Reconciling "heresy" to truth

I recently started a thread called “Heretical CCM.” I learned about myself that I was too judgmental. This thread I want to be about how we can reconcile lyrics that may SEEM heretical to truth, thus making the songs acceptable to Catholics.

First, we’ll start with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."
The words “Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day,” are not necessarily true. However, irrelevant to comma placement, if we interpret that as meaning, “On Christmas Day, we need to remember that Christ our Savior was born,” then we suddenly have sound lyrics.

Next, “My Heartstrings Come Undone” by Demon Hunter. How can we “decay with You,” if Jesus, as the faithful one will not undergo corruption. Well, it merely means that when we decay, Jesus will be with us, not that He is decaying, too. So, now we have sound lyrics.

The “rapture” songs I mentioned on the other thread could be reconciled on the grounds that they don’t specifically mention the word, “rapture,” nor do they provide a timeline that pits them before the tribulation, so I suppose they are all alright, regardless of the writers’ intentions.

the “born again” songs could all technically be referring to adult Baptism, which through the RCIA is part of the Catholic teachings, so we are good, there. The same could be said for Telecast’s “Empty Me Out,” if we consider that the moment he believed was the moment he got Baptised, and that he previously was just going through the motions of RCIA, and then Baptism suddenly made it all real for him. A stretch indeed, but a charitable one, so we’ll take it.

I’m having difficulty how to reconcile songs that list 66 Bible books and leave out the Deuterocanonicals. Can anyone help on that one?

Also, any way we can reconcile a band having the name Iconoclast?

What about, “if the fates allow?” How do we reconcile that one, or should we just strike, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from our Christmas songs, and replace it with “Dominick the Donkey?” Nothing heretical about “jiggety jig hee haw hee haw.”

“Something We Can’t Be” by Project 86 seems to have a title that conflicts with, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” But does it? Can we reach perfect sanctification during this lifetime? My understanding is that we can always get closer to being perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, but will not fully reach that point during this lifetime. Thus, it is a valid message.

“You are the Answer” by Point of Grace has the lyrics vague enough that it is unclear what her actual intention is.

“My Front Porch Looking In” by Lonestar (Alright, so this is a secular song, but it’s message of family love is stronger than in any “Christian” song I can think of off hand.) We reach a snag, however, with the line about "everywhere I’ll ever go and everywhere I’ve ever been, nothing takes my breath away like my front porch looking in, "or something like that. Is this denying Heaven? Actually, no. We can take an implied understood, “outside of Heaven,” to what he was saying, rather than being nitpicky on his phraseology.

“The Unicorn” by Irish Rovers. Well, we are not Sola-Scriptura, so just because Genesis leaves out any such mention, is this necessarily heretical? It does not negate Noah’s obedience to suggest that one of the animal species refused to get onto the ark. (alright, now I’m really pushing it)

Hmm, this doesn’t seem to be going over to well yet.

What about “In The Belly Of The Whale” by the Newsboys. The words, “Good Lord” can be taken as the beginning of a prayer, as Jonah was saying noticing the size of the whale’s mouth, and the “big fish” In Jonah may very well have been a whale. (unless someone wants to correct me on that, if whales are technically not in the fish family, or something.)

I don’t understand what there is to “reconcile” for Catholics in order to listen to and appreciate Christian music in general. If the tune is appealing and the lyrics flow accordingly then according to each listener’s personal preference they’ll either like the song or not.

What you’re asking suggests we Catholics must somehow justify our pleasure in listening to contemporary Christian songs by analyzing the lyrics and making sure we understand what is and is not Catholic about them. If we don’t take the time to do that, then what? does that make us weak or bad Catholics?

There are several CCM songs I enjoy for the music, the tempo and the lyrics. Yes, there are obvious ones which are clearly not professing Catholic teaching, but I wouldn’t expect them to since they come from Protestants. They don’t know they’re missing the books, they don’t know about transubstantiation and eucharistic adoration. Would their songs be even better if they included those words/concepts? Absolutely. But without them they are still praise for God and calls to all people to come to know Jesus.

Also, theres some artistic license going on. songs have to “work” rhyme things like that. Just like poetry. They can make you feel, think, remember, call you to action. They are to inspire.

The God rest ye is a good example. The main thing people remember is that Christ the Savior is Born and on Christmas day reminds one why we think of Him at this time of year.

I have been playing the xm station at work here, one of the “girls” is christian but a busy single mom so not much time. She even told her dad shes only taking the kids to church the weekends she has them and not when she doesnt.

Back to the music, she mentioned the other day after playing tunes since the summer. That she thought it was really uplifting to hear a song in the background in the busy day. She even has gone out and picked up several cd’s. And she had even started going to church a bit more on her “time off”.

All because of music. I think it something that can be going on in your heart while you are working. And uplift you, because when its calm you find yourself humming something you heard earlier.


OK, maybe I’m a little slow, but… what’s the problem?

Another way to look at this is to say, of course Jesus was born on Christmas Day. But that first “Christmas Day” was not necessarily December 25th! :slight_smile:

Stuff like “if the fates allow” could be seen simply as figures of speech or colorful expressions. It’s not meant literally.

I’m not a big CCM fan, but I don’t recall too many songs with lyrics that are that objectionable. Incomplete, perhaps, but not totally wrong. I’ve probably heard more objectionable songs at Mass, but that’s another topic altogether! :smiley:

Of course, any piece of music or literature besides Scripture, is going to have something about it that makes it less than perfect. Language often lends itself to multiple interpretations, particularly in the medium of music lyrics. So long as you are firm in your faith and you make sure your children are firm in their faith (if applicable), you should be okay. If listening to a song that mentions only 66 books of the Bible (is there such a song?) would jeopardize your faith or that of your family (or cause scandal to others), then it would be wise to steer clear.

Just an additional thing to keep in mind…

In music, as in poetry (and all forms of art), there is a bit of artistic license that ought to be extended to the artist in terms of their expressions. In other words, it’s not all to be taken literally.

For example, I noticed in your other thread the song about a guy talking to St. Peter about the things he wishes he could go back to earth to do. Such a song is not meant to be a treatise on the innerworkings of heaven or the possibility of reincarnation. That likely is very far from the artist’s intent. It is simply a literary device to convey a certain truth: that is, it encourages people to think of how they should be living their lives now so that later they would not look back with regret.

Just as in the Gospels, when Jesus says “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” does not mean he is advocating self-mutilation. He is using hyperbole (exaggerating to make a point).

Just something to consider…

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