Sunday, December 22, 2019


Maybe it was about 35 years ago they started really playing around with the words to hymns.  This is not even about inclusive language - this came after that.  This is when the hymnals at my parish got rid of all formal (albeit somewhat archaic) forms of English language.  This also was after they got rid of any capitalization of pronouns for God - which sometimes cleared up some otherwise confusing wording but so what.

In an increasingly casual culture it was thought too much for people to bear anymore.  It was "old" and heavens know that all things old are bad.  And I could understand not using it anymore with any new songs that are written.  No need for more formal English contrivances for such songs as, "Take the love of God with thee as thou go!"  But why mess with the traditional songs that we could sing even without looking at the book?

I wrote a letter to the publisher and got a NASTY letter back basically saying that I was stuck in the past and not "with it" and if the church was going to survive we had to rid ourselves of things that make us uncomfortable.

Then I was uncomfortable.  

THEN - if you remember - they tried improving the words because they weren't good enough.  Do you remember when our hymnals changed the words "O Come O Come Emmanuel" so that the chorus went, "Rejoice, rejoice O Israel, shall come to you Emmanuel"? 
Now, I will admit that, if you think about it, it DOES make sense.  But . . . STOP IT!  

I wouldn't even stay in the sanctuary for a verse before processing out because I was so annoyed.  And I sang it THE RIGHT WAY (IMHO) in protest and leaving my missallette behind.

I finally admitted defeat.  What was the point?  Be angry forever?

But . . . then . . . what did appear in our missalletts?  Thees and Thous with weird verbs ending in "st" and and the odd "d".

"In ancient times didst give the law . . . Rejoice!  Rejoice Emmanuel shall come to THEE O Israel.


Michelle said...

I rejoice!

Pat said...

I miss "brethren," which is shorter than "brothers and sisters" or "sisters and brothers." The word is sufficiently archaic that I was hoping current generations would neither know or nor care that "brethren" is a masculine noun.

And what's wrong with "blessed is the fruit of THY womb, Jesus."

Timothy said...

"I could understand not using it anymore with any new songs that are written...But why mess with the traditional songs that we could sing even without looking at the book?"

Evil can't create, evil can only destroy and deform what has already been created. So, evil uses the resentments and insecurities of us weak humans to manipulate us in order to mar the good, the true, and the beautiful. It is why we have drainpipes displayed as sculpture and art exhibitions containing crucifixes in urine.

Anonymous said...

I am with you on this, Father. It is soooo annoying (and distracting) to be singing a beloved hymn - modern or otherwise - and find the hymnal lyrics have been made politically correct. Just yesterday, I attended daily Mass at my parish. A Christmas song I am fond of, "Good Christian Men Rejoice", had the lyrics changed in the hymnal to "Good Christian Friends Rejoice." Personally, not only is it annoying, but sometimes I think the spiritual message is watered down and is not as inspiring and forceful as it was with the original words.

I can remember being taught in grammar class in grade school (Akron Annunciation - RIP) that the collective term for humans is "man" or "men", and it does not exclude or insult women - it is simply the proper usage. For example, "Peace to men on earth" is meant for all of us, not just males.

BTW - yesterday, while I was singing the song in question, I quietly sang the original words. I guess it's time to go to Confession again! Curses!

Nan said...

I once asked a bishop why he said brothers and sisters when brethren covers it. He responded that at least he hadn't said sistren.