The priority of the G. R. in choice of English O.F mass
  • Beth
    Posts: 53
    I'm wondering if anyone can give me clear rubrics or documents stating the Gradule's precedence as far as music in a vernacular O.F mass?

    I have been choosing hymns or English chants to replace the Latin Propers assigned for the days of the Liturgical years. My thought is that the Latin propers are the first option in the G.I.R.M if I remember correctly. Is the any other documents that refer to this as an ideal or is all my hard work in finding close replacements a waste of time?
    I'm having trouble justifying my work
  • We all are. Join the club. Just remember, the Catholic Church is the only church in which you can be fired for following the instructions of the church.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • Beth, I'm not entirely sure that I understand your question. you are looking for a statement that the GR is ideal? or a statement that permits something other than that ideal?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,170
    Your recollection is spot on: GIRM paragraph #48 says that the entrance antiphon can be taken from the Graduale Romanum or the Graduale Simplex, or another chant (or song) suited to the sacred action, the day, or the season can be used, if its text is approved by the bishops' conference:

    48. Peragitur autem a schola et populo alternatim, vel simili modo a cantore
    et populo, vel totus a populo vel a schola sola. Adhiberi potest sive antiphona
    cum suo psalmo in Graduali romano vel in Graduali simplici exstans, sive
    alius cantus, actioni sacræ, diei vel temporis indoli congruus, cuius textus a
    Conferentia Episcoporum sit approbatus.
    Si ad introitum non habetur cantus, antiphona in Missali proposita recitatur
    sive a fidelibus, sive ab aliquibus ex ipsis, sive a lectore, sin aliter ab ipso sacerdote,
    qui potest etiam in modum monitionis initialis (cf. n. 31) eam aptare.

    The US version of this is less clear:
  • Beth
    Posts: 53
    Jeffery, yes, I"m looking for validation in using the G.R. propers as a first choice and guide to planning other choices.
    Also, in the case of a venacular mass is the Graduale R. obsolete in favor of a more "pastoral" approach?

    Richard, thanks for the citation, I'm familiar with the Girm, but am wondering if the Order stated is the order in which one should make choices. ex If you are not able to do the Latin proper , then find a suitable hymn I believe the American trans. uses that word suitable which could really just mean anything that is remotely sacred music, but not necessarly related to the scripture of the proper.

    I've been told recently that I need no be so rigid to this idea and that for pastoral reasons i need to make it "uplifting" whatever that means, I think it means different things to different people.
  • This is interesting to me too because I was involved in Catholic music for years before I even knew that the Mass already has music embedded in it as part of its structure. The first time I saw this I had a sense of having pushed open the door to an amazing room of treasures. the GIRM does make it clear but there is a more important point, namely, that the propers and ordinary of the Mass grew up alongside the Mass and are native to it in every way. they can't be separated without doing injury to the core structure. It's like asking for evidence or a law that says that this long bread bun really does go with this hot dog. Ok, not a very good analogy but you see the point.

    That said, there are many ways to sing the propers, and we should never drift far from them. The further we go away from them, the more we harm the integrity of the liturgical structure.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Beth,I hope I'm saying this in a right way. But don't you think the 'pastoral decision' should be in line with the Church's teachings and instructions? Every parish has a unique situation and has to start with whatever they have and need, so Vatican II gave lots of options. But I think the Church's teaching and the goal remain the same, and all the local Catholic churches should follow that goal. If we do so, instead of trying to make people happy, the faithful will receive the grace God pours out for us more fully in the liturgy.
    This is what the Church says.

    "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given first place in liturgical services." (Section 116, the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

    I think this explains the order of preference that chonak cited above. (it didn't say that personal hymns are most suitable for the Roman liturgy. I'm very new in this myself, and embarrassed to say that after working in a church for many years I'm now discovering different kind of music that has been existed in the Mass for centuries.)
  • Beth, whenever the word "uplifting" enters into a conversation about Catholic music you have hit a brick wall that represents deep set prejudices that may not have anything to do with could come from a comment a priest made, getting slapped by a nun....

    They who use that term want to rid the Mass of anything sad or introspective (well, guess that rules out singing the psalms) and make everything happy.

    It is time to walk, no, run to another parish.

    [words of advice that I, for one, have failed to heed.]

    One way to handle this is to say, "Uplifting, like a bra?" with a puzzled expression...followed by, "No, it's a sacred litrugy and needs no additional support."

    Small bumper sticker now attached.
  • Beth
    Posts: 53
    miacyone, Article 116. Is one I use frequently to justify Gregorian Chant's place in the liturgy. I was told recently not to read to much into the documents and that particular article was meant more like: Chant is the church's treasure and it should be kept as such, being a part of historical tradition. and some such other things, in line with the idea that I shouldn't take it literally.

    soo....The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given first place in liturgical services." (Section 116, the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

    Is this article to be taken literally or otherwise? I believe the translation about "pride of place" rather than using clearer language; first or premier place is what makes this particular citation up for grabs in a way.
    So, another question would be ICEL translated the Roman Missal, and left us with nothing for the propers. To use only Gregorian propers in a vernacular mass is disjointed. To exclude their place is ridiculous to me but if Rome has not said anything regarding their place in vernacular masses, how is one to back up their mouth?

    Frogman, yes I'd run but where to is the question. The grass in reality is never greener on the other side. Thanks for the support though. I did know I was in trouble when I heard that word "uplifting" Also when I'm told to match the liturgical style of the priest in question, to the substitution of what is more suitable under the guise of "pastoral" effectiveness.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I'm not sure that the Church actually defined something as "vernacular mass. " In my understanding, the Mass supposed to preserve latin, and the use of the vernacular is permitted according to 'pastorlal' judgement.
    Even if a church musician cannot read so much documents, there are something basics such as Musicam Sacram, GIRM ... I don't know how one can work for a Catholic church without the basic knowledge of the Church's instruction. Even in a private company , the hired person should learn the policy of the company? I think people who wants to do things that please people more than God can work in a church that is not Catholic (universal).

    So Roman Missal didn't have a vernacular Propers set to music. But if the parish establishes latin ordinaries as the MS says, and start with vernacular propers that are being available now (see the front page of this site), I don't think it would be so hard to move up to Gregorian propers.

    Also if your parish is not ready for all the proper sacred music yet, I would go very slowly. Instead of talking about documents too much with the people who don't understand them, you can either start singing simple Agnus Dei during Advent and Lent, and/or start a schola and have them sing on special Masses? Gregorian chants are beautiful. In my parish those who are in contemporary bands even admitted.

    In the meantime for those who cannot take the quote above literally, they should read writings of the Pope Benedict XVI on liturgy and sacred music. He can explain it to them.
    If your priest is not encouraging you to follow Church's instruction, that would be a problem. He needs lots of prayers, and maybe you could help him with charity.
    (Last year I snuck a copy of 'A New Song for the Lord' by Pope Benedict XVI with other Christmas gifts to my pastor ;-)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,170
    Beth, would you be interested in posting a sample list of the music for some recent Sunday?
  • Aidan
    Posts: 8
    Paragaph 48 of the GIRM appears to be rather different in England and Wales, if entirely ignored…

    "In the dioceses of England and Wales the options for the Entrance Chant are: (1) the antiphon and psalm from the Graduale Romanum or the Graduale Simplex; or (2) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, the text of which has been approved by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.”

    As far as I know, there have been no such collections approved, so the only options are (in theory) the Graduale Romanum and the Graduale Simplex. So no vernacular, or am I missing something?

    The full GIRM with adaptations for England and Wales can be found at
  • Beth said:
    I did know I was in trouble when I heard that word "uplifting" Also when I'm told to match the liturgical style of the priest in question, to the substitution of what is more suitable under the guise of "pastoral" effectiveness.

    "Uplifting" is not found in the requirements for the entrance chant in the GIRM:
    47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.

    "Match the liturgical style of the priest in question" is not one of the preparation rules in the GIRM:
    352. The pastoral effectiveness of a celebration will be greatly increased if the texts of the readings, the prayers, and the liturgical songs correspond as closely as possible to the needs, spiritual preparation, and culture of those taking part. This is achieved by appropriate use of the wide options described below.

    The priest, therefore, in planning the celebration of Mass, should have in mind the common spiritual good of the people of God, rather than his own inclinations. He should, moreover, remember that the selection of different parts is to be made in agreement with those who have some role in the celebration, including the faithful, in regard to the parts that more directly pertain to each.

    Since, indeed, a variety of options is provided for the different parts of the Mass, it is necessary for the deacon, the lectors, the psalmist, the cantor, the commentator, and the choir to be completely sure before the celebration which text for which each is responsible is to be used and that nothing be improvised. Harmonious planning and carrying out of the rites will great assistance in disposing the faithful to participate in the Eucharist.

    I added the emphasis in paragraph two of Article 352.
  • Beth asked:
    in the case of a vernacular mass is the Graduale R. obsolete in favor of a more "pastoral" approach?

    My answer is no. At the very least, the texts of Graduale Romanum need to guide our choices.

    With respect, then, to the entrance chants, we would do well to look at Introit Hymns for the Church Year, compiled and written by Christoph Tietze or even Psallite.

    With respect to ideal texts of the communion chants, there is "only" q=Psallite&q3.x=0&q3.y=0">Psallite.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577

    Thanks for the pointer to the GIRM for England and Wales.
    You get to enjoy the sane reading found in that version.
    I am guessing your comment means that what is there gets ignored.

    Unfortunately, most posting to this Forum are in the USA
    and get to try to make sense out of the USCCB adaptations listed in that paragraph.
    @chonak gave the Latin original to paragraph 48 and a pointer to the version we try to untangle.

    For USA adaptations history of the Introit/Offertory/Communion Propers, see:
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    miacoyne: "so Vatican II gave lots of options."

    To be clear and concise ...

    Vatican Two gave two options: Graduale Romanum or Graduale Simplex.

    USCCB gave four options.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks eft for clear and concise.. In my first post I wasn't referring the option only to the propers. Options in general, such as adding instruments besides organ, the extent of using vernacular, style of music...with which each local parish can start to build the sacred music in their liturgy.

    Btw I wanted add one more to Beth. You mentioned about whether the instrcutions should be taken literally. I don't think the documents we read are those of poetic writings about liturgy. Those are instuctions. Something like the following, I don't know how else one can interprete it. (this is from the same document as I quoted above.)

    "Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." (Section 54, the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
  • Chrism
    Posts: 868
    Here is a USCCB Liturgy Sub-committee PowerPoint. Slide #17, "Four Types of Liturgical Music":

    Antiphons and Psalms form an essential part [of] the Mass, not only in the Liturgy of the Word, but in the Entrance, Communion and other processional chants.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 868
    Also, as regards "uplifting", the best way to make music uplifting is to smile when you are singing and directing, to truly enjoy it. If you let it uplift you, then you will be full of a contagious joy, and charges of "depressing" will not faze you

    As far as recommendations for uplifting music, at the top of the list would have to be "Lift High the Cross".
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I think many people get confused with 'being joyful' and temporary excitement, like watching sports or party time sort of feeling.
    We can be joyful internally, when we know our Lord is with us in the Sacrament. That's the joy, peace and 'uplifting' I experience through Gregorian chants.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Only one offense is now vigorously punished, - an accurate observance of our fathers' traditions. For this cause the pious are driven from their countries, and transported into deserts.

    Came across this quote from St Basil, and it took a moment to remember what I had recently of which it reminded me.

    And then I remembered Noel's remark on this thread: "The Catholic Church is the only church in which you can be fired for following the instructions of the church."

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Beth
    Posts: 53
    mmmm really it's completely strange to me that the music of the Catholic church (chant) would be so hated. What about chant inspires such venom? Is it the latin is it the fact that it challenges us to listen actively rather than passively? This last thought is perhaps the key.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 868
    Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music, 11 October 2007:

    I am pleased in this context to recall what the Second Vatican Council established with regard to sacred music. In line with an age-old tradition, the Council said it "is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 112). How often does the rich biblical and patristic tradition stress the effectiveness of song and sacred music in moving and uplifting hearts to penetrate, so to speak, the intimate depths of God's life itself! Well aware of this, John Paul II observed that today as always, three traits distinguish sacred music: "holiness", "true art" and "universality" or the possibility that it can be proposed to any people or type of assembly (cf. Chirograph Tra le Sollecitudini, 22 November 2003 [sic]; ORE, 28 January 2004, p. 6).

    General Audience of Pope John Paul II, July 7, 1982:

    Thank you for your enthusiasm for singing and for your desire to bring joy to others. Always remember how important music is in uplifting the human heart - all the way to God!