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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

In Toronto: A New Translation is Clearly Not Enough!

For decades our bishops been asked to control priests who consistently change the words of Mass or show "creativity" which results in deformation of the sacred liturgy. Now when it comes to the mode of Kyrie chosen by someone with 25 years study and experience, that they're going to control! Where are they when so-called church musicians deform the liturgy every week with music not in keeping with the mind of the Church?

For one year they wish to dictate what music will be used? Will that really mean no Marty Haugen? No more "Alleluia-cha, cha, cha."

It is posted on the Archdiocese of Toronto blog, "Around the Arch" that a letter was recently sent to the parishes from Bishop John Boissonneau, Vicar of Liturgy and Chair of the Archdiocesan Roman Missal Implementation Committee. It seems that what is desired is "unity" but at what cost?

I attended the Archdiocese of Toronto workshop a few weeks ago on music for the Mass in the corrected translation of the Roman Missal.

I was encouraged to see 500 people hungry to learn. But what did they learn? That the Gloria has a refrain; that nobody would "ever want to sing a Creed"* (see below) and that Canadian church music composers have an awful lot to learn. It is quite evident that the three composers in Celebrate in Song know little about what is true liturgical music consistent with Catholic history and praxis. I felt sorry for them when they could have been given so much more. I felt sorry for the Bishop, I know for a fact that he knows more than what the CCCB has foisted upon him and all of us!

That being said, I really do think the episcopacy the musical settings have overstepped their authority. Would that they would do the same with liturgical abuse and heresy which we have had to endure from some of our priests!

On the other hand, if they are serious and intend to keep out Marty Haugen, David Haas and the rest of the trash we've had to endure then maybe that is a good thing. My problem is that the alternative is not much better and this intent will keep out better music.

Let us look at His Excellency's letter:

1. We have been informed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) that both the English translation of the revised Roman Missal and General instruction (GIRM) will take effect in dioceses throughout Canada on the First Sunday of Advent (November 27/28, 2011). Archbishop Collins has authorized that parishes may begin to learn the new, sung mass settings and employ them in the liturgy as of September 25, 2011. Other than these settings, the newly translated prayers (collects, prefaces, etc.) of the Missal may not be used without specific permission before the First Sunday of Advent. (I really don't like this. Have a workshop on Saturday afternoon. We go to Mass to worship the Triune God, FATHER, SON and HOLY SPIRIT and to be fed the Holy Eucharist, but now we will go to practice singing to learn the new music? Let's just do it!

2. Four musical settings have been approved by the Bishops for use in Canada: three
commissioned by the CCCB and the “Chants of the Roman Missal” by the ICEL
(International Commission on English in the Liturgy). Thus, in addition to the
setting which will be found in the Missal, the CCCB also approved these settings
as presented in “Celebrate in Song”:

"Mass Setting A" by Fr. Geoffrey Angeles,
"Mass Setting B" (Mass of the Holy Family) by John Dawson,
"Mass Setting C" by Michel Guimont.

The CCCB has done the Church in Canada, our bishops, priests and you and me a diservice. These musical settings are about as far as quality church music for congregations as one can get. Frankly, they're quite dreadful and the Glorias, particularly Dawson's are near impossible for a congregation to sing with unreasonable leaps of fourths and fifths, syncopations and "D!'s. The Gloria is not metrical so is it forced to be and constant changes in Time Signature. Since when Fr. Angeles, Mr. Dawson and Mssr. Guimont, is there a "refrain" in the Gloria; the combox is open."

To help provide a spirit of unity and collaboration for all those involved in assisting our parishioners in full and active participation in the Eucharist, we are inviting
parishes to utilize two settings during the first year of implementation of the
new Roman Missal. We must be fully aware that all other settings presently being
used are not to be employed in the parishes after the First Sunday of Advent
because they do not reflect the new translation. This will be a significant change for choirs and cantors. If one is to make do this, then the Chant setting should be mandatory. I for one will not sing any of the three compositions listed above. I will use the Chant setting only with the Gloria from the Roman Missal. But my question is, "where is that Gloria from the Roman Missal? The Gloria in Celebrate in Song, IS NOT the Gloria from ICEL in the Roman Missal which is based on Gloria XV and is the oldest known dating from the 900's!)

You are invited to choose from a) ICEL Chants setting and b) one of the approved three CCCB sung settings. You can hear the settings by visiting our resources page of the Archdiocesan Roman Missal site:

This will allow parishioners, music ministers and clergy to collaborate on teaching and implementing musical settings that will become familiar to congregations at all masses. Please note: all the mass settings presently being used at parish liturgies need to be replaced by the new authorized settings effective the First Sunday of Advent 2011. The desire for a unity of musical settings in your parish may be challenging but your guidance and encouragement will make this exercise of decision-making a positive moment in liturgical renewal. (Let's make something clear. The Kyrie and Agnus Dei are not changing there is absolutely no reason why these need to change. Victor Togni's Parish Mass and Father Somerville's Good Shepherd Mass are perfectly acceptable. Respectfully I think they've overstepped their authority here.

4. We are aware that parishes have received other musical settings, including those from the United States. In order to foster unity, we ask all parishes to use the mass settings from the CCCB for the first year of implementation. Your cooperation is appreciated in adopting this approach in your parish.

This is poor quality church music and is inferior music to what we should have in our pews and we should be hearing music based on Gregorian modalities as prescribed in document after document!)

Thank you to all those who participated in the recent workshop related to
the music settings presented in “Celebrate in Song” and approved for use in
Canada. More than 450 people were in attendance for the gathering, a wonderful
response to the first of many planned sessions with parish musicians..

Here are the ICEL Roman Missal settings.

Someone asked the question, "Is the new translation enough?"

The answer is clearly, "No!"


While it was sponsored by the Archdiocese, I was reminded by a commenter that it was presented by the Ontario Liturgical Conference Music Commission (which has no "Contact" link on its web page) and the two main speakers were Msgr. Murray Kroetch and Ms. Sandy Milne, former "Parish Minister" at St Aloysius Catholic Church in Kitchner. The same type of workshop has been held in other host dioceses. Ms. Sandy Milne is the one who said, "They've even included a sung Creed (in the chant setting), I can't see why anyone would want to sing it."

Now, this is from an expert at a "Liturgical Commission?"

And you wonder why we're in the mess which we are in?

Ontario Liturgical Conference Music Commission presenters (l-r) Greg DeSouza, Msgr.
Murray Kroetsch, Fr. Jerry Dunn, Sandy Milne, Sharon Fazari.


Young Canadian RC Male said...

This is coming from a young male catholic in the most blunt yet simplest terms: THESE .... COMPOSITIONS ... FOR THE MASS .... SUCK! That's all 3 of the mass settings.

Really, I think I should invest in a pair of birkenstocks, some flared jeans, a tye-dye shirt, some circular frame glasses and grow my hair long. And I was born in the 80's. Just sad this all is. Too bad you are so busy with everything Vox, else you should have run to the CCCB's head office and volunteered yourself to be their musical director for the 3rd edition.

And finally for everyone else here at Vox Cantor: you won't get music that annoys the ears and hurts the soul at the Latin Mass. GO TLM.

Seraphic Spouse said...

What does "fostering unity" mean?

Vox Cantoris said...


Thanks for the vote of confidence; One parish is actually discussing bringing me in as a Consultant to lead a Workshop but it may set me publicly against "unity", but I will nuance.


We can all be united against against Pope Pius X, XII, John Paul II and Benedict XVI (and Paul VI on Jubilate Deo) just as we've been in terms of liturgy for over 100 years now.

Not me Your Excellency, not me.

Young Canadian RC Male said...

Your welcome Vox. I didn't take 4 years of music classes and play alto sax (plus tenor in Gr. 13 to replace a sudden dropout) in various school jazz and concert bands, at my private Roman Catholic High School, without developing an appreciation for historical and classical music and the TRUE elements a musical piece should have to sound reasonable.

Wow that's so Cool on the discussions! I hope that that parish does take you in and the pastor (if he's liberal)/"pastoral committee" doesn't butt their ignorant heads in! While usually we Catholics should be less divisive and more unitative to the Church, this is the one exception I say we laity should disobey our Bishop's wishes for the music of the Mass and say "We're not listening la la la la!" Furthermore, to me the demand for specific music of the Mass is not part of the Magisterial teaching of the Church to me (i.e. versus an encyclical or an apostolic letter). This isn't a matter of faith or morals to me so in the ebonics of controversial pop-rap star Kanye West "I'ma disagee with you."

Sed Contra said...

With respect, David, I think you have mischaracterized the intention behind His Excellency Boissonneau’s direction. Rather than overlook liturgical abuse, the Bishop is trying to end it – to get parishes in Fr. Z’s felicitous phrase, to “Say the Black, Do the Red”. Keep in mind that he can only work with the tools at hand, whether in the form of music or personnel. Disobedience is not the answer.

Specifically in regard to music, he “invites” parishes “to utilize two settings during the first year of implementation of the new Roman Missal”. Of these, one is to come “from a) [the] ICEL Chants setting and b) one of the approved three CCCB sung settings”. That is to say, the ICEL Chants are given priority over all other settings in that they are one of the two settings recommended for use. In essence, the Bishop is holding up the ICEL Chants as the “gold standard” for the vernacular liturgy.

Further, parishes are asked not to use “other musical settings, including those from the United States”. While that will confine parishes to one of the CCCB sung settings for their second choice, it will at least initially limit the number of competing settings. If at the end of the year the chosen CCCB setting is found wanting, it can be discarded.

I also do not read the direction as suggesting that the ICEL collects, prefaces, etc. cannot ever be used, simply that they cannot be used prior to the introduction of the new translation. Getting a congregation up to speed on the new translations of the ordinary parts of the Mass by Advent will be a big enough challenge in itself. Likewise, I see nothing in the Bishop’s remarks that prevents a sung Credo or Pater Noster.

Like you I am, however, concerned about the omission of the ICEL Gloria chant. The whole purpose of re-writing the translation was to conform to the Latin text, and as you observe, the Gloria does not have a refrain. Perhaps on this point the Bishop would be willing to “clarify” his direction.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Sed Contra,

Thank you for your note; I am not advocating "disobedience" though I certainly question whether this can be "ordered." Nor, can one be prevented from using the Roman Missal Chants or the Latin; that is simply not possible.

It's a little like when Archbishop Collins "banned" communion on the tongue during H1N1. He may have done it but it was not within his authority to do!

I found it a little unusual when this was done by a U.S. bishop; he specified two Masses. Of good quality yes; but, you have to buy one from OCP and the other from GIA! What's that all about it?

Of course, one can always use the Latin!

There are many, many good compositions of beauty. For the most part, these commissioned settings fail to meet the standard of sacred music. That being said, the least problematic is the Guimont but even it is far from ideal.

The Americans are far ahead of us in this regard.

Here is an example:

Anonymous said...

David, I respectfully offer a small point of clarification regarding the May 28 workshop: The content was prepared and presented by the Ontario Liturgical Conference Music Commission. The presenters were Msgr. Murray Kroetch and Ms. Sandy Milne. The same type of workshop has been held in other host dioceses.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Anonymous 11:30:

Thank you for this clarification, I had forgotten.

This makes it worse. It could have been done by someone from St. Michael's Choir School.

Sandy Milne, eh? I was wondering who the liturgical "expert" was that said, "Well, they've even included as sung Creed, though I don't know why anyone would want to sing it."

That about says it all.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, Sandy Milne, an expert - when I asked her about singing the Propers at Mass - she didn't even know what the Propers were!!...

Anonymous said...

...when talking of the Holy Mass -- charity is the order of the day. Shame on you!!

Vox Cantoris said...

And how are we to speak of these:

Get your head of the sand.

That, is being charitable!

Sparky said...

What should we do then if we want to use good music? When I'm being refused permission to use the Church's traditional chant by an above-mentioned Monsignor, the only next step I can see is going to the Pope (via nuncio?) and asking him to clarify that chant is not only the music "proper to the Roman Liturgy" (which the new GIRM explicitly states) but that it should always be allowed. Shall we ask?

Vox Cantoris said...


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