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April 3, 2004

"Ashes" again

NCR reports that the Bishops are beginning to take a look at our hymns

I know the song, "Ashes," has become my favorite whipping boy for all my ire on some of these hymns but I found it oddly affirming that it was the first one mentioned in the article. Thanks RC for the link. Ok, Todd, should it still be in a parish repertoire?

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at April 3, 2004 10:18 AM

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Funny that they quote an editor of GIA saying there's a lot of "trash" out there, when GIA is responsible for the promulgation of a lot of the cheesiest -- in terms of musical quality, I don't know that any of their hymns are unsound from a doctrinal stand-point.

Someone here in St Blog's likens the Haugen masses (for which I do blame GIA,) to the "Borg".

But I am glad that Mr. Bastanini (sp?) states that hymns should be addressed to GOD. On that point, I am not so sure that a lot of the Gather hynnal measures up. (Let us build a house....,etc.) I am tired of being asked to sing to myself.

Posted by: Monique at April 3, 2004 8:41 PM

Peace, Fr Jeff.

You'd be surprised, but I would not include it in a parish repertoire I was bulding from scratch. All I've said in previous posts is that I don't think it worthy of being banned. I'm slightly edified that Batastini agrees with my notion that a more productive approach it to examine liturgical songs that work, instead of singling out those that might not.

Posted by: Todd at April 4, 2004 9:36 PM

Ashes again!?....good point Todd!

Posted by: Kathryn Lamphier at April 4, 2004 10:24 PM

Peace, Monique.

Actually, I did a survey years ago on Gather Comprehensive, one of the more maligned GIA hymnals. God-reference broke down as follows

"I" (voice of God) 10%
"You" 44%
third person 64%

Referencing the assembly ran as follows:
"I" 21%
"You" 25%
"We" 62%
"They" 7%

Note: these percentage totals exceed 100 total because some pieces contain more than one method of address.

A quick check of my NAB Psalter found lots of "I" references. I'm not sure that implies self worship singular as opposed to plural, but I did find scattered "we" references: Psalm 21:14, 33:20-22, 67, 122:2, 123:3-4, 124, 126, 136:23-24, 137, just to mention about a fourth of the psalms I scanned.

I think also of traditional hymns, such as the Gloria, the Te Deum (Holy God), Immaculate Mary, Adoramus Te, not to mention the first person plural of the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary.

Americans in general are more comfortable with the "I" language of privatized belief, and I think the fact that almost two-thirds of contemporary hymns using a "we" reference is a result of a more-or-less conscious decision to combat that sentiment as new compositions were trotted out in the 80's. The suggestion of community self-worship is flimsy at best. Even the text of the oft-criticized "All Are Welcome" seems pointed at working more against privatized and exclusive worship. A debatable point, perhaps for parishes busting at the seams, but not all of us are in ideal circumstances with close to 100% Mass attendance.

Posted by: Todd at April 7, 2004 8:35 AM