Singing a Gradual vs. "General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass"
  • On a Catholic Answers thread, there seems to be an effort to say that the Gradual cannot be sung, based on a pastoral suggestion given in "General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass." Perhaps someone from CMAA could clearly explain the hierarchy of documents and tradition verses a pastoral suggestion?

    Here's a rather misinformed statement:

    "The Responsorial Psalm is the normative and preferred option for the Mass, as the Church has repeatedly stated."
  • The interesting thing is that the Gradual has been chanted at Papal Masses. I will research and provide a better answer.
  • No, I never said that the gradual could not be sung. Quite the opposite; I said that it might well make sense to do it on certain limited occasions. For quotidian purposes in an ordinary parish, however, it is clear that the Church's intention is that the assigned responsorial Psalm should generally be used, since, as the GIRM (not the GIL) states, it "is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word" and it holds not only "pastoral" but also "great liturgical" importance. In other words, the responsorial Psalm is the standard, the default, Option Numero Uno, but other options can certainly be exercised in a way that is pastorally sensitive and does not excessively distort scheme of the liturgy envisioned by the Church.
    Thanked by 1Ioannes Andreades
  • A bit of leap to say that the Responsorial Psalm is default or "numero uno" especially when a sung Mass is concerned. Does the sung Mass not find its model in the "Graduale" Romanum? The term Responsorial Psalm is indeed used throughout the GIRM as a point of reference. It begs the question whether this is simply used as a term to indicate the Chant after the first reading or the model of the Responsorial Psalm found in the lectionary. Let's remember, for many bad reasons, probably 90% of clergy in the US and Canada could even pronounce Graduale let alone know what it is.
    Taking the time to read onward in the GIRM (not my favourite read as it will no doubt change again within 10 years), we learn that: "there may be either sung the Responsorial Gradual from the Graduale Romanum, the Responsorial Psalm, or the Alleluia Psalm from the Graduale Simplex..." It is of course obvious that the Gradual cannot be found in the lectionary. Does that make the Responsorial Psalm default at a sung Mass? I have to laugh at the GIRM when it says foster meditation... when in MOST places the Responsorial Psalm is often a noisy mess leaving one to wonder what the Psalmist was even on about. Yes, it doesn't have to be, but let's be real and understand most people who are participating in it are very far from meditation. (Perhaps they are more meditating on football games they are missing Sunday morning)
    I have adapted and written music for the Responsorial Psalms for the Sundays of the Church year and would jump to using the Gradual at the snap of my Pastor's fingers.
    It is true this would require pastoral preparation, very true. But if only that were ever done particularly in 1970 when it was thrust on us like sardines on a perfectly good pizza.
    But what an idea... if we were to catechize people about the parts of the Mass and what we are often "cheating" them of. But then we would have to know what we were talking about and study and pray and listen and.... teach?

    "Excessively distort the liturgy envisioned by the Church"?????????
    That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard this week!
    With all due respect, if it is in the book (ie Graduale Romanum) it is envisioned by the Church. And knowing our history or the Council and the Bugnini reconstruction the took place afterward, we would hesitate to stay "envisioned by the Church" Alarming indeed.

    Alas we are soooo concerned with people's ability to participate, and all joking aside this is probably what Mark Thompson is so worried about. But it boils down to how people participate. Mind and heart are very important, but others are seemingly frightened of that idea, so if someone is doing stuff that I can hear and see they must be participating. Of course we know that idea to be akin with the manure of a horse.

    Yes, sing the gradual. Yes, please teach people about it. They get to learn something new. And we all like new. (Some of us)

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,136
    I trust that Mark was merely trying to be economical of the reader's time, but the use of snippets of sentences for proof-texting, which is sometimes misleading in Biblical matters; is also an unreliable approach in rubrical matters.

    The US GIRM states: (#61)
    In the Dioceses of the United States of America, instead of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary, there may be sung either the Responsorial Gradual from the Graduale Romanum, or the Responsorial Psalm or the Alleluia Psalm from the Graduale Simplex, as described in these books, or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, including Psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the Responsorial Psalm.

    To leave out these statements of what is permitted is to leave out most of the legitimate options.
  • Chonak: In the place where this was being discussed, the availability of the gradual as an option was already understood. I was responding to such observations as "I find responsorial psalms highly annoying," "Drop the responsorial psalm, which are a poor (IMO) replacement for the gradual," and "Instead use the traditional, first option, the chanted gradual." That is fine for a personal opinion, but it is not the opinion of the Church.

    PMulholland: Sorry, but a Tridentine Mass is not the complete model of the modern Mass. If a person said "Well, it can be tolerated, I guess, to do the readings in the vulgar tongue, but clearly it is vastly preferred to do them in Latin -- so much more meditative, etc., etc.," then you would know he was mistaken. Yes, that was the old way, and yes, it's an acceptable option now, but it should be quite obvious that that is not the mind of the Church for the readings to be in Latin on a general basis in normal places. The same goes for substituting a gradual for the assigned responsorial Psalm. The model Mass is intended to include the assigned introit and offertory, not Gather Us In and Gift of Finest Wheat, but it will also include the assigned responsorial psalm, not the gradual. I'm sorry if that freaks you out because responsorial psalms are noisy or whatever and you don't find them very meditative, but those concerns, however important they might be to you personally, have already been weighed by the Church, which has made a contrary decision about what the standard is to be. It is totally fine to say "Yes, but I disagree with that decision"; it is erroneous to say "No, the gradual is the 'first option,' the preferred standard for the Mass."
    Thanked by 1Ioannes Andreades
  • Mark,
    This is not a discussion about the Older Form of Mass. I said the Graduale Romanum, which is still in force (1974 edition) as the official sung Mass of the Roman Rite, Ordinary form. Personal opinions aside, clearly I made mine obvious, but do not obfuscate the discussion by telling me what you think the mind of the Church is on the subject as no real adjudication of the idea has ever really been tried or tested. In fact we can see the Church changing already as our Holy Father asks for a mutual enrichment of the ordinary and exraordinary forms.
    We have options for the chant after the 2nd reading. Nuff said. To go much beyond that about the mind of the Church making sweeping declarations about one option versus the other simply hasn't been done. Yes it is true we have an option which is dominant over the other. Much like a Missa Cantata was dominant in practice versus a solemn Mass.
    We would have no problem in finding other Rites within the one universal Church which are quite different from our own Roman Rite. Does this mean the mind of the Church is confused?
    The sung Mass is from the Graduale Romanum. That is that. Everything else is an option to the model. Legitimate option albiet.

    So, to reiterate, the gradual is not only a legitimate option for the chant after the first reading, but it is the model from the Sung Mass in the Gradual Romanum (Both ordinary and extraordinary).
    It may not be preferred, as subjectivity rules the day (just wait for the next GIRM or the one after that, it will say something different than it does now), but it is the model handed down to us and held up in the only official book of music for the Roman Rite.

    I guess that freaks people out.

    Thanked by 1miacoyne
  • BenBen
    Posts: 3,114
    Aren't the sung texts usually from the graudal? Just in the same way that the missal antiphons are for a spoken/read Mass, it seems that the responsorial psalm might have been intended to be an alternative for spoken Masses. I know what the GIRM says, but I'm talking more about the intent of the council and all that, not so much about it's implementation in the ordinary form.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Spirit (intent) of the council, instead of the letter of the law.... Hmmmm.....
  • Ben Yanke
    Yes the sung texts are to be from the gradual. Sacrosanctum Concilium, makes no mention of a Responsorial Psalm. Did the concilium that undertook the work of the Pauline Missal intend it that way? Hard to know and probably not. There was so little time, from a practical point of view, to address all the innovations, revisions and restorations in the Missal. Let alone give them evaluation and test their scholarship. They probably did prefer the Responsorial Psalm sung. But that is not to say it should be default or "numero uno". This is hardly the mind of the Church. This is the mind of Bugnini. Thankfully, Bugnini is not the Church or we would have really big problems.

  • SC no. 30 established as one of the "norms" for the revision of the Mass that, "[t]o promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs," etc.

    Also, it is simply not true that "the sung texts are to be from the gradual." The GIRM provides that the Responsorial Psalm "should usually be taken from the Lectionary," and that "[i]t is preferable for the Responsorial Psalm to be sung." Thus, the lodestar envisioned by the rubrics governing the Missal is the psalm from the Lectionary, sung. If your fallback position is "Well, I disagree with the guy who I suppose probably wrote that; he was a baddie!", okay then.
    Thanked by 1Ioannes Andreades
  • Mark,

    SC no. 30 could be understood in many ways. Inroit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons could all be done in such a fashion. The idea of altering the gradual to a Responsorial Psalm is no where to be found in SC. Could you make an argument that it was intended?? Sure. We like to make arguments.

    No, the Congregation for Divine Worship understands the sung Mass as that from the Graduale Romanum. Please, we should all know that. The Graduale is the Model. (Clearly not everybody likes the model)

    The GIRM lists instructions on the Mass, yes, fuzzy and confusing, obviously. Does the GIRM define the Responsorial Psalm as option numero uno? I disagree based on the language of the GIRM, the tradition of the rite, and the use of the Graduale Romanum as the official book of music for the Liturgical Year of the Roman Rite.
    It is clear that from your quotes and the full texts of the sec 61 of the GIRM that the Responsorial Psalm is preferred to be sung. Good. That could mean equally the Responsorial Psalm, the options in the Graduale Simplex, the verses sung straight through or heavens the Gradual. The paragraph we are discussing makes use of words "Except" "However" "or". People "sit and listen" "take part" " or not" and the word Mark likes the best :"preferred" It is true that's what the GIRM says. "The Responsorial psalm should usually be taken from the Lectionary." Right, the gradual is not in the lectionary (maybe it will be back someday), but the gradual is in.... the Gradual, which is the model for a sung Mass. So GIRM vs Gradual is where we are at. Can we understand the GIRM better when we understand the whole of the Rite better? I think that is where we differ.

    If you re-read my posts, I do not argue that the GIRM doesn't indicate a preference, but it is a massive leap to say in the section of the Responsorial Psalm that: "the Church has weighed and made up its mind about what the standard should be" this is wrong. If that were the case then the Graduale Romanum should be suppressed. End of story.

    "not excessively distort scheme of the liturgy envisioned by the Church"
    You are claiming to know the mind of the Church on an issue to do to with Liturgy and Music. This is a shaky claim based on shaky references. The GIRM is not at all clear and is constantly changing. Save references to the mind of the Church for what we truly know that to be.
    We can all take the time to be careful about such things.

  • We've hashed and re-hashed this so many time....There's a fundamental disconnect between the Missal and the Graduale Romanum. History has always said that the music should be sung from the official music books of the Church....but never have the official music books been at odds with the Missal. This is a real problem that the CDW needs to address.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,136
    Context matters. Of course it's preferable that the responsorial psalm be sung, if the alternative is that it be merely recited.