29 April 2015

Should we have a new hymnal?

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.


Julian Barkin said...

Well unless you can convince your individual parish to go with CCWatershed or those new St Issac Jogues hymnals, it's a pipe dream. However I do agree, CBWIII needs to go, though I would go farther and kick out people passing as music ministers and replace them (with pay) with young music students who know Bach, Handel, Byrd, etc. And would conduct choirs with those pieces. Sadly many churches rely on volunteers for music. Maybe that speaks volumes of the few people who are talented in music and know how to do classical music.

Don't rely on the CCCB to change anytime soon to replace that with a good quality CBWIV. It will likely suck like the last one. Sadly, we gotta go with FR Z's biological solution for the Church in Canada with regards to mass scale liturgical hymnals.

Btw I caught your last posts. Between Frodo and the possible Union strike at your university its really rough for you. I will be keeping you in my prayers, fellow knight Bear.

Bear said...

Thanks for your prayers, brother Knight.

Don't be too hard on us volunteers in the music ministry: we're not entirely bad. On top of not getting paid, we are constantly getting advice and directives from all and sundry. I have found that for every difficult and demanding job, there are only a few people willing to step forward to try and get the work done, but millions who are willing to tell those few how they are doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Please fill out the survey and include:

Revised Good Shepherd Mass by Somerville
Revised Parish Mass by Togni
End the inclusive language
Add Holy, Holy, Holy! (Nicenea)
Restore Grail Psalms
Size for pew should be same
Size for choir should be as CBWII
Keep Masses together by Mass not by Ordinary
Use more Latin Hymnody from the Office

However, until these people understand what the Propers are there will be no fundamental improvement.

I will go further, this is a pointless exercise. The new rite is unreformable. It is dead. It will not convert souls, it will not convict sinners. It is a bastard rite an "banal" produce. It can't be reformed because it won't be reformed. It is masonic and ecumenical and it is a mess. It's offertory is a Jewish seder blessing written out on a napkin in a ristorante, EPII and IV unacceptable and III barely.

Mark my words boldly.

I pray to live to see the day when this abomination of Catholic worship is abrogated and the Catholic Church does penance for what it inflicted on the faithful.

Nobody can sit there and say that this liturgical renewal has been fruitful. To say it has is to delude oneself.

The future is this:

An intact Latin liturgy as to the 1962 Missal with updated saints and that is it.

A return to the 1965 Missal as the "Low" version, as is.

An expert council of monks and liturgical scholars to produce a new lectionary with the tridentine one year cycle for Sunday with the addition of an OT Lesson and a variable weekday with a unified calendar returning the Octaves of Epiphany and Pentecost, the Rogations and Embers to both and a unified calendar.

I'm sorry, I have done this for 25 years, the Novus Ordo is irreformable and must die along with the generation that destroyed the faith.

And if you Mr. Barkin dare harass me over this on your little blog, I will visit you pastor again, am I clear?

D.A Domet

Julian Barkin said...

Yeah I guess you are more level headed in this. But you seem to be a rarity amongst volunteers. I've been a little jaded thanks to my parish experiences. Most organ music I hear at Mass is usually the CBWIII or worse. Exception in my life was my former Novus Ordo parish who has their own hymnal commissioned under their current head of music (which the local heretic/Lonergan theologian there hates. Good sign.) My current parish has a decent music director who has wonderfully snuck in classical pieces during the Communion hymns and big events like the Triduum (think the whole Pange Lingua in Latin) but for other songs uses the even more dreadful Gather. All other parishes I've frequrnted have had the displeasure of volunteer music ministers who use praise and worship/CBWIII/Gather regularly. Worse example was at one of the parishes under your K of C's council they serve, the minister plays bongos and guitar at mass.
I went last year for Novus Ordo Saturday Easter Vigil. Poorly attended and a big mistake. His music was horrible. I cannot be any more charitable than that and it gave me such a letdown when I was so excited to see one of the best known masses in the Novus Ordo for beautiful symbolism in the calendar year.

Gabby said...

I'm in a parish with an all volunteer choir and director. They do the best they can but they grew up in 70s and it shows. They still go to the old Glory and Praise booklets for tunes they sang in school. The one break I'll give them is that they go to the CBWII for some of the old standards to get the versions that haven't been updated (i.e. Immaculate Mary).

Should we get a new hymnal I would definitely like to see it contain a revised Good Shepherd Mass and, like you, David, I would like to see Masses kept together.

Missa de Angelis should be included. I recently rediscovered that one during a production of Agnes of God. If a 16 year old girl who's never sung in Latin or Greek -- her mother tongue is Arabic -- can pull that one off for a play, I would think that it's not out of the reach of the average parish. At this time I'd be happy if we could simply include its Kyrie at Sunday Mass.

The first Mass setting given should be the chants from the Missal.

We've been singing the Geoffrey Angeles setting of Mass since 2011 and I, for one, is sick of it.

Julian Barkin said...

Gabby, of the three standard settings that came out in the 1st year of the new missal, that of Fr Angeles was the most "churchy." The other two were garbage or too hard to sing. Setting b by that praise and worship guy is the most used .... And the most horrible. You should be thankful the best of be three was used for your parish.

Aloysius Gonzaga said...

Is there a reason why nearly every parish carries the same hymnals? Is there a "law" that says all parishes have to carry the CBW? I doubt it. If a parish decided to carry the Adoremus hymnal or something traditional, what could a bishop do?

Bear said...

Aloysius: to the best of my knowledge, nothing. In my opinion, a national hymnal could be a good idea. The problem was that this one was just very poorly done.

Gabby said...

What I've always wondered is did the CCCB have a competition for the three best compositions or did it specifically go out and commission these composers to each provide a setting? We were told by the diocesan Liturgy guru that we weren't to use anything but one of those three settings (Canadian parishes use Canadian settings, don't you know)although I had other settings in hand from American composers, at least one provided free of charge to anyone who wanted to use it.

As far as the CBWIII goes, I have to admit that I've been sorely tempted to vandalize every copy in my parish's pews by ripping out the Foreword.

I've started removing the photocopies of the Carey Landry "Gloria" that someone thought was a good idea to glue on the flyleaf. I figure that since we haven't done that one since 2011 it's time for it to disappear so no one gets the bright idea of bringing it back.

Bear said...

My understanding- what i have heard from generally reliable sources- is that there was a call for submissions of Mass settings, but, of the final three chosen, two were written by members of the selection committee. If true,that would be a huge conflict of interest.

Furthermore, I was told that the instruction to use only those three settings was only for the first year of the new translation.

I am happy to say that,come the return of ordinary time, my parish will finally ditch that Angeles setting. It isn't very good, and after several y7ears of singing it and nothing else, I am thoroughly sick of it.

Gabby said...

Aloysius Gonzaga, I think the use of the CBW III may be dictated by finances. If you get the diocesan office to put in the order and get it sent to you, they get them at a discount. That's how we acquired ours, long after they had been published. They came out in 94 and I think we got ours in 2002. Up until then it we were using CBW 1 & II.