Ev’ry Knee Shall Lock
Lest traditional hymns be construed as promoting disobedience to the norm of standing to receive Communion, some alterations are suggested.
New Oxford Review, September 2003
By Lucy E. Carroll
Lucy E. Carroll is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and is the organist/music director at the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has said that “The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing.” While no one who kneels is supposed to be denied Communion, and while the Holy See says it’s “completely appropriate” to kneel, the bishops say that those who kneel should be given “proper catechesis” by the priest on why they should stand. In other words, those who kneel should be browbeaten and made to feel disobedient. (Also, while the norm for the U.S. Church is to kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer, certain bishops allow or encourage standing.)
For those parishes that have already de-sacralized the Eucharist through bland architecture, tacky art, improper vestments, p.c.-altered texts, bubble-gum style music, and hymn texts bordering on the heretical, this further erosion of respect for the Blessed Sacrament will simply be taken in stride.
However, there are those few parishes where traditional hymns are still sung. Lest these hymns be construed as promoting disobedience to the USCCB’s norm of standing to receive Communion, the following alterations will no doubt soon be made (many hymns have already been “inclusivized,” so get ready):
ORIGINAL: …Cherubim and Seraphim, falling down before thee
CORRECTED: …Cherubim and Seraphim, standing up before thee
(“Holy, Holy, Holy.” Text: Reginald Heber 1783-1826)
ORIGINAL: At the name of Jesus Ev’ry knee shall bow
CORRECTED: At the name of Jesus Ev’ry knee shall lock
(“At the Name of Jesus.” Text: Caroline Noel 1817-1877)
ORIGINAL: Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices
CORRECETED: Stand on your feet! O hear the angel voices
(“O Holy Night.” Adolph Adam 1803-1856)
ORIGINAL: …Sun and moon bow down before him….
CORRECTED: …Sun and moon jump up before him….
(“Praise My Soul the King of Heaven.” Text: Henry Lyte 1793-1847)
ORIGINAL: And adoring bend the knee while we own the mystery.
CORRECTED: And adoring stretch the knee while we own the mystery.
(“Holy God.” From Te Deum, Trans. Clarence Walworth 1820-1900)
ORIGINAL: Kings shall bow down before him and gold and incense bring
CORRECTED: Folks shall stand up before him and gold and incense bring
(“Hail to the Lord’s Anointed.” Text: James Montgomery 1771-1854)
ORIGINAL: Down in adoration falling, lo the sacred Host we hail
CORRECTED: Up in adoration jumping, lo the sacred Host we hail
(“Tantum ergo.” Thomas Aquinas 1225-1274. Trans. Edward Caswall 1814-1878)
ORIGINAL: There to bend the knee before Him whom heav’n and earth adore
CORRECTED: There to stand up tall before Him whom heav’n and earth adore
(“As With Gladness, Men of Old.” Text: Wm. Chatteron Dix 1837-1898)
ORIGINAL: At thy great name exalted now, all knees must bend, all hearts must bow
CORRECTED: At thy great name exalted now, all folks jump up, all in a row
(“Conditor alme siderum.” Ninth century Latin. Trans. John Mason Neale 1818-1866)
ORIGINAL: Come adore on bended knee Christ the Lord the newborn King.
CORRECTED: Come adore while standing tall, Christ the newborn Person-in-Charge.
(“Angels We Have Heard on High.” Trans. from French: James Cheswick 1813-1882)
ORIGINAL: Remember then, O savior, I supplicate thee/ That here I bowed before thee upon my bended knee.
CORRECTED: Remember then, O savior, I supplicate thee/ That here I stood before thee straight as any tree.
(“O Jesus Christ Remember.” Text: Edward Casawell 1814-1878; Note: “thee” has to go also, but that’s yet another story.)
There are others, but this should suffice for a start. Of course, these hymns are probably banned anyway, as they are (1) traditional, (2) of good musical value, (3) singable by a congregation, (4) not suited to strumming guitars, (5) based on orthodox Catholic theology, and, perhaps worst of all, (6) written before 1960.