Replacing the Exsultet
  • Has anyone ever heard of replacing the Exsultet with a hymn? Our pastor told me the other day that he wanted to do this, and I was horrified. I told him yesterday that I could not find anything anywhere that said that was allowable, nor could I find anybody who had ever witnessed such a thing take place. He wants to replace it with "Most Holy Night" by Dan Schutte. I got the impression that he intends to do it without my cooperation and just pipe the instrumental accompaniment through the sound system (since I said I wouldn't play it). At this point, I'm just basically trying to decide whether or not to report this to the chancery, assuming he follows through with it.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    Considering the fact that there are no references in the missal to omitting or substituting anything for this rather exceptional chant, and considering the missal also provides for a “shorter form” to accommodate weaker singers, I highly suspect that this is anything but kosher.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    Also, many dioceses have formal bans on pre-recorded music.
    Thanked by 2dad29 RedPop4
  • This is where the humble inquiry to the Chancery takes place before any of this nonsense takes place, which will usually prevent it from happening. It’s a little late now, but acting confused and asking about whether or not this is permitted, as you have never heard of it being done before will usually get the ball rolling with the Chancery inquiring about the priest’s plans.

    As a congregant, fiddling with the Exsultet annoys me. Why can’t we just have it sung in its traditional chant notation without a bunch of extra artistic stuff?
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
  • Why can’t we just have it sung in its traditional chant notation without a bunch of extra artistic stuff?


    I had no idea you counted yourself a traditionalist!
    Has anyone ever heard of replacing the Exsultet with a hymn?


    Heard of it, yes. I think I've even seen it done, but I was too young, stupid and cowardly to know that it was actually not allowed.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw RedPop4
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I have heard it read rather than sung.
  • had no idea you counted yourself a traditionalist!


    I don’t, despite attending the Traditional Latin Mass. We’re quite a modern Latin Mass community. I’m a female tenor who sings in the schola. I even sang part of both Passion Gospels for Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,068
    No, your pastor should 1,000% be reported to the chancery, yesterday. It may be time to move on though.
  • Thank you all for the responses. And yes, I agree it would have been better to deal with this beforehand, rather than afterward, but he only gave me 48 hours notice that this was his plan, and I wanted to make sure I had done my homework before accusing him of liturgical abuse. I also wanted to follow the principe of talking to him directly about it first, before taking it to his superiors. But that got me nowhere, and then I was out of time.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    A solid (and charitable) line of thinking, to be sure. Ultimately, it is in his head, but you did the best you could under the circumstances.
  • Carol
    Posts: 856
    Last night we had the pleasure of having an exceptionally good rendition of the Exsultet and it was glorious! I have heard it butchered in a nasal/atonal manner so many times and have only heard a really wonderful version about 3 times in my life. I think most priests are scared of it and their lack of confidence undermines their chanting and thus the message.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    We were fortunate to have an associate pastor who could sing it quite well. Prior to his arrival, most had massacred it to the point it was painful to hear.
    Thanked by 2Carol RedPop4
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,409
    I think I have not heard a cleric sing it in over 50 years. Usually by good/excellent trained cantors, otherwise spoken by the celebrant.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,068
    I had to hum it to the priest while he sang it. It is not ideal, but we don't have a deacon or second priest to do it, on top of everything else that he sings.
  • I think I have not heard a cleric sing it in over 50 years.


    We got a treat with our FSSP seminarian who was recently ordained to the diaconate sang it. He’s a rather skilled skilled pianist (he played Carnegie Hall), organist, and most important, quite skilled at singing chant.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    This is all ex post facto at this point, but I think, given you have a year before this arises again, a good approach might to to think through and consult with people about how to make sure this doesn't happen at the 2023 Vigil. How can you convey to your Pastor not only 1) that such substitutions are contra legem, but also 2) that for many people who come to the vigil the singing of the Exsultet to its traditional melody is a high point that would be sorely missed? Just from the little bit of information conveyed about him in the OP, I suspect #2 might get you more traction than #1, even if underscored by a hand-slap from the chancery.

    Also, I just listened to the Schutte piece and, well, having this in place of the Exsultet would leave me feeling pretty crushed. And I'm pretty flexible in liturgical matters.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,225
    many dioceses have formal bans on pre-recorded music.


    The Church issued a universal ban many years ago.
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 119
    The Church issued a universal ban many years ago.


    Church I used to play the organ(4 manual, 50 stop monster) now has pre-recorded music almost exclusively. And most other churches near-by have either very bad live folk-type music or pre-recorded stuff. I'm loosing hope..God have mercy.
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    I went to ordinary form and our new pastor did a very nice job. He chanted a little more than usual throughout. We had such a good turnout that there weren't enough candles! A good problem to have!
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • that for many people who come to the vigil the singing of the Exsultet to its traditional melody is a high point that would be sorely missed?


    I am this parishioner. I grew up with the traditionally sung Masses, the chanted Litany of the Saints, psalm-toned responsorial psalms. As a child, this (as well as the organ) was one of the high points of going to Mass.

    Trying to return was a struggle because I returned to OCP Breaking Bread style song-like responsorial psalms, that song called Litany of the Saints, yet invoked the heretic Origen, Masses unsung, and really terrible music that didn’t fit the context of Mass, was sappy, piano music, guitars, accordions, you name it. Just because it can be played doesn’t mean it should be.

    It was the singing of the Preface in the EF in the traditional preface tone that brought me to the Latin Mass. It was that horrid Ashes song that made me make the long 400 km round trip drive to Mass each Sunday. It was the excellent pipe organ that made me take up permanent residency.
  • Suzanne
    Posts: 9
    Our new pastor chanted the Exsultet! We're still getting used to his accent so it required following along in our Missals but I must say he did a good job. I think it's only the second time ever that I've heard it chanted by the celebrant.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Carol
  • Suzanne,

    Accent? Where's his home country (or territory)?
    Thanked by 1sdtalley3
  • Suzanne
    Posts: 9
    Nigeria
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 892
    If the Exultet cannot be sung well to it's proper chant, it should be read. It's in the Missal for a reason. No substitutions are allowed.
    Thanked by 2RedPop4 Carol
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 432
    It may be after-the-fact, but I think I'd still make a report to the chancery about it. Yesterday it was the Exsultet...tomorrow, the words of consecration?