Monday, July 02, 2007

Psalm sections in hymnals

Question: Why do Catholic hymnals have “psalters”?

If we look at the typical modern Catholic hymnal (Gather, Worship, Breaking Bread, etc.), one usually finds a section devoted to songs from the psalms at the beginning or at the end of the hymnal. What you will notice, though, is that these very rarely have the unaltered texts of any of the Lectionary’s responsorial psalms - which is how we all are supposed to be doing responsorial psalms. In fact, frequently the texts are substantially altered, even to reflect the ideology that addressing God in the masculine is to be avoided.

The fact of hymnals having “psalters” contributes, I think, to the use of songs like “Shepherd Me, O God” as responsorial psalms. We would all be better off, I think, if publishers got rid of those sections in the hymnals and used whichever of those songs hold merit in the main body of the hymnal.


At Monday, July 02, 2007 9:38:00 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I think that the Psalters are usually there for the Liturgy of the Hours--making for an "all-purpose" hymnal.

At Monday, July 02, 2007 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Cantor said...

Right, but even Liturgy of the Hours wouldn’t be an acceptable place to use these songs based on psalms. Liturgy of the Hours, like the Mass, demands faithful text settings.

At Tuesday, July 03, 2007 12:53:00 PM, Blogger HilbertAstronaut said...

This is not a new phenomenon -- Lutherans and other protestants did this sort of paraphrasing all the time, especially for Mass hymns.

At Monday, July 16, 2007 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some who maintain that the US adaptation to the GIRM posted below explicitly permits anything published in the front of, say, "Gather," since they all purport to be psalms.
Me, I think such claims call to mind the anecdote about Lincoln in explanation of why he didn't just declare the slaves free earlier -- if I call a tail a leg, how many legs does a sheep have?

It seems, in the view of my bishop and pastor, that since Marty and the rest of the editorial board at GIA have "CALLED it a 'psalm'" it is one.

(When confronted with this "fact" at a Liturgy Committee meeting where it was decided that we indeed COULD use these psalm paraphrases, I made no friends by inquiring, since I still had no intention of programming them, if the GIRM said that I HAD to use them...)

....In the dioceses of the United States of America, the following may also be sung in place of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary for Mass: either the proper or seasonal antiphon and Psalm from the Lectionary,as found either in the Roman Gradual or Simple Gradual or in another musical
setting; or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of the psalms and antiphons,including psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have
been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the responsorial Psalm.

Save the Liturgy, Save the World)


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