My friend Jerry related a visit to a cathedral parish in which a curious repertoire choice unfolded at Communion time: the Gregorian antiphon, Laetabimur in salutari tuo was sung solo during the priest’s Communion, followed by “I Received the Living God,” while the people received. One of the comments on the thread:
(F)rom the directives for guest choirs at St. Peter’s Basillica in Rome, issued by the Prefect of the Musical Chapel and approved by Pope Benedict:
The guest choir may sing: at the Entrance procession until the moment when the celebrant reaches the altar (the Gregorian Introit is sung by the Musical Chapel of the Basilica), at the preparation of the gifts and relative offertory, at Communion, after the Gregorian antiphon has been sung, and at the end of Mass, after the Blessing. The program of music must follow the Liturgy of the day and will be agreed upon with and approved by the Choirmaster.
So it seems that the normative practice at St. Peters is to sing the Antiphon at communion and then follow it with the communion song, exactly the practice that was in question in your article. Now…I realize this is talking about St. Peters and not a parish church, but I would claim that there surely can’t be anything wrong with this practice if it is the approved norm at the primary Basillica of the Catholic church.
Surely there can’t be anything wrong with singing a Communion piece–chant, song, psalm, or whatever with a certain liturgical and musical integrity? Does the rite call for the Gregorian antiphon first, without psalm verses or anything to respect the integrity of the liturgy? Interesting that the four-hymn sandwich of the pre-conciliar Low Mass has made it all the way to St Peter’s. I wonder when the worshippers at St Peter’s get to sing?