Hymnal revision


The Roman Missal has been revised. Is it a requirement that Catholic hymnals be revised? If Yes, how often?


I am not aware of the revising of Hymnals per se. Our parish uses a GIA Hymnal that gave us a revised booklet with the revised Mass parts. Our liturgy/music director is pretty up to date with the revised psalms to be sung. There are several major hymnal companies that continue to update music. Oregon Catholic Press is big here in the west. They have seasonal Music Issues that can be updated on a regular basis. The downside of our GIA Hymnals is that you buy a big red book that looks nice, but you have invested money is a product that is not easily updated.


The only things which must be revised in hymnals are the Mass parts, so that they meet the new translations. That being said, there are many hymnals - most especially Oregon Catholic Press - which need revision so that their hymns correspond to orthodox Catholic theology.


The 2001 Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (at vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20010507_liturgiam-authenticam_en.html ) included:

“108. Sung texts and liturgical hymns have a particular importance and efficacy. Especially on Sunday, the “Day of the Lord”, the singing of the faithful gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass, no less than the prayers, the readings and the homily, express in an authentic way the message of the Liturgy while fostering a sense of common faith and communion in charity.[78] If they are used widely by the faithful, they should remain relatively fixed so that confusion among the people may be avoided. Within five years from the publication of this Instruction, the Conferences of Bishops, necessarily in collaboration with the national and diocesan Commissions and with other experts, shall provide for the publication of a directory or repertory of texts intended for liturgical singing. This document shall be transmitted for the necessary recognitio to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.”

In Australia, in response to this, there is a list of approved hymns by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, at catholic.org.au/national-liturgical-music-board/recommended-hymns-and-songs-approved-by-the-acbc . It has there: “The titles constitute a list of recommended hymns and liturgical songs suitable for Catholic worship in Australia. This is the first stage of the ongoing NLC Music Resource project to provide a liturgical resource in both hard copy and electronic format.”


Even then, the obligation is to celebrate the mass according to the new revision. I don’t believe there is any obligation that the books in the pews match the mass being celebrated, although that would be ideal.


John Lilburne, Thank you for the websites! They are deeply detailed.


By “Mass parts” in a hymnal, I’m referring to musical settings of the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Eucharistic acclamation, and Agnus Dei. This also includes musical settings of the Entrance and Communion Antiphons (found in better hymnals). The older translations of these prayers need to be updated to match the Roman Missal.


In the 2001 Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (the website mentioned by John Lilburne) it was mentioned: “Indeed, it may be affirmed that the Roman Rite is itself a precious example and an instrument of true inculturation.” Please explain “an instrument of true inculturation”.


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