Those popes who bear the name, "Pius," are the greatest guardians of the Church against heresy. This blog is a watchdog for modernism in the Church. In reality, outside this blog, the members of the board temper their criticisms and opinions with prudence and charity so as to help souls in their journey towards Christ. But sometimes, for the sake of their own sanity, the authors of this blog just need to blow off some steam. The result is Totus Pius.

08 June 2006

Popular Christian Song Heretical

At a recent event, we listened to the song, "Open the Eyes of my Heart." We will refrain from commenting on the musical composition of this song since its putridness should be apparent to anyone who knows about music. However, it dawned on us that the lyrics to this song can be seen as heretical. Let us look at them:

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see you
I want to see you

For the sake of making our point, let's look at the lyrics of a Eucharistic hymn written by the Doctor:

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.


The most important lines to keep in mind in St. Thomas's song are the first and the last: "Down in adoration falling, Lo! the sacred host we hail," and "Faith for all defects supplying, where the feeble senses fail." Firstly, we recognize from the outset in singing Thomas's hymn that we are confronted with God in the sacred Eucharist. Secondly, we recognize from this hymn that our senses cannot perceive God in the host and that we must rely on faith: a rational assent to something heard from an external source.
Now, granted that "Open the Eyes of my Heart" is not a Eucharistic hymn. However, we heard it played as a Eucharistic hymn. We intend to show that used in the context of a Eucharistic hymn the song is heretical. Used outside of a Eucharistic context, it is still heretical because it falls into vital immanence, that doctrine which we expounded so brilliantly in Pascendi Domini Gregis.
As a Eucharistic hymn, "Open the Eyes of my Heart" simply denies the Eucharist. When singing the Tantum Ergo, we immediately recognize Christ in the host. In the other song, we first petition God so that we might see Him. Well, if He is present in the Eucharist, then why do we need to ask to see Him? We state "I want to see you," but He is right in front of us as the sacred host. It is an abomination to use this as a Eucharistic hymn.
Once again, we grant that this is not normally a Eucharistic hymn, so let us take it as only a hymn. We first petition God to open our eyes so that we may see Him. Not out normal eyes, however. We ask that He open the eyes of our hearts. We interpret this as a denial of Thomist realism that a true and external reality exists independent of us and that sense perception is a means for obtaining Truth. Instead, this song proposes that we will be able to see God through our heart. Thus, it seems to be petitioning God for a personal, emotional experience. Indeed, it goes even further than that. It implies that the only way we can see God is through a personal, emotional experience since it presumes at the outset of the song that we cannot see God and that he needs to open the eyes of our hearts in order for us to see Him. Final analysis: vital immanence. No Catholic should partake in singing this heretical hymn that is an assault on the Almighty.

17 comments:

Papa Beatus Pius IX said...

We agree with your conclusions.

We agree with your argument concerning the trash's use as a Eucharistic hymn...

However, we would like to suggest a difference between heart and emotions. Granted, many times heart is taken to mean emotions, but strictly speaking the heart is the will and the emotions are really the passions. This is why we can say that God is love without meaning that there are passions in God (Obj 1 and Reply Obj 1 here

So I would like to offer a different perspective of the argument. It seems that the heart, or will when the Love proper to it is pure, only moves and does not know. When the singer asks God to open the eyes of his heart, he is asking God to allow his heart/will to see (or come to know), which is a function not proper to it. Although the song-writer's goal is to ask God for the gift of faith that his INTELLECT may "see" (or come to know) His face, "Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui" says it much better...

Final analysis, not only vital immanence but also terrible TERRIBLE philosophy.

Papa Beatus Pius IX said...

So *we* would like

sigh we stink at the papal we

Raindear said...

Might not the song speaketh of a connatural knowledge? (;

Papa Sanctus Pius X said...

We understand your argument, but they are not using heart in the classical sense.

Raindear said...

Well said...

Papa Beatus Pius IX said...

Even so, there's more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case, burn a heretic.

Anonymous said...

First off, I think you may be reading into the song a bit much, or overanalyzing these simplistic words. If I had to make a guess, I would imagine that the writer of this song did not put as much philosophical thought into the song as you have.
That being said, correct me if I'm wrong (seriously, please do; I make mistakes constantly) but it seems like there is some self-contradiction in your analysis:
"we recognize from this hymn that our senses cannot perceive God in the host and that we must rely on faith"
BUT In the paragraph starting "As a Eucharistic hymn, "Open the Eyes of my Heart" simply denies", the song is attacked for not perceiving (seeing) Christ in the Eucharist. Thus, it is admitted that Christ cannot be perceived by the senses, but then the song is asked to do so . . .
(Am I reading this correctly?)

Secondly this:
"It implies that the only way we can see God is through a personal, emotional experience since it presumes at the outset of the song that we cannot see God and that he needs to open the eyes of our hearts in order for us to see Him."
seems to be a set of assumptions that are founded on emotion rather than on the words from the song.
The song never implies that this is the ONLY way to see God, but rather expresses a desire to see him through an emotional experience (whehter this experience is good, bad, heretical, whatever, is debatable. As well, considering that "believers" (whatever that means) will be singing this song, I would assume that most of them would have some "perception" of God, and thus the song does not necessarily assume that we cannot "see," "perceive," etc. God currently, but rather that we want to see Him differently or better, encounter Him more truly . . . whatever

Just some thoughts for discussion

Papa Sanctus Pius X said...

Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading Totus Pius. I agree with you that the people who wrote this song probably did not think about it as philosophically as we did...that's why they shouldn't be writing music. Also, the point is ultimately inconsequental because it does not matter what intent is, only how what the song states conforms to truth and whether or not it can mislead somebody.
You are correct in asserting that the Tantum Ergo denies that the Eucharist cannot be perceived. The point that we are trying to make is that the Tantum Ergo recognizes that we see through faith: a rational assent to something externally heard, while the other song implies that we see Him through emotional experience.
Finally, I do have a problem with the song emphasizing a personal, emotional experience. The emphasis on this type of emotional worship is a lesion on the Church. It is horizontal, it places emotion on an even playing field with reason (although reason is what likens us to God), places demands on God, and is antithetical to authentic Christian prayer. Good, Christian music elevates the mind to the contemplation of God. Music that makes the listener feel good is useless.

Papa Sanctus Pius X said...

Additionally...In essence, the point we are making is that music that stirs the emotions over reason is too personal to recognize an objective God external to us. This is not to say that prayer is not emotional or passionate, just that it must be firmly grounded in a reason that this song is antithetical to (not just by lyrics but by musical composition). The masters of prayer who were very passionate and emotional would never listen to this tripe.

Papa Beatus Pius IX said...

"the people who wrote this song probably did not think about it as philosophically as we did...that's why they shouldn't be writing music."

We agree. Thanks for reading and understanding Plato's Republic, Number 10.

Anonymous said...

Pwned

Ma Beck said...

Quick question:
Is this really a popular Christian song?
I've never had the pleasure of hearing it.
Deo.
Gratias.

Papa Sanctus Pius X said...

It is a popular Protestant song that is becoming popular amongst young Catholics.

Banshee said...

Holy Fathers, you have not commented on the scriptural references in the song: Ephesians 1:18 refers to "The eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what the hope is of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." Nothing wrong with that. Clearly the application is the problem.

Certainly it is possible to combine Biblical verses, or recast them in lyric form, in a misleading way. But you should at least mention the quotes issue, for those of us who do not have as much scriptural knowledge as yourselves and do not find the quotes as obvious.

Papa Beatus Pius IX said...

Answer

Papa Sanctus Pius X said...

Banshee...thanks for mentioning the reference. That does recast the argument. I do think it amplifies our analysis that the song is heretic since it takes a part of teaching and tries to tweak it into something else.

mc said...

Oh hey I heard that song at the Eucharistic procession at Notre Dame. Yeah no one in our family liked it. We kind of cringed when they kept singing. The worse part is....it got stuck in my head afterwards!