Is 'Amazing Grace' a Catholic Hymn allowed to be sung during Mass?

“Amazing grace” is a very popular hymn and I was wondering if it is Catholic and if it may be sung during Mass?

I do not know the lyrics, so I would appreciate it if someone would write them down for me.

Thank you!:tiphat:



It’s not Catholic, it was written by a Protestant. My parish occasionally sings it. But that doesn’t mean it’s permitted.

I believe it is acceptable to sing at mass. A lot of the hymns that we have in hymnals come from Protestants.


Is there a hymn, or even song, that is not permitted?

The hymn is not a Catholic hymn. Hymns are permitted to be sung in Mass, though and “Amazing Grace” like all hymns, would be chosen or not based on the prudential judgement of those who make the decisions at a parish.

We sing it our parish, but I do not see any problem. In a location where the lyrics might cause confusion due to poor catechisis from the pulpit, it would be best to avoid such hymns.

Protestant hymns are great as long as there is nothing in the lyrics that is contrary to Catholic teaching. “Amazing Grace” includes the words, “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” This is a reflection of the Protestant doctrine that one is “saved” the moment one puts faith in Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that we first receive santifying grace at our baptism. So, Amazing Grace is contrary to Catholic teaching and should not be sung in Catholic churches.
Besides the lyrics, it’s just such a Protestant song anyway . . . I mean, could you imagine hearing “Ave Maria” sung in a Baptist Church? It’s inappropriate for Catholic worship.

Flipping through the Catholic Book of Worship in my parish’s pews, I see a lot of songs that I sung in protestant/evangelical churchs.

On the flip side, there are some originally Catholic songs that are sung in evangelical churchs… I remember one women at the pentacostal church just raved about how she loved this one song… until I told her it was Catholic.

I choose music for Mass every week.

I’ve played “Amazing Grace” but not very often, maybe once or twice a year.

I play mostly traditional (e.g. Praise To The Lord) and some of the less annoying newer ones.

I’ve never heard of any “official” information on what is and is not allowed, outside of the parish priest. Even at weddings I play songs for one priest that another priest forbids.

Is there some central authority or database we could go to find out whether the hymns are OK or not? I suspect that a good number of the hymns I buy from OCP publications ( are suspect, and so far I use my intuition to decide.


You are absolutely right for most Catholics, who were baptized at birth. Since the author was not, though and was writing about a late in life conversion, his belief preceded his baptism. And as St. Paul points out, even belief comes from grace. St. Terese put it even better in that everything is grace.

Oh, I should mention that even though I dislike using “Amazing Grace” at Mass, there are other songs that are far worse than “Amazing Grace.” Most of the questionable hymns/folk songs we sing at Mass that seem to go against Catholic teaching were written by “Catholic” composers.
I really wouldn’t mind if we kept Amazing Grace, as long as we got rid of anything that was written after 1962, most of it is AWFUL :smiley:

Amazing Grace is the worst song on earth. I’ve heard the Battle Hymn of the Republic, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden” KUmbaya , and other wonderful classic Catholic pieces at mass. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!

First, if we don’t believe in God, then how are we to recognize grace?

Does “appear” mean it already showed up, or what it felt like to me?

Can anybody else remember the time you “first believed?” (I can’t, personally) Did you not feel blessings or graces, or was it purely intellectual? Does not believing v not believing make a huge difference to Christ? What are Catholics so rigid that when they finally come to believe they have to sit there rigid in their seats and not feel anything?

How did that original sanctifying grace appear when it first got to us in baptism? Speaking for myself, I have no idea. The baby neither believes or not. What’s to say the baby doesn’t first recognize that grace upon growing up and coming to believe.

Unless the original author wrote notes to that affect and specified that the grace the “first appeared” to the person whose eyes had just been opened excludes a lifetime of grace since baptism that we didn’t recognize because we didn’t believe, then I think I will reserve judgment, and even tentatively accuse us of gratuitous Protestant bashing.

Why is it so terrible to share music with Catholics? We wear clothes that were made by non-Catholics to Mass. Non-Catholics built the Church, and installed the sounds system and built the piano and organ. Why is it so anti-Catholic to borrow some of their music – at least when it does not conflict with our faith any more than some vague reference.

Pettiness really bugs me, but it gives me a great excuse to indulge in it myself. I have to play for 8:00 Mass at All Saints in two hours, and I’m just thinking I might play Amazing Grace just to protest the attitudes hear that just because it may be Protestant in origin it is bad. It was not on my list for today, but as the author of the list I can change it in about 30 seconds, including the time it takes to look up the hymn number. A couple hundred of my fellow parishioners will be treated to that song today, thanks to this thread. :thumbsup:

Unless I hear a much better reason than emotional posturing to avoid that song, I also think I’ll play it at St. Anthony next week at 4 pm Saturday.

Both times I will consider the song dedicated to Christian unity, something we love to talk about but only if it means the other people will start listening to us and never the other way around.

If that bugs anybody, then give me a real reason the song is evil.

Have a nice day!



“Amazing Grace” is an approved hymn for the Liturgy of the Hours (Common of One Martyr, Evening Prayer II). The approved hymns for the Hours also include Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is our God” (also from the Common of One Martyr, Morning Prayer), as well as several from Charles Wesley. Since the Hours is the official prayer of the Church, it’s reasonable that we can also use these hyms at Mass especially during the recommended liturgical celebration. The English editions of the Hours did not come down to us without approval of the Holy See.

Many Protestant hyms from previous centuries are more Catholic than modern “Catholic” songs.

I don’t care what anybody says…I love “Amazing Grace”…no matter where it is sung.

Some of the ones published by Catholic companies (like OCP and GIA) are written by staff protestant writers. I guess this explains why they do not feel any great need to follow the GIRM in the recommendations they put in their hymnals. Give me “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” any day over “Sing a New Church.”

If it has lyrics that are contrary to Catholic teaching and you still don’t mind it being played at Mass… then this attitude is prideful and self-serving. You will be throwing aside all obedience to the truth for the sake of that which is pleasing to your ears.

God Bless you.

That is a heck of a big “if”, especially in light of portos’ post. You would need to add the qualifier that such a person is aware that the lyrics are contrary to Church teaching. This can seldom be assumed unless the difference is clearly heresy and 180 degrees away from Church teaching. For example, in “Jesus Christ, Superstar” one line says, “He’s a man (correct), He’s just a man (heresy)”

I will join with Catholic Heart in that I, too, love this great hymn of humility and conversion.

A shining example of this is one of my favorites, “Be Thou My Vision”. It’s originally Catholic but it hasn’t left Evangelical and Protestant circles.

Agreed! :yup: