The great thing about a blog is that the readers write it for you! Beats workin’

My reliably hilarious pal, Dale, writes…

You had to do it. I could avoid the “Anthem” baiting because I’ve only heard it once. But, you just couldn’t let go, could you…

Whenever I start singing a hymn that is just, well, Godawful, I look for the Oregon Catholic Press [OCP] copyright at the bottom, almost invariably find it, and I am perversely reassured. My instincts have proven correct again: It’s another selection from OCP’s “Cringe-Inducing Hymnal.”

The Adoremus article pretty well nails it, and rounds up the usual suspects: Cooney, Schutte, and my favorite, Delores Dufner, OSB. I have heard exactly one song written by her that didn’t make me want to puke through my eyesockets. [Sorry for the image.]

Admittedly, he forgot a serious repeat offender: Bob Hurd. He’s written a substitute for the “Gloria” in the so-called “Mass of Glory” that defies description. It inspires the genially clueless leader of our parish’s musical ensemble to….snap his fingers….As Dave Barry says, “I am NOT making this up.” “Glory to God! [snap] Glory to God! [snap] Glory to God in the highest!” Nothing quite like conjuring up the atmosphere of a Beat poet’s cafe’ when offering up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The horrifying thing is that the snapping is not out of place with the horrible music. Not even a little. Invariably, I blush when Ensemble Man breaks out this one, which is why I avoid masses when his group is offering up the “praise” music.

The trouble with this music (and it all shares a common thread) is twofold. First, and least serious, is that it is popular with the innumerable parish music ensembles staffed or led by men who were obviously members of failed “Three Dog Night” cover bands. Their sense of “hip” and “relevant” was molded in the early 70s and fossilized by 1979. Boy, does it show. Funny how they all ended up with the same jobs…

The more serious problem is that the entire repertoire reduces Jesus Christ–King of Kings, Redemptor Mundi–to a harmless 2000 year old mascot or buddy figure. Jesus “our friend, companion and guide,” as one of the awful songs puts it. “Aww, how cute.” But no “awe.” While not incorrect, it is horribly incomplete and ignores the figure seen in Matt. 25: 31-46. Jesus as Judge? Never. Even more distressing is that he’s not even depicted as “Savior.” The subtext is that when you’re a member of a Catholic “community” on Sunday, you don’t need a savior. Just a buddy.

“Jesus Christ was a prophet/

Was a good friend of mine”