March 11, 2011

Now Showing at a Mass Near You!

Several years ago, when I participated in local protests against a blasphemous play performed during Lent one of my hat..., uh, "fans" said to me "If you can't take it, get out of the creative space" In other words, shut up, don't go, don't say anything, leave it alone and allow anti-Catholic disrespect to continue unanswered.

There are a lot of Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis who are artists: musicians, performance artists, dancers, actors, writers etc. The Catholic Church has, throughout history, supported artistic expression that gives thanks to God for His gifts. The last is "the rub". You will not, and should not, see the Church supporting blasphemous art (whether by a Catholic or not).

However, there is a sizeable group of artists, some of whom are Catholic (pay close attention to that last because some of them are not), who attend one local parish in particular and think that every Mass should be a performance. Thus, nearly every "Mass" is chock-full of some of all of the following: pop/rock music, dance, spoken word, poetry, slide shows, political speachifying of the more liberal bent. The priests are, trust me, held hostage to this. If they dare say anything too challenging they'll be one lamb against the wolf pack (read: totally outnumbered).

This parish is used as a staging ground and I'm going to come right out and say it: marketing tool and advertisement for the artists other shows, CDs, plays that they want to see or encourage people to attend. You can't go to one of their shows without seeing a few people from the parish. Why? Because the artists do their best marketing during the "mass". Captive audience? check Audience that is unlikely to care that there is nothing (or nothing respectful) Jesus and/or Catholic Church related? check

Apparently, Jesus needs a new agent because his script is an afterthought. The Mass text is sort of, uh, a "guideline" for building the performance around. It's like those skits on that show that Drew Carey used to have "Whose Line is It Anyway?" where some suggestions are tossed out and the comedians have to think fast and come up with a skit to respond. Jesus must be slow on his feet or he's biding his time until his authoritative representatives here on Earth actually do something or he's pondering when to drop another "freak" tornado in the area.

I know what you are thinking. Mass is boring. It should be jazzed up. Thank God we have people who can think outside the box because Rome obviously can't..etc etc

I'm going to turn my fans phrase back at you. "If you can't take it, get out of the religious space"

The Mass is not a performance. Jesus was not play-acting at Calvary and that is what Mass is and is supposed to be-Calvary. It's serious. Dead serious. Mass is not funny. I know I frequently joke around and am snarky and disrespectful but never about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Just ask anyone. I've had people tell me they didn't recognize me at Mass because I'm so quiet and reverential and serious and I'm not always normally like that. If I can be something other than my usual self at Mass, what's your story? Are creative people incapable of shutting it down and turning it off for an hour?

I see the puppet show, at the parish I've been talking about, is back for Palm Sunday Masses this year. Do I doubt that this show is not great theater? No. The company doing it is very talented. But, Mass is not great theater. It's not theater. Period. There was a big international Catholic uprising the last time this production happened at the same parish a few years ago. They are trying it again to see if they can get away with it. Don't doubt that it's anything else. They are happy to still be open. They've been expecting heavy "sanctions" for years since Archbishop Nienstedt arrived and they were thinking they may be shut down. Now they are testing his authority.

Regardless of what authority Archbishop Nienstedt may or may not have, in the end it is to us to ask ourselves is the Mass we attend fully and reverently and appropriately giving thanks to the Ultimate Authority? Do we feel connected to the full Roman Catholic Church for now and all the ages passed and to come at that Mass? If not, get out of there.


Blogger Angela Messenger said...

I do not think Mass is boring but I am very sad those priests let the parishioners get away with this crap.

March 11, 2011 2:27 PM  
Blogger ArchAngel's Advocate said...

I'm convinced that this "movement" of "performance" Mass start as soon as parishes thought it was OK to put the choir into the Sanctuary. My preference is that only the ordained celebrant(s) the Lector(s), the Acolytes, the Cantor, and any Extra-Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (when needed) should be in the Sanctuary, and all should remain in the Sanctuary during the entire Mass (except at Communion if necessary).

March 11, 2011 3:50 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

When's the protest?

March 11, 2011 6:32 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

This is a problem that isn't a Catholic problem. It's prevalent at Life Enhancement Centres in formerly Protestant congregations that have become self-help centres, often under the guise of Emergent guru Rick Warren.

March 12, 2011 8:22 PM  

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