Techno Gothic Mass

I have heard of these techno Masses, and here’s a question for you. What would be wrong with a techno-Gothic Mass?  You put up big screens up front and before Mass you have slide shows of great Catholic art fading in and out. You’ve got Gregorian chant playing in the background. The Church is in darkness and silence. Then a lone server comes out of the darkness and lights the candles–lots of them. The images fade. The live music begins. A lone voice singing the entrance antiphon in Gregorian chant. Then the lights come up and the procession begins. The people are singing a traditional hymn quietly and reverently. The altar servers–all boys–are solemn and perfectly trained. The homilist makes use of the wide screens for visual aids if he wants to, then they fade out. The movement of the Mass goes to the altar for the sacrifice of the Mass. The sacred vessels are beautiful old vessels finely made and beautiful. Once again, the music is solemn Gregorian chant–maybe Taize chants with instruments.

Would this be bad? If so why? Would it be good? If so why?

Answers and opinions in the combox.

  • cookasia

    sounds pretty much like a 1970s Protestant church service. Not Catholic at all….

  • Anneg

    Sounds beautiful. I like the lots of candles and good music. How would you keep the schoolyard chatter down, though?

  • Annie

    Bad idea. We are not here for entertainment. We are here for solomn worship. With all the techno stuff, the odds of it breaking down are high. God never breaks down. Let's just keep it simple and keep the focus where it needs to be.

  • Lynn

    That actually sounds really neat to me, at least for an occasional Mass.

  • FacebookApostles

    I Could Get into this in a BIG way.

  • codum

    For me, it's too far removed from real live flesh and blood, which means it's too far removed from the Incarnation. Images? Yes. Images of images? I'm not so sure. I know that's not a clear cut line. It just doesn't feel right.

  • Babs

    i probably wouldn't mind it at a prayer service, or other non-Mass service. I might appreciate it. Instinctively, tho, it seems wrong to celebrate a Mass with the extra visuals – whether they fade out, or not.

  • Annie

    I hope you are not serious!

  • Robyn

    Sorry, I can't see this as a good thing in any way.. It smacks of the Baptist etc. "Mega Churches". I say no thanks

  • Joseph K @ Defend Us In Battle

    This sounds very "Created" to me. As if the Liturgy – the production of it here, is being "created" or manufactured. The Mass – the Liturgical aspects of it, are not something we create or perform week to week. There are rubrics and rites for a reason. They are organically developed through time and tradition. This is something manufactured and designed. I think that when we try and "make the Mass" a certain way… we have lost our understanding of what the Mass truly is.Sure, some of the "things" you mentioned might be able to be incorporated into the Mass in an appropriate way, but somewhere along the way you crossed that line of "cultural influence" and went full steam into "Liturgical Manufacturing."Just my take.

  • Lazarus

    My first thought is that liturgy should be about revealing God's glory. There is a fine line between revealing God and distracting the worshipper from God by interposing objects or actions that draw attention to their own beauty or strikingness. (And this sounds like it would fall into the latter category.)And I'd agree with Joseph K about the need for organic growth rather than design.

  • kkollwitz


  • Fr Jay Scott Newman

    Would it be strange and inappropriate for a man to give a Power Point presentation in his bedroom just before being intimate with his wife? Even if it were really entertaining and uplifting? Of course it would be in appropriate, and if it's not self-evident why that would be bizarre, then it's probably not worth the effort to convince the doubter. Nevertheless, here's a go:The sacred liturgy is the privileged place in which in the human and divine intersect, and what we bring to the act of worship should not be our technology but our selves: our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our voices.Moreover, the Church receives the liturgy; she doesn't manufacture it, and she has no authority to introduce such innovations. The purpose of worship is worship for its own sake, not for entertaining, informing, or making people feel better. The use of art and music of the sort Fr Longenecker describes might be appropriate in a class or conference, but not in the celebration of the sacraments. But, I can hear the earnest objection rising, don't we use art and music in our churches already? Yes, we do, and they serve fittingly as aids to our worship. But techno images and canned music are not art, they are artifice. They are as different from real sacred art as a false flickering votive light is from a real flickering votive candle.Let's avoid "Techno Gothic" liturgy for the same reason we don't put fake flowers on altars or caskets.

  • Marilyn

    Quite frankly, I’m horrified by the idea. It sounds very New Age compatible with Trappist Thomas Keating’s contemplative prayer and Taize worship services.

  • RJF

    This sounds horrific. This is just like the Evangelical mega-church stage-run "services" I've witnessed that are designed to entertain rather than inculcate worship of God. The Mass is NOT about us. In a much less garish fashion, this is similar to having the priest face the people during Mass. As Pope Benedict XVI has stated, it creates an enclosed atmosphere, where the people are paying more attention to themselves and their own sentiments rather than worship God. The techno Mass does the same thing. People don't like to think of it this way, but Mass is really hard work if you put the energy into prayer, paying attention, and offering ourselves as living sacrifices.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Best comment so far from Fr Newman–about canned music and light shows: "this is not art. It is artifice."

  • Lynn

    I used to be a Protestant and went to mega churches, and what Fr is describing does not sound like that at all, with the exception of the powerpoint, which I think is tacky but don't know whether that's my taste or if it's a deal-breaker. It sounds to me (and correct me if I'm wrong!) that what he describes, at least during the liturgy, it just Mass according to the rubrics with really good gregorian chant and excellent servers and loads of candles. And a beautifully sung entrance antiphon instead of a silly song. What I'm hearing is the antidote to formality=boring, which I've never believed, anyway. I just reread the post to double check, and once Mass has started, the "techno" bells and whistles are put away.

  • Dismas

    This concept disturbs me. It somehow implies that the traditional liturgy lacks or has been missing something for the last 2000 years. This calls to mind theater. Rather than creatures offering the worship they owe God, doesn't this seek to turn the Mass into a source of entertainment for creatures? Doesn't this smack of the abuses and modernism that we hear so widely criticized and so desperately attempt to expunge from our Novus Ordo Liturgy?

  • RC

    The atmospheric elements before Mass seem harmless. They might give people some aid to devotion and reduce the temptation to chat. Using projection screens during Mass seems out of place: they would be an intrusion of business technology into the liturgy, and one more obvious element separating us from the practices of our ancestors in the faith.

  • Dennis

    Perhaps I am missing something, but doesn't almost all of the extras mention happen before Mass? If so, then is it interfering with the rubrics or the tradition of the liturgy?Outside of disagreeing about using the screens during the homily, I do not consider this as bad of an idea as others (though I am still thinking about it). I would not view these things as entertainment, but as prayerful aides and reminders of the beauty that surrounds us and saturates our faith. If beauty is from God, does not our appreciation of it increase our appreciation for the one who created it? It may also help silence those who, instead of prayer and reflection before Mass, decide it is a great time to talk to others about what happened that past weekend or the upcoming game.

  • Beth (JanMarie)

    For Catholicism to survive, I believe we must keep "the Sacred", in the Sacrament of the Mass. There are already many Protestant mega-churches with big screens and theatrics. I love the sacredness, simplicity and sanctity of the Catholic Church.

  • Elizabeth

    Yes it would be bad.No screens or recorded music before, during or after Mass for any reason. Liturgy is not theatre. I pray before (and during and after) Mass and it would drive me insane if there was canned music and/or a slideshow during that time.No fake candles (and they better be at least 51% beeswax), no fake flowers, and never ever ever polyester altar linens (they don't stain, neither do they absorb). And that chasuble better be wool or silk or something! The chalice, solid gold or sterling! And no toupee or hair dye! Get those false teeth out of here! replacement heart valve, I don't think… okay, you can keep that. Sorry I got carried away.When I was a child I wrote a report about John James Audubon, who created his magnificent set of huge hand colored prints of American birds with the very best materials and methods, he said "Let it be the true metal, if copper, copper, if gold, gold, but not copper gilded." I liked that philosophy. Now in fact sometimes one can have a chalice that is electroplated or a chasuble that involves acetate and in hospitals I guess they can have electric sanctuary lamps. But there is nothing more real than Mass so it seems good when everything is very real… real music, real art, real Jesus.

  • kozz

    Well, Father, there are a couple of offerings of mass offered in the Hindu puja style. One of which that happened in my Catholic schooling days a couple of years ago, which I had attended. The priest used a vermilion shawl instead of a stole and sat on the ground cross legged with the Eucharist and offerings around.I think it was "adapted" to breed familiarity and kinship with the Hindus.I didn't like it at all, and neither did most Catholic classmates.

  • mister corduroy
  • Kiwiradarman

    I had the privilege of going to Mass at Taize in France this Sunday. It was an amazing experience, a multilingual mass, the chanting, the reflection and sharing the Eucharist with over 1000 young people.
    I found myself singing in French, Latin, Polish and German as well as English, you could feel the universal church in action.