Dominick asked:

Is Amazing Grace a Catholic song and should we be singing it in the choir if it is not?

Colin Donovan replied:

"I'm not a fan of it because you have to really squeeze and press to fit it into a Catholic box especially that line you know, regarding the hour I first believed. This is a very Protestant concept of I make my profession of faith in Jesus and in that instant I am saved. Well that's not what Saint Peter said on the day of Pentecost. He said repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. So belief and justification are certainly connected but through the waters of baptism and this is the Church's belief. So can you say well the hour I first believed supernaturally is when I'm baptized and therefore as a Catholic I can sort of think of the song in that way, I suppose so but that's not the underlying premise of the song which was written by a non-Catholic author."

Patrick Coffin replied:

"The same with wretch huh? How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, again Colin you have to kind of take a band saw and fit it into a pre-Christian bed there to make it fit. You could say, well yes deprived of grace I would go to hell and I would be a wretch. The Protestant roots of the song by John Newton is more Lutheran or Calvinist than Catholic. It more conveys depravity."

Colin Donovan replied:

"...normally we think of well that's sort of the attitude that there's nothing redeemable and so...Martin Luther's idea we're covered over with snow and nothing is really changed in us. Hopefully there aren't too many baptized Catholics who are still wretches, but some of us are and who can probably honestly proclaim that part of the song too. ...I don't think it's the best of songs and has no place in the liturgy."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2015)

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Show air date: October 20, 2015

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Colin Donovan

Question appeared in show: 21:48

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