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Yahweh and Dan Schutte: the story behind "You Are Near"
Deacon's Bench ^ | August 16, 2008 | Deacon Greg Kandra

Posted on 08/21/2008 8:08:09 AM PDT by NYer

While the head-scratching and hand-wringing continues over the "Ixnay Yahweh" decision, composer Dan Schutte is talking about what led him to write "You Are Near," and reveals that he's revising it.

H/T to Catholic Sensibility.

Here's what Schutte had to say:

There certainly has been a flurry of discussion arising from the recent directive from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. And, as is evident on your website, much of it has been centered around my song, “You Are Near.” I suppose I should receive that as a compliment.

I wrote this piece in 1970, as a very young man. I’m afraid there’s no special story behind it. I do remember beginning it while on retreat and working on it for several months before I was satisfied. When I entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1966, the Jerusalem Bible had just been published. It was the long-awaited project of some of the world’s most respected scripture scholars. The translation was modern, in the best sense of that word, and attempted to be true to the poetic character of the Biblical songs, especially the Psalms. I first learned to pray the Psalms from the Jerusalem Bible. And, like you, I turned to the JB translation in considering Biblical texts my compositions.

The JB team of translators decided to use the name “Yahweh” whenever the tetragrammaton YHWH appeared in the original Hebrew text. It was certainly not a frivolous decision on their part. It might be interesting for your bloggers to read what the Editor’s Forward in the JB says about their decision:

It is in the Psalms especially that the use of the divine name Yahweh may seem unacceptable – though indeed the still stranger form Yah is in constant use in the acclamation Hallelu-Yah (Praise Yah!). It is not without hesitation that this accurate form has been used, and no doubt those who may care to use this translation of the Psalms can substitute the traditional “the Lord”. On the other hand, this would be to lose much of the flavor and meaning of the originals.

As our communal, and my own personal, sensitivity grew in the years after the writing of “You Are Near,” we came to understand that speaking the name “Yahweh” out loud was not in keeping with our long Christian tradition, and was, in fact, offensive to Jewish sisters and brothers. So after 1973 I’ve not used the name “Yahweh” in my compositions.

I’m presently working to revise the lyric of “You Are Near.” I suppose that won’t keep people from singing it the way they have for 37 years, but I feel I need to provide an “official” revised text for use at liturgy. Of course, those who make musical decisions for worship could simply choose not to sing it. There are many beautiful, well-crafted settings of Psalm 139. But, as several of your bloggers attest, “You Are Near” is a beloved favorite of many people. I can tell you that over the years I’ve received more messages about “You Are Near” — people telling me how it helped them to pray when they couldn’t, or sustained them through particularly difficult times, or helped them in their grieving – than any other of my songs. I feel privileged and humbled to be a vehicle of music that brings people to God in this way.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: music; schutte

Daniel L. Schutte

Composer-in-Residence - University of San Francisco,
Composer, Songwriter, Liturgist, Author

1 posted on 08/21/2008 8:08:09 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 08/21/2008 8:09:02 AM PDT by NYer ("Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome)
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To: NYer

I wish he’d revise his crappy music out of existence.


3 posted on 08/21/2008 8:16:39 AM PDT by stop_fascism
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To: NYer

A San Francisco Jesuit?
An interesting breed.


4 posted on 08/21/2008 8:16:44 AM PDT by Notwithstanding ("You are either with America in our time of need or you are not" - Hillary from Senate well 9/12/01)
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To: NYer

I have not stopped singing this song since this announcement was made.


5 posted on 08/21/2008 8:16:44 AM PDT by Miss Didi ("Good heavens, woman, this is a war not a garden party!" Dr. Meade, Gone with the Wind)
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To: NYer

And he could have been an actuary.


6 posted on 08/21/2008 8:26:49 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Obama: Can't kill the innocent fast enough, can't free the guilty soon enough!~ Diana in WI)
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To: NYer
I wish he would just go away.

He is an insult to musicians everywhere, not just church musicians. Horrible, vapid, self-indulgent pop trash.

7 posted on 08/21/2008 8:30:37 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

I’ll second that!


8 posted on 08/21/2008 8:53:24 AM PDT by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: NYer
That photo just set off my Gaydar. He looks live a luvvie.

Now it all makes sense.

There's a definite similarity between the self-absorbed, effeminate, homosexual psyche and the limp-wristed, banal lyrics that permeate Schutte's music.

The gays have not only screwed up our seminaries, they've trashed our liturgical music, too.

9 posted on 08/21/2008 8:55:41 AM PDT by marshmallow (An infallible Bible is useless without an infallible interpreter.)
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To: pgkdan
If you're ever in Atlanta, ping me.

Our parish has wonderful music, even if our music director has to throw a bone to the hippies in the hymn department every now and then . . . .

10 posted on 08/21/2008 8:56:47 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

What parish are you in? I am in Atlanta, but we have crappy music at our parish.


11 posted on 08/21/2008 9:11:23 AM PDT by Miles the Slasher
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To: Miles the Slasher
Holy Spirit.

Run by a take-no-prisoners old-style Irishman.

Our music director is a genius with a fondness for English Renaissance music and chant.

12 posted on 08/21/2008 9:46:26 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: NYer
I'd like to see the Church return to Gregorian Chant and leave all the "feel nice" hymns from mostly protestant writers out of the mix. I didn't leave the protestant church to continue to sing "Amazing Grace" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "How Great Thou Art."

I want authentic Catholic Church music if there has to be any music at all.

13 posted on 08/21/2008 9:57:47 AM PDT by HighlyOpinionated (JSMcCain=For President; BHSoetoro-Obama=For Senate Washroom Attendant.)
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To: Miss Didi
I have not stopped singing this song since this announcement was made.

I stopped singing it the second time I heard it or there abouts.
14 posted on 08/21/2008 9:58:14 AM PDT by Antoninus (The greatest gifts parents give their children are siblings.)
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To: AnAmericanMother; pgkdan
He is an insult to musicians everywhere, not just church musicians. Horrible, vapid, self-indulgent pop trash.

Okay ... so his music does not rival Palestrina; at least give him credit for drawing people to God, as is evidenced in the above article. Everything new is not necessarily bad nor is everything old, always good. You are most blessed to be in a parish that embraces magnificent traditional hymns. May you never have to relocate to Albany or Rochester ;-)

15 posted on 08/21/2008 10:17:47 AM PDT by NYer ("Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome)
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To: AnAmericanMother
a fondness for English Renaissance music and chant.

Are you and your choir director aware of the Byrd Festival? There are several interesting blog posts about this year's festival on the New Liturgical Movement.

16 posted on 08/21/2008 10:18:24 AM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: AnAmericanMother

thanks, I will. I usually rely on Masstimes.org when I’m travelling. It would be great to know where to find a reverent liturgy complete with great music.


17 posted on 08/21/2008 10:19:36 AM PDT by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: AnAmericanMother

thanks, I will. I usually rely on Masstimes.org when I’m travelling. It would be great to know where to find a reverent liturgy complete with great music.


18 posted on 08/21/2008 10:19:39 AM PDT by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: NYer

Hopefully some of the commenters are heading to confession after their comments and I’m sure even worse thoughts they couldn’t post here. How Catholic of you all.


19 posted on 08/21/2008 10:23:03 AM PDT by John W
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To: NYer
Mentioning this guy and Palestrina in the same sentence ought to draw an immediate air strike from a plane piloted by St. Michael, with St. Cecilia as spotter and St. Gregory the Great on the quad .50s . . . . < glancing nervously over shoulder >

Seriously, Schutte's music is not bad because it's new (John Tavener, Peter Warlock (relatively speaking), and John Rutter are new), but because it's bad. Pope Benedict XVI has explained in detail why pop-style music is antithetical to worship and the liturgy. . . . and, you know, he's right! < g >

The problem with justifying bad music on the grounds that it 'gets people to church' is that it devalues, even in some cases destroys, what they experience when they get there. The Episcopal Church experimented back in the 70s with bad music 'to attract the young people' but gave it up. They may be heretics but they have excellent taste in music.

In most cases not only is the melody 'commercial' (the quality that BXVI deplores) but the words are counter to Catholic teaching.

My most sincere sympathy (as always) for your having to put up with the New York bishops . . . . and certainly there are things that you need to worry about more than the music (although your parish sounds wonderful!). But having bad music doesn't make things better, it actually makes them worse.

20 posted on 08/21/2008 10:26:52 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: pgkdan
I use masstimes.org too. It's VERY helpful, even though sometimes I'm surprised at what I find when I get there, at least I'm at Mass!

If I find a clearinghouse for reverent liturgy and/or good music, I will be sure to start a thread!

21 posted on 08/21/2008 10:27:54 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: ELS
Looks great - I will point it out to him on Sunday.

Thanks for the tip!

22 posted on 08/21/2008 10:31:13 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: John W
Speaking as a former Episcopalian, I can tell you that if you don't speak up, write the Ordinary, and otherwise exercise vigilance to correct liturgical abuse, the loons will take over your church. It happened to us.

And this sort of music is liturgical abuse. The Pope has said so himself, and he's certainly qualified to judge.

It's up to us primarily, of course, to encourage and provide good music rather than just snark at the bad . . . . but OCP and the Haagen/Haas/Schutte crowd have done their best to destroy the wonderful patrimony of real Catholic music, and for that they should be criticized and chastised.

I usually wind up in confession for saying ugly things about the Episcopalians . . . .

23 posted on 08/21/2008 10:35:19 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: HighlyOpinionated
It is odd to be singing Protestant hymns after we thought we converted . . . . < g >

In our parish, they mostly get sung at funerals.

It's not as if there wasn't tons and tons of wonderful Catholic hymnody out there -- from the old Grossische Catolische Gesangbuch right on down. The new (1982)Episcopal Hymnal is full of old Catholic hymns.

24 posted on 08/21/2008 10:38:41 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: marshmallow
That photo just set off my Gaydar.

Google "Dan Schutte gay partner" sometime. Your Gaydar is pretty accurate.

25 posted on 08/21/2008 11:19:05 AM PDT by Campion
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To: NYer

I think it was Matt at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping blog that said the song should be reworked into a New Jersey tourist promotion jingle: “Rahway, I know you are near”.


26 posted on 08/21/2008 11:46:07 AM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Campion
I knew it!!

It's great to know that every time we sing his hymns or put on a music workshop in our parishes, we're helping to support Schutte's anti-Catholic lifestyle.

I wonder how many Catholics know or even care that many of their most sung "hymns" were composed by an ex-priest who is an active homosexual?

27 posted on 08/21/2008 12:51:19 PM PDT by marshmallow (An infallible Bible is useless without an infallible interpreter.)
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To: John W
Hopefully some of the commenters are heading to confession after their comments and I’m sure even worse thoughts they couldn’t post here. How Catholic of you all.

The comments which I posted here turned out to be true. I've got to go to Confession anyway and for much worse things than I've said here so I'll give my 0.02 gladly.

Am I allowed to say that Schutte has broken his vows of celibacy? Am I allowed to say that he is indeed an active homosexual? Am I allowed to say that his music is really awful?

Homosexuals have brought financial ruin on the Church in the US with their sex abuse scandals and victim settlements. They also turned some seminaries into hostile environments for orthodox Catholic young men who had true vocations. To such a degree that many of these young men were driven away.

Now I find out that much of the banal, shallow music with which we've been afflicted and which has gone hand in hand with liturgical madness is yet another legacy of the lavender wing of the church.

Keeping quiet about this nonsense is not being Catholic. It was silence which gave us the gay scandals. The question is whether the Catholic Church should be seen to be indifferent to or even endorsing Schutte's lifestyle and the musical product which it gives us.

28 posted on 08/21/2008 1:30:57 PM PDT by marshmallow (An infallible Bible is useless without an infallible interpreter.)
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To: Notwithstanding

He’s originally from Rembert territory: Milwaukee.

Specifically, Elm Grove, WI., a near-west suburb.


29 posted on 08/21/2008 2:15:25 PM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, Tomas Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: NYer

“....drawing people to God”

Really?

Where? NOT in regular Mass attendance post-1970.

So exactly how do you justify that statement?


30 posted on 08/21/2008 2:18:25 PM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, Tomas Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: marshmallow
And then there's Marty Haugen, who is not now and never has been a Catholic. (If we're going to sing hymns by Protestants, can we please sing the good hymns by Protestants like Bach, Wesley, and Ralph Vaughn Williams?!?)

Michael Joncas and David Haas appear to be Catholics in good standing, as far as I can tell.

31 posted on 08/21/2008 2:18:49 PM PDT by Campion
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To: NYer

My definition of hell would be having to listen to “Yahweh you are near” for all eternity. Just think about it for one moment.
I was at a meeting recently of priests and psychologists and the subject of appropriate penances in confession came up regarding those involved in having an abortion. I never thought about it, but one could require the pentitent to listen to “Yahweh...” for 24 hours straight. But then again, that could lead to suicidal behavior.


32 posted on 08/21/2008 2:22:54 PM PDT by veritas2002
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To: ninenot
So exactly how do you justify that statement?

Let's face it. Most Catholics are poorly catechized hence, they have probably never read Scripture and are unfamiliar with the Book of Psalms. When one is disconsolate, to hear such a hymn is to hear the Psalm. To hear the words that God is near "standing always at my side" is a reminder that God is not some distant divinity but One who is here, present in our times of solace and grief.

Why is this such a problem for you?

33 posted on 08/21/2008 5:00:55 PM PDT by NYer ("Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Here is a better link to the postings/reviews on the NLM.
34 posted on 08/21/2008 6:17:11 PM PDT by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: NYer
Unfortunately, it's not even a good translation. The refrain 'standing always at my side' is found nowhere in the psalm.

Cranmer's masterful translation follows.

O LORD, thou hast searched me out, and known me. *
Thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine up-rising; thou understandest my thoughts long before.
2 Thou art about my path, and about my bed; * and art acquainted with all my ways.
3 For lo, there is not a word in my tongue, * but thou, O LORD, knowest it altogether.
4 Thou hast beset me behind and before, * and laid thine hand upon me.
5 Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me; * I cannot attain unto it.
6 Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit? * or whither shall I go then from thy presence?
7 If I climb up into heaven, thou art there; * if I go down to hell, thou art there also.
8 If I take the wings of the morning, * and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea;
9 Even there also shall thy hand lead me, * and thy right hand shall hold me.
10 If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me; * then shall my night be turned to day.
11 Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day; * the darkness and light to thee are both alike.
12 For my reins are thine; * thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
13 I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: * marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.
14 My bones are not hid from thee, * though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.
15 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; * and in thy book were all my members written;
16 Which day by day were fashioned, * when as yet there was none of them.

Schutte has sucked all the mystery, wonder, and power out of the verses.

35 posted on 08/21/2008 7:20:14 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: NYer

In Catholic teaching, the Mass is the “source and summit” of all grace. Grace, in Catholic teaching, is the very definition of ‘proximity to God.’

So when Mass attendance drops from 60+% to 30+% (IOW, by half) following introduction of the marshmallow-tune crap of Schutte, I question those who claim that this crap “brought people closer to God.”

Seems simple to me. What’s your problem with that?


36 posted on 08/22/2008 8:05:15 AM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, Tomas Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: stop_fascism

A big AMEN to that.


37 posted on 08/22/2008 8:45:54 PM PDT by cielo
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