The organist/music director of my church just sent me a survey from the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). it asks questions about the old hymnal (CBWIII) and whether or not the supplement (Celebrate in Song) which was released at the time of the implementation of the new translation is useful. I have no love for the CBWIII and flat out contempt for Celebrate. I have often wished for a replacement for the CBWIII, but always feared that whatever came next would only be worse. Celebrate in Song effectively confirmed that fear. It is filled with terrible music, almost all of it written after 1980 with all the weaknesses of that liturgical musical period, and any pieces from prior to that time have been heavily reworded, rearranged, and are effectively unrecognizable. it is truly terrible.
I tried to keep my responses civil, so as not to make myself out to be an utter crank and thus to be easily dismissed, so I refrained from saying things like: "How about not having the new hymnal gathered and edited by an gay paedophile?" or "Leave Haugen-Haas for a liturgical ice cream shop." I wish they could have had more open questions. I would have liked to have had a section where I could say something about communion hymns. When it comes to communion, CBWIII is deficient. It has very few, and those it has are about bread and wheat- no, grain and grapes,- no, seeds and wine. As I have said in the past, if we go any further backwards we will be singing hymns about manure.
Intriguingly, my questionnaire was missing a page. I had no page two, but two page threes. Curious. Judging from the questions before and after the missing page, page two was concerned at least in part with Celebrate. I would have liked to answer more questions about that: it would have given me more scope to politely say just how bad it is.
But I did say that, if I were to replace the old hymnal, I would prefer to do it with binders and handouts gathered from public domain on the net. This way, I said, we could more fully implement the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Most Catholics don't know, but the council called the treasury of sacred music a "treasure beyond price'. It is the liturgical art most directly and intimately connected to our worship, and it is to be used in its fullest extent. Rewriting words, jumbling meaning, confusing doctrine, removing any reference to body, blood, or sacrifice- that is not using it to the fullest extent possible. Printing off only songs written in the last thirty some odd years by second and third rate frauds- that is burying the treasure in the fullest extent possible. We can do without hymnals now. Perhaps it is time we did.