Remind me Why You Can’t Sing the Propers / Length of the Offertory Chant
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    Oooh love it. So much so that I shared it to my facebook page.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Lovely !!
  • Ally
    Posts: 224
    Ben, that is awesome!
  • There needs to be a branch for "Clergy Uproar". Also for "Choir Uproar".

    Actually in most places I know about the flow chart would be "So You Want To Sing The Propers?" -> "No".
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    There needs to be a branch for "Clergy Uproar". Also for "Choir Uproar".


    Or generalize it to "Parish Uproar".
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    P.S. I'm nimming this for my blog.
    Thanked by 1JennyH
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    You also forgot "We're already doing organ hymns instead of piano hymns; isn't that good enough?"
  • awruff
    Posts: 94
    The chart is brilliant!
    As much as I support propers, and have increased their use greatly at the abbey, I'm torn on this issue because I also like hymns.
    I think for many people it's not that they're opposed to propers, but that they have found hymns to be spiritually powerful. They've had very positive experiences of participating by singing hymns. That seems to be the heart of this issue.
    Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB
  • It's easy to incorporate three hymns into the mass even when all the proper chants are sung.

    The offertory chant is seldom long enough to cover the offertory. There is time for a hymn at its conclusion. When incense is used, enough time for both a motet and a hymn often remains.

    A hymn can be sung during or after the ablutions. (See #138 in the English Order of Mass.)

    A hymn can be sung as the ministers go out. I think that refusing to sing or say anything after the dismissal is pedantic and silly. The people don't run out the door at the instant the dismissal is sung. Even if a hymn is not sung, they remain in place until the ministers have left the church. In my (Episcopal) parish most sit and listen to the organ voluntary that follows the concluding hymn.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,361
    There is another both/and approach the propers versus alius cantus. One need not do all hymns, or all propers, or all propers & hymns (the so called "stuffed" mass). One can chose and alternate/rotate: one week a proper at X place in the Mass, a hymn at Y place; the next week, a hymn at X and a proper at Y. NOt all propers are equal in musical quality, any more than hymns; some are glorious, others less so. So, the ritual expectation becomes that at the introit, offertory or communion, we might have any of the listed options. It has the virtue of expanding the parish's ritual sense, by proposing rather than imposing. Instead of "this is what we do here", we have "these are what we can do here". Over a few years, a parish might then, having become familiar with the options, have an informed discernment about them.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    It is the usual practice for me to use the appropriate SEP communion chant (or one of the ad libitum communions) followed by either a communion or a seasonal hymn.

    Quite often for the offertory I have the antiphon chanted to a psalm tone before going into either a choir motet or a congregational hymn.

    If all the responses are sung as well s the our father, the congregation doesn't mind listening to the choir do their thing.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,074
    The offertory chant is seldom long enough to cover the offertory.

    Umnnhhh....I made it a point to instruct our musicians NOT to 'cover' the priest's prayers of the Offertory. Seems to me that the prayers are there for a reason.

    Using the Bartlett propers (Antiphon/verse/antiphon/verse, etc.) we find that we cannot use all the verses provided before the celebrant begins his prayers.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,694
    As far as I can tell, the Missal rubrics ("Order of Mass", rubrics #23, 25) seem to express an expectation that the Offertory Chant cover the priest's prayer. They instruct the priest to pray his text ("Blessed are you...") in a low voice, with the option of praying it aloud if the chant is not sung.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Agreed, Chonak, that's how I read it as well. The missal assumes music covering the prayers. If the intention was otherwise, they could have made it clear, but as it is, they didn't.

    That alternate reading might also make it difficult to use a longer motet at the offertory, in cases when incense is used.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,074
    Umnnnhhh....OK. If we wish to "do the red", I find no allowance for an offertory motet to be sung by a choir, either, unless the motet's text is the Offertory antiphon/psalm.

    Sometimes one applies common sense to rubrics.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,694
    Well, there are some permissions relating to music at the offertory which seem to allow for motets:

    The 1958 document De musica sacra et sacra liturgia allowed (#27b) for any Latin song after the offertory chant, provided it be suitable to that part of the Mass.

    Also, Musicam sacram (1967) allowed: "The custom legitimately in use in certain places and widely confirmed by indults, of substituting other songs for the songs given in the Graduale for the Entrance, Offertory and Communion, can be retained according to the judgment of the competent territorial authority, as long as songs of this sort are in keeping with the parts of the Mass, with the feast or with the liturgical season. It is for the same territorial authority to approve the texts of these songs."

  • For those now unable to "give up hymns" in the mass, a look at the website of Saint Clement's Church in Philadelphia might be edifying. In what is probably the highest Anglo-Catholic parish in the Episcopal Church, Peter Conte programs full Gregorian propers from the Liber along with some of the finest hymns from the English Hymnal. His archived recordings from various liturgies are wonderful listening!
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    I've been somewhat uncertain about applying Musicam Sacram to the liturgy. It came out BEFORE the Missal of 1969, but after the Missal of 1962. Does Musicam Sacram apply to the EF mass? It has also made me ask whether or not the Kyriale Simplex can be legitimately used in the EF. I've played it safe thus far by chanting the offertory to a Psalm Tone and THEN moving into a motecta or a hymnus.

    I do have the Offertorale where psalm verses are provided for the Offertory chants, but I'm tending to favour the practice of singing a motet at the offertory after the antiphon is chanted, and then typically a latin hymn after the communion and a number of psalm verses have been chanted. Anima Christi and Adoro Te Devote are common, but O Filii et Filiae during Easter, Attende Domine during Lent, Rorate Caeli during Advent, and other suitable Latin songs have been used to fill out the communion.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,694
    There is an answer about whether Musicam Sacram applies to the EF. The Instruction "Universae Ecclesiae" (2011) stated (#28) that the law exempts EF celebrations from any later laws contrary to the 1962 rubrics.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,409
    exempts EF celebrations from any later laws contrary to the 1962 rubrics


    But not laws which do not contradict? Clarifications, additions, general principles?


    Sometimes one applies common sense to rubrics.


    Can you provide documented evidence (i.e., Church Law) which specifically allows for the application of common sense? Is this considered a general suggestion, or does the Church foresee specific instances where common sense should be applied?
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Wouldn't that common sense mean that if the missal is assuming the prayers are covered by the chant, that should be the norm for Masses with music?
    Thanked by 2Gavin CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,791
    [comment deleted by author.]
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,694
    Adam, I was summarizing the passage in Universae Ecclesiae, not quoting it directly, so have a look at the document if you want to scope out any implications.
  • Can you provide documented evidence (i.e., Church Law) which specifically allows for the application of common sense? Is this considered a general suggestion, or does the Church foresee specific instances where common sense should be applied?

    Arguably, CIC Can. 17: "Ecclesiastical laws must be understood in accord with the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places, if there are such, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator."
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 859
    The people don't run out the door at the instant the dismissal is sung.


    They do in Catholic churches. The way people run to their cars at the end of Mass (and sometimes before) has me contemplating giving up on the recessional hymn and organ postlude and starting a new ministry that passes out Gator-aid in the parking lot. ;)
  • Pass out buttons that say "Judas left early".
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,074
    Let's analyze this from the perspective of hierarchy.

    To sing over the priest's prayers implies that the offertory antiphon/verses are more important than the prayers of the priest and the assigned popular responses. Really? Can you defend that?

    Further, are you arguing that singing every single verse of the Psalm is necessary or required? In the situation of one parish with which I am acquainted, the cantor is able to get through 3 or 4 of the verses WITH antiphonal refrains before the priest begins his prayers. Do you hold that ALL the verses must be sung?

    This is not the same as whether/not to sing a motet following the offertory antiphon with, perhaps, a couple of verses. In that instance, it has been the case for over 50 years (EF and OF) that the choir sings and the priest prays sotto voce (although that, too, implies that the priest's prayers are less important than the singing.
  • It is incorrect to infer that what is said sotto voce or inaudibly is therefore less important.

    In fact, perhaps the reverse (more important) is a better inference.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Agreed, Andrew. Is the canon then of the least importance in the EF, being said the most quietly?
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Reform of the Reform: Shout the Canon

    (I know too many liturgists/sacristans who would be thrilled for that to happen...)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,225
    Remind me Why You Can’t Sing the Propers


    Maybe not the best approach. Have we given others good reasons why they should sing the Propers?
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    Maybe not the best approach.


    Carping probably isn't the best approach either.
  • To sing over the priest's prayers implies that the offertory antiphon/verses are more important than the prayers of the priest and the assigned popular responses. Really? Can you defend that?

    I can't defend your assertion that one is more important than the other, but I can defend the practice of the prayer being in a low voice when the offertory is sung. Your argument here is with the Missal if you disagree.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,225
    I think there is a good question there. Do we present a good case for singing Propers? How is it an advantage to the congregation? Or, are we just insular and anachronistic fuddy-duddies who only talk to each other?
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    Do we present a good case for singing Propers?


    I'm listening. You've smelled rotten eggs. Now please lay us a good one.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,225
    I suspect my rotten-ness would never approach your gifts.

    Never-the-less, I appreciate Ben's humor, as always. However, in many parishes I suspect many don't even know what Propers are. They are young enough to not have seen a pre-1962 liturgy. The EF is available in my area, but is limited by geography. It is in an older part of town where most of the population doesn't go. When I visit RCIA, I explain that Propers are scripture, and why they are components of the Mass - not just some holdover from the past. I think we do need to make a case for them being parts of the OF mass, as well. That has been lost, it seems.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    ryand, I once attended a very "high" Lutheran church where the Canon was sung. Then, at the words of intuition, the minister indeed shouted the words, slowly, about a 5th lower than the rest of the prayer. "THIIIS!!! IIIS!!! MYYYYY!!!! BOOOOOOODYYYYY!!!" Very strange, but apparently Luther himself encouraged this - recall that he viewed the Verba as supremely important to the sacrament.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,791
    I personally feel that the OF is too 'talky' and that THE WORST thing that happened after the Council was the audible recitation of the Canon missae. When I attend the EF I get a sense of something really, really, important happening when the sanctus (& benedictus) stop and there is silence - real focussed silence - until the sacring bell rings at the elevations; I do not get this same feeling even in the best (e.g. at the Colloquium) OFs I've attended.

    The sotto voce recitation of the priests' prayers does not mean that they are less important that what is being sung/said on top of it - quite the reverse - it seems to me that it means (as Mr Malton said) they are the most important because there the priest is talking directly to GOD. When I hear the offertory prayers, I almost feel like I'm eavesdropping on someone else's conversation.

    BTW: I'm 26 and never knew the EF, apart from stumbling into a Indult Wedding at my parish when I went to practise (Low Mass), until Summorum Pontificum.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    However, in many parishes I suspect many don't even know what Propers are.


    The understatement of the century.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,225
    True, Ben. When I introduced them to my own congregation a few years ago, many asked what they were. They had no memory of ever hearing them.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,074
    perhaps the reverse (more important) is a better inference.

    ....speaking of assertions....

    Since the Revolution of '65 in liturgical praxis, the emphasis has been on hearing the word (and Word). The introduction--and eventual virtual mandate--has been on clarity, understanding, audibility, and "participation" which, though not exclusively oral response/singing, (etc.) has certainly leaned that way.

    So happens that I am extremely familiar with the EF, too, so I don't argue the relative merits of priest-silence. Both modes, EF and OF, work well. However, in the OF, it is one mode; in the EF, it is another. This is not reconcilable with deus-ex-machina rubrics, eh?

    Excellent scholars have argued that "participation" begins with metanoia. Some would argue that metanoia is all that is necessary. But you're all familiar with the Psalms that urge us to "Sing to the Lord, shout joyfully..." ...which is not a prescription for silence.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW