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Hymn parody

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 Contents - Aug 2004AD2000 August 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: New challenges for Catholic education - Peter Westmore
Pope's representative reminds Australian religious leaders on liturgy abuses - Archbishop Francesco Canalini
News: The Church Around the World
Getting serious about orthodoxy: an American bishop shows how - Michael Gilchrist
Catholic politicians and informed conscience - Bishop Michael Sheridan
Bioethics: Embryo stem-cell research: time for a moral benchmark - Christopher Pyne MP
The morning after pill - Bishop Anthony Fisher
History: Catholic education: triumph over adversity - Cardinal George Pell
Carnivale Christi: Whatever happened to beauty in art? - Paul Fitzgerald
The Catholic Church and the Greens: why? - Tony Kearney
Letters: Missal translation - Pastor David Buck
Letters: Hymn parody - Peter Hannigan
Letters: Casual trend - Gina Voskulen
Letters: Parish revitalised - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: Threats to family - Gordon Southern
Letters: Abortion - Anne Boyce
Letters: Relearning needed - Anne Lastman
Letters: Gospel dates - Jack R. Nyman
Books: DANIEL MANNIX: Wit and Wisdom, by Michael Gilchrist - Hermann Kelly (reviewer)
Books: A Guide To The Passion Of The Christ : 100 Questions - Fr Scot Armstrong STL (reviewer)
Books: Interview with the author of 'The Da Vinci Hoax' - Carl E. Olsen
Books: More new titles for 2004 from AD Books
Reflection: Why teaching in a Catholic school is far more than a profession - Fr Dennis Byrnes

In her letter (July, AD2000) Cathy Cleary takes Bruce Dawe and the editorial staff to task for the publication of a send-up of "Come As You Are". I can only suggest that she has missed the point of Dawe's critique; or, at best, has taken a superficial view of something that is worth greater consideration.

That the "hymn" in question may be, in fact, "loved by many old and young" is surely a matter of regret. It is, in substance, an expression of universalism. The writer has totally ignored Christ's oft-repeated instruction that repentance for one's sins is necessary for salvation.

Hence it is pointless merely to "go as we are". We are to go as Christ tells us to go. We are to go with humility and reverence - and with repentance.

As Dawe so pointedly tells in parody, it is just these qualities for which an irreverent dress style shows clear disdain; and, indeed, may well deny. On the other hand, modestly respectful and appropriate attire probably indicates that the wearer is aware of, and sensitive to, the full meaning of the Mass; and further, as a matter of Christian charity, that person seeks to avoid giving a source of unnecessary distraction to others in the congregation.

Perhaps it is just as likely that so many of the youth do not go to Mass because the "dress statement" of their elders clearly tells them that it is "no big deal". Add to this the appalling lack of reverence for the sacred in the church before, during, and after Mass, so usual these days; and the truly awful "hymns", including the one under notice, so often favoured, and which yield no sense of the transcendent or of the Divine.

Also, accusations of being "negative, critical and judgmental" should be used with caution. Being negative of the negative is being positive. To be critical is obviously as much a right for one as for the other. And the letter writer is, herself, being unreservedly judgmental.

Adamstown Heights, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 7 (August 2004), p. 15

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