Sunday, March 18, 2007

Amazing How These Hymns Are So Uninspiring

Amazing, the grace it takes to sit through protestant songs at a Catholic Church every Sunday...

Here I go again, writing about the protestant hymns our choir sings on Sundays. Well, there is one protestant hymn I actually like, and they sang it today. Amazing Grace. It's a beautiful song, inspiring and uplifting. It's usually only sung once a year, though.

If I have to sit through protestant songs of praise, like Marty Haugen's horrible repertoire of lyrical silliness, and other songs that don't really qualify as hymns, like "Lord of the Dance", and "Morning Has Broken", then I would much rather listen to Amazing Grace.

I remember the first time I ever heard it sung in a church was at my NO parish here, several years ago. I asked the then choir director why they don't sing it more often, and he said it was because it wasn't an (ahem) Catholic hymn that they only sang it once, maybe twice a year at the most.

Yup. That really leaves me wondering. Are all those other songs they sing supposed to be Catholic?

14 comments:

Adoro te Devote said...

What a bogus answer.

Lord of the Dance is a traditional Shaker hymn. The last time I checked, Shakers were not a Catholic rite, thus they are Protestant, thus it is a traditional Protestant hymn. hello!

And "Morning has Broken", I don't mind the song but it's sort of pointless in a liturgical setting.

Amazing Grace is a much better song.

paramedicgirl said...

I totally agree. I have asked if the choir could sing one, just one sacred song every Sunday. A traditional Catholic song. So far, it's not happening. On our parish feast day the feast of the Sacred Heart, they actually ignored the beautiful Sacred Heart traditional songs, and sang "Put your hand in the hand of the Man from Galilee." The choir in the Church is supposed to bring people closer to God in their worship, not drive them away.

Vox Cantor said...

Morning has Broken is certainly not liturgically appropriate. However, the melody was written for a variation on the Lorica or Breastplate of Saint Patrick; "This day God gives me strength from high heaven."

It is a joke in CBW III and other "modernist/feminist" hymn books that we are no longer "wretches." The writer did indeed consider himself a "wretch" as he was a ships' captain and slave trader. When approaches about the change in his faith, his reply was, "no not by my faith, but by His grace." He ceased being a slave trader.

Mark said...

...And became a Catholic, is how I've heard it put.

Vox Cantor said...

Just to clarify about my comment above, I was of course referring to "Amazing Grace." The poem (the melody is of unknown origin) was John Newton. He eventually became the Bishop of York Cathedral, stolen from the Catholic church by the heretics of Henry VII!

Tom said...

I have been amazed by this phenomenon for my entire adult life. Having to try to sing (or just sit through) so many lame, stupid, boring hymns. They feel like some hippie-burnout-wannabe writes them TRYING to prove his coolness by making them just planin odd.

But why call them "protestant" hymns? At least in these parts (North Carolina) protestant music is far better than at any modern Catholic service I have ever attended - even at the most backwoods baptist church with a piano and a congregation of 25. And if you go to a slightly larger Church (congregation over 100) it is absolutely breathtaking. Yes, the hymns are not traditional Catholic ones, but at least the lyrics are meaningful and the music is singable.

I am a devout Catholic, and I understand the difference in doctrine and all, but in its current form, our music sucks. And from what I've seen, the protestant music is just simply better music. Not Catholic per se, but a WHOLE lot closer to traditional Christian themes than a lot that I have heard at our services.

paramedicgirl said...

Tom , the reason i called them protestant hymns is because they are protestant hymns. What we are lacking in our churches today is the beautiful traditional Catholic hymns, like those written by St. Thomas Aquinas and the Gregorian chant that sounds like angels praising God. The stuff that passes for worship these days in many Catholic Churches is a pathetic attempt at entertainment, which of course, has no place in the Mass. Bring back reverence. Bring back sacred beauty. Bring back Gregorian Chant and traditional Catholic hymns, and we will bring back the people who have let their faith become lukewarm.

Adoro te Devote said...

ADORO te devote, latens Deitas, quae sub his figuris vere latitas: tibi se cor meum totum subiicit, quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Angela Messenger said...

Recently our priest has been allowing drums at the Saturday night vigil Mass when the youth group does the music. Most of the 50+ crowd thinks it encourages young people to go to Mass. I say hogwash.

paramedicgirl said...

Angela, if only Canada would get with i and start following and using the GIRM. Then we wouldn't have this kind of musical garbage happening at least during Lent, anyway. Here's what the GIRM says about music during Lent.

"313. ... In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only to support the singing. Exceptions are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

Anita Moore said...

...Marty Haugen's horrible repertoire of lyrical silliness...

Don't forget Bernadette Farrell. I think Bernadette Farrell may possibly be more pernicious even than Marty Haugen. When we were forced to do "Alleluia! Raise the Gospel!" I suggested to our director that we sing it with upraised fists.

paramedicgirl said...

Anita Moore said...I suggested to our director that we sing it with upraised fists...

Oh, where is the rolling on the floor laughing icon when I need it???

Brian Michael Page said...

The funny thing for me was having a former organist (and a parishioner of the parish I serve as music director and organist) once ask me after Mass, "Hey Brian, what's with the Protestant hymns?" And she goes to mention Faith of our Fathers? She looked at me in total shock when I told her that Faith of our Fathers was written by a Catholic priest (Fr. Frederick W. Faber). And she was a Catholic organist??? Go figure.

BMP
PS: Welcome to the Christus Vincit Definitive Blogroll! :)

Cyrano said...

I haven't read it, but there was a book a few years back called "Why Catholics can't sing" - I believe they discussed a lot of these 'unsingable' hymns you're mentioning. Personally, I have much better (and more meaningful) memories of the old Catholic hymns at the little country parish my grandparents attended. I agree that many current protestant hymns are better quality and more theologically-correct than what passes in many of our parishes today. If only these protestants would get back in the church, tidy up their musical theology (at least a little), and put their tremendous talents to the use of the church universal!