Throughout the next year, and until the implementation of the New Translation of the Roman Missal, The Authentic Update will focus on issues surrounding the New Translation and developments in Sacred Music arising from it. I hope you will visit here frequently and join in the conversation as the Church enters into this remarkable period of liturgical transformation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What is to Become of the ICEL Chants?

As we move forward into the coming year, one of the nagging questions that is still "hanging out there" is the role that will be played by the ICEL Chant Settings of the Ordinary. These settings were "composed" (OK... they are actually adaptations of the Gregorian melodies fit to the newly translated Ordinary texts... but that is a fine point!) under the direction of ICEL and are to be included with the New Missal as the normative settings of those texts. Other Chants are also included in the collection, such as the dialogues and prefaces, as well as psalm-tone settings which may be used for singing the Gospels on particular occasions. The totality of this collection comprises what I have come to call "The ICEL Kyriale".

The project came to light in 2008, much to the surprise of many. Immediately there was discussion and debate about what role these settings would play in the implementation of the New Missal Translation. Foremost among the questions posed was whether these settings would be somehow mandated for use. At this time, it is a question that has still not been answered.

Most mandates, at least within the Catholic liturgy, are exclusive mandates... mandates that particular things must be used, or be said, or be done to the exclusion of other things being used or said or done. There are mandates that particular materials must be used for sacred vessels, and that particular substances must be used for the sacred hosts and wine. There are mandates that the readings of the particular day must be used, and that these must be from the approved Lectionary for Mass. There are mandates that the words of consecration must be said without variation or alteration, and on a greater scale, a mandate that the texts of the Mass must not be altered or improvised by anyone, including Priests. There are mandates that particular folmulae and actions must be used in Baptism, and that particular actions must be done as indicated in the books regarding the consecration of the Bread and Wine. All of these, and many more, are exclusive mandates in that they indicate both what must be used or said or done, and proscribe that nothing else may be used or said or done in their place.

So the idea of there being a "mandate" regarding the ICEL Chants would be bound to raise more than a few eyebrows, and for good reason. To begin with, previous mandates regarding musical settings had more to do with the texts than with the musical settings themselves. Musical settings per se were addressed by less stringent documents which proscribed some attributes of the settings regarding formal characteristics and liturgical use. However, there has never, at least to my knowledge, been a specific setting of the required texts mandated for use, nor would it be practical to do so.

A mandate of any liturgical nature has two distinct parts. First, there must be a mandate to produce and provide the thing that is being required, whether it be a Lectionary with specified texts, candles made of the appropriately proportioned Beeswax, or whatever the thing is that is required. While many such things were historically handled "in house" by the Church, today much of the production end of things is handled by private concerns which must follow the Church's proscriptions in order to be considered liturgical vendors for catholic parishes.

Secondly, there has to be a legislative mandate that the thing, whatever it may be, MUST be used or said or done to the exclusion of other things. There must be a specific "disallowing" of other options.

And this is precisely why the situation of the ICEL Chants is becoming more of an issue as we move towards the implementation of the New Translation in November 2011. At this point, the ICEL Chants are the only setting of the Ordinary yet to be approved for liturgical use. Publishers are REQUIRED to include the ICEL Chant settings as the normative setting in all published liturgical books, hymnals, guides or Missals intended for liturgical use. In both permanent and renewable hymnals or songbooks, where there are settings of the Orinary included with an Order of Mass, the ICEL Chant settings MUST be included as the setting within the Order of Mass. This much has already been mandated

Furthermore, a quick look at the web sites of the major publishers will reveal a statement like the following:

We have been asked by the United States Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship to remind you that the musical settings are for preview only and not yet approved for liturgical use. In addition, we are not yet being allowed to share any complete settings.

So... in addition to the ICEL Chants being mandated for inclusion in all published resources, all other settings, at this point, have not received approval for inclusion, for sale, or even for posting in their entirety online for viewing. One seriously has to ask.... why is this? Is there a process for these settings to be approved? If not, why not approve them now? Is it simply to keep these settings from being used ahead of time? That would make sense and may well be the explanation. But if that's the case, why release the ICEL settings now since they are also not to be used until November 2011?

As the time gets closer we'll have to watch what happens concerning approval for these "other settings" of the Mass texts. My general impression is that they will eventually be approved for inclusion in the books, but always in addition to the primary ICEL settings.

As of right now, it looks strangely like a mandate, but a mandate of a very different kind, allowing exceptions but in a secondary capacity. That's where things are right now.

Cardinal George on the Need for a New Translation

Francis Cardinal George (Archdiocese of Chicago) gives some interesting insight into the New Translation.

Let the Catechesis Begin!

With the final approval of the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal in August (adding the caveat that this is not the first "final approval" of the text!), we enter into the period of catechesis leading up to the implementation on Sunday, November 27th of 2011.

Already, Bishop's Conferences, Regional Conferences, National Liturgy groups, Dioceses and local Parishes are undertaking the process of informing parishioners of the coming changes, training parish musicians in new styles and forms of liturgical music for the Mass and most importantly, introducing the new texts to the Priests and beginning the process of "re-imagining" the post-conciliar liturgy that has been called for in Liturgiam Authenticam and Sacramentum Caritatis.

Catechetical materials for the implementation are now being produced and approved by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship from a variety of sources. Some of these resources, such as those produced by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions are of the "train the trainers" type.... workshops and materials intended to train Diocesan and Parish leaders who will return to their respective local areas and train others. Much the same, and somewhat overlapping in terms of personnel and materials are the catechetical programs from the USCCB. These programs, in the form of seminars and training sessions for Priests, Seminarians and liturgical leaders have been produced in conjunction with the FDLC and The National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

The NPM, for its part, has focused on revisiting the 2007 Bishops Committee Instruction on Music, Sing To The Lord, Music in Divine Worship. This document, which perplexed many musicians at the time of its publication, is now more clearly able to be seen as an instruction for the reform of liturgical music in conjunction with the implementation of the New Translation. NPM should be encouraged to continue its emphasis on this document and every Catholic musician should place a great priority on re-reading and studying this document and the provisions therein in relation to the liturgical demands of the New Translation. It can only be hoped that both the NPM and Catholic musicians will consider the entirety of this document and its vision and not merely those parts which are convenient.

There are also a great many resources for information online.... among my favorites is Gotta Sing, Gotta Pray, a blog by Jerry Galipeau of WLP. Jerry features posts on the New Translation each Tuesday and Thursday. As the Editor of one of the major publishing houses, Dr. Galipeau has insights into the process and progress of the New Translation that are both informative and interesting. Regarding sacred music, and from a very different perspective is a site originating from the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) appropriately titled The Chant Cafe. While the articles and discussions more generally focus on the restoration of sacred chant and polyphony in the liturgy, the emphasis lately has been on the primary issues of the music for the New Translation - vernacular chant and vernacular versions of the Antiphons. Both of the above sites also allow for comment and discussion, allowing a unique opportunity for questions and obtaining additional resources.

There are individual entities who have undertaken the production of training materials as well, all of which must have the approval of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship. One of the most notable is a Seminar/ Workshop for Priests and Seminarians by Msgr. James P. Moroney, Executive Secretary of Vox Clara, produced at the request of Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the instruction of priests and Seminarians in his Diocese. Msgr. Moroney has a busy schedule of lecture dates around the country during the coming year, and the entire program is also available on DVD or can be viewed online HERE. The program has some very notable advocates, including Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal George.

Msgr. Moroney's approach to the New Translation differs from those previously mentioned here in that he firstly sees the implementation as being an action of liturgical renewal for Priests, focusing on the Priest's praying of the texts as the primary form of catechesis for the congregation. In doing so, he affirms the vision of the New Translation set out in Liturgiam Authenticam, and the more general vision of liturgical catechesis set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium, and more recently in Sacramentum Caritatis. While noting that the implementation of the New Translation will present some challenges, Msgr. Moroney's program is refreshing in the absence of an underlying assumption that the New Translation faces overwhelming opposition by Priests and the faithful that needs to be overcome by extensive explanation of the translation and approval process and detailed theological and liturgical justification for any and all changes to the texts spoken by the congregation.

Regardless of the resources used, the time has come to begin the process of implementation. I hope you will return here from time to time as I will do my best to keep up to date on issues surrounding the New Translation and liturgical music during the coming year.
Deo Gratias!