Francis Mannion on the new translation and missal chants

Msgr. Francis Mannion (remember him? founder of the Society for Catholic Liturgy, widely published…) wrote this in a recent column in Our Sunday Visitor:

Q. Any comments on the way music works in the new translation of the Mass? My opinion is that it does not work very well. I have noticed a big decrease in singing recently since the new translation of the sung parts was introduced. Is this your experience?

A. Actually this in not my experience at all. We tried to introduce a new Mass, but gave up because it was unsingable. I won’t mention the composer’s name. Before he died, Richard Proulx adapted his famous Community Mass to the new translations; we now use that, and the people have got the hang of it pretty well. I read an essay by Rita Ferrone in a recent issue of Commonweal in which she said that the new Mass does not sing very well. I disagree. I think it is most singable. The chants are particularly good (I know one of the music composers well!). Chant serves very well when the texts are not rhythmic, but are more prosaic (as in prose). I am excited to introduce the new chants to the people, especially the dialogues between priests and people.

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