About this blogger:
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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“In all this mediaeval religious poetry there is much that we could not use now. Many of the hymns are quite bad, many are frigid compositions containing futile tricks, puns, misinterpreted quotations of Scripture, and twisted concepts, whose only point is their twist. But there is an amazing amount of beautiful poetry that we could still use. If we are to have vernacular hymns at all, why do we not have translations of the old ones?”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

Catholic Hymns Before Vatican II Will Shock You!
published 28 February 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

NE OF OUR MOST CONTROVERSIAL articles appeared on 19 August 2013. That was the day we posted a 1937 article by Dom Gregory Hügle, OSB, affirming that selections from the Ordinarium Missae and Proprium Missae could be sung during LOW MASS. Some demanded that the post be taken down, e.g. the head of an anonymous “ultra-conservative” blog who sent several nasty emails. It seems that Fr. Hügle’s article contradicted a narrative this person had been promoting about the pre-conciliar liturgy and he felt the truth should be kept secret—I disagreed.

In spite of what you may have read online, hymns and selections from the Ordinarium Missae were often sung during Low Mass in English. Consider these pages from a 1913 hymnal published by a English Benedictine monk:

    * *  PDF Download • From a 1913 Roman Catholic Hymnal

Is this a fluke? No, because the hymnal’s IMPRIMATUR PAGE includes several distinguished clerics, including Francis Aidan Gasquet (who later became a Cardinal). 1 In light of this, the “hype” that accompanied Alexander Peloquin’s 1964 performance of a Mass Ordinary in English seems silly.

Those who have read the PREFACE to the Campion Hymnal realize that prior to 1965, Catholics were free to worship any way they wished. 2 After Vatican II, the strong emphasis on external participation caused some to neglect internal participation:


1   Unless I’m wrong, it isn’t every day that a Benedictine monk is elevated to the cardinalate.

2   This is why official rubrics for the congregation at Low Mass do not exist.