Is it time to retire “All Are Welcome?”

Let me make this case apart from the musical aspects. This isn’t my favorite hymn (I avoid it at my main parish but get stuck with it sometimes at others), and I like many things by Marty Haugen. There are more than a few people who simply loathe the hymn and want it gone for that reason. Fair enough. I want to make a different case that the answer is yes.

In and of itself, the hymn is something the Church should strive for and has nothing in particular that’s actually against Church teaching. But it certainly doesn’t contain the whole of Christian teaching.

But since it gives a truth that out of context can be twisted, it gives dissenting groups an opening. “Oh, yeah! So we’re actually welcoming, suckers!” they may say. And so they are doing their best to use the song as a semi-political shot at the Church, we are better off without it. Por ejemplo, this congratulations-you’re-excommunicated women’s “ordination” ceremony:

Now, church music can be hijacked for other reasons. You will never hear this Bach toccata and fugue at Mass , because the connotations give us Halloween thoughts, not sacred ones:

Back to our subject. It’s a popular hymn amid many non-dissenting Catholics as well. Perhaps, we could reclaim it from the dissenters. It’d be tough. Marty Haugen isn’t Catholic, and neither is the hymn particularly so. And really, is it worth the time and effort to do a reclamation project on it? Nah. Better to let it go and focus on other hymns.

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