Song at the Center?


#1

giamusic.com/searchPDFS/G3989.pdf

So this was my song at the offering on Sunday. The song is fine but what worries me are the lyrics. Brother wind, sister water, mother earth, and father sky? I'm no traditionalist but are these lyrics O.K. in a song at a Eucharistic Celebration.


#2

See "Canticle of the Sun" by St. Francis of Assisi. VERY Traditional.

:-)


#3

This is by no means another musical setting of St. Francis' poems, but rather a neopagan representation of the four elements and four cardinal directions reverenced by quasi-Native American spirituality and various other non-Christian belief systems such as Wicca. Marty Haugen is a member of the United Church of Christ and is well-known for the questionable theology in many of the hymns reprinted in certain Catholic hymnals. These words have absolutely no place in Catholic worship.


#4

It seems to be a mix of St. Francis's poem and certain Native American religious ideas. The melody, in its mode and rhythm, sounds similar to Native American music.


#5

Ugh. Censoring myself for very uncharitable thoughts about music.


#6

Good grief -- those lyrics are awful.


#7

[quote="Cavaille-Coll, post:3, topic:341426"]
This is by no means another musical setting of St. Francis' poems, but rather a neopagan representation of the four elements and four cardinal directions reverenced by quasi-Native American spirituality and various other non-Christian belief systems such as Wicca. Marty Haugen is a member of the United Church of Christ and is well-known for the questionable theology in many of the hymns reprinted in certain Catholic hymnals. These words have absolutely no place in Catholic worship.

[/quote]

Oh dear, must I now get rid of my Christmas tree? It seems to me that Christianity has been adopting and adapting elements of other traditions since day one. Is it a bad thing?

I looked at the lyrics. I can see why it might not be liked, and I'm not crazy about it myself, but I am not convinced that it goes against our faith. Genesis chapter 1 is poetic. This song is poetic, but different. It's all about praising God the creator.


#8

[quote="Beryllos, post:7, topic:341426"]
Oh dear, must I now get rid of my Christmas tree? It seems to me that Christianity has been adopting and adapting elements of other traditions since day one. Is it a bad thing?

I looked at the lyrics. I can see why it might not be liked, and I'm not crazy about it myself, but I am not convinced that it goes against our faith. Genesis chapter 1 is poetic. This song is poetic, but different. It's all about praising God the creator.

[/quote]

But will it be interpreted that way? Or will it just incite a nave full of people who are uncomfortable, oblivious, elated at the weirdness, or disgusted?


#9

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:8, topic:341426"]
But will it be interpreted that way? Or will it just incite a nave full of people who are uncomfortable, oblivious, elated at the weirdness, or disgusted?

[/quote]

Most people in the pews won't even notice or care. They'll just sing it if it's chosen by the choir, but not all songs published by GIA are necessarily for Mass. They may be used for other liturgical settings such as a prayer service.


#10

As I reread the song, and looked up some biographical info on Marty Haugen, I am now inclined to think it was intended as some sort of sentimental, tree-hugging, environmentalist kind of song. You know, the idea that we are linked to all the earth by our interdependencies. That is how I read the brother-sister-mother-father symbolism. As we need the earth for food, water, air, and so on, we must care for the soil, air, water resources, plants, and animals, or collectively the environment.

YoungTradCath asks whether it will be interpreted properly in terms of our Catholic faith. Indeed, a few impressionable members of the congregation may be misled into thinking, as the song goes, that the elements of nature are sacred persons, and the corners of the earth are sacred lands. The song seems to say that everything is sacred. This, together with all the strong symbolism, might lend support to false beliefs like pantheism.

Therefore, I would not advocate the use of this song in the Mass, or in children's religious education.


#11

[quote="janeway529, post:9, topic:341426"]
Most people in the pews won't even notice or care. They'll just sing it if it's chosen by the choir, ...

[/quote]

You mean "sit there while it's sung by the choir." That's what I'm seeing mostly. People in the pews singing? Rare. :(


#12

[quote="manualman, post:11, topic:341426"]
You mean "sit there while it's sung by the choir." That's what I'm seeing mostly. People in the pews singing? Rare. :(

[/quote]

Depends on the parish, I guess. In my experience, if the choir rehearses with the people before Mass and uses the same musical settings for Mass parts (Gloria, Sanctus, etc.), the people are more likely to actively participate in the singing since they are more familiar with it.


#13

Berrylos-What do you think of these lyrics?

** Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.**

(italics and underline mine-for emphasis.)

My opinion?

I think “tree huggers” are in good company. :slight_smile:


#14

At any rate, the song doesn't seem appropriate for a Communion song. I think it would be better to chose one more appropriate for this holy time in the Mass.

This song might be ok if sung outside of Mass. I wouldn't feel comfortable singing it in Mass.

Just my opinion.


#15

TerryJT - St. Francis is praising God for His creations, which he compares with mankind as their brothers and sisters. Haugen does a poor imitation of this in the refrain, but the verses assign attributes to the four cardinal directions which have no Christian theological basis, but rather have direct ties to pagan beliefs. In which Christian document is the north known for wisdom and the south known for growing? Would this be reversed if Haugen were from the Southern Hemisphere?


#16

[quote="LouisvilleRC, post:1, topic:341426"]
giamusic.com/searchPDFS/G3989.pdf

So this was my song at the offering on Sunday. The song is fine but what worries me are the lyrics. Brother wind, sister water, mother earth, and father sky? I'm no traditionalist but are these lyrics O.K. in a song at a Eucharistic Celebration.

[/quote]

Seems like a weird song choice for the Offertory. I can see it more appropriately sung as a prelude, and possibly a post-communion meditation song, though. Also, the lyrics sound like it's part of a Celtic musical Mass setting. :hmmm:


#17

Haugen is the perpetrator of what we charitably call "The Massive Cremation". I hope and pray that the next English revision of the Missal comes with a stamp that reads "Haugen-Haas strictly prohibited". (We call that Haagen-Dazs and I'm on a diet here.)

Now if only OCP/GIA/WLP went around strictly enforcing copyright, their music would be suddenly much harder to find! Imagine how many parishes might be inspired to investigate music with a free license, such as Corpus Christi Watershed or Illuminare Publications.


#18

[quote="Elizium23, post:17, topic:341426"]
Haugen is the perpetrator of what we charitably call "The Massive Cremation". I hope and pray that the next English revision of the Missal comes with a stamp that reads "Haugen-Haas strictly prohibited". (We call that Haagen-Dazs and I'm on a diet here.)

Now if only OCP/GIA/WLP went around strictly enforcing copyright, their music would be suddenly much harder to find! Imagine how many parishes might be inspired to investigate music with a free license, such as Corpus Christi Watershed or Illuminare Publications.

[/quote]

Reminds me of a quote I once heard from a talk that a priest gave, "I know of some parishes that don't allow Marty Haugen's 'All Are Welcome' to be sung because they don't believe that all are welcome." :rolleyes:


#19

[quote="Beryllos, post:7, topic:341426"]
Oh dear, must I now get rid of my Christmas tree? It seems to me that Christianity has been adopting and adapting elements of other traditions since day one. Is it a bad thing?

[/quote]

Not always. Some of the oldest Gregorian chants were marching tunes for Roman soldiers. Rome and Jerusalem were both pagan hub cities before their Christianization.

That being said. I think there is a clear causation between heterodox or suspect lyrics and weak faith, whereas the very clear ancient hymns like Pange Lingua and Stabat Mater strengthen the faith.


#20

[quote="EphelDuath, post:19, topic:341426"]
Not always. Some of the oldest Gregorian chants were marching tunes for Roman soldiers.

[/quote]

That's really interesting. Where did you get this information?
I'm familiar with the Renaissance "L'homme Arme", but that can't be what you are referring to.
Can you provide a reference?


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