Should we “only sing the Sprinkling Rite if water is mentioned in the Gospel?”

Joseph Cullen’s excellent paper delivered at the John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music  in Birmingham is to be published (in edited form) in the Catholic Herald this Friday. Worth reading, that is unless you are someone who thinks :

(look away now if you are of a nervous disposition)

a.)  That ‘Eagles’ Wing is your favourite hymn.   I think this might be the Karaoke version but l didnt stick around long enough to find out.

b.)  That everything sung at the Mass should be themed to the Gospel. (Joseph does talk about stripping away the cladding but he fails to mention the importance of  putting back the period features and making sure the Dado rail matches the F&B wallpaper…  It’s an easy mistake to make.)

c.)  That this piece of music is an appropriate piece of pastoral music ” because it is active participation in prayer”

d.)  That the “Grad-you-ah-lay Row-mah-noom”  is out of touch with the real liturgy

e.) “Gregorian Chant only has pride of place in celebrations that as a whole are in Latin.”

f.) That modern stuff is good “Bernadette Farrell, Marty Haugen et al”  because it is scriptural. How many times have you sat through a Gospel or a Psalm (last Sunday’s a good example “and so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad etc….”) and not been able to concentrate on the text because ‘that tune’ is now going round your head?

g.) We have a “duty to ensure that the assembly sings that which is rightly theirs/ours.” I suspect he is not just talking about the Ordinary here. Cut to five years time, crowds standing outside parish church clutching placards reading ‘give us our entrance hymn back.’

If you think Joseph Cullen doesn’t know his wood-chip wallpaper from his swirly carpet and agreed with any of the above points which incidentally failed to appear in Mr Cullen’s paper, pop over HERE to join in with the fascinating discussion. I would warn you though that they seem to all know it each other, so you might be a stranger amongst friends. Now reading that reminds me,  l need to pop down to that large department store on the Kings Road to get some interior design tips.


8 thoughts on “Should we “only sing the Sprinkling Rite if water is mentioned in the Gospel?”

  1. Ian Williams says:

    If you do go over there, there are two important things to remember: the individual who posts as “Southern Comfort” and makes a habit of plugging the music of Paul Inwood and friends, while criticising the alternatives, is Paul Inwood; and they’ll throw you off the board if you embarrass them by mentioning this dirty little secret.

    • Clare says:


      How interesting. Do you think we should all have pseudonyms for our own safety? They might come looking for us to bash us over the head with a copy of the Celebration hymnal?

      lcrea (unbreakable anagram to protect my identity)

      • Ian Williams says:

        That’s OK, Clare – Mr. Inwood’s thinly disguised anonymity there has been sufficient to allow a previously sympathetic Diocese to turn a blind eye to his activities there. There’s a new Bishop now, but I guess Mr. Inwood is approaching retirement age, so isn’t too concerned.

  2. Sally Clarke says:

    It is not that “the “Grad-you-ah-lay Row-mah-noom” (why be arrogant and patronising?) is out of touch with the real liturgy”

    The rest of the comment has been deleted.

    • Clare says:

      I’m afraid l have had to delete the rest of your comment. If you unhappy with the the music choices in our parish then please speak, in person, to Fr Ray or myself.

      • Ian Williams says:

        Sounds balanced to me, Clare.

        BTW, Sally, I agree that the quoted “Grad-you-ah-lay Row-mah-noom” is, as you say, arrogant and patronising. What’s astonishing is that the comment was made by the Director of Music and Liturgy of the Diocese of Portsmouth, and permitted without comment by the sponsoring body of the comment board, “the national society for liturgy and music in the Roman Catholic Church in the British Isles” – in which capacity it has the patronage of several bishops.

  3. Leutgeb says:

    It was only after singing ‘asperges me,’ that I noticed that those very words are written in Latin above the Holy Water stoop in Westminster Cathedral. Nothing like reconnecting with the Catholic tradition you we denied until the age of 38.

  4. Henry Law says:

    Follow the money.

    In 1978 I joined a choir at Muswell Hill when Paul Inwood turned up and started dishing out sheets of some of his unpleasant music. He got shirty on the subject of photocopying. All those royalties must have been a nice, not so little, earner, over the years and we would not want to stop the revenue flowing in by sticking to music that is in the public domain, would we now.

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