On changing hymn texts
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,068
    As mentioned on a recent thread on the Chant Cafe, Liturgicam Authenticam legislates a kind of conservatism regarding hymn texts in #108.

    Sung texts and liturgical hymns have a particular importance and efficacy. Especially on Sunday, the “Day of the Lord”, the singing of the faithful gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass, no less than the prayers, the readings and the homily, express in an authentic way the message of the Liturgy while fostering a sense of common faith and communion in charity. If they are used widely by the faithful, they should remain relatively fixed so that confusion among the people may be avoided...


    This point seems carefully worded. The legislation does not say that the texts must be absolutely fixed, but relatively fixed. There might be compelling reasons to change the wording of a hymn. Generally speaking, however, it is pastorally more sensitive to keep the wording of hymns steady over time.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Given that the specific justification given here is the avoidance of confusion, I imagine a case could be made that adjusting a text to omit poorly understood archaisms would be at least acceptable, and possible desirable.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,068
    True. It's a matter of degree.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    What was omitted here was the key first sentence: "Sung texts and liturgical hymns have a particular importance and efficacy." It is these that "should remain relatively fixed." Now, Immaculate Mary or On Eagle's Wings might be sung at a liturgy, but are these hymns actually the "liturgical hymns" that this paragraph has in mind? I tend to think not.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,068
    You may be right. Let's go to the Latin.

    Cantus et hymni liturgici peculiaris momenti et efficacitatis sunt.


    No help. Darn.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    What was omitted here was the key first sentence: "Sung texts and liturgical hymns have a particular importance and efficacy." It is these that "should remain relatively fixed." Now, Immaculate Mary or On Eagle's Wings might be sung at a liturgy, but are these hymns actually the "liturgical hymns" that this paragraph has in mind? I tend to think not.


    If they are not "liturgical hymns" (songs), then why are they being used under option 4, which requires that liturgical chants (hymns/songs) be used?

    We can't have it both ways. Either we can change them and not sing them at Mass, or we shouldn't be changing them, and then we can sing them in place of propers.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Pardon my obtuseness, but:
    What makes a song qualify as "liturgical"?
  • Adam, that's a great question .
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    BTW- Given the way ritual develops, I would say that inclusion in a liturgical book is an indicator of a song being liturgical, not the thing that causes it to be so.
  • Well, that automatically includes those in the Missal, Graduals, and Antiphonaries, no?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Yes of course.
    My point is- not just those.
  • Gotcha. Been a long day, and I'm running on empty. Anyway, I suppose that would also include those hymns in Cantus Selecti and Laudes Festivae, but as to vernacular hymns, I really couldn't say.