Monday, March 25, 2013

Thank you: CBW III, feminism, and the Spirit of Vatican II

Because of you, people are all confused about hymns. (Lots more than that, actually, but we can talk about hymns for now). In the old days, people used to memorize hymns. We could sing them without books. The words never changed. Now, thanks to the Spirit of Vatican II, we don't memorize anything, because that's bad. Memorization means your faith is empty. It's all about love and God meeting us where we're at. So now we love hymns, especially anything with a polka beat written by Carey Haugenhaaschutte, but we can't sing them without books. (Photocopying and overhead projection are illegal.)

Many parishes have hymn books of course, but they can be difficult to manage during processions, especially when you are also holding palms and/or children's hands. And furthermore, many parishes now have several different hymn books, with different versions of the same hymn in different books, because the exclusive patriarchal hateful lyrics had to be expunged in favour of the ones with rainbows and unicorns in them. Thanks, feminism and CBW III.

Let us take, for example, the hymn "All Glory, Laud and Honor," which is traditionally sung on Palm Sunday. The CBW III got rid of the word "laud" because it's, like, so Latin and everything. And what is Latin good for anyway (liturgy aside) except every academic subject under the sun, plus spelling. We had to get rid of "thee" and "thou" "thy" and "didst" because that's just archaic language, and it makes the hymn sound all old and horrible, like you're saying a poem or something equally as gross and irrelevant! "Mortal men" had to go for sure, because they're all sexist and dying and everything. (Who wants to think about death? At a happy time like Easter? Bunnies! Candy!) The phrase "mortal men" was replaced with the much more inclusive, modern, relevant and melodic-sounding pronoun "we".

So anyway, the long and the short of it is that thanks to all the forces conspiring to make our liturgy more relevant, more inclusive, more loving and easier for the lay people to be empowered to participate... the end result is that in our parish, on Palm Sunday, no one knew the words to the hymn. No one. And can you blame us? Cuz it really was two different hymns, and frankly, no one knew whether we were supposed to be singing the patriarchal or the unicorn verson.

So instead of re-enacting Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, our Palm Sunday Procession was more like the Awkard and Silent Shuffle into Jerusalem.

Holy Week has begun, and I continue to learn: there is more than one way to live the Passion.

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