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A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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"The union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it."
— Pope Pius XI (6 January 1928)

Reason #6634 "Sing To The Lord" Was Not Submitted To Rome For Approval
published 17 December 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH is “dashing, but supremely witless.”

157. The proper or seasonal Responsorial Psalm from the Lectionary for Mass, with the congregation singing the response, is to be preferred to the gradual from the Graduale Romanum. When the Latin gradual is sung in directum (straight through) by choir alone, the congregation should be given a vernacular translation.

First of all, the author seems not to understand the structure of the ancient Gradual chant. While it’s true the entire first section can be repeated after the verse, and this was specifically allowed by the 1908 Editio Vaticana, it’s never sung this way. (One exception is the Gradual for St. John the Baptist owing to textual reasons). The author seems to think it can resemble a Responsorial Psalm — it can’t! — a typical error made by people lacking experience with Gregorian chant. Furthermore, let’s suppose a Latin gradual is sung with its response … should the people then not be given a translation?!!

More importantly, the first half is totally bizarre. They assert that the Resp. Psalm is “preferred” and cite (in a footnote) the Introduction to the Lectionary. However, they fail to cite the higher document (Sacrosanctum Concilium) which says Gregorian chant is preferred. And what about tradition? Why should something invented in 1968 be preferred to the immemorial tradition of the Catholic Church?

They might argue “because it matches the readings better.” We’ve discussed many times how facile that assertion is. However, let’s pretend they’re correct about the importance of “matching the readings.” Does a Seasonal Responsorial Psalm (see above) really match the readings better than the Gradual? The correct answer is: “For someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Word of God, yes!”


A few hours after I posted this article, I happened to read the following:

6628 Pro

This is according to the Learn-a-new-word-see-it-within-24-hours theory!

Editor’s Note:   While Sing to the Lord (2007) was a tremendous improvement over the now defunct Music in Catholic Worship (1972) and Liturgical Music Today (1982), it has been the recipient of serious criticism. To put it bluntly, experts in Sacred Music have “torn it to shreds” because of basic errors in musical terminology and other inaccuracies. When Sing to the Lord is revised, we hope that specialists in sacred music will be consulted to help avoid such misstatements.