Meme Mass?

And this on the day I wrote about the Knox Bible.  Life is funny.

The amusing Eye of the Tiber has this:

Washington, DC––Citing a need for the Church to “reach out to its estranged youth,” the International Commission on English in the Liturgy requested, and has already begun intensive work on, an all-meme edition of the Roman Missal. Representatives from the Commission, unhappy with last year’s implementation of the new translation of the Missal, shared their concern that the Church is not “speaking the language of the people.” “Young people are unable to relate to [the Missal’s] rigid, academic language” said a spokesperson for the group, “and so we are taking it upon ourselves to bring them closer to the richness of the Catholic Faith through the most modern meme-linguistic-format.” Such meme-characters as “Bad Luck Brian,” “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” and “Skeptical Black Kid,” the new mouthpieces of the Roman Liturgy, would be projected on the bare walls of churches behind the altar, to allow for “full, active participation” of young people during the Sacred Rites.

Far-fetched you say?  Sure that’s satire, but consider this video, of some priests in France, isn’t of a Mass, well… you decide…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I can tell that it’s not the SSPX.

  2. PostCatholic says:

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the LOLCat Bible

  3. Gregory DiPippo says:

    eyes… bleeding…

  4. APX says:

    With priestly discernment programs such as this:
    I’m confident we’ll see more of this.

    Wait! What’s this? Dominicans in performing a well-choreographed Lady Gaga dance number?
    **WARNING! There’s really bad feedback**
    Somehow I think if St. Thomas Aquinas saw this he’d roll over in his grave.

    I should probably get back to my philosophy essay.

  5. Long-Skirts says:


    “They have abandoned the Fort, those
    who should have defended it.” (St. John Fisher)

    Who held the Fort
    Till the Calvary came
    Fighting for all
    In His Holy Name?

    Who fed the sheep
    As the pastures burned dry
    A few Good Shepherds
    Heeding their cry?

    Who led the charge
    Gainst heresy’s Huns
    Defending the degreed
    To His lowliest ones?

    Who battened down
    The hatch of the barque
    To warm cold souls
    From shivering-seas dark?

    “Who?” mocks Satan
    Delighting in doubt
    Fills you with questions,
    Never lets you find out.

    “Hoc est enum
    Corpus meum…
    and for many…” who kept
    The dead words – Te Deum!

    God’s sake, they’re not even good dancers!

  6. StWinefride says:


    This choreography was presented at the 2011 Winter Youth Forum at Paray-le-Monial.

    Msg Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation said: “The Church must learn the language of the youth”. The priests, who accepted this challenge with courage, are real priests and not actors. They only had 2 rehearsals.

    Using respectful gestures, the goal was to share actions which form the heart of their priestly life.

    But it is possible that this video, taken out of context, and which was one of the highlights of the Winter Forum, could be misinterpreted. To understand it, it must be seen in the context of the Winter Forum”.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    I didn’t think french men were so tall?

    Or is the picture distorted?

  8. Katheryn says:

    If it wasn’t during Mass, the only issue I take is that it may have been performed in church. I would have been more comfortable if it were a school gym or something. Most of the priests looked fairly young, and I do believe that the baptist evangelicals are the ones who take issue with dancing….

  9. Jim says:

    Please Fathers, be manly.

  10. fvhale says:

    “Les Prêtres” had the best-selling pop music album in France back in April 2010 (i.e., 2.5 years ago, a very long time in the pop music world) called “Spiritus Dei.” Many music videos of them can be found on youtube.

    This was a project of Bishop Jean-Michel di Falco, ordinary of the diocese of Gap (not related to the clothing store).

    One approach to “New Evangelization,” I guess.

  11. Bernadette88 says:

    As a young Catholic who runs a growing lay apostolate reaching out to other young Catholics in my diocese this attitude drives me insane!! We meet many lapsed Catholics in our mission and we share with them the beauty and fullness of the faith….and they LOVE it and it doesn’t take long before they are plugged back into the life of the Church.
    Anyone who is over the age of 30 and starts a sentence “Young People want/Young People need blah blah blah” should stop speaking and actually ask the young people want and then provide it . But most are too scared to because unfortunately what most young people want/need is in stark contrast to what they see as important. Don’t patronise us….if you want to speak our language take your queue from Pope Benedict, he knows what we want and we love him and share his vision.

    Praise God that in my diocese our Bishop cuts these muppets out and works directly with his young people!!

  12. asophist says:

    God help us all! Not only was this kind of thing unimaginable when I was a young man, nobody could even have conceived of such perverted music, either! – or that priests of the Holy Catholic Church would ever stoop to this degraded level. Maybe I’m just an old-fashioned prude. But that’s a result of the moral code I learned beginning way back in the 1940’s. And it seems right to me. What has become of priestly dignity? A priest is a man, yes; but he is a man who is set aside from everything vulgar, the better to fulfill his mission of administering the sacraments to sinners (ideally, without being enmeshed in sin himself). Music and dancing of these sorts are not art (notice the profane mimicking of the sign of the cross) and have no excuse either for themselves or for the involvement of a priest.

  13. acardnal says:

    frjim4321 says:
    30 October 2012 at 5:12 pm
    I didn’t think french men were so tall?

    Or is the picture distorted?

    Everything about this is “distorted” and Satan loves to distort.

  14. Katheryn says:

    Okay, distasteful? Yes. Satanic? No.

  15. APX says:


    I have a Moral Theology book from the 1950s which clarifies that “clerics should refrain from all amusements and occupations unbecoming to their sacred calling. Engaging in unbecoming arts […] is forbidden […] They are not to attend theatrical performances, dances and shows which are unbecoming of their state […].”

    I think the aforementioned certainly classifies as “unbecoming amusement”.

    Even the current Code of Canon Law states that:
    “Can. 285 §1. Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their state, according to the prescripts of particular law.

    §2. Clerics are to avoid those things which, although not unbecoming, are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state.”

  16. RichR says:

    How profoundly boring (the video).

  17. discerningguy says:

    From my young trad-leaning perspective, I do not have a problem with what the young at Steubenville men did. On the other hand, I think the two videos of priests is unbecoming. Food for thought, everyone…

  18. truthfinder says:

    Fr. you might be interested to know that I had a “consubstantial” sighting in a book I had to read for one of my history courses. It’s completely unrelated to religion, so I was pretty amused when I saw it.

  19. Norah says:

    Even the current Code of Canon Law states that:
    “Can. 285 §1. Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their state, according to the prescripts of particular law.

    §2. Clerics are to avoid those things which, although not unbecoming, are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state.”

    Who is to decide what ” unbecoming to their state” and “foreign to the clerical state” means? Using vague terms which anyone is able to interpret as they wish is partly what has got Catholicism into the mess it is in.

  20. frjim4321 says:

    acardnal says:
    30 October 2012 at 7:43 pm

    frjim4321 says:
    30 October 2012 at 5:12 pm
    I didn’t think french men were so tall?

    Or is the picture distorted?

    Everything about this is “distorted” and Satan loves to distort.

    ac, I have to give you credit, that was funny.

    Seriously, though, do you think those priests were so really tall and good looking, or do you think it was a digital distortion?

  21. rinkevichjm says:

    They are talking about taking some of the prayers and responses in language that third graders understand if I read this right. The current liturgy is probably targeted at sixth graders. There are only a few words that would need changing, and consubstantial would definitely be beyond a third grader’s understanding. However, the mystery which it represents is probably far beyond their understanding too. But if what they want to do is retranslate words that you wouldn’t find in an elementary school dictionary into ward that would be, an acceptable translation could be done. Really shouldn’t be a long process either as the priest’s parts shouldn’t be changed.

  22. Father K says:


    It is always boring to watch narcissists doing their thing. I hope I don’t end up in hell – I think this is what it will be like, noisy, boring, narcissistic and chaotic.

  23. frjim4321 says:

    It is always boring to watch narcissists doing their thing. I hope I don’t end up in hell – I think this is what it will be like, noisy, boring, narcissistic and chaotic. – FK

    LOL, you don’t even know those people. That’s hysterical!

  24. pelerin says:

    Following what StWinifride has written, it appears that this video was a pirate edition presumably taken by one of those present.

    It does not show it all and actually I was surprised when watching the official video to find that the dancing was quite expressive, and did have meaning expressing the different roles of the priesthood. The official video advertised a Vocations exhibition to the young on a youth website. Whatever one may think of dancing Priests, the Emmanuel Community of charismatic Catholics shown here is growing and their founder is I believe being considered for beatification. However, I do think it is a pity that dancing Priests should be used to encourage vocations.

  25. Jana Parma says:

    My senses are so offended. Why must they devolve everything to the lowest form possible? This sort of behavor does not elevate worship of God to something sacred but puts it in a dismissive light and tone. How much dumber can we go?

  26. StWinefride says:

    Pelerin, it’s true that one would not want to justify what the priests are doing (and I really don’t agree with what they are doing), however having just visited Paray-le-Monial at the end of the Summer, I was very taken with the lovely, peaceful and holy atmosphere of the little town.

    I think that’s why I felt like finding out more about the context of the video that Father Z posted. The Sanctuary has been entrusted to the Emmanuel Community for now, and it’s not my cup of tea but I try not to be judgmental. It’s so easy to do good with one hand and then damn yourself with the other!

    I did however meet a lovely couple who own an art shop called, Les Ateliers du Sacré-Coeur. One of their sons is a priest with the ICKSP. In their shop they have a photo of Raymond Cardinal Burke who was visiting last year for a Conference. The town isn’t particulary “trad” friendly they told me, but who knows what the future holds?! Do visit the shop and say hello if anyone should find themselves in Paray-le-Monial.

    St Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us!
    St Claude de la Colombiere, pray for us!

  27. chantgirl says:

    But where are the glowsticks and pacifiers and ecstasy pills? I’m waiting for Corky St. Clair or Mel Brooks to jump in with his troupe of synchronized nuns-in-swimsuits. Seriously, though, I’m having flashbacks to the ridiculous retreats we were forced to participate in in highschool. A priest would have more luck saving souls by going to an actual rave and dousing them with some holy water. Stunts like this are the reason many men do not come to Mass. They will follow men that they respect.

  28. LisaP. says:

    Isn’t it sensible to distinguish a bit between the three videos, the original and the two APX posted?

    The original looks to me like the kind of hide your face in shame at the nerdiness of it all stuff you’d see at the end of a summer camp. There’s a talent show vibe. It’s not at Mass, and there’s nothing indecent or irreverent (intrinsically) about the movement. It’s to roll your eyes and if someone took it *seriously* I’d be disgusted, but for what it is I can’t see it as harmful. Different strokes.

    The Franciscan U video I wanted to hate because Disney is evil, but it was funny. It was parody. It was Oxford guys dressing up as the schoolgirls in Gilbert and Sullivan. I didn’t go in for all of it, but one of the things I find most disturbing about Catholic groups of all parts of the spectrum is that they (normally women) seem to believe that laughter and love of God are incompatible. I laugh perpetually at the Bible studies with my Protestant friends, we get emotional in every direction. With my Catholic friends, everyone seems to think they need to talk in gentle, hushed tones and slip the word “blessed” into every third sentence. There are some, many, very definite things that Catholicism cannot embrace (dualism, fatalism, materialism) — humor is not one of them.

    The last video, the Gaga one of the Dominicans gyrating their hips? Scandal. Very, very wrong.

  29. pelerin says:

    StWinifride – your comment has interested me. When I planned a visit to Lyon a few years ago I intended to take the train to Paray le Monial. However on discovering photographs on the internet showing pilgrims there were all a good deal younger than myself and learning that the shrine was run by the Emmanuel Community I decided not to go. I did not wish to feel like a fish out of water. And like you the armwaving charismatic worshipping is not my cup of tea either. However I did get to Ars and spent a wonderful few days there during a period when there were very few visitors. Perhaps a visit to Paray out of season might be the answer?

  30. LisaP. says:


    I just asked my six year old to explain who God is, and to tell me about God being three and one:
    She says :
    God is the most priveral being who made all things. God is three beings in one God. He is three persons in one God. He’s one God, but he’s three beings. Not human beings, but. . . He’s the Father, and he’s the Son, and he’s the Holy Spirit. So he’s three persons in one God. (is my hair slightly pink?). He’s a God, not any other gods, just one.

    When I asked her how he can be three persons and one God, she said (with a little head shake):
    Because he’s God, he can do anything!

    When i asked her if she had a hard time believing that, she said:
    No! When I was, like, five then I a little bit didn’t believe in God, but that was a long time ago, so. . . actually, that was when I was four.

    Third graders are more than capable of understanding a definition of consubstantial taught to them, and certainly of comprehending the mystery behind it. It’s a much easier concept for a child to grasp than, say, divorce — which kids all over the U.S. have to try to comprehend the mystery of every day.

    Toddlers, as an interesting aside, can’t be wow’ed by magic tricks. If a big white rabbit comes out of a small white hat, they’ll love the rabbit, but they won’t follow the magic trick part, because magic tricks are about the contrast between expectation and event. They never had the expectation that a rabbit *couldn’t* come out of a top hat.

    Small children, when they are told that God can do all things, simply nod their heads and go on with their play. It takes a lot of work to teach them that this is a hard thing to believe.

    I’ve always thought this must be part of why we must become like children — it’s not just innocence, etc. It’s because if God popped up in my living room right now, I’d go all weird. I’d wonder if it were really him, I’d fear if I saw the face of God I’d die, I’d not know the right posture of adoration. My kid would probably just say hi.

  31. LisaP. says:

    Oh, and just a note, she does know that Jesus is a human being.

  32. Long-Skirts says:

    Sorry, just goes to show…

    white men really CAN’T dance

  33. The Masked Chicken says:


    You wrote:

    “Anyone who is over the age of 30 and starts a sentence “Young People want/Young People need blah blah blah” should stop speaking and actually ask the young people want and then provide it . But most are too scared to because unfortunately what most young people want/need is in stark contrast to what they see as important.”

    What a way to dismiss the hard, hard, experience of older people. I teach young people (college age), every day. I have long conversations with them on subjects from literature to life to science to music to religion. While age does not necessarily confer wisdom, nevertheless, it is equally impertinent for young people to dismiss the experience that older people bring to the discussion.

    In the book of Sirach, 25:3 – 6, it says:

    3 Unless you learn what you can while you are young, you will never be wise when you reach old age.

    4 Sound judgment, good advice, and gray hair go together beautifully.

    5 Wisdom, understanding, and sound counsel are appropriate to the aged and the respected.

    6 Elderly people wear the crown of long experience, and they can boast of nothing finer than their fear of the Lord.

    The Chicken

  34. The Masked Chicken says:


    I apologize for my harsh words, above.

    Older people do need to listen to young people, but sometimes (not always) older people really do know what young people need. In music, we often have, “Master Classes,” where the (usually) older musicians pass along their wisdom to the young. Likewise, older people have to make way for the ideas of the young.

    The Chicken

  35. Bernadette88 says:

    The Masked Chicken

    Perhaps I was a little unclear, apologies. What I mean by older people listening to the young is that they shouldn’t make assumptions on “what young people want”. In my part of the world most older people think if we grab a few guitars, tambourines and a bit of Shine Jesus Shine young people will love it and we will pack our churches. If they took the time to listen then they would learn this is far from what we want. And by no means am I saying leave us to it. We want to learn our heritage and the great treasures of our faith: teach us so we can in turn be faithful and keep the torch burning. We are thirsting!!

  36. Angie Mcs says:

    So, all one has to do is just hang up a picture of Jesus on a wall and anything goes….

  37. Imrahil says:

    Thing is, first, it’s from the Emmanuel Community… that’s a quality sign.

    The thing that was not of quality was the music. And my basically only issue with this is that it is emphatically not Shine, Jesus, shine. It is no good pop music (as Shine, Jesus, shine is); it is no rock; it is no chant; it is no classical music. It is not even some witty sort of rap. It is the kind of music we hear in discos nowadays; but I do not want to be unclear: I don’t dislike it because it is heard in discos. I would not dislike rock; I would not dislike pop; etc. You get the idea. I just wonder who ever put music of the sort into discos in the first place. It simply does not make fun.

    Well that’s that. But that’s all, and I somewhat cannot understand how anybody could possibly get bleeding eyes or think of the Evil One etc. etc. as if this would have been a sacrilege.

    (Becoming for clerics? The very choice of words is that this is a highly subjective and also Society thing. Not all morality is of such kind; but some is. It was, I guess, not even in the 1950s unbecoming for clerics to visit The Physicists by Dürrenmatt, or so, at the city theater.)

    Dear @Lisa P., thank you very much for your comments. And dear @Chicken of course.

    Same to dear @Bernadette… but what does youth want? For it is what we are always being told that youth wants the grand thing, the challenging thing, etc. And now I’ll be a bit sad but maybe that is true – for those that are 19. I consider myself (and yourself, if I read your name correctly) to be youth still, though… it’s the language you might say (and someone could argue that this is in itself a sign of decadence)…

    And the feeling I see around is that youth wants, indeed, neither some little overtly pseudo-young advertisements. But it doesn’t either want the grand thing, etc. Our youth has grown old; what it wants is a warm place at the fireside, and perhaps a rocking chair (quoting Mose Harper from The Searchers). It gets enough of challenges in worklife; enough to grow sick of them. It seeks a little harmony, a little bit of peace in an otherwise unpeaceful life, in the presence of others of like mind for whom it does develop a real sense of friendship… That, coming to think of it, is why it tolerates such music; because it only hears it in the background, even if it dances to it.

    But, so much in defence of our honor, the youth does not love this kind of music; it just does not bother. When it starts to care for music, it looks for a better one. Though it will often seek a sort of smashing (I have no better word) in music, a point where you can rather violently throw off “all that kind of thing”. I mean the sort that pop music basically consists of, that is also present in rock and also in Bizet’s Carmen (always my example). Hence, who is already a faithful Catholic may, indeed, wish to sing Shine, Jesus, shine. He might be shy of it for fear of not be taken serious by someone whom he, perhaps, might want to evangelize. But still he might wish to do it.

    Of course, and that’s where you’re again right, we have lost any taste in appeasement politics. It is not true (I figure, and maybe I deplore) that we want a higher life; we may even violently protest against what we perceive as a “lead a hard life morality”, but that’s because of a silent conviction that this cannot be it; and not unoften there is a grain of truth (or, indeed, falsehood) to such protests and convictions. But that is still true that we cannot stand to be withhold information for our own supposed good.

  38. maw140 says:

    Ugh. I am a 21-year old college student and what draws me to the Church is her orthodoxy and traditions. My local oratory is full of young priests and reverent young people who show up daily for Confession and Mass. This type of dumbing down is exactly what pushes my generation away from the Church… shows how out of touch this Commission is.

  39. StWinefride says:

    Pelerin, I think the only obvious time to miss going to Paray-le-Monial would be during the Youth Winter and Summer Forums! When we were passing through at the end of August, there was a Family Retreat and it was relatively quiet. A lot of families consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart while there. The whole town has an aura of peace and other worldliness, the centre is mostly pedestrianised and it is quite small with very old quaint buildings. The Basilica in the Cluny style was beautiful. In any case, the Chapel of the Visitation where the Visions were received by St Margaret Mary and the tomb of St Claude de la Colombiere are both very peaceful and there is a very reverent atmosphere. Hope you go one day!

  40. NoraLee9 says:


    Absolutely loved your post.

    (Our lights are back on here in Northern Jersey- Nice to see the Internet again too).

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