HE FOLLOWING was recently posted on a parish website in Washington State (near Vancouver, Canada). I do not have the pleasure of knowing the Catholic priest who wrote it, but the existence of his PDF manifesto was brought to my attention by several generous correspondents. His statement is nothing short of brilliant, and must have required hours to prepare and proofread.1
This thoughtful pastor wrote as follows:
I will let document speak for itself … but here are some items it covers:
Relevant Church Documents
A Quick Note on Amplification
Solo vs. Ensemble vs. Congregational Singing
Syncopated and “Jumpy” OCP Hymns
Metrical vs. Syncopated Hymns
The Pandemic and Additional Urgency
How will we pay for these hymnals?
An excerpt from the document:
“For a Church with a 2000-year history, it is bizarre that the vast majority of the liturgical music in use in American Catholic parishes today should have been written only after 1970. […] The Brébeuf hymnal has tried to remedy that in a truly inspiring way. The front section of the Brebeuf Hymnal is made up of 40 ancient and medieval Catholic hymns. These hymns are first presented in their original Latin and then each is presented in different English translations done by translators from different eras; and then each translation is set to multiple hymn tunes. As the publishers of the hymnal state in their introduction: The ancient Latin hymns contain rich theology. For this reason, we have included numerous translations—since no single translation can fully capture the meaning. As I was reviewing this hymnal, I was surprised to realize that many hymns that Catholics know and love are actually based on much older Latin hymns that were translated after the Reformation, and I was amazed to see how the same Latin hymn could produce two different, incredibly rich translations. The back section of the Brebeuf Hymnal consists of 225 Supplemental Hymns, which simply means they are not as ancient or as liturgically important as the hymns in the first section. Looking through this second section, I saw an incredible wealth and variety of hymns that our community already knows and loves, which alleviated some of my fears about the first section being too restrictive or foreign.”
Someday I would very much like to meet the priest who created this document. He has an awesome first name!
The pew book Father Jeffrey Moore recommends (cf. above document) is named in honor of one of the bravest saints of North America: The Saint Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The document is somewhat critical of the approach taken by Oregon Catholic Press (“OCP”). When I can find the time, I would like to discuss some of the recent steps taken by OCP. In particular, I wish to analyze a despicable OCP YouTube video (chock-full of blatant lies) which is essentially a shameful attack on Archbishop Sample.