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Old 07-08-2006, 08:36 AM   #1
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Catholic Priest Sings Praises Of U2

U2 a Christian rock band? Catholic priest sings praises of Irish group

By Emilie Lemmons
7/6/2006
Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As a college student in the 1980s, Father Erich
Rutten first associated the Irish rock band U2 with "great political
rock."

Then he discovered one of the band's early albums from 1981, "October."
Listening to songs such as "Gloria" and "Rejoice," with references to
Jerusalem and the themes of death and resurrection, he realized that
"virtually every song on the album is explicitly Christian," he said.

Interested in things spiritual, he started to learn more about U2 and
pay attention to the lyrics – even in songs that seemed more like
political songs or love ballads.

"They're a Christian rock band" without calling themselves one, he told
The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and
Minneapolis. "They steered a very interesting course. They didn't go
with the explicitly Christian band label. They developed their artistry
– their music – in such a way that they did an excellent job of
bringing in common, everyday symbols and stories to amplify the
Christian message."

Father Rutten, who was ordained for the archdiocese last year and is an
associate pastor at the Cathedral of St. Paul, is still a U2 fan, and
he's become more well-known for it. At the invitation of the young
adult series Theology on Tap, he developed a PowerPoint presentation
last year on the Irish band to share at one of the local gatherings.

He pointed out that Bono was born in 1960 in Dublin, Ireland, to an
Anglican mother and Catholic father. His real name is Paul Hewson and
his nickname is short for Bono Vox, which means "good voice" in Latin.
It also was the name of a hearing aid shop in Dublin.

Bono has said he grew up with a strong religious faith, mostly
attending his mother's church, but did not become attached to one
particular denomination.

"From his household, he was very sensitive to the ways in which people
of faith hurt each other, just across denominational divides," Father
Rutten said. In fact, in a song on the 1987 album "The Joshua Tree,"
Bono sings of a place "Where the Streets Have No Name." It's an image
of heaven, free of tension and division, "not divided by what side of
the street you live on," the priest said.

Father Rutten said band members have commented that whenever they play
the song live, they "feel the power of God."

The priest said some might expect the band to rant against U.S. foreign
policy and war, but instead it presents a Christian view of hope. The
2004 song "Vertigo" carries a sense of being off-balance, as if there's
nothing firm to stand on, Father Rutten noted. "That's how they
describe the modern world."

Later in the song, Bono sings: "Your love is teaching me how to kneel."
It's the idea that "in the midst of the chaos or the confusion or the
vertigo, you can find some stability through faith," Father Rutten
said.

But U2 makes no pretense of having all the answers. The priest said the
band's spirituality is one of questioning and attempts to be
comfortable with mystery or apparent contradictions.

Some people see that questioning as a lack of faith. But Father Rutten
sees it as a mature faith. "Even in the midst of questioning," he said,
"there's that implicit trust and faith that the love of God is beneath
it all."
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Old 07-08-2006, 02:10 PM   #2
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Old 07-16-2006, 05:09 PM   #3
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Saw this article in the paper the other day.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:47 AM   #4
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Yeah I read something about this in my local Catholic Newspaper. Being a Catholic, I've always seen U2 in a Christian sort of way, but it was a nice article nonetheless.
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