Reason #9636 for Summorum Pontificum

I don’t have even the slightest doubt that the Brazilian priest is a good fellow, diligent in his pastoral duties, and well-meaning.

But priests shouldn’t do this in church.  Really shouldn’t do this during Mass.

This was, apparently, during a Mass in Brasilia.

Fr Joachim Andrade, SVD, performed this Indian dance at the opening Mass of the penultimate day of the Seminar for Consecrated Religious Life, sponsored by the Conference of Religious of Brazil. Fr. Andrade is the Superior of the SVD Province of South Brazil.

C’mon, Padre.

I can understand wanting to affirm one’s culture, even in a sound sense of inculturation – that fascinating interaction between the Church and the world – but…. damn.

It is not that this is silly. These cultural things aren’t silly, even if they are foreign to us.

But churches are consecrated places, and priests are consecrated persons, and Mass is not the place for these things.

What I hope might result is a thoughtful discussion of inculturation.

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61 Responses to Reason #9636 for Summorum Pontificum

  1. disco says:

    Are we sure this fellow isn’t submitting a video resume with his application to teach theology at Boston College?

  2. Nicole says:

    Fr. Z…I agree with your sentiments…day-ummm…!

  3. Alot of problems in Brazil with the Church trying to become Pentecostal and particularly with a Father Marcelo.

  4. smmclaug says:

    The Church has very serious problems in South America. People don’t realize how half-measured the evangelization and catechesis of Latin America really was. “Catholicism” in Mexico is practically altogether pagan, and the reality is that there’s very little surprising or out of the ordinary about this video. The bottom line is that in addition to the whole Western world now becoming a mission field in itself, the inadequacy of efforts in the rest of the world asserts itself more fully every day.

    Behind nearly all of it is the crisis in vocations in the West, together with a soft-headed bunch of mush about “respecting cultures.” The Church’s role is to sanctify and to Christianize, not to pay homage and not to compromise itself.

  5. NoTambourines says:

    If it’s not part of the Mass, I don’t want to see it at Mass.

  6. Tina in Ashburn says:

    My eyeballs are burning. gaaaaah, the now-indelible image of a half-naked dancing priest. And hey, if its for God, why is he facing the people with his back to the altar?

    Scenario: The desire to be on stage, the desire to express oneself vs. taking direction from the Church that Jesus Christ founded to discover what God tells us about how He wants to be worshiped. It is likely that the true role of the priest and what the Mass is, is not well understood in this case. Again, another symptom of the crisis of Authority in the Church, and silence by those who should be speaking up and teaching.

    I’m not so patient anymore with the term ‘cultural environment’ to excuse this kind of stuff.

    Do this somewhere else, please. Not at the Mass. The Mass belongs to God and the Church, not to your personal expressions in the oblivious pursuit of some emotional catharsis.

  7. Nicole says:

    I personally find “inculturation” a very nice establishment amongst the various parishes I’ve visited, but it seems that some people stretch it to the point of the parish becoming or appearing non-Catholic. It is nice to see those of Mexican descent dressed in their customary dress (as far as it is in line with natural and Catholic decency and modesty) for the celebration of specific feast days or solemnities, etc. The problem is that now with the reversion to the concept of the “noble savage” it seems more and more of these “costumes” are becoming actually offensive to the eyes of the public, especially in the Churches or at Mass.

    There is a way to make it all work, as the Church has done adopting various local customs for centuries, but it has to be done by Catholic standards, not otherwise.

  8. Jason C. says:

    Honestly, “inculturation” as understood today is bound to fail, because it is essentially rooted in historical colonialism. Inculturation tries to poke some holes in the superstructure that was imposed around the world as Western christianity spread. It’s one of the great misfortunes of history, in my opinion, that Christianity was not able to root up organically from the Americas and elsewhere, as it did in the Middle East, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe millenia ago. The church’s liturgy is paying the price for centuries of colonialism…the world has casted off political superstructure, but the church is trying to do what it can with historical restraints (trying to protect historical theological formulations, historical liturgical rites, etc. while also allowing for incarnational diversity).

    Certain things may seem “silly” in inculturation, but then again, an black man speaking portugese or English (or Latin) is just as silly, from a certain perspective.

  9. wmeyer says:

    My parish has been weened away from dance during the Mass. However, we do have parishioners from South America, and on holidays, we are “treated” to dance as a preamble to the Mass. Thankfully, it is over before the procession, so I suppose I can’t raise an objection…. Still, it is a distraction, and it is, in my view altogether the wrong place and time.

  10. Laura R. says:

    I think I would actually have liked this dance, had I seen it in another setting. But my reaction, like that of Tina in Ashburn, was: if it’s for God, why is he facing the people with his back to the altar? This comes across as a performance for the congregation, not a gift offered to God. If he really wanted to make such an offering, he could dance alone, with no one but God to watch. As Fr. Z says, Mass is not the place for this.

    As for inculturation — is that what’s going on here? I would have thought that Brazilian musical settings of the Mass or perhaps a Brazilian-inspired design for a chasuble would qualify much better for that designation. “Liturgical dance” in front of a congregation is inevitably going to be a performance, whether native Indian or classical ballet, no matter how beautifully or reverently done.

  11. NoTambourines says:

    I think this is a symptom of making the liturgy about “us,” and losing focus on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in favor of “gathering” and “sharing.” When it’s about “us,” anything goes, because it is what someone has decided “the people” want (translation: what is likely to be a small clique thinks it would be nifty).

    The result is that people who just want to go to Mass get abused as a captive audience to things that are not the Mass.

  12. Faith says:

    Don’t take my comments as supporting Liturgical Dance. But I’m still laughing over disco’s comment. (You have to come from Boston to think it’s funny.) And I think I’d look into this happening at Mass or even before Mass. Sometimes a church is rented out, so to speak, as a building for concerts, interfaith occasions, etc., simply because it’s the only large building in town. Wasn’t this a meeting? What I’m saying is, this may have been the opening of the meeting, or something associated with it. And of course Catholic meetings also celebrate Mass.
    I’m just saying that we’re judging when we don’t understand the culture, the customs, and maybe not the circumstances.

  13. Joe in Canada says:

    Jason C: I’m not sure what you mean by (too bad that) ” Christianity was not able to root up organically from the Americas and elsewhere, as it did in the Middle East, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe millenia ago. ” The Liturgy celebrated by the Orthodox Church, from Russia to Lebanon to Harbin to Kampala to San Francisco, is more or less exactly the same as in Constantinople. The Oriental Orthodox liturgy of of Kerala, of Nairobi, and of Dearborn, is more or less exactly like that of Yerevan or Cairos. If any see was the leader of inculturation it was Rome, which produced a liturgy strikingly different from that of the Imperial Court, and yet fully Orthodox.

  14. smmclaug says:

    Faith, even if it was the opening of a meeting, the fact that a dance performance took place directly in front of the altar reveals a dearth of Catholic sensibility. The pagan cultures of Europe, before they were sanctified, had any number of customs and practices that were entirely inappropriate to conduct at the foot of the altar or directly before the Blessed Sacrament. This particular performance evinces absolutely no awareness of what the altar actually is, no healthy fear of the Lord in His house.

    There are some things that are cross-cultural and transcendent, and can that bear a certain meaning irrespective of time and place. Dancing about in front of the altar at or before Mass has a meaning that is totally at odds with a genuinely Catholic sense of what happens in that space. This is a case of paganizing the liturgy, not of sanctifying what is pagan, that much is obvious.

  15. A.D. says:

    I agree not during Mass. However, I saw nothing to indicate this was Mass or liturgy of any kind. Perhaps the parish has no other area to perform cultural dances. Perhaps this was a dance of praise to the Lord. In any case, he was not “half naked”. His dress seemed appropriate for his cultural dance and was quite modest. I’ve seen worse in a Catholic parish in the U.S., in mini-skirts on Catholic school girls, and halters on women during Mass. Good grief, why are we putting our European standards on people who wish to incorporate some of their ancient ways of expressing faith, now within their Christian beliefs? Watch out or someone will take away your Christmas tree, yule log, or pitch a real fit about our term “Easter” for the holiest time of the year.

  16. FidelisV says:

    Faith
    Fr Z understood it correctly: Fr Joachim Andrade, SVD, performed this Indian dance at the opening Mass of the penultimate day of the Seminar for Consecrated Religious Life, sponsored by the Conference of Religious of Brazil.
    You can read it at the site of the Conference of Religious of Brazil:
    O Seminário Nacional sobre a Vida Religiosa iniciou suas atividades neste domingo, 26, com a Celebração Eucarística que levou os participantes a olhar para a Missão na perspectiva da inculturação. O estudioso da arte e da cultura, padre Joachim Andrade, indiano, há vinte no Brasil, colocou a Assembleia em sintonia com a arte e a cultura do seu povo. A Palavra de Deus foi meditada por meio da contemplação da dança, que trazia a tona o nascimento, a morte e a ressurreição de Jesus.

  17. FidelisV says:

    A.D.
    as a brazilian, I don´t feel myself represented at least by an indian dance at any situation. If it is performed during a Mass, it offends me.
    BTW, brazilian culture has European and Christian standards, not indigenous or hindu

  18. digdigby says:

    If you can see this through Brazilian eyes it will not be ‘shocking’ or ‘sacrilegious’ but simply hilariously bad samba.

  19. Prof. Basto says:

    Ugly, simply ugly. And, sharing FidelisV’s sentiments I too do not feel represented in the least by such “cultural expressions”. In fact, they are foreign to me completely. And in any case, this kind of dance has no place during Mass.

    The website of the Conference seems to approve of the dance. The website indicates that Fr. Andrade is an Indian (“indiano”, not “indígena”; thus, he is NOT an Indian, a Native; rather, he is from India, the Asian nation), and that he has lived in Brazil during the past 20 years.

    The Press Release of the Conference of the Religious mentions that Father “placed the Assembly in sync with the art and culture of his people” and that “the Word of God was meditated on by means of the contemplation of the dance, that brought to mind the birth, death and ressurection of Jesus”.

  20. Centristian says:

    While I do think it is important that liturgy and liturgical environment reflect, to a degree, the culture of the local church, I think it is equally important that the sacred space and the character of the public worship of the Catholic Church be respected. When an element of the local culture seems to clash with the expectations of Catholic worship, the cultural element must yield.

    Not every element of any given culture is good, let alone worthy of the sanctuary or the liturgy. The fact that something is local does not make it necessarily sacred. If that were so, American priests could justly expect to be able to wear stetsons or ball caps on the altar in place of birettas, and American church musicians could make hymns using the tunes to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “My Old Kentucky Home”. We don’t do things like that, however, because we know where those elements fit into our culture, and we know that what is appropriate at a sporting event or at a rodeo isn’t the same as what is appropriate for use in the liturgy of the Roman Rite.

    I think when we think of incorporating local culture into liturgy, there must be certain limits. In the first place, we have to refrain from incorporating unworthy cultural elements that cheapen the liturgy, or even praiseworthy cultural elements that change or cloud the meaning of the liturgy. Even something that is beautiful in itself (such as the dance shown in the video) may not find in the liturgy the best opportunity for its expression. Oil and water are each great and useful, but there is no point to combining them, of course.

    The other side of the coin, however, is that western Catholics should not confuse “Catholic” with “European” or even with “Western” and thereby take offense to “foreign” influences upon Christian art or ecclesiastical architecture or liturgical music or expressions of ceremony. Even within the context of the West, however, legitimate diversity abounds, as it should. Even within the Catholic Church in the United States one will encounter many different expressions of legitimate “inculturation” in terms of the sacred. Compare a Catholic church in suburban Massachussetts, for example, to one of the historic mission chapels of Northern New Mexico and you’ll see a similarity only in the essentials (both have pews, an aisle, and an altar). The artistic expressions, however, reflecting two very different cultures, will be instantly, even shockingly, apparent.

    And yet a sanctuary featuring colorful and mysterious looking hand-painted retablos behind altars that support elaborately dressed and crowned bultos and santos represents a wholly acceptable expression of the Catholic worship space, just as does a comparatively spartan and subdued suburban New England church. Even though both styles are surely Catholic, they are not interchangeable. The antiseptic sanctuaries of New England will be no more conducive to the piety of Latinos than the over-the-top elaborate treatments of Spanish and Mexican influenced churches would be to New Englanders of Northern European descent. There is a sense, therefore, in which the culture of the local church must shape the liturgical environment. That extends to worship, too, in terms of music and even certain elements of ceremony.

  21. EucharistLove says:

    It screams NARCISSISM to me. “Hey everybody, look what I can do…btw, how do I look with my shirt off?” Totally inappropriate.

  22. Tina in Ashburn says:

    “a case of paganizing the liturgy, not of sanctifying what is pagan”
    Excellent remark, smmclaug.

  23. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Oh Father Z, the things that we were deprived of in our seminary formation! We never got to have classes in dance, did we? No Dancing with the Stars audition for us LOL. I am just wondering if Blessed John XXIII could have been shown this video back in 1962, what would have happend with the liturgical reform? He would have said, STOP THE TRAIN, STOP THE TRAIN NOW!!!

  24. APX says:

    With my former home diocese and it’s severe priest shortage, they’ve brought in a number of missionary priests from other countries. Despite the high concentration of Caucasians at the parishes these priests are at, this type of inculturation has plagued the parishes being asked for by the congregation. From what I’ve read, it’s done to make Mass less boring, more engaging and more interactive.

  25. Fr_Sotelo says:

    If I got up and did those things in front of the altar, children would weep and old people would have nightmares. And religious would have no appetite for lunch. I’m just shaking my head and laughing, otherwise I’ll cry.

  26. Pingback: The Dancing Priest « Mundabor's Blog

  27. Jason C. says:

    Jason C: I’m not sure what you mean by (too bad that) ” Christianity was not able to root up organically from the Americas and elsewhere, as it did in the Middle East, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe millenia ago. ” The Liturgy celebrated by the Orthodox Church, from Russia to Lebanon to Harbin to Kampala to San Francisco, is more or less exactly the same as in Constantinople. The Oriental Orthodox liturgy of of Kerala, of Nairobi, and of Dearborn, is more or less exactly like that of Yerevan or Cairos. If any see was the leader of inculturation it was Rome, which produced a liturgy strikingly different from that of the Imperial Court, and yet fully Orthodox.

    Yes, of course, the same ritual church is going to share the same rites (more or less) wherever they are. What I am saying is that the church followed the general path of colonialism. So of course, when Western Europe colonized the Americas, so did the church. The Western European tradition of Christianity became the American tradition of Christianity. There was no real opportunity for the indians to incarnate the gospel just as the Romans and Byzantines had. Now, in the 20th century, when the world has rejected colonialism (at least in theory), the Church is an old institution that cannot let its own structures fall the same way its secular counterparts have (for various reasons, some legitimate, some not). My main point is just that inculturation is trying to make up for a colonialist past that cannot be undone. Trying to “inculturate” the Roman liturgy is, analogously, like trying to retain British colonies but giving the locals more say…either the colonialist structure falls, or everything else is just dressing.

  28. asperges says:

    I don’t buy this guilt about former colonialism. It happened and it was far from all bad. It goes with the need, without any proper understanding of history, to apologise for anything and everything in the past as though it bore some personal guilt for it.

    The US itself was colonised by several countries with distinctly different cultures: English, Spanish and French, before you start adding all the others. It has since developed its own peculiar brew of identity. I don’t see it wringing its hands too much from the experience which led to such current global influence.

    However the Church overcame all this cultural angst in her worship with a common, transcendent liturgy. Being ‘Catholic’ automatically absorbs all and shares something unique which (before Vat II) everyone could identify with: it still left room for plenty of extra-liturgical devotions and absorption of local ways. The Jesuits saw this degree of need in Japan in the XVI century, likewise missionaries in Africa. The Americas had been Catholic for four and half centuries before they suddenly had ‘experts’ worrying about not being native enough.

    As usual, the Vat II bandwagon saw a problem (or devised one) then set about the entirely wrong way of solving it. Once the gates were open, there has been no stopping it. Hence one sees everything from Voodoo influences to paganism distorting the faith and practices. I doubt the Evangelicals and hot-gospel Protestants have felt the need to be so sensitive.

  29. This is just the tip of the iceberg, father! Have you ever heard of the “Afro Mass”? It happens regularly at my parish.

    With apologies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDxoAcYhsHg

  30. Jason C. says:

    I don’t buy this guilt about former colonialism. It happened and it was far from all bad. It goes with the need, without any proper understanding of history, to apologise for anything and everything in the past as though it bore some personal guilt for it.

    It has nothing to do with guilt. Whether you feel guilty or not, I think the historical connection is still there.

  31. filioque says:

    Didn’t Cardinal Ratzinger, shortly before becoming pope, state clearly that there is no role for dancing in the Latin Rite? Can someone come up with the source for this?

  32. disco says:

    Fitting that Fr Z lists this type of display as one of the countless reasons for Summorum Pontificum. The traditional Latin mass is a true expression of the Catholic heritage of the people of Brazil and all of Latin America. It was the single best thing brought by the colonizing powers of Spain and Portugal.

  33. Matariel says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that the altar cloth behind him is full of the principle symbols of pagan religions? The Indian lotus, the Islamic star and crescent, the yin-yang, and the Buddhist Wheel of Dharma are all there. A sacrilegious insult to the holy altar and its God, the God Who alone “is the way, the truth, and the life”. This is outrageous.

  34. The Cobbler says:

    I don’t buy this guilt about former colonialism. It happened and it was far from all bad. It goes with the need, without any proper understanding of history, to apologise for anything and everything in the past as though it bore some personal guilt for it.

    It has nothing to do with guilt. Whether you feel guilty or not, I think the historical connection is still there.”

    Indeed, and we might note that we can examine the consequences of history without getting apologetic for something that doesn’t have to do with guilt (which isn’t a feeling, also, but anyway). After all, if we don’t think it has to do with guilt, why would we apologize? But even without laying blame, or at least without laying blame on those who inherit the situation, we can still examine how the heck we got where we are now and ask what to do about it.

    I find myself of a mixed opinion — on the one hand, yes, it would be nice if the American peoples had had the chance to develop their own variant of the Church’s ancient rites (without doing anything that would make them any less the Church’s) just as Europeans had, but on the other, Disco’s right that the Mass is the single greatest thing any colonist ever brought to the Americas, and of all the most unquestionably not regrettable.

  35. Jason C. says:

    Also, just to respond to this point:

    The US itself was colonised by several countries with distinctly different cultures: English, Spanish and French, before you start adding all the others. It has since developed its own peculiar brew of identity. I don’t see it wringing its hands too much from the experience which led to such current global influence.

    The United States is the United States because it cast off the shackles of colonialism. The entire American culture is all about being “not England / European.”

    My point is not to argue about historical colonialism, but just to suggest that “inculturation” is a losing proposition as it is currently conceived. Trying to create a system where people are Roman-with-a-twist-of-indigenous is not going to work because it keeps the colonialist framework.

    This is just a suggestion, but I think if there is any real progress in unity with the East, the decentralization of the church that such unity would assume might help give birth to something that lets go of the colonialist baggage that goes with contemporary “inculturation.” Colonialism is ultimately about power…and so is inculturation. The Church doesn’t want to give too much leeway to the local Church, because the institutional Church is an inheritor of a colonial social model, and it fears what the locals might do without being watched so closely.

    Certainly, I doubt there are hardly any Bishops who would defend colonialism. But when the Church tries to be modern by halves, then you get many of the silly situations the Church finds itself in today. Contemporary inculturation is like wading ankle-deep into the pool…don’t call it swimming. The church is afraid to yield power, because it might never get it back. The fall of colonialism around the world shows that.

    The church has tried to be modern by halves with the Novus Ordo. You can decry all you want about puppets at Mass and sappy Protestant music…but that’s what you get when you try to please change and non-change at the same time. The church gets remade into the society around it. At one time in history, the church was remade in the image of a colonialist society. Today, it’s remade in the image of a post-colonialist society.

  36. wmeyer says:

    And further to Jason’s point, if you wish to see a country with some very serious problems in this regard, you need only look to Canada. The multi-culti mindset there has wreaked havoc. And where Canada once had two solitudes (French and English speaking peoples) it now has dozens.

    I have said for years that failing to ensure that immigrants become fully competent in English is in fact racist. It is exceedingly difficult (not impossible) for an immigrant with limited or no English skills to rise above the level of menial labor in this country, unless, of course, he is prepared to remain in a ghetto.

  37. I would never think of insisting that I be allowed to perform a jig or sing an Irish folk song at Mass to honor my “culture.” And Icould, if I wished, even dredge up my offended cultural feelings to support it, since the Irish suffered at the hands of the English church, witness the Englishman Pope Adrian IV blessing the English conquest of Ireland so it could ostensibly be Christianized. Good grief, when does all the victimization hand-wringing end? It used to be said that we are now “mature” Christians, unlike our fathers of old. Spectacles like this make me think we’re more like self-absorbed, narcissistic teens.

  38. The Cobbler says:

    “It used to be said that we are now “mature” Christians, unlike our fathers of old. Spectacles like this make me think we’re more like self-absorbed, narcissistic teens.”
    Mature people don’t worry about being mature. Narcissistic teens do. They’re also the ones who’re good at mistaking real maturity for anything else when looking at their fathers (of old or not).

  39. mshoe88 says:

    I think the ugly cloth on the front of the altar is proof enough…

  40. xsosdid says:

    “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” would have been a better tune to dance to.

  41. BillyHW says:

    It is silly.

  42. C’mon Really? NO LITURGICAL DANCE DURING THE LITURGY!!!! How hard is that to follow???

  43. Jim says:

    I am Catholic and Indian (in that order) and all I will say is two things :
    1. I am not surprised.
    2. Please pray for us. We (the Catholics in India) really really need prayers – at least, if not more than our brethren in Western Europe.

    PS: I am not frjim1234

  44. MaryMaria says:

    Beautiful Dance…..time and a place for everything….NOT The TIME Nor The PLACE!!!!!

  45. frjim4321 says:

    What am I missing here . . . it is a Brazilian priest in Brazil doing an Indian dance?

    Not knowing the cultural meaning of the dance or how it is supposed to look I hesitate to comment . . . but it seem amateurish to me. Could be in that culture there is more of a comfort level with shirtless males indoors and in a church setting. But it seemed a bit strange and off-putting to me.

  46. Jim says:

    That is an Indian (as in the Republic of India) priest assigned to Brazil, dancing the Bharata Natyam during Mass.

    Bharata Natyam is a classical Indian dance form and is Hindu in its roots, core and form. Now some more “progressive” Indian Catholics will argue that we can sanctify it – but to me thats like singing Gregorian chant during a Hindu pagan “pooja”. Sanctify it or not – this has no place in Mass (either the Latin rite or the two Eastern Rites in India – Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara) – never has had – never will.

  47. solideopileolus says:

    The dance is called Bharatnatyam and has its origins in the Hindu temple dances conducted to appease the resident pagan deities. All the more reason why it (and all other forms of Indian classical dancing) should have absolutely no place in anything even remotely close to or associated with Catholic worship of the one true Triune God. This isn’t to say that other forms of dance in the Liturgy may be acceptable. As someone said above, the Catholic Church in India has great need of our prayers and pleas for Divine help and intercession. Inculturation as understood by some in the native church hierarchy and their collaborators among the laity ought to mean more of such dancing and Hindu pagan customs being introduced into Catholic worship.

  48. dominic1955 says:

    The time for developing rites is far gone. The same nubile age that spawned the apostolic rites of East and West is gone. There is no turning back to a time before the old colonies knew anything but the Roman Rite.

    Also, while local dioceses and religious orders once developed their own rites, this is no longer feasible. Giving dioceses (or probably more likely bishop’s conferences) the leeway to develop local rites is now like giving teen boys booze and car keys. Nothing good would come of it.

    At least in the past, Catholic prelates and peoples still had enough Catholic sense to make their made up liturgies ostensibly “Catholic” (i.e. neo-Gallican rites) but now we’d end up with all sorts of foolishness far worse than silly-season Novus Ordos. Even just mere validity would probably be questionable in some areas if they had their way.

  49. CarismaTeaCo says:

    Can I please just enjoy my Roman Catholic Church. The mariachis can wait outside, so can the feathers and penachos. Furthermore Let The Protestants do their thing and may they welcome all these protesant wannabes along with versus populum. IF a big IF that is catholic, call it what you want. But it’s definitely not ROMAN.

  50. St. Epaphras says:

    [wmeyer] “I have said for years that failing to ensure that immigrants become fully competent in English is in fact racist…”

    Yes! Racist! To move this multiculturalism thing down to the parish level — Spanish Mass on Sundays and on whatever-days-their-culture-considers-a-holy-day-of-obligation (this can vary from the US Holy Days of Obligation) and other cultural activities and classes in Spanish do meet a felt need. Those Masses are packed. The other side of the coin is that when we had a parish mission by one of the wonderful Fathers of Mercy, I saw two or three adult Spanish speaking people there the whole time. And for the most part they don’t come to our [actual] Holy Day Masses in English when there is NOT one in Spanish. Bottom line – if it is not in Spanish, few Hispanics show up. This gives our parish the sense of being two separate parishes. That can’t be right, as half of our parishioners are not profiting spiritually from Masses or missions at which they are not present. We are trying to help immigrants, but are we giving them the help they really need? They need to HAVE to learn English, but we give them no reason at all to do so. We ought to do everything we can to help them learn English as well and as quickly as they can. This includes priests. Become teachers in your everyday interactions with Hispanics. A word or phrase here and there said in both languages, etc. would be a start, rather than feeling you must speak their language 100% of the time. Have parish English classes and repeatedly and strongly urge people to attend them. We all need to be part of the real solution rather than just continue to make everyone feel good and “included”. If they are Catholics they are included already!

    Okay, I’m ending the rant and putting away the soap box for now.

  51. jflare says:

    A few years ago, I happened to attend a fish fry at a local church, during which I saw many things that Italians would relish. They may have even had a dance at one point, though it was pretty crowded, so there may not have been room–that time. Point is, for all that I don’t have any real interest in most things Italian (sorry Fr Z), I thought the idea was pretty cool.
    Wish we could see more IRISH stuff like that. OUTSIDE of Mass!

  52. jflare says:

    “The United States is the United States because it cast off the shackles of colonialism. The entire American culture is all about being “not England / European.””

    I’d recommend being a bit careful with that assertion, Jason C. If one were to examine the history of Great Britain in greater depth–which I’ve more or less fallen into by accident–one might be quite surprised by the degree of influence that Imperial England still has on America, even today. A huge proportion of our law and culture DO come from jolly ‘ol England! (Which, by the way, made me groan when (Arch?)Bishop Gomez of LA made his comments about Hispanic influence on America. I fear there’s a great deal less from there than he thinks.

    “We are trying to help immigrants, but are we giving them the help they really need? They need to HAVE to learn English, but we give them no reason at all to do so.”

    I’m not certain at all of how to take this. If I attend either Spanish Mass at my parish, I generally expect a crowded house. There’re MANY more Hispanics who attend Mass there than English-speaking folk. Then again, I’ve never seen any Hispanic persons display any interest in the “English-speaking” Mass. Considering our use of Latin, I would think they’d be more interested, but they typically aren’t.

    Nor have I ever seen any particular interest from the Hispanic community in learning about or celebrating anything else that isn’t distinctly Hispanic. It appears as though they vastly prefer remaining within their own community.

    We give them no reason to learn English?
    Multiculturalists will throw a fit at this, but I wouldn’t want to live here if I DIDN’T speak English. Regardless of the “best” efforts of academia and others, we still typically use English more than anything else.

    It’s an act of racism to fail to teach English?
    Well, the way I heard it from academia, we white folk are the racist ones because we dare to speak English in our own country. We’re purported to be evil, malicious, hatemongers merely because we don’t wish to speak a dozen different languages, so as to cater to those who have come from abroad.

    It would be nice I felt I could say that I’m proud to be an English-speaking American without expecting to be trashed intellectually and spat upon rhetorically, but does not appear to be the state of the nation right now.
    Guess we may as well pick up our language and cultural crosses. They won’t get any lighter by waiting for someone else to do something.

  53. Ambrose Jnr says:

    This is not just another reason for Summorum Pontificum…it’s also another reason why Cardinal Ranjith should be our next pope, hopefully being our next Prefect of the CDF first…liberals would be disarmed in front of his wisdom and background…and properly balanced inculturation would be enforced globally in the liturgy.

  54. mdbotelhogomes says:

    “I don’t have even the slightest doubt that the Brazilian priest is a good fellow, diligent in his pastoral duties, and well-meaning.”

    Thank you, Father! And, in fact, here in Brazil, there is still Catholicism after all!! rsrs.

  55. Pingback: THURSDAY MID-DAY EXTRA | ThePulp.it

  56. jorgens6 says:

    Badger Catholic says:
    “Alot of problems in Brazil with the Church trying to become Pentecostal and particularly with a Father Marcelo.”
    Take a look at Sandro’s article on Father Marcelo Rossi then do a youtube search…
    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350151?eng=y
    “The face of Catholicism is changing in the most populous country of Latin America. The Charismatics are flourishing by the millions. And they have a star in a priest who fills stadiums by preaching the love of God “

  57. FidelisV says:

    Centrist
    your comment above was so crystal clear and simple that I´ve translated it to portuguese and posted in my blog
    http://missaaosdomingos.blogspot.com/2012/03/aprenda-inculturar-em-5-paragrafos.html

    kind of Inculturation 101

    Thank you

  58. FidelisV says:

    sorry, Centristian

  59. St. Epaphras says:

    (Sort of OT)
    jflare,

    I agree with you. It isn’t “all our fault” that most Hispanics in parishes don’t show interest in anything that isn’t for them and in their language, but I guess I’m sick of the “separate but equal” thing going on and feel this is ultimately NOT in their best interests nor in the parish’s best interest. Not good for the Church as a whole either. Many will disagree, of course. It seems there is not a strong enough reason for all parishioners to learn English and therefore be able to profit from a Parish Mission, for instance. Having most everything separately, one for English speakers, one for Spanish speakers, actually serves to keep us more separate. Having “bilingual” Masses just doesn’t help (my opinion only, but I understand both languages at Mass and still feel like the bilingual thing is kind of insulting).

    This is the US and immigrants should learn English and we as the Church should give them some incentives to learn it (and help them). That is really all I meant to say. Love is giving people what they need (i.e., to get a better job and important stuff like that) and not necessarily what makes them feel instantly comfortable. Plus just maybe if more Hispanics at our parish had understood English better, some would have chosen to hear the Father of Mercy’s red-hot sermons. They missed out there.

  60. mike cliffson says:

    Smclaug:
    My Spanish sensitivities are aboiling
    “The Church has very serious problems in South America. People don’t realize how half-measured the evangelization and catechesis of Latin America really was.” Unquote
    You have little idea how Ive been hearing variations of that from protestants and secularists these past 60 years, ditto about British catholics, Irish or northern or whatever, let alone about the catholic countries of Europe or the catholic regions of Germany.
    Let alone that from the country that , rather like fast and furious, has had most to do, after many mexicans themselves! with the direct and indirect killing of Mexico’s staunchest catholics, and the intended decatholicizing of a whole continet and a half,let alone the philipines(ongoing)that’s rich!
    But I don’t think that was exactly the point of this post.
    “Catholicism” in Mexico is practically altogether pagan, and the reality is that there’s very little surprising or out of the ordinary about this video.” For Mexico, write Western Christendom.
    This world wide state of the church meseems and methinks, is much more recent – that it widens any should-be insignificant crack on the surface is another matter.

    A picture should have a frame. A spitituality. Like King Louis the whatevereth of France (days of infrequent communion) when communicating, after confession and fasting and keeping vigil all night, processing to church with several regiments and a brass band – to hear high mass a s pernormal ,in latin, and receive in the regular way, then after mass process back. Sort of thing that lends itself to hipocrisy, but it wasn’t.
    Notice: around the liturgy, NOT in it.
    It’s right to go as OTT as one can, within reason, with one’s child’s first communion.Frame it.
    So long as the frame bows down before the picture and doesn’t take it over.

    What we ‘ve lost is not thank god the mass so much as our sense of its importance, along with our faith as opposed to our daily lives. We’ve definitely got more frame than picture.

    If we allow the Good Lord – see all Frs and other priestbloggers posts on lent if necessary above and beyond normal input- to work that in us, then I suspect Divine providence will help the inculturation business take care of itself.

    The wholly mission field is another matter. I do not understand what Ive read about how far the Js went in china – mass with mandarin vestments et al, which was sat on. How far do you carry people in gently ?

  61. celticus says:

    This dance appears to be inspired by Hinduism. Brazil’s population is European, African, and indigenous. How can anything Hindu qualify as inculturation in Brazil? This is syncretism, which is different.