Lalemont Propers is available from Corpus Christi Watershed, either for purchase or free PDF download. It provides extremely simple chant settings of English propers, as a sort of useful fall-back if more difficult propers (in Latin or English) are not possible.

Fine. But get this: the foreword to the Lalemont Propers claims:

Since the 1970s, many Catholic publishers have not been in compliance with clear directives from legitimate Church authorities, refusing to print the “Gradual prayer” in any of their publications. In the Reformed Rite of the Mass, the Gradual is a valid option to be sung after the First Reading. At this time, we urge all publishers to please consider following the directives of the Church. The Gradual (and all Mass Propers) must be printed in any books that will be used by the faithful.

Now that’s one whopper of a claim! Almost everyone is in noncompliance?!

It didn’t sound right to me – not least because a whole raft of books and booklets have just been issued for use with the new English Missal by publishers such as Liturgical Press, OCP, WLP, GIA, and all the rest. None with the “Gradual prayer” (or other proper texts), but all with official approval.

A quick email to Msgr. Rick Hilgartner at the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB confirmed that Lalemont is overstating things.

When the USCCB said this in 2009,

No publication should limit, directly or indirectly, the breadth of choice open to the priest and other ministers, the leaders of song, parish and community worship committees, or others who participate in planning liturgical celebration.

it was in reference to the Order of Mass. You don’t get to decide, for example, that you only like the first Eucharistic Prayer and will leave the rest out. Or that there shouldn’t be so many options for the dismissal so you’ll include only the first ‘traditional’ one.

There’s no obligation to include proper texts in congregational materials. Certainly not for the gradual after the first reading – as Msgr. Hilgartner pointed out to me, there is no official translation of the gradual, so the church can’t very well require that you include such a text.

Some folks are rather zealous in the promotion of Mass propers and the campgaign against strophic hymns. The church allows both. (For the record, I support both and have greatly increased the use of propers in Latin and English at the abbey.) I suspect such uber-zeal for propers, plus a bit of misplaced legalism, is behind the inaccurate claim in the Lalemont Propers.

To promote propers is one thing. To accuse every major Catholic liturgical publisher in the US of noncompliance with Church directives is another. Best to get the fact straight first.


Send to Kindle