Se o assunto lhe interessa, leia também os comentários dos leitores do blogue, alguns dos quais são muito instrutivos nesta matéria:
From a reader:E, com efeito, alguns dos comentários merecem destaque:
Forgive me my ignorance – I am a relatively new Catholic, coming from the Methodist tradition. Why is Gregorian Chant more appropriate for Mass than “Gather Us In?” I like “Gather Us In.” It is singable even for the unmusical among us, and it reminds us that Jesus calls each of us by name.As a preamble, music for liturgical worship is not a mere add on or decoration. It is liturgical worship. Therefore the texts used should be sacred texts. The texts of those ditties [NdE: cançonetas] mentioned in the question are not sacred, liturgical texts. They are not the prayer of the Church. Moreover, the music for liturgical worship should be art. The ditties mentioned above are not art. In fact, they are at about the level of the theme-song of Gilligan’s Island. They are not worthy of use in the sacred liturgy. They are just bad music.
When we sing hymns or ditties in the place of the assigned texts of Mass, we cut the legs out from under our proper liturgical worship and shortchange ourselves, obscuring what Christ the High Priest wants to give us through Holy Church’s choice for our liturgy.
Another view is that the Church herself told us what music should be preferred: Gregorian chant and polyphony. I think we should do as the Council asked.
If we think we need music of no greater depth than the old Armour hot dog commercial tune in order to feel we are being “called by name” by Jesus, then we are in serious trouble. Game over.
The ditties mentioned above, and their like, foster a purely immanent sense of God and what goes on during liturgical worship, underscoring a notion that what we do in church is all about what we do and suppressing the essentially important dimension of God’s mystery and transcendence, without which we cannot have true Catholic liturgical worship of God according to the virtue of religion and a properly oriented Catholic identity.
This is all very black and white and brutal, but I wanted to be brief and get out one view of the question. There are other points of view, which I am sure readers will share.
This’ll be good.
To put it as brutally as possible, “Gather Us In” is camp. It takes the seriousness of the occassion and injects frivolousness. And let me make a very important point: It does not matter if the lyrics are theologically and doctrinally sound. The music itself is frivolous. Here’s a helpful test. Remove the lyrics and listen to the music. Does this music sound like it would perfectly at home in/at:Um outro:
A. A rock concert
B. A new-age aroma therapy/massage parlor
C. A merry-go-round or organ-grinder with monkey
D. A Broadway Musical
E. A Church
If the answer is anything other than E, throw it out!
I think that the converse of the Vatican II statement, “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy,” is that if a priest is celebrating the Roman liturgy in such a away that Gregorian chant is not suitable, then the liturgy is not being celebrated correctly.
Just a quick explanation of what we are talking about when we refer to Gregorian chant, and what makes it integral to the Mass rather than an add-on:
The parts of the Mass that are meant to be sung can be divided into the “ordinary” parts, which are always the same, and the “proper” parts, which change each day. The “proper” parts of the Mass include, among other things, texts meant to be sung during the entrance procession, at the offertory, and during communion. These texts are given in Latin with their traditional Gregorian chant melodies in an official liturgical book called the Roman Gradual. (There is another set of proper texts contained in the Roman Missal, which are intended for spoken, rather than sung, Masses. The Missal does not contain music for these.) These proper texts are assigned for each day of the year in the same way as the readings in the Lectionary. We can’t just open the Bible and pick any readings we want; we have to use the ones assigned by the Church. This is supposed to be how the music at Mass works too.
In the Extraordinary Form, the proper texts must always be sung in a High Mass. You can add extra music if you have time, but you can’t omit the propers. The Ordinary Form, however, permits “another suitable song” to be used their place. That option, while not preferable, has become the default, which is why at most parishes, there are four hymns sung during Mass and no one even knows that the propers exist. Our liturgical worship is greatly impoverished as a result.
Of course, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with hymns (although some, like “Gather Us In”, lack artistic merit and are doctrinally questionable.) Hymns have a long history of use in the Divine Office (where they actually are liturgical texts) and in devotional prayer. The way they are currently used at Mass, though, is problematic. Allowing anyone to choose any song they want opens a giant loophole for individual musicians and liturgists to impose their own preferences and theological views on the Church’s public worship. This contributes to making the liturgy radically different from one parish to another and thus weakens our Catholic identity.