Sunday, March 28, 2010

Campness and hillarity in Los Angeles

I am sure you have all seen this video of the Los Angeles annual  shindig, Fr  Z says it is  the umpteenth reason for Summorum Pontificum. I agree, it is ghastly, a travesty of Liturgy, a mess of abuses.
I know it is Mass but it is hillarious. Everyone is so bored and self conscious, and not quite sure of what to do. If you have seen previous videos of the same event, it is more or less a repeat performance, same silly bent candlesticks, the "altar" is a bit chipped now, everyone is a bit greyer.
I love the Opus Dei homeschooling mums, they most probably aren't but they are wearing the uniform, with their smoking pots, is it pot?. It is so nice of them to drag in that man with the moustache, obviously a token male, maybe token a "gay" too, who looks so bored and uncertain of what to do. And then there is the dancing deacon, so hip, clapping away, and all those deacon's wives, not to mention the podgey bishop. It looses something without the gravitas android presence of Cardinal Mahoney.
Interesting all the servers are gals, it is not very inclusive but..., well it is Los Angeles. And what were they singing at the beginning, it wasn't vernacular, was it Latin? No, it was from Africa.
What is so funny is they take it so very seriously.
It is..., I think the word is "camp"!
This can't be taken seriously, come, let us mock! Let us cheer ourselves up with humour, enough of outrage! Prizes for the funniest comments. Nothing rude!


JamesP said...

Let us send over 18 school chaplains, Heads of RE and Parish Youth Co-ordinators...

Looking forward to the upcoming liturgical reforms in Brentwood. Not!

Hippolytus said...

Father I am a fan of your blog but I really can't participate in what you are suggesting. I know how some people feel that satire etc to expose such liturgies is apt. However, it just saddens me deeply - it OUR LORD that is mocked by such liturgies and I just don't like the 'let's have a bit of fun-competition with witty remarks' response. Sadly, I have encountered within some 'traditional' Catholic circles people who seem more to delight in such travesties than be genuinely saddened by them. I think it was in a piece by the late Fr Richard Neuhaus that I saw his description of this as 'morose delectation'. He used this phrase in analysing problems within 'traditionalist' circles post Vatican 2. I think this blog entry could be tinged with what he described in his analysis....

Doodler said...

I think it looked very old fashioned and rather tired and retro. Some of us have moved on now and like our liturgy a bit more modern!

epsilon said...

With all due respect, Father, but is it really appropriate when Pope Benedict is going through such an ordeal to be mocking 'campness and hillarity in LA' right now!

imo it's as about as appropriate as Bishop Convy's remark at the end of an otherwise reasonable bit of text in "Newsweek":

"It may not be the best comparison, but it is better [to] get loyalty from a dog with kindness, rather than obedience with a stick."

"The Catholic Church should learn to listen to its victims; but we should all consider that the problem is not confined to Catholics."
By Bishop Kieran Conry | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Mar 26, 2010

Anonymous said...

Father, I am still so downhearted after reading your last post that I can't raise myself sufficiently even to laugh at this lot. Maybe I can look at it later today.

shadowlands said...

I have charismatic leanings, so am not opposed to praise and worship in this way. The choir sounded genuinely in-love with Our Lord, and so did the bishops and priests who were trying to join in with the clapping. I found their actions quite humble and sweet to be frank.Then again, Our Lady has taught me to see her priests as sons, and sometimes small young sons, so my views are becoming rather biased in defense of them perhaps. Kind of like, "Who's saying something about one of my kids?"

The only line I do draw is women who are old enuf to know better, dancing and prancing about with those plant pots near the altar. I can hear my Irish mother, if she was in a pew there, saying "What the heck does she think she looks like up there, waving her arms around like a banshee! Sit down Missis, for decency's sake."

I don't mind nuns and brides near to the altar, but not the flowing skirt brigade. It's maybe a prejudice that needs dealing with, but I don't have a desire to be desensitized just yet!!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Sorry everyone,
I really can't take this seriously, one either weeps at it or laughs at it.
It is adolescent, so let's laugh it, people will grow up.
Each year these videos appear, traddies howl with derision, whilst those taking part are aging, it will pass and pass quickly.
It is silly!

Dominic Mary said...

Father : what's wrong with this passage ?

'We the church assemble on the Lord’s Day, and that assembly, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, speaks and listens to the Word of God, makes holy and is made holy by its Eucharistic praying and the sacred banquet of Holy Communion.'

Well, that's the beginning of Cardinal Mahoney's Pastoral Letter on Worship : and once you've read that, you begin to get an idea on why the liturgy in the Archdiocese is - and has for a good many years been - in such a dreadful state.

It may be that the Cardinal is no liturgist; but he has appointed the self-professed 'liturgical experts' in the Worship Office from whom the Archdiocese has suffered for so long - the standard of whose ideas and achievements you can see in the video.

Pray God that the Holy Father appoints a new Archbishop who will do something about such travesties as a matter of urgency.

Simon Platt said...

I can't honestly say I've "seen" it myself. I had to turn it off after less than a minute (sensitive soul that I am). I'm afraid I tend towards the point of view of Hippolytus et al.

Diff said...

This conference is an example of one aspect of the wider problems affecting the Church today. In an effort to be trendy/respected etc. the laws of the Church, both liturgical and canonical have often not been applied as they should be. One result is that you have the laughable, liturgical abuse that is the LA conference. One wonders if the incense they use is made from the GIRM. Another is the cover up of much worse forms of abuse…

Anonymous said...

We get enough attacks from the outside without this sort of atrocious 'liturgy' destroying us from the inside. If this was the only Mass I could attend to fulfil my Sunday obligation I would have a severe crisis of conscience as to whether I could endure this long enough without puking - or, to control my anger and uncharitable thoughts, not attend Mass at all! I'm sorry, but this makes me want to weep rather than laugh.

However, thank you for bringing this to my attention - It makes some of the lame liturgical celebrations that we attend through necessity more bearable.

Moretben said...

It was said recently, and I agree completely, that the greatest engine of atheism in the modern world is not Darwin or Dawkins or Derrida, but the low, insensate stupidity of Christians.

I'd sooner encourage my children to read God is Not Great than to re-write it by participation in this ludicrous pantomime.

Richard said...

Well said, Father! I love to think what Chesterton would have said about this.

The only amusing comment I can think of is that at least the married deacons had wives to warn them not to make prats of themselves by doing the twirly dance with the Gospels.

Richard said...

I propose that we found a Guild of Ss. Vibiana and Jude, which will raise funds so that after the death of Cardinal Mahony an annual Pontifical High Mass can be sung, in the Extraordinary Form, for the repose of his soul.

servingblogger said...

You are a pompous arse, Father.

How dare you mock people who are sincere in their faith, enjoying their celebration, and are the Church in that part of the world. They are worshipping God and giving Him glory. How dare you belittle and mock them so. You may not like it, but give them the respect they are due.

And if you won't have the decency and courtesy to do that, then you continue to be an ARSE !

From George said...

Alas, it is the church from the stoned age.

From George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't allow criticism of individuals.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Serving blogger,
There is respect to the Church and its liturgy and Tradition that is important too. Hi-jacking the liturgy, personalising it, inflicting one's own taste on it shows disrespect.
It is not a matter of taste, it is a matter of what is correct.

Annie said...

I sniggered. My bad.

It's, umm, very silly. How their kids must feel at watching their parents prancing like's pure cringe. It has no dignity, it's school assembly for alleged grown ups. At least there was no lycra.

Dorothy said...

I couldn't bear to turn the video on - I knew what I'd be in for. Judging by some of the comments here it was a wise decision.

Thank you, Fr Blake, for lightening the mood. At times such as this it's the cyber-equivalent of putting the kettle on and having a nice cup of tea.

becket said...

Here is a good point brought up by someone at CAF about this spectacle.

Quote: “Saddening. This Mass was a purposeful and direct smack in the face to the Vatican and Catholic Liturgy. The Archdiocese chose to celebrate the closing liturgy of its big RE conference illicitly.

For starters, the sacred vessels were glass and wicker.

Yet, Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum explicitly states that,

“”Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily.”…ml#Chapter%20V ”

This is a very serious matter!.
This was clearly an illicit Mass. And the Archbishop of LA needs to be held personally responsible. Lent is a time for repentance, solemness and sobriety. Not jumping up and down and clapping and dancing. A mockery indeed!.

Catholic Student said...

I love the liturgical language used; 'worship space' it captures the essence of what all those people were doing, they were worshipping, and the beautiful movements of the well... for lack of a better phrase; incense bearers. The whole ceremony really ensures that the worshipper comes closer to God and is now way, shape or form distracted by; 'Strictly come liturgical dance', the candles gone wrong.

...I can't condone this any longer. I'm speechless.

Rupert said...

Problem = these people take this very seriously, all the money poured into, all the rehearsal and careful choreograhy.

Solution = laugh at it, don't take it seriously, puncture its pomposity.

I was at the Oratory this morning that was "Liturgy" whereas the LA RE Congress was farce. To take it seriously gives it status. You are quite right Father, mock it!

georgem said...

It's beyond parody. But if you want the perfect antidote Elgar's Dream of Gerontius is on R3 right now.
Elgar judged his work "the best of me". So it is, and I'd bet that its author, Newman, would agree.

Mark said...

Could someone enlighten me and list the liturgical abuses? Please?

becket said...


For starters, the sacred vessels were glass and wicker.

Yet, Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum explicitly states that,

“”Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily.”

Liturgical Abuse!.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

CAMP! That was the word missing from my recent posts! But they Lurve that word do the gays as far as I can surmise..I will link to this post anyway..

Dominic Mary said...

serving blogger;

First of all, your abuse of Fr Ray - a hard-working, faithful, and highly respected Priest - is far worse than anything which he may have said.

Secondly, unless you have lived there, or have family/friends there who can provide you with accurate information, please don't make such wildly sweeping statements.

Whether or not the people taking part were 'enjoying' themselves - which looks unlikely, in many cases - they are not 'the Church in that part of the world' - they are merely a small, and (at least in the context of their liturgical antics) largely unpopular, subsection of it.

I speak from personal experience and quite extensive knowledge : the vast majority of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are heartily sick of this sort of tomfoolery, and are just praying very hard for a decent Archbishop next time.

it would require very much more space than is convenient in a Comment to list all the liturgical abuses involved !

Mark said...

.. From what I have been told next years changes in Liturgy are meant to return to a more traditional pre-Vat II style. The vessels - OK I accept did not meet requirements. In general terms, the prancing, dancing didn't offend me. I like dancing! The lighter style, modern hymns, needn't compromise Liturgy but rather offer an alternative, younger style more attractive to younger people. As long as its reverential and meets the standard why cant we have Charismatics & Trads all choosing their preferred style of worship within the confines of the Magisterium of the church. Thus enriching, a diverse, truly catholic church.

Anonymous said...

It is silly, adolescent, and self-indulgent, not to mention objectively abusive of liturgical norms. That said, these people are clearly not trying to mock the Lord. There is nothing to suggest that they necessarily hold heterodox beliefs (although clearly their sense of Catholic liturgy is fatally flawed). They are sincere in their misguided form of worship. Of course, their sincerity does not excuse them, yet we should not be too quick to see them as "enemies" of the Faith. Prayer and reparation are needed more than mockery and derision.

Sirian said...

It times like these when mutual enrichment is a bad bad bad idea...

No thanks Holy Father.

becket said...

Do I hear Gnostic worship!.

Big Fan said...

That is truly painful to watch. And I'd rather laugh than hyperventilate.
My 5-year-old grandson and family attend a parish not unlike what is depicted in this video (they had goldfish in the holy water font).
He came to visit me and when we entered my parish which is old, well preserved and beautiful, my grandson looked around, then looked up at me, and his big blue eyes were brimming with tears, and he said, "Oh Nana, this church is so Holy."
I believe Natural Law can convey even to a little boy what is Holy. And what is happening in this video may bring tears to your eyes, but not because it is holy.

becket said...

Quote: from poster at Catholic Answers Forum

"Yup. In the US catholic church you basically pick the parish to your liking. Orthodox vs less so, EF vs pentecostal oriented, affirming vs not affirming.

It’s basically the Episcopal church – just not as far gone.

If you want unity of practice no matter what Mass you attend go to an EO parish. Frankly that is where the unity of the historic faith has survived more intact. Despite the fact that the Pope is supposed to guarantee unity. It really doesn’t work that way.

Rome needs Constantinople more than the EO need Rome. The price for unity if it comes will be high.

To its credit the EO church has not called a universal council since the split. They knew it would be invalid as not all the bishops in apostolic succesion would be in attendance.

So my feeling is that any reunion will be contingent on “invalidating” all councils since the split.

This would include V2 which will make many happy here. But it would also include V1 which defined papal infallibility as the modern church uses it.

IMO part of the problem is the too centralized Papacy. In the early church decisions were made locally and only rarely appealed to Rome. This has morphed into what we have today in the highly centralized church and this form of governance has clearly not been a guarantee of unity of belief and practice."

becket said...

A Church Divided. Analysis from the American Superior of the SSPX.

becket said...

Preview of 2011 Conference.

JMeaden said...

Unfortunately, this is a common occurence in the Church now. The danger is, if people carry on behaving in this way they may 'water-down' the meaning of the Mass and lose sight of the importance and sancitity of the Sacraments which cannot be got in any other Christian denominiation. Too many Bishops now are a bit too liberal and 'charismatic', and endorsing this behaviour.

I know some Catholics who are more 'Christian' than 'Catholic' in the sence that as long as they have the Bible, they don't need everything else, i.e. the Sacraments.

shadowlands said...

Father Ray said...

"I don't allow criticism of individuals."

Make sure you include yourself in that too Father. 'Servingblogger' insulted you badly. Mind you, I have yet to see a comment by that person that isn't attacking or criticizing a priest in some way or another.
I wonder what he would put on a "Things that make him happy" list?

Anonymous said...

"To its credit the EO church has not called a universal council since the split. They knew it would be invalid as not all the bishops in apostolic succesion would be in attendance"
You are wrong here. In fact, since 1976, there have been four pan-Orthodox preconciliar meetings whose task it has been to set the agenda for a Great and Holy Council of the (Orthodox) Church. Actually, there is a joke that this council is scheduled for the day after the parousia ;-)
The idea that not all the bishops in Apostolic succession would be in attendance betrays a very Roman Catholic idea of what Apostolic suvccession is. Apostolic succession is not a mechanical transfer of ecclesiastical jurisdiction (power) and teaching authority. Rather, it's a passing on, a paradosis, of the entire Faith. Full and complete or not at all.
Now, if you'll allow me to speak frankly, the Orthodox consider Roman Catholics to be schismatic, heretical, and also to have departed in many other important respects (liturgically and spiritually) from the Church. From an Orthodox perspective, in what sense, then, do Roman Catholic clergy have Apostolic succession? Besides, should we also include the miaphysite Oriental Churches in our Council, as well as any of the Protestant Churches which have maintained,some form of epicopacy?

universal doctor said...

Thank you Fr for the light relief. As Fr Z would say: "Save the Liturgy, Save the World".
The sacred liturgy is NOT a tthe service of the people, it is at the service of God. The Mass is not entertainment, so personal "enjoyment" does not come into the question. The transcendence of God is demeaned by those who try to reduce His worship to immature expressions of emotion.

Peter said...

The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah.
The animals went in two by two,
The elephant and the kangaroo
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.
The animals went in three by three, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in three by three, hurrah, hurrah.
The animals went in three by three,
The wasp, the ant and the bumble bee,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.
The animals went in four by four, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in four by four, hurrah, hurrah.
The animals went in four by four,
The big hippopotamus stuck in the door,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.
The animals went in five by five, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in five by five, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in five by five,
By hugging each other they kept alive,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain
The animals went in six by six, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in six by six, hurrah, hurrah.
The animals went in six by six,
They turned out the monkey because of his tricks,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.
The animals went in seven by seven, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in seven by seven, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in seven by seven,
The little pig thought it was going to heaven,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.
The animals went in eight by eight, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in eight by eight, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in eight by eight,
The turtle thought he was coming late,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.
The animals went in nine by nine, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in nine by nine, hurrah, hurrah,
The animals went in nine by nine,
Marching up in a long straight line,
And they all went into the ark, for to get out of the rain.

Peter said...

Dear Father
These are depressing times so your request for humour is right but your readers have failed you (me too). I think that the animal song is useful. The Church is the Ark that saves. Useful for children. Educators should educate children and this was a conference for teachers.

Just think. Those who hate the Pope can come up with nothing worse than the fact that his office excused a priest from a trial under Canon Law as he was near death (like the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing released from prison) whose alleged offences were twenty years in the past and had not been dealt with then. So they have no real evidence against him. Let us all celebrate and proclaim that.

No offence intended to the sincere teachers at the conference. I expect that there were people on the Ark otherwise we would all be descendants of Noah. Presumably the lions ate the Dodos.

Thank you Father

Malvenu said...

Father, i am not yet a Catholic and if this "performance" were my experience of the Catholic Church i would not have attended more than once. I acknowledge that personal preferences mean that some might find this irreverential farce acceptable but allowing this rubbish to go on unchallenged, i believe, harms the Church more than any other current 'scandal'. It is easy for all to see the shocking crimes carried out by a few individuals for what they are, but this stuff insidiously works its way into the body of Christ and undermines right behaviour, proper worship. It is not funny. It is an attack on the liturgy and tacit acceptance of it by allowing it to happen out of our own reach without criticism of it is not enough (and i don't think pointing fingers at it and sniggering really counts). If this spectacle were not being carried out under the auspices of the Church we would view it as mocking the Church and the Liturgy.

It seems that Cardinal Mahoney is the architect-in-chief of this abuse but, as with other recent events, no-one else is prepared to stand up for what is right. Without Christ's promise to Peter that the gates of Hell would never overcome the Church these would be *extremely* worrying times.

Sonny said...

“You can't camp about something you don't take seriously. You're not making fun of it; you're making fun out of it. You're expressing what's basically serious to you in terms of fun and artifice and elegance.”

This extract is from the 1948 novel 'The World in the Evening' by Christopher Isherwood, and is regarded as the first literary reference to the concept of 'camp'.

On another note, I did find the Deacon processing with the scriptures rather amusing. I have no problem with liturgical dance if it is appropriate to the culture in which the Mass is offered. In some African countries 'processing' can include dance because culturally it denotes a mode of prayer and respect. In the Western hemisphere it denotes looking like a prat.

SunnaB16 said...

Benny Hinn would be jealous of that circus. He might even be part of the liturgy "team".

Silly old men swaying and clapping.

No irreverence intended towards The Word of God, but:
i was hoping that the individual twirling around with the book of the Gospels, complete with pre-school-designed cover, would drop it...on his foot of course.

Can`t they find taller people to carry stuff, so that they don`t have to carry anything over their heads?

pelerin said...

Sonny mentions that in African Masses dance is the norm. That is what I understand as inculturalisation. But did anyone see an African in the congregation? I didn't.

I actually liked the African hymn - 'gathering song' but why there in Los Angeles? And I had to laugh when the commentator said 'we gather with the gathering song' and when they talked about the 'worship space' I tend to seethe.

As for the twirling Deacon I wondered whether he would twirl himself into the ground or perhaps fly off into space. How can anyone take that seriously? And you say this is an annual celebration - oh dear. Don't any of the Bishops present have the nerve to protest?

Big fan mentions goldfish in the holy water stoup. In the church I attended Mass this weekend both shell shaped benitiers had a little rock garden of plants around a saucer of water! And in another church I visited there was an enormous bouquet of red flowers seemingly planted in the large shell shaped

Thanks for showing this - it makes one even more grateful for 'normal' dignified prayerful Masses which presumably those attending in LA had never been lucky enough to attend.