Regular readers know how passionately I have argued that too many modern Catholic hymns make one long to reach down one’s own gullet until one has puked up one’s own lungs and can in no way participate in the singing of same.Over at First Thoughts, Joe Carter has listed his choices of The Ten Worst Hymns of All Time. For good measure, he includes music files, and you will easily discern why I completely concur with his choice as the #1 Worst Catholic Hymn, “Gather Us In,” which is not only derivative of a repetitious Gorden Lightfoot song, but contains some awful “worship” lyrics:
We are the young – our lives are a mystery
we are the old – who yearn for you face.
we have been sung throughout all of history
called to be light to the whole human race.
Gather us in the rich and the haughty
gather us in the proud and the strong
give us a heart so meek and so lowly
give us the courage to enter the song.
Just typing it makes me shudder and go all Sideshow Bob Stepping on a Rake: ghururhhghgurhg
But “Gather Us In” is not the only derivative Catholic Hymn. “Here I Am, Lord,” at communion brings one into the parking lot singing, “who was bringing up three very lovely girls…” and you keep the Brady Bunch earworm all the livelong day. And there’s another song, and I can’t believe that didn’t make Joe’s list, that cannot go unmentioned, David Haas’ “We Are Called.” It begins, “Come, live in the light…” And if you want to know how it sounds, well, it sounds just like Styx’s “I’m sailing awaaaaaaay…” Oh, it’s truly wretched. I would link you to an mp3, but I really like you much too much for that. Anyhow, go check out Joe’s list. Oddly enough, it was just about this exact time last year that Deal Hudson was making the same sort of list with the same sort of songs, and asking people where they stood on Catholic Hymns. Then again it’s a subject that cannot be revisited too often; we must continue to complain until they stop it. I can’t remember the last time Mass began with my own favorite: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of Creaaaaaaaation!