Why did we need Summorum Pontificum? Reason #7467

Here is a video from gloria.tv about a Mass in Germany for Fasching (the lead up to Lent called "Carnival" – historically a time of excess in various spheres).

I know that Fasching has deep cultural roots… but… in church?

Infra dignitatem.


Folks… charitably resist as you can stupid things scheduled to be done in your parishes churches.

Biretta tip to Prodigal Daughter.    o{]:¬)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TNCath says:

    Seriously, these para-liturgical events (“stupid things scheduled” a la Fr. Z) are like old Saturday Night Live skits that, for a split second, makes one wonder if they are for real.

  2. An American Mother says:

    Ach du lieber Gott, das schreit zum Himmel! Those Würzburgers are really nuts, they can’t really be Bavarians!

    The Augustinians would be horrified at the goings-on in their church . . .

  3. RichR says:

    Now how on earth could any Catholic in Germany feel threatened by Summorum Pontificum when they have nice little shin-digs like this to go to on Sunday? Clowns remind me so much about Heaven, God, Christ”s redemptive sacrifice on Calvary……I mean, it’s all here!

    Ahhhhhhhhh. Bask in the glow of “active participation.”

  4. wanda says:

    Ich bin feeling nauseous.

  5. Agnes says:

    I couldn’t watch the whole thing. Have mercy, they know not what they do.

  6. joebebopper says:

    Notice the church is packed.

  7. Magpie says:

    The church may well be packed, but how many of them have been to confession within the last 12 months? I rest my case.

  8. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    If this was a Mass, what were they thinking?! If it wasn’t, why was the priest (partially) vested (I shudder to think what the matching chasuble would look like)? Then again, with that stole, dare we hope the ‘presider’ was just another clown? Apparently membership in the Ugly Stole Society is not limited just to some members of the presbyterate at priestly ordinations at our local cathedral.

  9. Choirmaster says:

    Deacon Nathan Allen said:

    priest (partially) vested

    Deacon, check again. I think the priest was vested in a white chasuble with the horrendous stole on top.

    I have seen the stole-on-top look on many priests many times, but mostly when the stole is in particular bad taste and the chasuble is completely blank.

    I believe this helps to highlight the fact that, while Modernism demands bland and milquetoast vestments (blank-white chasubles), it also demands a discernible amount of objective bad taste. Hence, the horrid stole placed on top of an unadorned chasuble.

  10. maskaggs says:

    It’s besides the point, but at a few points during the video you can see a brighter white alb under the darker white chasuble. Still unappealing, but yes there is some form of a chasuble there.

  11. jlmorrell says:

    These people are in full communion with Rome and the SSPX is not – what kind of world are we living in?

  12. Unfinished says:

    All I can say is – Thanks be to God I don’t understand German. The visuals were bad enough, I don’t want to know what was being said.

  13. An American Mother says:

    You didn’t miss a thing. Most of it was just the usual newscaster blather, with snippets of interviews.

    Interesting that the Youth Minister for the diocese (the guy in the brown jacket talking with the clown in the background) was more than a little uncomfortable trying to explain why this was a GOOD thing . . . it’s to attract the youth, doncha know. Wonder why the congregation (as opposed to the ‘performers’) seemed so . . . of a certain age, then.

  14. An American Mother says:

    They say, by the way, that it was an “Ecumenical Service” — so I suppose we can be thankful that at least it wasn’t a Mass. I hope they reserved the Blessed Sacrament somewhere safe and out of earshot.

  15. MichaelJ says:

    I am not able to view the video(not that I would want to given the reports) but have a question for all of the liturgical and canon law experts. What, specifically, was violated? At a gut level, I can agree with the sentiment that this was just wrong, but how does one counter the argument that “while this may have been in bad tast, no rubrics were violated”?

  16. RichardT says:

    Compared to that stole, the way the rest of the were dressed was relatively dignified.

  17. Gail F says:

    I wish I could understand German so I could figure out what was going on. I think there are plenty of ways to bless the Fasching performers (if that’s what was happening) without having them be part of the service. I don’t have a problem with them dressing in their costumes, and I could even see them doing something before the processional, or after it. There is no reason people can’t celebrate a big thing that happens in their parish. But this isn’t the way.

  18. Gail F says:

    MichaelJ: One of the things you missed, then, was a clown standing in the sanctuary reciting something along with the priest — i don’t know if it was the Gospel or a prayer, or if it was something from a Fasching performance. A lot of people in fancy dress came down the aisle with the priest, and some of them sat in the sanctuary. There is also a rather nice band playing a song, but I don’t know what kind of song it was — some liturgical song, or just a song.

  19. MikeM says:

    I presume the stated goal of this sort of thing is to draw in “youth.” I’m trying to imagine dragging my little brother (who’s starting high school next year) to something like this. NO WAY he would go anywhere near that Church (nor, of course, would I… and I suppose they’d consider me part of the “youth”)

    Young people are young, not insane.

  20. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that the lighter white cloth underneath was an amice…

  21. EnoughRope says:

    After the stuff that happened to me today and this mess, I WANT TO SCREAM!

  22. Nathan says:

    All, Chris Gillebrand of the blog “Catholic Church Conservation” (http://www.cathcon.blogspot.com/) has been posting pictures, for a number of years, of German Catholic priests (and even bishops, if I remember correctly)celebrating Mass in Fasching hats surrounded by servers and other laity all decked out for Carnival. If he is correct, it’s a fairly widespread practice in parts of Germany and Austria.

    In Christ,

  23. Nathan says:

    Here’s a link from Catholic Church Conservation with a collection of Fasching abuses: http://cathcon.blogspot.com/search/label/Carnival

    In Christ,

  24. ipadre says:

    Isn’t it funny how the liberals make fun of us. And they wonder why we love the Extraordinary Form!

  25. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I have found that most diocesan “Jugundplanners” are utterly out of step with most youth in their parishes.

  26. wmeyer says:

    Ach du lieber Gott, indeed. Makes my parish seem downright trad.

    I was ok until the priest and the clown were in unison. At that my charity was spent.

  27. gambletrainman says:

    Ok, I need some help, here. I read in one of your articles (I think it was yesterday, but I can neither remember nor can I find the article) about a directive concerning music in church. The aticle was written and signed by Cardinal Kaspar. In it, he was giving the circumstances that music could be played in church. Having, say, the Vienna Boys Choir would be acceptible, while shenannigans such as this would NOT be accepted.

  28. DelRayVA says:

    An American Mother says:
    “They say, by the way, that it was an ‘Ecumenical Service’”

    Indeed. I don’t speak German, so I can’t be sure, but it didn’t look like a Mass. Indeed, there has been much done in bad taste and questionable theology over the years, but I am quite dubious that there really is such thing as a “Clown Mass” in the Catholic Church. Every single example someone has claimed to see one, it’s always turned out to be an Ecumenical Service, or an Episcopalian one, etc. I think that by the time you get to “Clowns,” you’ve already gone so far off the deep end, that the idea of a “Mass” doesn’t occur to you. If you’ve got documentary proof of an actual “Clown Mass,” I’d be interested. I suppose it’s possible that one or more has occurred, stranger things have happened, but I think it is extremely rare. (Horrific 10 foot puppets notwithstanding.)

    I think the concept of a “Clown Mass” is a boogey man that gets trotted out as one of those things that “everybody knows,” except nobody really knows. Swearing that your sister attended one in Seattle 3 years ago doesn’t count a documentary evidence, by the way.

  29. Fr. C says:

    Re: “Clown Masses”

    I have personally known people who wanted to have clowns lead the recessional out of Mass as a segue to the “ministry fair” in the parish hall (all to the tune “Thunder and Blazes”, I kid you not!). I nixed it at my current parish. Unfortunately it happened at the parish where I grew up. I saw photos from that Mass online as evidence of a “clown Mass”. So at least some of the time “clown Masses” are really “clown recessionals.” Still highly inappropriate, though!

    This isn’t to deny, of course, that “clown Masses” do happen.

  30. An American Mother says:

    Well, there IS an actually legitimate “Clown Service” in the Anglican Church.

    I say “legitimate” because it is a memorial service for Joseph Grimaldi (arguably the first clown) who was a member at St. James Islington — it’s been moved to Holy Trinity Dalston, a successor parish when St. James was torn down. Both churches are near the British circus “winter quarters” and the service is an annual event attended by professional clowns. They just wore their regular street clothes until the sixties, when everybody started dressing up for the occasion.

    Sometimes the vicar puts on a red nose, but not always.

    I don’t know of any Clown Masses, but I did show up one time at a Mass on the feast day of the Virgen de Guadalupe when there were a bunch of guys in loincloths and feather headdresses dancing and playing flutes and drums . . . .

  31. Mitchell NY says:

    This should be done in a community center or an adjoining building to the Church. This is unrecognizable to most people as a Catholic Mass and is not fair to other Catholics who may be visiting that parish. Not to mention how many rubrics and rules violations are stacked up here. It is awful to even watch it. Most of those kids when grown up will probably leave the Church and view this whole charade as part of their childhood or youth years. I doubt they will be singing and dancing the same way in 20 years. As for the adults doing this, guarenteed they have not been doing this for 40 years. It is new to them so they are going along. It will bore everyone soon enough for whatever the reasons. Mass and Liturgy should be serious so that you grow into it as you get older and it fits in with the appropriate behaviors of adults in Church. This should be stopped by Rome, as was done in the infamous Brisbane Diocease in Australia.

  32. Guess Cardinal Mahoney has a new diocese to retire at.

    Maybe Fr. Anscar Chupungco is dying to join this celebration?

  33. Maltese says:

    This isn’t a mass–the Sacrifice is not present, Christ is not present…

  34. A tie-dye stole! Well, I guess that covers all liturgical colors, and then some…

  35. Central Valley says:

    Didn’t this side show play at the Los Angles education congress one year?

  36. Ogard says:

    “I hope they reserved the Blessed Sacrament somewhere safe and out of earshot”, says An American Mother.

    I don’t think so. My only consolation is that a priest with this kind of attitude cannot possibly have “intention of doing what the Church does”; i.e. he cannot consecrate validly.

    But suppose it is valid, it is also evidence against those who claim that the Mass is not Sacrifice. Because Our Lord cannot but suffer when faced with this kind of humiliation, carried out under jurisdiction of one of the successors of His Apostles.

    Look at that clapper in read jacket: I wonder if it is a bishop. In any case, he stands for His Lordship, doesn’t he. They say: “a fish stinks because of its head…”

  37. jo seno says:

    this is just silly. they look like 3rd graders playing dress up.

  38. JonM says:

    I was looking for some good in this and came up with

    >Apparently this was not a Mass but rather was some ecumenical service
    >Women wore skirts

    This should be in the parish hall, not the church. I also hope that a wink and a nod is not being given to certain activities that Carnival is known for. Seeing pictures of a bishop and, um, ‘dancers’ does not lend much confidence to this.

  39. ssoldie says:

    jlmorrel said a mouthfull in his statement, this silliness and so much more since the great vatican II, and the ‘fabricated’ mass, they are all in full communion and the FSSPX are not. I ask my self daily, is the Catholic Church really, more Holy, more reverent, growing more in spirituality, since the great vatican II with all it’s ambiguous language. I believe that it should never have taken place, for it’s embracing modernism (progressiveism) in all it’s forms has led to it’s downfall, disunity, chaos, confusion, May God forgive us. Cardinal Simonis said,”We have to start over from the beginning”. I agree.

  40. JP says:

    I haven’t actually seen a clown “Mass”, but our parish had the Easter Bunny show up a couple of times. And yes, it was DURING Mass…

    Canning that was one of my first crusades.

  41. MargaretMN says:

    Since so many people are trashing this service, I will play devil’s advocate here and suggest that you all are taking this out of context and reading in your own experience of liturgical and aesthetic abuses here in the USA and elsewhere. I recollect that in medieval times and still in some places today, town festivals were always accompanied by a Mass, where costumes and gear, floats and fair maidens were blessed by the priest. Also guilds had masses for their patron saints, where the guild members would bring their tools to be blessed, and would wear their working attire, like aprons, smocks and uniforms so that it could be “blessed” too. I seem to remember reading about a “clown mass” in the USA too, but it wasn’t for entertainment purposes, it was a Mass *for clowns* for people working as clowns, to bless their work and honor it as a vocation. I remember the Notre Dame coach Dan Devine defending special prayer services for football and football players as “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth praying about.”

    When the cameras come in, sometimes we see something different than is actually there. The guy who said, it would be attractive to young people and outsiders is just inviting misinterpretation.

  42. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    I am most familiar with the customs from the Rheinland-Pfaltz, I lived there for a decade and participated in the little village where I lived and walked to attend Church.

    Please note that the usual “skimpy” costumes are covered up with a cloak or coat on the girls and young women while in Church. Fasching or Carnaval (Carnival) is an old and historically “CATHOLIC” tradition in most European countries. It is the burst of energy before Lent the celebration of ALL of G-d’s Creation, and yes, even conception!

    Most villages and towns with a Catholic Presence in Germany, will have a Fasching Dinner (a “formal” but hilarious “roast” of officials and those in authority), and parade. The usual order is Mass Attendance, Blessing, Parade, and then the Dinner. In large cities there might be many smaller groups that participate in a larger parade together and then go their separate ways. Many of these groups are PARISH BASED, and the most will dress alike in costume. There are also still “Guilds” and Unions that participate, as well as schools, and congregations.

    In Cologne or Koeln, the big draws are the “armies of clowns” the girls dressed in Napoleonic Era style costumes and the Satire Floats (same is true for Nice France – the Satire Floats). In Mainz, it is the tradition of tossing “favors” to the crowds, but unlike New Orleans here, no “flashing” is required (it’s usually a bitterly cold day too!)
    You will not normally find these Pre-Lenten observances in NON-Catholic regions. You like the Baroque and Rocco, you take the festivals and celebrations as well.

    I will admit that in some areas where the belief in ANY religion is lacking (say Berlin) and the hedonistic atheists abound, it gets rather raunchy and evil. It is a symptom of the prevalence of Evil, the perversion of even mild pleasure and gifts from G-d into something ugly and unhealthy.

    Thank-you MargaretMN.

  43. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    “I know that Fasching has deep cultural roots… but… in church?”
    Yes, Father, in Church and because of ‘Mother Church.’

  44. chonak says:

    Alas, there have been some “Clown Masses” without even the excuse of circus ministry. For a similar case, recall the infamous Halloween Mass with Barney the dinosaur in Orange, CA.

    In my area, the Boston Globe showed photos of an April Fools’ Day Clown Mass about 1979, at the notorious Paulist Center chapel, and that case’s coverage seemed to prevent any repetitions around here. If I remember right, the priest took an assignment to the cathedral’s Hispanic ministry and stayed out of trouble after that.

  45. JonM says:

    Margaret amd Sandra, thanks for the input.

    I think intention factors significantly in this. The past generations wearing special clothes and having special services did so in a manner so as to sanctify their life (e.g., a trade).

    Are people intending to sanctify their daily life or are they trying to banalize Church matters?

    Even pushing the boundaries of modestly in itself might not be such a bad thing if the intention is categorically good. If Carnival becomes a time for married people to start repopulating, that’s a good thing- let’s just keep it out of a church! However, we know that in many places hedonism captures communities during Carnival, in South America, North America, and Europe.

    Another concern that some of us have is that when we are in the midst of a massive collapse in the Church, a bishop should be out trying to rescue souls rather than schmooze with pretty girls who apparently dance without much on. If Germany were a nation of orthodox Catholics pledging loyalty to the Pope and Christ’s Church, I don’t think so many of us would be upset.

  46. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I guess there are “Clown Mass Deniers” out there, so:

    St. Rose of Lima Church, Milburn, New Jersey
    CCD Class in the early 1980’s.

    The visiting priest was dressed as a clown, but changed out of the outfit & makeup for Mass
    He showed us his celebret – which is the only time I have seen one in person
    Certain others of the clown ministry continued to wear their clown outfits & makeup during the Mass, and assisted in the homily

    I was there along with a bunch of other kids. It happened.

  47. Oliver says:

    I’m a french reader of your blog. In France, we also need Summorum Pontificum but for us … it is almost impossible (in France bishops don’t obey to Rome, an old gallican tradition perhaps?)!
    Few weeks ago you spoke about Thiberville and you didn’t understand why a french bishop could be expelled out a church.
    So just have a look to theses blogs and you will understand.
    http://www.perepiscopus.org/ (in french)
    http://www.paixliturgique.com/ (in english)

  48. aeneas says:

    RE: “The church may well be packed, but how many of them have been to confession within the last 12 months? I rest my case.”

    Magpie, Do you have some special gift that allows you to see into their private lives and into the state of their souls? How can you make such a preposterous statement? Please understand that rash judgment is sinful.

  49. kjmacarthur says:

    Some here have doubted the existence of clown Masses. When I was at Notre Dame in the 80’s, the parish that my wife and I attended had a clown Mass. I am not going to name names, but the DRE (a religious sister) and the deacon (also a religious) dressed as clowns and did some some kind of skit for the homily. The celebrant, at least, did not dress as a clown.

    St. Mary’s College (the women’s college across the road from ND) held an annual liturgy conference (they may still) and once, in that same period, the theme for the whole conference was clown liturgy.

    And don’t get me started on polka Masses.

  50. Supertradmom says:

    Dear KJ,

    I was in the same department with you and remember such stuff. The liturgical conferences were an oddity anyway, and a convenient way to spread nonsense. Sadly, it is hard to convince Catholics to break away from such stuff when we have seen Papal Masses within recent memory with so-called “cultural dances” and costumes, as if such recognition of diversity was a necessity in the most Sacred Action of Holy Mass. The entire idea of “ritual” is to avoid such novelties. The worst part of the video for me was the hideous priest’s vestment. Rainbow sash? Puh-leeze…

  51. sherlockgael says:

    PETA should complain about that feather in that guy’s hat ;)

  52. Carnival is a time of excess in most areas. Catholic Church in Germany celebrates Carnival by having a terrible, messed-up Mass.

    So, when you add 2 and 2 together, it could just be this: maybe these guys were celebrating the excess of having too much irreverence in the name of fun and “attracting youth to church”. Definitely because “we youth” don’t like the austerity of Lent — “let’s have as much fun before the nasty adults come to steal it!”

    Probably not a good thing for the Church, no?

  53. Oh, and if this was an “ecumenical service” — as said by some on here, it was a terrible one. At least they could have an ecumenical service with something that had more respect for the dignity of the human person (such as modesty, perhaps?).

    But that’s just me.

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