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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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“To treat harmony and rhythm in this matter was a difficult matter. Facing numerous problems both large and small—that arose constantly—we understood that a flawless harmonization of Gregorian chant cannot be created by improvisation, no matter the competence and ability of the organist or harmonist.”
— Mons. Jules Van Nuffel, NOH Preface

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Bishop Barron Vs. Hymn by Marty Haugen (2018)
published 16 January 2019 by Jeff Ostrowski

RESENTING at the “Adoremus Congress” (8 September 2018) in England, Bishop Robert Barron spoke of a hymn that’s become popular in many Catholic churches. The lyrics of this song are not based on authentic Catholic hymns, such as English translations found in the Brébeuf Hymnal: Pange Lingua, Ave Maris Stella, Sancti Venite, Ave Vivens Hostia, Christe Redemptor Omnium, Adoro Te Devote, and so forth.

Instead, these lyrics were written by a Protestant composer named Marty Haugen:

Not in the dark of buildings confining,
Not in some heaven, light-years away,
But here in this place, the new light is shining,
Now is the Kingdom, now is the day.

This heretical song has been included in major Catholic hymnals for decades; and here’s proof from the Worship Hymnal (GIA Publications). Here’s what Bishop Barron says:


Marty Haugen’s assertion about the Light “not shining in Heaven” contradicts Catholic teaching. Look at this 12th-century Catholic hymn:

    * *  PDF Download • Excerpt from the Brébeuf Hymnal (Page 746)

Did you notice the literal translation at the bottom?

85646 Marty Haugen Heresy

Oh, how beautiful is the Catholic teaching!!!

Christ is the light that consoles heaven, but is unseen by man on earth.

Of course, we do see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (Holy Eucharist), but we do not see His full glory. If we saw Jesus in His full glory, it would overwhelm us. The purity of God would be “too terrible for words,” as Fulton J. Sheen once said. But the Apostles got a glimpse of the true glory at the Transfiguration; and this hymn is often used for the Feast of the Transfiguration. Fr. Michael Irwin, FSSP, once told me that if we saw Jesus Christ in His full glory, we would die instantly.

Why do songs by Marty Haugen—who has never claimed to accept Church teaching—replace authentic Catholic hymns, such as the one I just quoted? I urge you to obtain a copy of the Brébeuf Hymnal and see whether you agree that the ancient Catholic hymns are worth singing.