I Apologize. I was Wrong. I. Had. No. Idea.

I Apologize. I was Wrong. I. Had. No. Idea. April 8, 2015

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Steve Moskowitz https://www.flickr.com/photos/alyssafilmmaker/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Steve Moskowitz https://www.flickr.com/photos/alyssafilmmaker/

I apologize to everyone I ever dissed for being too concerned about the state of the liturgy.

Evidently I have lived a blessed Catholic life. I’ve attended mass all over the world, on … lessee … three continents, an island nation and another island out by itself in the Pacific that was not a nation. I’ve participated in truly holy liturgies in private homes, on mountaintops, in one-room churches and grand cathedrals. In all that time, I have not seen anything like this.

In Oklahoma — otherwise known as God’s Country — the mass is the mass is the mass. Some of our priests can sing; others are tone deaf. That’s about it for problem liturgy around these parts.

I honestly thought the people who came on this blog and ripped and snorted about bad liturgy were hypering themselves into a frenzy over nothing much at all. But now I know.

There really are nutty masses and performer priests who knock Jesus right out of center place and take a big swooping bow for themselves.

I offer exhibit A from Seattle, the land of high school students who determine Church teaching and bishops who let them do it; the same bishop who was supposed to discipline the sisters and bring them back in line. Instead of mass, what we get here is a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof or some such.

Again, I apologize to every person I ever dissed for their talk of clown masses.

I. Had. No. Idea.


NOTE: The video above was uploaded to YouTube in 2010. However, this photo was taken of a parish during mass in the same archdiocese this year. See also the video of the full mass in this same church.



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143 responses to “I Apologize. I was Wrong. I. Had. No. Idea.”

  1. LOL, I’m laughing at the video, but I should be crying. I can’t believe that was serious. I just hope it’s a joke, but given it comes from the nutty left coast I suspect it’s true. I’m spoiled in New York City too but I realized when i went to mass in Toledo once that some things are not as liturgically disciplined as what I’m used to. At that mass in Toledo the whole congregation held hands together and over their heads during the Our Father. And when I mean the whole congregation I mean across the entire aisle and with the corresponding aisle across.

  2. I can’t stop watching it. I just want to write a letter to our chancery thanking them for all their hard work after watching this.

  3. In defense of Archbishop Sartain, he did not “let” high school students determine Church teaching. What happened at Eastside Catholic was ridiculous, and Archbishop Sartain had very little he could do because the way the school is structured. It was specifically chartered long before he got there to operate independently from the Archdiocese. He is not legally able to make administrative decisions. These decisions are determined by a president and a board.

    And if I’m not mistaken, the LCWR investigation is still ongoing and is not yet completed. The most recent investigation was one being conducted about religious life in general, as opposed to the leadership body itself.

    Furthermore, insinuating he is weak is a great injustice to him seeing as how he led us through some very difficult and unpopular times in our diocese. He led us through the process of instituting the new Roman Missal (which you might not know was very difficult and he faced a lot of resistance from priests of the Archdiocese) as well as defending marriage, taking serious flack from many corners of the Archdiocese.

    St. Patrick’s in Seattle is known for it’s terrible liturgy, as you demonstrate, but having them at St. Patrick’s keeps them all out of the rest of our parishes. If they didn’t have St. Pat’s they would be making our liturgy miserable as well. But in St. Patrick’s defense, they have a very large ministry to the deaf, and so they try to make it more “visual” in order to reach out to this community. I think they cross the line more often than not, but it just isn’t worth cracking down on.

    Archbishop Sartain is a wonderful Archbishop. We are blessed to have him in Seattle.

  4. Wow. Ugh. Never been a fan of liturgical dance – if that’s what this is, that is. And I haven’t seen it for many a year (thankfully). It just confirms my belief that the Seattle-Tacoma area is populated by aging hippies who are unaware they are now the establishment they once railed against. This is neither revolutionary nor pertinent; it’s embarrassing. At least from my perspective. And I’m glad I wasn’t at there, I would have quietly walked out.

  5. If you described it, but not posted the video, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Yikes.

  6. Those who encounter beautiful liturgies across the world (in the different forms) have to remember that there will be some parishes that have ugly masses. Meanwhile, those who encounter ugly masses need to remember that their experiences don’t mean that the post-Vatican II church is secretly a three-ring circus. I’ve bene likewise fortunate to always be around good masses (the worst I can say about most of them was when some would lean too heavily on the 1970s-1980s hymnals, although I love how my own parish uses mainly classic hymns).

    Even when I was a student in Berkeley, CA, the most I could point to was odd architecture, newer hymns, and a (actually-welcome) predilection for a longer Sign of Peace (couples and families forget that faithful single Catholics usually get no physical contact in a week aside from those handshakes)…

  7. Can you not talk crap about our archbishop? Archbishop Sartain has been an enormous blessing to Seattle and has really been a huge support to orthodoxy. Misrepresenting the students ditching school to protest school policy as if it’s something he could have stopped is extremely uncharitable.

    Stick to what you know and don’t make enemies out of friends.

  8. I couldn’t bring myself to finish watching the video. Apparently I’ve been pretty blessed as far as the Masses I’ve attended as well, because I’ve never seen anything that blatantly wrong in a Mass before. Did you notice that the altar was shoved off to the side?

  9. Speaking as a Catholic in the PNW, that kind of thing is no more commonplace out here than it is anywhere else. Yeah there are far out parishes that draw the aging hippie crowd and put on this kind of silly display. They are far outnumbered by normal, average parishes with normal, average Masses.

  10. As someone who grew up with the Latin Mass, then left the Church for a very long time, and saw some of the ridiculous shenanigans on Youtube when I returned through God’s grace, I was flabberghasted. I just avoid all of that like the plague now.

  11. From what I’ve read — and it may be out of date — the Archbishop replaced the nun who was running the school, which sounds like crawfishing here in Okieland. Also, the students should have been expelled for walking out. There are plenty of kids — not so wealthy, perhaps, but certainly devout — who would benefit from a good education and would be happy to take their place. Sometimes, ya gotta stand for something instead of running way. From down here where I live, it looked like the bishop ducked.

  12. And my parish used to draw this sort of thing, until I mentioned to a dancer that her outfit was a bit inappropriate….then it stopped.

    Since then we’ve got a much more conservative pastor and Mass attendance dropped 75%- but is now beginning to rebound.

  13. Is this the same parish that had the “We’re #12” display during the Superbowl?

    I’m familiar with Adaptive Liturgy for the Disabled (and go to a Mass specifically for that once a month that is liturgically minimalist and sometimes the gospel is acted out just to be sure even the most dysfunctional child or adult understands) but this seems a bit over the top.

  14. Yes, and no crucifix. I’ve been in parishes like that. Thought it was the norm when I came back to States as a Catholic. Found out it wasn’t, went someplace else.

  15. That is ridiculous, and my high school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof was much better.

  16. Please apologize to our current Archbishop. This video shows it was done in 2010 before Archbishop Sartain was here. He is a holy and orthodox bishop and we are very fortunate to have him here. Our last two actually have been very good. I don’t know what happened at this church service but I’m sure they would not condone it. Western Washington is an unchurched, very liberal, sometimes very weird place so happenings like this do not surprise me but there is also a remnant of good, faithful Catholics and wonderful young orthodox priests. Praise God.

  17. Media says the nun retired. The media also said she made a statement that would be seen as pro gay marriage. I doubt that is true based on friends of mine who know her but I don’t know all the facts. I don’t think replacing the nun running the school is a good reason to throw him under the bus. There may have been valid reasons.

  18. No, it is not the same parish.

    I agree, this is over the top. They use their deaf community as an excuse to do odd things like this.

    I think you cross a line when your liturgy becomes unrecognizable to the faithful. That is what this parish has done. They believe they are progressive and welcoming, but they have created an environment that is actually very inhospitable to outsiders.

  19. I don’t believe the Archbishop has any authority at Eastside Catholic, and I don’t think you quite get what things are like here in the PNW. Sartain has done a remarkable job moving things towards sanity. But if you’ve never lived here, you wouldn’t know.

    Archbishop Sartain has a great track record of standing for something. See my previous post. He took incredible amounts of flack from the media as well as his own flock for defending marriage.

    I’m all for calling ugly things ugly, and this liturgy is ugly. But your attack on the Archbishop is totally unnecessary. Trust those of us who live here.

  20. Oh, I don’t think Steve was being impolite. He pointed out your lack of charity politely.

    As stated elsewhere, your criticism of the Archbishop is misguided.

  21. The comment Ms Hamilton made is actually unfounded in facts. The video was uplinked to YouTube in April 2010, Bishop Sartain was installed Dec 1, 2010.

  22. Irreverent, tasteless, and arrogant, to turn the altar of God into a stage, using the Word of God as a performance vehicle.

  23. I’m surprised that you’re surprised. There’s a good reason ex-Catholics are the second largest denomination – stuff like this. One can only wonder what these jokers did to the Eucharist! The good thing is the dancer has some modicum of talent. You ought to see one of these floor shows when the dancer is 62 and 50 lbs. overweight and wears a leotard! That’s a real bile raiser.

  24. The Easter Vigil is a mass. In fact, it’s THE Mass, in that it is the central representational-commemorative act of the event that all other masses represent and commemorate in a trim or abbreviated way.

    If the Mass is no time for tomfoolery, then the Easter Vigil is even less so.

  25. I don’t know anything about the bishop, but while the perfect may not be the enemy of the good, it certainly is the enemy of this mess.

  26. I went to a Good Friday service once that was rather like this. I left. I just couldn’t take it any more.

  27. While it’s not appropriate for Mass, this does seem like the kind of thing that might be used as an evangelistic tool for children (like at summer catechism camps) and “seekers” who are just beginning to get a sense of the salvation story. I thought her dancing was very graceful and the interaction would have worked well for kids. Just not at that particular time, in that particular situation.

  28. Probably not. It was the third Old Testament reading, which should have been done by a lector.

  29. This is called Liturgical Dance..highly controversial and as I understand not recommended by the Vatican. But we shouldn’t make fun or make big of being horrified. PRAY PRAY PRAY for the priests, the seminarians, the parishioners. Pray Pray Pray.

  30. I did notice someone in black on the left signing so those who can’t hear could understand what was being read, but I thought the dancing would be a distraction to some of those who have multiple disabilities.

  31. My priest, far more conservative than this, sung the prayers of the faithful Good Friday- in Gregorian Chant. Which is of course, no comparison to show tunes about Israel in the Sea.

  32. Just a note to defend +Sartain- this video is from 2010. I’m not saying these things aren’t happening now, but it’s not fair to him to mention him so explicitly when he wasn’t even Archbishop when this happened.
    I envy your ignorance of abuses like this. : ) …It can get pretty bad. : (

  33. The Vigil IS Mass. Have you never been to the Easter Vigil? If not, you are missing out, done correctly it is the ultimate Mass. This is an absolute travesty.

  34. Worked this morning. Last night I got an empty white section of screen where the video is now.
    I’m sorry to see that this is indeed out there. I’m like you, in my central MN location, I’ve been blessed with Masses, not sideshows.

  35. I witnessed cr-p like this in the 1980’s. The clown jumped out from behind the
    altar and gave lollies to children. It was Fr Ronald McDonald and he wanted to
    be luuuuuuuuuuuuuved..
    What is interesting is the lectern on one side with the “table” on the
    left. It is certainly is cross eyed. I know Christ is present in the
    Woooooooorrrrd and much as at Commmuniiiion tabbbble. No wrong….. Christ is
    truly present in the Holy Sacrament and the Mass is a participation in and
    representation of the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.
    Let me also say I cannot believe how those present during this ridiculous banal
    and offensive happening did not start laughing or throw hymn books interjecting. I would have heckled.
    How could such a stupid event been taken seriously at all. It is an outrageous sign
    of how stupid this sort of thing is. Are we all idiots whose American culture
    obliges us to accept and go along with this guff.
    Events like this truly bolster atheism. Without a sense of the sacred worship is turned into very bad vaudeville.

  36. Most embarrassing is the guy who is singing. Apparently some people have no sense of shame whatsoever.

  37. Is the Vigil not a Mass? The most important one of the entire year? And remember, Mass is not about what we “like”. It’s the universal prayer of the Church.

  38. Yes, more than anything else these people want to put on a Broadway show.

    The result is a poor quality replica of a poor quality Broadway show, done by poor quality local singers and dancers. As a result, this sort of thing is something that appeals to only about 2% of the population. It turns the rest of us cold, but it meets their need to be on display, which is apparently the only thing that counts.

  39. Isn’t the Easter Vigil a Mass? In fact, it could be said that it is the “Mass of the year.”

  40. That’s exactly the same thing I thought. Fiddler on the Roof…. and then, when I showed it to my wife last night, she blurted out “It’s Mass to Fiddler on the Roof!”

  41. BTW…. I grew up with this stuff being pretty common in the Northeast, Connecticut in particular.

  42. Honestly?

    I have no issues with it. Yeah, the singer’s not great, and I’m not a fan of interpretive dance, but this is a chanting of the Song of Miriam from Exodus.
    Maybe it’s because I grew up with it, but I’m used to chanting in my masses; the first pastor I knew growing up would chant most of the Eucharistic prayer – including the worlds of transubstantiation itself. Moreover, chanting is part of our rites since time immemorial- including the Jewish part of our history before we got started as Christians.

    Is the singer bad? Yeah. Is the dance stupid? Yeah.
    But I’m sure there’s examples of far worse.

  43. I am a convert from the Episcopal Church. My kids went to a non-Catholic religious school. Loved the teaching and tolerated the church services being entertainment. However, when it comes to mass, it is structured and engages me to anticipate the acceptance of the Holy Eucharist to my body. If I wanted entertainment mixed with my God, there is a church I n every corner that can fulfill that need for me.

  44. I would NEVER leave the Church Christ called me to … not unless He told me to leave, and I don’t expect that to happen. However, this has given me an understanding as to why some people are opting for things like the Latin mass. Again, not my cup of tea. I love the mass and the liturgy we have now. It heals my soul.

  45. I may have been wrong to conflate the bishop’s administration with this mass. I’m going to check it out and see. If I was, I’ll update the post to acknowledge that. However, I don’t think I’m wrong about his handling of the high school students. As for lack of charity, I don’t think it’s uncharitable to call bishops to task. It may be the kindest thing anyone could do for them.

  46. The reports I read said that the bishop replaced her after the thing blew up because she fired the vp. As I said, I’m referring to something that was dated. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll correct it. Give me links.

  47. Given that the chapter (Ex 15) includes references to ‘ Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.’ I think the whole is defensible as a dramatised reading. The question is whether it’s a helpful addition that adds to the understanding of the people present, and I think on that basis it fails. But the concept of dramatised readings, given that the Mass itself is a drama, is traditional.

  48. But I’m sure there’s examples of far worse.

    But this one is bad enough.

    And this is a curious instance of “chant.”

    Catholics – and our Lord – deserve better than this.

  49. Whoops – you miss the point that the Mass IS a drama, so it’s already a ‘stage’.

  50. The worst aspect of all to me is not the horrific singing, or the liturgical dancing, or even the bizarre Star Trek banners on the apse wall.

    No, the worst problem is that they moved the altar out of the center of the sanctuary. And they did it to make room for…dancing.

    Not hard to determine what matters most to this pastor – and it’s not the Eucharistic Lord.

  51. However, I don’t think I’m wrong about his handling of the high school students.

    Archbp. Sartain doesn’t seem to be a bad egg as bishops go, actually. But I would like to hear a defense of his handling of the high school debacle, which on current evidence I’ve seen looks like a clear misstep. He inherited a bad situation, taking over Hunthausen-Land; but I had hoped he might do something to make it better.

  52. I added a note below the main post. This video WAS uploaded in 2010. However, I still think that this diocese has problems, as the note will show.

  53. I don’t believe the Archbishop has any authority at Eastside Catholic.

    In that case, he had the canonical authority to remove the school’s Catholic charter. Why did he not do so?

  54. This ain’t chant or plainsong. It’s something else. It is a performance and that is not what mass is all about, especially not the vigil.
    The space around the altar is supposed to be he sanctuary, a holy space set aside for worship of God, particularly in the Eucharist.
    The dance was not demonstrative of anything. It was a performance. We are not supposed to use “liturgical dance” in mass at all. It has been proscribed.
    I don’t care if David danced around the altar of the Lord in the Holy of Holies naked we are not supposed to do that.
    You may sing, chant or read the Psalm.
    Finally, there have been lots of worse performances. I can refer you to some, that’s not the point. This is bad and should not happen.
    Btw, I think this song would be fun for kids to learn that psalm, but not in mass.

  55. Exactly! I went to a parish for a while that had this on the wall. I thought it was strange to have a sea turtle carapace on the wall.

  56. It is a Divine Drama, but a liturgy. It is the Re-presentation of the Passion and Death of Our Lord. And, as Catholics, we have a GIRM instructing as to form. You can’t decide to jazz it up and make it more dramatic or exciting, just like the priest cannot connect the Eucharist using Ritz crackers and Dr Pepper.
    The sanctuary recalls the Holy of Holies, the place that Jesus opened for us with His Death. It is a stage in only the most metaphorical sense.

  57. Our parish used to have the altar off to the side, too. That, no crucifix, no tabernacle in the sanctuary, no kneelers and no Stations were hallmarks of a certain generation. Fortunately for us, that has all been fixed.

  58. I’ve seen a priest and a deacon have a water fight with the Holy Water on the altar, a priest apologizing for the Bible readings to the mostly Protestant teachers/staff at a Catholic high school and a priest conducting what can only be thought of as a Baptist healing service of a Mass. And let’s not forget the yearly Religious Education Congress in LA/Anaheim each year with Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Vann in attendance – they obviously don’t care because it’s the same old heresy every year.

  59. Those green thingies on the Altar look like the entrance to a KOA. campground. Fear not…God WILL clean up this mess!

  60. I visit Seattle frequently and have attended Holy Mass at several parishes. I have never seen a faithful reverent Mass. (just one example: women reading the Gospel antiphonally with musical accompaniment) Many times, I have written to the bishop detailing what I have seen. I’m not criticizing the bishop. However, I have to ask (over and over) why this continues.

  61. Go to the parish website, google St Patrick’s Seattle. Look at all the lunacy on that website. This is a current and lived expression of the community it is also flatly prohibited by the Vatican.

  62. Sartain, Sample, and Cordileone have their work cut out for them on this coast but as far as I can tell all three are holding the line as best they can against an overwhelming tide of secularism and outright hostility towards the Church. I know I sure as heck wouldn’t want their jobs, though.

  63. The Mass is a re-presentation of Jesus’ suffering on Calvary. Maybe the congregation here thinks that this kind of abuse invites them to share in Our Lord’s agony.

  64. One cannot even begin to count the number of abuses seen in these examples of “liturgy”. Let’s get back to calling it what it truly is – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and behaving accordingly. Pray – for the priests and Bishops involved in sanctioning this stuff for they are not Masses but entertainment. Poor Jesus, what He must suffer from their lack of faith and total lack of respect and reverence for Him – their God and King. Pray much…

  65. I’m a huge Seahawks fan, and have been for decades. But not even I can countenance a celebration of the team around a Catholic altar.

    Maybe the outcome of Russell Wilson’s final pass in this year’s Super Bowl was God’s way of expressing a similar sentiment…

  66. The fact is the Mass is a prayer, the holiest and highest of prayers, where heaven and earth are combined in the celebration of the one sacrifice. No one was dancing at the foot of the cross. The focus is on Christ and only Christ. Any extras that take away our focus from Him and add to ourselves…that’s just not what Mass was intended for. I must admit, I too was attracted to a lot of these things growing up, but I want to prepare my soul for heaven. We must die to ourselves, die from earthly and selfish needs, and live for Christ, humble and holy.

  67. “I don’t care if David danced around the altar of the Lord in the Holy of Holies naked we are not supposed to do that.”
    It’s depressing to watch biblical illiteracy make fools of fellow Christians. The story of David and dancing is in 2 Sam 6. The story is subtle, but surely emphasises that extravagant worship is appropriate. The issue for the Western church is to establish what that should look like in the modern context. It is clear that the historic culture of classic music and understated expression is no long a part of our culture. Given that we are called to enculturate Christianity, we are duty bound to engage with modern culture to establish new ways of worship that do reflect the modern culture. To fail to do so is ultimately to deny the doctrine of the Incarnation, as well as leaving the church being unable to speak to those whom Jesus died to bring to His father.

    This is NOT to defend this particular exercise – but to widen the debate to ensure that we are starting from the correct theological presupposition. Indeed the story of David is a warning to us: his wife Michal who ‘despised’ David for his style of worship, was left without children. In the same way if we despise culturally appropriate worship, we will be left without spiritual children; indeed this has already happened to a vast extent.

    I repeat – this doesn’t necessarily justify this, but it does challenge the assumption that ‘what we’ve always done is legitimate’ argument; this attitude is, quite simply, sinful.

  68. “In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

    “In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.” [Sacrosanctum Concilium 21]

  69. My church does use liturgical dance. at the beginning of mass and at other times. but not to such excess that overcomes the worshipfulness of the mass. WOW.

  70. In my diocese, a parish had a kind of passion play during the reading of the Passion. High school kids played various parts. The Jewish leaders were wearing…classic, Gothic-style Mass vestments.

    Three boys played Jesus and the thieves; they were “nailed” to crosses over to one side. Unlike another passion play I saw portrayed on the website of a parish I used to attend, they kept their shirts on.

    The “best” (worst) part? They re-enacted the Last Supper on the altar. With bread and some red liquid in a carafe. This is at the same altar where the real Mass will take place a little later.

    I didn’t attend it, but a proud member of the parish posted pics all over Facebook.

    I mention this only to show that the situation in Seattle is not isolated.

  71. In no Vatican document is there said thar we must establish new ways of worship. The new worship that was given was the Novus Ordo and there is a rubrics governing what is appropriate and what is not, even with regard to music, Latin and chant are still supposed to be given a place. The must be careful consideration to avoid embracing that which is banal, and this was empgasized many time by Pope Benedict XVI. The bottom line, we are not supposed to conform to the world. While we are supposed to go out into it and meet people and bring Christ into the world, meet the challenges, this does not include corrupting the liturgy.

  72. No wonder our children stop belieiving in God right after Sophomore year in high school. This is phony, if this was really Gods house noone would act this way. The kids are about autherniticy and this is full blow phoniness….Blame the wayard Bishops. As you Pray is How you believe and there is no believe here as ther eis no prayer, just performance…Find a Latin Tridentine Mass and re-join the full, authentic, Holy Catholic worship of God. It is glorious beyond words!

  73. Unfortunately, it appears that the parish Facebook page depicts the Easter Vigil from this weekend…complete with liturgical dancing. Apparently it is still going on.

  74. It is indeed true that this video is from five years ago – before the present Archbishop was put in place.

    However, apparently the liturgical dancing is still going on, at least at the Easter Vigil – the parish’s Facebook page photos show as much. We may have to assume that the Seattle Ecclesiastical Cold War policy in place may well be Containment rather than Rollback.

  75. “this does not include corrupting the liturgy”

    Where do you suppose the liturgy came from? Some visit by a saint to heaven to see how it was done there? It emerged from the culture of the Roman Empire. Of course there are elements that the modern traditionalists have lost: Augustine of Hippo preached for over an hour when he was preaching a short sermon. Funny that.

    However the question remains: can the people of today’s world engage with God through what happens in our churches. If that is not the case, then we are not truly incarnating Jesus, however much we believe the doctrine of transubstantiation. This DOESN’T mean that the Latin mass or whatever should be totally eliminated, but it does mean that we need to ask hard questions about what will enable God’s message to be heard. If it is not being heard, we are not being faithful disciples of God.

  76. This is surely bad, but heckling at Mass? A Mass is a Mass, however badly and irreverently the worship music is handled, and we shouldn’t interrupt or heckle with it. By all means, complain afterwards and make it clear that you see this as an offense to true worship of Christ, but not *during* the Mass!

  77. The liturgy actually did not arise out of the culture of the Roman Empire, as the Eucharist was celebrated even before Catholicism was taken as its official religion. There are elements or influences of the Roman culture; for example, genuflection as an act of respect and reverence, but much of the Mass was taken from Jewish ritual. The language was originally in Greek and over time Latin was adopted.

    When we talk of worship as it pertains to the liturgy, it must first be realized that it is first and foremost offered to God and that it is the highest form of the prayer of the Church. The elements and symbols used are there to raise man to God and to remove man from the world and bring him to the divine. This was also accounting the elaborate architecture of many churches through the centuries.

    The Church engages the world in a variety of way to the help post-modern man see and reach God. This would of course account for the various means of social media that the Church uses for evangelization, education programs, out reach, aid programs, etc. Following the the Second Vatican Council we see the changing of the liturgy, the use of vernacular and such. These are all acceptable means of worship, but worship, as regards the liturgy is governed. It is not conducted as private prayer. Holy Mother Church has dictated what is appropriate, so to use means that are not prescribed are a corruption, or better stated as a liturgical abuse. While we have great freedom in our various means of meeting the world, our freedom is not at the expense of the liturgy.

    As for Latin, amazingly enough it is not just supposed to be in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Sacrosanctum Concilium makes it known that:

    “36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

    “54. …Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

    As for earlier, I mentioned the use of chant and that other music should not be banal. Sacrosanctum Concilium gives direction for that too:

    “116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

    But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.”

    Ultimately, we see that a Reform of the Reform was begun. There is supposed to be a greater return a more reverent use of language and greater use of chant. There should be a moving away to novelty of worship within the liturgy.

  78. Regardless, people are circling like sharks that have smelled blood to get a look see and they want to be mortified at this scene. It’s sad. If I wasn’t Christian and I stumbled across these comments I would think this was not a group of Christian people. My request is to start praying and stop being indignant.

  79. Yes, we’ve been to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Mary Magdalene in Everett and St. Micheal in Snohomish, and they have all been beautiful, reverent masses. This happens, and it shouldn’t happen, but it isn’t happening in every parish in that diocese.

  80. I am culturally illiterate and I have a lot of sinful attitudes. I confess that.
    My comment regarding dancing for the Lord still stands. I do know where to find that scripture and I know he was worshipping. It was also in private. Michal looked in, saw him and did not understand. But, my comment that we cannot do that still stands. If you want clothed exuberance, there is the Charismatic Renewal. I said I like the song as a song for kids. It would do a great job of teaching the story of salvation. It is not appropriate for mass.
    And, the young people I know, if they even noticed it, would think it is lame. I do not think it in any way reflects “engaging the culture.”
    We have to reach out to people, show them the Lord, and bring them in. This does not do that.
    There is no awe, wonder or sense of worship of God in this performance.
    Btw, one thing I am not is Biblically illiterate. I may be foolish but that is not the fault of My study of Scripture.

  81. We do NOT incarnate Jesus. He did that Himself.
    Our liturgy came from the Jewish Temple worship, not the Roman Empire. The vestments came from the Roman Empire.
    There is a problem when there is no understanding, as someone said, of Heaven opening to Earth and Earth being drawn up to heaven in the Eucharist. That is what happens at every single mass.
    If we treat our worship as perfunctory or a personal performance we teach that it isn’t important. That is what the modern, bad, sappy music teaches.
    Btw, the Eastern Churches use the Mass of St John Chrisostom, from the second century. When you go to an eastern liturgy, you know God is there.
    If you want to lead people to God show them Jesus and pray for them.

  82. Hah, Ken, I don’t think there is anything you can say that Baptists don’t do any more. Some have liturgical services and a cross! And some have sorta lively healing services!

  83. There’s the source of your confusion.

    The Vigil is ALWAYS Mass. There is NO joining together with Mass.

    The garbage on that video is the de-sacralization of the Mass.

  84. Bad singing is everywhere. It is undesirable but does not count as a liturgical abuse – usually.

    Dance is strictly prohibited at Mass.


  85. Fortunately, you have no legitimate basis for the distortion of the Mass you propose. Not only do you lack authority to impose your notions on other Catholics, you ignore completely that “liturgical” dance is strictly prohibited – and for good reason.

    Your efforts to justify that which is illicit is nothing but dust. We are – in fact – NOT “duty-bound…to establish new ways of worship that do reflect the modern culture.” here on earth did you get that? Certainly not in Sacrosanctum Concilium, unless you engage in sleight-of-hand to find the meaning you desire.

    Of course, this sort of envelope pushing is exactly what we have come to expect from progressives in the Church. However, unlike what occurred in the 60s, this time – and from now on – you can expect significant push-back whenever this sort of nonsense is advanced in the Church.

  86. Phil, this is more an attack on the other commenter than a defense of your position. Please stay on the issues.

  87. I think you’re going a bit too far Phil in the implication that the Eucharist in this mass is not valid.

  88. Chanting, in and of itself, is not performance. This chanting is part of a performance; it is entertainment. The focus is strictly and solely on the performances of those involved, and not on God. Athelstane points out another travesty: “No, the worst problem is that they moved the altar out of the center of the sanctuary. And they did it to make room for…dancing.”

    That there are “examples of far worse” is an appeal to the lowest common denominator, the “lesser of two evils”, which is how inappropriate, unacceptable, and irreverent practices in the Church of God gain a foothold. No pass is to be given to or accepted for any perversion of practices in the false name of “diversity”.

  89. “…we are duty bound to engage with modern culture to establish new ways of worship that do reflect the modern culture.” I disagree. the priorities are twisted here. The purpose of worship at Mass is not to ‘reflect modern culture’, but ‘modern culture’ must reflect the Mass.

  90. No, no one is “circling like sharks”, imho. All I see in these comments is general disagreement, because many understand that entertainment has no place in the Mass because the focus is removed from Christ, the Center. That some say it is tasteless and irreverent (which is my firm view, too) doesn’t make it un-Christian; it makes it supportive of the Mass’s purpose.

  91. Just a comment on the use of “denomination”. Perhaps Rebecca, you can tell me if this is correct: Catholicism is not a denomination; it is the One, Holy, Apostolic, Universal Church. Other religions which broke away from it are denominations.

  92. Actually, the parish is very small. When they built I-5 and some of the surrounding elements it decimated the amount of homes in the parish boundaries. They have a very small amount of registered parishioners who are actually live in the parish boundaries. Most of the people travel a considerable distance to be there because they like this sort of thing.

  93. The altar of God is not a stage. Please do not confuse the Mass, the liturgy, with theatrical performance; the two are not interchangeable.

  94. Unfortunately, there aren’t links besides this one, in which the Archbishop supported the decision of Eastside Catholic to terminate: https://www.eastsidecatholic.org/ftpimages/528/download/download_986757.pdf

    The bishop’s job is to teach. I believe the Archbishop did exactly what he needed to do here. The students learned that the vice principals marriage is out of line with Catholic teaching. The students did not get what they wanted. If they reject Church teaching, the bishop can’t really control that.

  95. Why should he? The school wound up doing what you wanted and the students protest was ultimately ineffective.

  96. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, FW Ken. I had to have replied in error to you, and meant to make my comment elsewhere. Your singing the psalmody and the Litany of the Saints is not performance based, of course, and is liturgically correct.

  97. Great, now the 12 mass video is up. I have a friend who works at that parish and he had no idea this was even being planned. How could the Archbishop have known? Archbishop Sartains expectations regarding the liturgy are very, very clear. People who deviate from them are being disobedient.

    I know for a fact that after calls came into the chancery about this Mass swift action was taken by the Archbishop, which is exactly what we should all want. This is not indicative at all of his leadership. Rather, it is indicative of a misguided (and relatively recently ordained) priest who learned a valuable lesson and seems to have learned from his mistakes.

    As for St. Patrick’s, again, I know it isn’t a good excuse but this is allowed precisely because of the deaf Catholic population in the city of Seattle. This is their parish. They can’t enjoy the beautiful music at our Cathedral so these people attempt to give them something beautiful with their eyes. I think they miss the mark, but I’m not deaf so I’m not going to pretend that I know what it is like to be deaf.

    Look, no bishop is beyond criticism, but to blame Archbishop Sartain for problems with roots that began decades ago is not helpful. In the last 15 years or so since I’ve been a practicing Catholic we’ve seen nothing but progress (the good kind) under his leadership.

    Please apologize to Archbishop Sartain. He needs the support of the faithful, not their misguided criticism.

  98. How was it a misstep? What outcome did not occur that he had any control over? Catholic teaching was reaffirmed. Whether or not the students, faculty, or anyone else accepted it is out of the Archbishops hands.

  99. You are seriously mistaken on this point. The liturgy of the Word forms a single liturgy with the liturgy of the Eucharist to comprise together the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And there is tremendous theological importance attached to that unity of Word and Sacrament (more than can be gone into in a blog comment). This occurred at Mass, no question.

  100. The people of today’s world must be willing and open of heart to become engage in the Church. What will enable God’s message to be heard are those who come ready and willing to listen and learn. Jesus is always present at the Mass, and if/when some can not engage, or refuse to engage, that will never invalidate Christ’s presence (“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20) And, the doctrine of transubstantiation is immutable.

  101. Perhaps because now, you understand the Mass in ways you didn’t as a younger person? A theory, which comes from my assessment of myself.

  102. Andrew, as a new Catholic in Seattle, what you say about the Archbishop is very good to hear. I decided to go to my Dominican parish partly because of Mark Shea, but also because I saw something on the website of what would otherwise be my parish about liturgical dance at Easter. This was a few years ago, and the dancing was in the parish hall, not during mass, but still …. (It didn’t help that they had not updated any info about RCIA in a couple of years.)

  103. I second the recommendation for Blessed Sacrament in the University District. Masses are wonderful and entirely worshipful.

  104. Seattle is one of the most liberal areas, with the least churched population in the country. Of COURSE it’s a troubled archdiocese.

    Archbishop Sartain’s entire tenure here has been combatting that secular and frankly heterodox approach to the the faith. Again, I *politely* ask you not to make scapegoats out of friends. You know nothing about us.

  105. The majority of students at Catholic schools typically aren’t Catholic. Of those that are they’re not necessarily orthodox.

    This is indeed a problem with Catholic schools, but you’d be surprised at how little control bishops have over them. Even if they did they can’t make orthodox Catholics out of all the students, can they?

  106. Because he’d have to do that for just about every Catholic school around here. I don’t think you understand the situation.

  107. Not as long as the priest-celebrant is not the one also hearing confessions while simultaneously celebrating Mass 😉 . (Sometimes there are confessions before the Latin Mass at my parish and it will extend past the start of Mass–obviously by another priest. It’s not ideal, but that’s better than the confessor suddenly ending the confession of someone who urgently needs to confess, be counselled, etc. then absolved.) http://www.stmarynorwalk.net/

  108. When all else fails, there’s always the Anglican Ordinariate–which is in full communion with Rome, established by Pope Benedict for former Anglicans/Episcopalians who wished to restore communion with Rome but retain many of their own liturgical traditions: http://www.usordinariate.org/parishfinder

    An article about their liturgy: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2013/12/06/the-ordinariate-liturgy-is-even-more-splendid-in-action-than-it-seemed-on-the-page-the-church-has-absorbed-elements-of-the-anglican-patrimony-i-hadnt-anticipated/
    There’s an old joke that “Episcopalians will be saved by good taste alone”. Not true, of course. But now former Episcopalians can be saved with the aid of valid sacraments–but still exercise good taste–and liturgy the exudes a sense of awe and sacredness.

  109. According to an authority I know, it is not ideal, but allowed depending on the needs of the community.

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