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So I was invited to a liturgy meeting, and changing missalettes is part of the topic.  I know I have multiple reasons I don't like those books and songs, but looking for help.

1. Can anyone share their reasons for not using OCP materials?

2. Can you suggest a better resource?

Any help much appreciated!
Hi Markie boy,
I think I can help a bit here. Why should one use a missalette which has an agreement bound to it that necessitates destruction as soon as current year is done, thus ensuring an immediate need for more? The hymns/songs range from genuinely Catholic to numerous methodist/other protestant hymns? Why does a purportedly Catholic missalette need to have Amazing Grace, which is utterly antithetical to a Catholic view of grace? On top of that, there are all the so-called hymns from the sixties/seventies stuff I endured as a kid  (albeit some are revised to be even more inclusive), to the bland pablum of the eighties and nineties. Can you say, On Eagles' Wings? In all seriousness, the music alone is a good place to begin objections.

Also, the quality of the paper. I spent nearly fourteen years working for the Berry Company in Dayton, Ohio, where we made yellow pages directories. While they are outdated today, the paper we used was of similar quality to the OCP output, i.e., cheap, bleed through stuff. I'd like to think of it as a bit better, but hard to tell, after so many years.

There are good, solid alternatives for the N.O. One may be the Ignatius Press Pew Missal, found here: I found it by searching, but have no experience with it. Another would be C.C. Watershed's St. Isaac Jogues Missal, found here: I've not had one in hand to inspect, but have looked at the PDFs of samples. It looks good, from what I've seen. I have the first edition of their Latin Mass Missal. If that's anything to judge the other by, it's quality work.

Perhaps the best approach may be emphasizing a desire to be more thoroughly Catholic, the fact that OCP's work would almost rather not care if those using it are espousing Catholic belief/singing truly Catholic works. Not so much because you want to knock the protestant works necessarily (a particular Anglican hymn set to the tune of Picardy comes to mind), as that lex orandi, lex vivendi really matters. If a parish can use quality Catholic materials, even in a novus ordo setting, that may assist them in understanding the Faith more completely. Does that help? Apologies if I ran on.

If there's sufficient time before the meeting, scope out the missals that appeal to you, and if possible, get a copy or a preview of one, for yourself and those in the meeting to see. Makes an easier decision, versus the OCP, if it looks better in one's hand.
(09-15-2019, 04:32 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: [ -> ]So I was invited to a liturgy meeting, and changing missalettes is part of the topic.  I know I have multiple reasons I don't like those books and songs, but looking for help.

1. Can anyone share their reasons for not using OCP materials?

2. Can you suggest a better resource?

Any help much appreciated!

1.) because they’re awful. I’m not even talking in terms of theology. The basic poetry and music itself is just plain lousy. I wrote better poetry when I was in elementary school and I wrote better music when I was in college...and I still wouldn’t dare to do any of those things professionally.

2.). Pretty much anything would be an improvement (nothing by GIA though- I said “pretty much anything,” not “absolutely anything.”). Corpus Christi Watershed is a good place to start.
As a rule, the music from the 1960s (and even late '50s) up through the present, but especially from the '60s-'90s, is shoddy music on almost every level of analysis. It is dated, clunky, and forced in its sentiments. 

American Catholics hardly sing as it is, but they especially can't sing this stuff. 

1. The syncopation, when present, is way too difficult for the average person.

2. The modulations typically are too extreme to follow smoothly. People are already out of tune, but these forced key changes make them go even more off. 

3. Also the acoustics of the older churches or ones built mostly of stone are not suitable for this type of music at all. It absolutely requires a dry acoustic so that the sense of rhythm can be maintained, which white folks just can't do anyhow. 

4. The instrumentation has to be well executed, which it hardly ever is.

5. These songs tend to require a cantor at a microphone. Here are the problems with that:

5.1 The cantor overpowers everyone. If the cantor sucks, all you hear is that person's awful voice mixed with the distant zombie drone of the rest of the congregation trying to keep up.

5.2 The cantor is the only one singing anyway... or depending on the size of the church, you can't see the cantor, so you don't know when you're supposed to sing because, you know, they do that hand lifting thing that signals when you're allowed to drive--I mean, sing or not. It's really pretty totalitarian to me.

5.3 The acoustic problem mentioned above is literally amplified.

5.4 The entire existence of a cantor implies the deficiency of the music itself. A good tune, if it is to be sung by everyone, should be easily remembered and sung and not require the crutches of a pseudo-operatic hack dragging everyone along for a ride they don't really care to be on anyway.

6. The more of this music you have, the less of truly beautiful music you can include. We turn to CDs and concert halls if we want to hear all the actually good sacred music, Catholic or Protestant.

7. Supporting institutions like OCP and their missals forces a decline in true religious musicianship. If OCP is the standard, then no one is ever going to aspire higher than the banal. OCP cannot foster an environment that supports quality choirs or inspires young people from the parish to study beautiful instruments like the violin or, especially, the organ. If people pursue these instruments, it's wholly separate from religious influence. Or if a parish has a good organist, that person was simply hired and has no real attachment to the parish. And if there is good organ or choral music, these are completely different in ambiance than OCP music and make the liturgy feel even more lopsided. I hate it when Byrd is juxtaposed with Schutte...if that ever happens. When it does, you remember...the horror...

In other words, OCP is the religious equivalent of capitalist mass-produced pop music. 

8. The subscription plan forces you into a cycle of racing to the bottom, as Seth Godin puts it. Why should I go to church to race to the bottom? You want to have true aesthetic beauty and pleasure at church because this raises the mind to God, and it allows people to seek that pleasure in a context of worship and contemplation, not solely in secular environments. With the fall of Western culture, the secular has dominated the aesthetic, which is now completely detached from the Faith and especially the liturgy, which was the inspiration and fountain of ALL Western culture.

9. Marty Haugen is Lutheran. When I played organ at a Lutheran church, the liturgy council told me a story of a previous organist who, when planning the music with them, remarked excitedly, "Oh, you guys sing Marty Haugen as well! He's writes wonderful Catholic music!" And they burst out laughing at her and said, "Haugen is a Lutheran!" The fact that a Catholic musician could be so confused speaks volumes to the CATHOLIC qualities of his music.

10. Taize is hardly Christian in any meaningful sense.

11. The St. Louis Jesuits and most of the people inspired by them are former priests or nuns. Why would you sing their music? Because it makes you feel good?

12. Vatican II doesn't like OCP. Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, nn. 114-120.

13. The GIRM doesn't like OCP. Cf. GIRM, n. 48 and similar, which as the commentators have noted, list the music in descending order of preference. It begins with the proper chant either in the Missal (which doesn't exist musically...) or the Graduale Romanum. Dr. Christoph Tietze covers the incredibly convoluted history of the propers and the chants as Solesmes was ordered to prepare. For a summary of these points of history:

14. The Conference of Bishops technically shouldn't like OCP, based on Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 36 and Liturgiam Authenticam n. 80, and several other documents, which stipulate the necessity of an official "Recognitio" from the Holy See when texts are introduced that replace the proper texts. The OCP has a note of ecclesiastical approbation, which doesn't count for anything actually. But as the secretariat for Divine Worship for the USCCB personally informed me when I asked him about these fine points of liturgical and canon law, "Welcome to the Church."

I give these rubrical points last instead of first because clearly most people in the Church could care less about them, but in case you were wondering...

15. The lyrics to most of these songs are dreadful. Some are borderline heretical. "Sing a new church into being..." etc. What sort of new church will you sing into being if you can't sing to save your life? The musical equivalent of a Dali landscape.

16. Another thing about the subscription plan. You have to keep paying money. It's more affordable to invest now in quality missals and hymnals that will last a generation. The hard part is finding anything timeless in the Novus Ordo except its persistent quality of being dated.

17. The accompaniment resources for OCP are mediocre musically. The guitar chords and piano harmonizations don't always match up, which when you hear it, you hear it... Maybe they've fixed those by now... Also, the writing for the keyboard is just not good. Better to invest in an accompaniment book like Worship (3rd ed. I'm skeptical of the 4th but haven't seen it personally yet) if you want better voice leading and such. In fact, if you're going to be playing Protestant songs, just invest in a Protestant accompaniment book, whether for keyboard or guitar. They do them better than the Catholics anyway and include all the same songs!

I could probably think of more things to say, but it's bad for the blood pressure.
(09-15-2019, 09:06 PM)piscis Wrote: [ -> ]As a rule, the music from the 1960s (and even late '50s) up through the present, but especially from the '60s-'90s, is shoddy music on almost every level of analysis. It is dated, clunky, and forced in its sentiments.

I’m not sure what hymns from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s would fit that description.
(09-16-2019, 05:55 AM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-15-2019, 09:06 PM)piscis Wrote: [ -> ]As a rule, the music from the 1960s (and even late '50s) up through the present, but especially from the '60s-'90s, is shoddy music on almost every level of analysis. It is dated, clunky, and forced in its sentiments.

I’m not sure what hymns from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s would fit that description.

There are literally hundreds of examples, in English and the other Romance languages, of hymns and pseudo-liturgical music that were popular as early as the 1800s in Catholic Masses. Almost none of them survive in contemporary hymnals, so you wouldn't be aware of them, but all you have to do is page through any number of hymnals published in the 1930s-'50s (a sample list may be found in any of the famous musical blacklists from this period). One of the unexpected backlashes of St. Pius X's Tra le sollecitudini was that the high-quality music deemed unfit for the liturgy (Gounod, Rossini, Verdi, Schubert, etc.) was then replaced with low-quality musical replacements that had the same sentimental and secular character, and this music was the musical precursor to the music of the 1960s and afterwards. The other difficulty of the '60s and forward was the introduction of completely secular, folk-style music, and groups like the St. Louis Jesuits tried to strike a balance between the two.

Part of this was caused by good-willed associations, like the St. Gregory Society, which produced white lists and blacklists of liturgical music. The Church had never been so discriminating before in what music was allowed in the liturgy, and the blacklists interpreted magisterial texts and promoted a particular range of musical taste deemed suitable for the liturgy. The masses of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, etc. were deemed unsuitable, yet in many places continued to thrive, such as in Austria and Bavaria.

Consider the following passage from 1964 (two years before Ray Repp's famous Mass for Young Americans, which musically ushered in the era of the hootenanny Mass), which describes the state of American Catholic music in the wake of Tra le S:

Quote:The Americans have succeeded, perhaps, better than any. Their church music, such of it as I have seen, is confidently hypocritical. It does not try to be modern, original, or even particularly musical. An American congregation usually supports its church financially, and it expects in return that the services should provide evidence of money invested. The choirmaster will therefore look for music which is easy, superficially impressive, respectable in its similarity to other church music, and in no way disturbing. An almost endless supply of such stuff is published with hardly any regard for merit. Compositions and arrangements of inconceivable banality and technical incompetence find their way into print (Fr. Francis Guentner, "Horizons," Musart 16 [Jan. 1964]).

When you actually flip through (Latin) choral Masses from this era, you see that Fr. Guentner was not exaggerating in the least. This music is so banal and schlocky that it almost makes the later 1960s folky music refreshing, at least from a musical standpoint. Liturgically, I'll always take the former than the latter, but it's almost just as painful to listen to, and it partly shows from the perspective of music history, why the musical revolution in the Church so easily happened. One of my undergrad music professors, now an elderly, retired Jesuit, told me in gleeful, nostalgic tones how he was present at the first solemn high Mass (yes, Latin) that introduced the use of an English, polyphonic Gloria at one of the largest Catholic music conventions in America. People were reading Pius XII very closely when he wrote in Mediator Dei n. 193:

Quote:It cannot be said that modern music and singing should be entirely excluded from Catholic worship. For, if they are not profane nor unbecoming to the sacredness of the place and function, ... then our churches must admit them since they can contribute in no small way to the splendor of the sacred ceremonies....

Yes, the liberals are legalists of the most stringent type, much like the devil. I always found that ironic. Anyway, hope that helps...

Also, for more on OCP, Jeffrey Tucker has a great essay here:
Wut? No "Gather Us In" nor "Eagles Wings"?  :salute: