Will "Pescador de Hombres" get the David Haas treatment now?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,025
    The Marist Congregation in Spain has confirmed it has received credible accusations of the abuse of minors against Fr. Cesáreo Gabaráin, a composer who died in 1991.

    The English version of Fr. Gabaráin’s “Pescador de Hombres” is “Fisher of Men”, or “Lord You Have Come to the Seashore.”

    According to the Spanish newspaper El País, there are four former students of the Chamberí Marist school in Madrid who have accused Fr. Gabaráin of abuse dating to the 1970s.


    He composed more than 500 songs, some of which are frequently used at Masses in the Spanish-speaking world. About 30 of his compositions are found in the Oregon Catholic Press song book.


    A black marker will have to be standard-issue with new hymnals to cross out canceled songs.
  • I don’t see how one could discontinue all of Haas’ works but let this one slide.

    I won’t miss it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,934
    I am no fan of Haas and his ilk and their music is horrid. However, do we reach the point where only music composed by angels is acceptable? If so, we would have to throw out much of the classical literature. Those composers were not angelic, to be sure.

    As for "pescador...." - Lord you pound sand by the seashore - maybe a tsunami will wash it away. One can hope.
  • (purple) Guess we'd better get rid of all Gesualdo too.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,934
    Yep. Murdering your wife and her lover rank near the top as far as sins go.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    I read an idea somewhere that all composers of hymns / liturgical music should be kept anonymous for this reason.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Why can't we cancel bad songs just because they are bad? I was in favor of cancelling Haas's music long before it was popular to do so. I think this song falls into the same category.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 684
    I read an idea somewhere that all composers of hymns / liturgical music should be kept anonymous for this reason.

    For many years attributions of authors or composers were given to the community rather than individuals. Some used pseudonyms or pen names, Edward Grey, Sr. Mercedes, Sisters of Mercy as examples.

    There is always a better quality of hymn available.
  • davido
    Posts: 873
    Resign this song to the background cantina music in a John Wayne western where it belongs.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,942
    If that's done, the H in Hombres gets a heavy pronunciation.
  • I don’t know if any of you have seen any films from the Tremors series, but “Pescador” seems to play throughout all the films….just how some parts of Schutte’s “Glory in the Cross” remind me of the Jurassic Park theme.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,025
    Posted today:

    Statement regarding Father Cesáreo Gabaráin

    OCP recently became aware of sexual abuse allegations against Father Cesáreo Gabaráin, the prolific Spanish composer known for his song “Pescador de Hombres” who died in 1991. The alleged abuse took place in the 1970s. As his licensing agent in the U.S., OCP is deeply saddened by this news. His songs are beloved by many around the world and appear in missals and hymnals for many denominations. We stand with and pray for all victims of abuse, and for a just and successful investigation by the Archdiocese of Madrid.

    We take allegations of this nature seriously, and for the sake of prudence we will be removing Father Gabaráin’s composer profile from our website, along with his songs and products, including songbooks, CDs and sheet music/octavos, as we await the results of the Archdiocese’s investigation. Many of his songs appear in our missals and hymnals, so we have initiated an internal review process to determine how best to handle those. We will also donate our publisher share of royalties from his songs to a victims support organization.

    Please join us in prayer for the healing for all victims of abuse, for the healing and unity our Church, and for the soul and family of Father Gabaráin.

  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    'Wokeness' seems to be doing more for the cause of sacred music than the Society of St. Gregory Black List...
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    Where will it end? Gabaráin is dead, he is not benefiting from sales of his music. Or do we wait for the end of copyright to hold the line? Gesualdo was tried and acquitted.
  • I suspect this one will survive: Gabaráin is dead and cannot defend himself form allegations, so anyone could claim anything. And the English translations can just be quietly attributed to the translator alone.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    Gesualdo was tried and acquitted.

    As you probably know, this isn't exactly right: the court declined to indite the Prince of Venice, who spent the rest of his life holed up in Ferrara, awaiting vengeful in-laws. For all the elaborate premeditation, he probably had a better diminished capacity defense than King David, though.
    Thanked by 1tandrews
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 539
    I think this is going to be harder than Haas. I do not speak Spanish, but friends from various Hispanic backgrounds have told me how Pescador…..is really beloved and well-known in their home communities. One friend said that when his grandmother was sick, the whole extended family and various friends gathered in the hospital and the whole big group spontaneously sang the song, all the verses, from memory.

    As far as I can tell, Anglo laypeople don’t really remember more than the chorus or the first few words of “Blessed are they” and “You are mine”, and certainly couldn’t recall all 99 torturous verses of “We are called” at someone’s bedside.
    Thanked by 1KARU27
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    Those of us who would normally decry "cancel culture" should not support it just because it now targets something we dislike.

    As for the song itself, it won't be missed either way.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    That's an interesting comment about the family and friends being able to sing all the verses of a hymn together from memory.
    I found it touching when I watched the film "Monrovia, Indiana" when the community did the same thing (singing a hymn from memory) after a funeral.
    I believe it was Amazing Grace that they sang.
  • Schoenbergian,

    Those of us who have gone decades without using the stuff don't have to say "If you want it, it's ok., but don't force it on me?"
  • While I’m not in favor of throwing out compositions merely on account of their composers not living upright lives, maybe there are other factors to consider(?):

    • Are the composer’s present or recently uncovered misgivings actively causing scandal to the faithful?
    • Is using their music financially or popularly enabling them to continue in said misgivings?
    • Do these misgivings bleed into the music itself in any way, shape or form, or at least could they potentially?

    I am not asserting that either of the figures in question are necessarily guilty of any of the things listed above.

    I also do prefer, all other things being equal, excellent music written by Saints over excellent music written by sinners. Palestrina’s confessor was St Phillip Neri and Victoria was written a letter of recommendation by St Teresa of Avila…
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,464
    ...And why we are at it, let's not look at paintings by Caravaggio or read any poetry by Pound or watch any films by Chaplin.....
    ...though I confess a certain glee at the possibility of having some reason to stop playing this tune.
  • drjones
    Posts: 18
    There are some challenges here. Whether a composer ended life as a saint or a sinner isn't ultimately (barring canonization) possible for us to determine. Is that the critical factor? Also, what sins call for avoiding the composer's music? Does heresy count? There goes Bach from Catholic worship. (I'm aware of one parish that does not, or didn't, use music composed by those who profess protestant beliefs.)

    It's an interesting problem, especially for historical composers. Perhaps the proposal made earlier about weighing the possibility of scandal from use of the work provides a useful perspective.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,721
    These are indeed interesting questions, well-worth pondering. I try and evaluate each work on its own merits as much as possible. This is why I'm OK with certain "protestant" hymns (ie- hymns by protestant authors) because many protestants of the past were more catholic than catholics of today. If a hymn quotes scripture, or professes belief in the real presence (old lutheran and anglican hymns, for instance) then it passes the sniff test, no matter who wrote it. If the text expresses catholic ideas, there's little to speak against it.

    That said, I do consider provenance of a hymn. "Ein feste burg" for instance, is off the table for me since it is used as a protestant rallying cry against the church. I also avoid things by manifest heretics unless they are using tropes of things that existed before (ie-latin chant). In this latter case, they were merely creating a new arrangement of something that preexisted in the catholic realm. But even then, all things created equal, if I can use an arrangement of the same text by someone who was not a manifest heretic, I'd prefer that over one who was.

    I don't think there is an easy, hard-and-fast rule that can be applied here.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • On the question of scandal, does it matter how recently the "scandal" took place?

    (To use a secular example, just to illustrate the point, thirty-five years ago, when a stupid teenager, Brett Kavanaugh may have done something untoward, the details are a bit fuzzy, but in the last 10 years, not once but repeatedly, Andrew Cuomo [appears to have] taken advantage of his office and a growing contingent of adult women. Given a choice between the musical offerings of Brett Kavanaugh and those of Andrew Cuomo, one would choose those of Brett Kavanaugh -- all other things being at least equal?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,934
    The Amish are on to something allowing their kids to make all their adolescent screw ups and get them out of their systems. Then they have to grow up.
  • Felicia
    Posts: 110
    It seems odd to me that these accusations are being made now, when the composer has been dead for thirty years. Why now?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,157
    It seems odd to me that these accusations are being made now, when the composer has been dead for thirty years. Why now?

    I've heard enough people relate their sufferings from acts of misconduct by various kinds of authority figures, that I'm willing to take an understanding attitude about when they choose to disclose the matter to others.

    One of the things that makes people hesitate is the prospect that some people will judge them guilty of slander.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    We only have a glimpse of the story. It may be more related to how this type of allegation was (mis)handled in the past than to Gabaráin in particular. How to reform institutions is very much a live issue.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,157
    Also, while the peak of reporting of abuse cases in the US passed some years ago, the trend of public disclosure of accusations started later in some countries.