Today we celebrated the Feast of All Saints in my parish. Obviously, this is because – at the danger of becoming repetitious – the feast is now moved to the Sunday when it falls Saturday or Monday. Anyway, it was all right; there is no way around it and one must simply accept. However, we sang the hymn For All the Saints. Quite famous and which I like a lot. But, in the second verse I suddenly realised I was singing different words from everyone else (I was serving and thus had no hymnbook). What could have occurred? Had I suddenly lost my marbles and started singing Rule Britannia? Alas, no. Worse than that, I was singing the right words. It was, well, everyone else, who had the words wrong. But, how could this happen, when they all had hymnbooks and I did not? After Mass, when I was able to turn my mind to such matters, I discovered that in fact someone called Michael Forster (b. 1946) had taken it upon himself to “adapt” the hymn. These adaptations include the striking of any examples of the words even mildly associated with battle, including “fortress”, “captain”, “fought” and “fight”, “soldiers”, “victor”, “fierce”, “warfare”, “triumph”, “warriors”, “brave” and “strong”.
So I ask: is there a new situation? Is Christ no longer triumphant? Is the Church militant no longer his army upon Earth? And is the Church Triumphant, well, no longer Triumphant? I know these words are not used in the Catechism (whereas they are in the Catechism of the Council of Trent does). Is this omission deliberately intended to indicate a change in teaching? I ask this in light also of Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s recent post detailing the changes in the theology of the feast of Christ the King between the 1962 Roman Missal and the modern one. I may say I have some sympathy with one of the commenters on that blog, who asks: Why did this have to happen?