Saturday, August 20, 2016

Subtle Heresies In Hymns At Mass

That is what I encountered last weekend at the 11:15 Mass at St John Neumann in Gaithersburg.  It was one phrase in the Offertory hymn that was so problematic as to be heretical.  I find that often happens in songs with a "social justice" theme.

The hymn was When Jesus Came Preaching by Fred Pratt Green, a now-deceased Methodist minister in England.  Here's the embedded heresy: "so let none of us swerve from our mission to serve that has made us his church from the start".  That phrase displays a totally inverted and perverted view of the Church.  I'll contrast this with some facts from the Baltimore Catechism, facts that I learned in the first grade.  I'll list questions 136-138.
  • 136 What is the Church?  The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him.
  • 137 Who founded the Church? Jesus Christ founded the Church.
  • 138 Why did Jesus Christ found the Church?  Jesus Christ founded the Church to bring all men to eternal salvation.
According to Green, this "mission to serve" caused the church to come into being.  For him, the question isn't even who spawned the Church but what.  In his thinking, Jesus Christ Himself has been substituted by this "mission to serve" as originator of the Church.  This is de facto idolatry.  I'm sure that was not the intention of any of St John's music minstry to promulgate heresy and idolatry, but nonetheless that is in fact what happened, with many decent Catholics in the pews singing this right along, not realizing until too late what was happening (assuming they were alert enough to sense a problem).

Additionally, this "mission to serve" is never quite defined.  Since we did have a guest priest who spoke on behalf of a charity to serve the third-world impovershed (and it sounds like a very good organization), I venture a guess that this song was picked with "social justice" in mind.   Question 138 states quite plainly God's intention for the Church: to facilitate eternal salvation, that is, to save people from hell and get them into heaven.  Any charitable endeavor, important though it is, is ancillary to the salvation of immortal souls.

Too many are losing sight of the primacy of eternal salvation.  Indeed, far too many don't believe in hell and don't seem to care that one unconfessed mortal sin at the time of death will result in eternal damnation.  Jesus spoke about hell many times during His earthly ministry, yet today we rarely (if ever) hear the word "hell" mentioned from the pulpit.  This constitutes a gross disservice to the wayward Catholic in the pew, who will never benefit from the warning to avail him/herself of Confession.  Now that is a true "social injustice", one that will have everlasting consequences.

At any rate, I'd suggest that when we arrive at Mass and are waiting for it to begin, that we give the hymns a glace to make sure that we won't be singing something that doesn't conform to Church Teaching..


  1. Thank you for this fine article-please consider enlarging it to lay out the many heresies in the songs sung in many parishes. For me the worst heresy is that in these parsihes - and the examples are legion - the god that is worshipped is the people, not God who is the subject of the creed. Often when I hear "We" in one of these songs, in one of these churches denuded of all holy art and statues, I realize they have rewritten the creed: "We believe in us." Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

  2. When my parish was "yoked" with another so we could share a priest, we lost our traditional choir (and organ) we used to have for our Vigil Mass (which no longer exists for us), now all we've got is folk music with bongo drums and a piano for all Sunday Masses. We hear protestant hymns continually and it's quite depressing and offensive to my ears. :(

  3. The following example illustrates the roadmap the Church is following with its “social teaching.”:
    Eating Cheerios is good for an individual’s health. Catholics must maintain sound bodily health. All Catholics must eat Cheerios to promote the common good. The Church supports the common good, even among non-Christians. The Church therefore supports the pagan State’s authority to enforce a law forcing all citizens buy and to eat Cheerios.
    Do you see how ridiculous this is? Now simply substitute “universal government subsidized health insurance” for Cheerios and you have the kind of crap the USCCB whores itself to the pagan state over.

    And now according to the Catholic Church, as Pius XI taught, it is morally permissible for the State to act like Robin Hood, steal from the rich to give to the poor, because giving to the poor is what rich Catholics are supposed to do.

    The whole "social justice" creation is an innovation force-fed into the Church with some Catholic window dressing thrown in to make it sound important.

    Catholics owe only other Catholics charity and brotherhood; Catholics do not owe the world anything except knowledge the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Michael F Poulin


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