Doesn't this Litany of the Saints sound awfully like a Broadway performance? Don't get me wrong it sounds nice, but isn't this dripping in pious, entertainment sentiment of the secular nature even though it is religious, very religious in the use of the ancient litany? Please note that the name "saint" is nowhere to be heard in this illicit translation of the Litany of the Saints that is today forbidden during the new English translation of the Mass!
And now the traditional Litany of the Saints--chant and very much within our Latin Gregorian Chant tradition although in English and a licit translation of the Litany! It starts as minute 1:12
Listen to the drivel of this Responsorial Psalm loosely based upon a horrible paraphrase of Psalm 23 but with a sugary, sweet pietistic interpretation of the refrain, totally inappropriate as a correct translation of the Psalm Refrain for Holy Mass:
Now listen to this which is in keeping with our chant tradition, although not Gregorian Chant, and very much appropriate for the Liturgy of the Word, unlike the sappy first one:
I attended the ordination of permanent and transitional deacons at our Cathedral yesterday. The Cathedral Deanery Choir under the direction of Mrs. Patty Schreck for the past 65 years who is also the organist did a wonderful job and their music was very uplifting.
However, the Cathedral has been stuck for some time now in selecting music that isn't always the best liturgical music nor in keeping with the move to a more chant ethos in English that is a purer form of our Latin Rite.
Two selections at yesterday's Mass shows us once again the clash of two very powerful forces in liturgical music today and the dissonance they create.
The first is the Litany of the Saints that was selected. Apart from its more trendy contemporary style it is totally illicit because of its translation. We've just implemented the new English translation of the Mass and while I'm not sure if the Litany of the Saints has been adjusted, I know that the liturgical litany of the saints still refers to the saints by addressing them as Saint Joseph, etc. The contemporary one above that the Cathedral always uses never addresses the saints as saints. This is totally unacceptable given the new translation of the Mass and the desire for purity of translation from Latin to English. The melody though I suppose we can debate, but it is far from the traditional chant in English sung at the Sacred Heart Chapel of Notre Dame and which captures the ethos of our Latin Rite, which the contemporary, Broadway version simply does not!
The second is Psalm 23 as a Responsorial Psalm during the Liturgy of the Word. The Haugen one, "Shepherd Me O Lord..." is a silly, sugary, piety-burdened paraphrase of the Psalm 23. It has no place in the Liturgy of the Word as it is a paraphrase of the Psalm! It would be similar to choosing the Gospel from the Good News Bible!
I wouldn't even recommend it for a Communion Procession, because of the pietistic quality of this sugary, tooth decaying paraphrase and its love-sick melody. It truly is kitsch in the worse sense of the word. Maybe it would be best for a devotional song outside of Mass!
There is traditional kitsch and then there is contemporary kitsch. We need to pour both down the kitchen drain when it comes to the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours. Save it for novenas, devotions and para-liturgies.