Sunday, January 27, 2008

What will it take for Catholics to find their voice?

I find so much about being a Catholic that connects me to the eternal. The ritual, the spirituality, and Apostolic Succession all give me a feeling of touching the eternal, of reaching back to the time of Jesus (and before) and reaching forward into future generations.

What I really wish, however, is that someone would choose some better hymns.

I sat through Mass on Sunday listening to the cantor warble through unsingable hymn after unsingable hymn. I tried to sing, but none of the hymns were singable. The words were vacant and tune tuneless. Save the last one, which was Amazing Grace.

I have complained about this before. Cannot someone in the Church write some hymns that (i) are singable and (ii) are beautiful?

If that is impossible, cannot we at least borrow from the Anglican hymnal or go back to singing some Latin hymns?

3 comments:

Rodak said...

Become Lutherans.

Anthony said...

My wife is a Lutheran actually (well, it is really confused, he dad was Catholic and she was baptised catholic, but her mom was Lutheran and she is the one who confirmed her).

Oldsmoblogger said...

Ah, music and the Mass. May I rant a little? ;-)

I'll take the position that there are plenty of excellent hymns available; it's just that they're all 100+ years old. I usually check the numbers on the board against the hymnal or missalette to see what's on tap. If it's 19th Century or older, I'll belt away (glad I learned to sight-read music as a yoot). I live for the times we get to sing the Ode to Joy.

If it's 20th Century, and especially some of those, ahem (and forgive me), "hippie hymns" from the '70s or later, not so much.

END OF PART ONE

INTERMISSION

PART TWO: LATER THAT DAY

I shall now let fly against cantors who seem to think their job is to demonstrate the wonders of their warbly voice for us peons, rather than delivering the hymn in a way us peons can follow.

In my first parish after RCIA (I was a cradle Catholic and returned to the Church to be married), I occasionally served as cantor. It was a small parish and my wife's uncle was music director, so he dragooned me into helping out when he found out I could sing a little. I tried to sing straight from the shoulder, as it were, to give people something to follow.