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Christmas rap makes Sri Lanka Catholics see red

In a Christmas debacle, Sri Lanka’s Catholic church withdrew hymn sheets after lyrics of “Hail Mary” were mixed up with an expletive-packed version by rapper Tupac Shakur, a spokesman said Monday.

world Updated: Dec 26, 2016 17:09 IST
Sri Lankan priests carry out their duties during the Christmas mass in Colombo.
Sri Lankan priests carry out their duties during the Christmas mass in Colombo.(AFP Photo)

In a Christmas debacle, Sri Lanka’s Catholic church withdrew hymn sheets after lyrics of “Hail Mary” were mixed up with an expletive-packed version by rapper Tupac Shakur, a spokesman said Monday.

Hail Mary is a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intervention of the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The version by Tupac, an African-American rapper who was shot dead 20 years ago and whose stage name was 2Pac, is littered with obscenities.

The incident, which came to light on Christmas Day, took place two weeks ago when several hundred copies of Tupac’s version were printed and sold at the “Joy to the World 2016 festival of music for peace and harmony” in Colombo, said Catholic church spokesman Edmund Tilakaratne.

Instead of the familiar “Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with you...” the audience was invited to sing: “...Mama told me never stop until I bust a nut. F___ the world if they can’t adjust, it’s just as well, Hail Mary.”

The embarrassing mistake was made public when several people who had bought the hymn sheets to sing at the carol service posted photographs on social media.

“It was a human error, a genuine printing mistake,” Tilakaratne told AFP. “The offending version of Hail Mary was never sung. Those who bought the souvenir (with the hymn sheets) were refunded.”

Tilakaratne said the organisers of the event could have avoided the blunder had they gone through the proofs of the hymn sheets.

aj/mb/sm