Skip to comments.The Hidden Hand Behind Bad Catholic Music
Posted on 01/18/2005 10:13:36 AM PST by siunevada
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Both "Amazing Grace" and "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" are in my parish's OCP hymnal.
And to top it all off...they can't even leave "Amazing Grace" alone. They've changed the words from "...that saved a wretch like me," to "(something, something) set me freeeeee!" They've also messed with "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," changing "born to raise the sons of Earth" to something more "inclusive." Oh, and let's not forget "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," which is no longer the "BATTLE Hymn," but just "Hymn" now. They changed those words, too. They've EVEN changed the words to their own hippy dippy songs like "Whatsoever You Do" and "Blowin' In the Wind."
Amazing Grace is indeed in the missals. So is God Bless America, interestingly.
I'm not so much against Protestant hymns on principle as I am against them because a lot of the ones in the Catholic missals are limp, Michael W. Smith-style songs.
Luckily this was the first I've heard of "Table of Plenty"
The topic does interest me, thanks for the book suggestion.
Since I had so many replies to my inquiry mentioning me by name, I kind of glossed over your post last night since it was addressed to someone else.
Woah, that took me aback. Kind of sickens me. I still believe Here I am Lord is a good song, but the article does give me second thoughts. It still speaks to me.
Its very disturbing though to think that so many Masses contain the works of a man who has decided to live outside the Church's Doctrine.
End the "folk music mass" BUMP!!!!
Again, being raised at the one Church with the up tempo music, with a rather uplifting song to it, at least to the joyfull seasons, some Churches seem to have sad sorrowfull music for every season. I mean the tone of songs is just low and sad.
Maybe I have to re-learn.
I still think Here I am Lord is about serving God by serving His people. Its about the call where God is looking for someone to be a voice in the wilderness, and the singer is asked to step up to the plate. Is the singer willing to feed God's sheep, as Peter was asked?
And the refrain, Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord(do you really mean me)? I have heard You calling in the night, I will go Lord, if You lead me, I will hold your people in my heart(I will look after your people, shephard them and love them as God has shown His love for me.)
As for the Psalms, I grew up with it one way, but I guess I could re-learn it the other way.
The thing is, I've attended my share of funerals, and young and old alike seem to choose these same hymns which I am now finding out are much younger than the average age of those who's funerals they've been sung at.
Yes many of the songs have been inclusive languaged. Luckily most of the Hymnals are older than that movement though at the Churches I've known.
I'm just glad I've never seen the inclusive language America the Beautiful version pop into a Church misselette.
God Shed all Grace on Thee
With brotherhood and sisterhood,
From Sea to Shining Sea.
As opposed to the usual
God Shed His Grace on Thee
And Crown Thy Good with Brotherhood
From Sea to Shining Sea
Thank God (really) I've never seen THAT one.
Here's a good article that explains the problems with that kind of music:
Isn't this one of the songs written by an ex-jesuit priest, who has been reported to be a partnered homosexual?
Yes it is and that really bugs me. I don't see this guy in the Hymn at all though, and take it as a Hymn, and disregard the man who was inspired to write it. Even though he was a Jesuit, at one point he was called to serve the Church. I have to believe that it was during this period where he had been responding to the call, that I hope the song was written. I would hate to find out it was later on as he was drifting away. Its extremely sad that he turned away from the Church, and towards immorality.
Actually much of that article was posted earlier in this thread. I do have to disagree with Father Scalia though, as far as my opinion. I'll preface my opinion below with the words, he may be right, he's studied it far more than I, and knows much more about the Liturgy and Cannon than I do.
Those songs, Here I am Lord, Hosea, they're meant as introspective. God's words speaking to us, and as Here I am Lord, says in its very title, its a responsorial to God's calling. Hosea is about realizing God's Love for us, and how we each can come back to God with all our hearts, and fear should never stop us. Its more for each person to sing and absorb those words, and see God's waiting for us to come back to Him during the times when we have strayed. Its not meant to sing to eachother, rather to reflect inwardly.
What galls my butt is that when(if) we sing it, the publishers pay this guy royalties that support his deviant lifestyle.
This makes us, in a way, complicit.
I also understand that he does workshops for OCP.
That simply must not happen. There has to be a way for the Church to reign in that he composed them for the Church, it counts as a donation to the Faith, and did so as a member of the Church. Once he backed out of the priesthood, the songs stayed property of the Church. And if they didn't, once his anti-Catholic lifestyle was revealed, any and all Catholic money that would go toward any royalties should be permanantly revoked. If it means stop printing the songs so be it.
" If it means stop printing the songs so be it.'
Now all you have to do is convince OCP and the myriad of music directors, pastors and bishops who totally buy into the OCP agenda.
This is just a tip of the OCP iceberg.
There is a reason for that, particularly with traditional chant. I'm not much familiar with Western chant, but in the Orthodox tradition the traditional chants have been passed down so much by oral tradition over many, many centuries that the melodic "kinks" have been worked out.
Among the most traditional, there is a resistance even to notated music. Much of what our choir sings is text with a few markings above the words. There is a reason that all of the old chants (Greek Byzantine, Russian Znamenny, the old Latin chants) were notated with superscript markings, without instrumental accompaniment, and were sung in unison. It allows a concentration on the texts.
I would estimate that our choir (and much of the congregation) knows probably at least 40 "stock" chant melodies that they can apply to text that is minimally marked and if they are led by a choir director or lead chanter who knows his stuff. And ours is probably average (and would be shocked to learn that they know that many!) A Russian Old Believer parish made up of a bunch of peasants would probably know at least double that number.
Bottom line is that traditional chant IS the chant of the people. It is a mistake to criticize the NO liturgies on the basis of "not being fine music" -- i.e. not Palestrina or Mozart or whatever (what parish could sing most of that stuff?) The challenge is to rediscover the traditional chant of one's own people, and make the leap with it English texts that are worthy of it (another huge problem with modern RC liturgy -- that "you-who" bit...")
The expenditure of money and effort by the OCP catalogued in this article is truly mind-boggling. I am reminded of the frustrated words that a prominent evangelical wrote a few years before he converted to Orthodoxy, when looking at modern Protestant church music, architecture, etc.: "Studied ugliness does not come cheap..."
I remember, after the Latin went away, but before things got really out of hand, that we DID used to chant in English -- the "Alleluia" and the "Our Father." In addition, the priest also chanted "Through Him, with Him, in Him, etc."
And IIRC, the "Holy, Holy, Holy," "Lamb of God," and "Gloria" were also chanted in English.
The chants were exactly the same as they were in Latin, and they were exactly the same as each other.
I would very much like to see that again. It was all so much more dignified.
PS: Thanks for the information on traditional hymns and chant.
american colleen, kudos to you for mentioning Thomas Day's excellent book. My Catholic friends, I really don't understand why you don't give gerbil-stuffing fruitcakes like Dan Schutte and his ilk the boot in the tuchis they so richly deserve- ah, forget the boot, they'd probably enjoy it-and restore your magnificent tradition of liturgical music. I sing in the choir of my Orthodox Church every Sunday (and Saturday night if I'm not enjoying a plate of corned beef and cabbage at Dinty Moore's saloon) and although some tones may be tougher than others, I never have to fear an atrocity like "Oh come and sit at my table..." will be plonked on my music stand. To say nothing of the Godawful version of the "Gloria" that assaulted my ears at my pal's wedding not too long ago. Stand up to these morons, folks. Your heritage is too rich to lose, and is fast slipping away.
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