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6 tháng 12, 2020

Fr. Francis, requesting clarification about inclusion of David Haas songs in the new English Missal Songbook

Dear Brother,
I would like you to clarify the reason why David Haas' "Jesus, Come to Us"is still available in   the English Missal Songbook 2021-2023, hymn #34, though he has been censored by many  of the archdioceses in the US Catholic Church (OCP and GIA publications included) for his misconduct as reported at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/10/us/david-haas-catholic-composer-boycott.html.
Thank you and God bless.


Dear Fr. Francis,
Thank you for your question about the inclusion of the songs by David Haas in the English Missal Songbook 2021-2023.  Yes, his songs have been censured, yet this announcement was released at the end of the summer, which was too late to be remove his songs because of the extensive book production process.
The process of selecting titles, securing permissions, and the layout is an complicated process.  Tam Bui and I completed the song selection in early May.  Even as the layout was being done, permissions were being sought by Taize, USCCB, ICEL, etc, for usage of their copyright material from May to June.  The first draft of part one of the songbook was completed on May 21, 2020.  The Psalm section was the most complicated, due to various permissions and a number of new titles. That was done on May 29th.  Then there was the full layout, and global editing of the entire book, in the following weeks.  
By the time the news about David Haas was out, it was too late to remove his songs.  This would call for a complete reedit of the title list, replacing his songs, and a new layout of the pages of the book.  The songbook would not be ready to send to Hanoi (for printing permission, which takes about one month) and then for printing and inventory stocking (which can take up to one month.). So, after conferring with Tam and Thien, we chose to take the same route at OCP in the USA.  The songs will remain in the 2021 products to ensure that the customers receive the resource by November, in preparation for Advent.  Future products will not contain his songs.  (His songs have already been removed from the OCPVietnam YouTube Channel.)
For your reference, this is the statement from OCP to United States customers, released in late June, 2020:
OCP’s official statement:
We recently received notice of sexual misconduct allegations against composer David Haas. We are profoundly disturbed by this news, and pray for all those involved. OCP has not published new music by Mr. Haas or sponsored him at events for decades, but in light of these allegations, we are immediately suspending all ties with him. While OCP’s 2021 missals have already gone to print, we will determine the content of future publications in light of this situation. We take these allegations very seriously, and we stand with survivors and victims of abuse. We remain committed to prayer, reconciliation, human dignity, peace, and justice. 
So, I ask that you do not use songs by David Haas in your liturgies.  The future English Missal Songbook 2023-2025 will not contain any of his titles.
Wishing you and the Holy Spirit Choir a blest Advent and Christmas!


Dear Fr. Francis,
The situation with David Haas is not only sad, shocking, and discouraging; the response is complex.  Some dioceses in the United States have put out statements requesting that the music of David Haas no longer be used.  Some dioceses have not, and have left that decision to the discretion of the local music directors.  Some music directors have taken the position to separate the compositions of the composer, from the activities of the person. 
In regards to a statement that would go to the members of the Holy Spirit Choir and to some other choirs that might use English Missal Songbook 2021-2023, there is this official statement from OCP, which came out in June.
We recently received notice of sexual misconduct allegations against composer David Haas. We are profoundly disturbed by this news, and pray for all those involved. OCP has not published new music by Mr. Haas or sponsored him at events for decades, but in light of these allegations, we are immediately suspending all ties with him. While OCP’s 2021 missals have already gone to print, we will determine the content of future publications in light of this situation. We take these allegations very seriously, and we stand with survivors and victims of abuse. We remain committed to prayer, reconciliation, human dignity, peace, and justice. 
Would that be sufficient?   I can send this to the other choir directors in Vietnam and Phnom Penh, who use the songbook, with the explanation that I have given to you below.
Dear Brother,
Thank you for your reply and explanation regarding the presence of hymn #34 by censured and censored composer David Haas in the OCP's 2021-2023 English Missal Songbook. However, I do not think what you and OCP have done is good enough and satisfactory considering the fact that not all readers (in this case church choirs) are aware of the sad incident.  So, I suggest that some form of erratum and sincere apology be sent immediately to all those concerned.     
My prayer would be joined with yours in these times of crisis, confusion and evil.
Hello Fr. Francis,
To keep track of the conversation, I am inserting your latest email here:
Re: thank you&complaint
Dear Brother,
As we read Mt 7:16, "by their fruits you will know them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Just so, every good tree bears  good fruit and a rotten tree bears bad fruit", I wonder how we  can"separate the compositions of the composer from the activities of the person".   
God bless.
Fr. Francis


Catholic Churches Drop Hymns After Accusations Against Composer

David Haas, a composer known for “Blest Are They,” “We Are Called,” “You Are Mine” and other favorites, has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment by multiple women, an advocacy group says.

David Haas performing at his “I Will Bring You Home” concert in Dayton, Ohio in March of 2019.Credit... Aimee Judy

By Marie Fazio
Aug. 10, 2020

Several Roman Catholic archdioceses have banned a well-known liturgical composer from performing in their churches and many others have stopped playing his music after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct and harassment over more than 40 years.
The allegations against the composer, David Haas, 63, include harassment and cyberstalking, lewd propositions, forced kissing and groping, and other unwanted sexual behavior, according to accusations from 38 women compiled by Into Account, a survivor advocacy group. The New York Times interviewed six of the women.
Many of the women were musicians or aspiring liturgical composers who considered Mr. Haas a mentor and said they feared professional retaliation if they spoke out earlier. One described him as a “rock star in the Catholic liturgical realm” who created his own rules.
After multiple women approached Into Account with allegations, the organization emailed a letter to church leaders, publishers and some of his liturgical peers in May, said Stephanie Krehbiel, the group’s executive director, who added that women continued to come forward.
No criminal or civil complaints have been filed, but around a third of the 32 American archdioceses say they have stopped playing Mr. Haas’s music, after being alerted to the allegations in June by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, where he lives. Some were still issuing guidance to local parishes as recently as last week.
The composer has declined repeated interview requests from The Times through his lawyer. After first telling Catholic news outlets that the accusations were “false, reckless and offensive,” Mr. Haas posted an apology on his website in July. “In offering this sincere apology, I realize many may assume that all allegations made against me are true,” he wrote. “I take this risk without hesitation, because I truly want to apologize for the harmful things I have actually done.”

David Haas and Susan Bruhl in 1984 at her high school graduation Baccalaureate mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Paul Park, Minn.Credit...via Susan Bruhl

The accusations have upended the close-knit world of Christian liturgical music. Mr. Haas is known for contemporary compositions, including “Blest Are They,” “We Are Called” and “You Are Mine,” featured in popular hymnals across denominations.
“There’s practically not a hymnal in existence that doesn’t include Haas songs and Mass settings,” said Peter Kwasniewski, a Catholic theologian and sacred music composer. “It’s no exaggeration to say that he helped shape the post-Vatican II musical landscape in the U.S.A.”
Since the allegations, prominent liturgical publishers OCP and GIA Publications have cut ties with him. His music has also been pulled from the latest edition of “Voices Together,” a Mennonite hymnal.
One accuser, Susan Bruhl, 54, told The Times that she first met Mr. Haas, then in his mid-20s, when he was music director for her parish, St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park, Minn.
“David has this uncanny knack of finding girls who don’t have fathers at home, who may have come from an abusive background or were neglected,” she said.
Mr. Haas spent a lot of time at her home while she was in high school, she said, and shortly after her graduation in 1984, he asked her out to lunch for a belated 18th birthday celebration. He took her to a Mexican restaurant next to a Red Roof Inn and ordered her several large margaritas.
After the meal he pulled her in for a hug and said, “I’ve got a room for us, let’s continue the party, you’re a woman now and this will bring us closer together,” Ms. Bruhl recalled. She turned him down.
At the time, she confided in a cousin, who confirmed to The Times being told about it.
“I certainly thought I was the only one, so I buried it in shame and self-loathing and doubt of my perception,” she said. “I saw him as a big brother.”
Another woman, Bex Gaunt, 32, had been singing Mr. Haas’s music long before she met him as a teenager at Music Ministry Alive, a music camp in St. Paul, Minn., that Mr. Haas founded in 1999. She attended the camp for three years and worked on staff for six, she said.
“I was 14 when I became under his spell,” Ms. Gaunt said, describing how she “was groomed to be willing to do anything for him.”
While working for Mr. Haas, Ms. Gaunt said, he “treated me like his maid, his servant,” and frequently asked her to clean his basement office, run errands and perform other chores, despite her conducting experience and musical accolades. When she confronted him, she said he responded by complimenting her physical appearance, an interaction she considered sexual harassment.
The Times interviewed four other accusers on the condition that they not be named because they feared retaliation. One woman, who works as a music director for a parish, said that Mr. Haas sent her inappropriate Facebook messages, including requests for her to model a “classy, sexy” lace dress, with promises to advance her career.
Another said Mr. Haas approached her at a religious music conference in the early 2000s, pressed her against a wall, put his hands around her head and forcibly kissed her. A third said Mr. Haas invited her on a walk at a conference in 2007 to give her career advice. He led her to a bench and forcibly kissed and groped her, she said.
The fourth, who had met him as a teenager at a workshop, said that he forcibly grabbed and kissed her a few years later at a convention when she was 18. On a later trip to tour colleges, she said, he pressured her to commit sexual acts. When she refused, he became angry, so she gave in, she said.
The woman, now a cantor at a Catholic parish, said she later suffered a panic attack when she had to sing one of Mr. Haas’s songs at Mass.
Mr. Haas was married for seven years to Jeanne Cotter, a liturgical composer, who came forward after the allegations came to light. She told The Times the accounts echoed aspects of her own experience: when they first met, Mr. Haas forcibly kissed her at 16 when he was 24, she said, and after their 1995 divorce she faced retaliation in the liturgical music world.
“He was able to draw around him a community that has enabled him,” she said. “In the end, the faithful in the pews become a kind of victim because their trust has been betrayed.”
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released two statements this year that addressed the accusations. The first, in June, acknowledged a 1987 complaint that said Mr. Haas had made “unwanted sexual advances toward a young adult woman.” A spokesman said the archdiocese received notice of the allegation and “it was addressed” but did not elaborate. He noted that Mr. Haas was never an archdiocesan employee.
Mr. Haas toured and performed across the country for the next 30 years. In 1999 he founded Music Ministry Alive, which operated until 2017 giving him “access to the very demographic the diocese had a report on,” Ms. Cotter said.
The archdiocese said it was alerted in 2018 to two other reports that said Mr. Haas had acted inappropriately with two women at Catholic events, according to the statement. After these reports, the archdiocese required Mr. Haas to disclose the complaints when performing at churches or schools, and it did not renew his letter of suitability, a requirement for performing in other archdioceses.
In a second statement released a month later in July, the archdiocese said it had received even more reports and would no longer play Mr. Haas’s music or allow him to perform at Masses or other events in the archdiocese. It urged other Catholic institutions to do the same.
Soon after, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles barred Mr. Haas from performing while it investigates, a spokeswoman said. In all, 10 archdioceses, including Boston and St. Louis, confirmed last week that they had asked churches not to play his music, pending the investigation. Six others alerted parishes to the allegations, but left the decision to local churches. Some banned him from performing, but did not issue guidance regarding music. Eight, including New York, said they had not taken action, and seven did not immediately respond to inquiries.
The popularity of the Haas hymns with parishioners complicates matters, with some churches allowing the music at private Masses, such as a funerals. Mark Scozzafave, director of music ministries at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago, said that a Sunday Mass typically included up to three of Mr. Haas’s pieces. He has stopped using them in public Masses.
“The last thing I possibly want to do is trigger somebody in an assembly who is a survivor of some kind,” he said.