ACK in 1974, the New Catholic Press of Seattle published a hymnal edited by Terry L. Haws. This book has a 1974 IMPRIMATUR by Most Rev’d Thomas A Connolly, Archbishop of Seattle.
The Vatican II Hymnal (Seattle, 1974) has absolutely nothing to do with the Vatican II Hymnal (Texas, 2011).
To avoid confusion, I will always refer to the 1974 book as the “Haws Hymnal.” Simply stated, the Haws Hymnal is one of the worst Catholic hymn books ever printed. It is so monstrous, I can’t resist sharing some excerpts.
The Haws Hymnal appears to be nothing more than xerox copies of other hymnals. Sometimes, I recognize the source—for example, page 287 was stolen from a 1940 Protestant hymnal:
I don’t know any other hymnal that xerox copies directly from other hymnals; do you?
The text underlay throughout the book is often grotesque. Consider Number 77, especially “Li-fe” in verse 2:
Co-MING to Jeru-SA-lem. Yikes!
Mr. Haws often vandalized the texts. In the following hymn, he erased the original words, changing “Thee” and “Thy” to “You” and “Your.” If you look carefully at the first line, you’ll see that Your is in a slightly larger font. Pretty sneaky of him, right?
There was no reason to eliminate words like “thy”—Catholics pray those words with understanding every single day in prayers like the Our Father and Hail Mary. (Not even ICEL dared to eliminate the sacral language in those prayers.) Moreover, Mr. Haws destroyed the poet’s rhyme:
Blessèd Jesus, here are we,
Thy belovèd word obeying.
Now these children come to thee
As thou biddest in thy saying.
Did Mr. Haws forget that “we” doesn’t rhyme with “you”—or does he not care? 1
In the following example, Mr. Haws mixes register in a horrible way. He vandalizes the text by changing “thee” to “you”—yet does not alter words liked “piercèd.” Many hymnals published by GIA and OCP have (sadly) adopted this grave flaw.
The tune for “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” is married to a text by a Protestant—a pairing some may find offensive—and notice how Terry L. Haws seems not to care that his bowdlerization overlooked an instance of “thine.”
Because Mr. Haws chose to xerox copy, look at the nasty white space he can’t eliminate:
Speaking of incongruous register, examine the font used for the word “folk” in the following example—is it not ridiculous? By the way, I am trained musician, but I find this notation almost impossible to read:
A 1975 review by Fr. Joseph Roff said:
The printing is far from uniform. There are at least three different size types of music notation and text, from the Sebastian Temple folk songs (so large that they could be read by a near-blind person) to some spirituals (to read with a magnifying lense would be helpful).
You can see he’s absolutely correct:
Whenever I see double sharps or double flats in a congregational hymnal, I get nervous:
I also find notation such as this extremely difficult to sing:
The next example has three horrific errors: (a) the words don’t fall under the notes properly; (b) the accents are added in a strange way; (c) the bottom appears to be a xerox copy from a 1920s hymnal:
In the following example, the alignment is terrible—one cannot tell which syllable goes under which note:
Can you imagine singing an AGNUS DEI with these hideous words?
Regarding the following excerpt, I suspect the correct version would be “I got a robe” and “you got a robe.” I assume Mr. Haws changed it, but if so he should have said: “All of God’s children have a robe.” By the way, the juxtaposition of this piece with Number 160 (“Mother Dear, Oh Pray For Me!”) is bizarre:
The Haws Hymnal contains bizarre psalm settings:
Mr. Haws made sure to include an embarrassing setting of the Lord’s Prayer:
I was forced to sing that as a child, including hand gestures. How different it is from the 1937 setting by Mons. Van Nuffel, given at the top of Miss Phoebe’s article.
Number 158 contains heresy because it says we adore the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Or am I wrong?
In spite of the Imprimatur, is this not heresy? Do Catholics really believe that “what was once the Blood and Body” become bread and wine? Isn’t that reversed?
Sadly, this is not the first heretical hymn to receive approval by a USA bishops. Many GIA hymnals contain words by Marty Haugen which are heretical: “not in some heaven light-years away.”
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 In the St. Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal, the editors have occasionally eliminated language that is extremely archaic, but this choice is only made after extreme deliberation. Moreover, we have talented poets who are able to handle such cases. On the contrary, what Mr. Haws has done is pure bowdlerization.