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The Catholic Case for Protestant Hymns
First Things ^ | 3/16/12 | Nathaniel Peters

Posted on 03/16/2012 7:53:04 PM PDT by marshmallow

Should Catholics sing hymns at Mass? Given the state of Catholic liturgical music, it’s a fair question. In the last century, Catholics exchanged their musical solid food for milk—usually skim and on the edge of going sour. Hymns at Mass are a recent addition to the liturgy. Hymns were used in the daily office, rotating by day or by season, but the Tridentine Mass had chants for particular days—the propers of the Mass—not hymns. Protestant congregations who were departing from medieval practice in other ways introduced hymns into the liturgy itself, and, as many Christians of all kinds acknowledge, Catholic attempts to appropriate and improve on this Protestant modification have not turned out well.

It should not surprise us, therefore, that some Catholics who want to fix church music focus on Gregorian chant and move away from hymns altogether. Others lean more favorably toward hymns, but seek to make sure that they are Catholic hymns. But there are good reasons for Catholics to sing hymns—and Protestant hymns, at that. Even as they strive for excellence in Gregorian chant and other areas of musical renewal, Catholics would do well to remember what good hymns can do and why excellence in hymn-singing should be part of the Catholic liturgical renewal.

First, good hymns offer an excellent opportunity for catechesis, which is one of the purposes of liturgy. Like the proper chants, they can help us digest the truths of God we have just received in Scripture and offer an exegesis of particular feasts themselves. Consider the Lutheran Easter hymn, “Awake, My Heart, with Gladness”:

Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whate’er He passeth through.
He rends Death’s iron chain,

(Excerpt) Read more at firstthings.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Mainline Protestant; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholicism; hymnology; hymns; protestantism

1 posted on 03/16/2012 7:53:08 PM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

Oh, I love the Great Hymns. We have a new organist, Catholic Church, who plays them. They are glorious — the music, the words, the theology.


2 posted on 03/16/2012 7:54:58 PM PDT by bboop (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? St. Augustine)
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To: bboop; marsh-mellow

Just watchout that someone doesn’t introduce Hermns to supplement or replace the Hymns.


3 posted on 03/16/2012 8:00:15 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: marshmallow

We have a new “band” that volunteers at the noon Mass. I can’t stand them with their drums and keyboard and guitar and ugh, tamborine. They sing non Catholic hymns, even did “He’s MY Brother” one Sunday.

During the Agnus Dei, they encourage the congregation to clap and/or wave their arms and sway back and forth. It grates on me that I was gritting my teeth by the end of Mass.

I had to quit going to that Mass for my own sake.

I know that there are many who enjoy that kind of music at Mass and as long as it is approved, I would never ask that it be stopped, but I cannot and will not go to Mass when they are playing.

I agree that some Protestant hymns are lovely and holy and as long as they do not contradict Catholic doctrine, I see no problem with them.

I also encourage my Confirmation students to sing along and pay attention to the hymns sung at Mass as the words are Scripture.


4 posted on 03/16/2012 8:05:19 PM PDT by Jvette
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To: marshmallow

In the Methodist church, we sing some Catholic hymns such as “Beim Frühen Mor­gen­licht” (When Morning Gilds the Skies) and the familiar Christmas songs, “Veni, Emmanuel” (Oh Come, Emmanuel) “Adeste Fidelis” (Oh Come, All Ye Faithful), “In Dulci Jubilo” (Good Christian Men Rejoice) and “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” (Silent Night, Holy Night).


5 posted on 03/16/2012 8:30:59 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: Jvette
We have a new “band” that volunteers at the noon Mass. I can’t stand them with their drums and keyboard and guitar and ugh, tamborine. They sing non Catholic hymns, even did “He’s MY Brother” one Sunday.

During the Agnus Dei, they encourage the congregation to clap and/or wave their arms and sway back and forth. It grates on me that I was gritting my teeth by the end of Mass.

It seems as though the music wars in churches are being fought in most denominations, and the fans of traditional music are losing. a few years ago, a teenage girl told me about the evangelical "mega-church" that she attended. I asked her if it had an organ, and she gave me a blank stare. It turned out that she had no idea what an organ was. The music at her church consisted entirely of a guitar-driven "praise" repertoire.

6 posted on 03/16/2012 8:40:31 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: marshmallow

marshmallow:

I think it depends, there are some great Hyms that were written by those from Protestant traditions that are no problem for Catholic Liturgy. Many of the hyms from the Anglican tradition [including those written by Wesley] are theologically in line with Catholic Doctrine and are appropriate for Litugry. Some of the hyms from the Lutheran Tradition would also be appropriate.

Modern Protestant music from the non-Liturgical Protestant traditions should not be used in Catholic Liturgy, in my view.


7 posted on 03/16/2012 8:47:48 PM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: marshmallow

marshmallow:

I think it depends, there are some great Hyms that were written by those from Protestant traditions that are no problem for Catholic Liturgy. Many of the hyms from the Anglican tradition [including those written by Wesley] are theologically in line with Catholic Doctrine and are appropriate for Litugry. Some of the hyms from the Lutheran Tradition would also be appropriate.

Modern Protestant music from the non-Liturgical Protestant traditions should not be used in Catholic Liturgy, in my view.


8 posted on 03/16/2012 8:48:07 PM PDT by CTrent1564
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Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


9 posted on 03/16/2012 8:53:52 PM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!


10 posted on 03/16/2012 8:56:41 PM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: CTrent1564

**theologically in line with Catholic Doctrine and are appropriate for Litugry**

Hitting the nail on the head. There are some hymns that I absolutely will NOT sing, because they do not reflect Catholic doctrine. For example, “Amazing Grace”


11 posted on 03/16/2012 9:15:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
because they do not reflect Catholic doctrine.

Just curious, where does Amazing Grace divert from Catholic doctrine?

12 posted on 03/16/2012 9:33:19 PM PDT by xone
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To: marshmallow
but the Tridentine Mass had chants for particular days—the propers of the Mass—not hymns.

This article was pretty thoroughly savaged today on the ChantCafe blog because of this line. The author evidently does not know that the Mass of Paul VI has "chants for particular days - the propers of the Mass," too. In fact (if you want to sing them in Latin), they are some of the same chants as in the Tridentine Mass (but not always on the same day). There are also some nice English chant settings of the propers.

Really, we should not be singing hymns -- Catholic, Protestant, or Buddhist -- in the Mass unless we're singing them in addition to the propers. The propers are part of the Missal and are prescribed for that particular liturgical day. The Paul VI GIRM unfortunately made the mistake of permitting alius cantus aptus ("other appropriate song") with the result that 98% of parishes never hear the propers anymore.

13 posted on 03/16/2012 10:17:44 PM PDT by Campion ("It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." -- Franklin)
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To: CTrent1564
Modern Protestant music from the non-Liturgical Protestant traditions should not be used

You forgot the period after 'used'. Ever. By anyone.

I'm not Catholic, but I'm all or retaining the traditional music and losing the rock music.

I don't go to services to hear rock music. I don't find much reverence there.

/johnny

14 posted on 03/16/2012 10:18:31 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: marshmallow

In trying to be with it, the Church adopted folk music in the wake of Vatican II in the 60’s.

Now, nearly 40 years after folk music left the popular music charts, the Church is the last bastian for that horrible guitar and tambourine cacaphony that is folk music.

Hard to believe that the hierarchy thinks that noise helps lift the spirit and bring one closer to God.

I’ll take classic Protestant hymns (Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art) over the raw noise that pollutes the Mass today.


15 posted on 03/16/2012 10:21:58 PM PDT by oldbill
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To: xone
Just curious, where does Amazing Grace divert from Catholic doctrine?

Wherever it is, it's a lot less heretical than some supposedly "Catholic hymns" that appear in Catholic hymnals.

The argument that I saw objecting to "Amazing Grace" seemed to mostly object to the line "How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed", assuming that it left no place for grace to be received through the sacraments, but only "the hour I first believed". But it doesn't say "I received the full plenitude of grace, the hour I first believed," but only "how precious did that grace appear".

I thought the argument was rather specious. As I say, there are far worse "hymns" foisted on the Catholic faithful.

16 posted on 03/16/2012 10:23:21 PM PDT by Campion ("It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." -- Franklin)
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To: Campion

**Really, we should not be singing hymns — Catholic, Protestant, or Buddhist — in the Mass unless we’re singing them in addition to the propers.**

Bumping that!

I can’t wait until our present choir director/music director retires and we get this. One of the three choirs is already singing chants but the current director dominates the other two choirs.

The youth choir does pretty well, but their are youth and just learning.


17 posted on 03/16/2012 10:24:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Campion

Thank you.


18 posted on 03/16/2012 10:27:18 PM PDT by xone
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To: xone; Salvation
It doesn't -- in my opinion. Catholics believe we are saved by the Grace of God. So the amazing grace that saved wretches like us. The lyrics are also open to interpretation, so while one can have the interpretation I put above, others can have other interpretations.

For instance we do not say God's grace is dependent upon belief, but dependent upon God alone. Others could interpret differently

19 posted on 03/16/2012 10:40:18 PM PDT by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: Cronos

Amazing Grace history

http://www.snopes.com/religion/amazing.asp


20 posted on 03/16/2012 10:58:27 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: marshmallow

Interesting thread. We have no musical instruments at all. The entire congregation sings acapella. We sing a variety of hymns. From Martin Luther to Isaac Watts to Fanny Crosby to Bill Gaither. Gregorian, Anglican, Early American, Gospel, Modern.


21 posted on 03/16/2012 11:00:59 PM PDT by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: marshmallow

50. In sung liturgical services celebrated in Latin:

(a) Gregorian chant, as proper to the Roman liturgy, should be given pride of place, other things being equal. Its melodies, contained in the “typical” editions, should be used, to the extent that this is possible.

- Instruction on Music in the Liturgy, Second Vatican Council 1967

..............

Roma locuta. Causa finita est


22 posted on 03/16/2012 11:17:30 PM PDT by PanzerKardinal (Some things are so idiotic only an intellectual would believe it.)
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To: marshmallow

Why do Catholics have to ape Protestants?

We have 2,000 years of treasures to draw from.

What do Protestants have to equal the great Eucharistic hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas?

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.

Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
Who Thy glory hidest ‘neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.

Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.

What can compare to the grandeur of the Te Deum?

Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli;
tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
maiestatis gloriae tuae.

We praise thee, O God :
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee :
the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud :
the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim :
continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy :
Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty :
of thy glory.

And at Easter, what is more moving than Vidi Aquam

Vidi aquam egredientem de templo,
a latere dextro, alleluia:
et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista,
salvi facti sunt, et dicent, alleluia, alleluia.

I saw water coming forth from the temple
on the right side, alleluia:
and all those to whom this water came
were saved, and shall say, alleluia, alleluia.

Catholics should act Catholic.

Catholics should be Catholic.

Catholics don’t need to be watered down Protestants.


23 posted on 03/16/2012 11:35:08 PM PDT by PanzerKardinal (Some things are so idiotic only an intellectual would believe it.)
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To: marshmallow

Boy did you open a can of worms...For years I belonged to a Gregorian choir. Now I’m in the diocease of LaCrosse and I can only pick out a handfull of hymns I know in their book of liturgy.

Nobody knows most of those hymns and most importantly sor does the congregation. What’s the point ? What are the bishops proving ? I do have a slight advantage I can sight read the music if it’s there. The organist, least we have an organ at our church feels she’s got to play at least once every hymn that’s in that thing..Going to Mass for me is my pennance If I could find in my locale another eastern rite to belong to I’d join it in a heartbeat the new American rite sucks


24 posted on 03/17/2012 12:09:21 AM PDT by mosesdapoet ("The best way to punish a country is let professors run it. Fredrick the Great p/p)
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To: Campion

And of course the old Mass had hymns as well. The Sequence is just a Latin hymn—and they used to be much more prevalent before Trent.

What Paul VI did in allowing hymnody was not out of left field. It was recognizing a trend that had already begun.

Hundreds of years before Vatican II, the American Indian missions were singing vernacular hymns in place of most of the propers. They’d have an introit and sometimes a Gradual/Alleluia, but generally hymns for Offertory and Communion. And when I used to sing for the traditional Low Mass, we did the “hymn sandwich” that the cognoscenti seem to deride nowadays, but which I personally found very edifying.

Call me a musical Philistine or a closet Anglo-Catholic, but I am genuinely disappointed to go through Advent without hearing the complete “O Come O Come Emmanuel” at Mass.


25 posted on 03/17/2012 1:40:40 AM PDT by Claud
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To: PanzerKardinal

The vote is more important than the songs. Just get them to quit voting democrat.


26 posted on 03/17/2012 4:14:02 AM PDT by ansel12 ( Romney is a Mormon Bishop, as was his father, his uncle was in line to be the Mormon Prophet. Pope))
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To: Arkansas Toothpick
Thanks for posting one of my favorite hymns. Both the words and music are extremely powerful.

I've always joked that I'm a Missour Synod Lutheran because they have the best hymns of any denomination...and there's more than a grain of truth in that, lol.

27 posted on 03/17/2012 4:24:50 AM PDT by MinuteGal
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To: Fiji Hill

LOL, well I wouldn’t exactly call it war.

That is the beauty of the Catholic Church in that I merely moved to a later Mass where the music was more to my liking.

I remember loving the new music in the seventies when I was a kid, it seemed hip and cool to me.

Now, I want the hymns and the chants.


28 posted on 03/17/2012 9:11:52 AM PDT by Jvette
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To: Salvation

Salvation:

That is one that I refuse to sing as well. The Term wretched has definite calvinist double predestination implications and thus, as I said before, I also refuse to sing it as well.


29 posted on 03/17/2012 9:36:14 AM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: Campion

Campion:

Well, Marty Haugen [his music mind you, not him as a person, as I don’t know him] and the Oregon Catholic Press Hymal and the music that it has in it [i.e. Haugen, St. Louis Jesuits] and the music in it makes me puke, if that is what you are implying.


30 posted on 03/17/2012 9:40:44 AM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: PanzerKardinal

PanzerKardinal:

Te Deum and St. Thomas Aquinas’s Eucharistic hyms are incredible. Lets add Allegri’s Misere, and Palestrina’s music and all is Masses including the Victory Alleluia that is and the tune for the Strife is Over [one of my favorites] and O Magnum Mysterium. Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus is another one. Let all Mortal Flesh keep silence [Picardy] is another one.

But Yes, The Catholic Musical Tradition is unsurpassed, unfortunately many in the Church tried to throw it away after Vatican II but it is the “Return of the Jedi [i.e. Great Catholic Liturgical Musical tradition] to stamp out the Empire of the nebulous Spirit of Vatican II


31 posted on 03/17/2012 9:51:41 AM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: Salvation

“There are some hymns that I absolutely will NOT sing, because they do not reflect Catholic doctrine. For example, “Amazing Grace” “

It is disgusting that this is allowed in Catholic Churches; it has become widespread. If the Church allows people to sing a song in which they indicate they are already saved, they shouldn’t be surprised when those same parishioners don’t even bother going to Mass anymore. They don’t have to; they’re “saved”.


32 posted on 03/17/2012 3:40:55 PM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: marshmallow

Interesting thread.


33 posted on 03/17/2012 4:02:22 PM PDT by polkajello
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