Catholics singing Lutheran songs


#1

This past Saturday evening the opening song was “God is a fortress and a rock” or something like that. Also, the next song in the hymnal was also authored by the same person. Upon reading who did the song, I learned that Martin Luther wrote the words. I believe that Bach did the music. My questions are these:

1) With what occurred during the split of the Catholic Church surrounding Luther, how can Catholics have such a song in the songbook to begin with?

2) How can Catholics sing such a song with knowledge that Luther wrote it?

The song itself is very basic in that it is not promoting a certain religious doctrine. It is honoring God for who he is. However, I am struggling with such a thing, to me the song being sung is honoring Luther.


#2

Some Protestants might be shocked to learn that the beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night” was written by a Catholic priest. Most of them would probably continue to include the song in their caroling repertoire because it is a beautiful God-honoring hymn that celebrates the holy season of Christ’s birth. In like manner, Catholics are free to include those Protestant hymns such as Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” that do not contain ideas that contradict Catholic doctrine.

Catholic music directors and pastors should be careful, though, to carefully read lyrics before including non-Catholic songs in the Mass. Popular Protestant songs such as “Amazing Grace” and “Mary, Did You Know?” do have lyrics that, although they can be reconciled with Catholic teaching, are sufficiently ambiguous that they could easily confuse Catholic congregants.


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