So this is what it’s like when worlds collide

Generally speaking, I can compartmentalize my dual jobs fairly well. I don’t work on day job stuff at church, and I don’t (usually) work on church stuff at the day job.

But every once in a while, the two worlds have an awkward collision. Case in point: Last Sunday.

I was singing this psalm:

Got to verse 3, which reads as follows:

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.

Alas, that’s grammatically wrong. It should be “The stone that the builders rejected,” because it’s part of a restrictive clause.

You know how sometimes, you have this part of you that’s kind of difficult to turn off? That’s how I am with grammatically wrong sentences. If it’s wrong, I would rather not say it. If it’s in a hymn and wrong, I don’t want to do the hymn.

I was tempted, so tempted, to sing the grammatically correct thing. I wanted to. Would anyone notice? But, heroically, I sang what was written on the page — annoyingly, the right thing to do. Yea, it was the stone which the builders rejected, and the Lord looked down upon it, and He was OK with it.

Now, who do we have to blame for this mess? Might it be Fr. Michael Joncas, who wrote the song?

It’s easy to pick on him, because he’s so prominent in Catholic music and he probably hasn’t updated his photo at the university he teaches at in years.

Conservative Catholics, often assuming anything musical written post-Vatican II is bad (sigh), may jump at the chance at pick on Fr. Joncas, but this one isn’t his doing. Actually, it’s from the psalm for that day. So the blame for this starts with the biblical translators, then goes to whoever else had to approve it, all the way up to the Vatican underling who approved it.

So, in conclusion, dearest bishops/Vatican: do you need an editor? I’m currently employed, mind you. But I know a few folks whom I could dispatch right away to help you out.


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