Not, as one might hope, an Ignatian Pew Missile, the shoulder-mounted Church Militant defensive system for the spiritual foot-soldiers, which opens a can of old-school Jebbie-style whoop-hiney on heretics in the Church – that’s still in development. BUT: we do have a much-improved missal:
It’s got lots of good things, go to the site for details. Most wonderfully, it has simple chant settings for the Mass propers – doing those FIRST, before simply picking 4 hymns, would certainly be a huge step in the right direction – the direction of making the Mass time out of time, transcendent, not just another episode in my me-centered life.
One comment on a curiosity in the hymns: included among the wonderful old-school tunes (of whatever vintage) are a set of about a dozen ‘contemporary’ tunes – Be Not Afraid, I Am the Bread of Life, Hail Mary Gentle Woman (yeech!), Eagle’s Wings and so on – a pretty good representative sample of the songs sung in parishes that all the 50+ year olds have heard since childhood. (Plus a big dose of Taise – which I don’t claim to get, exactly, but it’s usually not terrible. Neither here nor there.)
Why, one might ask, would those aiming to improve music in the liturgy include such musical and (usually) theological trivialities? First, they did choose (mostly – Carey Landry?!?) from among the more musically inoffensive end of the pool, and songs which are not (too) theologically suspect. But I see a bit of subtle as serpents going on here: by including these warhorses of the Spirit of V-II crowd, the compilers neutralize a whole line of attack (‘everybody LOVES song X! We can’t use a missal that doesn’t have song X!) ; second, by putting such songs in the middle of many much better songs, those who have ears to hear – say, anyone under 40 – may, in fact, notice the difference. The aging hippies have sold their ears for an ideology – they just hear goodthink and badthink when they hear any song in church – but the younger crowd might actually like good songs that are not hard to sing (the tune and scansion are the same for each verse? They can DO that?) The usual snakes in the grass are probably too wise to fall for this, but they are losing traction with the people who actually, you know, go to Mass.
Anyway, it would have been interesting to be in on the meetings where the songs were chosen. I’m wistfully imaging a little maniacal cackling as they tucked the Prayer of St. Francis next to Regina Caeli. MUAHAHAH!
May God bless this effort, and all efforts to make our worship of Him as beautiful, good and true as possible.
H/T to the Curt Jester.
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