Sing a Lost Song

I like to return to the subject of bad music in the Church periodically.  I think it is a symptom of the post Vatican II “identity crisis” of the human portion of the Church.  We no longer know who we are, what we should do or where we are going, and our music reflects this lost, aimless attitude by endlessly playing the most banal music in the history of the Church, as if to make certain that we receive no hint of inspiration to lead us out of our spiritual morass.

What is the Catholic hymn you hate the most?  (I know, I know there are so many choices!)  For me it is hands down Sing a New Song by ex-Jesuit Dan Schutte, a founding member of the Saint Louis Jesuits, the group responsible for writing more truly wretched music than any other organization in the history of Man.  A miserable piece of doggerel that has been played to death at Masses since it fell from Schutte’s pen in 1972.  Ah the seventies!  One more crime for that kidney stone of a decade!

Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?



The short answer is that the Church in this country and much of the West has undergone a musical “Babylonian Captivity” by some Catholics who came of age in the Sixties and the Seventies and are intent on their banal gibberish being almost the only music heard at Mass.  This is all part of a let’s pretend movement by the same Catholics that the Church came into being at the end of Vatican II and everything else is to be discarded and rammed down the memory hole.  Vatican II uber alles and everything else about the Church can go to Hell.

I used to think that time would take care of this problem, if not good taste.  With the advent of Pope Francis, I am not so sure, at least short term.  (Our consolation is that in Purgatory and of course in Heaven there are doubtless magnificent hymns to sign.  In Hell, I am sure, more than a few of the hymns currently endlessly recycled will doubtless resound to add to the horrors of the damned, perhaps with slightly modified lyrics!)

Well here is your chance.  Name the hymn you hate the most, the one that sets your teeth grinding when you see it on the hymn list for Mass.



More to explorer


  1. Although our diocese does love the works of Schutte et al, at least the parishes I’ve been to prefer pianos and pipe organs. I can only recall two times my family has had to endure “the band.”
    I did once try to have my children (boys) listen to a Gregorian chant CD published by a popular homeschool business. It went over very, very badly, as it was, well, not exactly Chanticleer:

  2. “Hosea” by Gregory Norbet. How on earth the Benedictine composer managed to distill that cringe-filled bit of passive relationship yearning from a book of prophecy where God compares Israel to a faithless whore is one of the great mysteries of our time.

  3. Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?

    Because that tripe is what your parish priest wants to hear, as do the aspirant divas, guitar hobbyists, hand holders, and music directors. The Diocese of Rochester commissioned a survey a number of years back on musical preferences. The results were as follows: 24% wanted just traditional music; 18% wanted modern music all the time: 29% wanted a mix; 29% did not care or did not like music. The usual proportion in parishes in the Diocese of Syracuse is 85% post 1965, 15% other (and the other presented no better than the tripe). The only variation I’ve seen is that if there’s a second Mass, one might be without music.

  4. My most hated hymns are any and all that refer to the “people of God” in a context that implies how lucky God is to have them as His flock.
    Inverse worship sets my passions ablaze.

  5. “Cry of the Poor” gives me headaches and nausea. “Bread of Life to Eat” destroys countless brain cells. “Gather Us In” makes me want to scatter.
    The Traditional Latin Mass avoids these tunes that belong in the Barack Hussein Obama National Landfill. The Missa Sancta (I think that’s what it is) of the Gloria and the Kyrie are awe-inspiring. Bad music does not belong in any Catholic Church.

  6. All Are Welcome was entrance hymn Sunday mass this week. ?toxic to me.

    Plus the Council is reworking parish mission statement – “we are a welcoming parish”. Whether we are Faithful or not is not discussed
    TheSunday evening mass to be one that teens/ young adults will come to, with music that they like ….

  7. It is quite literally true that, when I see Bob Hurd’s or Dan Schutte’s name beside a hymn, I close the hymnal and focus on the cross. Similarly, when I see that “God,” “He,” “His,” or “Brothers” or any other person or persons in a song have been replaced by an intentionally “innoffensive substitute,” I don’t sing it.

  8. There is one about leaving your boat at the seashore or something. It comes across as a nauseating whine. But like you say, there are so many bad ones regularly featured, it is difficult to single one out as the worst.

  9. Although I think it is a toss-up between bad hymns, and truly modernist butchering of regular prayers like the Gloria or Our Father set to pop or elevator music. I especially hate it when they do that repeat lyric thing like kindergarteners singing row your boat.

  10. Beth Nielson Chapman has a CD named Hymns. It contains a lot of songs that have been relegated to the dustbin since Vatican II. This was my review on Amazon:

    Joni Mitchell sang “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” That is what occurred to me when I listened to this disc. Sometime after Vatican II these classic melodies were shelved in favor of music that was considered more… accessible. The beauty of these hymns is timeless and sung by the bell-like voice of Beth Nielsen Chapman evokes a time when the Catholic Church and its rituals held a sense of mystery and awe.

    Additionally, Chapman contributes a new song of her own, “Hymn to Mary” that is so beautiful and reverent that one might conclude she was born a few centuries too late.

    Here is Tantum Ergo

  11. “Gentle as Silence” is pretty cringe-worthy.

    Fortunately, many of our young priests coming through for our diocese are more conservative. They are actually being taught the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in their last years at the seminary to balance the Novus Ordo. That is a turn up for the books in our barbarian culture out in the fringes of civilisation, where back in the 70’s the NZ bishops decided, “Well we are so far away from Romeswe can pretty much do what we want” – and they did.
    Many abuses itroduced by our bishops then, are slowly being removed/reversed.

    Roll on “The Warning”.

  12. Paul we do not have effeminate ones- we have pep rallies! “In the Name of the Fsther and the Son and the Holy Spitit…” Amen.. Well that was weak… Amen.
    “I can’t HEAR you! .. AMEN!

  13. First, there is no EF in this diocese. Once, a few years ago the FSSP paid a visit fifty miles north serving to alleviate a forty year dry spell. There was standing room only. Truly holy and fulfilling. I remembered school days (Latin study) and my grandparents’ church before the wreckovations began.
    Daily masses offer the opportunity to say the prayers; but, on Sundays, with the repetitiously phrased arrangements, a wrench gets thrown, as happens with, among others, “One bread, one body”.

  14. Now All We Praise Our God – especially when the tempo is plodding. Actually any hymn that sounds Protestant. The old Negro Spirituals are excepted. When even an English boys choir can’t make a hymn sound good, then it really is bad.
    Most of us attend the early Mass because it is the “silent” Mass. Only the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin are occasionally sung and we do a good job of it.

  15. Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?

    Perhaps because so little of the “magnificent musical heritage” is used at Mass because so little of it is arranged for piano, guitar, bass guitar, cello, oboe, tambourine, and drum set.

  16. Call me a heretic or a CINO but I actually like many of the hymns that traditionalists constantly deride as bad (though I can see where some of them have a Broadway show tune quality). Nor do I see anything wrong with hymns that “sound Protestant” as long as they don’t contain lyrics that are impossible to harmonize with Catholic teaching (and I can’t think of any that do.) That said, I draw the line at “Ashes” due to its blatantly Pelagian theology — we do not “create OURSELVES anew” — and at “City of God” for similar reasons and because I associate it with far-leftist Catholic gatherings.

  17. I, not God, am the bread of life. Sing a new song, since all the old ones were wrong. Here we are, all togehter as we sing our – not God’s-song; and join we now as friends to worship each other, whom we can now watch across the arena churches. Kumbayah. Our lives are flowing like a river, but not towared Heaven. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

  18. A rare afternoon today with a dear friend….who expressed the same concerns about the music and also the “attitude ” at church, a lack of basic reverence, tradiion being dropped. A Missouri Synod member who wonders if that is what people want – they don t just go down the street to any available rockin church.

  19. Ditto Patricia’s selections. I would add Table of Plenty and Give Thanks to the Lord (Also by Dan Schutte I believe?) . Ugh……

  20. Wow. Fr. Resen … Hear I Am Lord is on your bad list? Hard to image that.
    I’ll take a slightly different angle on this subject and evaluate music during mass which includes a choir and that during masses which do not. I for one love to sing, but don’t read music well. I find it hard to carry many of the traditional hymns when the choir is not present. The deeper spiritual text are very welcome …. like to have a more balanced approach.

  21. Thank you Patricia of reminding me of “Rain Down.” That is an awful song. When I first heard it, I turned to my wife and said “Sounds like a bar song.” I can just imagine an inebriated crowd swaying back and forth with mugs lifted singing this.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: