Seen But Not Here

Laurence Rosania’s “The Supper of the Lord” has tripped up a few Catholics since its first appearance twenty years ago. For a line that begins with such a Catholic thought, how could it go so wrong so fast?

Precious body, precious blood, here in bread and wine.

I first encountered a few fussy Catholics on this a year or two after the song was introduced into my parish’s repertoire. Honestly, I didn’t think the charges of n-substantiation could be taken seriously. But what do I know? The complaints have very long and sturdy legs in online Catholic forums.

Anyway, when I was on retreat, I noticed in OCP’s Breaking Bread that the lyric has been adjusted:

Precious body, precious blood, seen as bread and wine.

Fits better than:

Precious body, precious blood, here in the (theologically approved) appearance of bread and wine.

I am curious about the great care taken with words, contrasted with the less-than-good care taken with accusations like this:

Ancient heretics like Arius set their heretical ideas to catchy tunes that became part of the popular music of the day, and gained many converts through repetition.

A few Eucharistic Prayers would not pass muster on the scale this song has received. It seems there is somewhat more reverence for words, and far less at times for persons. Does a proper theological language assist believers in treating one another with more respect? Or does it promote more Galatian-style Suarezing?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Seen But Not Here

  1. Jen says:

    And people wonder why I (a composer) prefer silence or no music at Mass…

  2. I agree that the “seen as” is better than “here as.” However, I find it odd what gets a pass and what does not. In the EF nuptial Mass, the priest says, “I join you in holy matrimony.” This is in direct violation of Catholic teaching about who confers the sacrament of matrimony, and yet I have never heard a single person point out that the Latin Mass has incorrect ideas. Perhaps because it’s old.

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