I’m feeling bad for the nuns today

I am feeling really really bad right… sad even… for the poor oppressed nuns of the LCWR.  They are so “spiritually bruised” by male patriarchy (as Jamie pointed out the other day HERE).

Whenever feel bad, I like to sing a song.  Since this was dear to the sisters when they were young, let’s try this one!

I’m sure many of you will remember… and remember… and remember….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. yatzer says:

    Well, this was no worse than the school Mass I blundered into today. I try to avoid them at this particular parish since they always involve music like the above or something with a lot of syncopation and always bongos and hand-clapping. And hand-holding at the Our Father. I come away feeling like a sourpuss for not appreciating their efforts, which are sincere, I suppose. I still don’t like it and did not even when I was a young thing like the sisters who may remember this tune fondly. It might well be appropriate sometime other than at Mass. (sigh)

  2. LarryW2LJ says:

    I remember this cr……., er, stuff.

    I entered grade school in 1963, before any of the Vatican II reforms took place. I was fortunate enough to be taught by the good Bernardine sisters, and cut my teeth on the Baltimore Catechism. When I began studying to become an altar boy, we still had to learn the Latin responses.

    I guess it was around 5th grade when things atarted changing. The good Bernardine sisters went from the traditional habit to the more modern version, with the veil and all, but minus the starched white pieces (please excuse my lack of proper terminology). But while they changed their dress, not much else changed. Discipline and education reigned supreme – along with the Baltimore Catechism, still.

    Our formal Religion textbooks changed from classical religious art to that late 60’s early 70’s abstract stuff. “What happened to Jesus?”, I remember all of us asking. It seemed like everything went to “Yahweh, this and Yahweh that, etc, etc, etc …..” The only good thing was that the Sisters weren’t having any of it, either and they stayed with the tried and true.

    I am so glad (now) that while the Good Sisters may have outwardly changed a little, they didn’t change in the ways that mattered. They were definitely not “Nuns on the Bus” and for that, I thank God.

  3. HeatherPA says:

    In the spirit of Ralph Wiggum-
    “Sounds like burning!”

  4. I would have thought this was more appropriate, Father:


    (I have a big box of unopened ear plugs…or antiseptic to clean up after your ears start bleeding…;))

  5. Bryan D. Boyle: Yahhhhh…. you’ve got me there.

    I am so grateful that I was spared this.

  6. elijah408 says:

    My God, help me. I grew up in CCD during the 70’s and 80’s at my Jesuit Parish in California. After hearing this song it brought me back to my early spiritual bruises. Childhood trauma runs deep. HOWEVER, our Blessed Mother has comforted me under her mantle of protection! I am so passed this rubbish of butterfly theology and I have entrusted myself to the “rock” theology of St. Peter.

  7. Phil_NL says:

    I’d never heard this before (I’m Dutch, so small wonder). I could stand no more after 23 seconds.

    Kyrie Eleison.

  8. Father: Unfortunately, I wasn’t spared this. :( Now, can’t get it out of my head.
    Prayers appreciated.

    (FWIW, Repp is in a court fight with Andrew Lloyd Webber claiming that ALW stole one of his tunes for Phantom. Always said that most of this stuff was suitable for Broadway show tunes…)

  9. Frankly, I believe “I feel good” by James Brown would be even better.

  10. wmeyer says:

    Unfortunately, I can hear things similar to this in almost any parish in the diocese.

    Bryan, Repp’s stuff was suitable only for a very poor B’way show. Ummm, such as many from the last 40 years. ;)

    James Brown at least gives evidence of feeling.

  11. Cafea Fruor says:

    I dunno…I think I’m feeling a little more like a Giant Love Ball myself… ;-)

  12. shoofoolatte says:

    Several years ago someone gave me the record album, “America is hard to find”. The recording is of a rock Mass, with poetry by Daniel Berrigan, held in Ithaca NY from February 27-March 2, 1970.


    (I realize that I’m running with a contrary current here, but you have to admit that we live in exciting times :-)

  13. Angie Mcs says:

    I remember this song. It always made me sad, and I never listened past the first few lines. I didnt even know it was recorded by nuns. I looked up the lyrics to this song and it just gets worse, more insipid…it also makes it a little easier to understand how a nun can lose her way. It was indeed a crazy time- I guess nobody was potentially spared.

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    Brian D. Boyle,

    But who can forget the nuns who look like the rest of us playing their guitars and teaching us songs like this? Only the coolest nuns played guitar, afterall. This little ditty should knock the Repp tune out of your noggin.


  15. Moro says:


    Since it’s Friday, would listening to this be a suitable penance done in lieu of abstinence from meat? I must say that was surely penitential to listen too.

  16. Pearl says:

    Thanks everyone! I followed all of your links and just had a happy little trip down memory lane! :-)

    It really is a miracle that I am still Catholic!!

    I guess it must have been my mom consecrating me to Our Lady as a baby, and many, many rosaries! Oh, yeah, and my husband who is a little older than I and can remember saner times and so reeducate me!

    But, seriously, it is kind of shocking to revisit these little gems and realize just how awful things were. As a young child, I really didn’t realize it.

  17. acardnal says:

    “Whenever feel bad, I like to sing a song.”

    Well, I was feeling pretty joyful today. Then I started listening to the various songs posted above and now I feel bad, too. “Feelings” . . . that was a previous post wasn’t it? Maybe I’ll go listen to Engelbert again.

    Let’s not forget this classic that I often heard at goofy folk Masses in the 1960s; and I still have know idea what the word means or its role in Christianity:

  18. NoTambourines says:

    “Joy is like the rain.”

    … What, it’s depressing, ruins plans, and people want it to go away?


  19. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Ray Repp. Bleh. I wish I could say that I was surprised to read that the “Father of Catholic Folk Mass Music” was an active and open homosexual. Helping destroy liturgical music is just another check mark on the list of ways to destroy Catholicism. Nothing like this surprises me after reading the Gay Manifesto.

  20. deliberatejoy says:

    Heh heh. This song in particular actually inspired a scene from the Catholic novel I’m writing, on a young Franciscan postulant heading to a particularly challenging fraternity house…


    “What’s on the list?” Jed wanted to know.

    “Three changes of work clothes, exercise clothes, Sunday suit, toothbrush, shaving kit, hairbrush and comb,” Gryf said. “Basic toiletries, personal photos and papers as fit in a wallet, and no more than twenty dollars at a given time, in cash or gift card value. You’ll get a dispensation for your laptop, though you’ll have to keep it and use it in the common room, and you’ll be expected to bring money to cover the dogs’ expenses while you’re there.”

    “What about books?”

    “Public library’s right down the street,” Brother Pwyll said. “You can get a card.”

    “Everybody who lives there follows that all the time?”

    “Yep.” Gryf nodded. “It’s not as bad as it sounds though. The friary does have a lot of communal amenities, in terms of things such as a music library and donated vids, and…” He glanced over. “What about the guitar, Father Robert?”

    “We won on the guitar,” Robert said. “Though he did say that if you even think on mentioning the possibility that you play it at Mass, he will personally break it over your head. And he’d do it too, so be warned.’

  21. HeatherPA says:

    These songs are sadly familiar to this girl, catechized in the 80’s and early 90’s. That “folk” Our Father! Egads!!

    On the other hand, playing these just now for my kids? The reward of my eleven year old son staring at me incredulously and saying, “Did they really play this crappy stuff at Mass, ever?”
    He honestly thought I was joking
    May my children’s angels shield and guide them from ever suffering through one of these musical mass extravaganzas.

  22. NBW says:

    And I thought “Kumbaya” was terrible! How about this 60’s Classic “Mass” in F minor by the Electric Prunes?


  23. acardnal says:

    NBW, I think we all know what else prunes are good for.

  24. That seems to me to belong (musically speaking) on the same list as “Soft kitty, warm kitty…”

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  25. I personally chuckle to myself about the song we were taught in the 1980’s parochial school we attended for our Friday all student masses that went “on the day of Pentecost fire fell on me. Fire, fire, fire. Fire, fire, fire. Fire fell on me . . . ” At the closing, we were taught to repeat this verse slowly and then quickly build up the speed, with guitar and tamborines in tow, until we reached a crescendo of noise that ended abruptly followed by cheers and whoops of all sorts. Ah, that age of liturgical experimentation and dissidence . . . those wonderful 80’s.

  26. OrthodoxChick says:


    Pretty cheap shot playing the Kumbaya card. I’m sure that’ll creep into my brain before bedtime.


  27. acardnal says:


  28. OrthodoxChick says:

    While we’re on the subject of lousy folk tunes at Mass, is it just the Dioceses in New England, or do all N.O. parishes across the nation still use the same songs for First Communion that we were taught in the horrow show decades? 30 and 40 years later, 7 years olds are still singing “This Little Light of Mine”, and “Jesus Loves Me”. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the Whitney version of Jesus Loves Me (among others) – but not for Mass. A kiddie concert after Mass has ended (rather than during the Mass) would be cute, but surely a few new songs must be in order by now, no?

  29. NBW says:

    @acardnal- pretty funny!

  30. Orthodox chick, those kids who learned those tunes physically grew and somehow found their way into a position as choir director among a parish who likewise grew up with those tunes and now they are the ones hooked on the liturgical NOSTALGIA of the past that they accuse their predecessor Catholics of doing. The tables have turned.

  31. glennbcnu says:

    Ah yes, the music of the “gentle Jesus come and squeeze us” crowd. Lord have mercy indeed!

  32. trespinos says:

    Never heard that particular song, I’m happy to say. But this topic set me maundering back to that year when I actually purchased and listened to Paul Horn’s album “Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts”. List, if you dare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1PL6YbANmA

    In the words of the spiritual, my soul looks back in wonder, how I got over.

  33. Katylamb says:

    I want to laugh but instead I find myself tearing up. It all changed when I was a young teen. I remember especially the revulsion of having to sing the song “Blowing in the wind” only they changed the words to be: “The answer my friend, is living in all men…” Also that thing about “eat his body drink his blood, and we’ll sing a song of love.” It was the nuns even then. The sweet Franciscans who had taught us the catechism. They changed somehow. As if they were only waiting for this all along.
    I left. I thought it didn’t matter. I don’t excuse myself but I was told it had all changed. I was too young to understand it doesn’t change.
    They took away our birthright and handed us a mess of pottage. :(

  34. pj_houston says:

    How about a game of LITURGICAL CHICKEN:

    How long can you listen to this before you can’t take it anymore?


  35. pj_houston says:

    Trespinos, that Jazz Suite was terrible… I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack from a bad TV cop show from the 1970s…

  36. acardnal says:

    pj_houston, do you know the reason you “felt like I was listening to the soundtrack from a bad TV cop show from the 1970s…”? Because the composer and conductor was Lalo Schifrin! He wrote many TV show theme songs back in the 60s and 70s including theme for the Mission Impossible TV show.

  37. majuscule says:

    pj_houston– Liturgical Chicken? I only got to the “Glory to God” part and I was outta there.

    Recently at the church where I was baptized (not my regular parish anymore), although the Gloria was respectfully sung by a professional sounding cantor, they handed out bells for us to ring in the pews closest to the musician. And it was only a normal Sunday Mass, not one where the bells are rung during the Gloria.

  38. Skeinster says:

    This is perfection:

    Especially the segue at the end.

  39. eyeclinic says:

    Darn,darn,darn…I listened to the song against my will…now I’m being inextricably drawn to my basement…and I know what awaits there…and I can’t fight it…dear guardian angel help me… I don’t want to make another felt banner!!!

  40. NBW says:

    @pj_houston- 13 seconds…I couldn’t take it anymore. That song could be used as a very cruel method of torture.

  41. Cafea Fruor says:

    pj_houston: The scary thing is that that Glory to God is a recent composition — it uses the new translation. Haven’t they learned a thing from the last forty years of musical atrocity? Gah!

  42. Justalurkingfool says:

    I am pleased to have a chance to hear “Joy is Like the Rain” again, thank you, and I played electric guitar in Church, to Ray Repp songs, in my youth. They were wonderful then, they are wonderful now.

    I am not amused or impressed with their assault, although the behavior of “progressive” Catholics, who came from that same era, as did I, is appalling.

    I have always wished there was an a Doo Wop Mass, yet the hair on the back of my neck still stands up when I hear ” Holy God We Praise Thy Name” or “Lord Accept the Gifts We Offer” and even “Tantum Ergo”, although they are quite rare these days. A week ago, at mass a song was player with the melody of a piece by the great Catholic composer, Antonin Dvorak. That thrilled me. It was so beautiful.

    Most of what I hear in Church these days are non-infectious melodies, so poor that no words of worship or praise can salvage them and they are abusive to my ears and my tastes. The music of the late sixties and early seventies guitar masses, are much preferable to me, than these dirges I hear, currently. Melody is infinitely more important than the lyrical content of a piece of music, or we should not sing but rather only speak the words! The tunes from my youth are MUCH, MUCH better than I must suffer through these days. I am so blessed to have had the chance to sing songs by Ray Repp, in Church. Much of what I hear today is garbage, melodically, compared to his pieces.

    Yes, the music I sang when I was too young to play in guitar masses, was memorable and reverent. It was great stuff to hear in my youth and brings me great joy whenever I hear one of THOSE GOLDEN OLDIES!

    So, back off the abuse of Ray Repp….please? Those days are gone, but not everything about those days and that music was negative. Those who think otherwise are mistaken. It is sad, for me, that the music and the times are so “associated” with the “progressives” who have helped to gut the Catholic Church. But, they did not do it alone. Many, “so-called” “faithful” Catholics have done their part. We are all sinners.


  43. JuliaSaysPax says:

    Wow… the worst I’ve experienced have been “Mary Did You Know” and “Lord of the Dance”. Not in recent years though- now our worst is Matt Maher (not terrible music or theologically messed up, but more for the youth group ice cream social than for Mass) or, rarely, the organist randomly deciding to move over to the piano and improvise (badly).

  44. friarpark says:

    Never heard Early In The Morning at Mass, only on the Peter Paul and Mary album my parents had. But I heard, and helped lead alas, most of the rest. Lord have mercy on me. Belonged to a Youth Group in the early 70’s. While we did some good by performing for shut ins, and the disadvantaged (not sure of the proper terminology), etc the songs we did at Mass were terrible. Wish I had known better then. After a few years our base became a Lutheran parish, not sure how they viewed us.

  45. friarpark says:

    We were always an “ecumenical” group, but based originally at a Catholic parish.

  46. jflare says:

    Oh dear Lord in heaven! I rather wished to strangle myself after hearing several seconds of that “Joy is Like the Rain”. And that “Our Father” reminded me very much of ol’ Sister B singing “Yes, I believe, I agree it is so….” Ohhhhhhhhh, THE AGONY!

    I will say though, some of that other folk music isn’t too bad for entertainment. I still have a rather warm spot for Kumbaya. That actually sounded fairly good. ..’Course that may be partly because I heard it out at Scout camp too… I rather enjoyed that. We weren’t aiming for Catholic Mass really.

  47. jflare says:

    Come to think of it, I still enjoy a country/gospel song about “May the circle be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by…..” etc. I recall hearing that–and enjoying it–for the first time at All-School Mass during my teens. Again though, that’s precisely the problem: That song is wonderful for entertainment, but not really well used for prayer.

    Mass isn’t intended as a country/gospel/rock concert.

  48. jflare says:

    Your Glory to God link reminded me of a “Gloria” that I heard at Easter Vigil Mass some 6 or 7 years ago. I wanted to crawl out of the nave and cry. I almost wondered if I’d wandered into a hoedown by mistake.

  49. Volanges says:

    In an instant I was transported back to 1970 and the choir at my schoolmates’ parish. At my parish we didn’t sing any of those ‘fun’ songs. We were French after all, we didn’t sing at all – still don’t at that parish. It’s funny because I found myself singing that in the shower the other day.

  50. Volanges says:

    [b]OrthodoxChick[/b], you mean you’ve never been treated to this?

  51. Volanges says:

    Katylamb I believe this is the ditty you’re looking for:

    This, at least, is on we no longer sing in our parish because CBW (the original) was relegated to the trash about a decade ago. But the Praise & Glory booklets are still floating around so we occasionally get treated to “Gentle Woman/Hail Mary” and up until this new translation came out, the Gloria from Carey Landry’s “Young People’s Mass”.

  52. The Masked Chicken says:

    “How about a game of LITURGICAL CHICKEN”

    Shhhh. We’re lucky enough to get Mass said once a week in the Coop. We, the liturgical chickens of the world would like it known that there may have been some, “smoking,” going on in the Church-of-the Latter-Day-Numbskulls, but we never inhaled. It does, however, give new meaning to the phrase, “weed among the wheat.”

    The Chicken

  53. OrthodoxChick says:


    That was awful too! The piano intro reminded me of Schroeder playing during a Peanuts number. As far as sung Gloria’s to awful arrangements, that’s now an N.O. norm, at least in my neck of the woods. I sit through some mangled version of a sung Gloria (new translation) every Sunday that the Gloria is to be said. Sat through one for Ascension Thursday too. Why we can’t just pray it in the normally spoken way, I do not know…

  54. OrthodoxChick says:


    AAAAAAHHHHHHH! I had forgotten about that one. Not only have I been treated to it, I had to perform it too when I was in Catholic grade school.

    You’re like acardnal. You people are getting sadistic about this!

  55. kap says:

    Fr. how did YOU KNOW?! How?! Gosh…my 1st grade teacher a Sister of Mercy-RSM played this for us ALLLLL the time and when she did she loved to have us use our hands like rain falling. Whew….I think it has some kinda subliminal message to it. Yikes! Imagine how freaked out I was when I saw it on this particular post.

  56. Volanges says:

    Reason # 237 why I’m avoiding tomorrow’s First Communion/Mothers’ Day Mass. Sundays are NOT penitential days so I’ll go this evening.

  57. Skeinster says:

    Odd, “inventive” Glorias? Like the one where the ‘Gloria” refrain from “Angels We Have Heard on High” is inserted between the tropes (is that the right word?) for Christmas?
    You know what all this musical innovation reminds me of? Pinterest.

  58. chantgirl says:

    Fr Z, I saw that earlier this morning, and it pretty much made my day. Those composers bring out the crying child in me too!

  59. OrthodoxChick says:


    Don’t even get me started on the practice of holding First Communion on Mother’s Day. It’ll get ugly pretty fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. acardnal says:

    it’s happening at a parish near me!

  61. OrthodoxChick says:


    It’s happening at my own (former, very soon) O.F. parish tomorrow. We’ve found an E.F. parish (Deo Gratias) but it’s still a little too far for now to attend weekly unless/until gas prices drop some more. We’ve been out parish shopping for a normal N.O. Mass during those weeks when we need to stay closer to home.

    It’s a tall order in the Diocese that I live in, but hope springs eternal.

  62. trespinos says:

    Say, would that album cover have been the work of Sister Corita, by any chance?

  63. maryh says:

    I loved that album – Joy is like the Rain – and was sorry when I had to leave it behind because I no longer had a record player. I memorized all the words to all the songs. I didn’t get it at Catholic school and certainly not at Mass, though. My folks brought it home, along with “Get Together”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and “Godspell” (not all at the same time, of course). The songs on that album aren’t Mass songs. Some of the songs are about bible stories, and I used to sing those to my daughter when I was growing up. I still like those songs. As @Yatzer said above, they’re more for other times, not for Mass.

    I recognized those Ray Repp tunes – never remembered the composer’s name. I liked them at the time, but they sound awfully stilted now.

    I remember, just barely, the Mass in Latin and chant. At least, we had Bible verses from the psalms, with the accent mark going up, down or being a flat line for where the chant changed. It was pretty stilted, too, when we sang it. I didn’t know what chant was *supposed* to sound like until the monks popularized it (I don’t remember when). I had no idea growing up (or actually, until the last few years) that the point behind chant (or any music in Mass, for that matter) was to be beautiful.

    I did understand that the church was supposed to be beautiful, though.

  64. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Phil3,

    frankly, I prefer the music to this one:


    (I grant that was not fair.)

  65. suedusek says:

    Wow! Lots of angry, malicious people commenting on this blog. You’re like a pack of wolves! While I really don’t like the song, “Joy is Like the Rain” either, I don’t think I’ll join in your fun. Instead, I’ll leave you with the words of a very wise man (at least, I think he knows something):

    “If you are a sinner and you hurt people with your actions and your words they will see the Catholic Church and that is how they will begin to understand the Catholic Church.”
    “We must never ever fall into the trap of disassociating ourselves from the Catholic Church.”
    “We are the Church in everything that we say and all that we do.”

    Really? We are the Church? Then how can we attack our Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ so gratuitously while thinking that we could ever draw others to the faith? Just wondering what message you all are sending every time you dismiss and disrespect others? I understand how zealous you are for the faith but that doesn’t justify such nastiness. Where is Jesus in all this? Not seeing Him at all. Not really.

  66. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Phil_NL, please forgive me writing your name wrong. I just now saw the mistake.

    Dear @suedusek, if you think that something someone said so here was a sin, then say so and be done with it. No need, in my very humble opinion, to put on the moralizing machine.

    I, for one, did not see any disrespect here, nor nastiness. I see reasonable dismissing of a musical style (where others could reasonably disagree with). I see that some were using God’s great gift of humor to express this. The secret to humor is sympathy (real hatred never breeds a chuckle), and I did see this sympathy around here.

  67. Kathleen10 says:

    suedusek, really. How about a bit of understanding that Catholics have had so many unwanted changes forced on us for years, and here is an opportunity to blow off a little steam and vent a bit. A sense of humor is helpful when times are tough, and these are tough times.
    I always feel a little prickly when someone chastises others about being good Christians. Laughing at musical styles is pretty harmless stuff. Nobody’s mother is being mocked here. I can understand liking Ray Repp, or anything, because what you hear as a child or a young person just stays with you. Anybody here would understand that, I’m very sure. But these dated musical styles are pretty funny! Anyway the hymn that sets my heart soaring is a Protestant hymn, that was played on Davey and Goliath, the claymation series of the 60’s. It is “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, and when I hear it, it touches my heart deeply, because I remember it so, and Davey and Goliath were such wonderful examples of Christian living. I guess it would hurt a bit if someone mocked it by chance, but, again, in this realm it’s very lighthearted fun. Nobody here would ever intend to be hurtful. Life is so serious, and so much is wrong. It would be a Christian kindness to be understanding and let people laugh at things. Don’t be the skunk at the picnic!
    We all need to laugh more, given our human circumstances these days. This blog is full of charitable, kind people who care deeply about their faith. No one could find “better” Catholics than here at this blog. I’m sure of it.

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