The Music Question


#1

Hi all,

I recently wrote to my parish to recommend the Vatican II Hymnal for use instead of the current Breaking Bread that is used there. I'm sure I don't have to state the reasons why I would prefer the former. Today I received a response from the Parish's Liturgy Director (is it strange that this is not the priest or is this very common today?) who informed me that they would be sticking to Breaking Bread because as she put it, "Breaking Bread is updated annually to meet the changing needs of today's Church." I have to say, this is a meaningless statement if I ever saw one. Sure, the people might be changing, but I don't see why the liturgy would need to change in response, especially as quickly as year to year. In fact, she called having the same book would be a limitation because it does not change enough.

So I am just a little perturbed at the rejection, but I should accept the rejection in charity. Still, what would you suggest I do? I don't think I can push the issue and just fight her about it, but what would you do? The parish is full of silly songs and bad music, IMO, and I thought that this would have been a great opportunity to afford some dignity in the liturgies that are performed here. I'm not satisfied by just going to another parish and completely forgetting about the irreverence in other parishes. So what would you suggest I do? I guess the first recommendation would be patience, but what else?


#2

Learn how to play the organ, but only learn how to play traditional music. Then volunteer to do the music whenever the other person is away, but insist only the traditional songs in Breaking Bread can be used, as that is all you know how to play. Do a really good job of it so that people will learn to prefer that over the other "music" (and I use the term loosely), and will request it more often.

That's my creative solution aside from hiding all the Breaking Bread song books and secretly cancelling the parish's OCP subscription, and ordering the Vatican II Hymnal yourself.


#3

Heh, I like the first solution, if only it didn’t take years to learn. :slight_smile:

And my Catholic sensibilities deter me from basically stealing all the Breaking Bread books, while at the same time encouraging me to burn them all. :wink:


#4

[quote="smndtupidisaftr, post:1, topic:298901"]
Hi all,

I recently wrote to my parish to recommend the Vatican II Hymnal for use instead of the current Breaking Bread that is used there. I'm sure I don't have to state the reasons why I would prefer the former. Today I received a response from the Parish's Liturgy Director (is it strange that this is not the priest or is this very common today?) who informed me that they would be sticking to Breaking Bread because as she put it, "Breaking Bread is updated annually to meet the changing needs of today's Church." I have to say, this is a meaningless statement if I ever saw one. Sure, the people might be changing, but I don't see why the liturgy would need to change in response, especially as quickly as year to year. In fact, she called having the same book would be a limitation because it does not change enough.

So I am just a little perturbed at the rejection, but I should accept the rejection in charity. Still, what would you suggest I do? I don't think I can push the issue and just fight her about it, but what would you do? The parish is full of silly songs and bad music, IMO, and I thought that this would have been a great opportunity to afford some dignity in the liturgies that are performed here. I'm not satisfied by just going to another parish and completely forgetting about the irreverence in other parishes. So what would you suggest I do? I guess the first recommendation would be patience, but what else?

[/quote]

As I read this, it isn't a rejection. Breaking Bread is a missalette that is published periodically with the readings of the day in it, and it's different from year to year since feast days fall on different dates each year. As for "not needing to state the reasons," perhaps that's the reason you were, as you say, rejected--generally when people hope to accomplish something in an organization, including the Church, they should give some reason why they want it done, and not just expect everyone to automatically agree with them, no discussion. Think about it--if there really were no reason not to switch, if it really were so obvious that it should be done, don't you think the parish staff would have already done it?

-ACEGC


#5

[quote="edward_george, post:4, topic:298901"]
As I read this, it isn't a rejection. Breaking Bread is a missalette that is published periodically with the readings of the day in it, and it's different from year to year since feast days fall on different dates each year. As for "not needing to state the reasons," perhaps that's the reason you were, as you say, rejected--generally when people hope to accomplish something in an organization, including the Church, they should give some reason why they want it done, and not just expect everyone to automatically agree with them, no discussion. Think about it--if there really were no reason not to switch, if it really were so obvious that it should be done, don't you think the parish staff would have already done it?

-ACEGC

[/quote]

Well I did state some reasons. Furthermore, there are obvious things that should be done but still are not. For instance, this parish consecrates the wine in a glass jug (they call it a flagon) and fraction the Precious Blood into chalices after. I brought the issue up and referenced RS and still was rejected. It is starting to become disheartening.


#6

[edited]
Since returning to the Church, I have lived in Virginia, Florida, and New York. I have never attended a Church in which such matters were handled by a lay person. If the Pastor didn’t do it himself, one of his subordinate priests functioned in that role. And in every case, the Organist (Music Director) took his orders from the Priest saying the Mass…with no objections being tolerated.


#7

[quote="edward_george, post:4, topic:298901"]
As I read this, it isn't a rejection. Breaking Bread is a missalette that is published periodically with the readings of the day in it, and it's different from year to year since feast days fall on different dates each year.

[/quote]

The Vatican II Hymnal includes all readings for all Sundays and holy days of the three-year Lectionary cycle. All that is required to adapt to subsequent years is the announcement of a new page number. The hymnal does lack daily Mass support, but this could be supplemented, and is not often required by the people in the pews who attend daily Mass.

As for "not needing to state the reasons," perhaps that's the reason you were, as you say, rejected--generally when people hope to accomplish something in an organization, including the Church, they should give some reason why they want it done, and not just expect everyone to automatically agree with them, no discussion. Think about it--if there really were no reason not to switch, if it really were so obvious that it should be done, don't you think the parish staff would have already done it?

-ACEGC

I think the OP meant that s/he will spare us the gory details because we are regulars here in the L&S forum, and I am sure that the OP provided plenty of reasoning in the letter that was relevant to the argument.

To the OP: I think you would be justified to re-send your letter, privately addressed to your pastor alone, and perhaps note that the liturgy director said this, but this is your opinion. It is a worthy opinion, but you may not get much traction if it is you alone vs. the parish. It would be even better to talk to other parishioners, and find out if there are any like-minded people there; the larger a group that supports something, the more likely a pastor is to listen to popular demand. Ultimately, the presider of the Mass is the only liturgist who matters, and the pastor is the only liturgist who should be making decisions that affect the whole parish.


#8

A couple of thoughts...
How big is your parish?
Are you the only one who has an issue with the music or are there others who feel the same way? Have you tried banding together, then appoaching your priest/liturgy director?
Are you willing to volunteer to help the music department or as a member of the liturgy committee if your parish has one?

I have found through experience that when I am willing to put my time & talents where my mouth & thoughts are, good things usually happen.

[quote="smndtupidisaftr, post:1, topic:298901"]
Hi all,

I recently wrote to my parish to recommend the Vatican II Hymnal for use instead of the current Breaking Bread that is used there. I'm sure I don't have to state the reasons why I would prefer the former. Today I received a response from the Parish's Liturgy Director (is it strange that this is not the priest or is this very common today?) who informed me that they would be sticking to Breaking Bread because as she put it, "Breaking Bread is updated annually to meet the changing needs of today's Church." I have to say, this is a meaningless statement if I ever saw one. Sure, the people might be changing, but I don't see why the liturgy would need to change in response, especially as quickly as year to year. In fact, she called having the same book would be a limitation because it does not change enough.

So I am just a little perturbed at the rejection, but I should accept the rejection in charity. Still, what would you suggest I do? I don't think I can push the issue and just fight her about it, but what would you do? The parish is full of silly songs and bad music, IMO, and I thought that this would have been a great opportunity to afford some dignity in the liturgies that are performed here. I'm not satisfied by just going to another parish and completely forgetting about the irreverence in other parishes. So what would you suggest I do? I guess the first recommendation would be patience, but what else?

[/quote]


#9

[quote="smndtupidisaftr, post:1, topic:298901"]
what would you suggest I do?

[/quote]

My suggestion.

Talk to the Pastor in person with a copy of the Vatican II Hymnal, so he can see it for himself. One major point to make is that the hymnal has the sung propers, which Breaking Bread does not have. Then, with the approval of the Pastor, offer to pay for the hymnals for the parish or start a donation drive to pay for it, so it will not be a finacial burden on the parish.


#10

Shortages in the Priest vocation often leaves more power with the laity. IMO this is the way it should be, especially in matters of music; unless the Priest has a music degree or was a professional conductor/music writer/singer. Unless the current music director is leading people away from God with their choice, the Priest is best to take their opinion.

Should you desire the change in music, you may sweet talk the director or pray for St. Cecila's intercession to change the music directors preference.


#11

[quote="Giggly_Giraffe, post:10, topic:298901"]
. Unless the current music director is leading people away from God with their choice,.

[/quote]

The orthodoxy of the music in Breaking Bread is questionable, thus leading subtly leading people away from God.


#12

That or the musical selection is putrid.

I just feel like I’ve been lied to twice by this parish. There is this where they tell me they want new hymnals every year for the variety but they play the same ten songs all year all with the same Mass setting. Then before they say only deacons approach the altar before distribution of the Eucharist to “fraction” the Precious Blood when EMHC’s do so all the time. It just feels helpless. I guess more prayer?


#13

[quote="Giggly_Giraffe, post:10, topic:298901"]
Shortages in the Priest vocation often leaves more power with the laity. IMO this is the way it should be...

[/quote]

I'm not sure that's right. It's seems quite clear in canon law and other places that the parish is primarily entrusted to the pastor (see §532, §536.2).


#14

I would reply with a monetary angle. The Breaking Bread book is updated annually as stated. That means each and every year you have to replace all the books in the church. So for the next 20 years you are paying the cost of the book (which is certain to go up) plus shipping. Compare that to the one time cost of a hymnal and you are actually saving the parish a ton of money. GIA had an ad somewhere showing how much money a parish saves when only using 500 copies of a hymnal over yearly replacements.


#15

[quote="OrganistRob, post:14, topic:298901"]
I would reply with a monetary angle. The Breaking Bread book is updated annually as stated. That means each and every year you have to replace all the books in the church. So for the next 20 years you are paying the cost of the book (which is certain to go up) plus shipping. Compare that to the one time cost of a hymnal and you are actually saving the parish a ton of money. GIA had an ad somewhere showing how much money a parish saves when only using 500 copies of a hymnal over yearly replacements.

[/quote]

Not to mention all the trees being cut down having to replace the song books. That's not very Vatican II. Try to appeal to their "environmentalism" side. My school cN't help but shove it down my throat.


#16

It would be a good argument, along with the money angle. However, I think it was a lost cause from the start because they said they were already receiving the Breaking Bread books for the Advent season.

But since it is a deacon who runs the parish and I have his email, maybe it would be better to go straight to him with the pitch. What do you think? Would he be (presumably) more receptive than the Liturgical Director?


#17

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:15, topic:298901"]
Not to mention all the trees being cut down having to replace the song books. That's not very Vatican II. Try to appeal to their "environmentalism" side. My school cN't help but shove it down my throat.

[/quote]

Our parish currently photocopies hundreds of worship aids every single week, in English and Spanish, distributed over six Sunday Masses. They are each one white legal-size sheet, folded in the middle. They include an introductory preamble regarding reception of Holy Communion, all the song words, all the readings, an evangelization prayer we don't use anymore, and some other parts of the Mass. There is no musical notation included. We have done this since before I joined the parish in 2005. Recently, we have relied solely on the Gather hymnal which has been in the pews for years, and hymn numbers are provided in the worship aids, but I don't see anyone using them on Sundays. For daily Mass, we use the Gather hymnal for entrance and sometimes recessional hymns.

It has been my position for some time that this is a huge waste of resources and money, and furthermore it encourages throwing the Word of God in the trash every week. You can mention that, with permanent hymnals or missals, the Word of God can be treated with respect.

Thankfully, we are getting the Lumen Christi Missal, which has all the readings for Sundays and solemnities, as well as antiphons, musical notation for the Ordinary of the Mass, and psalms, and basically all you need to sing the Mass. This is a good companion to the Simple English Propers or even a normal hymnal such as Adoremus (although there is some duplication with a hymnal, because they typically contain Mass parts as well.)

I can say with confidence that it is a great blessing to live in this time, when many great alternatives are available for liturgical music such as the ones we are discussing, that bishops are beginning to support and promote sacred music as the Church prefers, thanks be to God.


#18

[quote="smndtupidisaftr, post:1, topic:298901"]
Hi all,

I recently wrote to my parish to recommend the Vatican II Hymnal for use instead of the current Breaking Bread that is used there. I'm sure I don't have to state the reasons why I would prefer the former. Today I received a response from the Parish's Liturgy Director (is it strange that this is not the priest or is this very common today?) who informed me that they would be sticking to Breaking Bread because as she put it, "Breaking Bread is updated annually to meet the changing needs of today's Church." I have to say, this is a meaningless statement if I ever saw one. Sure, the people might be changing, but I don't see why the liturgy would need to change in response, especially as quickly as year to year. In fact, she called having the same book would be a limitation because it does not change enough.

So I am just a little perturbed at the rejection, but I should accept the rejection in charity. Still, what would you suggest I do? I don't think I can push the issue and just fight her about it, but what would you do? The parish is full of silly songs and bad music, IMO, and I thought that this would have been a great opportunity to afford some dignity in the liturgies that are performed here. I'm not satisfied by just going to another parish and completely forgetting about the irreverence in other parishes. So what would you suggest I do? I guess the first recommendation would be patience, but what else?

[/quote]

Although you think the songs are silly and the music bad, it appears the liturgy director and pastor do not. And perhaps the rest of the parish finds the music uplifting and conducive to worship.


#19

[quote="AnnArbor, post:18, topic:298901"]
Although you think the songs are silly and the music bad, it appears the liturgy director and pastor do not. And perhaps the rest of the parish finds the music uplifting and conducive to worship.

[/quote]

As has been stated many times, the music during the liturgy should not be subject to the whims of the parishoners, music director, etc. The music should be dignified and in good standing with tradition.You know good music when you hear it.


#20

So, the Pope, or Cardinal of Bishops has stated this and is working on banning this music. I did not realize this.


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