No. Big. Deal.

Moderator’s note: Just as I posted this, I saw that Paul Ford posted on the same topic. Oh well – we’ll leave both posts up.  –  awr

This just in: the updated translation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says the same thing about proper chants and other songs as did the 2003 translation! This is huge.

It used to be that there were four options for the piece sung at the entrance, the first of which is the proper chant and the fourth of which is another piece. But now, there are four options for the piece sung at the entrance, the first of which is the proper chant and the fourth of which is another piece. You see the implications.

Hardly wonder Jeffrey Tucker is jumping up and down. “Dramatic Changes in Music Rubrics for New Missal,” the headline shouts. Jeffrey is so attached to his pro-propers, anti-strophic hymns agenda that he sees it, even when it isn’t there. “I’m happy to report that the legislative ground has just shifted, and dramatically so,” he exlaims. “If I’m reading this correctly, any text other than an appointed text for the Mass will now fall outside the boundaries provided for by the authoritative document that regulates the manner in which Mass is to proceed.”

But I’m pretty sure he isn’t reading this correctly. There is no change in the legislation on propers and other songs. There is a clarification – and I think it is a good one – for how to choose a song or hymn. There is also a change in the translation of the Latin term cantus. And that’s it, as I see it.

Here is how 2003 described the fourth option:

(4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

Here is how it is described in the latest approved GIRM:

(4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

The helpful clarification is that 2003 merely said that freely-chosen song or hymn should be “suitable.” Now it is spelled out that this means “suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year.” Sounds good to me. It’s what I try to do when I choose a hymn for entrance (or preparation of the gifts, or communion).

What is a cantus? Literally, as the past participle of canere, it is anything which is sung. How do you translate cantus in this context – “hymn,” “song,” “piece”? All could be defended. The tendency now, as we know, is to use Latinate cognates, as in the English word “chant” which derives from “cantus.” (Think calix, “chalice.”) But whatever translation you use, it still means “the piece which is sung.” And that could be “Ad te levavi,” or it could be “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

I just emailed Fr. Rick Hilgartner at the Bishops’ Committee for Divine Worship about this. My question and his response:

AWR: Rick, does the fourth option for the entrance chant in GIRM 48 still refer to an appropriate hymn or song chosen by local liturgical planners?

RH:Yes.

Fr. Hilgartner also noted that, in his understanding, the paragraph is about the text to be sung, not the musical form it takes. The point is that the prescribed antiphons can, and perhaps should, influence the choice of hymnody. An example (from him) is using the hymn “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” if the entrance antiphon is from Psalm 23.

My advice to would-be interpreters: First, check out all the ways cantus has been used in the papal documents of the 20th century on sacred music, especially to refer to popular congregational songs of various nations and peoples. Second, check out the history of indults allowing such songs to replace Latin propers, how this made its way into Musicam sacram no. 32 (“The custom…widely confirmed by indults, of substituting other songs for the songs in the Graduale…”,) and how this prehistory informs GIRM 48.

awr

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51 comments

  1. Whew. Thank you for the cantus clarification. And I say this as one who has no problem with using Propers as an option….

    1. Nor do I! I’m a promotor of propers. I appreciate very much the liturgical spirituality of the introits.

      awr

  2. So if I use “Trading My Sorrows” as the Entrance Procession, which of the 4 options is it?

    It’s not from the Graduale, so options 1 & 2 are out.

    It also doesn’t seem to be a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons. So #3 is also out.

    That leaves “a liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year.”

    Maybe I didn’t work hard enough towards my Track and Field career, so making huge leaps is not my forte, but “a liturgical chant suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year” hardly describes Trading My Sorrows, nor does it very well describe an awful lot of what is heard in an awful lot of parishes.

    I’m sure that people will just carry on as they have…but to claim that nothing has changed is a bit disingenuous. If nothing changed, they wouldn’t have changed it.

    1. You’re right, Trading My Sorrows, probably isn’t a good liturgical song in the first place (at least that’s my opinion). I think this is why the clarification is helpful. It gives direction on what must be considered when planning music. Liturgical music isn’t just about feelings, personal taste, or even favorite songs.

      Yes, some people will probably continue to plan music based on personal tastes, etc, but I also believe this can be an opportunity for us (in diocesan offices, etc.) to really help educate liturgical musicians about the liturgical year, propers, etc. We may not get everyone to stop singing Trading My Sorrows, but we might just help a few more people choose music/text that is solid and appropriate for the liturgical action. In my experience as a diocesan director of liturgy, most musicians are extremely happy to learn some of the theological principles on planning and really want to do the “right” thing.

  3. Could someone clarify why in section 86 of GIRM 2011, it seems to differentiate between a chant and hymn stating that if a hymn is to be sung after communion, the communion chant should be shortened?

      1. Yeah, how so?

        (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting;

        So you can have the words of the Gradual (among other things) set in polyphony.

      2. the antecedent is still “chant”, guys. If you’re reading it restrictively in one place then is restrictive in all places.

    1. I would say that they are making a very clear distinction between a hymn and a liturgical chant. The other possibility is that if you want to sing a hymn, you have to shorten the hymn you’re already singing…but that wouldn’t make a lot of sense, would it?

  4. Can anyone tell me if English translations of propers from the Graduale Romanum, e.g., the new Simple English Propers, would be considered in category (1) or category (3) under the four GIRM options? Does category (1) only refer to the Latin language antiphons in the Graduale?

  5. Karl Liam Saur :
    Well, by that reasoning, there could not be polyphonic propers, either….

    That duck definitely won’t fly crosstown, or in my bailywick!
    You have take my Byrd Kyrie (Four Voices) away when you pry it from my cold, dead hands! Oops, that’s an ordinary, hmmm. Uh, you can take my Byrd “Ave verum…” away when…..oh, that’s a hymn.
    Aristotle E., can you help a brother out?

  6. All good discussion. Still, it is hard to miss the clear meaning of the now
    accurately translated text. You can look through three successive efforts at translation here and clearly see the direction is toward the fulfillment of the
    hope of the Second Vatican Council – which, frankly, didn’t imagine that
    liturgical music could be freely replaced by…whatever.

    1. Jeffrey, how do you interpret Musicam Sacram 32? How do you interpret all the indults before the Council allowing propers to be replaced by congregational vernacular hymns?

      Are you arguing that the Church allowed this substitution in the decades before Vatican II in a whole body of official documents, and also in the decades since Vatican II, but somehow Vatican II sits in the middle as an exception? I don’t find that anywhere in Sacrosanctum concilium.

      Frankly, I think your position is indefensible. You’re reading in what isn’t there. For one thing, the most recent translation is not an end point in a trajectory – it’s a version we had, more or less, in earlier versions of the GIRM. All the way through, it seems that everyone has understood it to mean that another freely chosen song or hymn is done, not the proper chant. I just don’t see how a reversion to an earlier version could mean that there is now a huge shift.

      awr

      1. Fr. Ruff,

        If we are picking apart Musicam Sacram, what of para. 28 which reads: “These degrees are so arranged that the first may be used even by itself, but the second and third, wholly or partially, may never be used without the first.” Concretely, this means we may NEVER sing the “Lord have mercy”, “Glory to God” or “Lamb of God” unless we ALSO sing “the prayer over the offerings; the preface with its dialogue and the Sanctus; the final doxology of the Canon, the Lord’s Prayer with its introduction and embolism; the Pax Domini; the prayer after the Communion; the formulas of dismissal.”

        In my experience and educated guess, not one in one thousand American parishes follows MS 28. Clearly there is MUCH work to do.

        PS My Katy Perry comment was meant only to rib you. I accept your response.

      2. In my experience, not one in a thousand parishes in any diocese of the world (including Rome!) does this. It does make one wonder what MS 28 really means in the life of the church or in the mind of all the Church officials who are also part of this liturgical culture, whatever Mass they’re at on Sundays.

        But MS 32 is followed everywhere, it seems to me.

        Sorry if I missed your ribbing! I can take a joke – really. Next time wink as you type it so I don’t miss it.

        awr

      3. Why, if it was so obvious to everyone that propers can be replaced with something else, was it even necessary to clarify with #32 at all? As you note, the hymn with any text option long predates V2. And this was totally out of control by the time of the Council, which is why the Council was so emphatic about the primacy of chant and why that generation of musicians was so enthusiastic about Sacrosanctum and the whole push to universalize the sung Mass as the norm. The goal (of this thread of V2) was to end the problem of vernacular hymns and to assert the reality of the sung Mass. this comes through in all the documentation at the time (I’m thinking of periodicals at the time and articles written by the main players, and the commentary following the passage of SC). I do think that this aspect of the history was missing in your book, as I think I wrote at the time.
        People like Msgr. Schmitt were even hopeful about the vernacular because they believed that it would lead to a GREATER emphasis on the propers of the Mass.

        Even under your strongest case, you do concede that replacements for the proper texts were and are regarded as the exception to the rule. Why? That is worth exploring.

        Why not just concede that despite the legislation, despite a Church Council, despite the ever tightening language in the translation of the GIRM, that we still have a serious problem and that this problem consists in the lack of integration between the music and the Mass texts?

        What to do about it? Sing with the mind of the Church.

      4. On your last point, I think that well-chosen hymns fit the Mass ritual very well.

        Are you conceding, yet, that the mind of the church allows hymns/songs as a fourth option, and that hasn’t changed?

        awr

      5. Jeffrey

        I’ve come to realize, over time, that the documents speak without the clarion certainty and consistency that some prefer because such lack of clarity and consistency was deliberate, rather than inadvertent; to allow for experiential discernment. To put it another way, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. There was much greater trust in that in the era that produced the documents than there was before and, for some, than there is today.

  7. “What is a cantus? Literally, as the past participle of canere, it is anything which is sung. How do you translate cantus in this context – “hymn,” “song,” “piece”? All could be defended.”

    Excellent news. On a separate note, I can’t wait to hear the new Katy Perry chant on my local Top 40 radio station.

    1. Do you realize you’re adressing a different question than the one in the quotation from me? I’m talking about how to translate a term in a Latin document into English. You’re talking about how one possible translation is or isn’t used in popular culture.
      awr

  8. So, God Bless America is out for the Sunday closest to Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Patriot Day, and Veterans Day? The Knights will have my head!

    1. Not if you take away their sword before allowing the militarists into church as should be done.

      No guns in Dodge City, check them with Sheriff Hitchcock.

      No weapons in church, check them at the door.

  9. I am with Anthony, in that – believe it or not – I am not against the propers, in fact I also believe there is a very deep spirituality there in those texts… but it is, as Anthony says, indefensible to assert from a standpoint of pre-Vatican II practice and documentation, as well as what the documents actually say and “allow” that the propers are the only desirable choice. It just is not there.. no matter how you spin it….

    Why is it so impossible for some to “tolerate” the possibility of 4 options, which can carry out the intention of the Entrance Chant, and more importantly, the opening rites in General? Please, let us remind ourselves of GIRM #46, which precedes the section on options.

    To the “propers-only” folks – I can certainly do more than tolerate, I can honor and celebrate the propers as a valid and wonderful pastoral option for the Entrance Chant. Why, can you all not at least “tolerate”, and hopefully honor and celebrate option 4 as well? Especially since the documents call for it as a valid option, and where for MOST parishes (yes, there are some choices of option 4 that are not appropriate), it serves GIRM #46 very, very well.

    1. I would like to see us skip the other elements of the propers and get people to sing in their entirety the Psalms quoted instead.

      I think it would do all of us more good to sing/pray and get to know the Psalter much better.

      I think the musical genre is much less important than using the Psalms more and hierarchical compositions less.

  10. I’ve never heard a single proper in the first 23 years of my life. I would imagine that a lot of the “propers only” folks feel that the option for anything else simply makes them, for all intents and purposes, obsolete.

    1. It absolutely does. I, too, have yet to hear propers sung at mass in the OF, and I’m 25 and was raised in the Church. From my experience, the “full and active” participation of the congregation was made priority over the propers, since propers that change each week hinder the congregation from singing everything in full-voice. If they don’t know it by heart, most won’t sing it. Maybe that’s the real issue.

      I was organist at a church for 2 years and wanted to start a choir. I obtained a budget for music from the business manager. She insisted that the choral music I purchase be music that is already in the hymnal (!?!) so that the congregation can sing along. I asked her what the point of having a choir was, if we weren’t even allowed to sing choral music. She said the people need to be able to sing everything so they don’t feel like they are at a performance. Therein lies the real problem. We can’t assume that the congregation is entitled to sing absolutely everything at Mass. So, who cares if we sing the propers and the congregation can’t join in on them right away? Ideally, the propers would be followed by a congregational hymn anyways.

      The propers will have a chance if we get out of the general mindset that ALL of our music at Mass be immediately accesible to every person in the pew.

      1. “We can’t assume that the congregation is entitled to sing absolutely everything at Mass. ”

        Why?

        Is there elitism here from a trained musician?

        The congregation is entitled to sing their parts at Mass. The choir is either supplemental to the congregation or substituting for the cantor, prior practices not with standing.

        The music director who understands the manner in which liturgy functions and the guidance of SC will not put maximum effort into a choir or instrumental music but will focus on assisting the assembly to learn better music and sing its parts better. This is less artistically satisfying but better ministry to the assembly, the praying community whom all liturgical ministry assists.

      2. “We can’t assume that the congregation is entitled to sing absolutely everything at Mass. ”

        Because there are no documents that back this up, nor does history prove that making all music immediately accessible to congregations 100% of the time adds overwhelmingly to the liturgical experience.

        I would never say that the congregation is not entitled to sing the parts of the mass that are rightly theirs. However, it is a fundamental flaw to say that EVERY piece of music sung at mass in theirs. It’s just not true.

        From GIRM: “48. The singing at this time [Entrance Chant] is done either alternately by the choir and the people or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone.”

        SC: “29. Servers, lectors commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God’s people.

        114. The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care. Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches; but bishops and other pastors of souls must be at pains to ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs, as laid down in Art. 28 and 30.”

        I would never dream of programming music that the congregation could not join in on for the Entrance, but these clearly show that your idea of a choir’s function is not entirely accurate. Yes, a congregation should be encouraged to sing and it’s the role of the music director to ensure they do so with gusto. But, that can also be accomplished without demanding that the choir dumb down all of their music, or insist that they only sing music that every PIP can sing.

        This is not an either/or situation. You CAN have both.

  11. We “across the pond” will welcome this clarification.

    As to the use of “chant”, all I think has happened is that the English translation now reflects other translations. The French and the Italians have always used “chant”. It just means a liturgical song, in my opinion, and has no specific bearing on Gregorian Chant. It is an umbrella term beneath which any appropriate musical style may shelter.

    GIRM – French
    48. Il est exécuté alternativement par la chorale et le peuple ou, de la même manière, par le chantre et le peuple, ou bien entièrement par le peuple ou par la chorale seule.On peut utiliser ou bien l´antienne avec son psaume qui se trouvent soit dans le Graduale romanum soit dans le Graduale simplex; ou bien un autre chant accordé à l´action sacrée, au caractère du jour ou du temps, et dont le texte soit approuvé par la Conférence des évêques

    GIRM – Italian

    48. Il canto viene eseguito alternativamente dalla schola e dal popolo, o dal cantore e dal popolo, oppure tutto quanto dal popolo o dalla sola schola. Si può utilizzare sia l’antifona con il suo salmo, quale si trova nel Graduale romanum o nel Graduale simplex, oppure un altro canto adatto all’azione sacra, al carattere del giorno o del tempo[55], e il cui testo sia stato approvato dalla Conferenza Episcopale.

  12. Current music practices at most Novus Ordo masses are sorry affairs indeed. The only justification for the Haugen/Dazs selections is that they have been approved by someone not that they contribute to any one’s spiritual benefit. The music industry is the only beneficiary. Any one spinning the 2011 GIRM to retain the status quo is no friend of music, liturgical music or the Mass; ultimately of God.

  13. John, you’re speaking about others’ spiritual benefit in a presumptuous way. I find that other people are oftentimes benefitted by music I really, really don’t care for. The prisoners I minister to at the county jail could sing “Amazing Grace” every Sunday of the year, I think.

    “The music industry” is a gratuitous label. I know many, many of the people who compose for GIA, WLP, OCP and who present music at workshops and conventions. I don’t care for a lot of their music. Fine. We all have our narrow biases. But: these people are busting their butts going around the country, and they aren’t getting rich at it. They’re doing it out of a sense of service to the Church. Do you know the stipend for presenting at a diocesan workshop or a conference? It does not compare favorably to, say, lawyers’ or doctors’ fees.

    I suspect you and I might agree about what is “good” music and what is “not very good music.” I don’t think aesthetic sensitivities justify using our “good taste” to say untrue and uncharitable things about people who get spiritual benefit from all sorts of music.

    awr

    1. “I find that other people are oftentimes benefitted by music I really, really don’t care for.”

      Truer words were never spoken, and we all need to engrave them on our hearts.

      In my mind, we come to Mass both to speak to God and to listen. God is gracious enough to speak to us in however we can best hear.

  14. Speaking of “the mind of the Church,” don’t forget that, thanks to the Vox Clara team, in many significant instances the antiphons in the Vox Clara Pell-Moroney-Ward Missal are NOT, in fact, accurate translations (as accuracy is defined by Liturgiam authenticam) of the Latin editio typica, a deficiency that, like so many others in the coming Missal, will have to be corrected at some point.

    Review the information in No. 10 especially of the report that was largely ignored by the Congregation the Holy Father trusted to monitor this sort of problem:

    https://wikispooks.com/w/images/4/45/Areas_of_Difficulty.pdf

  15. And you, John Molnar, came down from Sinai with that last statement inscribed on tablets? The most charitable response I have to that is that your last assertion is for God Almighty and none other to judge the Truth of.

  16. Is this forthcoming translation of the G.I.R.M. available online anywhere – for study purposes of course?

  17. One of the problems with the antiphons which GIRM 48 as revised will fix is the fact that the antiphons have their own cycle, and have largely been taken over from a previous incarnation of the Roman Missal. They do not relate to the three-year Lectionary cycle, with the result that, too often, there is disjuncture, if not complete irrelevance to the celebration of the day. Option 4 will allow this to be corrected and so is to be welcomed.

    A pity that the same latitude will not apply to the collects, and that the superb ICEL Alternative Opening Prayers from the 1998 Sacramentary are not being included in the revised Missal texts.

  18. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Anthony Ruff, OSB :

    On your last point, I think that well-chosen hymns fit the Mass ritual very well.
    Are you conceding, yet, that the mind of the church allows hymns/songs as a fourth option, and that hasn’t changed?
    awr

    Prevailing practice would seem to necessitate a radical shift.

    1. Jeffrey,
      “Radical shift” toward better selections of hymns and songs so as to fit Mass better? Or eliminating hymns and songs? I ask because my question above was whether or not you concede that the Church allows hymns and songs as the fourth option.
      awr

  19. Fr. Ruff;

    It would seem that if a hymn or song was “suitable” (aptus) then it would be covered under option 4. It also seems to me, however, that if a hymn or song were suitable in the way that would be necessary to fulfill the qualification of being “suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year”, what you would have would be another setting of the proper text rather than what we would normally call a hymn or song. Do we actually have hymns or songs at this time, in great enough variety and number, to fit the bill here?

  20. The English is binding, NOT the latin. So, ‘hymns’ (not just the word) are not part of option 4. Liturgical chants (not just the words) is exactly what option 4 is talking about, nothing else.

    The English is an adaptation, NOT a translation. When an adaptation is approved (and this one is), it becomes particular law. Particular law (as expressed by meaning of English words) is binding here, NOT universal law (in Latin). Or rather, the Universal law stipulates that Particular law is to be observed.

    Read this for an explanation: http://tinyurl.com/girmadaptations

    Here is the new GIRM, from USCCB website: http://tinyurl.com/USCCBNEWGIRM

    Feel free to correct me. I’m just trying to understand this like everyone else. And, as I understand, it seems that things have drastically changed, and now the only place where a hymn could be in liturgy is after communion perhaps.

    Recessional is not even part of liturgy, because the Mass is already over by the time people say, ‘Thanks be to God’.

    1. No, I don’t think so. You’re correct that the English is binding, and of course it is correct that the English says “chants” in no. 4. Your mistake, I believe, is in assuming that “chant” means – narrowly – Gregorian chant, or vernacular chant in Gregorian style, or at any rate not anything metrical or strophic. I see no warrant for this assumption. We have so many words that can be used generally or more specifically. For example, “classical music” can mean European art music from c. 1750-1825, or it can mean “all that serious stuff – you know, Palestrina and Bach and Messiaen and Haydn all that heavy music.” Another example is “hymn,” which can mean “strophic metered music” or can mean “a song of praise” – the latter usage including, e.g., the Gloria (a “hymn of praise”) or the Sanctus (the “hymn of the angels”).

      In this case, I believe that the most recent translation of the GIRM for the US is using “chant” to mean “a piece of music sung at this point of the liturgy, fulfilling the purpose and fitting the action of this portion of the liturgy.” That could be a Gregorian chant proper in Latin, or a strophic vernacular hymn, or a vernaculur plainsong proper, or so many, many, many other texts and musical styles which fulfill the function of this piece of music. That is to say, the meaning of “chant” is roughly as broad as is the meaning of the Latin term it translates, “cantus.”

      awr

  21. I didn’t propose any meaning to what chant actually means.

    However if chant just means, ‘a piece of music sung at this point of the liturgy, fulfilling the purpose and fitting the action of this portion of the liturgy’, then we are back at square 1. People disagree about what type of music ‘fulfills the purpose’ and about what type of music ‘fits the action’. If ‘chant’ means that, then chant just means whatever you think serves that purpose, which could be anything for anybody. Chant could/ would include absolutely anything. Not only are the consequences of this theory bad, I just don’t see any reason to believe that it actually means that. Why do you think it means that?

    I think it is non-controversial, however, to say that chant precludes praise and worship music.

    If you called a hymn a chant, I would just think that you misunderstood the meaning of the English word.

    Why is the meaning of English word ‘chant’ as broad as the meaning of the Latin word ‘cantus’? It just isn’t true that we use the English word chant to include hymns. The English word ‘hymn’ does not denote a noun which satisfies the descriptive qualities prescribed by the meaning of the word ‘chant’. In other words, you are misusing the English word ‘chant’ if you used it to describe a hymn. I know I’m really just pointing out the obvious, but why is it that you seem to disagree?

    The approved adaptation was in English. So, why should we even be thinking about the meaning of the Latin? It was not even written, or approved, in Latin. Certainly the law was understood before it was approved. And if the law was understood, it would be understood by apprehension of the meaning expressed by the English words/sentences. I can understand the meaning expressed by the English words/ sentences, without knowing one bit of Latin.

    Best,
    Paul

  22. AWR

    [That is to say, the meaning of “chant” is roughly as broad as is the meaning of the Latin term it translates, “cantus.”]

    The sentences of adaptation of GIRM 48, are not a translation of the sentences of the GIRM in Latin. The English word chant is not translating the Latin term cantus.

    The particular law is not written for us in Latin, it is written in English. If course it COULD be written in Latin, BUT if it were, it would have to be written to reflect the meaning expressed by the English words. For example, a translation of the English particular law which used a Latin word whose meaning expressed some meaning that differed from the meaning of the English word “chant”, would be a false translation.

    And if there were no single word in Latin that accurately captures the meaning of the English word “chant” (I’m guessing this is the case), then perhaps a Latin phrase or a Latin compound noun would be needed to accurately express the meaning of the English word. Surely this happens all the time in translation, where there is no analog noun in the language which the original is being translated into.

    1. Paul,

      I think the flaw in your argument is that adaptations to the GIRM are matters that bishop’s conferences vote on, not decisions made by anonymous translators. Did the bishops even approve this translation back in 2008 when they approve the Missal translation?

      I think “chant” is a poor translation of cantus, since in English it is normally a word that identifies a style of music. But, as with any poor translation that we are trying to understand properly, we certainly can have recourse to the original language in order to understand its sense. And in this case the original source would seem to indicate that this does not mean to specify a musical genre.

  23. Paul

    Rather than try to respond to each of your attempts at facile proof-texting, you should consider that, if the translation is intended to read as you say, then you can’t have polyphonic propers anymore in English-speaking countries (hint: the predicate before all the various choices is that they are species of “chant”).

    On top of this, as a chant lover, I can think of few things more likely to bring chant into further disregard in the English speaking than if any bishop were actually to ban strophic hymns from the Mass starting with the implementation of the new Missal translation. God save chant from such folly.

  24. Why would it matter if ‘chant’ badly translates if ‘cantus’, if the word was not chosen to TRANSLATE the word ‘cantus’ ?

    BTW, all I’m doing is pointing out what seems obvious. You wouldn’t argue in court over whether something is constitutional, and defend your view by pointing to a Latin translation, and showing how the meaning of the Latin words seems to support your view. The Constitution wasn’t written in Latin, so the words of a Latin translation are unimportant. Even if there were some 100% accurate Latin translation out there, all the meanings would have to match up, and arguments would have to be equally supportable by the texts in each of the languages (otherwise, we would clearly have a non-100% accurate translation).

    So, in trying to understand the particular law, we aren’t trying to understand a translation. I don’t even know if there is a Latin translation of the current adaptations. We are trying to understand the content expressed be the meaning of the English words.

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