Comparison: Vatican II Hymnal to Adoremus Hymnal & St. Michael Hymnal
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    imageToday, I received a very nice E-mail from a Catholic musician who told me that his priest had been "converted" to the Vatican II Hymnal because of the forum: specifically the comparisons with other hymnals. It seemed appropriate then, to follow up by comparing the Vatican II Hymnal to several other hymnals. I have not done this in the past, but I've seen others on the forum doing so.


    First of all, let me say that I think the St. Michael Hymnal and the Adoremus Hymnal have played important roles, and I support all the good things these hymnals have done for the Church. I had the great honor to contribute many harmonizations to the St. Michael Hymnal. I have also read the Adoremus bulletin for years. That being said, it is not forbidden to criticize either hymnal in a constructive way.


    QUESTION: What is the purpose of the Vatican II Hymnal?

    Well, it might be helpful to read the Editor's Preface to the Vatican II Hymnal.

    Let me also say, in brief:

    (A) We tried to provide "solid, sturdy" hymns with good Theology. When I say "solid, sturdy," I mean they work equally well with or without accompaniment. This cannot be said for many of the hymns in the St. Michael Hymnal.

    (B) We tried to provide nice, well-known hymns for all the Sundays and feasts of the Liturgical year. This cannot be said about many other hymnals, for example, the Adoremus Hymnal. So many hymnals have a THOUSAND wonderful Hymns for Christmas and Advent, but lack nice hymns for other feasts (for example, the Baptism of the Lord). Having a THOUSAND hymns for Christmas is great . . . but Christmastide is only one small part of the Liturgical year. We tried our best to give a reasonable amount of hymns for each Feast.

    (C) We carefully selected hymn TUNES. We believe that a common fault in Catholic hymnals is excessive use of the same tune (with different texts). For instance, in the Spanish books at the Cathedral where I work, they provide different hymns for Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Easter, and Lent . . . but they all use the same melody!

    Do we really want to be singing LASST UNS ERFREUEN or HYMN TO JOY during the entire year? Or does it make sense to reserve it for certain times only? In the Vatican II Hymnal, we spent a lot of time attempting to avoid falling into this trap.

    (D) We also did not include Hymns that have only 1-2 verses. One of the major criticisms I have of the St. Michael hymnal is that so many of the hymns have but one or two (short) verses. If we are singing a Communion hymn (for instance) we don't want the hymn to be finished by the time the congregation finds the page! Therefore, we chose hymns that have 4-6 verses.

    (E) Although (of course) our book is not perfect, I am very proud of the Hymns we included in the Vatican II Hymnal. A careful comparison of the indices (see below) shows that our book has MORE Hymn tunes than the Adoremus Hymnal. I already mentioned that we were not really interested in using the same Hymn tune over and over for different texts. A careful comparison also shows we use the same number of "sturdy, traditional" hymn tunes that the St. Michael Hymnal does. Our book does not include songs like "We Remember" by Marty Haugen, "Yahweh, I Know You Are Near" by D. Schutte, or "Alabaré" by Pagán. The St. Michael Hymnal includes many songs like this: that is why (see below) they technically have a greater number of "hymns" than the Vatican II Hymnal. Congregations who wish to use these types of songs should use the Vatican II Hymnal in conjunction with another hymnal. The reason these types of songs are not included in the Vatican II Hymnal is that a good case could be made that such songs are not written in a Sacred style. Others will disagree. We also left out other songs like "Bring Flowers Of The Rarest" by Walsh (found in the St. Michael), because a case could be made that these songs are not really "lofty" or "dignified," as Pius XII said Church music ought to be. Others will disagree.

    St. Michael Hymnal Index of Hymn Tunes

    Adoremus Hymnal Index of Hymn Tunes

    Vatican II Hymnal Index of Hymn Tunes

    (F) Great attention was paid to the avoidance of page turns in our book. (Perhaps too much attention was given!!!) The reason is because a major criticism I have of the Adoremus Hymnal is that almost every single hymn in the organist/choir book requires a page turn.

    (G) Just like Adoremus and St. Michael, we did not change the words of the hymns to be "politically correct." GIA and the other major publishing companies change all the words in their hymns (for various reasons). We do not. We leave the "thee's and thou's" in, just as we do in the Our Father at Mass.


    As you can see if you view the Complete Vatican II Indices, our hymnal also includes the following:

    (A) Complete Propers & Readings for all Sundays and Major Feasts for all three (3) liturgical years. (Yes! You read that correctly!!!)

    (B) Chabanel Psalms, Latin Ordinaries, Garnier Alleluias, more than 100 pages of Mass settings, more than 100 beautiful Communion hymns, Motet translations, etc. etc.


    Regarding the Mass Settings, some are listed and explained HERE.

    We have a wide variety by such composers as Richard Rice, Fr. Samuel Weber, Aristotle Esguerra, L. Columbkille Simms, Kevin Allen, Bruce E. Ford, and others.

    Our book is NOT heavy on metrical settings (we only give three): we realize some parishes will be using metrical settings. We encourage you to print a little "insert" if the Mass you want is not in our book. After all, we have no idea which "metrical" settings will catch on.

    We also included numerous Ordinaries from the Kyriale, emphasizing the more "congregational" settings, rather than the beautiful melismatic ones (which are, perhaps, better suited to Gregorian scholae).


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  • JMO wrote: “GIA and the other major publishing companies change all the words in their hymns.” I do not believe that this is an accurate statement.

    I served as one of the five general editors for GIA’s new hymnal, “Worship Fourth Edition” which is now available. The hymnal’s preface states this about the hymn texts:

    “Perhaps the single most defining feature of Worship-Fourth Edition is the effort the committee put into choosing high-quality hymn texts. The result is a body of hymns that are theologically sound, poetically substantive, and attuned to the needs of the rites and liturgical calendar. Each text has undergone the scrutiny of a newly formed English Text Review Committee. Hymns having more than a century of use were compared to their original versions as well as to their versions in contemporary hymnals. Some previously omitted verses were added, some original wording was restored, and other edits were made according to the best judgment of the committee. Alterations made to copyrighted texts were done with permission.”

    The entire preface to Worship, Fourth Edition (which discusses the book’s contents and presents the philosophy of the hymnal) can be read here:

    There are seven main sections to Worship, Fourth Edition: Liturgy of the Hours, Psalms and Canticles, Rites of the Church, Mass, Hymns and Songs, Lectionary, Indexes.

    There are two pew editions of the hymnal: One that contains the complete Lectionary readings for all Sundays and Solemnities for all three liturgical years; and one that does not include the readings, but does include the music for the Responsorial Psalms.

    Worship, Fourth Edition also distinguishes itself from most other Catholic hymnals in its use of two-color printing throughout the book: Rubrics are in red ink, the other texts are in black ink. It is a beautiful book.

    Some readers of this forum might be interested to know that the book’s “Index of Psalms and Canticles” includes a listing of “Processional Chants From the Simple Gradual and the Roman Missal” that are in the hymnal’s Psalter.

    Some might also be interested to note that the inside front page of the hymnal includes the following statement:

    “In accordance with c. 827, permission to publish is granted on May 26, 2011 by Rev. Msgr. John F. Canary, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Permission to publish is an official declaration of ecclesiastical authority that the material is free from doctrinal and moral error.”
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dear Fr. Chepponis,

    Perhaps I should have added that I can only speak of the books with which I've had experience.

    I've worked at a major Cathedral for almost five years. I've spent a LOT of time (a lot!) trying to "fix" the words so they match the major GIA book in the pews.

    And . . . to speak truth, I've gotten sick and tired of it. I find it exceedingly tedious.

    But it is true that I have not had experience with every single GIA book produced. But I assumed that they followed the same procedures in their other books.

    I also see that Worship IV is discussed here and here.

    Lots will be new! Unlike its two most recent predecessors, the fourth edition will be comprehensive, much in the style of GIA’s RitualSong. While it will include a substantial collection of the finest organ-based hymnody, it will also include the best-loved contemporary music, and shorter “world music” pieces; a significant amount of the core material will have Spanish translations. The single feature about which we are most enthusiastic, though, is its wide-range exploration of hymn texts by modern writers—those writing for today’s church. For immediate accessibility, a majority of these hymns will be matched with well-known, well-loved tunes.

    The five editors—Kelly Dobbs Mickus, senior editor, Robert Batastini, Fr. James Chepponis, Charles Gardner, and Fr. Ronald Krisman—have devoted a tremendous amount of energy and expertise to assembling an outstanding body of hymns matched to each Sunday of the three-year Lectionary. While these hymns will be distributed throughout the book according to thematic category, the Hymn of the Day calendar will point directly to an exceptionally appropriate hymn for each Sunday and solemnity of the church year, with tunes that are likely to be familiar.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    The Index for Worship IV shows a mix between the following:

    --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

    (A) Hundreds of Contemporary & Ecumenical Songs, such as "God of Day and God of Darkness" by M. Haugen (a Lutheran), "Alabaré" by Pagán, "Eye Has Not Seen," two versions of "Be Not Afraid," etc.

    --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

    (B) A LOT of traditional Hymn TUNES with modern, newly composed texts, like putting DIX with "Faith Begins by Letting Go" [this is not a practice I, personally, am in love with.]

    "Many recognizable and beloved hymn tunes in this list of contents employ new, modern texts written by many of today’s most respected text writers."

    --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

    (C) In comparison to "A" and "B," I see very few traditional, unaltered hymns. I also have no way of knowing whether the language has been altered.

    --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

    I see many, many hymns and songs, but there seems to have been absolutely no effort to give the texts of the PROPERS. This is remarkable to me, being that the Mass Propers are . . . so ancient and integral to the Mass going back pretty much AS FAR as we have documentation and manuscripts of the Holy Mass.


    I am not sure it makes sense to compare the Vatican II Hymnal to GIA's Worship IV, since they seem to be doing two COMPLETELY different things.

    Others (smarter than I am) will probably have different opinions. But this is my honest assessment, looking over the GIA index (above) several times, and comparing it to the other indices I posted earlier (see initial post).
  • Fr. Chepponis:

    Does this mean that the hymn text will read "Sing of Mary, PURE and Lowly" instead of "Meek and Lowly" in Worship IV?

    What about "Faith of our Fathers"? Will there be newly added verses which speak of the "Faith of our Mothers"?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    Jeffrey, re: your letter B), you may not be in love with this practice but it is extremely common. St. Catherine is the tune for Faith of Our Fathers and O Bread of Heaven--both lovely texts. Neither of them is likely to be the original text for this tune, which (one would think) was originally composed for a hymn to St. Catherine.

    A similar practice obtains with the chant tune Jesu Dulcis Memoria, which most folks know from its association with other texts.

    Texts and tunes don't usually marry. They usually just date. And all of them were young once.
  • JMO: A few thoughts, in response to your above posts:

    1. I’m not sure what point you’re making in saying that Marty Haugen is a Lutheran. (By the way, I don’t think he is Lutheran anymore). I would hope that you don’t mean that Catholics should only sing hymns written by Catholic composers! If that is what is meant, then we should not be singing hymns such as “Joy to the World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” since those texts were composed by non-Catholics.

    2. Yes, Worship, Fourth Edition has two hymns titled “Be Not Afraid.” But they are totally different hymns. One is by Dufford, and the other is a Taize refrain.

    3. The practice of using the same hymn tune for different texts has occurred for years, even in Catholic hymnals. One example: The use of the tune SALZBURG for the Epiphany text “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” and for the Easter hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing.”

    4. Ah, the Propers issue… As I mentioned above in my first post, “Some readers of this forum might be interested to know that the book’s ‘Index of Psalms and Canticles’ includes a listing of ‘Processional Chants From the Simple Gradual and the Roman Missal’ that are in the hymnal’s Psalter.” I (and the other editors of Worship IV) are well aware of all the discussion about propers, and the many questions about them (e.g. Are the propers from the Graduale Romanum meant in some way to be sung by the assembly or just by the choir? In Latin or English? What translations are used? What about the Simple Gradual? Are the propers printed in the Roman Missal meant to be sung or recited, and why do they sometimes differ from the Graduale Romanum? What exactly does the GIRM mean in its listing of the four options for the Entrance Song? etc. So, I don’t see a need to rehash the Propers discussion on this thread.)

    5. As far as altering hymn texts: This has been a standard practice in hymnals of all denominations for many years, for various reasons, and some of the merits may be debated. But if texts were not altered, we would still be singing “Hark How All the Welkin Rings” instead of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” (By the way, here’s an interesting link to the history of the alteration of that particular hymn):

    6. You state: “I am not sure it makes sense to compare the Vatican II Hymnal to GIA's Worship IV, since they seem to be doing two COMPLETELY different things.” Well, yes and no. They are both hymnals for use at Catholic liturgy. But, their philosophies do differ.

    I am not so naïve to believe that many members who read this forum will rush out to purchase Worship IV, since people have different philosophies on what a hymnal should contain at this time in the Church’s life. However, a more fruitful discussion of Worship IV by itself or in comparison to other hymnals could take place if one had the hymnal in hand, rather than just referring to indexes and tables of contents published on GIA’s website.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Jeffrey, re: your letter B), you may not be in love with this practice but it is extremely common. Texts and tunes don't usually marry. They usually just date. And all of them were young once.

    Kathy, I would humbly suggest to you that whether or not it happens is not really the issue. I would suggest to you that 90% of Catholic musicians realize this has happened since the beginning. I was merely pointing out that those who love this practice very much should consider Worship IV.

    I would also humbly suggest that what really counts is the QUALITY. Here is an example from the GIA book in our Cathedral. Note the various verses: "Classrooms and labs, Loud boiling test tubes . . ." etc. These types of verses are very different than what we included in the Vatican II Hymnal.

    I’m not sure what point you’re making in saying that Marty Haugen is a Lutheran.

    To speak truth, Father Chepponis, I was not trying to make any point. I was merely describing and listing attributes: folks can decide for themselves how many ecumenical pieces they want, etc. That being said, I would humbly suggest that one's religion does have an effect on the type of lyrics one writes.

    3. The practice of using the same hymn tune for different texts has occurred for years, even in Catholic hymnals.

    Again, Father, (as I noted above) I, myself, did this in the Vatican II Hymnal. But I did it with care. It was not excessive. For me, that is the main thing.

    5. As far as altering hymn texts: This has been a standard practice in hymnals of all denominations for many years, for various reasons.

    Again, at the risk of repeating myself, I would humbly suggest that the REASONS for such changes are what is really important. I doubt most readers of this forum object in principle to updating archaic words that cannot be understood. The Theologically-driven changes are what really bothers so many.

    4. Ah, the Propers issue…

    If I may be permitted to say something, there really is no issue regarding the Propers. I would humbly remind us all that anyone who has studied even a SMALL amount of liturgical history knows the ABSOLUTE importance of the Propers. They have been sung and prayed consistently down through the ages since as far back as we can tell. Their history is astounding, and their value cannot be too highly emphasized. They are absolutely, positively, and unreservedly an INCREDIBLY important part of the Liturgy. There is no "issue," as far as the legitimate liturgist or Catholic choirmaster is concerned. It is a horrible tragedy that the Propers of the Mass, carefully assigned for centuries, have merely been "tossed aside" so that each music director can "spin the dial" each Sunday to see which songs should replace the Propers. This needs to end. We need to start praying THE Mass, rather than merely singing AT Mass.

    It is true that the Church has slightly different Propers for SPOKEN Masses, but I really don't think this has an effect on the average Sunday Mass, where they do not (normally) speak the Propers.

    Pope Paul VI explains why they made adaptations for SPOKEN Masses. The Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum (April 3, 1969) explains why the Missal propers are sometimes different from the Graduale propers: QUOD RELIQUUM EST, LICET TEXTUS GRADUALIS ROMANI, AD CANTUM SALTEM QUOD ATTINET, NON FUERIT MUTATUS, TAMEN, FACILIORIS INTELLECTUS GRATIA, SIVE PSALMUS ILLE RESPONSORIUS, DE QUO S. AUGUSTINUS ET S. LEO MAGNUS SAEPE COMMEMORANT, SIVE ANTIPHONAE AD INTROITUM ET AD COMMUNIONEM IN MISSIS LECTIS ADHIBENDAE, PRO OPPORTUNITATE, INSTAURATA SUNT. Even though the text of the Roman Gradual, at least that which concerns the singing, has not been changed, still, for a better understanding, the responsorial psalm, which St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great often mention, has been restored, and the Introit and Communion antiphons have been adapted for read Masses.

    However, a more fruitful discussion of Worship IV by itself or in comparison to other hymnals could take place if one had the hymnal in hand

    I am so thrilled that your Reverence will be mailing me a Review Copy!!!


  • Heath
    Posts: 933
    I certainly understand the GIA editors wanting to provide hymn texts/tunes for the entire liturgical year, but I tend to think that the average congregant may not be as excited about it when the rubber hits the proverbial road. A few quick anecdotes, if I may:

    1) A colleague composed a Lenten text a number of years ago, and put it to the tune of GREENSLEEVES, normally reserved for "What Child is This?" She mentioned that it did *not* go over well at all . . .

    2) I play an early morning Mass every Sunday at a small country parish, where the pastor chooses the music; he often will choose one of these new text/old tune hybrids. We did a modern text with HYFRYDOL, and after Mass, a couple ladies approached me and asked why we couldn't just do the "normal" text (presumably "Love Divine" or "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus")

    3) A number of years ago, I asked a good friend what he thought of the music at our mutual parish (not where I play, but where I am a parishioner). He said that is was all right, but then paused and said, "I just don't know why we always have to sing the "socialist" version of each tune." Sure enough, later that week at Mass, he was sitting a few rows behind me when we sang "For the Healing of the Nations", set to ST. THOMAS ("Tantum Ergo"). I couldn't help but glance back and smirk at him.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    I don't see any reason to single out Marty Haugen as a non-Catholic composer. Most of the writers of new texts for Worship IV are not Catholic.

    Thomas Troeger is ordained in and "dually aligned" with both the Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations.
    Adam Tice is a Mennonite minister.
    Ruth Duck is a professor at a United Methodist-related seminary and a former pastor in the United Church of Christ.
    Mary Louise Bringle is Presbyterian.
    The late Herman Stuempfle was a Lutheran pastor and seminary professor.
    John Bell is a Church of Scotland minister.
    The late Fred Pratt Green was Methodist.
    The late Sylvia Dunstan was ordained by the United Church of Canada.

    Among the major writers of the many new texts for Worship IV, only Sr. Delores Dufner, the author of Sing a New Church Into Being (which is included in the hymnal), is Catholic.

    I'm a fan of Protestant hymn writers from Isaac Watts to Philip Doddridge to William Cowper to Christopher Idle, not to mention the incomparable Charles Wesley. But this does seem somewhat disproportionate for a hymnal that is primarily for Roman Catholic use.
  • Having followed this discussion closely, I must say it is hard not to agree with JMO -- the Vatican II Hymnal is unique in the market. Maybe someday other publishers will catch on and produce a similarly comprehensive CATHOLIC pew book -- by which I mean a book that contains the texts and music needed for Sundays and Holy Days, and does so, moreover, according to the "hermeneutic of continuity" with past tradition as it is handed down to us in the official liturgy of the Roman Rite, including the normative Propers of the Mass, and adhering to the consistent magisterial recommendation of Gregorian chant as the song proper to that rite. For now, however, there is not such a hymnal, nor will the Adoremus and the St. Michael fit the above description fully.

    In addition, I can think of no pew book (hymnal + lectionary) that would be so serviceable for many years to come while we collectively make the transition to a more dignified form of worship, using the new translation, and implementing the wishes of Our Holy Father (and, increasingly, of the bishops themselves) for worship that truly reflects what Vatican II taught, rather than the "spirit of Vatican II" critiqued by Pope Benedict on December 22, 2005. For this reason, I cannot thank JMO sufficiently for naming his hymnal "The Vatican II Hymnal." Some on the liberal wing may see this as tendentious, mendacious, or provocative, but the simple fact is, the title speaks the truth -- a truth in which many of us who love the Church's Magisterium will rejoice, a truth from which others will run fleeing, feeling uncomfortable to the marrow of their bones, because they KNOW, deep down, that what they are promoting is neither what the Church has done in the past, nor what the Fathers of the Council sought, nor what the Council actually enjoined, nor what the Popes since the Council have taught. What a relief, what a joy, to be able to say at last: "We have a hymnal that makes available at last the patrimony of the Church" -- even to the point of including, alongside the English, the Latin texts of both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms. This hymnal reminds us of who we are, where we have come from, and where, Deo volente, we are going to in decades to come.

    My concern all along has been that the fear of change that Jeffrey Tucker often speaks about, a kind of mindless conservatism of the status quo, will freeze many good-willed people into inactivity, precisely at a time, a "kairos," when a genuine, much-needed, restorative, and ultimately transformative change must occur in the way Catholics pray and live their Faith. I hope and pray that good-willed pastors and musicians out there, who really and truly seek the common good of the Church as interpreted for us by Pope Benedict XVI, will NOT be afraid to embrace resources like the Vatican II Hymnal, the Simple English Propers, and the Simple Choral Gradual. Now is the acceptable hour. The longer we wait, the more entrenched become the bad habits that sever us from our past -- and this much is obvious, Catholicism without roots will wither and perish in the coming age of anti-Catholic persecution.

    May God grant us, at long last, the renewal that Blessed John XXIII sought for in calling the Council.

    For further thoughts about the various hymnals, see this posting:
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    I would never encourage any church to go with GIA. Look at their website and you'll notice that they also publish hymnals for non-Catholics. That and the fact that a good share of the people involved in the hymn texts for the "Catholic" hymnals are non-Catholic are two huge red flags. I'd much rather support a publisher that's devoted to the one true religion.

    As for the Vatican II Hymnal, I like what it does and the content, but I find the organ accompaniment impractical for my purposes (I often am the person who has to sing) and thus it's unlikely I'll be able to use it too much.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,150
    Prof. Kwasniewski wrote:
    I hope and pray that good-willed pastors and musicians out there, who really and truly seek the common good of the Church as interpreted for us by Pope Benedict XVI, will NOT be afraid to embrace resources like the Vatican II Hymnal, the Simple English Propers, and the Simple Choral Gradual. Now is the acceptable hour. The longer we wait, the more entrenched become the bad habits that sever us from our past -- and this much is obvious, Catholicism without roots will wither and perish in the coming age of anti-Catholic persecution.

    May God grant us, at long last, the renewal that Blessed John XXIII sought for in calling the Council.

    This is the call - here and today - to embrace the renewal envisioned by Blessed John XXIII. It is our fervent prayer.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dear Curt Jester,

    Believe it or not, we are working on creating an ENTIRE SECTION just for you!

    THIS PAGE is under construction, but will not be for long.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dr. Peter, thank you for your eloquence and service!!!


    A friend of mine just wrote and thought I was trying to be "snarky" by addressing a priest as "your Reverence."

    Just to be clear, I always do this because this is what I was taught.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    Some of the edits in GIA editions have not been improvements:

    At random, I picked a hymn in Worship II, #133 (I Sing the Mighty Power of God). It has the Isaac Watts text:
    "the moon shines full at his command and all the stars obey"
    "that formed the creatures with his word and then pronounced them good"

    The third edition has (#502):
    "the moon shines full at God's command and all the stars obey"
    "that formed creation with a word and then pronounced them good"

    The second edit, changing "his word" to "a word", weakens the text theologically by obscuring Watts' reference to the role of the divine Logos in creation.

    Both edits are avoiding the pronoun "he" for God. That was a fashionable practice in the '80s when Worship III was produced, but it was very wrongheaded.

    Policies of excluding masculine symbolism for God have been rejected by the Holy See for Scripture translations. Hymnal editors should stop doing the same thing, and should restore classic texts in place of the censored versions.

    Manipulating hymn texts for ideological reasons is a dishonest practice with creepy totalitarian overtones. Like the editors in Orwell's novel "1984", hymn manipulators substitute a censored version of a text for the original. They turn worship into an experience of conflict, in which the book argues with the singer and attempts to deny the validity of people's memories.

    Such manipulation makes hymn texts harder to learn: every publisher has a different spin on the original! The liars: they can't even collude enough to keep their phony versions consistent.

    Now, I don't think GIA is any worse about this than WLP or OCP, so I'm not trying to pick on them particularly.
  • Chonak: YES. Fr. Chepponis isn't telling, I believe, the whole story. Texts are not being updated to reflect modern language, such as the case of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" They are being updated to avoid referring to God as Father and to avoid referring to Mary as "Pure" because she was a virgin. Many years ago, I heard Elaine Rendler (from OCP) say "Who refers to virgins as PURE anymore? That's why it's "Sing of Mary MEEK and Lowly." Now I know that she works for OCP, not GIA. But it's a funny coincidence that GIA changed the text.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    To be fair, I don't believe that Fr. Chepponis was involved with the editions I cited above, and I haven't seen his work on W4.

    Really, I'd like him and other present-day editors to undo the damage that past editors perpetrated.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Based on my experience over many years, I would have to agree that many of the changes GIA and other companies have made to the Hymn texts have very little to do with "updating" archaic and incomprehensible language.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    Will the real "Sing of Mary" please stand up?

    Like Jeff I don't have enough time and proof-readers to get to the bottom of this right away, and this is a new enough hymn that PD sources are not available to Google. On the face of things the conjunction of "meek and lowly" makes better poetic sense to me, making me suspect the M-word was later sacrificed to PC considerations. I wouldn't dare say for sure without checking more print sources, though! From my bookshelves:

    The Hymnal 1981 & Gather Comprehensive (1994): Sing of Mary, pure and lowly, Virgin-mother undefiled

    With One Voice (1995): Sing of Mary, pure and lowly, virgin mother, wise and mild.

    Catholic Community Hymnal (1999): Sing of Mary, meek and lowly, Virgin-mother pure and mild,
  • The song first appeared, as "Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly," in the Book of Common Praise (1938) from Canada. You can see its existence (though not read the books themselves) in several early results here; contrast the complete lack of results under "meek and lowly," up through even as late as 1995.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    Thanks Mark! I wouldnt have guessed that one could so easily dip into H82 Companion. The Google test is a bit iffy, though: consider the incomplete lack of a search including a comma with 1030 results.

    @PaixGioiaAmor: Are you sure Elaine Rendler didn't say "Who refers to virgins as undefiled anymore?", or is there a fourth version I missed?
  • Actually, Google ignores punctuation like periods and commas. You should see just as many results for "Sing of Mary meek and lowly", "Sing of Mary, meek and lowly", and "SiNg?oF^mARy}mEeK%And>lOWlY".

    I confess, although I can see why "modern," ecumenically-sensitive hymnal editors would be very hesitant to promote the notion of Mary as "pure" (to say nothing of "undefiled") it is hilariously ironic that the "PC," Protestant-friendly substitute turns out to be the deferential, walk-all-over-me "meek." What, did the 1970s never happen? Knowing GIA, I would have expected "Sing of Mary, empow'r'd and lowly." Or, since GIA is also happy to destroy rhymes in the name of updating traditional lyrics, perhaps "Sing of Mary, empowered woman." And, needless to say, it would cost too much ink to bother printing "alt." next to the attribution. Right, Fr. Chepponis? Better to just let the plebes think, say, that it was Catherine Winkworth in 1863, and not GIA redactors circa 1993, who insisted on gender-equal "Come all who hear: brothers and sisters draw near" when she translated Lobe den Herren instead of "All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near," or on all-are-saved!-no-worries "Who with his love will befriend us" instead of "If with His love He befriend thee." (In most areas of intelligent human endeavor, these false attributions would be called "dishonesty," and you could lose your tenure and never work again.)
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    to continue going off topic...
    so, in "Immaculate Mary," is it "reign now in SPLENDOR" or "HEAVEN?"
    The question that irks me whenever people from different groups get together to sing this hymn that everyone thinks they know by memory...
    (What was it first? And who changed it? And why?)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    There is a blog devoted to this off-topic topic, called Bad things in new hymn books and other sad tales

    And this is John Wesley's famous Preface to his hymnal, the 1780 Hymn Book A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists.


    1. For many years I have been importuned to publish such a hymn-book as might be generally used in all our congregations throughout Great Britain and Ireland. I have hitherto withstood the importunity, as I believed such a publication was needless, considering the various hymn-books which my Brother and I have published within these forty years last past ; so that it may be doubted whether any religious community in the world has a greater variety of them.

    2. But it has been answered, "Such a publication is highly needful upon this very account: for the greater part of the people, being poor, are not able to purchase so many books : and those that have purchased them are, as it were, bewildered in the immense variety. A proper collection of hymns for general use, carefully made out of all these books, is therefore still wanting ; and one comprised in so moderate a compass, as to be neither cumbersome nor expensive."

    3. It has been replied, "You have such a collection already, (entitled ‘Hymns and Spiritual Songs,’) which I extracted several years ago from a variety of hymn-books". But it is objected, "This is in the other extreme : it is far too small It does not, it cannot, in so narrow a compass, contain variety enough ; not so much as we want, among whom singing makes so considerable a part of the public service. What we want is, a collection not too large, that it may be cheap and portable ; nor too small, that it may contain a sufficient variety for all ordinary occasions."

    4. Such a Hymn-Book you have now before you. It is not so large as to be either cumbersome or expensive and it is large enough to contain such a variety of hymns, as will not soon be worn threadbare. It is large enough to contain all the important truths of our most holy religion, whether speculative or practical ; yea, to illustrate them all, and to prove them both by Scripture and Reason : and this is done in a regular order. The hymns are not carelessly jumbled together, but carefully ranged under proper heads, according to the experience of real Christians, So that this book is, in effect, a little body of experimental and practical divinity.

    5. As but a small part of these hymns is of my own composing 1, I do not think it inconsistent with modesty to declare, that I am persuaded no such hymn-book as this has yet been published in the English language. In what other publication of the kind have you so distinct and full an account of scriptural Christianity ? such a declaration of the heights and depths of religion, speculative and practical ? so strong cautions against the most plausible errors ; particularly those that are now most prevalent ? and so clear directions for making your calling and election sure ; for perfecting holiness in the fear of God?

    6. May I be permitted to add a few words with regard to the poetry ? Then I will speak to those who are judges thereof, with all freedom and unreserve. To these I may say, with-out offence, 1. In these hymns there is no doggerel ; no botches ; nothing put in to patch up the rhyme ; no feeble expletives. 2. Here is nothing turgid or bombast, on the one hand, or low and creeping, on the other. 3. here are no cant expressions ; no words without meaning. Those who impute this to us, know not what they say. We talk common sense, both in prose and verse, and use no words but in a fixed and determinate sense. 4. Here are, allow me to say, both the purity, the strength, and the elegance of the English language; and, at the same time, the utmost simplicity and plainness, suited to every capacity. Lastly, I desire men of taste to judge, (these are the only competent judges,) whether there be not in some of the following hymns the true spirit of poetry, such as cannot be acquired by art and labour, but must be the gift of nature. By labour, a man may become a tolerable imitator of Spenser, Shakspeare, or Milton ; and may heap together pretty compound epithets, as pale-eyed, meek-eyed, and the like ; but unless he be born a poet, he will never attain the genuine spirit of poetry.

    7. And here I beg leave to mention a thought which has long been upon my mind, and which I should long ago have inserted in the public papers, had I not been unwilling to stir up a nest of hornets. Many gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honour to reprint many of our hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome so to do, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire they would not attempt to mend them ; for they really are not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore, I must beg of them one of these two favours : either to let them stand just as they are, to take them for better for worse ; or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page ; that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or for the doggerel of other men.

    8. But to return. That which is of infinitely more moment than the spirit of poetry, is the spirit of piety. And I trust, all persons of real judgment will find this breathing through the whole Collection. It is in this view chiefly, that I would recommend it to every pious reader, as a means of raising or quickening the spirit of devotion ; of confirming his faith of enlivening his hope ; and of kindling and increasing his love to God and man. When Poetry thus keeps its place, as the handmaid of Piety, it shall attain, not a poor perishable wreath, but a crown that fadeth not away.

    London Oct. 20 1779. JOHN WESLEY.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,150
    Thanks for the Wesley quote, Kathy ... I remember it from several years ago and wasn't sure where to find it. It says everything.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    When I lived in Boston, I was part of a small, ecumenical worship community.
    (Some of us, like my wife and I, attended "normal Church" as well. For some of our members, this was their primary and/or only "church.")

    We came from several different Christian traditions, and a lot of our time together was spent singing.
    This was great, and gave every one of us experience with music that we didn't know.

    But, of course, there were a lot of hymns that all of us knew... but we all knew them differently.
    I took on the task of revising and re-compiling the cobbled together "song notebooks" for this group.

    Goodness gracious.

    How do you reconcile two or three different versions of the same words?
    How do you decide which "local variant" will stand?
    How removed from modern English are you willing to go in order to justify, "I just went with the original."
    If a text was originally in another language, and was translated more than once into English (O Sacred Head... surrounded? sore wounded?) which version do you go with?

    In our particular case, we also had to deal with the fact that some Catholic texts had been altered in centuries-past to avoid overtly Catholic dogmatic statements.
    Oh, yeah- and same thing with Protestant texts which had been altered by Catholic hymn-compilers over the years.
    Being a deliberately ecumenical group required careful treading in these matters.

    People with editorial ideologies need to take on the task of actually trying to compile a hymnal for practical use.
    It is an exercise is humility and compromise.

    JMO has done an admirable job. I don't agree with all of his editorial policies, but it was his project.
    I'm sure many will find it is the best option available, and use it.
    Others will not.
    People who disagree with his approach can find another hymnal to use.
    So, I would say- give JMO a break.

    And at the same time...
    JMO, and others:
    Give GIA a break. At least in reference to their hymn text editing.
    (There is no excuse for some of their song inclusions... but that's a whole other set of issues.)
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I am not sure if Fr. Jim Chepponis is still "here" or not, but I would be interested to hear the "thought process" behind the great number of alterations made to hymn texts by GIA and the "big three."

    As noted by several people (above), most of these have nothing to do with updating "archaic" language, and often incline towards ideological motives.
  • bump
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    The Adoremus four-part "standard" edition is now available for order, so we'll be able to comment on that soon.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    I own a copy of the Adoremus Hymnal, Choir Edition and also Organ Edition, which is simply the Choir Edition in a binder (Ignatius Press). There are a fare of selection of Mass ordinaries. The vast majority of the hymns appear to be traditional ones which could go well with or without accompaniment. Now, some of the suggested Mass settings include portions of some of the same Mass parts included among them. The Gloria (Latin), Mode V, for example, is included with at least two Mass settings.

    It also includes some hymns which I am not able to find in some of the modern hymnals, though they are present in others, such as "Glory and Praise" (the hymn "To Jesus Christ our Sovereign King", for example).

    You may purchase the Pew Edition, the Organ Edition, and/or the Choir Edition (SATB), and you can get CDs which includes some samples of the music (first line) sung by the studio choir. Some of these samples are simply the melody, others are SATB.
  • I believe that The Adoremus Hymnal 2nd Edition doesn't include CDs anymore, but they have downloadable MP3s available instead.

    However, you can still order the 1st Edition CD set.
  • Heath
    Posts: 933
    Paul, are you referring to the first edition, by chance? My second edition just came in a couple days ago . . .
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439

    I have the edition copyright 1997, purchased ca. 2007 or 2008-or maybe it was 2006? Sorry, I can't remember. I am not keeping up with all the new editions of Adoremus, as there are other hymnals and songbooks that I want, such as the new Canticles, Psalms and Spiritual Songs which I read on here is going to be reprinted, not to mention chant books. There is a tune there that I like that my choir sung the year before ("Hail, Holy Queen....").

    By the way, I didn't notice until a while ago that CMAA was involved with the project. If anyone who worked on it is still here, I say: congratulations on a very high quality product. Seriously, in my 28 years of being a Catholic (from the cradle), this is the best hymnal I personally have encountered.

    Now, I'm assuming the new edition has the new translation in it?
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    Both my current parish (Anglican Use) as well as the one I grew up in use "Sing of Mary, pure and lowly". I've never heard "meek and lowly" before. For the record my home parish used/-es OCP materials.

    Speaking of which, someone mentioned "What Child is This?" Kimberly Hahn mentioned in "Rome, Sweet Home", an autobiography she co-authored with her husband, Scott Hahn about a lesson on Mary that she gave at a Christmas dinner. After the lesson, the two pastors' wives came forward to sing "What Child is This?", changing the last words to "the babe, the Son of God".
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439

    That example you posted in one of your October 27 posts looks so childish in its lyrics, and by doing some visual sightreading of the notes, I imagine it sounds childish as well, such that I cannot imagine it actually being used for Mass.

    And the refrain lyrics, "I too sing praises with a new song" sounds like something fit for a kindergarten music class.

    The first thing that this reminds me of was something we sang in my elementary Catholic school all school music hour (fortunately, it never made it into Mass) to the strumming of a guitar:

    "Oh you can't to heaven, on roller skates.....oh you can't get to heaven on roller skates, {dah dah dah.....don't remember] past those pearly gates, oh, you can't get to heaven on roller skates."
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Which Oct. 27 post? (and which example?)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    I thought Paul was referring to the "hymn" JMO quoted which mentions "Classrooms and labs, loud boiling test-tubes", etc.

    (Isn't that nonsense? Last time I was in chem lab, the test tubes made almost no noise.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    By the way, the "standard" (choir) edition of the Adoremus Hymnal, 2nd edition, arrived today.

    The Mass Ordinary section is about 40 pages bigger than the first edition and includes the ICEL chants.

    Among the Latin Ordinaries, the editors added Gregorian settings I and XVII. The English Masses are by Horst Buchholz, Fr. Scott Haynes, Richard Rice, and Fr. Samuel Weber.

    The previous hymns are retained. The Sequences for Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi in Latin and English are now included; there are added hymns for Lent, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi, one each; for Our Lady, two Magnificat settings; the Litany of the Saints (in Latin and in English); eight general hymns, plus the Te Deum in Latin and in English.

    I'm sorry to say that the music looked better in the first edition. Texts of the hymns and the Mass ordinaries are in a small size of Times font: maybe 8- or 9-point. The chant engraving uses the same small Times font and smaller neume figures than before, and uses hyphenation constantly. Neumes are centered on syllables rather than vowels. After seeing the recent Compline book from Ignatius Press, I expected a more readable and appealing result.
  • @chonak and others who have The Adoremus Hymnal, 2nd Edition

    Did they fix the page layout issues from the 1st Edition - specifically with hymns that are two pages front-to-back/double-sided? For example, 480 To Jesus Christ, our Sov'reign King is front-to-back/double-sided; you have to turn the page mid-phrase to get to the next phrase, and then flip back to the beginning for the next verse. Does anyone really enjoy doing this? There seems to be a good amount of hymns that are front-to-back/double-sided like this. There has to be a better solution to have the two pages side-by-side.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    There are numerous hymns with a page turn in the middle, but not the same ones as in the first edition.
  • Thanks chonak!

    I see the stem directions in the voice layering are still the same ...
  • Received my copy of the St. Michael Hymnal yesterday. I am very impressed with everything I've seen in it so far.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    It's a beautiful hymnal!
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    There are numerous hymns with a page turn in the middle

    I'm dying to know how other organists deal with this problem. I found it . . . totally inexplicable. I am not a good enough organist to start playing verse one, TURN a page for the second half of verse one, TURN back for the first half of verse two, TURN the page to complete verse two, etc.

    Do others simply photocopy every single page ?

    In the Vatican II Hymnal, a massive amount of attention was paid to page layout: almost to an obsessive degree.
  • Do others simply photocopy every single page ?

    I'm sure it's illegal, but I photocopy the page turns because I'm stubborn that way. I'm not going to turn a page back and forth because 4 little measures are on the backside. There's just no good reason for these things.
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,934
    I play from photocopies. The GIA organ accompaniments are unwieldy monsters that barely fit on a standard organ music rack.
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • I play from photocopies. The GIA organ accompaniments are unwieldy monsters that barely fit on a standard organ music rack.

    I've always felt that the Gather (Comp)rehensive has everything enlarged to an unnecessary degree. I mean, 4 measures per page? Really? Plus, all of the wasted space at the bottom?

  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    I'm dying to know how other organists deal with this problem. I found it . . . totally inexplicable. I am not a good enough organist to start playing verse one, TURN a page for the second half of verse one, TURN back for the first half of verse two, TURN the page to complete verse two, etc.

    Do others simply photocopy every single page ?

    In the Vatican II Hymnal, a massive amount of attention was paid to page layout: almost to an obsessive degree.

    I have the first edition of the Adoremus hymnal and I find those page turns extremely frustrating. Fortunately it's only a personal copy and not something I use for work or I'd certainly fix the problem one way or another. I can play the organ and flip the pages at the same time, but I know I'm going to tear a page eventually if I try to do that too much.

    I know of another organist who made her own organist's edition. She copied ALL of the music from the Adoremus and put it into a large binder so there are no page turns. That's probably what I would end up doing if I had to use it regularly.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    Curt Jester,

    I don't know about the second edition, but the first edition of the Adoremus offered an organ edition (same as choir edition, placed in a binder).
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    I don't know about the second edition, but the first edition of the Adoremus offered an organ edition (same as choir edition, placed in a binder).

    Yes, I just said that I have the first edition. I know it's in a binder, but it's a small binder with awkward page turns that shouldn't be necessary. Using a larger binder and copying all the music onto one page is a much easier way of using that hymnal.