Thursday, 3 August 2017

You have to despair...

One of the unforeseen consequences about the rise of hymn singing in the Catholic Church is that we are now tyrannised by the editors of hymn books.

We have to remember that hymns would be sung at benediction, and other liturgies, but not during Mass. Mass was quite simple, you had the texts of Mass and they were set to various Gregorian chants. The Church choir sung the bits for the day, and the people joined in the Asperges, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. The bits, by the way, which we should still be able to sing in Latin (and Greek for the Kyrie) now.

Do you know the Asperges? Could you hold your own in the Missa de Angelis stakes?

So when we ignored a thousand or years plus music and liturgical practice, and started to sing hymns in the vernacular at Mass, we fell into the same trap as we did when we shoved as much Bible into Mass as possible. We mistook quantity for quality.

So we are left with the most terrible doggerel in our hymnbooks. This is one of my favourites...
Joseph was a happy man (x6)
Seriously, that was a 'hymn'! I don't mind proper hymns too much - though I have no idea why we should sing them during Mass when a perfectly good choir could be singing something lovely, and we could be praying, or preparing to sing the Credo.

Now it is quite difficult choosing hymns for Sunday. I have to do it at Swinburne. So I sometimes look at the handy helpful suggestions in the back of the hymnbook.

And this is what I saw for the Sunday of the magnificent Solemnity of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Shine, Jesus, Shine. PLEASE! This, the worship of God, the joining of heaven and earth, the bloodless of sacrifice of God to God, the Transfiguration... and Shine Jesus Shine.

Why do we bother?!

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