David Haas and dialogue: hallelujah
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Interestingly, a nun mentioned today that she thought it better to use all new settings for the revised missal mass parts. She seemed to think the old music is too associated with the old translation in the minds of the people. I am looking at the ICEL chants for that very reason. Maybe it would be easier to start with something new.
  • There is a voice in my head saying: “David, don’t do this.. leave it alone.. you already have said goodbye… just let it go.”

    But there are some things that have been said since my last post, that I must respond to:

    1) First of all – thanks to you dear ones who have tried to convince me to “stay” so to speak. Some of you have been very kind, and felt you needed to defend and advocate for my presence here. Thanks for that – but it is not necessary. I do not need to be defended. I did NOT come to this blog or Chantcafe to be affirmed, validated, or be noticed beyond anyone else. I am not asking for permission to be OK for who I am, what I do, and what I may or may not represent. But thanks all the same for your kindness, and for what now be some strong indignation to you from others here for the courage to believe that “David Haas” is worthy to be here.

    2) To Michael O’Connor: Actually, much of the bile HAS been directed at me, but that is not the point. You say that you are frustrated with those who will not “countenance the possibility that chant or art music…even has a place in Catholic Worship.” Take a deep breath, and listen to this.. what about you (or others here) – can YOU countenance the possibility that music OTHER than chant or art music has a place in Catholic Worship? This goes both ways. I share your frustration with those who reject chant – I have said it before, and will say it again – I challenge them with the very same question, and constantly try to challenge them to honor and be true to the music and prayer of our tradition, so I get your frustration. But what about their frustration (and mine as well) with people who are like many here on this blog, who assert that there is NO place for them? People have been saying, right here on this blog, that my music and the music that I represent has no place, that we are all that is wrong with church music and the liturgy today? How can you expect these people who frustrate you (and me) to even make an inch toward your stance, when you say that the purpose of this forum is to put us “out of work?” How can you say such a thing, and at the same time wonder why we do not “countenance” your stance?

    3) To don roy: I DO take criticism very seriously. I have colleagues, mentors, fellow music directors and editors who critique and evaluate my work. FYI, “We Are Called” as it appears in the OCP publication you cite, is not mine.. meaning, I composed this as a unison piece, and others have done the choral writing for this and other publications. You are asking me to make a “humble gesture” on my part and acknowledge my shortcomings as a composer and “try harder.” Well, I certainly can recognize that there are pieces that I have written long ago, and when looking back, wished that I would have pulled it back and worked on it some more; there are other pieces that today I would not have published. I accept that and admit that. I try to keep learning and growing in my craft, even after some 30 years of composing. I accept your challenge (which not unique to the discussion here), that I always have much to learn, and I want to continue to grow as a liturgical composer. Maybe I have not always given my best “to the Lord” as you say. But that is not for you to say. Now in the same vein, I would ask you this, and I am not saying this to you specifically, because I am not sure, but for others here I would have no problem with this challenge to them: How about some humble gestures on the part of some people hear to “simply acknowledge” that they are musical snobs?

    4) to bendictgal: you have every right to stand by what you have written, and the tone by which you chose to express those thoughts. I hope it serves you well. I would love to know what texts you believe I have “tinkered” with? In regards to settings of the Order of Mass, I have NEVER “tinkered” with the official texts. Even if I wanted to (and I do not), we would not have permission to do either as a composer, and the publisher would not have permission to do so either. If you are talking about psalmody, yes, I (and dozens of other composers from Fr. Deiss, Fr. Gelineau, Richard Proulx to the most profane of some of us) have created paraphrases, which has been the case for years with publishers. I presume that you (and I know it is the case with many others here) have to respect for the US Bishop’s document, “Sing to the Lord,” but since it is penned as guidelines from our bishops, I would suggest you read paragraph #158, where it clearly lines out paraphrases as a valid approach to utilizing the psalms in worship. I would agree that some composers need to engage in better study and exegetical work before adapting some of these texts – some do it better than others. But the US Bishops approve such practice. But maybe you are not talking about the psalms.. I would like to know which texts you are referring to, SPECIFICALLY, not just a general appraisal.

    Finally – you believe that the work I do is a “cancer.” I would say to the rest of you reading this – why should I remain part of a blog that believes this about me and many of my colleagues?

    5) To Liam and Jeffrey, especially Jeffrey. I know you have tried to explain this to people until you are “blue in the face” but I have to say to you and everyone else reading this right here and right now – you are WRONG. This is false, it is a lie, and it borders on libel. Your quote: “Publishers are very open with composers on this: please change the text just enough so that we don’t have to pay royalties and therefore lose money.” I am sorry – this is irresponsible to say, and to write about it publicly. I am sorry – but I know more about this than you do. NEVER in my entire history with GIA Publications, and I will state this on behalf of every composer in their catalog – NEVER have we been told anything close to this, either overtly or covertly. I would be willing to bet with absolute assurance the same is true for the editorial leadership of OCP and WLP as well. This really steams me… they do not say such things, and to suggest so is to me, represent a misplaced anger and enter into the world of the most dangerous fiction. So again, I ask myself… do you really want people like “me” to be a part of this blog, when you suggest such things?

    I just cannot believe some of the things I read here. Among the people like “me”, there are not many would dare come and visit with you all.. I tried… do not expect others to come. The internet I believe, can be a positive thing in our ministry, but it also can be dangerous…

    I know myself too well – I cannot say that this will be my last “post” because I have already violated my resolve here. I hope it will be my last one, because I feel it is not healthy for me to continue.

    Here is a challenge to you all, and I believe it should come from you, not me. Have the courage to sponsor an event with representatives from this group, and invite an equal number of heretics like me.. and let’s have an honest, face to face dialogue.. one where we have to look each other in the eye, and communicate in some healthy and adult ways. If someone here wants to organize something like that.. man, I am there. Forgive me if I am pessimistic of such a prospect.

    As I said in my earlier post – I started to visit this blog and ChantCafe because as a liturgical musician, everything in this field fascinates and interests me. I came to learn from those different in some ways than myself – to be stretched and be challenged, and to learn. It is obvious that many here wish I and others like me would go away – again, as Michael O’Connor said – for many of you, your vocation is to run people like me out of town. Some are hoping that my presence here would result in a “conversion” to see the light in accordance with their stance. Some also believe that to have me a part of this discussion would be dangerous, and that I cannot be trusted. Many of you continue to ask me to admit things, to challenge myself about my weakness and shortcomings. Any hopes for conversion among any of you about your stances on things? I doubt it.

    I will leave you with this… this all seems so sad to me, because it makes our God, our faith, and our church so small. I believe in a God that does more than just tolerate, but actually celebrates the grand diversity of expressions that offer praise: chant, polyphony, the great classical masses, choral motets, traditional hymnody, folk, pop, rock, jazz, the great gospel songs and spirituals of the African American tradition, the wonderful music from non-western countries and ethnic traditions; the music from Asia and the Pacific, and so much more… to many to mention. I believe boldly as you do, that the patrimony of our tradition, namely chant needs to be worked on, promoted and diligently utilized. But I also believe (and sorry folks, there is a large population not only in leadership, but among the people in the pews) that we are Pilgrim Church, where God is being revealed in many, diverse, fresh and creative ways… many of them believe that these two “worlds” can not only find room for each other, but is necessary for us to worship in “spirit and truth.” We also believe unabashedly in the nurturing and empowerment of a strong singing assembly.

    Enough.. sorry for these “tomes.” Brevity is not my gift. I know that many of you are getting ready to throw the pies at me… God bless…
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I hope that you do stop around again, David, and I hope that the discussion at that point will be substantive rather than personal.

    One of my interests, for example, is in the theological underpinnings of the different liturgical styles. It's an interesting point that you make in your penultimate paragraph, that God is revealed in liturgy. Unpacking that and discussing it from different points of view could certainly drive a half-dozen threads at least. The Pope said something interesting about the papal liturgies in Africa; he was "moved by the spirit of meditative absorption in liturgy, the powerful sense of the sacred; in the liturgies there was no self-presentation of groups, no self-animation, but the presence of the sacred, of God Himself; even the movements were always movements of respect and awareness of the divine presence."

    Another fruitful question might have to do with the liturgical leader's call to responsiveness to expressed needs, and when the call is to challenge the people.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    For what it's worth (which isn't much), I too would like to see you stay, David. You've shown yourself to be a knowledgeable man with liturgy and music, with well-articulated positions. That these challenge the rest of us just makes your presence all the more necessary.

    I would like to respond to your point for "Benedictgal", although I offer no apology for her tone or statements. Simply a matter of fact: "I would love to know what texts you believe I have “tinkered” with? In regards to settings of the Order of Mass, I have NEVER “tinkered” with the official texts. Even if I wanted to (and I do not), we would not have permission to do either as a composer, and the publisher would not have permission to do so either." What readily comes to mind is the Mass of Light refrain: "Glory to God in the highest, sing glory to God..."

    Is this change (the addition of the word "sing", and the possible extra clause) not what one could call "tinkering with the Order of Mass", and thus forbidden in musical settings and publications?

    I honestly don't think this is remotely important to anything; I'm just curious whether this had crossed your mind as an example of what she's talking about.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 469
    Doesn't the Sanctus of "Mass of Light" also change the words? "God of Power and Might" becomes "God of Power. God of Might"
  • Gavin and Jahaza - sure, I guess if want to call these "tinkering," you can. In both cases, at the time that they were composed, what was then called the BCL (Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy) approved both. Does one think that this "tinkering" was really that abusive? If this is what "benedictgal" is talking about, that I am guilty.

    To ease your pain.. in the revision of "Mass of Light" which just came out this past week, and all other future mass settings (revised and new) these "tinkerings" are no longer allowed... you will notice that the two items mentioned are now changed to not be "tinkered."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    It seems to me this points out that musicians/composers are not always at fault for all things that appear wrong. I have often thought that many of our problems are from a lack of clear directions from the conference of bishops. Let's face it, the regulations for translations have changed over the years. What was allowed and even encouraged in 1975, is no longer permissable. It's hardly fair to beat someone over the head thirty years after the fact, for something allowed at an earlier time.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Charles is correct. In my early days I was taking liberties in the same kind of things. With age comes wisdom. The Bishops allowed all kinds of erroneous practices. If you read the American documents on music in liturgy you will see a progression towards good practices from the earlier ones that were quite troublesome.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Thank you Francis - I have to plead guilty on this one too:

    I CONFESS that I have written not one, but THREE Gloria settings with refrains.

    I CONFESS that i have written three Sanctus settings where the text has been messed with.

    I CONFESS that I have written two Agnus Dei settings with illicit text, including one that alternates Latin with English and one that adds "Jesus" at the beginning.

    The problem: this last one is the most popular piece I have ever written for my parish, and now people get peeved that we don't sing it any more. I explain patiently that I am trying to get things in line with GIRM, and that my setting is not legitimate - never was, in fact. They make puppy-dog eyes at me and plead, but I say, "I can't be a hypocrite. I'm trying to do things the right way, and that includes my own work."

    To make things right, I have retired all my previous work. In defense of other composers of non-kosher Mass parts, I will add that my own tinkerings were the result of having these really cool musical ideas that didn't quite fit the sacred text, and being of a different mindset in those days, I let the music prevail.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea narcissisticissa culpa.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    including one that alternates Latin with English

    Is this not allowed?
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    mr haas
    your response to me was a bit troubling.
    i know you didnt write the 4 part arrangement of we are called (which bythe way i think is an excellent hymn and a perminant part of our hymnody) nevertheless wouldnt you have had some control over such a shoddy arrangement? Honestly, Mr Haas it is substandared and why wont you admit that and correct it? It seems that you are ducking responsibility here.
    Intimating that some of us here are snobs was not helpful or relivent. Intimating (albiet indirectly) that I am a snob because I have a problem with sloppy partwriting is insulting and pretty much an ice bath for me in interest in dialogue with you. Are there snobs inb CMAA? Heck yea! NEWSFLASH: So does Npm! now lets get beyond this and ingage in well meaning good faith dialogue.
  • I don't want to debate the point that David makes about text. I have no doubt that he is telling what's true as he sees it. I can only say that I haven't made this up about the text (having heard it directly from GIA composers even) and what's more I would completely defend using alternate translations, insofar as it is licit to do so, in order to avoid royalties. I think we should just let this drop so that I don't have to go into more detail here.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 756
    Don Roy,

    One of the problems of copyright and music publishing practice is that few composers have the leverage to protect the integrity of their work, once they've sold the rights to it. I don't know if that's the case with David and the work you mention, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    David,

    The remark about musical snobs was, I guess, uttered in the heat of the fray. If I thought otherwise, then all the good work you've done here (and which Jeffrey has done on your part) would - for me - be undone, as the accusation would gainsay your other words and place you at the heart of much that is slipshod and unfitting in liturgical practice.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Don and IanW,

    this is exactly why (even though he was an execrable human being) Irving Berlin is my hero as a businessman. He left an estate valued around $150,000,000 because he never sold a single song: he only sold licenses.

    Most composers today do not have the clout or leverage to do that - if you look at the pieces you buy from G.I.A. or OCP, you will note that the publishers are the copyright holders - not the composers. Not even David Haas, although he is well known and accomplished, has the power to keep his own copyrights.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    ian
    i contacted ocp a couple of years ago over that choral praise arrangement of we are called. ocp told me to talk to haas directly indicating to me that there was some influence haas could have had in that arrangement.
    As for the snob comment, he made the same comment to me years ago when i brought up the same subject years ago by e mail.

    Mr Haas
    I am NOT a snob. I have worked extraordinarly hard at becomming compitent. Please referr to utube under "handicapped organist" to see what i mean. Thats me . Now explain to me again why its too much to expect a minimum of compitence in arrangements your works.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    But Don, what I'm trying to tell you is that the composers lose control over their works when they are sold. The publishers can besmirch your name with shoddy arrangements, treacly descants, and whatever else they want. Even if the composer is famous. That is a complaint to address to the publisher, not to the composer.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Fwiw, the loss of control over settings and arrangements is why I don't generally release texts completely into the commons.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    you are right of course jde but i still cant help and think haas could do something. as it is shame on ocp for letting such gross incompitence get published. (i am of course talking about the arrangement rather than the tune itself) if nothing else, a disavowel by haas would be in order at the very least.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Well, disowning a product by a company you do business with can be a bad idea. However, I would hope he could possibly contact the publisher and submit an improved arrangement. Many of the OCP Choral Praise arrangements are not supremely competent.

    Again, if you sell your music, the other guy owns it.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Adam W, I seem to recall that a "macaronic" setting (alternating languages between Latin and vernacular) is specifically forbidden in the GIRM, but I can't find the citation immediately. Anybody else know this off the top of the head?
  • Adam W, I seem to recall that a "macaronic" setting (alternating languages between Latin and vernacular) is specifically forbidden in the GIRM, but I can't find the citation immediately. Anybody else know this off the top of the head?


    @JDE
    Would Michael Joncas's Missa ad Gentes Sanctus (new Mass setting) be an example of that?

    Missa ad Gentes Sanctus
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 756
    It would be a great shame if macaronic settings were to be forbidden; they can bear testimony to the hermeneutic of continuity.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Well, in my case the macaroni was only part of the problem. It really shouldn't be sung because it is overwrought, like an Edward MacDowell reject. So it hasn't been done in several years now!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Don, I looked up that video and was seriously amazed by your skill. Not just because of your disability, but that is also some incredible playing! Your parish is very lucky.
  • Mr. Haas:

    Sing to the Lord does not carry the same weight as the documents from the Holy See when it contradicts what the higher authority has already ruled. The Constitution on Sacred Liturgy (and, as subsequently re-affirmed by Liturgiam Authenticam and Redemptionis Sacramentum) clearly state that no one, not even the celebrant, has the authority to make changes to the Mass, including the official texts of the Church. The revisions to use inclusive language that some composers have taken it upon themselves to make is uncalled for and unwarranted. It seems to me that political correctness seems to take precendence over the integrity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    As to your claim that jazz, pop and the like should be included as genres fit for the Mass, evidently, this is not the opinion of Pope Benedict XVI when he wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis that:

    42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that "the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love" (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything -- texts, music, execution -- ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).


    While, I, too, welcome dialogue, this should be done with honesty, integrity and in light of what the official documents of the Holy See state. The problem is that these documents have long been ignored and disregarded by not a few composers and certainly by the publishing houses. There is a serious lack of quality control here.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    gaven
    comming from you that is high praise indeed! thank you.
  • Don Roy, you play very well indeed ! ... even though you are a snob. ;)
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    james
    my pinkie would certainly be up if I had one. ;)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    b-gal:
    You are making the common mistake of assuming that your interpretation of a document (or series of documents) is the only possible one.
    You may be right in your understanding, but that's a whole other question. You are simply denying that there is a way of understanding the directives of the Vatican that would allow the use of styles outside of chant and polyphony.
    Again- whether you have the "right" interpretation is different than admitting the possibility that there are other ways of looking at the question.
    Dismissing SttL as non-authoritative misses the point. It shouldn't be viewed as a law- it is the Bishop's explanation of their understanding and interpretation of the law.
    You think the Bishops are/were wrong.
    You could argue/debate/dialogue specifically against the assumptions and conclusions of the interpretatino represented by SttL (and "contemporary" liturgical musicians), but dismissing them the way you do is a violation of courtesy, collegiality, charity, intellectual honesty, and basic rhetoric. It serves no purpose other than to alienate those who disagree with you (and probably some who agree) and to make you feel morally superior.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    don roy:
    I just watched your video. That isn't a pinky?
  • Adam, the problem with Sing to the Lord is that while it does have some improvements over Music in Catholic Worship, it is not a binding document. It is only binding when it quotes the authoritative documents of the Holy See. Using Sing to the Lord to justify a bad liturgical practice is not a good argument.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    Ignore the point. That's fine.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    adam
    i would say it was a thumb but i dont have one of them either!
    you must come to the colloquiem. im buying you a beer (or several) and we must talk.
  • Adam, I am not ignoring the point. The bishops voted on the document only after they were told that it was not going to Rome. From what I have read in other sources, it seems that the NPM lobbied heavily against a stronger version of the document that would have brought us into conformity with the authoritative liturgical documents.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    don:
    How's the weather at Colloquium? I drink Sam Adams when it's chilly out and Corona when it's warm. (And Negro Modelo when my eyes are bigger than my stomach).

    benedictgal:
    My point is not about the authoritativeness of SttL. My point isn't even that you're wrong.
    My point is that your closed-minded rhetoric doesn't allow for dialogue because you refuse to countenance even the possibility that there is more than one way to understand the directives on liturgy and music from Rome.
    It's the difference between this argument:
    "X is better than Y because people who believe in Y are all wrong. And Y is stupid. In fact Y probably doesn't even exist"
    And:
    "After considering both X and Y, I conclude that X is the more reasonable for the following reasons..." (The reasons NOT being that Y is stupid and wrong).


    Again- you can dismiss SttL as non-authoritative, but that misses the point.
    It represents a particular understanding- one at least valid enough to be approved by a majority of the Bishops in this country.
    They could be wrong in their understanding, and it MIGHT be helpful to discuss where and why you think they're wrong.
    But dismissing their position, or the school of thought that created that document, as simply wrong and disobedient closes discussion, instead of opening it.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    I'm sorry that one person was so vociferously against talking with David Haas; I think it would have been worthwhile to get his comments, ask him questions, seek answers, and clarify views.

    I'd ask about this. In his comments above, Mr. Haas wrote:

    we are Pilgrim Church, where God is being revealed in many, diverse, fresh and creative ways…

    Using the word revealed here may have been a mistake, since that word has an important meaning in theology. We Catholics believe -- in fact, our faith holds as a supreme truth -- that God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and that this revelation is full, definitive, and complete and can never be surpassed or improved.

    The Second Vatican Council summarized this basic teaching in the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum: the Christian covenant "will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord, Jesus Christ." (para. 4)

    Now, what is possible? There may be new ways for the Church to express the revelation God has given; there may be new insights that we as individuals can discover through contemplating God's revelation in Jesus Christ. But if someone speaks of new revelation, they are offering something that is impossible to Catholics -- a pretense.

    Is it possible that God is being revealed now in diverse, fresh, and creative ways? No. That's an exaggerated claim. He has already revealed himself fully, and we in 2011 are not so privileged as to get some new revelation that our forebears didn't have in 1911. This isn't the Age of Aquarius.

    I'm going to assume that Mr. Haas just didn't choose his words well. If he really believed such dreamy talk about new revelation, that wouldn't be bridging differences among Catholics; it would be exacerbating them.
  • David Haas said:

    2) To Michael O’Connor: Actually, much of the bile HAS been directed at me, but that is not the point. You say that you are frustrated with those who will not “countenance the possibility that chant or art music…even has a place in Catholic Worship.” Take a deep breath, and listen to this.. what about you (or others here) – can YOU countenance the possibility that music OTHER than chant or art music has a place in Catholic Worship? This goes both ways. I share your frustration with those who reject chant – I have said it before, and will say it again – I challenge them with the very same question, and constantly try to challenge them to honor and be true to the music and prayer of our tradition, so I get your frustration. But what about their frustration (and mine as well) with people who are like many here on this blog, who assert that there is NO place for them? People have been saying, right here on this blog, that my music and the music that I represent has no place, that we are all that is wrong with church music and the liturgy today? How can you expect these people who frustrate you (and me) to even make an inch toward your stance, when you say that the purpose of this forum is to put us “out of work?” How can you say such a thing, and at the same time wonder why we do not “countenance” your stance?"


    David, that's a very fair point, but I will quite honest (and I haven't said anything that would suggest otherwise) that I think the type of music you provide for the Church does not belong in the celebration of the Mass. I am not saying that the compositions have no merit, they obviously do, and might serve well in devotional settings. Again, I don't know you and have no reason to cast aspersions on your motives. To the contrary, they seem quite honorable. I merely contend an opposing view. My comment, however, had more to do with possible reasons that some might conflate you with your music and those who defend it--the majority of music people in American churches I might add--and the horrible treatment they (well, we..) have received at their hands. To say that our opinions are somehow equivalent is misguiding. We are not in power. We do not have influence in the seminaries. We do not have huge trade fairs that also feature instruction on how to use the products of those fairs. Personally I advocate the "refuge" model (maybe bridgehead is a better word ;-) ) of one Mass per weekend in every parish where chant and art music are given the place that I believe the Church asks us to give it. Let the people decide which is more appropriate.

    David, I hope you stick around and see what we talk about on daily basis. Mostly it's the nuts and bolts of providing music for Mass and the Office, just like what you teach in your seminars.
  • Uh, in the immortal (gender altered) lyric of Hall and Oates, B-Gal, "He's gone, he's gone."
    You're edifying your argument into airspace. If you feel better for that, good on ye.
    We, adherants to the paradigm, are yet and still impoverished by wasting a great opportunity to share, first, and then persuade "Mr. Haas" of the fraternity we proclaim in the credo, and then listen to his voice without prejudice.
    This whole episode stands in stark and embarrassing contrast to the courtesy and manners I am experiencing now at CMAA intensive in NO, and every colloquium I've attended. I only say this because I cannot abide the descent into petty polemics that are rampant in our culture, society, government. and our churchly institutions, especially the noble CMAA.
    He's gone. Move on.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    This is a problem.

    On the internet, it's possible for a group of people who have their image determined by the worst behavior among its members.
  • It's not just on the internet....
  • I humbly think that a person leaves this forum not because of what is said, but due to an unwillingness to face what has been said.

    At chant cafe a person was chastised for not taking action against a priest, when liber were found in the trash. This was back in a time when priests were of a higher calibre than some we find today, a time when the priest was respected not for being a human being but for being a priest.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    I think it's arbitrary to speculate about a person's motives like that, Noel, but I am very disappointed at the member who seemed to take it upon herself to decide for the rest of us that there should be no dialogue, and didn't merely opt out of it personally, but posted complaint upon bitter complaint, to the point of insult. Such an approach does not reflect that of the CMAA.
  • I find many things that BenedictGal has said are very, very important. Who, in any way, can argue with this:

    Mr. Haas:

    Sing to the Lord does not carry the same weight as the documents from the Holy See when it contradicts what the higher authority has already ruled. The Constitution on Sacred Liturgy (and, as subsequently re-affirmed by Liturgiam Authenticam and Redemptionis Sacramentum) clearly state that no one, not even the celebrant, has the authority to make changes to the Mass, including the official texts of the Church. The revisions to use inclusive language that some composers have taken it upon themselves to make is uncalled for and unwarranted. It seems to me that political correctness seems to take precendence over the integrity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    As to your claim that jazz, pop and the like should be included as genres fit for the Mass, evidently, this is not the opinion of Pope Benedict XVI when he wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis that:

    42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that "the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love" (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything -- texts, music, execution -- ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).

    While, I, too, welcome dialogue, this should be done with honesty, integrity and in light of what the official documents of the Holy See state. The problem is that these documents have long been ignored and disregarded by not a few composers and certainly by the publishing houses. There is a serious lack of quality control here.


    If these were BenedictGal's last words here, and I sincerely hope that they are not, then they would stand as firm notice of her commitment to music and the Church. I disagree that her posts were personal, but rather came from the heart, a heart that loves the Church.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Oh for crying out loud.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    I don't object to those, Noel. I object to these:

    I do have misgivings about any dialogue with Mr. Haas and doubt that it will lead to anything constructive. I come here to seek out avenues other than what the Big Three subject us to Sunday in and Sunday out. With all due respect to the folks posting here, Mr. Haas has played a huge role in what is so bad about music in the Mass today. I have been reading some of Mr. Haas' commentary on the Pray Tell blog and do not believe that he has really changed his position on things.


    However, Jeffrey, there are some times when even dialogue will not help. A lot of damage has been done and a lot of damage continues to wreak havoc. It just seems to me that all of the dialogue in the world will probably not change Mr. Haas' mind, let alone his compositions.


    It's just that I am so tired of all of the bad music. Mr. Haas is responsible for part of it, as are Haugen, Kanebo, Fr. Manolo, Bernadette Ferrel, the SLJ and Bob Hurd. Haas has even taken liberties with the official texts of the prayers. It's hard to engage in dialogue with someone who seems to think that he can do whatever he pleases with the texts of the Church. It's as though the documents do not matter to the composers, let alone the publishers. Forgive me, but, I just do not trust him.


    Liam, even though one can make excuses and blame the publishers, Mr. Haas, if he read the documents, should have known better. I do not take my cue from publishers; I take them from the authoritative documents that the Holy See gives us. Thus, while I can see your point about the publishers, Mr. Haas and others who engage in this kind of practice are not so easily absolved.


    [Having your choir undo the deviations] is one way to put a band-aid on the problem, but, it does not cure the cancer. Composers and publishers need to do their part as well.


    For someone who says she welcomes dialogue, this is not a way to set about it.

    If she didn't want to engage in dialogue with him, fine. Then she needn't have. She could be quiet, sit in peace, and post on another thread. But to complain when others are willing to reach across the seeming ideological gap, and talk to somebody outside our usual circle or challenge him, is remarkably uncivil.

    Not just uncivil to Haas: uncivil to me, uncivil to you, to anyone who might wish to undertake that experiment, and feels he doesn't need Michelle's permission to engage in it.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204
    I have, until now, chosen to stay out of the fray as I have a rather unhappy reputation of being more direct than conventional wisdom and popular prejudices regarding charity and political correctness favor.

    Having said that, I offer the following observations and comments that I think are germane to the issue at hand.

    I am aware of, and fully appreciate, the motivations on the part of many who regularly contribute to the discussions on the forums. They wish to be friendly, inviting and charitable to those, like Haas, whose ideologies are demonstrably on the progressive side of the spectrum. We do not wish to become the very thing we dislike or even detest about the character of many of the progressives - dismissive, arrogant, unbending ideologues. Unfortunately, there is a serious risk of becoming disingenuous if we cannot say in clear terms, "this is what we stand for, and this is why," while at the same time being polite about it. It is the ideas and philosophies to which we strenuously object, not the people who advance them.

    Haas repeatedly insisted that he desired dialogue, an opportunity to learn what we were all about, and to have an adult exchange of ideas while making it abundantly clear that he operated from a paradigm alien to the core principles of the CMAA. I have no doubt that Haas has spent his entire career quite sincerely stressing how important “the people” are, making music an inseparable element of their collective identity, developing his understanding and perception of a "diverse musical landscape" and investing his deepest convictions on the importance and centrality of the people and their music, built on his respect for the “inner fabric” of liturgy, ritual and prayer. However, it becomes difficult to engage in fruitful dialogue with people like Haas, whose ideology is decidedly subjective, and based on a construct of carefully developed terms, cliches and ideologies that he deftly applies to the discussion. It is easy to understand how some, who derive their understanding based on terms defined by the Church and drawn from Tradition may view his desire for dialogue with suspicion and skepticism, and it becomes easier to understand why Haas takes it personally. Like his view of liturgical music which makes the people its central focus, his constructs are as personally connected to him as they are to the subject they seek to circumscribe.

    I think that while dialogue is certainly an admirable goal, and charity is important (especially if trying to "win friends and influence people"), we must approach it with the understanding that progressive ideologues like Haas will soldier on, dismissing our cause or our efforts, like the Simple English Propers project, by constantly challenging its value through the prism of self-referencing philosophies, odd pseudo-theological constructs (such as “sonic theology” or the notion of an “inner fabric” of liturgy), and application of “Swiss cheese” readings of the documents.

    While we may fear that some will be "turned off" by directness, there are also those who are understandably confused by the conflict between the principles of the CMAA, grounded in a long-established examination of the whole of the documents within the context of the history of the Church and the writings of the Curia and the Popes, and those of Haas and others who promote and advance a progressive world view. Some may also be in danger of being easily beguiled by the outward “reasonableness” of the highly convoluted philosophies and "super-dogmas" developed and advanced by the progressives. True duty to charity calls upon us to inform and instruct, because the philosophies and theologies of the progressives do not just influence liturgy and music, but the very beliefs of those who subscribe to them. This is no small or easy task, if this present experience is any measure.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    Maybe a previous experience of mine affects my point of view.

    The web only dates back to about 1993, but the Internet is older than that. It goes back to the 1970s. Before the web existed, Internet users participated in hundreds of topic-specific forums through a system called Usenet. It was originally founded for technical and scientific discussions, but it branched out to include social, cultural, recreational, and hobby topics.

    It included forums on religious topics, and in every forum, there would eventually develop debates. In one group, the debates came between believers and atheists. In another, the debates would be between Protestants and Catholics. In another, there might be debate between supporters and opponents of the New Mass.

    I spent time reading and writing on all those forums and got used to such discussions, and learned a bit from the process.

    Many of us Catholics involved in those groups were consciously engaged in apologetics, the rational defense of the Catholic faith and the Church in the face of objections, but we didn't know that the field is actually counted as a branch of theology.

    And we learned some things.

    We learned to choose our battles. We learned we had to get our own facts clear and in order before we tried to dispute somebody's dubious claims. We learned that some people just write things on the Internet to vent their emotions, and that it may not be possible to have a serious conversation with them.

    We learned that -- as Bishop Sheen said -- few people actually hate the Catholic Church; but there are some people who hate a thing that they think is the Catholic Church.

    Occasionally we succeeded in dispelling some of the myths that they held about the Church or about the Faith, so it was good for them.

    We benefited from finding out what the "other side" thought.

    We often found ways to express the truths we held, using the language and concepts familiar to the "other side".

    Most of our debating opponents didn't seem to see the light fully, but occasionally one of us would get an e-mail from a total stranger saying: "I didn't participate in that discussion, but I read it, and what you said was helpful to me when I was on the way into the Church, so thank you."

    And we learned that the audience for our efforts at apologetics was not really the debating opponent, but the "lurkers", the silent readers of every Internet forum, who are smart enough to tell which side has better thinking and better arguments on its side. You can trust them. You can trust God to use that whole process to benefit people.

    The opportunity to talk with people who don't understand the Church's principles of sacred music yet is an opportunity to engage in apologetics to spread those principles: perhaps to those who discuss, but also to the onlookers.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Very well said David. B-gal has said (very objectively) the precepts that we all try to follow. It is a very black and white issue for many of us, for some more gray, but definitely more toward the objective of seeking out and employing the traditions and wishes of the Curia. That does not fare well in the face of those who do not care to do so. It takes all of our energy day in and day out to grasp at the ideal, much less make it a reality in our parish.

    I would like to have had a discussion with Mr. Haas, but he needs to be able to hear us without feelings being involved. Discussing principles of sacred music is a very sticky business this day and age, especially because the table is turning hard and fast, and he has everything invested in what has gone on for the past forty years. I feel for him greatly and I pray that he will continue to learn and grow about what our Church desires and what music is appropriate for the liturgy. God bless David Haas, and all his confreres.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    This may be the asiago and manhattan talking, but David has really made me think (to no surprise) : "Haas repeatedly insisted that he desired [...] to have an adult exchange of ideas while making it abundantly clear that he operated from a paradigm alien to the core principles of the CMAA."

    I'm all on the side of vigorous and mutually open-minded discourse, so I was happy to see one of the most demonized composers since Salieri post. I'd love to have the Giant Puppet People come on here and quote Vatican II as to why we shouldn't do chant, also. Not for the fight, but just to say "we both have these common goals for the liturgy. This is how I believe they can be achieved, and why this is important to me."

    However, I have to wonder if such a discourse was even possible in the first place. The first thing anyone sees in a post is the name - mine is a dashing and wise knight of King Arthur's court. Charles (of CA) always makes me smell a plant burning (I have a brother in San Diego, and I'd hate to go any farther north in California than Escondido). Noel's makes me itchy (I just think poison frogs). And David Haas's name honestly makes me see red. Now, I've seen him to be a very admirable musico-liturgical scholar, but all the same I find it hard to shake off all the songs I've heard in my Catholic years. And I only listened to his music since 1985, and currently work in a protestant church - I can't imagine the feelings of those who still have to play it. He could say "Viva il papa!" and I suspect all some people would hear is "we are caaaaaaaaaaalled..." After reading some of his writings of late, I'd love to get J. Michael Joncas to give some input here on chant and polyphony, but I suspect the same thing would happen (and talk about a bigger score to settle!)

    So, to boil it all down: in the case of the CMAA, is it true that "Only Nixon can't go to China"?
  • I support all the comments cited by BenedictGal.