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Weigel on hymns that should be banned

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | Aug 12, 2003

George Weigel has a half-serious proposal for an Index of Forbidden Hymns. I couldn't agree more. So many hymns sung in Catholic parishes are either insipid, heretical, or just plain bad.

The first hymns to go should be hymns that teach heresy. If hymns are more than liturgical filler, hymns that teach ideas contrary to Christian truth have no business in the liturgy. "Ashes" is the prime example here: "We rise again from ashes to create ourselves anew." No, we don't. Christ creates us anew. (Unless Augustine was wrong and Pelagius right).
Read the whole thing for the full effect.

What are your least favorite hymns and why?

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 17, 2003 10:24 PM ET USA

    Sometimes I really don't want to go to Mass. But I usually go anyway in order to receive the Eucharist. I believe it nourishes my soul and I am supposed to be there. I think it's a shame to complain about a song like "Peace is Flowing Like a River, " There are other places to go for "entertainment." Buy a tape or a CD you like and play that as you travel back & forth. Also, perhaps the musicians need more practice, but how insulting to complain when most are doing their best to serve.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 17, 2003 2:21 PM ET USA

    I don't know how things are over on your side of the Atlantic, but here in England it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get a Catholic congregation to join in with the singing of hymns, and that applies whether the hymns are traditional or modern. A few people will sing but the majority just stand in silence. It must be our (in)famous "English Reserve". It is considered "showing off" to sing in public, even in a church congregation.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 16, 2003 12:11 PM ET USA

    What is wrong with the hymn, "Peace is flowing like a River?" I've never heard it in church, but I have it on a tape of authentic old-time gospel. It's a great hymn and I can't see why you would think it should be at a hippie gathering. Or have the lyrics possibly been "updated" for post-Vatican II use? yours, Henriette Klein

  • Posted by: - Aug. 14, 2003 12:41 PM ET USA

    the next songs to go are the ones written in the 1st Person God voice: I am the Bread of Heaven giving life to you." I Have Loved You" (Joncas),"Dont Be Worried" (Brown) "Lover of us All" is the worst by Integrity. That and Sing a New Church have a message? And some songs switch between God's voice and the choirs in "We Have Been Told" (Hass), "I Will go Up" (To the Altar of God) (Joncas). and Mem Acclamation #C When we eat this bread (should be body and blood). My list is long, too

  • Posted by: David Ancell - Aug. 14, 2003 10:54 AM ET USA

    Forgive my self-promotion, but my comments are too long for this forum. Take a look at this post to my blog:

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2003 1:35 PM ET USA

    The worst I ever heard was a warbling rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" which, of course, features the line "Imagine there's no heaven - it's easy if you try..." My four year old turned to me and said, "There's no heaven?" I complained to the priest but found out that the tune was trotted out again by this would-be Elvis Presley with the introduction, "I understand some of you won't like this..." But he still sang it anyway. To this day if this guy is at a mass - I leave.

  • Posted by: Barb Kralis - Aug. 13, 2003 9:54 AM ET USA

    Go to the Tridentine (indult) Mass to regain your musical Catholic identity. Asperges to the final Requiescant in Pace will fill your heart, mind and soul with beauty. The 'bakery' songs at the Novus Ordo, including "I am the Bread of Life" and "Gift of the Finest Wheat" are a crime against dogma. "Peace is Flowing Like a River" is great at a hippie gathering, but, please, never ever at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Drive as far as you must to attend the beautiful Ancient Mass with indult.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2003 1:06 AM ET USA

    N. H. : You are SO right. Such trashy noises called "music" in most Catholic churches. Although not perfect, the Episcopal Hymnal 1940 would be an excellent replancement for the rubbish, at least until such time as a worthwhile Catholic Hymnal can be produced. The Adoremus Hymnal is an excellent start, but there is too much Latin in it.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 12, 2003 10:53 PM ET USA

    Everything in the "Gather" hymnal. Leaving aside the faulty "Spirit of Vatican II" theology and Protestant hymns, I address the musical aspects: When played on the guitar the songs are treacle that detract from worship. When played on the organ or piano--with a choir or operatic soloist--they are pretentious treacle that detract from worship *and* insult the congregation.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 12, 2003 9:22 PM ET USA

    I have been in choirs since I was 10 and that was 57 years ago. Ten of those years were spent in Methodist choirs, 35 in Episcopal, and now 10 in Catholic choirs. I have been a bass soloist in all of them and am familiar with what is commonly called "good music." Sorry, but there is very little that is good about Catholic hymns or music, and that's too bad because there are three reasons people keep coming back to church: good music, good preaching and friendly people. I might even add sound liturgy that is beautifully done. Take away one of those legs and the stool falls over. 'Nuff said.