In a strange and well … strange email to Jeff Miller (the Curt Jester), Marty Haugen has voiced his displeasure over the criticism he has received.
Primarily, Haugen is writing in his defense after oft being accused of single-handedly destroying Catholic music. An unfair charge since he most certainly had help. I liken Haugen to a weapons manufacturer who doesn’t care into whose hands his weapons fall. While not directly responsible for the destruction, he certainly had a hand in it.
Anyway, Haugen caught his fair share of criticism some months ago when he wrote:
First of all, although I am not Roman Catholic, I have a deep love and respect for and faith in the worship tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. My own hesitancy about joining the Church is not about its eucharistic theology, but rather around the unwillingness of the Church to commission, ordain and welcome all humans as Jesus did–male and female, married and unmarried, saints and sinners. I believe that the Church, God’s people and all of creation have suffered from this omission.
I do not think of my own music as central or important to Roman Catholic worship, present or future.
So he believes in the Eucharistic theology but women, married, or gay priests are a deal breaker for him. Apparently, he is as fatuous as his music.
In his letter to Jeff Miller, Haugen complains about the treatment he has received and he includes this odd accusation:
I pray for us all, (especially) for those who think my prayers might not be heard as well as theirs. Don’t we all want God’s Reign to come? My music is not at the heart of what we seek and do as Christians. What we sing is not as important as how we live.
Now I am not sure what he means by this, but if his prayers (as indicated by his earlier writing), are for gay married womynpriests, then yes. Your prayers will not as well heard as others.
So if you have been tempted to think that Marty bears an unfair burden for the damage done over the past decades, just remember what he has said here.
Haugen Locuta Est – Causa Finita Est. Haugen has spoken, the case is closed.
May 13, 2008 at 1:49 pm
If we promise to ordain women priests, will he promise to write better music?
May 13, 2008 at 2:40 pm
Matthew – maybe he’s already given his best.
Remember the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, where one of the games that’s played is the contestants have a conversation using only song titles? I wonder if that can be done using only Marty Haugen titles….
“So Good To Be Here!”
May 13, 2008 at 4:20 pm
we will remember your ridiculous quotes here. “We remember!” Why don’t you take your songs far away sing your “songs over the water.”
May 13, 2008 at 7:04 pm
Several decades ago, when Haugen was first devising his demonic ditties, I lived in a Chicago studio apartment about another tenant who played the current hit, “Feelings” constantly. Eventually, however, the sheer torture of having to listen to this treacle finally ended–I learned to block it out and eventually move away. That’s what’s happening to the Haugen–Haas-Joncas-Duffner, et al, ditties that have plagued Catholic churches under the auspices of tone deaf pastors and sadistic music directors. People stand there now with closed lips or if it’s the recessional hymn, genuflect and make for the exits.
We’ve been gathered in enough to no longer sing a new church–and Haugen-Haas-Joncas-Duffner, et al–are not welcome. Sorry, folks, but who would have ever thought that my kids also don’t know or care who Barry Manilow was or wrote.
May 13, 2008 at 7:57 pm
I didn’t know until now that he wasn’t even Catholic.
Does anyone know to which ecclesiastical community he belongs?
May 13, 2008 at 8:21 pm
Yes, I too didn’t know he wasn’t Catholic until recently…I just thought he was one of those 70’s guys with a bit of confusion as to what Church music was supposed to be.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I am going to “sing a new Church” (I mean Gregorian Propers, Chanting, inscense, ad orientem) or would it be better to say “chant a new Church?”
May 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm
Is it OK to be THANKFUL he’s not a Catholic? It certainly explains the questionable theology in his songs….
Now, about those Jesuits of St. Louis…
BTW- While we’re complaining about music, can someone please explain the point of “We are a Pilgrim people?”
Why take a perfectly good hymn, mess with the tempo and add a treacly refrain????? Why did someone get PAID for this? What was wrong with “Come Holy Ghost” as written?
(Though it IS amusing to watch people sing this ditty — most people ignore the refrain and chime in for the “Come Holy Ghost” bits since everyone has that memorized anyway!)
So….. on a related note…. Is David Haas Catholic?
May 13, 2008 at 9:49 pm
David Hasselhoff is not Catholic but I’m not sure that helps.
May 14, 2008 at 4:37 am
I do not in any way, shape, or form, blame Mr. Haugen for the fact that his “music” is so popular in Catholic churches. Would Pope St. Pius X have listened to that offensive tripe for even a millisecond, let alone tolerate it anywhere near a Catholic church, let alone encourage it? NO!! He would not. And neither should any bishop, priest, or any decent Catholic layperson. In his favor, he states ” I do not think or my own music as central or important to Roman Catholic worship, present or future. Boy, has he got that right. I would, however, hold Mr. Haugen responsible for his personal beliefs, but given the fact that most Catholics that he knows probably hold the same views, I would condemn him less than the baptised Catholics who undoubtedly imbued him with these erroneous beliefs. Finally, in my opinion, his real crime is against taste, beauty and art. Yes, he commits sacrilege, but he doesn’t know it: he’s not Catholic. His crime is mitigated by the fact that he’s obviously not an artist, so he’s not capable of knowing how bad his stuff is. It’s our fault for putting up with it. Kit.
May 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm
I believe Mr. Haugen is a Lutheran; somewhat ironically, until quite recently many Lutherans have ignored his music in favor of their own substantial musical traditions. My Lutheran husband, however, informs me that is changing and that more “contamporary” hymns are being used in their services (he’s not pleased).
May 15, 2008 at 12:30 am
I’m pretty sure Haugen has left the Lutheran communion, and joined the more liberal United Church of Christ, where he joins the ex- Baptist Bill Moyers, and a certain Senator Obama.
April 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is hosting a workshop for its diocesian priests and deacons in prepartion for the corrected translations of the Roman Missal. You wouldn't think that Marty Haugen, the Protestant composer of so much of the liturgical music that's come to symbolize "what went wrong" after the Council, would be an ideal expert for a workshop on the translation of the revised missal. You wouldn't, but you'd be wrong. The workshop is sponsored by the Worship office for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and notice of it appears in both the diocesan Clergy Communications newsletter and on Haugen's website. At first I thought it was a joke, but unfortunately it is indeed real. Read all about it here:
How can an archdiocese place a heterodox Protestant to run a workshop in implementing the new translation of the revised missal?