Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Psalm of the Dispossessed

With this post, I'm sure many will think that this blog has fallen from the margins of the Church into the great sea of the unwashed. I come upon the strangest things (usually while looking for images to illustrate Fr. Hoyos' blog) and this time it was this song (I have an affinity for variations on the Lord's Prayer) and the Spanish Celtic heavy metal band that produced it, Mägo de Oz ("The Wizard of Oz).

Mägo has been around since 1988 and their founder, Txus di Fellatio (yes, it's a stage name and blasphemous), is nothing if not a fabulous lyricist -- somewhat in the Leonard Cohen tradition. They have more than ten albums out, including a religious rock opera, Jesús de Chamberí, which deals with the theme of Jesus' return as a homeless man on a bench in the Madrid neighborhood of Chamberí. As the title song would have it, Jesus selects 12 disciples including 2 prostitutes, 5 ex-cons, 2 black immigrants, a rock poet, Peter the hobo and a juvenile drug addict. And he tells them:

"Escuchad mi palabra
un mandamiento nuevo os doy:
derribad las naciones,
con tolerancia y a golpes de amor"...

"Listen to my word
I give you a new commandment:
overthrow the nations,
with tolerance and blows of love"...

Well, you get the idea...Anyway, Mägo's theology departs significantly from the institutional Catholic Church, which gets a bad rap in their lyrics for its rigid moralism. A case in point would be En Nombre de Dios ("In the Name of God"), a song from their Gaia II album (2005), which is a devastating medley of the Church's homophobic teachings and the general failure to keep celibacy vows. Mägo sheds an unforgiving light on the institution's hypocrisy.

This opposition to institutional religion is picked up again in Creo. Mägo's credo is succinctly summed up in the second verse:

No creo en un altar que salve mi fe,
ser honesto es mejor que un cielo lleno de himnos.
No creo en un líder que dirija mis pies,
mi rey es mi voluntad, mi patria mi hogar.

I don't believe in an altar that saves my faith;
to be truthful is better than a heaven full of hymns.
I don't believe in a leader who guides my feet,
My will is my king; my country, my home.

Politically, Mägo is environmentalist, anti-death penalty (Gaia) and anti-American cultural imperialism (Yankees Go Home). The band leans towards a sort of carpe diem animism, and more than occasionally flirts with the Satanic. The psalm which we share below (also from Gaia II) follows immediately on the Cantata del Diablo / The Devil's Cantata. But read the lyrics carefully. Are Mägo really Devil worshippers or are they just bringing out the diabolic elements in our Church?

Finally, before I go on, a technical note: I have created hyperlinks to a site called The Land of Oz -- a fan page that purports to translate Mägo's songs into English. It is useful for the lyrics in Spanish which you can get for the individual songs and without commercial interruption -- unlike on most lyrics sites. DO NOT trust the English translations. They are very poor and frequently downright wrong. I'm stunned that Wikipedia links to it. I have made my own translations for this post.

El Salmo de los Desheredados (El Dios de los Tristes)

Padre nuestro, de todos nosotros,
de los pobres, de los sin techo
de los marginados y de los desprotegidos,
de los desheredados
y de los dueños de la miseria,
de los que te siguen
y de los que en ti ya no creemos.

Baja de los cielos,
pues aquí está el Infierno.
Baja de tu trono,
pues aquí hay guerras, hambre, injusticias.
No hace falta que seas uno y trino,
con uno sólo que tenga ganas de ayudar,
nos bastaría.
¿Cuál es tu reino?¿El Vaticano?
¿La banca?¿La alta política?
Nuestro reino es Nigeria, Etiopía,
Colombia, Hiroshima.
El pan nuestro de cada día
son las violaciones, la violencia de género,
la pederastia, las dictaduras,
el cambio climático.

En la tentación caigo a diario,
no hay mañana en la que no esté tentado
de crear a un Dios humilde,
a un Dios justo.
Un Dios que esté en la tierra,
en los valles, los ríos,
un Dios que viva en la lluvia,
que viaje a través del viento
y acaricie nuestra Alma.

Un Dios de los tristes, de los homosexuales.
Un Dios más humano
Un Dios que no castigue, que enseñe.
Un Dios que no amenace, que proteja.

Que si me caigo, me levante,
que si me pierdo, me tienda su mano.
Un Dios que si yerro no me culpe
y que si dudo me entienda.
Pues para eso me dotó de inteligencia,
para dudar de todo.

Padre Nuestro, de todos nosotros,
¿por qué nos has olvidado?
Padre Nuestro, ciego, sordo y desocupado,
¿por qué nos has abandonado?

Psalm of the Dispossessed (God of the Sorrowful)

Our Father of all of us,
of the poor, of the homeless,
of the marginalized and the vulnerable,
of the dispossessed
and the owners of poverty,
of those who follow You
and those of us who no longer believe in You.

Come down from Heaven,
because down here is Hell.
Come down from Your throne,
because here there is war, hunger and injustice.
It is not necessary for You to be One and Triune,
just One who wants to help
would be enough for us.
What is Your Kingdom? The Vatican?
The banks? The political elite?
Our Kingdom is Nigeria, Ethiopia,
Colombia, Hiroshima.
Our daily bread is
rape, domestic violence,
pederasty, dictatorships,
climate change.

I fall into temptation daily,
there will be no day when I am not tempted
to believe in a humble God,
a just God.
A God who is on earth,
in the valleys, the rivers,
a God who lives in the rain,
who travels on the wind
and caresses our Soul.

A God of the sorrowful, of homosexuals,
a more human God...
A God who does not punish but instructs.
A God who does not threaten but protects.

Who picks me up if I fall,
Who, if I am lost, lends me a hand.
A God who does not blame me if I err,
and understands when I am in doubt.
Because for this, He bestowed intelligence upon me,
to doubt everything.

Our Father, of all of us,
why have You forgotten us?
Our Father, blind, deaf, and idle,
why have You abandoned us?


  1. Crazy Spaniards, have you seen the way this man Txus di Fellatio looks? In comparison makes Father Joyny look like a Carmelite nun.
    The lyrics are not bad, but I am sure that I’ll pass on the music. The linked video has been disabled because of terms of use.
    By the way, his “stage” name Txus (looks vasc), sounds the same as Chus, a common short nickname in Spain given to those named Jesús. Ahhh, well you imply the rest together with the last name.

  2. Thanks. I changed the video, which was working when I posted it, for a different version. In a way it's irrelevant because this particular "song" is just words spoken over background music.