15 August 2013

Annoyed By The Laudate Hymnal

Some people on twitter had to put up with my frustration at having Mass this morning ruined by a bowdlerised version of "I'll sing a Hymn to Mary".  The Laudate Hymnal, instead of having "When wicked men blaspheme Thee, I'll love and bless Thy Name" has "Oh may I imitate thee and magnify God's name" as part of its Year Zero approach to what it would probably refer to as a) gender issues in Catholic hymnology and b) Catholic exclusivity issues in Catholic hymnbookology.

Most of the bowdlerisation of the hymn book is aimed at reducing sexist references to men, but the example quoted above is so gratingly awful that you have to imagine that somebody was taking the mickey.  Is there a feminist in the land so keen on equality that she sees "wicked men" as exclusive of and discriminatory against, presumably, "wicked women"?  No, absolutely not!  But there are a lot of Nuchurchians who dislike the idea of the veneration of the name of the BVM: they probably hate the idea of the "Holy Name of Jesus" as well, but as it doesn't seem to be a feast, or a line in a well-loved hymn any more, they have probably won that particular skirmish.

So, clever-clever them, they have abolished the nasty words and replaced them with a prayer referring back to the Magnificat: absolutely fine, if change were necessary, but if it isn't (and it's not!) why not write your own hymn about the Magnificat, which is about the Lord, and leave the rest of us with our hymn to Our Lady?  (The answer is easy: Estelle White.  I rest my case.)

I'm afraid that my solution - sing the old words loudly and make uncharitable comments in between verses - is not really commendable, however satisfying it might have been for me, and isn't even a tactical success, really.  But I am left wondering:

 - who compiled the Laudate Hymnal, and why?
 - who gave permission for it to sell itself as Catholic?
 - why is at pushed at priests by diocesan authorities?

The bowdlerisation is, believe it or not, not the major issue.  the real problem with the hymnbook is that it is full of protestant hymns: in PTP's words "actual protestant hymns in the hymnal. (not hymns written by protestants but those expressing prostestant theology)".  Hymns that misrepresent the doctrine of the Atonement, for example, denying that anybody who is a Christian might go to Hell.

There are times when Lenin's "Kto? Ktovo?" (Who? Whom? - who is in the driving seat and to whom are they the dominant force?) seems like a mission statement for the apparatchiks.  If it isn't, why do so many of them behave as if it is?


Patricius said...

I, too, have been appalled by the bowdlerisations of the Laudate hymn book. Many of the texts have been ruined out of a craven submission to the hateful feminists- but it does not stop there. Other wonderful old hymns like "God of Mercy and Compassion", have also been completely rewritten. References to what sins deserve and our Saviour's "bleeding, dying" are clearly taboo. The hymn for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul appears to have been written as a particular attempt to replace the references to Rome contained in the "Decora Lux Aeternitatis" with some absurd couplets- worthy, it must be said of the great William McGonagall.
I am more than happy to be signed up for any bowdlerise the bowdlerisers campaign!

Eccles said...

Also worth mentioning the blogg
for those who aint seen it.

Anglicans got similar probs.

Ben Trovato said...

I think there is a particular dishonesty when hymns are bowdlerised but there is no acknowledgement of the fact in the hymn book. Thus one reads words attributed to (say) Fr Wyze which he never wrote (nor would have countenanced).

Peccantem me quotidie said...

I'm pretty sure one of the hymn books (don't remember which) that "Hail, Queen of Heav'n" has been changed so that in place of "Remind thy son / That he has paid", it instead says "Remind thy son / That all are saved".

That's not about gender or Catholic exclusivity. That's a specific adoption of heresy appended to Dr. Lingard's name.

Ben Trovato said...

One version is:

Remind us all that we are saved
In spite of our iniquity.

cf http://ccfather.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/bowdler-again.html

Quite scandalous!

Eccles said...

Actually, even "Remind thy son / That he has paid" looks odd to me. As if He would need reminding...

Ttony said...

At least Laudate doesn't have that one. It's perceived sexism that the bowdlerisers have it in for.

Bruv: I assumed that "Remind Thy son" was just a bit of a cloth-eared way of saying "Intercede with Thy Son".

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin said...

I would have said Kovo? Кого, Whom?
This being the accusative of Kto? Кто, Who? Or in the dative: Komu?

My suffering here in hell is made all the worse now by seeing that Mother Russia and Ukraine are about the only countries in Europe doing anything to protect and foster Christianity.

Ben Trovato said...

Bruvver Eccles

If you read my enlightened post on this topic (link in my previous sagacious comment) you will find your ignorance illuminated.


Eccles said...

Ben you is a fount of wisdom.

Mike Cliffson said...

I repeat my preferences for no hymns at all at mass, not even good ones in my and many's opinion.
I can see Ive been missing a lot of fun living abroad, I don't think.

Fr Bede Rowe said...

It's not just Laudate. I found the de-sexed versions of the carols in Liturgical Hymns Old and New horrendous.


johnf said...

I just sing the proper words anyway, no matter what the rest of the folks are singing.

There are the lines in the hymn 'This is the image of Our Queen . . .' which have been bowlderised
'When waves of night around me roll
And Hell is raging for my soul
Oh then remember me!'

The reference to Hell has been taken out because presumably it might alarm people (so what? It is meant to!)

But it is very rare to have a hymn which I can recognise from my youth. We still have 'Faith of our Fathers' and 'Hail Queen of Heaven' and I have heard 'God of Mercy and compassion' during a penitential service, but little else.

What really gets me, particularly if I am trying to make my thanksgiving after Communion, is the choir singing so called hymns where the tunes are taken from well known songs like 'Greensleeves' 'Ye banks and braes' and 'The carnival is over'