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Mangled hymns (letter)

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 Contents - Mar 2005AD2000 March 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pray for John Paul II ... - Peter Westmore
Vocations: Australian diocesan seminary numbers continue to increase - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Cinema: Hollywood's Kinsey whitewash - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Moral divisions among the Christian Churches threaten ecumenism - Archbishop Barry Hickey
Dissent: Notes from a theology unit at Australian Catholic University
Church's future lies with orthodoxy, not dissent - Fr Paul Stuart
Culture: Secularism, not religion, is threatened with extinction - David Quinn
Events: Holy Week Celebrations - Classical Roman Rite
A young Catholic's encounter with Latin at Chavagnes International College - Alexander Morrison
Adult Education: Sydney Centre for Thomistic Studies continues a great teacher's legacy - Audrey English
Letters: Priestly celibacy (letter) - Barbara Chigwidden
Letters: Overseas priests and racism - Fr Peter Joseph
Letters: Reporting abuses is not spying (letter) - Fr Edward P. Evans
Letters: Mangled hymns (letter) - Michael Apthorp
Letters: Orthodox young priest (letter) - John David
Letters: Abortion (letter) - Fr Austin Kenny CP
Letters: Leadership needed (letter) - Tom King
Letters: AIDS prevention (letter) - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: Bible and Church (letter) - Frank Bellet
Letters: Layman saint Bob Santamaria (letter) - J.W. McMahon
Letters: Convert (letter) - Jeff Harvie
Letters: Information sought on Kathleen Cecilia Butler (letter) - John G. Brown
Letters: Latin Mass (letter) - Alan Freckelton
Obituary: The passing of a holy, many-talented Jesuit - Fr Victor Ian Falconer SJ - Michael O'Callaghan
Books: DOLLFUSS: An Austrian Patriot, by Fr Johannes Messner - Alice von Hildebrand
Books: THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Books to read in 2005
Reflection: The Holy Trinity and the Church: the truth will set you free - Fr John O'Neill

Congratulations to Bruce Dawe on his brilliant satire on the mangling of hymns ("The Salami Treatment", December AD2000).

During recent travels I attended a Mass where the church notices included a strange new version of the hymn "Seek, O seek the Lord", by that great Australian poet James McAuley. In verse three McAuley's original words are:

"Strengthen in our hearts the love we owe to one another.
"How can we love God above and not our brother?"

But for "our brother" our politically correct reviser had substituted "each other". While McAuley would have been outraged by the effete rhyme "another"/"each other", that implacable foe of poetic modernism would have been rendered utterly speechless by the effrontery of an 'improver' who sought to remove "brother" as though it were a dirty word.

Like Bruce Dawe, I felt moved to sing a counter prayer:

"Strengthen in our hearts the urge to quit linguistic quibbling.
"How can we love God above and not our sibling?"

What ever happened to the Brotherhood of Man? Somehow the Siblinghood of Humankind does not have the same ring to it.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. There are ample signs around us in today's Church that a tin ear obstinately deaf to the nuances of language, a gross ignorance or disregard of historical background, and a grim and doctrinaire brand of feminism are being allowed to hold sway, sometimes even producing bizarre distortions of the Scriptures themselves.

How else, for example, are we to account for clumsy and unauthorised attempts to remove masculine references to God from Old Testament Psalms read at Mass in some of the most august churches of the Brisbane Archdiocese?

Chapel Hill, Queensland

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 2 (March 2005), p. 14

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