New Hymnal Dust-Ups

James Frazier has completed a five-part review for PrayTell of three new publications: the Vatican II Hymnal, the Adoremus Hymnal, and the St Michael Hymnal.

Some disclaimers: I’ve commented liberally on the PT threads in question. I have no intention of blowing up ninety percent of my parish’s musical repertoire, so I’m not a potential buyer of any publication that eliminates all texts and many tunes from the past half century. Except for viewing the online pages offered by these publishers I have not seen the books in question.

That said, I have read about some aspects of these books in the reviews. If true, they would be a serious concern:

At least one composer acknowledges his submissions are not ackowledged in print because of an “oversight.” Is he alone?

One defender of the V2H offers the ecclesiastical approval of Mass settings and the hymnal as a whole. But this is not a license to infringe on copyrights.

Another commenter online lamented that the Church’s liturgy is copyrighted, and that this doesn’t seem right. Well, the NAB is too. Which is probably why archaic English texts of the propers were given on one sample page I viewed. There are approved translations for these antiphons. Even if they are sung in Latin, should they be translated “accurately”? And more importantly, translated texts of the Church’s liturgy are, like it or not, copyrighted. In English, by ICEL.

These notices of source material belong in print–somewhere in the book. I’ve been asking people all day: are they included or not?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to New Hymnal Dust-Ups

  1. Jen says:

    Composers not being acknowledged as an “oversight.” Not surprised, honestly. (I’ve had really awful experiences composing for a liturgical setting. I won’t do it unless there’s a signed contract now.)

  2. caaronbrown says:

    I came into the Catholic Church as an adult, 41 years old, after being raised a Methodist, which has a wonderful hymn tradition. I am not by nature hostile to hymns. But the music I have encountered in some 11 years as a Catholic has made a traditionalist of me, at least when it comes to music. I would love it if the pastor and music director of my parish would blow up 90 percent of the current repertoire.

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