SIR, — In a recent issue Mr W. H. P. Boyd advocates the singing of vernacular hymns during the Solemn High Mass. He is certainly speaking of Solemn Mass (" If I choose to offer up the fifteen mysteries during a Solemn High Mass.") " If to this," he goes on, " be added the hymn ' Soul of My Saviour ' or ' Glory be to Jesus,' " he thinks it would bring back to Mass those who stay away " just because a liturgical service in plainchant savours of ' dry bones ' by comparison with the rich, warm covering of a hymn or two, for which the Motu Proprio, on pages 6 and 7, incidentally makes provision."
It Will be seen that your correspondent, in support of his composite rite, which may or may not be " more attractive " but at any rate is not that of the Roman Solemn Mass, has the hardihood to cite the Motu Proprio of Pius X (Catholic Church Music: the Legislation of Pius X, RIMP.dirt XV and Pius XI: R. 0. and W. 1933.)
This is odd, because :
1. Neither on pages 6 and 7, nor on any other page of Pius X's Motu Proprio, is there any provielon whatever made for vernacular hymns at a Solemn Mass.
2. On the contrary, the only reference (except for " processions outside the church") to the vernacular in the Motu Proprio does indeed occur on page 7, but is a complete prohibition of the vernacular at a Solemn Mass. Here is the passage : " The language proper to the Roman Church Is Latin. Hence it is forbidden to sing anything whatever in the vernacular in solemn liturgical functions-much more to sing in the vernacular the variable or common parts of the Mass and Office."
Instead of misrepresenting, no doubt accidentally, the teaching of the Holy See concerning our public worship, and making contemptuous reference in public to the Church's own form of corporate prayer as " ecclesiastical crooning," would it not be more profitable to encourage a better understanding of our Solemn Mass?
J. B. McEisnocnv, O.S.B.