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A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)

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Not Your Grandmother’s Creed
published 26 January 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

819 David Haas HE FIRST TIME I HEARD the name “David Haas” was on a CMAA website a few years ago. He was posting there, but when people started asking him questions he left—and never returned. (At least that’s my recollection.) It turns out David Haas is an extremely popular composer for the Ordinary Form. 1 I’ve never forgotten his last name because of its memorable spelling.

A Facebook Creed by David Haas was sent to me this morning. Much could be said about his edict, but I don’t have time for a long post today. 2

Many have expressed deep concern over the lyrics in popular Catholic hymnals—and this “Creed” illustrates the validity of such concerns. Consider a few excerpts:

“Ministry Creed” by David Haas (Excerpts)
Copyright © 2015 by David Haas

Ministry is not about whether one believes in God
—it’s about following the Christ.

Ministry is not about getting into heaven
—it’s about the promise of a paradise.

Ministry is not about striving to be holy
—it’s about recognizing that without God we can do nothing.

Ministry is not about convincing others about a truth
—it’s about allowing discovery to be nurtured.

Ministry is not about promoting doctrine
—it’s about announcing Jesus.

Ministry is not about providing a map for eternal life
—it’s about nurturing life right now, to the full.

Ministry is not about providing solutions
—it’s about facing the quandaries.

Ministry is not about providing clarity
—it’s about celebrating ambiguity.

Ministry is not about reading scripture
—it’s about becoming the living Word.

Ministry is not about providing answers
—it’s about provoking more and more fresh questions.


It’s difficult to understand why Mr. Haas feels the need to condemn the beliefs of others. Many of us believe that ministry is about trying to help people attain Heaven; many of us believe part of ministry is providing answers & solutions; and so forth. Moreover, this “Creed” by David Haas contradicts in a powerful way the example of ministry given to us by Jesus Christ.

That is why I hope Mr. Haas will consider getting rid of his “Creed” and instead focus on positive things, like promoting authentic sacred music by great composers.



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   Growing up in the 1990s, my (Ordinary Form) parish used the GLORY & PRAISE HYMNAL. I suspect David Haas came to prominence after this book was published, which explains why I don’t know his songs. The ones I knew as a child were: Abba Father; Be Not Afraid; Yahweh I Know You Are Near; Sing A Simple Song Unto The Lord; You Who Dwell In The Shelter Of The Lord; This Little Light Of Mine; Though The Mountains May Fall; and so forth. As far as I know, none of those are by David Haas.

2   For example, haeresim sapiens comes to mind when I read statements like “ministry is not about believing in God.”