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Hello all,

Please help out a "newbie"-- I have a question about the music in Catholic churches.

I've never actually attended a TLM, but I understand it's commonly celebrated with a cantor rather than with hymns as is more popular these days.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I also understand that the TLM was considered the normal order of things prior to Vatican II, and that many people wish to return to it because the Novus Ordo just isn't the same.

So my question is, where did so many of the great old hymns come from?  Are they all Protestant?  For those who favor the TLM over the NO, Is there ever an appropriate occasion for "traditional" hymns to be sung during Mass?  Or is it too "me-centered" for the congregation to participate this way?

I've heard a lot of debate-- would greatly welcome your (collective) viewpoint.

Thanks,
Erin

It is currently commonly celebrated with cantor (I prefer Gregorian chant) than with hymns but not always, and not necessarily always before Vatican II either. Before the liturgical reform it was common for the Celebrant (the Priest) to perform the liturgy in Latin while the laity would sing along hymns in English at certain parts of the mass. This was a very modernized version of the TLM and most Traditional Catholics prefer to reserve such hymns for before and after the Mass and during Benedictions and Processions.

These hymns back then, though, were mostly Catholic. But modern hymns at the Novus Ordo are mostly Protestant in origin (when I was an Evangelical first attending a Catholic Mass I was wondering why they were singing all our hymns). Catholic hymns, written in English, are either translations of older hymns but more often were written in the 19th century.

The reason for wanting to go back to the TLM is not simply because the NO is "not the same." If this were the case you would not have traditionalist Catholics constantly flocking to Eastern Catholic parishes in order to avoid the NO. The Eastern liturgies have only slightly more in common with the TLM (asthetically) than the NO does, but tend to be extremely unfamiliar to American Catholics. The reason many Catholics wish to attend the TLM instead, and go so far as to make a return to it, goes back to the origin of both liturgies. The TLM was a codification of nearly all Western liturgies and an act of unification while the NO liturgy was a re-fabrification. Many TLM attenders basically have the feeling of "If it ain't broke...."
(09-09-2009, 10:15 AM)Erin_Coda Wrote: [ -> ]I've never actually attended a TLM, but I understand it's commonly celebrated with a cantor rather than with hymns as is more popular these days.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.
The style of music is called a chant, and it is mostly Gregorian chant. Anything can be chanted, from hymns, psalms, prayers or plain text passages.

Here is my favourite:



Quote:So my question is, where did so many of the great old hymns come from?  Are they all Protestant?  For those who favor the TLM over the NO, Is there ever an appropriate occasion for "traditional" hymns to be sung during Mass?  Or is it too "me-centered" for the congregation to participate this way?

Most chants are Psalms, prayers or Catholic compositions.

In the TLM, and in all Latin rite masses, the use of the profane is forbidden. So protestant compositions, language of that other than the Church and other violations of scripture and the Church are forbidden.
Yes, most of the "great old hymns" are Protestant in origin. There hasn't been a large English-speaking hymn tradition in the Catholic world. In the Anglican tradition, composers were paid big bucks to compose hymns the same way Mozart and Beethoven composed Masses. Until fairly recently, the Book of Common Prayer required congregational hymns for those places in their liturgy where we would have Propers (Introit, Gradual, etc.) As such, they have a rich hymn tradition, whereas English-speaking Catholics were either persecuted or second-or-third-class citizens.

Vernacular hymns are acceptable before and after sung Mass (processional and recessional), but not during. Latin hymns are okay during the Offertory and Communion. Vernacular hymns are also acceptable within low (recited) Mass.

It's also worth saying that the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, etc.) began as hymns that everyone in the congregation knew by heart and could sing every time. This is the ideal even today.

I'm not aware of any actual prohibition against Protestant-composed hymns that are orthodox in lyrics. That would technically include almost all well-known English Christmas carols, even the English version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel".
(09-09-2009, 12:20 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not aware of any actual prohibition against Protestant-composed hymns that are orthodox in lyrics. That would technically include almost all well-known English Christmas carols, even the English version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel".

A hymn by a protestant is different than a protestant hymn.
From what I know, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is a re-composition of a medieval hymn that was originally written in Latin. A recomposition is not a heretical refabrification so it's still okay. Also, many Protestant hymns are merely re-hashed Psalms (or hashed-up Psalms, depending).
(09-09-2009, 12:37 PM)WanderingPenitent Wrote: [ -> ]From what I know, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is a re-composition of a medieval hymn that was originally written in Latin. A recomposition is not a heretical refabrification so it's still okay. Also, many Protestant hymns are merely re-hashed Psalms (or hashed-up Psalms, depending).

Yes. And the hymn takes its inspiration from the O Antiphons from the Office.
Thanks all, much appreciated.

For the one who clarified my comment about NO being "just not the same"-- I realize the issue is much deeper than my comment suggested.  I didn't mean for one moment to downplay the majesty or importance of TLM-- just painted broadly b/c I was on my way to class and had to get off the computer. 

I've got a lot of "book larnin" on the subject, but little practice-- so thanks again for the clarifications, on both the NO/TLM and the music.

Erin
Slightly aside, one of the 'great old hymns' that almost everyone thinks is protestant, 'Faith of our Fathers', is actually Catholic  The original lyrics of the second verse were:

Faith of our fathers, Mary's prayers
Will win all nations unto thee;

From Wikipedia's article on the hymnist, Fr Frederick William Faber, who wrote it:

Quote:Those hymns are widely used in Protestant collections as well; indeed, finding a Protestant hymnal which does not include "Faith of Our Fathers" is difficult, albeit with the Marianism and Roman Catholicism amended. Faber was a fervent supporter of congregational singing and wrote his hymns in an age when English Roman Catholics did not necessarily feel comfortable singing the hymns of their Protestant neighbors. So Faber, as a Catholic, expanded their hymns suitable for congregational singing and encouraged the practice. Thus, reciprocally, it was only a matter of time before Faber's hymns emerged in non-Catholic churches.
At my TLM we have no music maybe thats because its always a low Mass. Huh? However I actually prefer it absolutely quiet. That way you can hear the Priest whispering the Latin and I just love hearing the priest. I have seen some of the Masses on EWTN in the extraordinary (real Mass) form and I have found the singing distracting. Just my half a cent.
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