I bring up this old chestnut because it was trotted out in another thread, and it seemed an apt topic for a tangent, so I started this thread so we would not hijack the other one.
In this blog post, Jeffrey Tucker, esteemed Director of Publications of CMAA, and Managing Editor of Sacred Music, seems to make a bold assertion: that by publication of the Roman Missal, Third Edition (actually by publication of the English translation of its GIRM) that the Church has legislated that only chants can be used, and no more hymns are licit for use in the Eucharistic liturgy.
He cites several substantial changes in the wording of the GIRM, but his thesis hinges on one word in particular: “chant”. This is a word that was previously translate into English as various words, but in particular, it meant “song”. Due to the reforms of Liturgiam Authenticam, which prohibited imprecise “dynamic equivalency” translation, the writers of the English Missal always use the word “chant” to translate the Latin “cantus”. So what Tucker sees as a revolutionary change in legislation is simply his own error in understanding the English and not studying the Latin original (shame, shame, he should know better!)
The proof is in the pudding. This blog post is 23 months old, and no bishop anywhere has prohibited hymns or songs which are now commonly used in place of chanted proper antiphons. It’s clear that the change in legislation, though present, was meant to be incremental and gentle, and hasn’t outlawed anything (yet). OCP/GIA/WLP can sleep soundly at night, knowing their empires are secure.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a Reform of the Reform. It may have suffered a setback with the election in March, but it is still a strong wave in liturgical music, and I think it is here to stay. My parish has jettisoned GIA’s Gather, and transitioned to the Lumen Christi Missal, and it is slowly but surely being implemented. We’ve still kept many of the hymns. No bishop has complained to us yet.