Faith of Our Parents


Normally, I think music directors stop singing most hymns after two verses out of laziness and haste, but let's go along this time, and sing just two verses of Fr. Faber:

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious Word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
And truly blest would be our fate,
If we, like them, should die for thee!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

At my parish we have a very good reason to stop there. The third verse in the Seasonal Missalette runs as follows:
Our mothers, too, oppressed and wronged,
still lived their faith in dignity;
Their brave example gives us strength
To work for justice ceaselessly....
As you probably know, that was not written by Fr. Faber, and it doesn't take a da Vinci to decrypt it as a bunch of feminist code-speak. Just count how many of those 23 words come loaded with whiny left-wing resonances, and you'll get the point.

Ideology was obviously the primary concern in producing that text, because nobody interested in beauty would have written it: just try to wrap your mouth around that word "wronged" and sing it attractively. You can't.

"Welcome to Saint Humbert's Parish. The entrance hymn is number three-hundred-and-one, 'Faith of Our Fathers'. We will sing verses one, two, and four, because verse three is some crock o's--- they put in there to please the feminazis. Please rise and greet our celebrant."


In days of yore - say, the 1980's and 90's, I recall seeing next to the author's name of such-and-such a deformed and rewritten hymn the abbreviation "alt." - presumably for "altered," as in "this hymn text was written by Bob Smith, but we altered it so as not to offend the among us." It seems that "alt." is no longer used in hymn books or missalettes - we're led to believe that solid, orthodox poets like Fr. Faber actually wrote claptrap like the abovementioned bastardized "Faith of Our Biological Ancestors." What gives? Is there no such thing as intellectual honesty any longer?

Fortunately, this missalette publisher has the honesty (or is it effrontery?) to admit that it's bastardizing the hymn, so the "alt." is there, plus some other author's name for v. 3.

RC and Tim, I am so glad that I'm not the only one infuriated by the mutilation of this beautiful old hymn! At daily Mass last week, we sang ONLY verses 1 and 3 (aargh). On 3, I sat out the verse and joined in for the refrain. (Gotta do what little you can do!)

I'm a cantor, and I "accidentally" sing the traditional, instead of the pc, lyrics to the hymns every chance I get. Unfortunately, I get a lot of chances these days.

From GIA's RitualSong:

Faith of our mothers, daring faith,
Your work for Christ is love revealed, Spreading God's word from pole to pole, Making love known and freedom real:
Faith of our mothers, holy faith,
We will be true to you till death.

Faith of our brothers, sisters too;
Who still must bear oppression's might,
Raising on high in prisons dark, The cross of Christ still burning bright:
Faith for today, O living faith,
We will be true to you till death.

Faith born of God, O call us yet;
Blind us with all who follow you,
Sharing the struggle of your cross
Until the world is made anew,
Faith born of God, O living faith,
We will be true to you till death.

Verses 2-4 of "A Living Faith" by Joseph R. Alfred c. 1981.

Now that's just sad.

At my church, where I am music director, I also print the bulletins (and design, plan, etc.). So I accidentally-on-purpose purge all the feminazi language out of the hymns.

My wife likes to say that the neutering of the hymns is an insult to her and to every woman who can think for herself. And she isn't even Catholic!

My fave is still the lines from Hark! the Herald Angels Sing: "Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth," and "pleased as man with men to dwell." Those get left IN.

Wow. The original third verse is much better:

Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
England shall then indeed be free.

"Welcome to Saint Humbert's Parish... Please rise and greet our celebrant."

Who are the nimrods who keep encouraging this? We do NOT rise to greet anyone. We rise to sing and begin the Mass. Greeting the celebrant comes after the sign of the cross when the celebrant greets US.


Oh, while I think of it. I really should ask my mother when the last time was that she felt "oppressed and wronged."

She won't get it. Neither do I.

I have a Methodist hymnal copyright 1938 which my sister sent me. The writer is listed as Frederick W. Faber. The first two verses are the same as the ones printed here and the third verse:
Faith of our fathers! we will love
both friend and foe in all our
And preach thee too as love knows
how, by kindly words and virtuous
Faith of our fathers holy faith
We will be true to thee to death.

Some of you will probably have heard the old joke about the time Mass was introduced with the words: "Please rise to greet our celebrant, Fr. Jones, with 'Hail, Holy Queen'."

That was a joke, folks -- but life imitates art, and a few years ago I actually heard a commentator introduce Mass that way!

From the "Trash the Hymn" collection:

FAITH OF OUR RELATIVES (Faith of Our Fathers)
Jay Ricketts - Originally posted October 2, 1998, dedicated to the promotion of "inclusive language"

Faith of our uncles, aunties too, each
Christmas and Easter they come find a pew
She lost her rosary under the bed
He's got his bible out in the shed (leveling the legs on his workbench)
Faith of our relatives, lukewarm faith
We might just improve this song to death

Faith of our cousins and cousinettes
They haven't seen a Sunday mass yet
Weddings and funerals, a baptism or two
But Sundays they golf, or stay home and get stewed
Faith of our relatives, lightweight faith
We might just improve this song to death

Faith of our in-laws, why, only last June
They headed for Sunday mass, at noon
Their first mass in years, but then on a hunch
Drove past the church so they wouldn't miss brunch
Faith of our relatives, marginal faith
We just improved this song to death

It's interesting to note that when Faber wrote the hymn he included an alternative third verse for irish Catholics who could sing:

Faith of Our Fathers, Mary's prayers
Will keep our country true to thee.
And through the truth that comes from God
Ireland shall then indeed be free

Seems like for us Amurruhkens, "Our Land" might work in place of "Ireland" without damaging Faber's intention too much.

A friend, on reading AAE's version, added another verse:

Faith of the Protestant, Orthodox too,
And the assim-i-la-ted Jew,
Just like the Catholics --- it's so odd ---
Without much thought of Faith and God.
Don't bother coming back this Pasch (a)
Your church, alas, is now a mosque.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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unless you state otherwise.


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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on October 11, 2004 11:41 PM.

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