Sunday, 9 March 2008

Feelings Of Indignation !

The final hymn at Mass this morning propelled me into an apoplectic rage. God of mercy and compassion used to be a hymn I quite liked. It was never a favourite, as such, but it has a simple melody, and the sentiments are suitably penitential...

At least, they used to be suitably penitential, until the pc-crowd got hold of it and put in alternative words...

Now, the chorus used to run as follows:

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy,
let me not implore in vain;
all my sins I now detest them,
never will I sin again.

Fine and dandy, you might think. It doesn't appear controversial, does it? No non-inclusive language to be mucked around with... So surely they wouldn't feel the need to change any of the words? Wrong !

You see, this chorus is rather negative in tone. It might just make people feel uncomfortable. I mean, it's bad enough that we have to acknowledge that we've been a bit naughty... and hey, we will even use the "s" word... but we're not such bad people really, and Jesus just has to be merciful and forgive us, doesn't he? Because otherwise we might actually have to consider the possibility that our sins can send us to the other place. You know, the one we don't talk about... and like to consider as empty... despite several references by JC himself to its many inhabitants!! So, let's smooth things over and make the language a little less offensive...

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy,
knowing it is not in vain;
all my sins I now detest them,
help me not to sin again.

God is certainly merciful... and we can run to his Sacred Heart and implore his forgiveness. If we are truly sorry, he will forgive us. But we cannot presume to be forgiven. We only know it for certain through the absolution given in the Sacrament of Confession... and we cannot safely assume that we will have either true contrition or the opportunity to get to Confession...

7 comments:

ebomania said...

I noticed this "remix" of the great hymn too a couple of weeks back.

Similar treatment to "My God Loves me" to "Our God Loves Us" has not made it any better. (Indeed, everytime i hear it, i can't help but picture Andy Williams or Val Doonican singing it whilst perched on a stool.)

I think i need to pray more or perhaps, just get out more.

:)

MaggieClitheroe said...

We had that hymn last week, but Father pointedly told us NOT to sing the version in the book itself, rather, the original version he'd had stuck in to the back page! Three cheers to him!
(Even when a politically correct version of a hymn is asked for I will strike a discordant lyric by belting out the original words, since many of them have stuck in my brain from youth, and I don't use the hymn books!!)

antonia said...

That's awful! I have never heard that second translation being sung but I can definitly understand your rage! How pathetic that some people felt it needed to be changed.

Andrew said...

We sing the older version except with the 'new' last line. That's the only version I ever knew.
I agree with you that this "knowing it is not in vain;" is utter rubbish.

But I think the "Never will I sin again." is a bit presumptuous. Don't you think that "Help me not to sin again." is more humble? That's the version I use in the schola. We sing it in 4 parts.

Mac McLernon said...

Well, Andrew, I know what you mean... but in the act of contrition in confession we say that "I will not sin again" - having the intention not to do it again being a prerequisite of the sacrament (even if we know it is likely that we will repeat the sin again)

So, I prefer the "never will I sin again" version!

mum6kids said...

Like MaggieClitherow I'm afraid I would be belting out the real words. I have been caught before on this because I don't use the book if I know the hymn as I am usually grappling a baby.
But hey, they shouldn't go changing the words.

Mac McLernon said...

I usually take that tack too... but I was so outraged by the change of words being so close to heresy that I couldn't speak, let alone sing... I ended up gibbering with rage in the Sacristy (I was helping to clear away after Mass, and setting stuff up for the next Mass)

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