would we willfully impoverish our congregations by rejecting music written by poets and composers who are actually skilled in handling our language?

    In the case of choral music on biblical texts, we are singing from the same Scriptures. There is no Protestant slant to Like as the hart, by Herbert Howells. Neither is there a Catholic slant to Palestrina's Sicut cervus. Both works are skillful settings of of Psalm 42. Had Palestrina written his motet in English, it would still be gloriously appropriate for the liturgy. Had Howells written his anthem in Latin, it would be absolutely beloved at TLMs, it has been in Anglo circles for years.

    Obviously, where the text of a hymn expresses something contrary to Catholic doctrine, it should not be sung. This goes equally for Luther's line "Good works cannot avert our doom/they help and save us never", as for "The body of Christ is offered for you; receive him in your heart," by a Catholic who apparently has a completely Calvinistic Eucharistic theology. But when a Lutheran writes "I eat this bread, I drink this cup / your promise firm believing / In truth your body and your blood / my lips are here receiving / Your Word remains forever true / all things are possible for you / your searching love has found me", how can a Catholic not say amen?

    Judging a work by its author, rather than its content and quality, is nothing less than an ad hominem attack.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 217
    Chris, I'm just a tenor in the choir. I've been singing for more than 40 years total, the parish I am at for about 10 years and so regards to options, I could skip out that Sunday and go somewhere else but then the men section would be absent, plus skipping out isn't my style. Another is to offer it up and do the best I can, like I always do. Later in October we are singing "Draw Us In the Spirits Tether" by Percy Dearmer. To be honest I have never heard of this piece. To mix it all up we will sing "Lux Aterna" by Mark Burrows, I'm not sure when that is to be scheduled.


    NihilNominis , I have to say I haven't heard that Christmas hymn in quiet awhile.
  • Cantus67Cantus67
    Posts: 192
    My never be humble opinion. This was published as an insert in our bulletin back in March of this year. I'm sure some people will find fault with it, not to be flippant but I really don't care if they do. They're arguments may be flawlessly logical.... then again they many not be. This is merely my opinion but it's founded in logical thought and years of consideration and experience.

    Either way, here it is.
    In my experience as a music director/ singer, I’ve found vast and varying opinions about what constitutes “Catholic music.” Many a time I’ve had people come up to me after Masses (not lately but somewhat often in the past) and say, “Why do you have that hymn as a recessional? It’s not a ‘Catholic’ hymn; it’s a ‘protestant’ hymn.” And I have to ask them, “What characteristics about that hymn make it ‘protestant’?” and one of the answers is, “It’s used in the protestant churches”; another one would be, “It was written by a protestant.” And my answer back might be, “Catholic hymns written before the revolution of Luther are used in the protestant churches. Does that instantly then qualify them as ‘protestant’?” or, “How does the author’s rejection of the One True Faith make his compositions automatically unworthy?” To me this seems akin to, “The condition of the soul of the priest has something to do with the graces received” (which is horrific error).

    The first thing that we must do is get rid of these ridiculous arguments for the sake of an argument. There are hymns; some are sung exclusively in the Catholic Church and some are sung exclusively in Protestant churches. There are literally hundreds and hundreds that are sung in both Catholic and Protestant churches, so how do we classify these hymns? Well, you can classify them in other ways than by their denomination (which is a VERY poor way of classifying hymns). One of the best ways to classify a hymn is to look at three things.
    1st, is the melody within reasonable melodic compositional rules? In other words, is it beautiful, does it lift up the soul, does it avoid dramatic jumps and overly sappy emotional movements?
    2nd, are the words within the parameters of church teachings, are there hints of previous errors, does it contain heresy? And
    3rd, what is its history? In other words, has it stood the test of time? That last rule is not a hard and fast one; we do not reject the modern simply because it’s modern. That’s utter foolishness. We reject the modern for its errors and if a new hymn has strong elements of the first two rules, then a new hymn is as acceptable as an old hymn.

    Little is known about sacred music in today’s world; there are people from all parts of the music education spectrum who think they know what makes sacred music or shall we say liturgical music. I’ve found that the more a person is educated, the more risk there is of not following the rules set down by the Popes in teachings and encyclicals. There are ultra purists who think that we need to go back to the rules of hymns at Mass from before the Council of Trent. At that time hymns were only used for the Divine Office. However, hymns have been established as a practice at Mass for nearly three centuries and when used correctly there IS foundation to keep them there (Processionals/Recessionals). And there are people who think that we need more hymns in the middle of Mass (where the Popes have said that chant and polyphony must reign). What’s our practice here at OLMC? We use hymns in our processionals and recessionals, and on rare occasions Gregorian chant; and we use Gregorian chant and polyphony in the middle of Mass and on rare occasions a hymn. MUSICAE SACRAE, ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON SACRED MUSIC 1955. Ln 14-16. http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_pxii_enc_25121955_musicaesacrae.html

    The problem is the OVER interpretation of the rules on sacred music. Are some rules hard and fast? YES. Are some open for fairly wide interpretation? YES! This is WHY the church is guardian of sacred scripture/liturgy/ liturgical music; too often people are convinced they know what will make church music pure and good again when really it’s a nostalgic yearning for the past; I would say that this is why we, the faithful, are desperate for a decree on sacred music again, especially in the confusion of the modern world. The decrees on sacred music in the past have been well received but not well obeyed; some small pockets of Catholic Christendom have implemented them well, and as a result they thrive in the faith. What we need is a strict approach on hard rules and a balanced approach on variable rules. I tell many music directors that I communicate with, wherever this program (the one used at OLMC) is implemented — i.e., Chant gets first priority, then polyphony, hymns third, and any other incidental music then last — these places are bursting at the seams with parishioners. Too often people have been poisoned by bad music; this is why we have the music history conference held on occasions and when I can find the time to teach it. The conference does not seek to make you more knowledgeable on church music history; instead it imparts a sense of what sacred music should sound like by presenting a big picture view of church music going back to the 800s.
    Blessings to all.
    Thanked by 3Gamba JL CHGiffen
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 217
    Cantus67, that's a nice read but given the choral anthems and hymn listed in my first post, would you include them in your Sunday Mass? If yes, why? If not, why not?
  • Adding to Gamba's cogent offerings, what is wrong with Schmucke dich? It is far more Catholic than a large number of 'eucharistic' songs, which really are not Catholic at all, in most of our hymnals. But then, what would one expect when it is said that polls show that a very healthy (or, rather, 'unhealthy') majority of 'Catholics' believe the mass to be a mere memorial and do not believe in the real objective presence of our Lord in the eucharistic species.

    There are numerous eucharistic hymns penned by Anglican and Anglo-Catholic priests and authors which are as equally and profoundly Catholic as anything ever written by Thos. Aquinas himself. In fact, they are so Catholic that one would never find them in many modern Catholic hymnals.

    Whatever expresses a truth, no matter its provenanc, is, sui generis, Catholic. Here we are, harrowing this same old field yet again.
  • If a text is actually Catholic in content, surely the objections to using it within the context of Catholic cultus are less evident, perhaps even non-existent. On the other hand, just to take a different example from my usual stock, the fact that the documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council can be read in a Catholic way doesn't mean that those who put what Michael Davies calls "Liturgical time bombs" in the documents intended them to be read that way.
  • Chris -
    You are so very right. But, that doesn't deny or reduce the efficacy of writings that may be, and frequently are, by employment of the most specious casuistry, read two or three or four different ways. I, for one out of millions, all my little life read the BCP's eucharistic prayer as plainly asserting transubstantiation. And, beside that prayer is the ineffable 'Prayer of Humble Access' (which is in the mass of the Ordinariate Use). I was not even aware (most of the time) that it could be 'interpreted' differently. A colleague of Cranmer once remarked to him that this prayer was plainly expressive of transubstantiation, to which he is said to have replied that he didn't mean it that way, Its clear orthodoxy stands, though, regardless of the 'intent' or origin of the author. The meaning of this prayer is so obvious that I have actually heard low church priests (to my horror!) take pains to assure their people that 'it isn't really Jesus' body and blood'. Still, it says what it says, and what it says is orthodox teaching.
  • I was raised in a conservative Lutheran tradition (LCMS) with great hymns. I don't know that there's a hymn in the old Lutheran hymnal I wouldn't mind finding on our Mass hymn list.
    Thanked by 2mattebery JL
  • Mainstream Catholic contributions to vernacular hymnody (not including Office hymnody which, in my view, is a completely different matter) have been an unmitigated failure, both theologically and technically. If we wish to include congregational singing in the Mass, we ought to learn from those who have done it right.

    Furthermore, the vast majority of these hymns are not only suitable for Catholic use, but they lack the theological errors that characterize so much Catholic "hymnody" (Vox Dei, over-sentimentalization, denigration of the Eucharist to mere bread)
  • I was raised in a conservative Lutheran tradition (LCMS) with great hymns. I don't know that there's a hymn in the old Lutheran hymnal ( Lutherans have followed the Catholics since the 70s in adopting banal P&W songs for the most part) I wouldn't mind finding on our Mass hymn list


    Attending a Concordia, I've met many of those hymns. My general reaction to the hymnal is, "I want this book!"
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,884
    Don 10:49,

    Curious about the author of BORNING CRY (a bullet I kept dodging during my ELCA apprentice days) I googled and found an obituary, headlined The Bob Dylan of Lutheranism. I guess that would make Rutter the Sinatra of Anglicanism? I wouldn't use either myself, but hardly for the suggested reason. Whoever considers Bach and Brahms less fit for the temple than Vivaldi and Liszt simply doesn't share musical values I hold dear.

    Whatever expresses a truth, no matter its provenanc, is, sui generis, Catholic.
    And a pretty sorry thing it would be to hold otherwise!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,084
    What we really need to do is sing genuine Catholic hymns such as "Mother dear o pray for me," and "To Jesus heart all burning," and other authentic works.
    There is a body of Catholic hymns penned by the likes of Sr. Mary Angina of the Sacred Heart, and Sr. Mary Dumbo of Elephantine - great Catholic composers of the 20th century.


    I'm afraid that many of the hymns some identify as Catholic are Catholic all right - Catholic trash. There is better stuff in The Hymnal 1940 and the older Lutheran hymnals.
  • I take each work at its own merits. Like others above, I frequently envy the offerings in protestant hymnals. In fact, I have one open on my desk right now because I'm resetting one of the very fine texts. (I must chuckle at the large "imprimatur" in the front that states in size 20 font, "Authorized for use in the Protestant Episcopal Church".) That said, the text is definitely more "catholic" than much of what I find on offer in our Journeysongs hymnal. In fact, it is lovely and there is absolutely nothing that should keep it out of the mouths of catholics. (It's the text, "Hear Us, Holy Jesus" by Richard Littledale, if anyone is curious.)

    So for me, I read the text; is it beautiful? Is it orthodox? If these two requisites are fulfilled, I then make sure there's nothing else I'm overlooking and it's a go. Texts can always be put to new melody if that is the issue. I do believe, however, there are things that must be resolutely disavowed such as A Mighty Fortress... It is used almost as a war anthem for militant protestants and was written by the arch-heresiarch himself. Utterly inexcusable to find it in nearly every single catholic hymnal I've ever touched.

    The funny thing is that many protestants are "orthodox" without knowing it. We also do not disagree on all things with all protestants. And, as stated well above, the scriptures never go out of fashion. Paraphrases of scripture, therefore, are inherently catholic, no matter who wrote them. I didn't attend, but someone brought me a program from a recent ECUMENICAL MARIAN hymn festival. Go figure.

    By contrast, there is a well known catholic priest who writes many hymns popular to our hymnals whose music I utterly abhor. I was giddy with delight when my pastor stated point blank that we were not to do any of his psalm settings either since they were paraphrases; we are to do the actual texts straight from the lectionary. Woohoo! Makes chatting with families for weddings and funerals so much easier lol. So there you have it.
  • I read the text; is it beautiful? Is it orthodox? If these two requisites are fulfilled, I then make sure there's nothing else I'm overlooking and it's a go.

    I'd contend that this is inadequate. Similarly, the three-part test given by Cantus67 is good as far as it goes, but it's incomplete. Given musical quality and that it fits the congregation, the third part - lack of heretical content - is simply negative.

    It's not so much a matter of purely doctrinal content - overtly heretical statements can be avoided fairly easily - but the overall ethos of the text. These are texts that are formative for the congregation, not simply on account of what they say, but how they say it: their emphasis and rhetoric, and, in some cases, what is left out.

    For example, "Amazing Grace" does not express anything contrary to Catholic doctrine all by itself; it's has more to do with the emphasis, which give the impression (though not the explicit assertion) of salvation by "grace alone." Singing this in conjunction with a gospel like Zacchaeus' conversion, for example, gives the message that his repentance had little or nothing to do with his salvation. Not that many people will be walking out of church that day formulating this to themselves; it's the overall impression that forms people over time.

    It's also what a text doesn't include - the intercession of the saints, the power of the sacraments, Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist (or this often in a weak or ambiguous way) - that is a problem. Singing "Draw Us in the Spirit's Tether" for Pentecost Sunday, for example, means that every we are not singing texts at that point which better express the fullness of Catholic tradition for the feast. Singing this year after year on this feast gives, at best, an incomplete, and at worst, a distorted picture of what the feast is all about.

    So it's not that the texts are "wrong" or "bad" - most of life is a matter of choosing among things that are good. The texts we are singing should be the very best, both in terms of artistic content and the fullness of the Catholic tradition, not just avoiding error: bringing our the full meaning of the feasts and seasons. For the most part, these can already be found in the liturgy itself.
    Thanked by 2Don9of11 hilluminar
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 217
    Richard Mix, when I was looking around on the internet researching the tunes I saw a head line that the composer for "Borning Cry" had died.

    Charles W, interesting that you mention "Mother Dear, O Pray for Me" and "To Jesus Heart All Burning", those are excellent examples of Catholic hymns. The hymn "Mother Dear, O Pray for Me" was originally written and composed by Isaac Woodbury, a 19th century teacher, composer and publisher of church music. Isaac as far as I know was not Catholic. The text and melody of his hymn was later changed either by Rev. Edward Sourin, S.J., or another to what is now the traditional melody and words. "To Jesus Heart All Burning" the text and melody I learned come from the 1918-St. Basil Hymnal. Both of these hymns are beautiful. I am unfamiliar with the tunes of the Sister's you mention.

    I was reading an article by Fr. Thomas Thompson, He is the curator of the Marian Studies and the University of Dayton, Ohio. "The Popular Marian Hymn in Devotion and Liturgy", it's and excellent article and he makes some very good points and observations. He says, "The greatest need in Marian hymnody is not the music, but suitable texts which can be set to music." and "Composers, trained in the craft of musical composition, are not always equally gifted in shaping words for their music".

    I think if you reflect on those two quotes you could apply that to all Catholic hymns that have been written and composed in the last 50 years. It isn't the music of the hymns or choral pieces we sing that is needed as much as having suitable text. I have a friend who is Protestant and he sings tenor with me on special occasions at Mass and we had a brief discussion on hymnody and we agreed that both Catholic and Protestant hymns have suffered over the years.
  • rich_enough, it's funny you mention Amazing Grace. My pastor once lamented to me that he despised the hymn, particularly decrying the "wretch like me... Can you imagine if I called people wretches from the pulpit! There'd be riots..."

    I agree that the two main things (beauty and orthodoxy) are not always enough which is why I said, "check to see if there's anything else I'm overlooking". I agree that there can indeed be other complicating factors. In a recent bulletin article I pointed out that not all hymns are created equally. To quote a snippet from my column:

    "Many Catholic publishers are “Catholic” in name only.  Long-ignored are the transcendent texts of old. I pose to you: what is more appropriate Palm Sunday? “Ride on, King Jesus, no man can ahinder (sic) me… King Jesus rides on a milk-white horse…” vs. the traditional chanted Introït, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessèd is He who comes in the name of the Lord! O King of Israel: Hosanna in the highest!” (In almost comic fashion these two “hymns” face each other in our hymnal.)  We’ve traded beautiful poetry from the likes of Blessed Cardinal Newman (Lead, Kindly Light) or translations of the hymns of St. Alphonsus Liguori (’Tis Thy Good Pleasure, Not Mine Own) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Ecce Panis Angelorum) for communion hymns that refer to Jesus as mere “bread” and which mention our actions more than God's, to Whom we are supposedly rendering praise."

    There's a reason I frequently print hymns and put them in the pews. (Public Domain, my own engraving.)
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,468
    Can you imagine if I called people wretches from the pulpit!
    Specious! the text says - a wretch like me, and it was written by the pastor of the church for which he wrote it, referring to himself.
    Does your pastor never invite the congregation to join him in saying "I confess ... that I have greatly sinned ..." ?
    Thanked by 2Liam PaxMelodious
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,804
    Amazing Grace has much more important and enduring associations in the English-speaking world, by virtue of its author and fruits of his repentance - so it's almost assuredly a permanent part of the core hymn repertoire of the English-speaking peoples:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L-H2k8FWCg

    (With Albert Finney playing the part of a nearly blind John Newton in the galleries; Newton died 9 months after the Slave Trade Act 1807 received the Royal Assent.)
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,084
    Charles W, interesting that you mention "Mother Dear, O Pray for Me" and "To Jesus Heart All Burning", those are excellent examples of Catholic hymns. The hymn "Mother Dear, O Pray for Me" was originally written and composed by Isaac Woodbury, a 19th century teacher, composer and publisher of church music. Isaac as far as I know was not Catholic. The text and melody of his hymn was later changed either by Rev. Edward Sourin, S.J., or another to what is now the traditional melody and words. "To Jesus Heart All Burning" the text and melody I learned come from the 1918-St. Basil Hymnal. Both of these hymns are beautiful. I am unfamiliar with the tunes of the Sister's you mention.


    Both those hymns are sentimental trash typical of the pre-Vatican II American church. It amazes me how folks look back to that time as something wonderful to recapture. I am old enough to remember it and music was awful in the average parish. I have numerous hymns written by Fr. What'sisname, Sr. Whatever, and on an on. Not a lot of talent among them. That's not saying what is being written now is any better, it isn't.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    If a text is actually Catholic in its theology, it is unlikely to be published.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 217
    Charles W,

    These hymns were sung by tens of thousands of faithful Catholics all across the globe. The composer's and authors were men and women of great faith, some converts to Catholicism, some Saints, some soon to be, and their hymns are still being sung today. The words and melodies have endeared far longer than any modern hymn. Faber, Caswall, Currie, Grey, Walsh, Procter, Tozer, Montani, Newman, Wilton, Sisters of Notre Dame, of Mercy, of St. Joseph and so many others were not only gifted musicians but gifted poets who knew their Catechism, who knew their scriptures and could write and compose hymns that were not only thoughtful but were in themselves prayers.

    Not one of them with any talent you say? I think you are alone in that assessment.
    Thanked by 1oldhymns
  • People are actually defending this "Marian" trash? I'm aghast.

    Obviously nobody is talking about Caswall/Faber/Newman, who were actual poets and not merely songwriters.

    The Cecilians and these hacks were two sides of the same incompetent coin when it came to producing new music. At least the Cecilians' output was actually suitable for Mass, if nothing else.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,463
    And now that the Ordinariates exist and are using The Hymnal 1940 and The New English Hymnal, have these hymnals been "baptized" then, and allowed to take their place among Catholic hymnals, or are they still anathema?
  • As a cradle Anglican turned Ordinariate Catholic I can say that the 1940 has its (relatively small) share of schmaltz, evangelical screed, and just plain rubish. These, however, constitute a relatively small share of its total contents. We know where and what it is and avoid it like the plague. But for this small percentage of rubish the 1940 is as Catholic as any other hymnal, more Catholic than most any other hymnal. That said, it is said that a new Ordinariate hymnal is being planned. It will, one may conjecture, be received with open arms and grateful sighs by orthodox Catholics everywhere.
  • For example, "Amazing Grace" does not express anything contrary to Catholic doctrine all by itself; it's has more to do with the emphasis, which give the impression (though not the explicit assertion) of salvation by "grace alone."


    But the Church teaches salvation by Grace alone!

    The author is crediting his repentance and conversion to Grace -- as should we all!
  • Yes, Protestants and Catholics agree that God's grace always has the initiative in anyone coming to faith in Christ. But "salvation" is more than faith, and the Church does not subscribe to "grace alone" as Protestants generally understand it (we cannot merit by our works, etc.)
  • "Amazing grace" does not sing about sacraments, from which sanctifying grace comes.
    Sanctifying grace saves, but it's not about that

    the best you could say is that it's about actual grace. But actual grace does not save.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,084
    I have never had any fondness for "Amazing Grace." I program it around 4 times a year to keep peace, although I don't understand its appeal.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • TCJ
    Posts: 638
    The only time I liked Amazing Grace was when I was walking past a church that had a roofing project going on. One of the workmen was pounding away on the slate roof and singing, "Amazing slates, how sweet the sound..."
    Thanked by 2CharlesW mattebery
  • Madame,

    The poet didn't believe in actual grace.
  • how many of you schedule choral pieces or hymns from Protestant sources as part of your music for Sunday Mass?

    Since Protestants don't write in Latin....never.
    Oh, possibly a hymn or 2, but since we use Campion, I've let Jeff O. vet that.

    I've sung my share of Protty music in OF Masses though. Here's where I stand: as long as the theology is Catholic-compliant, I have no problem. BUT...

    We should be choosing Catholic music first. When we don't, we're tacitly endorsing religious indifferentism, that it doesn't matter if something came from Protestantism. Often, even Protestant music that is not formally heretical has a non-Catholic sensibility. And how often does the borrowing go in the other direction, aside from Anglo-Catholics? Aside from O come O come Emmanual and Adeste fideles, how often do Protestants sing Catholic hymns?

    Note that this also applies to organ music. I loves me my German chorale preludes as much as the next guy, but what's wrong with chant preludes?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,145
    Aside from O come O come Emmanual and Adeste fideles, how often do Protestants sing Catholic hymns?

    I was once told that Methodists are really wandering Catholics who haven't found their way home yet (it took me more than 40 years). Aside from the hymns of Charles Wesley, many (if not most) of which reveal a Catholic sensibility, Methodists have included a considerable number of hymns of Catholic (and ancient Greek) authorship. Here are several, from The Methodist Hymnal 1964:

    • O Splendor of God's Glory Bright - Ambrose of Milan (340-397), transl. Robert S. Bridges (1844-1930)
    • Christian, Dost Thou See Them - attr. Andrew of Crete (c. 660-740), transl. J. M. Neale (1818-1866)
    • Creator of the Stars of Night - Anon. Latin (9th cent.), transl. J. M. Neale
    • Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee - Latin (12th cent.), transl. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)
    • Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation - Latin (c. 7th cent.), transl. J. M. Neale
    • Good Christian Men, Rejoice - Latin (14th cent.), paraph. J. M. Neale
    • O Sacred Head, Now Wounded - Anon. Latin, transl. Paul Gebhardt (1607-1676), James W. Alexander (1804-1859)
    • Jesus Christ Is Risen Today - Latin (14th cent.), trans. in Lyra Daviica (1708)
    • The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done - Anon. Latin, trans. Francis Pott (1832-1909)
    • To Thee Before the Close of Day - Latin (7th cent.), transl. J. M. Neale
    • Jesus, Thou Joy od Loving Hearts - attr. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), trans. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)
    • Jerusalem the Golden - Bernard of Cluny (12th cent.), transl. J. M. Neale
    • The King Shall Come - Anon. Greek, transl. John Brownlie (1859-1925)
    • Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid - Greek (8th cent.), transl. J. M. Neale
    • The Day Is Past and Over - Anon. Greek (c. 6th cent.), transl. J. M. Neale
    • O Guide to Every Child of Thine - Clement of Alexandria (c. 160-215), transl. Kendrick Grobel (1908-1965)
    • Shepherd of Eager Youth - Clement of Alexandria, transl. Henry M. Dexter (1821-1890)
    • Welcome, Happy Morning - Venantius Fortunatus (c. 530-609), transl. John Ellerton (1826-1893)
    • O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing - Jean Tisserand (d. 1494), transl. J. M. Neale
    • Father, We Praise Thee - attr. Gregory the Great (540-604), transl. Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)
    • Holy God, We Praise Thy Name - attr. Ignaz Franz (1719-1790)
    • Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - Liturgy of St. James, transl. Gerard Moultrie (1829-1885)
    • Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face (Adoro Te) - Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
    • Of the Father's Love Begotten - Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-c. 413), transl. J. M. Neale and Henry W. Baker (1821-1877)
    • Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire - attr. Rhabanus Maurus (c.776-856), transl. John Cosin (1594-1672)
    • Earth Has Many a Noble City - Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, transl. Edward Caswall
    • Come Down, O Love Divine - Bianco da Siena (d. 1434), transl. Richard F. Littledale (1833-1890)
    • Lord Jesus, Think on Me - Synesius of Cyrene (c. 375-430), transl. Allen W. Chatfield (1808-1896)
    • All Glory, Laud, and Honor - Theodulph of Orleans (d. 821), transl. J. M. Neale

    Of course, Methodist hymnody also reflects its Anglican heritage.
  • Thanks for your listing, Chuck -
    Many Protestant hymnals (though I'm not so sure of Baptists and their ilk) would be gutted if they were relieved of their hymnody of a Catholic provenance.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • Many Protestant hymnals (though I'm not so sure of Baptists and their ilk) would be gutted if they were relieved of their hymnody of a Catholic provenance.


    As I suspect many modern "catholic" hymnals would be if they were gutted of their protestant provenance.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • Jeffrey wrote:
    Often, even Protestant music that is not formally heretical has a non-Catholic sensibility.


    And just as often, nominally "Catholic" music has a downright secular sensibility, let alone non-Catholic.

    I would gladly admit Vaughan Williams's G Minor Mass and the motets of Stanford, Hassler, and Willan (written by Protestants in Latin) before anything from the St. Louis Jesuits.

    While I agree in preserving our Catholic heritage (my career specializes in the music of 19th-century German Catholic composers), our focus should be more on finding music of distinctly Roman aesthetic that follows proper texts, rather than resorting to a litmus test that, in many places, is precisely what allows music from the SLJ and their ilk (even those not nominally Catholic) to thrive. Agnostic Vaughan Williams's church music is no less Anglican than that of Walton or Stanford, when it's not outright Catholic; I think that is as good an example as any.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Salieri
  • Indeed. What God hath wrought through unbelieving architects, composers, poets, artists and more should show to all that he will choose whom he will to glorify his Name. All beauty is ipso facto Godly no matter from whence it comes - because all beauty comes, ultimately, from him.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,463
    Of course, the RVW G minor is in a slightly different category, since it was, after all, commissioned by RR Terry for Westminster Cathedral (RC).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • our focus should be more on finding music of distinctly Roman aesthetic that follows proper texts, rather than resorting to a litmus test


    This suggestion (of relating substitutionary hymns to the proper texts rather than the scriptural texts) was made to me just recently and I think it's a rather good one. Often there is an overt theme in the proper texts but it doesn't always ostensibly relate to the daily scriptures (at least in an obvious way). Sometimes there just aren't good hymns for the day's scripture readings, so taking a cue from the propers (rather than a random pick) seems vastly preferable.
  • Yes, I agree.

    It seems more and more to me that the task of picking truly suitable hymns (in terms of excellent poetry and music, solidly Catholic theology, pertinence to both the readings and proper texts, singability and familiarity to the congregation) is much, much harder than weekly propers. It is undoubtedly something we should strive for to some degree, but I see the mantra that hymns are the "easy way out" to be a fallacy more and more.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,804
    Except that hymns are easier for a congregation to sing, if one allows for congregational singing in lieu of the propers, as hymns are normally drawn from a repertoire that is more or less familiar to the congregation; it's not a matter of singing something new every week.
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • Sometimes there just aren't good hymns for the day's scripture readings, so taking a cue from the propers (rather than a random pick) seems vastly preferable.


    Precisely, Serviam.

    In planning hymns I generally start with the text of the Gradual/Missal propers and see if anything from our congregational repertoire matches or at least relates - I find something usable maybe 15% of the time. Then I check Worship IV's "Hymn of the Day" index to see if it's a usable text... 20%. Then I scan the readings to look for obvious connections... 20%. Then for whatever holes I still have, I put in generic hymns of praise (primarily for Processional hymns) or communion songs/hymns at communion.... the other 45%.

    The fact that almost half of the time I'm just filling the "3-hymn sandwich slots" (we don't do recessionals) randomly gives me cause for concern... why not use good congregational proper settings and have hymns less often? At some point in the future either at my parish or at my next job this will be my goal. My career path has taken the "organ-hymns-are-primary" approach just about as far as it can go...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • The fact that almost half of the time I'm just filling the "3-hymn sandwich slots" (we don't do recessionals) randomly gives me cause for concern... why not use good congregational proper settings and have hymns less often? At some point in the future either at my parish or at my next job this will be my goal. My career path has taken the "organ-hymns-are-primary" approach just about as far as it can go...


    Indeed. We've had a scuttlebutt here at our parish as it's looking like we will be getting a communion rail reinstalled (another parish just got a new one to match their new-ish reredos). This has led to a flurry of emails about whether or not this is a good thing and the liturgy more in general.

    A week ago I had a long bulletin column about using chant in the liturgy and someone took issue with my claim that chant is actually proper to the liturgy and it is Tradition (capital T). One person was non-too-pleased and accused me of twisting the truth for my own ends. I also addressed the issue of the "hymn sandwich" in a second bulletin column as well and stated outright that it was originally a protestant practice and going forward I will be moving away from it. I clarified, however, that it was "not out of any animosity for the truly beautiful hymns that we sing on a regular basis, but rather for an even greater love of our rich musical patrimony."

    At the recent CMAA conference I bought the last copy of the tome Papal Legislation on Sacred Music, 95 AD to 1977 AD by Robert Hayburn. It is a goldmine of information to say the very least. It seems to be to music what the Denzinger is to dogmas. Only 8 pages in I was delighted to read the following gem, which I in turn passed along to the person who took issue with my intention to introduce more chanting at mass (and my claim that it was Tradition). It was written as a bull by Leo IV around 855 to an abbot who prevented chanting at masses within his dominion:

    “A most unbelievable report has reached Our ears, which if it is matched by the facts, takes away from the right of Our position rather than adorning it—not a glowing report, but a dark one; namely, that you find distasteful the beauty of Gregorian chant, which the Church in her tradition of singing and reading has decreed and handed on—so distasteful that you dissent in all questions about this matter not only from this neighboring See, but also from nearly all the churches in the West—in short, from all who join in the praise of the eternal King and raise their resounding voices in the Latin language.  Churches everywhere have accepted the aforementioned tradition of Gregory [the Great] with such eagerness and great pleasure that, when they had received all of it, it was so pleasing to them that they still continue to beg still more from Us, thinking that We were keeping some from them.  This most holy Pope Gregory was a very great worshipper of God, a renowned preacher, and a wise pastor, providing well for the salvation of men; he produced the music We speak of, which We sing in Church and elsewhere…

    “Further: I beg you, do not determine to dissent either from this Church, the chief church of Our religion, from which no one wishes to turn aside, or from all those churches I mentioned.  For if, which We do not believe, you so abhor Our teaching and tradition of Our holy leader that you do not follow Our rite in all its details in the sung parts and the readings, be advised that We cast you out from communion with Us, since it behooves you to follow with profit all those things which the Roman Church does not reject but desires and tenaciously holds.  Therefore, We command under sentence of excommunication that, in the singing and readings in your churches, you carry them out in no other way than that which Pope St. Gregory handed down [including chanted psalms & propers] and We hold that you cultivate and sing this tradition always with all your powers.”

    There are some fascinating implications from this letter:

    • Pope Gregory (who ruled from 590-604) had clearly fostered universal praxis which was commonly held for nearly two hundred years prior to this remonstration.
    • This was such an important facet of the liturgy the pope was willing to threaten excommunication and eternal anathema on someone who holds the rank equivalence of a bishop.
    • He explicitly states that the practice of chanting is "tenaciously [held]”, and is not merely preferential.
    • He also explicitly applies the term ’tradition’ and makes his appeal based upon it as a universal and binding force on this matter multiple times.

    For nearly a year now, we've had a communion antiphon at every mass (for which I play) and for quite a while we've had the choir chant the introit at 10:30 masses as well. I will wrap up the processional hymn while the altar is being incensed and we begin chanting, which then segues very nicely with Father's chanting. I informed the parish in my bulletin column that we would begin chanting in Latin too, especially for solemnities. I want to get away from the hymn sandwich thing very badly. So badly, in fact, that I make sure to do all the verses for the communion antiphon; this past Saturday, the antiphon was sufficient for all of communion so we didn't have a "communion hymn" at all.


  • Liam
    Posts: 3,804
    The hymn sandwich meme, btw, best refers to a Mass where the Ordinary and dialogues are not sung, so that they are the only musical "fillings", as it were.