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Musical Musings: CNP Feedback

CNP Feedback - Catholic Book of Worship

The "Feedback Box" on the CanticaNOVA Publications website has proven quite effective in promoting communications on a variety of subjects, and expressing concerns of liturgists and musicians. From time to time, we'll compile a few of these questions or comments and put them in public view, with the hope that others with similar concerns may benefit from their content.

Q. Dear CNP:

Why in the world are your hymn choices from an outmoded version of the Catholic Book of Worship (CBW)? Not much help!

Seebee Dubya

A. Dear Seebee:

Thank you for browsing the CanticaNOVA Publications website and for using our free, online Liturgy Planning Pages.

When we make hymns suggestions for particular Sundays, we use only hymnals that maintain certain standards regarding the repertoire they include. Our suggestions are for the hymns themselves — we add the location in various quality hymnals only for convenience.

Many contemporary hymnals (Gather, Music Issue, etc) include too much music of dubious quality and problematic text for us to make suggestions from those sources. In no way do we want to promote parishes using these congregational resources and we would encourage parishes to move away from them.

I'm not completely sure of your situation in Canada, whether or not you're required to use the Canadian-published CBW. We did review the current edition (CBW III) and found it wanting in many respects and not up to the standards of the other hymnals we recommend, particularly in its use of "inclusive" language texts and contemporary-style idiomatic music.

While one of our goals is to provide musical suggestions to parish musicians, in doing so we never want to promote or encourage inferior congregational products. A prime example are the "missalette-style" booklets from OCP and WLP that are used in the vast majority of US parishes. If our goal were solely utilitarian, we would freely make Sunday suggestions from these ubiquitous throw-away booklets, which are used by most US musicians.

Perhaps the Liturgy Planning Pages could be useful to you in suggesting various hymns, which you could cross-reference with the current CBW III. That is in fact how I used the pages myself when my parish sang from a worship aid not on the CNP list.

I'm sorry that our planning pages are not as useful or convenient as they might be. Our policy is, first to maintain our standards for church music, and within those standards, to be as helpful as possible to the hard-working musicians in the parishes.

Gary Penkala
CanticaNOVA Publications

Liturgical Planning Pages

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