Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


The Ten Worst “Catholic” Hymns

July 9th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I found this immeasurably affirming.

Keep in mind that Cleansing Fire has rewritten several of these to reflect our “subversive demeanor.” We will hopefully be recording these within the next several months.

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7 Responses to “The Ten Worst “Catholic” Hymns”

  1. avatar praedicator says:

    If you play them all simultaneously, it sounds like wailing and gnashing of teeth. Makes sense: chant and polyphony imitate the chorus angelorum in heaven, ergo…

    Thanks for sharing, Gen!

  2. avatar Nerina says:

    Glad you found this link, Gen. I was going to post it in the other thread about music. The comments are enlightening, especially the ones that say focusing on music “divides us further.”

  3. avatar Nerina says:

    I think the comment by “Sally Thomas” in the First Things thread addresses the reasons why music matters (I quote at length for those who don’t have the stomach for wading through hundreds of comments):

    “Re the constructiveness of conversation about poor hymnody:

    a. It’s not just a matter of taste. Hymnody is catechesis, in the way that the great altarpieces once were, and whatever you might think about the sing-y Celtic tune, a hymn which has Jesus asking, “Can you love the ‘you’ inside . . . ” is objectively cruddy catechesis and ought to be called out as such.

    b. Many of these contemporary hymns are, for the average person in the congregation, much more difficult to sing than traditional hymns, because their intervals are weird and their time signatures keep changing. Often the melody changes from verse to verse, or the words don’t line up predictably with the notes, so when you think you’ve figured out how it goes, you haven’t. This is objectively a problem if you want people to sing. (a musician friend of mine notes that it’s a stroke of . . . some kind of genius . . . that the opening interval of “On Eagle’s Wings” is precisely the interval you use when you call, “Yoo-hoo!” And what are the first two words? “You who.” Genius.)

    c. Conversation about these things is not just pointless grousing. Sometimes you need a reality check — it’s not just you who think this, and you’re not just an obsessive crank with too much spare brain space for thinking it.

    In my own experience as a mediocre and nervous singer/cantor, Gregorian chant is far easier to sing than just about anything else. It more or less sings itself, and you can pitch it anywhere you like to suit your vocal range. This is good news for those of us who shouldn’t give up our day jobs to be soloists, but are what our parishes have to work with nonetheless.”

    She says what most of us know intuitively but aren’t always able to articulate – namely, music, hymns, and art in our churches *forms* us. Sometimes well, and sometimes not.

  4. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    Half of those hymns on that list I actually like. Remember, those are just opinions from a few people from First Things. What bothers me is when these “progressive” churches replace the word Him in their hymns. They find it necessary to have gender neutral wording to be in their hymnals. I didn’t find out in First Things why those were the worst hymns. Any explanations?

  5. avatar Gen says:

    I think the ones on the list are on here because they’re usually neutered of gender, made into political statements, etc. Inherently, they aren’t all bad music, but they’re used in ways they ought not to be used for. They’re kind of like the marching hymns of liturgical progressivism.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Yup, I dislike every last one. The comments there mention even more titles that I would add to the list.

    My wife and I always chuckle when we hear “Gather Us In.” I’m glad someone else noticed it sounded like “The Wreak of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

  7. avatar CPT Tom says:

    I happen to think “Eagle Wings” and “Sing a New Song” don’t belong on the list of 10 worst songs…first the words are scriptural and fine (at least in the original versions) and not in the first person. I think the biggest rap here is that they are way overplayed and not played in context to the mass. I would classify them as tired and top 40ish cheesy.

    I would displace them with just about any song written by Bernadette Farrel. All of her music is virtually un-singable and the content of the words are beyond Cheesy.

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