I don't want to offend anyone, but I have a question/comment about the Gather Comprehensive hymnal. I just attended a funeral yesterday and the church was using this hymnal. Another RC friend said their church uses is also. It's been a while since I last attended a mass, but I was very suprised at the music in this hymnal. I don't recall musical arrangements like this. I'm trying to avoid using the word 'dreadful, but I thought I was listening to Andrew Lloyd Weber numbers. Is this typical of RC music today? What is the general opinion on this hymnal?
It depends on who you ask. In my area (Baltimore), the older folk, especially women in their 70s-80s, eat this stuff up, as do the hippie-dippie musician crowd that seem to occupy all the musical director chairs in the various parishes. The younger you get, though, the more dissatisfied the opinions. People in their 30s and under often feel short-changed by having to sing all the incredibly dated sounding hymns in the We Gather hymnal while being forced to practically ignore the more majestic hymns like "O Sacred Head Surrounded".
I grew up singing alot of the OCP hymns in Catholic school and I admit I have a soft spot in my heart for tunes like "Gentle Woman" and "City of God". However, as I got older and took my faith more seriously, I hated singing them at Mass, especially when "they" started messing with the words. For example, there's a line in "City of God" that goes:
"In God is love, in Him there is no darkness"
The last time I was at a Latin rite Mass that wasn't a funeral, at the co-cathedral of Mary our Queen no-less, the guitar choir sang:
"In God is love, in GOD there is no darkness"
I walked out.
I'm sure lubeltri and Papist have had similar experiences. More tradtionally minded musicians are hopeful that the pontificate of Pope Benedict will have the effect of restoring more traditional music. His reign has certainly had an effect on the way some priests orient their altars, either all the way to the East or at least having a crucifix as a central point when celebrating ad populum
. However, many have noted that the musical programs at various Papal Masses, even in St Peter's, is often more of the same. Hopefully, for Roman Catholics, this will change also.
This is, of course, my experience and others may disagree.