A USCCB directory of liturgical music

A USCCB directory of liturgical music

Blogger Argent notes that a USCCBureaucracy committee is working on creating a list of liturgical music appropriate for the Mass. While the theological concerns that will act as the guidelines for the project look pretty good and any subsequent directory will be run by the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome, I’m a little concerned at anything that smacks of official approval coming from DC. What if the project gets highjacked and all the Haugen/Haas/Schutte stuff gets a sort of “imprimatur”? Can you imagine how hard it will be to pry those hymns out of the hands of music ministers all over the country?

“But, it has the approval of the bishops’ conference!”

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Can you imagine how hard it will be to pry those hymns out of the hands of music ministers all over the country?
    “But, it has the approval of the bishops’ conference!”

    I was having a good day until I read that! 🙁

  • Like all schemes coming out of the USCCB these days, sadly, it seems to be connected with the Almighty Dollar.

    I know I shouldn’t say this out loud, but the USCCB’s “licensing” process often seems to be in lockstep with its own financial best interests.

    The NAB is copyrighted—can you imagine?—so that you can’t use it without permission.  The texts of the Sacramentary are likewise copyrighted, so you can’t use them in “worship aids” (oh, how I hate THAT expression!).  Which version of the Bible you can use for Holy Mass is circumscribed by the USCCB—and they get a cut of the publishing rights, just as they do of the sales of Sacramentaries.

    And now, they’re going to officialize a hymnal, essentially.  Take a deep breath and try to guess (charitably, now—remember how people who drop in on this blog caution us to charity!) who’s going to be ensuring a cash flow in the coffers . . .

    Yes, the American publishers of music—and, yes, the USCCB.

    As the “church lady” used to say, “How con-VEEEEN-yent!”

  • Liam—maybe they weren’t initially on board, but now that they’ve seen it’s mandated, my guess is they’re finding a way to make a buck off it.  Otherwise, why the pandering to the bishops of the dioceses where the publishing (ahem) takes place?

  • It’s pretty clear that the USCCB process will end up undermining what the Vatican wants to do. The Conference will establish certain vague principles which the bishops where the publishing takes place will implement. Of course a missalette can be published anywhere. Nothing will change except, as noted above, the crap will now bear an imprimatur.

  • Among the advisors to the subcommittee is one of the “St Louis Jesuits.” If it was going to be hijacked, it would have happened already. But their report contains a number of criticisms of the “inclusive language” issue, the alteration of meaning of classic texts through “updating,” and even a call for including the “Jubulate Deo” collection of chants.

    This month’s issue of “Adoremus Bulletin” has an article on the subcommittee and its report. Whether you have PowerPoint or not, it’s worth reading:


  • The Powerpoint presentation is very nice. What is being hijacked is not the conceptual approach but the procedure for implementing it. The key problem is the committee’s definition of directory. What they should be doing is listing the approved hymns for each liturgical celebration and the approved hymns should meet very rigid criteria that would exclude popular trash like Ashes and Eagle’s Wings. The directory, it seems, will be some kind of statement of principles to be employed by the ordinary in the dioceses where the music is published.

  • CW:

    Read page 19: “Within two years, the Committee on the Liturgy shall formulate a Common Repertoire of Liturgical Songs for use in all places where the Roman Liturgy is celebrated in the Dioceses of the United States of America. This Common Repertoire will be included in all worship aides used in the dioceses of the United States of America.”

    Two little words: “Common… Repertoire…” I’ve been following the activities of the BCL for over twenty years. This is the most ambitious thing they’ve done in this direction. Better late than never.

  • DLA,

    The repertoire will be “included” in worship aides. It does not follow that the trash will be excluded. They are simply going to make non-binding recommendations. Where do they say that music at the mass will conform to the repertoire?

  • CW:

    “Where do they say that music at the mass will conform to the repertoire?”

    In a word, everywhere.

    Read the presentation. I mean, actually READ it. Read how the most popular hymns did not pass muster. Read the criteria they establish for what’s okay and what’s not okay.

    Parishes are going to do what they are going to do. But if the “good stuff” has to be there, a new pastor (who will most likely be younger and more orthodox than his predecessor) will not be stuck with only using junk.

    You gotta start somewhere. This is where.

  • Liam:

    ”[T]his is about the texts…”

    For the moment. Much of contemporary hymnody will NOT likely pass muster, especially on a level playing field with more traditional fare. You can’t undo a generation or more of damage to our heritage overnight. But you can send a message that it’s time to UNdo it.

    Father Clark:

    I was not aware that the Church infrastructure was historically immune to money as an incentive for much of anything. If such incentives are necessary to get everybody on board, so much the better. At least the revival of good taste can be self-supporting.

  • One only needs recall the “Vatican Edition” of Chant—a gift to Ratisbon, a license to print money AND books…

    And there was a fight to authorize Solesmes’ editions.

    Fr. Jim has the gist of it.  Last “self-help” funding scam was titled ICEL.