The 'We are the Church' texts

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Gedackt flute
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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Gedackt flute »

To which text do you refer GF ?


I am referring to Chris Walker's 'We are the Church' (what a terrific tune!)

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Gedackt flute »

presbyter wrote:From another blog discussing the Haugen text:

I really dont care what the lyrics are but I think the song sounds cool.
:shock:

To what extent do people take notice of the texts of hymns when they are singing them? Discuss!



In my view, initially, very little - It's in the book, so it must be true.

However, in the long term, I think that if the text is biblical, people (including me, of course) will 'grow'
into it. Good well-constructed music will lead, in the long term, past itself, and onto the recognition
of Christ in the word of God.

Both Paul Inwood's thru' setting (Center of my life), and Gregory Murray's settings of 'Preserve [keep me safe]me, O God' are good music, but no musical setting will ever match the astounding beauty of this psalm.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Gedackt flute »

- WOW! - thanks for all the contributions!

O.K. - back on topic!

Which 'we are the Church texts' are heterodox? (My parish will be singing Haugen's 'All are welcome' in a few weeks time).

PS - A song sung for first communions (I will not name the parish) for many years, contained the line: 'So sadly I left them [Jesus, Mary, and Joseph] on that old country lane, for I know that I never shall see them again'.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Calum Cille »

presbyter wrote:Hymn texts, of their nature, cannot express a huge baggage of theology but I do think that the amounts they carry should be orthodox.

I think caution is wise here in that hymns are not theological statements, never mind complete theological statements. For example, the statements, "I am the light of the world," and, "you are the light of the world," do not occur side by side in the gospels. Expressions of faith, whether in hymns or not, shouldn't have to make all relevant theological points together in order to be orthodox. I think my concern here would be the unwarranted absence of focus on God or indication of dependency on God in any given hymn at mass.

Compare the following.

A - independent language

We are here to be together
We are here to share our gifts
We are here to love each other
We are here to learn to live
We will listen to the gospel
We will eat the bread and wine
We are one big, holy family
We are light to all mankind

B - dependent language

You have brought us here together
You have given us your gifts
Teach us how to love each other
So that we may truly live
Lord, we ask you, speak your gospel
Sanctify our sacrifice
Make us brothers, sisters, family
Make us light to all mankind

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presbyter
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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by presbyter »

Gedackt flute wrote:My parish will be singing Haugen's 'All are welcome' in a few weeks time


Oh sigh - enough blogs about this text on the internet already. I've heard that an American Bishop has tried to excise it from the repertoire.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by JW »

presbyter wrote:
(10) Fidelity to the rites and to the authentic texts of the Liturgy is a requirement of the Lex orandi, which must always be in conformity with the Lex credendi.


VICESIMUS QUINTUS ANNUS 1988 John Paul II

leads to…

(108) Sung texts and liturgical hymns have a particular importance and efficacy. Especially on Sunday, the “Day of the Lord”, the singing of the faithful gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass, no less than the prayers, the readings and the homily, express in an authentic way the message of the Liturgy while fostering a sense of common faith and communion in charity. If they are used widely by the faithful, they should remain relatively fixed so that confusion among the people may be avoided. Within five years from the publication of this Instruction, the Conferences of Bishops, necessarily in collaboration with the national and diocesan Commissions and with other experts, shall provide for the publication of a directory or repertory of texts intended for liturgical singing. This document shall be transmitted for the necessary recognitio to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


Liturgiam authenticam 2001 SCDWDS

Not as stringent as the Council of Laodicea but the pastoral concern is the same (and our Bishops are now requiring a Nihil Obstat in regard to publishing hymn books).

Having seen the recent Summer School liturgy book, even our Society can get things wrong. One text, a paraphrase of a liturgical hymn, has been misunderstood by the author. The original has been distorted in that something Christ is doing becomes something we ourselves are doing. The ecclesiology – a people called by Christ to do something, and responding to that call – is lost. Is that nit-picking? Perhaps those who sang didn’t notice such subtlety.

Hymn texts, of their nature, cannot express a huge baggage of theology but I do think that the amounts they carry should be orthodox.

Please do not ask me which hymn I am referring to. I do not wish to embarrass the author.


The requirement of a Nihil Obstat in regard to publishing hymn books doesn't fully address the requirement for an approved directory or repertory though! As things stand, all hymns published in existing collections, whether 25 or 100 years ago can presumably still be used in England & Wales. And what about those of us who have written hymns for our parishes and put them on the internet? As these are not hymnbooks they are presumably OK whatever heresies they may, or may not contain. I'm not actually in favour of the level of censorship required by Liturgiam Authenticam but surely there should be some central authority to pronounce on hymn texts to which theological objections have been raised.
JW

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Tresham »

After years of lurking, this thread has wound me up sufficiently to warrant a reply to the initial post. I learnt Sing a new church years ago, must have been at a Summer School or an NNPM event, and whilst it’s never been my choice for a Sunday Liturgy, it has at times been ideal to express the prayers of a gathered community, uniting in song at either a non-eucharistic service or an ecumenical gathering.
Here in this place will continue to be used as an entrance song for as long as it’s in the hymnbook, and in some parishes I’d say yes it has expressed the prayers of the community, when for example an event or a mission generates a light bulb moment and the people need to sing and pray something new. Perhaps some SSG members and parishes have no need to express such illuminating sentiments in song, but I see no need to be so scathing and uncharitable in commenting about Dufner and Haugen. They have their place in the repertoire, and the Holy Spirit can use their music to bring people closer to God just as much as the plainsong of the past, and even if some people don’t understand the words.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by musicus »

Welcome, Tresham! I hope we will hear more from you.

Perhaps some SSG members and parishes have no need to express such illuminating sentiments in song, but I see no need to be so scathing and uncharitable in commenting about Dufner and Haugen.

Of course, you don't have to be a member of SSG to post here, and many posters are not. The opinions expressed here are personal and are not endorsed by the Society or its Trustees.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Calum Cille »

Yes, indeed, Tresham, can I echo musicus' welcome to the forum and thank you for your comments.

Tresham wrote:I learnt Sing a new church years ago, must have been at a Summer School or an NNPM event, and ... it has at times been ideal to express the prayers of a gathered community, uniting in song at either a non-eucharistic service or an ecumenical gathering. Here in this place ... has expressed the prayers of the community ...

Is bad theology really ideal for "expressing prayers"? For example, should such a gathered community find it ideal to intone the words "Sing a new Gospel into being" or "Sing a new Sacrifice into being"? Surely a teaching, or text, is not necessarily good just because lots of people find it agreeable. Would it be "expressing prayers" at Easter to ring out the words, "Sing a new Christ into being"? In short, Tresham, the question I is pose you is whether or not "Sing a new church into being" is theologically acceptable or appropriate, not whether it is singable and expressive.

Tresham wrote:Perhaps some SSG members and parishes have no need to express such illuminating sentiments in song, but I see no need to be so scathing and uncharitable in commenting about Dufner and Haugen.

Perhaps you would care to quote exactly what has been written about Marty Haugen which is 'uncharitable' as I am unable to locate that on this thread at least. I met Marty myself once and found him an extremely hospitable and genuine person. However, in my book, that doesn't elevate him or anyone else like him above fair criticism of his compositions. I would expect the same in return from him: I write a few hymns myself and appreciate getting criticism from peers even if I don't necessarily agree with it.

Tresham wrote:They have their place in the repertoire, and the Holy Spirit can use their music to bring people closer to God just as much as the plainsong of the past, and even if some people don’t understand the words.

I think you hint here at a very important point which I meant to raise earlier about the tone of a lot of the internet criticism but felt that my messages were already too large. My reading of the material concerned leads me to suspect that the criticism of certain hymn writers actually emanates from people who don't want to relate at all to the content of any of the lyrics. In many cases, it may be a matter of, "I don't like this music and therefore I am going to pick all the holes in the words that I can." I've found a lot of hyper-critical comments which seem unreasonable to me along with some truly dreadful comments and intentions stated online. So much for a spirituality which can justify such bile against well-intentioned human beings over hymns, of all things.

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presbyter
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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by presbyter »

Tresham wrote: I see no need to be so scathing and uncharitable in commenting about Dufner.....


Do, please, offer us your own textual / theological analysis Tresham. This is a debate.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by presbyter »

The Australian Bishops have produced their list, as requested in LA.

At a quick glance, the Haugen and the Walker are included but not the Dufner.

http://www.catholic.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1653&Itemid=385

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Tresham »

Thank you for the swift responses.

An entrance song that gathers the thoughts of the assembly to begin worship obviously needs to be underpinned by good Catholic theology. But I said this of Sing a new church
Tresham wrote:it’s never been my choice for a Sunday Liturgy

because it doesn’t fit that occasion, it doesn’t say what needs to be said in song.

However there are times when I long for a wider vision of Church, and for the day when we may all be one (John 17:21). In this context the song gives me hope, especially when sung alongside people who can acknowledge their diversity and are willing to share their gifts with each other to build the kingdom, of which the church is a part. Sing a new church was written 20 years ago. Maybe the text was prophetic – maybe one day Receptive Ecumenism will catch on.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by presbyter »

To continue the topic, what's the final verse of James Quinn's "Forth in the peace…" saying? What understanding of Church might you read into that?
Is it espousing extreme, so-called 'traditionalist' views - a triumphalist Western Catholicism that says only Roman Catholics are members of the One True Church?
- or -
Is it espousing an extreme liberal ecumenism, that's saying it doesn't really matter if you're Catholic or Calvinist, or anything inbetween? God doesn't really mind what labels we carry.

I raise the questions to illustrate the difficulties of writing hymn texts. Quinn's text could be construed as ambiguous in meaning and we've no way of knowing what was in his mind when he wrote it.


5 We are the Church; he makes us one:
here is one hearth for all to find,
here is one flock, one Shepherd–King,
here is one faith, one heart, one mind.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by presbyter »

Tresham wrote:Sing a new church was written 20 years ago......


And "premiered" at the NPM Convention in Pittsburgh.

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Re: The 'We are the Church' texts

Post by Calum Cille »

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

I hope it won't offend presbyter if I misquote him to make my point.

What understanding of 'loved ones' might you read into that?
Is it espousing extreme, so-called 'traditionalist' views - a triumphalist Western Catholicism that says only Roman Catholics are His loved ones?
- or -
Is it espousing an extreme liberal ecumenism, that's saying it doesn't really matter if you're Catholic or Calvinist, or anything inbetween? God doesn't really mind what labels we carry.

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