Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Making fools of themselves

James Preece has blogged about the visit of the relics of St John Bosco to Liverpool Cathedral. St John was greeted by (rather bad) liturgical dancers; happily for posterity they were (rather badly) recorded by the organisers. Warning: this is incredibly depressing.
Now of course everyone knows by now that liturgical dance is not allowed, at least in Europe and North America? The references are all here, in a letter from Cardinal Arinze.

Eccles and Bosco have posted about this extraordinary video which has apparantly been made in all seriousness by campaigners for women's ordination. The dancing is a bit better, and the overall effect is hilarious.

Why do these people want to make such fools of themselves? They are certainly handing a lot of ammunition to their opponents.


  1. The question on my lips is: Why do women want to make such fools of themselves? The sight of that female gyrating on the sanctuary floor of Liverpool Cathedral and kicking her legs in the air was gross.
    St. Paul had a point.

  2. Are you sure that this is a Catholic place of worship? It looks more like a something the Freemasons might build in the way it is laid out: the shape of a sun with an altar in the centre.

    Very sad that St John Bosco had to be received with that kind of 'welcome'. Had he known of liturgical dance in his day, I am sure that he would have preached vehemently against it. Perhaps that is why the cathedral is half full: liturgical dance is not only not allowed but is quite passé and definitely not cool. I am only too glad that I have never been subjected to it.

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  4. (Sorry, made a hash of my first comment... Will try again.)

    At least the second video is not -- strictly speaking -- a 'liturgical dance', even if it is a bizarre and brazen promotion of open dissent from Catholic teaching. One wonders whether Arius would resort to such tactics were he around today?

    The first video documents liturgical dances during the celebration of Holy Mass, and is therefore evidence of -- as Cardinal Arinze points out -- something that shouldn't happen. As the then Cardinal Ratzinger put it in 'Spirit of the Liturgy': "Dancing is not a form of expression for the Christian liturgy." At best such behaviour distracts from the worship of Almighty God, at worst it displaces proper worship altogether, placing man -- not the Holy Trinity -- at the centre of what should be our greatest act of worship: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Yes, one wonders what Don Bosco would have to say about it all.

  5. The same could well be said of women led by gross impiety to wave tissues at a blue dolly on those awful ''days with Mary.''

  6. As someone who lives in Liverpool I have often joked that the Metropolitan Cathedral would make a good Discotheque but I never expected the Diocese to actually take the idea seriously. It is incredibly sad when this type of appalling so called "liturgy" happens because the Video is invariably circulated throughout the Traditional Catholic Blogosphere and the impression is given that this is the Norm for Masses involving the Novus Ordo.

    It is not and any Masses I have attended in Liverpool have been conducted with decorum and dignity even in the Cathedral but what happened in this "performance" is simply disgraceful

  7. As a fellow - born and bred - Liverpolitan, I take your point, Neil. Indeed I can’t dispute its accuracy. Of course there are many more reverent than irreverent Masses in the Archdiocese. However that argument is similar to the line that “most children are well-behaved”, “most people are law-abiding”, “most football supporters aren’t hooligans”, “most priests aren’t paedophiles” etc. Such points aren’t in dispute.

    I posted a comment on the the blog thread accompanying the original source of this story (Fr Henry’s blog - Offerimus Tibi Domine, from which James Preece took his lead), two days ago, listing just some (but by no means all) of the liturgical abuses that I have directly witnessed over the last several years in Liverpool. I have discovered yet again (via different channels) just how sensitive my fellow Liverpolitans are to any form of criticism. It is a fault-line that does the city no good.

    Further, I have orally recounted the many liturgical abuses I have witnessed in Liverpool over the last few years and have never once been believed by any local Catholic outside of the LMS, Traditional Mass-attending scene - those who don’t need to be convinced anyway. How many times I wished I could have provided video or audio evidence as back-up. This time, though, the proof is there for all to see.

    It is my view that abominations like that which occurred at the Met on Monday can happen because other abuses do happen all too often, particularly around the city part of this Archdiocese. Of course the abuses differ from place to place and they vary in their degree of gravity. And yes, such abuses are not the norm. But they certainly do happen - far, far too frequently (or maybe I’ve just had very bad luck, or perhaps I’m too unforgiving in what I deem to be a liturgical abuse and need to lighten up...well not blinkin’ lightly!).

    I have no sound basis to make the following statement other than gut instinct and l obviously have a more limited experience of (OF) Masses beyond the Archdiocese, but I am going to say this anyway: it is my belief that the prevalence of liturgical abuses, in any given week, is higher in Liverpool than in any other Archdiocese/diocese. Put it this way, it’s less than a month ago that I had to suffer an OF Mass at a Liverpool church which boasts two huge projector screens, as permanent fixtures which are hoisted either side of the sanctuary (yes, as big, if not bigger, as those huge projector screen kits that broadcast football in pubs), which are used to deliver the texts of the Mass via Power Point (the new translations of which are, of course, frequently ignored in order to shoehorn in inclusive language). Mass by clip-art! And congregants spend the whole Mass gawping up at the screens barely paying any attention to the actions of the priest!

    Only in Liverpool?

  8. In re the first video: I couldn't bear to watch it all, but I am glad that this abuse is at least on record. Furthermore, it seemed to me as thought the cathedral was much less than half full.

    In re the second video, I found the tartan skirts rather fetching, but felt the need to avert my eyes for more than just that reason.

  9. Neil: the video wouldn't be of such significance if this wasn't the mother-church of the diocese, indeed of a densely populated Archdiocese. If this can happen HERE...?

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  11. Joseph I fully agree the fact that this could happen in the Cathedral of all places does make it a serious issue and what happened is appalling.

    The problem with these liturgical abuses (and there is no other description for them) is that many in the Traditionalist side assume that this sort of thing happens frequently. I am just making the point that this is not the Norm for Masses in Liverpool Churches but that said this should not have happened even this once.

  12. I might add that this is a cathedral at which a Methodist Ordination Service was due to be held in 2012, until it was mysteriously cancelled very late in the day (causing much inconvenience for local Methodists). Why it was called off we'll perhaps never know for sure. But, at the risk of sounding all "grassy knoll" and "Dallas 63", perhaps the Catholic blogosphere had some influence (see link below) on that belated but appropriate decision (Deo gratias).

    Like I've alluded to elsewhere, it really should come as no surprise to anyone that the "liturgical dance" on show above can be approved by the same Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool authorities (otherwise how did an Emile Sande CD track manage to find its way onto the Bose Sound System that dominates the Cathedral "sanctuary"?) who a year ago had approved a Methodist Ordination Service.

    These are the same Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool authorities who simply will not entertain the idea of allowing an Extraordinary Form Mass to be celebrated in public at the Archdiocesan mother church (as opposed to the unofficial EF Masses that were "blind eye" tolerated and held for two years until August 2012 in the cathedral crypt at 7.30 each Monday, as priest and altar server had to meet clandestinely in the car park and wend their way through the back corridors as though the Penal Times were still in full flow).

    I shall add no more. Quod scripsi scripsi and all that.

  13. You are right of course this elaborate dancing doesn't happen every day.

    However... One of the things that tipped me over the edge, at it were, with the Novus Ordo was reading a book called 'Mass Confusions', about liturgical abuses. Not by a trad I hasten to say, it's purpose was to help people understand what was and wasn't allowed, and where appropriate complain. This book made me realise that I had never experienced the NO in complete accordance with the rules. And yes I include the Oratories in that, the difference being I'd not object the things they were doing. But they were not allowed.

    Ad libbing, saying silent prayers aloud, leaving the sanctuary to shake hands at the pax, that kind of thing. And if you look at the history of the OF you realise it's a game of catch up, with Rome chasing after the latest abuse to permit it. Is communion under both kinds on Sundays an abuse? communion in the hand? altar girls? Women reading from the sanctuary? EMHCs?

    The traddy critique is not that this or that abuse is widespread, but that the concept of liturgical discipline has disappeared.

  14. Fair point Joseph and I largely agree with you.

    I do think that liturgical discipline is returning but it is an appallingly slow progress. I think the Ordinariate may help in this I attended one of their Masses in Oxford and it was entirely the New Missal but properly done, Priest Ad Orientum, No distracting "sign of peace" or vacuous bidding prayers and kneeling at Altar Rails for Communion.

    The increased popularity of your LMS training for Priests is also important not just from the Latin Mass point of view but because Priests trained in the TLM will say the NO differently and more reverently

    It is however a slow process and the events at the Cathedral are deeply depressing We need more proper liturgy and certainly no more of ***** (whatever word is appropriate to describe the "events" at the Cathedral )