Skip to comments.Cross? What Cross?
Posted on 07/28/2007 6:54:40 PM PDT by hiho hiho
I've recently been strapping on the swamp boots to wade through something called Glory and Praise, perhaps the most commonly used Roman Catholic hymnal in the United States and Canada. Oh, it is sloppy and noisome work, logging the bathos, stupidity, banality, heresy, and textual vandalism. I've concluded, though, that there is one factor that touches every problem, something that helps explain these apparently disparate acts of mischief:
-- the neutering of old masculine language about mankind and even God
-- the heedless fouling up of the old poetry, to update a "thou" and a "thee"
-- the seizing of every chance to talk about dancing (not to be found in the New Testament, I suspect, unless it's Salome) and about the motherhood of God"
-- in general, the louche emphasis upon feelings, not repentance, but soft and syrupy feelings
-- the blithe arrogation of God's words to ourselves, speaking in the first person
-- the arrogation of God's grace and majesty to ourselves: "We are the Bread, we are the Body"
-- the celebration of our own wonderfulness, and the decrying of sin -- that is, other people's sins
-- the abandonment of traditional liturgical forms, traditional poetry and song -- all relegated to the status of the "old fashioned," for trotting out, like Grandmama's silver, at certain feasts, and that's it
-- the passing along of counterfeit "folk" music, actually performance music, like "Do You Remember the Kind of September," only not nearly as good
-- the mincing baby-talk in the verses, along with a bogus primitivism, a la the Indians in Hollywood: "You are child of the universe."
It's narcissism, all of it. It's the pretty boy at the side of the pool, gazing upon his image in the water, ignoring his parents, the woman in love with him, the reality of the world around him. He wants to remain a pretty boy forever -- he wants a disembodied "union" with no ties to the past, no duties to his fellows, and no law to obey. It's music that encourages a choir full of American Idols, shimmying and shaking and calling attention to themselves, while envying one another (I'll bet some of our bloggers have stories about infighting among the twenty self-appointed soloists of a "Christian" choir).
What's missing from the hymnal? Oh, music, poetry -- and one thing above all: the Cross. The Cross sure does seem a fine cure for narcissism. In all our arguments about ordination and (in the Catholic church) lay "ministry," nobody ever says, "I want the right to be ordained a priest because I demand to be crucified!" Or, "I want to serve as a lector because I want to be crucified!" Hardly -- these things and many more are considered clerical plums that everybody ought to be able to pop in the mouth, if they choose. We are Church, don't you know, not to mention Bread and Body and God Almighty. If there is a single new "hymn" that is written in the shadow of the Cross, encouraging the taking up of what will leave your back stooped and your shoulders cut with splinters, I haven't seen it. Meanwhile, a part of my own crucifixion seems to be the necessity of listening to it all, and watching the performers. Silence would be infinitely better.
Yes, silence, or possibly...
Why ever didn’t Vatican II just authorize poetic translations of the Tridentine Mass into the literary versions of vernacular languages?
I feel for my separated Latin bretheren!
Although the Greeks and the OCA sometimes used a translation into contemporary English, most Orthodox in North America use translations into Early Modern (= Shakespearean or ‘King James’) English: Bishop BASIL’s translation of the Liturgicon, the Holy Transfiguration Monastery translations of the Psalter, the Ochetokos, the Menaion, the Great Horologion, . . ., and we sing the translations to one of the old chant systems.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic Ping List:
Please ping me to all note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.
Some Fanny J. Crosby and Issac Watts songs would be a good place to begin.
I just want our Gregorian Chant back. Paul VI apparently did too:
OK guys, I’m gonna come clean - I sing in the contemporary choir at my church and G&P is the book we use for all the regular hymns.
Now I’m not gonna say it’s excellent, some of the songs are awful, and of course I hate all the “yous” instead of thous and thees, but there are some really good and deep songs in there.
(as a defense for myself, I also love singing Gregorian chant and more classical music, but I stopped going to the Choir school, and the classical choir at my church has a median age of around 67 - I’m 17)
Also the horrid series put out by Oregon Catholic Press Music. The one that had obscene and anti-Semitic stuff on the front from a wayward monk. Erspramer or something live that Stve Espramer maybe — he did the current one on it this season, too. Look him up when you get the correct spelling on the internet. You will be horrified.
So much of what I hear is basically “1970s hippie Jesuit with a guitar” type of music.
This is what makes me cringe -- and I go to a Mass that's usually (blessedly) without music. The Prayer of the Faithful is always infested with this attitude!
Anyone know offhand where the Prayer of the Faithful items are manufactured? National? Diocese? Parish? Just wondering!
God wants you to be rich.
Occasionally I find a ‘Great Old Hymn’ in the OCP ‘ditties’ book, but they have always ‘updated’ (ie, dumbed down) the words into a pablumy goop. Thank God for the early morning, NO-music masses. Else the torture would be too great (for this musician, anyway).
I agree - the Prayers of the Faithful can be so banal. And worse.
Sounds lovely! Lucky you . . .
Poetic and accurate translations of the traditional Latin Mass into the vernacular did exist before VII. They can still be found in hand missals that were originally published in the 50's and early 60's. Much of these translations could have been used for the new Mass of Paul VI, but the creators of the new Mass were not interested in using them.
Actually, Vatican II didn't mandate that the entire Mass be in the vernacular. It stated that the main language of the Mass should remain Latin. Certain parts, like the Scripture readings and sermon, could be in the vernacular for the benefit of the faithful.