Tuesday, January 22, 2013


UPDATE! Speaking of extremely poor hymns for Mass such as the one below, Kathleen Pluth of the Chant Cafe has an excellent article on traditional and not so traditional hymns that are quite excellent for the celebration of the Mass. You can read her article at the Adoremus Bulletin by pressing here!

A commenter on another post described the following hymn which they sung in his parish this past Sunday in the following way: "Sing a New Church was perhaps the most offensive and perverted hymn possible."

I've never heard this song sung at Mass; In fact I don't think I've ever heard it. I like the traditional melody but don't care for it set to instrumentation apart from organ for church use.

But the words! Egads! It is the horizontal, all about us, triumphant congregationalism that really grates the soul! There is very little about God in this song, its all about us doing this, that and the other and making Utopia here on earth by our own efforts. I think there is a name for this heresy, in terms of we doing for ourselves what only God can do for us and by His love and grace. It is what He and the Church give to us that make us who we are, not through our own pitiful efforts.

There are only two references to the Deity, "Summoned by God and Gathered in the name of Jesus" which are declarative sentences. This hymn's words ask nothing of Jesus but glorify us and all that we are worth.

Could you imagine singing this immediately after "Lord, I am not worthy" and said three times? Would there be a disconnect between what the Liturgy actually gives us and what this song says. It's theology is upside down and should never be sung at Mass. I don't think it should even be sung at a popular devotion extolling the qualities of mankind, I mean, humankind.

Sing a New Church (sung to “Nettleton,” the melody for “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”)

~Delores Dufner, OSB

Summoned by the God who made us
rich in our diversity
Gathered in the name of Jesus,
richer still in unity.

Refrain: Let us bring the gifts that differ
and, in splendid, varied ways,
sing a new church into being,
one in faith and love and praise.

Radiant risen from the water,
robed in holiness and light,
male and female in God’s image,
male and female, God’s delight.


Trust the goodness of creation;
trust the Spirit strong within.
Dare to dream the vision promised,
sprung from seed of what has been.


Bring the hopes of every nation;
bring the art of every race.
Weave a song of peace and justice;
let it sound through time and space.


Draw together at one table,
all the human family;
shape a circle ever wider
and a people ever free

© Oregon Catholic Press


John Nolan said...

Pass the sick bag.

ytc said...



spot me a hit

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

Sad thing is, my parish has sung this at Mass twice in the last five weeks. It is always in high rotation in the Archdiocese. I blame John Cardinal Dearden... he really screwed us up in the 1970s.

Anonymous said...


Carly. said...

Sing a new church into being. One that has generic architecture with no sacred artwork at all, just an auditorium with a small wood kitchen table for an altar. One where the Confiteor is banned, and the Tabernacle is pushed off to the side and ignored, while the people gossip before and after Mass, and hold hands during. One where the needless repitition of a responsorial Gloria is exhaulted, while bells, incense, and Latin are derogative. One where a praise and worship folk band blasts out mediocre contemporary Christian songs of questionable theology at the bidding of a smug musical director. One where kneeling for Communion is virtually outlawed, but passing the Sacred Host out as if it were samples of Famous Amos cookies is the Liturgical norm. This is a new church into being. But what it is not, is the Catholic Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

For some odd reason, spell check or notification of a misspelling does not extend to the title line, which really drives me mad or should I say bizerk! But now I see from spell check that not even bezerk is in its vocabulary.

Unknown said...

Since we are talking about music and since it seems to be a recurring theme as of late, might I point us to Musicae Sacrae Disciplina #60;

"For, if they are not profane or unbecoming to the sacredness of the place and function and do not spring from a desire to achieve extraordinary and unusual effects..."

and MSD #63;

"If hymns of this sort are to bring spiritual fruit and advantage to the Christian people, they must be in full conformity with the doctrine of the Catholic faith. They must also express and explain that doctrine accurately. Likewise they must use plain language and simple melody and must be free from violent and vain excess of words. Despite the fact that they are short and easy, they should manifest a religious dignity and seriousness."

It would be my opinion that this hymn and the VAST, VAST, VAST majority of hymns which are produced today do not meet these two criteria, let alone any of the others which apply to a low Mass. I will continue to argue that the practical application of these do not apply to the Mass today, because they are applicable only to a low Mass and since there are parts of the Mass sung at almost every Mass, the Masses today are not "low." But, even the daily Masses at many, many parishes are a Missa Cantata, which as we all know is a form of the High Mass.

Sarah E. said...

Just once, I'd like to hear one of the papal hymns, like "Long Live The Pope" or "God Bless Our Pope" sung at Holy Mass. It might comfort me that I am actually in a Catholic parish rather than some generic Chistian community.

John Nolan said...

Sarah E

I doubt that your parish hymnal includes any such. In which case run off some samizdat copies, circulate them to a few of your nearest and dearest, and on 29 June this year, after the dismissal and before the music director has time to clear his throat, belt it out -

Full in the panting heart of Rome,
Beneath the Apostle's crowning dome,
From pilgrims' lips that kiss the ground
Breathes in all tongues one only sound:
God bless our Pope, the great, the good!