Liturgically Inappropriate Music

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Peter O.
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Liturgically Inappropriate Music

Post by Peter O. » Thu Apr 01, 2004 5:57 am

Hi everyone,
This thread has been started because I'm concerned that some members are treading on dodgy ground. Let's get this straight from the outset - there is music around which many would not touch but please don't assume that everyone shares your views on good or bad. Let's not turn this into a trash-can so please list Music which you feel people need to look at carefully before including in a Liturgy, especially with consideration to the Mass. If you list something in this thread then I expect to see a valid, constructive reason in there too. I'll start you off with one.
Farrell - Jesus, Lamb of God [Hear our Prayer]. I'd been using this for years until it was pointed out to me that, if used as a Lamb of God setting, the line "though this bread and wine we share" is not an appropriate text - it's more than bread and wine at this point. My Priest has a real problem with this - he has suggested 2 alternatives which would make it fulfill his criteria:
"...through this sacrifice we share..." or "...in this Eucharist we share..."
Hope this gets the ball rolling.

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Unsuitable texts

Post by VML » Fri Apr 02, 2004 6:43 pm

Does this include " Eat this bread, drink this cup.." etc? :?

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Liturgically Inappropriate?

Post by sidvicius » Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:59 pm

When I learned and suggested John Bell/Graham Maule's thought-provoking "Inspired by Love and Anger" to a previous music group, it was greeted with sharp intakes of breath. It's in CFE, no311.

Some very challenging lines, the most scary being "aware of God's own bias" which some think cuts too deep, but perhaps an awful lot of 'putting the Lord thy God to the test' also? I've seen "aware" changed elsewhere - have Wild Goose revised it? Is it wrong as it stands?

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Re: Unsuitable texts

Post by Peter O. » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:35 pm

VML wrote:Does this include " Eat this bread, drink this cup.." etc? :?

Not really sure that I understand this question - could you be a bit more specific please?

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Post by VML » Sat Apr 03, 2004 12:27 am

I was thinking of the Taize song, but the verse words, which begin "I am the bread of life," seem to explain the refrain.

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Re. unsuitable texts

Post by Peter O. » Sat Apr 03, 2004 5:50 am

Thanks for adding more detail, VML. My understanding is that there is a distinction which can be made between the liturgical action of the Fraction Rite - which is when the Lamb of God litany affirms Christ's real presence in the Body and Blood - and the Communion Procession [another liturgical action] when we enter into communion with Christ and one another by sharing his body and blood. I wouldn't expect to sing Eat this Bread" as a lamb of God litany but I've used it on many occasions as a Communion Processional song. I'm no expert so if anyone else is interested in clarifying the situation further - please enter into the conversation.

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Re: Liturgically Inappropriate?

Post by Peter O. » Sat Apr 03, 2004 6:17 am

sidvicius wrote:"Inspired by Love and Anger"

It's a very powerful hymn - whether it is appropriate or not lies in how and when you propose to use it. If we are talking in reference to a Mass then I can't really see it having a relevant place anywhere except as a "sending forth" song after the dismissal. Justice, Mission, Ministry - all these are tied in with how we reveal our faith to others during the week. Thanks for poiting it out though, I can see it getting onto my shortlist of ideas for a Justice and Peace Service later this year.

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Re: Liturgically Inappropriate Music

Post by mcb » Sat Apr 03, 2004 10:15 pm

Peter O. wrote:Farrell - Jesus, Lamb of God [Hear our Prayer]. I'd been using this for years until it was pointed out to me that, if used as a Lamb of God setting, the line "through this bread and wine we share" is not an appropriate text - it's more than bread and wine at this point.


(Arch)bishop Kelly shared the objection to the refrain of this song - in his time (as Bp of Salford) we sang "through the bread and cup we share". The objection isn't that "it's more than bread and wine" - the term bread in particular is entirely appropriate here, because Our Lord uses it of himself repeatedly in John 6, and this is reflected in liturgical texts and an enormous repertoire of sacred music.

The problem is with wine, isn't it? There isn't a parallel with the way Our Lord uses bread - no "I am the wine of life", "I am the true wine that comes from heaven", etc. (Instead in John 6 we get four references to drinking of Our Lord's blood).

The asymmetry between the way the two words are used is curious - there's nothing evidently different in the two eucharistic species that would make one term appropriate and the other inappropriate. But Bernadette Farrell's refrain jars because of the improvised use of wine that doesn't have a biblical antecedent.

Another objection I've heard (from a fellow member of the composers' group) is that the refrain calls attention to us ("May we be your sign of peace") at a point in the liturgy where the focus should chiefly be on Our Lord present among us.

I'm trying to think of other liturgical texts or sacred songs that use the word 'wine' in connection with Our Lord's presence in the Eucharistic species. I can't think of any - any suggestions?

M.

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On a slightly different tack.......

Post by Dot » Sun Apr 04, 2004 6:13 am

Now we're into the realm of semantics, we're well away from what hits the everyday parishioner between the ears when they come to worship. My contribution to this inappropriate debate would be to put a ban on all hymns containing the word "sweet"; they belong to another era (the 19th century) whose sentiments are not appropriate to ours nor worthy of preserving. Actually, it might knock out a few earlier texts that are more worthy. I am aware that I have made a sweeping statement and will gladly submit to there being exceptions to my rule!

There might be another criterion for banning the bad stuff from the 1970's, but I haven't thought of it yet.......

Dot

PS Does anyone on this Forum know how to put the clock forward? We don't really get up that early, do we, Peter?

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Bitter sweet...

Post by sidvicius » Sun Apr 04, 2004 4:51 pm

1) I hope you don't think the debate is inappropriate, dot, it's only meant to enable people to check whether songs are allowed or not, in the mass.
1a) I share similarly semantic questions regarding words like 'joyfully' and 'rejoicing' - they're just not words we use anymore. Or is it, sadly, that we just don't feel like doing things in those ways, in our time? But this doesn't make the songs using them inappropriate does it? - unless the mood they set is incorrect.

2) Graham Kendrick's "One shall Tell another (the wine of the kingdom)" seems a nice tune once you've worked out the strange beat. Songs of fellowship(1) lists several Biblical passages it might refer to (John2:10 is probably the best). Not sure if it's what MCB is looking for exactly, or of it's appropriateness.

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Re: On a slightly different tack.......

Post by Peter O. » Sun Apr 04, 2004 7:48 pm

Dot wrote:Does anyone on this Forum know how to put the clock forward?

I'm afraid the forum works by GMT but don't forget that this is the World Wide Web so people could be contributing from anywhere where there is an internet connection!

I've just come back from a retreat and the Palm Sunday Mass opened with Walker's Palm Processional [works well with 700] which would have been difficult for my home worshipping community [around 70] to sustain and ended with My Song Is Love Unknown [includes word "sweet" in last verse!], which some members of my congregation have referred to as a dirge, but was an immensely powerful and moving end to this particular Mass at this particular venue on this particular day. Even if we only limit our thread to Sunday Mass we have a rich three year cycle of scripture on which to draw so it may be the case that numbers of inappropriate songs are actually fairly limited [hence my use of the term "music" instead of "songs" when I started this thread].

Here's a thought for you all - what about songs & hymns to Mary - how do you reconcile the "Marian Months" of May and October with the fact that the Sunday Mass is a commemoration of the Last Supper?

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Re: On a slightly different tack.......

Post by mcb » Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:12 pm

Peter O. wrote:Sunday Mass is a commemoration of the Last Supper


Hmmmmm....


M.

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Hmmmmmmm ...

Post by Peter O. » Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:28 pm

Pray tell, how wrong have I got it this time?

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Re: Hmmmmmmm ...

Post by mcb » Sun Apr 04, 2004 10:24 pm

Peter O. wrote:Pray tell, how wrong have I got it this time?


No no, not wrong as such. I agree with you completely all the way up to the word "is". :D After that I think I'd want to say that the Mass is concerned at least as much with the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday as Maundy Thursday. The Mass celebrates the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of the Lord, in the form of a ritual meal in which we share and a ritual sacrifice to which we unite ourselves. On a Sunday we do it in order to celebrate the resurrection in particular, so the strongest connection must be with the First Easter rather than the Last Supper.

"Commemorate" is tricky too — it's "do this in memory of me" rather than "remember this" etc. If I understand it correctly what we're "doing" is anamnesis, a word which doesn't lend itself to one-word translation. "Re-presenting" is I word I've seen used for it, if memory serves, with the meaning that it's not simply commemorating or staging an event from the past, but making that event present once again (which isn't the same as doing it again) in a way that allows us to participate in it.

(But now I'm definitely out of my depth. I went to a trendy ex-Jesuit grammar school in the 1970s, and RE lessons consisted of discussions of football hooliganism and capital punishment. We weren't allowed to do RE o-level. So I've got a bit of catching up to do.)

M.

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Post by presbyter » Sun Apr 04, 2004 11:43 pm

Lest we go off on a theology of the Eucharist tangent, I suggest everyone reads the relevant section of the Catechism on the Eucharist and the Paschal Mystery. Or perhaps before doing that, simply read the prayer of the Liturgy itself - lex orandi - lex credendi. (We pray what we believe)

You might find, on reading that, that James Walsh's We come as guests invited could be considered inappropriate in a catholic context.

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