About the Ridiculous “Novena Solene” Video

A reader writes:

Unfortunately, it *is* the work of evil liturgists. The National Basilica of Aparecida, where it was recorded, is currently still the hostage of the remaining Liberation Theologists. The Redemptorist fathers, who rule the Basilica, are hardcore Liberation Theologists, and each Bishop that comes is an itty bitty less of a Communist that the previous one, but the Holy Father hasn’t had the political strength to give it to an orthodox Bishop yet. Every 9/7 (the Brazilian equivalent of the 4th July) there still is a large Communist gathering, with red flags and all, inside the sanctuary.

If you want to see some really naïf religious manifestations, try:

- the Folia de Reis (“Kings’ Happy Party” – the “wise men” are “the magician kings” in Portuguese:), the popular celebration of the Epiphany;
- the Festa do Divino (“Feast of the Divine Holy Ghost“: ), equally popular celebration of the Pentecost
- the Cìrio de Nazaré (“Candle of Nazareth“), an important Marian celebration in the North of the country
- the Fogaréu (“big flames“, representing the Roman soldiers’ search for Our Lord: ), on Holy Friday, etc.

Brazilian Catholicism is very much a pre-Tridentine religion (at you can see a horse-mounted procession honoring Father Cícero, who is considered a saint, albeit not officially canonized).

The Aparecida “carnival” is just the workings of a sick liturgist mind, trying to impose his Modern ideas while “deconstructing” popular culture.

As I feared. Then put me down as loathing the “Novena Solene”. I have no objection to ordinary people offering the best they can do, even when it is crass and ugly. But I have strong objections to clever and powerful people forcing those in their thrall to eat crap sandwiches.

  • Faith

    ‘Evil liturgist?’ Not misguided, or rebellious or whatever but ‘evil?” And sorry, but seeing the other supposed approved naive expressions of the faith, the procession in the Cathedral does not look so far off. And frankly the skating angels are more appealing to me and my particular cultural biases than the guys in cones and flaming torches. I would have bought the reader’s explanation a bit better if he didn’t attributed anyone involved in Lib. Theology as evil and if he hadn’t portrayed the liturgist as evil too.

  • LoneThinker

    “Liberation theology” is not necessarily evil or bad theology. It starts with the People where they are and they apply the biblical principles to their milieu. The Beatitudes and the Magnificat are “lib” theology as is MT 25- “If you do not feed and clothe me, go to Hell is the Jesus message there

    • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com/ Robert King

      “Liberation Theology” goes bad when it begins thinking in Marxist terms of class struggle and enmity, and sees Christ as a revolutionary political leader rather than the suffering servant. Yes, there is within Liberation Theology a true call to oppose sinful structures of oppression; but the opposition must be rooted in the Gospel call to universal charity, not in an attempt to exalt the proletariat by destroying the bourgoisie.

    • LaVallette

      As JPII put it succinctly: “Christ came for everybody and for the redemption of all not just the poor!”. Besides Christ never preached violence against anybody even to solve injustice, It was and still is the reason for His rejection by our older brothers, the Jews. The Messiah they were expecting was to be the great Chosen People’s liberator from Roman rule, and not soemone who preached turning the other cheek to one’s enemies..

  • RFlaum

    How does one determine who is and is not “ordinary”? I’m sure the people who came up with this at least thought that they were ordinary people.

    • Ted Seeber

      “Ordinary” means something different in Catholic English than in American or British English. It means “In keeping with that which has been ordained” and the root word of both is ORDER (implied the Order of God’s Law, then Natural Law, then Canon Law, in that order) as imposed in subsidiarity by the “Least Competent Authority”, which in this case would be the Bishop.

      Regular priests are not considered competent to do liturgy, neither is your local liturgical committee, despite rebellion to the contrary.

      • RFlaum

        Ah, thanks. As a non-Catholic commenter on a Catholic blog, I suppose I should probably double-check these things before making a fool of myself.

        • RFlaum

          Well, ideally I’d do it instead of making a fool of myself, but let’s be realistic here.

          • ivan_the_mad

            Ha! I’d not worry about asking such questions. Part of the difficulty with an unfamiliar subject is the terminology specific to it. In a place like this, somebody like Ted can quickly identify the gap and bridge it for you.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Was the Holy Father aware of these Eeeeevil Liberation Liturgical Theologians when he visited the shrine in 2007, giving it a Golden Rose?

  • Ted Seeber

    Boy, Hollywood would kill for that Basilica’s costuming department. But that last production, the flames, reminds me strongly of _The Birth of A Nation_, the pro-KKK silent film from 1915.

  • Maiki

    I think the commenter is being unfair to Aparecida.

    First off: pictures of “communist” celebration: http://www.a12.com/noticias/noticia.asp?ntc=santuario_nacional_aguarda_romaria_nacional_dos_trabalhadores_no_dia_7_de_setembro.html
    Also, mass from that day a few years back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJFmi3m9I_A — a not very good video of a perfectly normal and non-tacky mass.

    Aparecida holds a very dear place in my heart, despite these tacky videos of pre-Feast day activities and celebrations. The Mass itself on the feast day has better videos. I grew up seeing their daily mass shows on tv.

    Does that mean there aren’t bad liturgists out there: no — something is obviously wrong if you end up playing circus music in church. But he is labeling certain popular expressions of faith as good faith efforts, while decrying all of the cult to our Lady of Aparecida, which is by far the largest and most well known expression of faith in Brasil (circus music excluded), and it is not solely focused on Lib Theology despite the misguided politics of the order running the basilica. It is the tangible symbol of Catholicism in Brasil. The faith displayed by pilgrims in Aparecida is something to behold. And they are going there for devotion to the Immaculate Conception, not a cult of personality to the Redemptorist fathers.

  • ivan_the_mad

    No need to be petulant.

  • John

    I think this whole blog post is completely wrong. Liberation theology takes many forms, for one thing. You should read some of the current pope’s latest statements on the matter. Read some of the recent Sunday gospel readings.

    Obviously you have no awareness of other cultures, nor have you much patience for the legitimate inculturation of the liturgy. What a shame. So much for the Incarnation.

    The “oddities” of other cultures aren’t being forced upon the faithful by “liberation theologians.” That is their culture, and they’re happy with it. If you don’t like that style of liturgy, then don’t go there. What’s worse than supposed cultural abuses against the liturgy are terrible Mass translations so many whitewashing North American liturgists defend. Grow up, travel a little bit, and read the gospels.

  • Carlos Ramalhete

    I am “the reader” quoted above; as I couldn’t post a regular comment, I wrote Mr. Shea, who posted my comment without posting my name.

    Anyway, one thing at a time.

    First of all, as I said, the Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida Is *a hostage*. It is, indeed, as Maiki said, “the tangible symbol of Catholicism in Brasil”. Every time I go there, I find myself crying tears of joy for being able to behold the amazingly beautiful manifestation of faith of those who travel, often by foot, hundreds of miles to go visit Our Lady. The whole Basilica is being built by donations, a brick at a time.

    Now for Liberation Theology:

    The Church in Brazil has been ruled with an iron fist by Liberation Theology from the 70s until a short while ago.

    It is easy to say that there are many forms of Liberation Theology, when one has not suffered under them, when one has not seen altars covered with dirty machetes while a priest in a Che Guevara T-shirt uses a coconut shell to hold the Hosts and celebrates Mass using the floor (I’m sorry, the Land) as an altar.
    One of their main Bishops, Msgr. Pedro Casaldáliga, has as one of his “official” pictures one in which he is hugging Fidel Castro. It is not hard to find this picture online, as they are quite proud of it and ofetn repost it in the Bishops’ Conference web page.

    When my teenage son was born, I lived in a diocese ruled by a TL Bishop. The only orthodox priest I knew was forbidden to baptise. When I went to the parish priest, he told me the Baptism could only be ministered by “a worker woman”. I had to travel to another diocese to have him properly baptised.

    Although the present Pope and John Paul II have fought this terrible heresy for a long time, it is still very powerful in the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference. JPII would replace a hardline LT Bishop with the lesser hardliner among his disciples, and BXVI is replacing those with decent Bishops, who, nevertheless, are not yet strong enough in the Conference to be able to do much.

    Every year the LT Nomenklatura forces on the whole Brazilian Church a Lenten “campaign of fraternity”, turning Lenten time into a political statement. This year it was “Public Health”, last year it was “the Environment”, and so on. They force a music set on virtually every parish, with lyrics like “this is your people in long lines by the sidewalk, begging for health”. Just google “hino da campanha da fraternidade” and listen. This is what Lent is like in Brazil, thanks to LT.

    So, while it may be possible to have an orthodox form of Liberation Theology, what *I* am speaking about is, indeed, evil.

    And the Basilica is, I repeat, their *hostage*. It is the most important church in Brazil, and until the Pope has political strength to give it to someone orthodox, we will know they are still too powerful. They won’t let it go to orthodox hands while they can prevent it from happening.

    Now for the “Grito dos Excluídos” (“cry of the excluded”) celebration. I wonder why, if it were not a Communist gathering, all hard-line Communist parties and “social movements” (including the extremely violent MST, “landless movement”) would send representatives. If one just googles it, it is easy to find photos of huge red flags with the insignia of Communist parties (as PSTU, “against the bourgeois, vote PSTU”, PSOL, PCB, etc.), as well as the Soviet-like Socialist Realism posters announcing the event.

    BTW, while you English-speakers have new translations, the LT-controlled Brazilian Bishops’ Conference hasn’t even begun to re-translate the Mass texts. And ours are *much* worse than the old ICEL version. The (LT) Bishop who was in charge (Msgr. Clemente Isnard) said “we could only get away with it because there were no Portuguese experts in Rome”. The changing parts (collect, etc.) are more or less OK, but the unchanging parts were demolished. Answers were added throughout the Canon, a Brazil-only LT Eucharistic Prayer was added, and so forth. If you thought “and also with you” was too far away from the original Latin, try the Brazilian “Ele está no meio de nós” (“He is among us”, or “He is in our midst”) instead. This is Liberaion Theology. Sorry to repeat myself so much, but it *is* evil.

    And the liturgists in Aparecida are always tring to make things worse. As the Aparecida Masses are broadcasted throughout the country, it has a terrible effect. For instance, they usually substitute something different for the Gloria and the Sanctus, they make a pont *not to* have priests distributing the Most Holy Sacrament (there are always plenty of priests there, but if they do not have EMs enough, they will always call laypeople), etc. I know a good Bishop who, after celebrating there, said “I think I managed to prevent the kings of liturgical abuse from turning this Mass into something shameful”. They are the kings of liturgical abuse.

    The videos I linked are just what I said they were, and what Mr. Shea originally thought the Novena video was: regular people, doing their clueless best to honor God. Sorry if the hoods and torches remind you of something untasteful from your culture, but, believe me, it probably goes on the opposite sense. Hoods and torches are a Catholic tradition, found in plenty of different countries, and probably KKK copied it from something they saw in the Catholic South of the USA.

    In Aparecida, what we have is a parody, intentionally designed by people who want to twart the solemn cult of Our Lady.

    May she deliver Brazil from the evils of Liberation Theology!


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