Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Fat Ladies Dancing

One of the reasons for using the scourge as a means of penance is that three or four excruciating strokes across the back gives one a tremendous sense of spiritual achievement and a good healthy dose of realism.

Well I don't use it, instead, during Lent, I watch the occasional bit of the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference. I can think of no other better form of excruciating pain, or dose of realism. Here is worship of God turned into a poorly delivered piece of self serving, camp, anthropocentric, cheap, tawdry, banal, meretricious Tinseltown showbiz. Quite fitting as a celebration of Mahoney-Church, something constructed in the image of its creator, not of course that I am suggesting that the Archbishop Emeritus himself is any of those things.

However Cardinal Mahoney no longer sits Archiepiscopal throne, Archbishop Jose Gomes has taken his place and yes, there seems to be a change, just a little more prayerfulness, a touch, just a touch more of silence, there are still the illicit glass jugs to contain the Precious Blood and wicker baskets for his Body but there were actually metal chalices, not the glass ones which Cdl Mahoney had made mandatory in his time.

The list of speakers too seemed just a tad more orthodox too, more mainstream, more Catholic. Gradually, bit by bit, it seems the US's biggest diocese is being Catholicised. Yes there was even a Kyrie and amongst the babel of languages, there was even just a little Latin. I do not know how long it will take for Los Angeles to learn from the Supreme Pontiff's example - see this interview with Mgr Marini.
It is not over until the last fat lady has danced.


Anonymous said...

"It is not over until the last fat lady has danced." My day started out a little blue and has progressed to tears on my face from laughter. Thanks Father.


Richard Collins said...

I think I would rather opt for the scourge!

Mummymayhem said...

That vindaloo looks too hot for my more reserved palate.

Jacobitess said...

Went to youtube.com to rate, and guess what? Ratings & comments disabled...hmmm, wonder what the general reaction was?

pelerin said...

And this is an improvement? I hate to think what previous events were like. Sorry - could not possibly sit through 1 hr and 53 minutes - the scourge would be preferable!

Had my fill this weekend in France with banal ditties sung at Mass conducted by a lady waving her arms violently about from a lecturn in the front. The usual short creed (in French.) The Gospel was read by the Priest from behind the altar and the reading was curiously shared between him and two laymen as is done on Palm Sunday.

Later I was able to attend a performance of Mozart's Requiem by a choir and orchestra from Salzbourg in Reims Cathedral and could not help comparing the two. There is obviously a thirst for the Music of the Mass as written by the great composers as the cathedral was absolutely packed. A lady next to me told me that she knew one of the organisers, and he had been worried in case nobody turned up! But what a pity the musicians could not have actually sung this with Priests celebrating Mass in the cathedral instead of it being merely a performance.

I noticed people of all ages present (it was free) and in front of me was a young lad of about 10 who never moved during the whole performance. The music was sublime and the full cathedral proved that people are not put off by such music and yet they have to put up with banal hymns in their parishes.

And for those who say that Masses such as these are too difficult for ordinary choirs to sing - the choir members from Salzbourg were all young students from two choir schools. It was a real and unexpected musical treat which ironically I would not have known about if I had not attended the Saturday evening Mass and waited for the announcements. The Priest urged people to go as it would be a memorable occasion and it certainly was. Could he not see the irony of recommending his congregation to attend the Mozart Mass performance whilst not giving them a chance to enjoy even a latin Credo in his own parish?

Babel Reigns said...

When Archbishop José H. Gomez was installed recently as the new Archbishop of Los Angeles to succeed Cardinal Roger Mahoney, one local journal commented that many hoped that the new archbishop would be able to unite the Catholics of Los Angeles where services are held in 42 different languages! Forty Two different languages in a single diocese! If ever there is a case for the unifying bond of Latin, this is it.

Ernie Skillen said...

Poor liturgy indeed. Latin unites. I suppose the US church is assailed by Evangelical Protestants "converting" Hispanic Catholics and this is the fight-back. Better to present true Catholic worship as the norm.

Parish priest with a sense of propriety said...

Why oh why the huge OTT and, yes, camp, gestures and movement from lay women and men bearing pots of fire/incense, leading people around etc etc? The Holy Father manages to do without it in St Peter's and everywhere else.'

At least there was no gospel 'dance'/mince by the deacon this year. The archbishop emeritus looked decidedly uncomfortable - all probably too sober for his taste. Not many of the bishops seemed to have been afflicted with a dose of the claps (usually executed in a self conscious 'I must appear to be with it' sort of way - they would in their heart of hearts prefer de Angelis).

I think the turning of the tide may be commencing, but the laity/clergy who organise and execute this annual me-fest need replacing with those who are with the proram(me).

Go Gomez!

Ma Tucker said...

Ah, Fr. Ray, I think she was pregnant. You may take out the scourge now! Hang you head in shame.

Lindi said...

I could stand about 60 seconds of this ! Ironically , I bet few Masses in UK have incense - I know we don't.

pelerin said...

PP with a sense of propriety's mention of 'camp gestures;' 'gospel dance/mince;' 'annual me-fest;' and 'dose of the claps' had me laughing out loud. If we don't laugh we would weep.

I see the embarassing video of the French Priests is doing the rounds again on the blogs - a classic example of a 'dose of the claps' by men who seem to have no sense of rhythm at all. Roll on the turning of the tide and the return of reverence.

Andrew said...

My dad sold books at this conference. He said that there are definitely a lot a strange people there, as would any conference with so many thousands of people in attendance. But not everybody there is crazy. The bishop of Nottingham attended, and I believe he is very friendly towards the Latin Mass. My dad did not attend this particular Mass, however. Instead, he went to another Mass were the priest opened by apologizing for the masculine turn that the Gospels had taken that particular week. He had to leave after Communion (the first time he had ever done that) because he could not take anymore. But there are some good things about this conference, and we know there are many good things about Archbishop Gomez.

Fr. S.A. said...

This is perfectly acceptable, yet genuflecting as one passes the tablernacle during Mass is forbidden in the new missal...

Brook said...

Why laugh at this event?
It was a colorful enjoyable occasion. No complaints from anyone, "traditionalist" like me, or otherwise.
You needed to be there.
It was an illustration of what Christ surely meant when He spoke of His coming that we might have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Fr Ray Blake said...

I certainly don't laugh at this event, though aspects are indeed risable. I lament the display of disobedience to the Church's liturgical Law, I am angered by the complete break with Catholic liturgical tradition and I find the exultation of the worshipper than the Worshipped distasteful in the Extreme. It is the epitome of all the worst excesses of the last 40 years.

I am not quite sure what you mean by "traditionalist", I hope we are all within the Church's traditional, hopefully this is what Abp Mahoney will bring his Church back to.

georgem said...

The word "event" says it all. It was supposed to be the Mass. A "colorful, enjoyable occasion" with a bit of God thrown in between prancing dancing, flat singing and 1970s muzak might well create an event, but it doesn't make a Mass.
The participants were there, one imagines, to worship God. How does grabbing the limelight achieve this?
God surely wants the best of us when we attend Him and that wasn't the best of anything. At most it was a tedious distraction from the main Eucharistic "event".
I have to disagree with the interpretation of having life and having it abundantly. Surely it means something way beyond the physical. Eternal life, for instance.

Robert said...

Not to be stereotypical here. But one thing that I realized. Is that this is in LA. and allot of the participants seemed to be Latin Americans. Check this thread out.


A poster by the name of JREducation talks about the difficulty in promoting the TLM in Latin America. Are we seeing a rupture in Roman Rite Catholicism that may have started long ago in Latin America. Curious what you all think.

georgem said...

That's an interesting point, Robert. It's curious because I'd have thought that Spanish and Portuguese, being Romance languages, would have had a natural affinity with Latin.
But maybe priests promoted a style of worship as being more authentic to the indigenous culture than that of the Conquistadors.
Part of liberation theology? Only a thought.

EuropeanCatholic said...

Anytime I have seen any clips from this Liturgy whether 2011 or before, it always leaves me speechless!

And not in a good way.

It's quite frigtening really.

Fred said...

How is this stuff still happening? And, how, if Gomez is so good does he allow those glass carafes right under his nose? I realise he wants to take things slowly: I've heard he's a very prudent man; but there are some things that are just non negotiable, surely? The scourge any day, thanks!