Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Cares? It's Only a Hymn, After All.

The Official Hymn for the Year of Faith is egregious. It's not well-written in any language, musical or European, and its official English translation is poorly done.
 
But it's only a hymn, right? It's not even a proper liturgical chant. So no harm done.
 
But in fact it is important. During the opening procession of yesterday's opening Mass of the Year of Faith, the bishops of the Synod for the New Evangelization processed to this particular hymn. The bishops processed in re-membrance of the Council Fathers, who processed in to the opening ceremonies of Vatican II 50 years to the day before.
 
Is there anyone who truly believes that this procession would not have been better accompanied by Veni, Creator Spiritus?
 
Instead, the Synod Fathers processed to a song that seems to have been written with nothing more serious than a World Youth Day pre-Mass rally in mind. Our guests, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch were also subjected to this music, so far inferior to the music they enjoy in their own cathedrals, and thankfully also far inferior to the rest of the music of the Mass, which was otherwise exemplary.
 
What is being projected? Is this sort of music really consonant with the plan that someone has in mind for the New Evangelization? Does anyone really believe that after 50 years of the abject failure of pop music to evangelize, for "relevancy" in preaching to evangelize, for casualness and self-absorption and low quality liturgical art to evangelize, that all of these things should suddenly become emblematic of or useful for the New Evangelization?
 
There is an old adage about evangelization: if you want to bring in the young people, focus on the adults. Every adult in every parish should be able to give a reasonable account of the redemption. Is this the case? Do all adults know about the resurrection of the body, for example?
 
Anything that is watered down, weak, or of low quality gives the impression that what it represents is of little lasting value. Another throwaway WYD hymn does not at all represent the kind of revitalization that our Church so badly needs. It has nothing to do with the liturgical and doctrinal legacy of our dear Holy Father.
 
Let us hope that by the conclusion of the Year of Faith we will be building our pastoral initiatives on grounds that are not, as this is, evidently ephemeral.