there's this big stink that I read about in the Catholic blogosphere about how terrible it is to only do 2 verses of a hymn. (like, the first and last verses for the closing, or just the first two at the entrance cuz the priest is at the altar and glaring at you.)
Of course, most of us (Catholics) agree that hymns are problamatic to begin with: they only cover the action that is occurring, as opposed to the Propers, which would actually have texts that are integral to the Mass. (think of it like poetry...)
this is a serious differentiation from most Protestants, where the action stops and then we sing a hymn...that's just what we DO.
But what's wrong with stopping a hymn before it's done? Or singing the first verse then the final doxology verse? I've heard accusations that this makes the text incomplete...but so what? Not seriously. Hymns are almost never direct quotes from scripture; the verses usually seem to me to be *independent* texts of general praise to God.
This is the one that really occurred to me during Mass this past weekend-- "I know that my Redeemer lives."
So we sing,
"I know that my redeemer lives, what joy the blest assurance gives, he lives who once was dead, I know that my redeemer lives."
then so WHAT if we skip,
"He lives to bless me with his love, he lives to plead for me above, he lives my hungry soul to feed, he lives to help in time of need."
"He lives and grants me daily breath, he lives and I shall conquer death, he lives my mansion to prepare, He lives to bring me safely there."
and go directly to,
"He lives all glory to his name, he lives my saviour still the same, what joy the blest assurance gives, I know that my redeemer lives."
Or here's just the next short hymn in my book:
"The strife is o'er, the battle done, now is the victors triumph won, now be the song of praise begun..."
then there is NOTHING wrong with skipping:
"Death's mightiest pow'rs have done their worst, and Jesus has his foes dispersed, let shouts of praise and joy out burst.... He closed the yawning gates of hell, the bars from heav'n's high portals fell, let hymns of praise his triumph tell."
and go right to:
"On the third morn he rose again, glorious in majesty to reign, o let us swell the joyful strain."
The only thing that is diminished is due to the amount of time...but if we were singing the Proper, there would only be the theology of one sentence! But there is no incomplete thought. I would argue that each of the verses are a successfull stanza in and of themself.