What Missale Romanum? I got your Missale Romanum right here!

What Missale Romanum? I got your Missale Romanum right here!

All the worst impulses of contemporary liturgy in American Catholic churches is on display each year at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and this year was no different, if the video is to be believed. (Thanks to Gerald for the link.)

The prancing liturgical dancers, the music, all of the bizarreness, and nearly all of it in violation of the norms for the celebration of the liturgy that have been set down so clearly by the Vatican in the past five years and more. Based on their lack of reaction, I’m wondering if anyone—in Rome or elsewhere—cares about this. Does it just not matter?

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  • Mahoney continues to go Naa Naa in your face -I can do whatever I want.  He’s gotta have pictures of the Vatican picnic continuing as he does with his own church of what’s happening now.  The ONLY liiturgy that might get him in trouble would be the TLM; anything else goes.

  • Please, Dom, be correct in applying labels.  That wasn’t liturgy.  Liturgy is prayer.  Liturgy is sacrament.  What we saw on that tape is ritual performance theatre.  It’s actually rather good theatre, in fact.  There is nothing quite like the Catholic Mass if what you want is ritual performance.  Victoria Rue knows that.  Why else would she want to be a Catholic priest?  I bet Mahony’s performance kept all of those in the audience entertained.  To even suggest that it’s liturgy is…well…blasphemy.

    And to the extent that Rome allows the blasphemy to continue, Rome participates in it.

    So do those in attendance participate in blasphemy.  It isn’t like they don’t know what will take place at Mahony’s event.  This is not something new he cooked up this year.  It’s been going on for years, and it’s made the rounds on the web.

    Catholic outrage from the pews is simply ignored.  Those in leadership positions are either helpless or complicit.  I’d be interested in knowing which.

  • Dom,

    “Does it not just matter?”


    “Does it not just matter?”

    I believe that it matters to God how he is to be worshipped.  There is sufficient examples in Holy Scipture about how God demands how we worship Him. “Every Knee Shall Bend,” How we should not “eat of the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthingly” etc.

    I have noticed some softening on you part towards the TLM these past few months.  Maybe it is just my imagination.

    But the question remains.  How does Our Lord wish to be worshipped.  Vertically or Horizontally?  Is there even any worship of Our Lord horizontally in the NO in the vernacular?

  • I have to disagree with Carrie—it’s not well done. Wait let me step back from that a second and take things apart:

    The orchestra was good (as was the recording).  Love it or hate it, it’s not Gregorian chant but you can’t say they didn’t play well.

    On the other hand the dancing… it just wasn’t good from the choreography to the execution. I’m sure others can comment on the nature of dance and conveying the story through dance but this was just weak. My theory is that this is the problem with dance in the liturgy—dance simply doesn’t convey awe and reverence or at least it can’t for more than a second or two.

    Anyway, one final thought: did anybody else think the Cardinal and bishops seemed old and very out of place? I never thought that watching JPII and BXVI at the world youth days.

  • John, the whole point is that at events like this one moves from the realm of spirituality into the realm of performance.  Performance is an art form.  It’s pretend.  As with any art form, we critique it on the response level.  What evokes a response from you, easily can evoke a different response from me.  Art is about drawing something out of us that is non-verbal.  I thought the liturgical dance was good.  You thought it was bad performance.  We’re both right, just as we would both be right in looking at a painting and liking it or not liking it.

    People who are “spiritual” rather than “worshipful” are looking for movement within their own being.  If they get movement, the performance is good.  If they don’t get the emotional response, the performance is a failure.  They are not looking for contact with that which is wholly Other.  In fact they may not even believe in such a thing.  If you and I are god, ritual is about communicating with ourselves.  That, I would suggest, is what we saw staged in those video clips.

    Just as a Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” might be performed at the end of a Shekespeare conference, “Catholic Mass Liturgy” is performed at the end of a religious education conference; and the event has no more meaning than watching a play.  Since it’s goal is emotional response,  some events even go so far as to use drugs to evoke the response. 

    The applause from the audience is telling.  We applaud performance.  We don’t applaud worship.

    Mahony’s liturgy was no different than the Ringoli presented during the Pagan Starwood Festival.  Ritual from any faith on earth will do nicely for Ritual Performance Theatre.  It’s important not to take the gods invoked in the ritual seriously.  In short, it’s blasphemy.

  • Mahony can participate in a Pagan ceremonial event and call it Mass, with no consequence.

    Meanwhile in another thread Dom has indicated that it has been proposed that fraternal correction be applied to Bishop Bruskewitz.  Also in that thread Bishop B indicates that there are dioceses that do not permit altar girls, but they remain in hiding.

    To me this says that orthodoxy is in a defensive and scared position in America, and perhaps even in Rome.

    How did the enemies of Christ get to take over the faith?  And who are they—especially who are they in Rome?

  • You’re kidding, right?

    Dance Fever to Sabbath Fever?

    I thought I might be able to make a connection between the liturgist and this, a production of paratheatre inventor Antero Alli, who is on the faculty of Robert Anton Wilson’s academy along with DePaul’s Patricia Monaghan; but there doesn’t seem to be one.

  • Hey, Dance Fever is one thing. Solid Gold . . . well, obviously, one prelate of the Church in the western United States watched far too much of it back in the day, he and his liturgical minions obviously are still touched by it.

    ( ;^) in case anyone didn’t get me.)