Thursday, September 27, 2007

Liturgy Groups

At one of the South London parishes a few years ago there was a pretty horrifying incident of a man coming into the Church and slashing out with a samurai sword. Sometime later the elderly priest who was celebrating the Mass came and wanted to concelebrate. When I suggested he must of been pretty traumatised by the incident he said he wasn't, because he was quite short sighted and thought it was something the parish Liturgy Group had organised, he just carried on saying Mass.

I couldn't help thinking of this story when I saw this video on the Cafeteria. Fortunately the Lit Com here has all read the Pope's Spirit of the Liturgy, and have never raised the issue of liturgical dance, a couple of members did complain about a Gloria our school children sang with a bit of clapping in it, but here it wasn't the clapping it was the lack of an authentic translation. I must say I thought it was a bit odd with Credo III. I do think there is a serious problem with "adult Church" and what children are given as a norm in our schools.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I have not got the sound for this one! The visuals are bad enough ...!

Paulinus said...

Bruto! Horrendo!

Anonymous said...

Personally, Father, I don't care if I never hear Clapping Gloria again as long as I live.

Prayer is meant to be the RAISING of the heart and mind to God - the Mass is the greatest prayer there is, so unless we are able to RAISE the hearts and minds of our children, of course they will drift away when they perceive they have outgrown what is on offer. We need to draw them upwards to beauty and holiness which is higher than themselves - and us - not drag everyone down to a child's level. That's not to say all simpler settings of the Mass should be abolished, or that we should never use hymns for children, but poor translations don't help the process, nor do heretical hymns.

Oh dear - I didn't mean to rant!


Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Well, let us speak frankly.

There is no way, whatever the occasion, I would ever go near a church where that sort of thing was going on.

What on earth has any of the stuff in this video got to do with the Sacrifice of the Mass ?

Do you suppose people danced and sang and cavorted round the foot of the Cross ?

And what is the Sacrifice of the Mass about if it is not about Christ's sacrifice on the Cross ?

The Mass, I remember being taught, and have always believed, is primarily an act of worship.

Now, when people want to get together to sing the praises of the Lord, proclaim their love for Jesus, celebrate in the Spirit, clap and be happy, or any of those things, by all means let them do so.

But let them not deceive themseves, or be deceived.

What they are doing has nothing to do with the Mass.

It is a desparate shame if our children are being led to believe otherwise in school.

When I was a child, what was the norm in our Catholic school ?

Well, we understood, from very young, the difference between :
Being in church.
Not being in church.

Church was a very special (and very lovely) place where you behaved in a very special way.

It was different from :
Laughing and playing, singing songs, skipping and jumping, climbing trees, etc.

The Mass was quite unlike any other organised activity :
School assembly, reading and writing, painting and drawing, school concert, Christmas party, etc.

And now we are grown up, Holy Mass still is quite unlike any other organised activity.

And the liturgy is supposed to relect that fact.

But when we import the profane things of this world into the sacred action, we cheapen and degrade it.

We should not allow our children to be led into thinking this is the right thing to do.

Someone sensible can keep an eye on what the parish liturgy group is up to.
(And a lot of them neeed an eye kept on them.)

But someone sensible should be keeping a very careful eye on what they are teaching our children.

Are they being taught that a church is a very special place ?
Are they being taught what the Mass is ?
Are they, in short, being taught the truth ?
If not, why not ?

When I was a child we were taught the truth.
And we grew up knowing the truth.
And I'm glad nobody kept the truth from us.
Or encouraged us to think it was normal to shout and clap and dance in church.

Because it's not normal to behave like that.

And you can quote me.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I had sound too!! Hideous. I couldn't watch it all.
Thank God for the Latin Mass Society. I pray the MP will somehow put an end to all this and we will have Mass said properly-no dance, no EMHC's with their blessings and using the tabernacle as the kitchen cupboard...
This was despressing-but I have hope.

Physiocrat said...

You could give out having to watch this as a penance.

Andrew said...

Firstly, the Church burnt down.

Secondly, this was a predominantly African-American parish. Now, I despise liturgical dance, don't get me wrong. I oppose it when they tried to foist it on my parish because it is alien to our Asian culture.

But in African culture, dance is an expression of joy and is perhaps an authentic part of inculturation. They do it all the time and quite spontaneously in Africa, during the Thanskgiving, the Offertory Procession, etc.

It would be really really out of place where dance has no prior place in the local culture, but where it is such prominent part of some cultures, should it really be banned?

I'm just saying.

Anagnostis said...

What about the hideous, nasty commercial pop music to which these ludicrous gyrations correspond? Is that too an authentic subject of "inculturation" specific to African Americans (never mind genuine Africans)? If so, they desperately need to be rescued from it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting Dr Wright's moving comments which many of us will agree with.
Having now learnt that the dancing took place in an African-American community, I can now look on the video in a different light - it shows how important it is to take things in context. I did not stay with the video long enough to realise this and without the sound it was impossible to tell. A couple of years ago I attended a concert by an African choir formed from many countries in central france and it was one of the most deeply moving experiences of my life. The singers were unaccompanied and it really was 'out of this world.' happily there was no dancing in the ancient church where it was held although I have a feeling that I could have accepted it there as it does indeed form an important part of african culture. But please not here!

Anonymous said...

Africa is a big continent, not all of us want to dance or even move rhythmically, though true many of us do.
But the orientation of dance seems to be away from the Lord and something done for the people rather than to honour Him.
One of the troubles with an Afro-American interpretation of African culture, is the influence of Americanism, and maybe especially Hollywood.
For example in most African cultures, in the presence of a King, people would be on their bellies, prostrate, rather than dancing, or elsewhere if the King was present no-one would take their eyes off him, and in some though they would face him, they wouldn't dare to look at him.

Anonymous said...

Credo III with the Clapping Gloria is a bit like putting tomato ketchup on a lovely old-fashioned vanilla ice cream.

Anonymous said...

Never before have I had such an interest in becoming short sighted!

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

If Father Ray will allow me a second comment :

We need to very careful about introducing secular celebrations into the liturgical celebration.

The one is profane.
The other is sacred.

I cannot see how how dance, from whatever culture, leads us more deeply into the sacred mysteries of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

I found everyone's comments most interesting to read, but I was particularly taken by what Daniel Oshoa said about how most African tribes bow down before their king.

That is precisely what I am talking about.

When we are in the presence of the King of kings, we belong on our knees, not prancing and dancing around.

There is a time and a place for everything.
(And children understand this.)

Teaching is both by precept and by example.

If our children are taught no sense of the sacred, then it is not surprising that as they grow up, they fall away from the Church which in its most solemn worship seems to offer them no sense of the sacred.

Why go to church to join in what seems to be a secular celebration ?

I am all for a sing-song and a bit of merriment and jollification.

But we need to stop and think about what set of religious beliefs, if any, we are inculcating in our children.

It's a sobering thought.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say how much I laughed over the idea of the poor short-sighted priest carrying on regardless during the 'massacre' - wondering what on earth the liturgists were doing now!

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