Square peg in a round hole?

That’s how one priest I know described this new setting to the familiar (some would argue, overly familiar) “Mass of Creation” by Marty Haugan.  A lot of American parishes have used the older version, and will begin using this new setting this month, in anticipation of the new Roman Missal, which makes its debut on the first Sunday of Advent.  If you’re curious about how it sounds, have a listen, below.  It’s the same…but, well, not.

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29 responses to “Square peg in a round hole?”

  1. I could live the rest of my life very happyily if I never hear this Mass of Creation again. “old wine skins” as it were. How about some entries about using the “Simple English Propers” by Bartlett ?

  2. By 2:05 I was awakened by the sounds of my own snoring.

    The music sounds dated and has a bored, lulling effect. Joe is right about “old wineskins’. I’m waiting for the New Translation to inspire and usher in new liturgical composers. Please, God.

  3. The Mass of Creation has been used by all four parishes I have been in over the last 30 years. I will miss it, mainly because I can sing it with my eyes shut. Maybe that’s a sign we need to mix things up a bit. The choirs here opted to go with the Mass of Christ Our Saviour by Dan Schutte for our new one; we are in the process of learning it. It was decided that the retrofitted Mass of Creation would be confusing, we would default to the old words too easily. And maybe it was getting a little stale.

  4. Our parish does not use all the music in our liturgy. Sometimes, familiar music can be a plus. People, no matter what community they are from, can join in. And I am not afraid to admit that I do enjoy singing portion of the Mass of Creation, especially the way our organists plays it.

    While I agree that some of the translation makes since to me. Other parts of it, I am sorry, just does not work for me, as does the process used to the final version about.

  5. Babin’s Missa Pacem fits nicely with the revised translation. It was composed to honor survivors and memorialize victims of 9/11/01.

    It’s nice to have some variety as we get used to the new words. I’m sure that a setting will emerge as a common setting in the US parishes again as Mass of Creation did.

  6. How long does it take for something to become traditional? Maybe the lifetime of one generation, or less? My kids (30-something) are going to remember the old N.O. Mass the same way I remember the pre-VII Latin liturgy; they have already expressed some regrets. There is something comforting about familiarity. But Fr. Shaun is right, the new will become familiar before long.
    I will have to look up Babin’s Missa Pacem, it sounds interesting.

  7. It would be really difficult to get used to this one. I’d rather just sing something new.

    When I first heard the Mass of Creation Gloria years and years ago I really really loved it. Now I’m a little sick of it.

    I’ve heard several people say that they are going with the Mass of Christ our Savior.

  8. The singers & harmonies in this version sound beautiful but I agree with a previous response that a familiar melody may cause people to default to the previous words that come automatically. This whole process of change is absurd & conflicts with Catholics Come Home.

  9. Re: melody #6

    “How long does it take for something to become traditional? Maybe the lifetime of one generation, or less?”

    The idea of what is traditional is a moving target. It revolves around what values each one of us lock up at the time we are ten years old.

    For instance, folks now alive who were born in the 20’s — and ten years old in the 30’s — have VERY different traditional values than some one born between 1955 and 1960 — thus ten during the Post Vatican II/Civil Rights riots/ political assassinations/ anti-Vietnam War marches disarray that happened between 1965-1970 in our American culture.

    A few very simple examples:

    –I have been responsible for clearing up the estates of at least five people who have died who were born in the 1920’s. These folks were HORRIBLE pack-rats — they saved everything — because during the Depression when they were ten, there was really nothing you could buy. Thus, if you got something — you saved it whether you needed it or not.

    –And then, once upon a time, I was a college professor of a young lady who was born in 1959. The political and social chaos that she lived through when she was forming her own “traditional values” when she was ten in 1969 are still very much a part of her life today — and those values are VERY different than those of “the Greatest Generation.”

  10. BLECH! It’s so ’80’s and that is 30 years ago, btw. Guitars? Why can’t these “composers” stick to the actual words of the Liturgy? They think they have to mix things up and be “creative”. Bob Hurd and David Haas fit in the same category.
    I’m tired of it. I’m a convert and I’ve never been to a Latin mass, but this makes me want to think about it. Our parish will be using a Mr Rogers setting, but better than this. Can’t we give this back to the Lutherans of which Mr Haugen is one, or the Methodists?

  11. It’s hard to get people to agree about music. You put 12 people in a room and they won’t be able to agree on a radio station where they all can stand the music. Mix liturgy into it and it’s even worse. The best scriptural antidote is probably I Corinthians: 13; “Love is patient, love is kind,…hopes all things, endures all things.”
    Deacon Norb, yeah, I know what you are saying. We are in the process of sorting out my late mother-in-law’s things, she came of age in the 1930’s. A lot of it is interesting, but some of it is just ..???

  12. It always startles me that no one seems to raise the point that these settings are often composed for piano, an instrument that is forbidden for liturgical use. Also, it’s full of drums and cymbals – also forbidden. I guess the word ‘forbidden’ must have had a definition change no one has told me about…

  13. BMac:

    When pianos, guitars, etc. were introduced into the liturgy, I remember a my uncle, a priest, saying that the organ was the held in high esteem in the church but other instruments could be used. (My uncle was pretty up on those thinks. He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and was head of the liturgical commission in the archdiocese.)

    Here is the quote from the Vatican II document on the liturgy.

    120. In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.

    But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.

  14. Re: BMac.

    –“My God is an Awesome God” is the title of an Evangelical Christian song I have heard sung at masses where there are lots of college aged participants.

    –My traditional values on church music revolve around being raised as a “Kentucky Hillbilly Catholic.” Guitars and mandolins make wonderful music unto the Lord. But it was at St. Bernadette’s church in Springfield Virginia where I heard an utterly awesome “Great Amen” sung to the accompaniment of a banjo being played in the classic “high-pick” of fast moving 1/32 notes.

    –Someone on an earlier blog commented about how popular “polka masses” are in Wisconsin and Minnesota. That music would require accordians and saxophones.

    –I have already attended one “African American” mass and the music provided by those long tribal drums (don’t know the official name) is also awesome.

  15. Is there anyone in the Church who cares about us “baby boomers” who have been forced to submit to changes in the liturgy ever since Vatican II? I used to be able to say and sing the Mass by heart for years. I just got used to it again, and now it is changing again. Why does everything have to be geared towards the youth nowadays. The senior citizen population are the Church’s most faithful Mass goers. And believe me at our age, it isn’t easy to keep changing things. Were it not a sin, I would stay home on Sunday and read my St. Joseph Missal and ask for Communion to be brought to my home. Also, one more thing. Why is there a World Youth Day but not a World Elderly Day. Are we to be forgotten because we will soon no longer be here?

  16. Re: Kathy #16

    Both “hms” and myself are in our mid-late 60’s; both of us have taught Church History; both of us have done dozens of programs on Vatican II; and — speaking of myself here — I have absolutely no interest in promoting or being on-ceremony in an “Extraordinary Form” Latin Mass even though I served masses in my youth and knew all of the Latin responses.

    I’m not all that comfortable with the new changes but that is because I am scholar on how language works. The members of the ICEL adopted a translational philosophy I do not agree with and do not believe in. BUT making that decision is “way above my pay-grade” and the Vatican support of that effort makes it official.

    There is nothing literally wrong with the up and coming new text — and there is plenty of historical background to “prove” it is “more correct.”

    Whether or not it will be widely accepted immediately — or will have to go through a series of changes like the Novus Ordo Mass had to, we’ll just have to see.

    And, frankly, I rather appreciate that Pope John Paul II created “World Youth Day.” I doubt if I’d ever go but I absolutely would fund one of my own grand-children going.

  17. Kathy
    I have to say that I was not too keen on the change from Latin into English until a priest told me about woman who had bemoaned the fact that whenever she traveled she would have familiarity with the common language, Latin. He told her: “Yes, wherever you go in the world, it’s mutually unintelligible.”

    Fast forward. I have several problems with the latest translation of the Mass which has for one of its purposes to return to a literal translation of the Latin Mass.

    So, the words of consecration of the wine “pro multis” are translated as “for many” replacing what we have been saying “for all.” This may be literal but hardly conveying the true meaning that Christ died for all. (Even the Jerome Biblical Commentary in the commentary on the Gospel according to St. Mark says that the “many” should be understood as designating a great number without restriction.) I think that the Italians say “per tutti” (like tutti-frutti?). I like that. (Tutti means “all” in English.)

    Another change that I am not fond of:

    Currently, we say: ““Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” With the change we will say: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” – a literal translation of the Latin Mass and the Latin Vulgate words narrating the healing of the centurian’s servant: “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum.”

    Actually, the second part of the centurian’s words have already been revised to be more reasonable (“but only say the word and my servant shall be healed”). Servant is replaced with soul. So why keep the roof ?

    I can live with that change, but a good friend has problems: “I’m not a bungalow,” says she.

  18. I kinda like it…it’s familiar, and more people will sing it if it’s familiar. Just my educated observation.

  19. HMS,

    “I’m not a bungalow”…that is funny. I would think that this translation emphasizes, in the Catholic idiomatic sense, the fact that we are temples of the Lord, and when we receive him he comes “under our roof” or into our temple so to say. Given your example I would say that the literal translation provides room for more catechizing concepts and expressions of the faith along with plenty of humor.

    Obviously the words used in the form of consecration of the wine have been a point of argument for some time considering the Catechism of the Council of Trent found it necessary to write this explanation of the use of “for many” back before I can count:

    “The additional words for you and for many, are taken, some from Matthew, some from Luke, but were joined together by the Catholic Church under the guidance of the Spirit of God. They serve to declare the fruit and advantage of His Passion. For if we look to its value, we must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all; but if we look to the fruit which mankind have received from it, we shall easily find that it pertains not unto all, but to many of the human race. When therefore (‘our Lord) said: For you, He meant either those who were present, or those chosen from among the Jewish people, such as were, with the exception of Judas, the disciples with whom He was speaking. When He added, And for many, He wished to be understood to mean the remainder of the elect from among the Jews or Gentiles.

    With reason, therefore, were the words for all not used, as in this place the fruits of the Passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation. And this is the purport of the Apostle when he says: Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; and also of the words of our Lord in John: I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me, because they are thine.”


  20. Once years back a rather confused Catholic Taliban wanna-be accused the choir of “liturgical abuse” for singing a Gloria which was antiphonal rather than through-composed. Am I really terrible to take delight in knowing that we’re still heretics if we sing the Gloria from the NEW MofC?

  21. Re bungalow

    John’s Gospel says that the Word Tabernacled among us or pitched his tent. The Word stepped out of his ignorance of human experience. We should step out of our ignorance of sacred words.

  22. I think this is all just going to take some getting used to, folks.

    You know… I’m a little miffed that the gender-neutral reference to “people of good will” was included in this latest translation. Political correctness, anyone? I thought we were supposed to be moving AWAY from that with the new translation.

  23. Couldn’t agree more with HMS re the dutifully literal translation of “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum.”

  24. “sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea.”
    (once an altar boy memorizing the Latin, always . . .)

  25. if you go to mass every day it will take 30 days to get used to it. If you go at Christmas and Easter it will take 15 years.

  26. cathyf,

    Your use of the ad hominem “Catholic Taliban” speaks more about you than the person you are marginalizing. When you throw a grenade like that, you can’t toss it far enough to keep yourself out of the fragmentation pattern. How would you like to be addressed in some form of ad hominum in order to be dismissed? Look for the reason behind that person’s dislike of what the choir did or failed to do and you probably won’t dehumanize that person. Name calling does nothing but kill dialogue.


  27. Re: politically correct

    In Old English, “wer” or “guma” was a male human, “wif” or “wifman” was a female human, and “man/men” was a human or humans of either sex. These corresponded neatly to Latin “vir” for a male human, “femina” for a female human, and “homo/homines” for a human or humans.

    In today’s English, alas, political correctness has clobbered all but the last vestiges of the original meanings of “man” and “men”, just as “werewolf”, “groom”, and “bridegroom” are the sole surviving uses of “wer” and “guma”. So using “humans” (from Latin “homo”) or “people” (from Latin “populus”) or “persons” (from Latin “persona”, human being or dramatic role or mask, possibly from Etruscan “phersu”, mask) are our usual choices.

    But it’s not very good for singing, that word “humans”, and “persons” is awfully hissy. So “people” works okay. Admittedly not as handy as “men”, but a lot fewer hissy fits all the same.

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