Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Emilie Lemmons

7/6/2006 (9 years ago)

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."

U2'S BONO PERFORMS – U2's Bono performs to a sell-out crowd of 90,000 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in early February. Father Erich Rutten, associate pastor at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn. And a U2 fan, has come to believe the group was a Christian rock band, without its members calling it one. (CNS/Reuters)

U2'S BONO PERFORMS – U2's Bono performs to a sell-out crowd of 90,000 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in early February. Father Erich Rutten, associate pastor at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn. And a U2 fan, has come to believe the group was a Christian rock band, without its members calling it one. (CNS/Reuters)


By Emilie Lemmons

Catholic News Service (

7/6/2006 (9 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

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."


Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


More Marriage & Family

Student caught in viral photo comforting complete stranger with special needs on a public bus Watch

Image of Social media users were touched by these


A student stole the hearts of thousands of social media users when he was photographed allowing a stranger with special needs hold his hand on a crowded bus in Ontario, Canada. The photo posted on Facebook had since gone viral. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading

First Comes Love; Then Comes Marriage; Then Comes Temptation Watch

Image of

By Stephanie Pacheco

Those first flutters of romantic love are all encompassing, joyful without measure, obsessive and consuming, but even in marriage, happily ever after is a long, often bumpy road. When love settles down and life gets practical, new problems arise: care over a house, ... continue reading

#BringYourBible: Thousands of children across the United States stood up for their faith and brought their Bibles to school Watch

Image of #BringYourBible (impressyourkids).


Like last year, the Christian youth of America stood up for religious freedom as they participated in a special activity: Bring Your Bible to School Day. Kids posted photos of themselves and their friends bringing copies of the Holy Scriptures to schools in a ... continue reading

Dying man blesses family with a heartbreaking ceremony before death Watch

Image of McHugh family


Ken McHugh is a devoted husband and father of four. He would do anything for his wife and children, including putting on a brave face despite a grim diagnosis. With an uncertain amount of time left for McHugh, the McHugh family held a bittersweet ceremony with the ... continue reading

Oregon shooter similar to Sandy Hook shooter Watch

Image of School shooter profiles.


Investigations into Christopher Harper-Mercer revealed eerie similarities to Adam Lanza, the man responsible for the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. After murdering nine people and wounding several more at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week, stories of ... continue reading

Syrian women speak out against men who abandoned wives and children when escaping ISIS Watch

Image of Syrian wives and women call on to their men to come back to Syria and redeem the country (Mohammed Azakir-Reuters)


Wives and mothers in Syrian refugee camps continue to condemn the men who fled to Europe in an effort to escape ISIS. The women feel abandoned and say it is forbidden under Islam to leave your home nation, especially during time of crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Toddler and 17 dogs rescued from deplorable living contidions Watch

Image of The toddler, dogs, and bird were all rescued (Thibodaux Police Department).


Police found and rescued a five-year-old toddler and 17 dogs living in unsanitary and "deplorable" conditions in Louisiana. Thibodaux Police Department officials described human waste, urine and rotten food among the horrendous conditions discovered throughout the ... continue reading

Hungarian Cardinal declares remarried Catholics must refrain from sex if they want to receive communion Watch

Image of Pope Francis [not pictured] leans toward a more merciful approach when it comes to Catholic teachings and laws.


In a meeting with the world's bishops, a Vatican-supported Cardinal declared that unless both parties agree never to engage in sexual activity, Catholics who remarry will continue to be banned from receiving communion. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hungarian ... continue reading

Christian bakery continues to refuse to pay $135,000 fine to lesbian couple over a wedding cake Watch

Image of Melissa and Aaron Klein.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Melissa and Aaron wanted to fight all the way for their religious views, including ignoring blatantly and intentionally the imposed fine for not baking the lesbian wedding cake. In response to the statement made by the spokesperson for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and ... continue reading

7 things husband secretly love about their wives Watch

Image of What men love about their wives!


Men can sometimes have trouble opening up about their feelings and thoughts. Most men want to tell their wives what they really, really love about them, but find the words hard to say. If your husband is not giving you words of affirmation but shows you his feelings in ... continue reading

All Marriage & Family News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
16 For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 13th, 2015 Image

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his ... Read More