Doctrine On Led By The Spirit

The US Bishops’ Doctrine Committee has their document on hymn texts up on the USCCB web site. I’m still not a fan on the work. I think the concerns listed–Eucharist, Trinity, Church–are serious and difficult theological topics. I’ve heard preachers transgress these points more than song lyrics. And bishops don’t come off too well in their criticism which I find forced, and unwilling to engage the musical repertoire that predates the Second Vatican Council.

Bob Hurd’s text “Led By The Spirit” has struck me as an effort to take a good tune often used during Lent (“I Heard The Voice Of Jesus”) and widen its application to  the start of Lent. Here’s the criticism:

It is a tradition of hymns to end with a doxology of some kind. Frugal Catholics might never get to Professor Hurd’s last stanza–limit two, remember? “Source of life” is indeed applicable to all Three Persons. “Father” covers two, as we noted by a phrase in the Veni Sancte Spiritus.

I think the context of the last verse of a hymn makes the doxology clear. Father, Son, and Spirit are presented in traditional order. The statement of “God the Trinity” sets the stage for the relationship of the seemingly unrelated words: source, word, spirit.

I think the document, despite its flaws, is worth engaging. Lyrics in liturgy are important and they should be the very best we can offer. I don’t think a committee of doctrine experts are sufficient to make the very best judgment.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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