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Row over Catholic Church music takes dramatic turn
The Scotsman ^ | March 8, 2014 | KEN WALTON

Posted on 03/09/2014 9:50:24 PM PDT by hiho hiho

There’s a musical stramash going on within the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

In popular parlance it has been described as a battle between the “post-Vatican II hippies and the right-wing traditionalists”.

More seriously, it’s about the difference between respecting, protecting and reinterpreting the centuries’ old tradition of people-friendly Gregorian Chant within the context of congregational participation in the liturgical mass, and the banal sentimental dirges that have infested Sunday worship in most Catholic churches since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s told its churches to open up to the modern world.

In Scotland in recent years, the battle over interpreting that edict has become political, between the insiders (those on message with the Scottish church’s National Music Advisory Board, in particular its chairman and Glasgow Archdiocese director of music, Monsignor Gerry Fitzpatrick, himself a composer/publisher), and the outsiders (among them leading composer James MacMillan, who is director of music at the Dominican-run St Columba’s Church in Glasgow, and heads up Musica Sacra Scotland, an initiative aimed at reviving chant-based worship in the Scottish Catholic Church).

Signs that the insiders are deeply self-protective surfaced during Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland in 2010, with attempts by Mgr Fitzpatrick to pull a new mass setting MacMillan had composed for the Papal celebration at Bellahouston Park because it was “unsingable”. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and a posting on the St Columba’s choir website, which claimed that MacMillan, despite repeated efforts to seek NMAB membership, had not only been excluded from joining, but that any enquiries asking for an explanation had been repeatedly ignored.

MacMillan is adamant this is not a one-man crusade to inflict his musical/spiritual views on the Catholic populace of Scotland. There are many top-level church musicians who are equally exasperated by the current banality of music which, they say, is unfit for spiritual purpose.

Among them is leading Aberdeen academic, university organist and music director of Aberdeen’s Catholic diocesan choir, Roger Williams. “Music in the Catholic Church at the moment is in a dreadful state,” he claims. “There is no need for that, because there is a very fine heritage of Catholic music, namely in Gregorian chant and in a lot of the music written by major composers, from Palestrina to Mozart and many more since. There is no shortage of material and most of it can be adapted and adopted to fit the precepts of Vatican II, especially when looked at in an unprejudiced way.”

The claim that MacMillan’s congregational mass settings are unsingable is utterly ridiculous. How ironic, for instance, that in Presbyterian Paisley Abbey once a month, his St Anne’s Mass is sung with great affection by the entire congregation?

The problem seems to lie in the vested interests of the NMAB, and a power base largely weighted towards the West of Scotland. Criticism is unwelcome, and when voiced tends to be veiled in cautious terms. The former convener of the Liturgy Commission Music Advisory Board for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Dr Evelyn Stell, wrote recently: “Generally speaking, the music promoted [by the NMAB] is in the post-Vatican II West of Scotland style, mainly that written by Gerry Fitzpatrick and his colleagues, but mention has been made of other types. It would certainly seem logical and beneficial that an organisation such as Musica Sacra [Scotland] should be represented; it would greatly widen the range of music considered. I see no reason why James MacMillan’s enquiries about membership should not result in an invitation to him to send one or more delegates.”

Well, events have taken a sudden turn. When I approached the Scottish Catholic media office last week, I was informed that the current make-up of the NMAB committee and the whole question of its membership will shortly be reviewed.

MacMillan is clear what any newly formed NMAB’s priority should be. “It is to address the confusion over how we are meant to sing our prayers. The use of simple unadorned melodies from the Catholic treasury of tradition and its great reservoir of musical heritage is the most prayerful and respectful way a Catholic can raise his or her voice at the altar of God.”

Does he reckon Scotland’s Catholics would go along with this, or view it as elitism? “It’s hard to gauge,” he admits. “Many Catholics here have got used to the sense of drift over the years. Perhaps they have not been informed about what a truly beautiful sense of best practice could be like. But many of the 200 who attended the recent Musica Sacra Scotland Conference Mass in Glasgow, were moved and surprised by what they experienced. Some said they had not participated in a more beautiful liturgy, and that they sang everything. This is not elitism. This is Catholicism.”

And will MacMillan finally see the doors of the NMAB opened to him? Following my approach to the Catholic Church press office, the posting on the St Columba’s choir website was instantly removed. God moving in mysterious ways? A positive signal? Or just good old pressure politics? God knows.


TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/09/2014 9:50:24 PM PDT by hiho hiho
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To: hiho hiho
the banal sentimental dirges that have infested Sunday worship in most Catholic churches since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s

And its narcissistic. Post VII music is about us, how great we are, me, me, me, I, I, I. Not about God, not about adoring and praising and loving God. See Bad Poetry, Bad Theology: The Curse of Bad Liturgical Music (Part Two) and Pop Goes the Mass The Curse of Bad Liturgical Music (Part One)

Please Lord, restore your Church.

2 posted on 03/09/2014 10:22:14 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: hiho hiho

“The use of simple unadorned melodies from the Catholic treasury of tradition and its great reservoir of musical heritage is the most prayerful and respectful way a Catholic can raise his or her voice at the altar of God.”

Bears repeating. Even chanting.


3 posted on 03/09/2014 10:23:40 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: hiho hiho

The traditional hymns and chant are coming back at my church. Thank you, God!


4 posted on 03/09/2014 10:25:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: hiho hiho

Lord pray that the Catholics don’t make the error we Protestants have. Don’t let these retarded modern praise songs take the place of the old hymns.
Its just repeating some hypnotic rhyming chant,, again and again, and again.


5 posted on 03/09/2014 10:37:06 PM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

So true. All this is part of the larger PC diversity movement to include guitar, drum, and banjo and hand clapping.


6 posted on 03/09/2014 10:37:28 PM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

Great articles. Thanks!


7 posted on 03/09/2014 10:44:43 PM PDT by savagesusie (Right Reason According to Nature = Just Law)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM
"Please Lord, restore your Church."

Amen, and, bump...

8 posted on 03/09/2014 11:29:32 PM PDT by redhead (NO GROUND TO THE DEVIL! Remember BENGHAZI!! Use Weaponized Prayer)
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To: hiho hiho
NTR Podium (Nederland)
De Schotse trots van James MacMillan
(Netherlands: The Scottish Pride of James MacMillan)
uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1326871#0
…The claim that MacMillan’s congregational mass settings are unsingable is utterly ridiculous. How ironic, for instance, that in Presbyterian Paisley Abbey once a month, his St Anne’s Mass is sung with great affection by the entire congregation?

youtube.com/watch?v=7YcH5yCSiuE
Gloria

youtube.com/watch?v=bRTCPZy8-rI
Sanctus

youtube.com/watch?v=C8cDhoq46iA
Miserere

9 posted on 03/10/2014 12:14:32 AM PDT by CharlesOConnell (CharlesOConnell)
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To: hiho hiho

“it’s about the difference between respecting, protecting and reinterpreting the centuries’ old tradition of people-friendly Gregorian Chant within the context of congregational participation in the liturgical mass, and the banal sentimental dirges that have infested Sunday worship in most Catholic churches since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s...”

Of course we have the same issue in our country. The liturgical industrial complex with its crappy, banal, irreverent music needs to be overturned. Ironically, Vatican II’s document on the Sacred Liturgy said Gregorian Chant should hold pride of place, that polyphony is encouraged, that Latin should be retained in the Latin rite, and the faithful should be able to sing the Ordinary parts in Latin. None of that part of Vatican II was EVER implemented! Shame on those who dumped millenia of tradition without proper preservation.


10 posted on 03/10/2014 1:17:50 AM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

Complimenting ones self is not worship.


11 posted on 03/10/2014 2:23:30 AM PDT by Bethaneidh
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To: Unam Sanctam

.....Or those faithful who struggle with the Latin, at least the English translation to the music.


12 posted on 03/10/2014 3:24:24 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: hiho hiho

I would rather have a good singing of “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art” then some of the worse happy-clappy being sung at the present time.


13 posted on 03/10/2014 3:26:00 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: hiho hiho

Is Marty Haugen plaguing the Church in Scotland?


14 posted on 03/10/2014 3:43:49 AM PDT by Fred Hayek (The Democratic Party is now the operational arm of the CPUSA)
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To: DesertRhino

“Lord pray that the Catholics don’t make the error we Protestants have. Don’t let these retarded modern praise songs take the place of the old hymns.”

Amen to that! We’ve had to relocate a few times because of DH’s job. When I’m calling (Baptist) churches to get a list of potentials, I ask two questions: (1) What version of the Bible do you use? (2) What hymnal do you use?

The contemporary airy-fairy choruses and hymns are all about feeling good (although they’re mostly annoying). Give me “A Mighty Fortress” or “No Other Plea” — things that are heavy in Theology and make a person think.


15 posted on 03/10/2014 3:53:13 AM PDT by MayflowerMadam
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To: DesertRhino
Lord pray that the Catholics don’t make the error we Protestants have. Don’t let these retarded modern praise songs take the place of the old hymns.

Sadly, in most parishes, you're a few decades late.

16 posted on 03/10/2014 5:18:20 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: hiho hiho

I listened to a cantor sing stabat mater Saturday at a Benedictine chapel for a mass.

Yesterday I heard the most banal pop tune, Change Our Hearts at mass in my parish.

What a contrast!

Love my parish, but oh, please can’t we have some music that acutally invites contemplation of God rather than naval gazing?


17 posted on 03/10/2014 5:28:19 AM PDT by OpusatFR
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Argggh....

~navel gazing.


18 posted on 03/10/2014 5:30:26 AM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Unam Sanctam
Gregorian Chant should hold pride of place, that polyphony is encouraged, that Latin should be retained in the Latin rite, and the faithful should be able to sing the Ordinary parts in Latin None of that part of Vatican II was EVER implemented!

At my parish church yesterday (8:30 Mass, "novus ordo"):

Entrance Hymn -- "These forty days" (English, one verse)
Introit -- Invocabit me (Graduale proper), chanted in Latin by the schola
Kyrie -- Missa XI (Orbis Factor) chanted in Greek by schola and congregation
Creed -- Credo III, Latin (schola + congregation)
Offertory -- Scapulis suis (Graduale proper), Latin, schola
Offertory Hymn -- Parce Domine, sung in Latin by schola and congregation
Sanctus -- Missa XI, Latin, schola and congregation
Agnus Dei -- Missa XI, Latin, schola and congregation
Communion -- Scapulis suis (Graduale proper) schola
Communion hymn -- Anima Christi (girls' schola)
Post-communion -- Ave Regina Caelorum (schola + congregation)
Recessional -- Attende Domine (Latin, schola + congregation)

It can be done. You have to have musicians who are willing to do it (they don't have to be professionals, either; we aren't), and a pastor and bishop who are willing to let it happen.

The pastor and the music director(s) also have to be ready to deflect some complaints ("you don't sing the treacly, dumb stuff that I like, like 'On Eagles' Wings'!" "There's too much Latin, I don't like Latin, I thought Vatican II did away with it, and picking up the printed worship aid and reading the translation in there is too much work for me! Waahh!").

It will end up costing much less than the annual tribute to Oregon Catholic Press for their wretched "music issue", and you will have far more beautiful music at Mass.

19 posted on 03/10/2014 5:31:41 AM PDT by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: hiho hiho

Vatican II called for the people to learn Gregorian Chant. Nothing about introducing dirges, folk music, rock and or roll.


20 posted on 03/10/2014 5:46:57 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: Brian Kopp DPM
Please Lord, restore your Church.

How do you feel about a restoration that would use the vernacular? Is Latin a vital component? If so, why?

21 posted on 03/10/2014 5:48:07 AM PDT by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: don-o

I would be fine with the hybrid missal of 1965. It simply followed VII instructions to introduce some vernacular while employing a straight translation of the 1962 missal. It didn’t create a “banal, fabricated liturgy” (Cardinal Ratzinger’s description, not mine) out of thin air as happened with the 1970 missal of Paul VI.


22 posted on 03/10/2014 6:06:08 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Campion

Just simply have the English translation of the Latin words, problem solved.


23 posted on 03/10/2014 6:20:21 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: don-o

Latin is a wonderful language, but using the vernacular is much more important.


24 posted on 03/10/2014 6:22:26 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

Interesting. I just googled “missal of 1965” and found it complete on line.

http://www.ccwatershed.org/media/pdfs/13/11/15/17-54-56_0.pdf


25 posted on 03/10/2014 6:29:36 AM PDT by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: hiho hiho

Just buy “Greatest hits of Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts”, and you will be good to go.


26 posted on 03/10/2014 6:31:30 AM PDT by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: hiho hiho
Row over Catholic Church music takes dramatic turn

Mysteriously Moved by Sacred Music [Catholic Caucus]
What is Sacred Music? Historically it’s a bit more complex than you may think
What Are the Eight Myths About Church Music? (Catholic / Orthodox Caucus)
St Meinrad shows the way forward for music publishing
Good Hymns, Bad Hymns
Gregorian Chant on EWTN
Gregorian chant gains momentum in Anchorage
Gregorian Chant Revival (Nice Video For A Slow Day)
Vatican experts say Pope may propose reform of liturgical music in coming weeks
Bad Music is Destroying the Church

What does the Church Really Say about Music in Mass?
The "Gathering of Witnesses" (recap Monday's BCL Subcommittee on Liturgy and Music)
I Had a Dream: The Music of Palestrina and Gregory the Great Had Come Back
A Change of Tune in the Vatican (shift taking place in liturgical music)
Pope Against Pop Music In Mass
Next Stop On the Liturgy Train.... (Music!)
St. Louis Jesuits: 'I don't think we're rebels at all' (liturgical music)
Making Music at St. Mary Major; the Becket Battle
SYNOD OF BISHOPS - 10OCT05 - Participation of the Laity (with music)
Catholic Liturgy - Pre-recorded Music at Mass And More on Communion Services

27 posted on 03/10/2014 6:50:31 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Biggirl

Adam Bartlett and others are doing wonderful work in preparing English proper chants for the Mass. All to the good to get people back to listening to real sacred music.


28 posted on 03/11/2014 12:24:15 AM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Campion

You’re one of the lucky ones!


29 posted on 03/11/2014 12:25:04 AM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Unam Sanctam

Good Morning and THANK-YOU for making my day with that sacred music update! :)


30 posted on 03/11/2014 4:22:24 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

The Catholic Church is in dire straits in Scotland as far as music goes. Mournful dirges dragged out interminably slowly, with the words often blasphemous, heretical or plain nonsensical, as long as they rhyme it does not seem to matter. The two I hate with a vengeance (and will never go back to a church where I have heard them sung) are “Fill My House Unto the Fullest” and “One bread on Body”. The “St. Louis Jesuits” (who are not Jesuits at all) and their woeful dirges should be banned.


31 posted on 03/20/2014 8:35:54 AM PDT by McW
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