A liturgy that left me speechless — UPDATED

And I don’t mean that in a good way.  Thank you, Kathy Schiffer, for ruining my Sunday.

The clip below is some sort of liturgy from some sort of religion in some sort of country that evidently speaks German.  Fr. Dwight, commenting on this, wonders if it’s even Catholic.  Having watched most of it — I sped through the parts that were bringing bile to my lips — I can report that the celebrant offers a blessing at the end that looks very Catholic, that the church appears to have paintings of the Stations of the Cross that look to be very Catholic, and that in the last few seconds a woman saunters up to something that appears to be a tabernacle and, when she does is done, genuflects.  Maybe someone who knows German can translate?

Whatever it was, wherever it was: that sound you hear is my mind, boggling.

YouTube Preview Image

UPDATE: A deacon reader who speaks German confirmed that it was, indeed, a Catholic Mass.  He found more:

It is a Catholic Church in Austria, in Hartberg, a city in Styria, Austria.

Here is the website of the Parish.

Notice the TV in the sanctuary of the beautiful baroque church…..The celebrant is Father Andreas Monschein

The Website says the Parish is known for its colorful, liturgical practice that is “close to the people” and a musical variety from Rock Music to the Baroque. Highlights include Palm Sunday, Corpus Christi and Thanksgiving services in the main square of the town, as well as evening services in the open – outside.

They have a youtube channel.

Try the disco mass

— and the visitor from LA


  1. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Actually it is the typical modernist Mass. Guitar, jeans wearing choir, done at a First Grade level, meant to be entertainment and, absolutely no sense of the sacred. If a parish wants to do a Disney style production it should do it in the parish hall or outdoors, not insert it into the sacred liturgy.

  2. Easter Bunny at Easter Mass, done as somewhat of a surprise to the congregation obviously done as something cute for the kiddos… is what it looks like to me, and it is Catholic that is clear. Silly more than anything else.

  3. This is a catholic church in the city of Hartburg Austria. sits near the border to hungry and the former Yugoslavia. I agree with the above posters that this is some type of family mass for Easter.

  4. Moonshadow says:

    I’m not a fan of children’s liturgies at all but that’s what this is. The rabbit is probably offering the prayers of faithful. Except for the over-the-top costume, the intercessions are intoned in a clear, reverent voice. After the final blessing, isn’t the mass essentially over anyway? So what if the rabbit hops up the center aisle after the final blessing. However, maybe a visit from the Easter bunny could be reserved for an egg hunt outside mass, if at all.

  5. I know enough German to get the gist of things. Only the first 2:17 or so of this clip actually appears to be part of the liturgy. The Bunny appears to be offering the prayers of the faithful. I’m pretty sure it’s Catholic. While I wouldn’t have the bunny appearing during mass, even for the prayers of the faithful, the last five minutes or so seems to take place after the dismissal, which I wouldn’t object to as much (though I would try to do it in another part of the church building, perhaps). I once was at an Easter Mass in Boston in which the Easter Bunny came up the aisle like this prior to the final blessing and dismissal, and I thought that was inappropriate. But once mass is over, not a bad thing to do for the kids. I’ve seen things far more bile-producing than this. At my sister’s parish this past Christmas eve, the priest called the kids up during mass, had them hold up a Happy Birthday banner, and invited everyone to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. I was thankful I had not asked to concelebrate. It would have been difficult to mask the look of horror on my face!

  6. I would describe this liturgy not as a children’s liturgy, but as an infantilized, arrested development liturgy. Do you suppose the bunny reading the intercessions was a deacon? He wasn’t vested, so it’s hard to tell.

  7. Chickens?

    Here’s your roost.

    I mean really..when your standard and understanding of liturgy is: “What we decide will appeal to the community” – this is where you end up. Every freakin’ time. With bunnies.

  8. “No sense of the sacred” is the key phrase here. One struggles to imagine what it can mean to pray like this, in a manner so self-absorbed, as to demolish any sense of that word. Can anyone pray in such a manner while sustaining belief that anyone’s listening — or at least anyone whose regard is worth seeking? The narcissistic mad confidence that God will hear prayers out of sheer gratitude for his good fortune in having friends as charming and cool as we. The God being prayed to here is not exactly awesome, but he sure is lucky.

  9. MD Catholic says:

    By the looks of some in the congregation, not all appear to be comfortable with it. One older man looks aghast!

  10. Is there more to the film than this? My husband is fluent in German, and is familiar with the part of Austria where it was from. I have limited fluency. We could be wrong, but this does not appear to be an actual Mass, but a children’s program, which the Catholic population in Austria/Germany frequently holds for children. The priest starts off saying that the Easter Bunny is there, as promised.

    There is a prayer for the faithful, offering up intentions for; those who are sad, those who are very sick, and suffer with hunger, asking God to stay by them in their hour of need; and give us an open heart when we are able. Sometimes we’re afraid in our lives, give us courage with your presence, and send people who support us. Give people in charge of the church the understanding to deal with problems and to find new solutions. You stay with the youth, you break bread with the youth. Please assure us we will never be without our daily bread.

    The priest’s blessing: bless and protect you, your family, your friends,

    At the end, the Easter Bunny thanks everyone for his invitation, and is glad to see so many children to celebrate Easter. He says some more, then hands out eggs.

    It is clearly not a Mass, but seems instead to simply have elements of the Mass, such as the blessings, intentions, and the priest is wearing vestments. We believe it might have been done on Easter but at a different time, such as after the Easter Mass. Also, please note that the children are all dressed for the outdoors. It does not appear they were indoors for any amount of time, as they would for a Mass.

    In our opinion, this is a children’s program which one might not find in the US, but is much more common in this part of Europe.

    Perhaps we should keep in mind how cautious we must be before criticizing others based on what appears to be so without a thorough understanding of any given situation.

  11. naturgesetz says:

    As others have pointed out, the Easter Bunny seems to be leading the prayer of the faithful (in wording which may be appropriate for a children’s Mass), and then to be leading the recessional to the accompaniment of a song intended for children. It’s regrettable that in some parishes the priests introduce such elements into the liturgy in an attempt to connect with the children.

  12. I have to agree with Mary P., I have seen programs like this where I lived in Germany. I had some trouble with the German dialect, but it did not strike me that this was a Mass, other than what the Priest was wearing.

  13. vox borealis says:

    I have been living in Germany for about a year now and can attest that this sort of thing–in varying degrees–is distressingly common in the German-speaking Catholic world.

  14. This is common in German speaking countries. It is either a children’s Mass or a liturgy of
    the word. I believe that it is the former. It is an effort to engage children and their
    parents in the church. Very important in this area where very, very few Catholics
    actually participate in Sunday liturgies. After the Mass has been concluded, the children
    are all invited to come with their parents to the town square to search for Easter baskets.
    Other than some people thinking the appearance of the E.B. inappropriate, there is nothing
    to conclude that the Mass was not celebrated with reverence. The Prayer of the
    Faithful was certainly appropriate.

    Margaret Uhry

  15. vox borealis says:

    It is an effort to engage children and their parents in the church. Very important in this area where very, very few Catholics actually participate in Sunday liturgies.

    Cause or effect?

  16. Betsy Curran says:

    Am I the only one who sees the irony that: ” this sort of thing–in varying degrees–is distressingly common in the German-speaking Catholic world.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the pontiff who seeks to correct the failings of consecrated women in the U.S. a son of that same “German-speaking Catholic world!

  17. DiakonosDC says:

    As one who speaks the Holy Father’s Mother Tongue, this liturgical need to be relavent, this liturgical narcissim is as vox borealis says prevalent. I pray that the good people of Hartberg Parish draw the correct conclusions from all the traffic this video is having. In the Holy Fathers defense, Betsy , plse read ” The Spirit of the Liturgy. “

  18. Fran sends us to her blog, the group blog from liturgical liberals. The questions and answers are rather poignant. Oh, and amusing.

    Because the real question she’s asking is, “Gee, how can we argue against this BS? When our standard of liturgy is “What the community feels helps them relate to God” and “What the community feels expresses its identity” – do we have *any* leg to stand on here?”

    Let me help you out:


    This is the logical consequence of your liturgical ethos, which is all centered on what the leadership of a specific community wants and feels like doing.

  19. naturgesetz says:

    The video of portions of the Easter Vigil at the link shows something entirely appropriate (except that the priest chants the Exsultet instead of the deacon!).

  20. The alleged “Spirit of Vatican II”. It is a kiddie type or liturgy though; I wonder how the grown up liturgy looks like in the same place.

  21. midwestlady says:

    This stuff has been going on for years in Europe, and we have had some of it here too. This isn’t really very new. Luckily, it’s completely passé. Pointless experiments with pointless outcomes are pointless. How that can be a revelation to some people, I don’t know, but apparently it is.


  1. [...] A liturgy that left me speechless – Patheos (blog) A liturgy that left me speechlessHe found more: It is a Catholic Church in Austria, in Hartberg, a city in Styria, Austria. The Website says the Parish is known for its colorful, liturgical practice that is “close to the people” and a musical variety from Rock Music to the Baroque. Read more [...]

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