When clowns attack


This may make your eyes and ears bleed.  No.  Really.

It is hard to know how to react to this.  I have so many thoughts and emotions at once.

Preliminary observations:

  • I think what you are going to see is not part of a Mass.  The book is a Bible and not a Lectionary.  Still.
  • This is a service presider over by a Catholic bishop.
  • What they are doing is culturally so far removed from my experience that I am left astonished.
  • But that is not quite true either: This is where what we were taught about “liturgy” in my seminary in the USA in ’80’s would eventually have lead.

Imagine going to a different planet, finding life, dropping off a couple missionaries and a subscription to the National Schismatic Reporter and then moving on.  You return a couple centuries later, open the door of your Tardis, and find…


Reason #7856642 for Summorum Pontificum!

Surely they are doing something they consider an expression of joy and of honor. I can’t, however, shake the thought that this is a different religion.

It is amazing how certain pieces of music come to be inextricably bound up with a certain activity or context.  This also shows how, over a long time, musical idioms can drift or take on an entirely different connotation.

The name of the march used in the video is really “Entrance of the Gladiators”.  Composed in the 19th century, it was originally a military march.  When played at a quicker tempo and removed to a different context, the sound of this particular march will invoke only one thing… at least to Americans.  What it means to Brazilians is hard to gauge.

At the same time, this event seems to have been at Aparecida, for their big feast day.  So this is what someone considers an exemplary liturgical moment.


But wait!  There’s more!

Reason #7856643 for Summorum Pontificum:


To think that we went from Stabat Mater to this in a generation.


From Vatican Radio:

Aparecida awaits Pope Francis

(Vatican Radio) As Pope Francis prepares to travel to Brazil for the upcoming World Youth Day celebrations we bring you this Vatican Radio English translation of an interview done in Portugese with Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida

Q: On July 24, the Pope will be in Aparecida.What will happen on this day?

A: I met Pope Francis at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where I stayed this week, and found him very peaceful and happy about his trip to Brazil – Rio de Janeiro for the World Youth Day and in Aparecida for the visit to the National Shrine . The Pope wants to express his love and his devotion to Our Lady, called in Brazil under the title “Our Lady of Aparecida”, the patron saint of all our country and our people. The Holy Father will arrive in Aparecida around 10:00 am and Mass will begin at 10:30 am inside the Basilica. The Holy Father also told me that at the end of the celebration, he will look down from the balcony (christened with the name of Pope Benedict XVI) to pray with the faithful outside the Sanctuary who will follow the Mass on giant screens. The Pope does not remain aloof from the people. In addition to this meeting to be held immediately after the Mass, the Pope will travel in the ‘Popemobile’ to the line that separates the Basilica of the Seminary. The same will happen in the afternoon when Pope Francis will do the reverse path from the seminary to the Basilica to take the helicopter that will bring him back to Rio de Janeiro. Pope Francis will remain throughout the afternoon at the Seminary, where he will have lunch together with his entourage and in the company of seminarians. It will be a private dinner. After there is a moment of rest. The Pope will bless an image of St. Anthony de Santana Galvão (Frei Galvão, the first Brazilian saint, who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 in São Paulo), born in the city of Guaratinguetá, and is part of the Archdiocese of Aparecida. This image will then be carried in procession, probably in October, during the feast of the saint, in the place where in future there will be a shine built dedicated to him. Again at the seminary, Pope Francis will receive three nuns from cloistered monasteries of our region.

Q: Before Mass, there will be a moment of prayer before the image of Our Lady of Aparecida …

Before the Mass, the Pope will stop in the Chapel of the Apostles to contemplate the original image of Our Lady of Aparecida. The throne of the image is mobile, so if the Pope wants to, it can be turned, so that the image of the Madonna can be directed towards Chapel for him to say this prayer of consecration to Our Lady in the presence of guests and the priests that will be present. This consecration will, in practice, be the same as we do, although there will be slight variations. After the consecration, this will become the new official prayer that we will do every time at the end of a Mass to consecrate the people of Our Lady of Aparecida. Interview Silvonei Protz

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, You must be joking! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    The comments at YouTube are reassuringly negative.

  2. TNCath says:

    That was just plain weird.

  3. rodin says:

    Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, Liberation Church?

  4. Hank Igitur says:

    Well, if the carnival is now over it looks like the circus is in full swing. Is there a puff of smoke somewhere in that structure?

  5. Mari Kate says:

    This is so frightening. It is hard to even consider it Catholic. It isn’t. It seems almost that we have two different Churches-two different religions happening in the name of Catholicism. Pardon me while I have a melt down.

  6. Acanthaster says:

    I’m pretty sure that song is also Cuba’s national anthem…I used to have a midi file of it when I was a kid!


  7. Acanthaster says:

    O wait…nevermind. The intro just reminded me of it :( Sorry for the lame double post, haha.

  8. You know Fr Z., here I am trying to be a Glad Trad, and then THIS shows up in my Blogger feed …. In your youth, you must have been that kid with the cheese burger at the zoo who ignored the “Don’t feed the bears” sign, weren’t you ? ;)

    [Did you know that the Brown Bear is the largest land carnivorous predator?]

  9. mattg says:

    This kind of thing surely must be staged by our enemies with the intent to give us strokes and aneurisms. How could this possibly be real?

    (Fr. would you please lead us in prayer):

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle;
    be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
    and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
    by the power of God,
    thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
    who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

  10. churchlady says:

    The music, at least to me, sounds like the Electric Light Parade at Disneyland!

  11. majuscule says:

    Oh those happy Brazilians! I’m surprised it wasn’t samba!

    Take heart. Msgr. Marini was in Brazil earlier, setting things up for the papal visit.

  12. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’ve never before seen an entrance procession led by rollerblading angels wearing greek laurel wreaths. I’ve also never seen a bible elevated by a laurel-wearing angel atop a spinning human carousel before. If we don’t know what to make of it, imagine how our poor dear Lord must feel having His House invaded in such a way.

    If that’s “active participation” at Mass, you can keep it. I shouldn’t have to take Dramamine in order to go to Mass on Sunday.

  13. JKnott says:

    Reason 550,999 for making the First Fridays and First Saturdays in reparation to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
    The Angel of Fatima cries “Penance, Penance, Penance!”

  14. eremitaosppe says:

    Just thinking, could we expect this type of stuff in Rio? Surely not! Glad I will be hiding in Australia… Is this a common occurrence in Brazil?

  15. JimP says:

    In charity I have to assume that the performers believed that what they were doing was a good thing, but it doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of performance that should be taking place in a Catholic church.

  16. Inline skates . . . where is Tie Domi when you need him?

  17. NBW says:

    Looks like they stuck with the Roman part of Roman Catholic. They should call it Circus Maximus.
    It is not fair that “Masses” like this are allowed yet more Traditional Masses are being vehemently opposed/oppressed in many parishes world-wide.

    Fr. Z; FYI, when I try to comment, the log in gets stuck for a while.

  18. Altar boys in red cassock and surplice: “guess we got all dressed up for nothing.”

  19. APX says:

    The only thing that pushes this over the Bizzaro World peculiar is that there is a cassock and surplice wearing MC. My mind has exploded.

  20. majuscule says:

    JimP, I think you are right, they thought they were doing a good thing. A beautiful thing !

    Let us not be caught up in the letter of the law, but in the intent of the law…

    N O T ! ! !

  21. Gratias says:

    It is worthwhile having a look at the other videos that appear when this on end ends. These are the fruits of Vatican II. Small wonder Pentecostals are doing well in Latin America.

  22. Gaetano says:

    Come back, Marquis de Pombal! All is forgiven!

  23. Michelle F says:

    I stumbled across this very video on YouTube a while back, and yes, it’s a horror.

    I’m not certain, however, that the music we hear in the video was actually played during this…entrance. I think that if the music we hear had actually been played in the church during the procession, it should sound more distant or “hollow,” and we should be able to hear background noise.

    I think the audio was dubbed in as a prank. I hope.

  24. Michelle F says:

    Actually, after replaying the end of the video several times at high volume with my ear pressed to my speaker, I can hear the crowd applauding faintly.

    Maybe they really did play that song in the church.

    Lord have mercy!

  25. Eric says:

    Did you ever see “A Christmas Carol” with Goerge C Scott as Scroog?

    Remember when the ghost of Marley shows up and he has a bandage tied under his chin and around the top of his head to keep his mouth from hanging open?

    I need one of those.

  26. Bea says:

    Well, it didn’t make my eyes and ears bleed, but it did make my heart stop (in shock, that is).
    Just when I thought I’d seen everything.

    I had seen the beginning of this clip some time, some where, some time back but clipped out of it because just the beginning made me not want to see it. This time I saw it all the way through.

    I don’t know if I need an airline barf bag or a box of kleenex , maybe both.

    I believe they were trying to portray “Joy” in the Good News.
    The JOY of His Resurrection came from His Death on the Cross and our subsequent Salvation, certainly not in debauchery.
    It turns His Bible Message into Theatrics and loses all semblance of Truth.

  27. Michelle F says:

    There is a second part to this. It came up as one of the options at the end of the video that Fr. Z posted.

    A group of men and women wearing chains, blindfolds, or having their hands over their ears process into the church to horror movie music. The music switches to some kind of nightclub dance music, and a float with three heads on it (looking like representations of See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil) comes down the aisle. On the right front corner of the float is what appears to be a gold and silver-plated Gospel book.

    They eventually carry the Gospel book to the lectern, and it looks like the bishop starts lighting a censer. Then the people start singing “Alleluia.”

    I don’t read or speak Spanish, but based on some text that scrolls across the bottom of the screen, it looks like this could be a Mass ending a Novena (“DVD com os melhores momentos da novena e festa da Padroeira,” and some other text).

    If you all don’t see the second video listed after the first one, here is the link for it:


  28. Kypapist says:

    Were they driving the bishop’s car?

  29. LA says:

    It is an “abomination of desolation in the holy place”.

  30. cathgrl says:

    From the seventh day from the same novena: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFnSrPhUiNc

  31. cathgrl says:

    Day 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjxSqYFufIA
    Day 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BwyH7licD0
    Day 5 (Entrance of Our Lady of Aparecida) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKMqrKtmYaA
    Day 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvKAQtPsl-o This almost looks normal. It’s more interesting about 5:35.

    There’s more too choose from here. I’m getting bored. : http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Novena+Solene&oq=Novena+Solene&gs_l=youtube.3…25334.39581.0.39923.…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.29ACWIZT5bQ

  32. cathgrl says:

    Sorry so many links and now my previous comment is awaiting moderation. It was the gift that kept giving.

    We’ll try one link for more, well, more … http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Novena+Solene&oq=Novena+Solene&gs_l=youtube.3…25334.39581.0.39923.…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.29ACWIZT5bQ

  33. tmhester says:

    You know… the “angels” skating around are so horribly out of time, tune, rhythm. It reminds me of the opening of the Dean Martin Show where the last Golddigger along just couldn’t keep up with the other three no matter how she tried.

  34. iPadre says:

    I was really disappointed. To cap it off, the Bishop should have been dressed like the Wizard of Oz and have a light show around the altar.

  35. Sieber says:

    Fr. Z,
    I clicked on Day 2 of this Novena & noted three bishops, one of whom is a cardinal.
    Could you please identify his eminence for us?

  36. Walsingham says:

    They forgot to put red noses on the Bishop and Priests or maybe that came later! What was that all about.? I`ve seen some abuses but that takes some beating. Enough to give you nightmares!

  37. jcocucci says:

    Is this a scene from Amaldovar’s new film “Cirque de Solesmes”?

  38. Joan M says:

    Words fail me.

  39. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’m not familiar with the Portugese language in general, but it’s evident that novena solene would be a solemn novena. Then again, perhaps in that idiom what looks like it should be solemn is really just silly.

  40. Traditium says:

    The normal initial reaction to angels in the Bible is fear. To me this strongly indicates that it is very likely they do not wear roller skates. Will research and report back in.


  41. Tamara T. says:

    I couldn’t do it. I could not click on the video. It seems I’ve reached a point where I am pretty much full of the bad and horrible and do not want to add anymore craziness to my brain. Just putting my head down to pray, pray, pray. and leave the details to the good Lord. Does anyone else find themselves muttering from time to time “Thy Kingdom come Lord!”?

  42. Ben Kenobi says:

    Well…. It is a Happy Song.

  43. frjim4321 says:

    I could not find any explanation or back story for the video.

    I would think it important to understand what’s going on here before launching into a criticism about it.

    I seem to remember “oo’s” and “ah’s” here about a gigantic incense pot being swung from the ceiling of a vast cathedral. Really no less bizarre when you think about it.

    Both are very unusual cultural behaviors taking place in a church. One is applauded and one is derided, probably due to an irrational coulrophobia.

  44. The first thought that came to mind was something out of the opening or closing ceremonies for the Olympic Games, but I don’t even think it’s well-choreographed enough for that.

  45. Imrahil says:

    Rev’d dear @Fr. Z,

    with all due respect, but the thought of “a different religion” when the people involved self-identify as Catholics and the canonical crime of apostasy is not being committed (nor is even heresy), seems rather one of the thoughts to be dismissed. Everything is Catholic, excluding sin and error.

    In addition, not even any disciplinary law seems to have been explicitly broken, but even that would be an entirely inner-Catholic disciplinary matter.

  46. eben says:

    This validates my closely held, very private, suspicion of all things “South American” “Catholic”.

  47. Andrew says:

    De pastore stulto in fine mundi, juxta Prophetam Zachariam:

    Et dixit Dominus ad me:
    “Adhuc sume tibi vasa pastoris stulti;
    quia ecce ego suscitabo pastorem in terra,
    qui perituram ovem non visitabit,
    dispersam non quaeret
    et contritam non sanabit
    et stantem non sustinebit
    (Zach. 11:15-16)

  48. Having seen this before and checked out one of the links provided by Cathgirl (thank you!) I get the impression that this is influenced by Carnival. It has something of the same ‘over the top’ approach (at least to those of us from the English-speaking West). Perhaps this is where, under the guise of inculturation, those who have authority over the Liturgy abandon the norms and embrace a model of celebration that derives from the entertainment industry – ‘give them spectacle’.

    I am not sure that no rules are being broken here. Tradition is violated! Good taste is violated! The dignity of a sacred building and the rites of the Church are associated with a form of public entertainment. I am no hardline ‘trad’ (I celebrate the N.O.) but this is tasteless. The young lady on the carousel puts the Bible on the floor before preparing to get down – is this respect for the Word of God?

    Is there a Portugese/Brazilian reader here who could give us some perspective on this?

  49. Fr Jackson says:

    Father, I would say that this is indeed part of a Mass. In the last seconds of the youtube clip, the announcer says (in Portugese), “…and now let us sing, acclaiming the Gospel of life”. So, I would say that was a Gospel procession.

    (And let’s not forget: they are in “full communion!”)

  50. Bosco says:

    It puts me in mind of the religious procession in Godfather III which was the backdrop for Vincent Corleone’s assassination of Joey Zasa.

  51. IgorFeitosa says:

    Hi, everybody. I am Brazilian and a reader of the Father Z’s website.
    To see that scene is terrible. I have nothing much to say, because I see that Bishop Tom Forde just nailed it on the comments above. I wonder if it’s too difficult to imagine why we are losing Catholics to Protestants and atheism etc.
    This is a piece of what you can find inside the country of Leonardo Boff, in a country so far of Rome and let almost by himself when Pope JP-II did whatever he did for 25 years. Our bishops are cowards, our fathers are cowards (of course, there’re exceptions). Pray for these clergy, please!
    Please, pray hard today (in Feast of Our Lady of the Carmel) that this coming JMJ-Rio could bring proper respect to the liturgy and true covertions to Brazil and to the world. Offer Masses in this intention, if you could.

    PS- My English grammar is not the best. Forgive me eventual errors. God bless you all! :)

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  52. wmeyer says:

    Well, I suffered the circus parade in its entirety, but the second video put me into sensory overload. Thirty-four seconds was all I could manage.

  53. La Sandia says:

    About 30 seconds into that video, my 3 year old started screaming “Turn it off! Turn it off!” I was happy to oblige. This is the same 3 year old who, when I started playing the new album from the Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles, said “Jesus Music!” If a child of her age can easily tell the difference between the sacred and the profane (a word that doesn’t begin to describe that video), how is it so hard for the supposed adults that put that circus together?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  54. Steven Surrency says:

    I am afraid to watch any World Youth Day liturgies. The missal was published, but no music is in it. It also has the least Latin that I have seen in a papal liturgy in years. I am fine with mostly Portuguese, but I am afraid of what the music will look like.

  55. jaykay says:

    “I seem to remember “oo’s” and “ah’s” here about a gigantic incense pot being swung from the ceiling of a vast cathedral. Really no less bizarre when you think about it.

    Both are very unusual cultural behaviors taking place in a church. One is applauded and one is derided, probably due to an irrational coulrophobia.”

    First thing, it’s actually a small enough cathedral as they go, certainly not “vast”. Second thing, your analogy is false here: incensation is and always has been from earliest times an integral part of the Roman Rite, and the incensation with the large thurible takes place during the Mass and is not deliberately showy (I emphasise deliberately) – it’s actually very dignified and part of the tradition for centuries. It’s not unusual cultural behaviour – it is in fact USUAL cultural behaviour, that culture being pilgrimage. Oh, go read about it.

    On the other hand, dancing about the place in an overtly showy fashion with grossly inappropriate music is not an integral part of the Roman Rite and is a gross imposition upon it, for all the wrong reasons and only within the last couple of decades, by people who should know better. That is truly “bizarre”, in the sense that Mass is not the occasion for a vaudeville parade, anywhere, anytime, despite what people might have been falsely miseducated to believe.

    O.K. I had to look up coulrophobia, but really, what point are you trying to make here? I doubt that most of the readership of this blog suffer in any way from actual fear of clowns. However they certainly suffer from a low tolerance limit for them. Especially when they are introduced into an area in which they have absolutely no business being, that area being the Mass. Why am I reminded of the line by Yeats: “The clever man who cries the catch-cries of the clown”?

  56. sw85 says:

    Stuff like this is the surest evidence that the “gay Mafia” in the Church really does exist. [No. That is unfair and irrelevant.]

  57. Robbie says:

    My head just exploded!

    I will do everything I can to temper my remarks, but I feel I must make a few comments. It was said during Benedict’s time that many Bishops promoted the TLM because they knew the Pope favored it. Now that Francis is at the helm, will the Bishops turn a blind eye to this kind of nonsense because Francis favors an emancipated formation and a Mass without superstructures?

    The Mass is the most public form of our faith and for more than 18 centuries it was universally said with reverence, solemnity, and dignity. Now, it’s a crapshoot. In some places, priests and Bishops make an honest effort to say the NO in a reverent and solemn way. In other places, you get ridiculousness that shouldn’t even be seen in a cheap high school play.

    If more and more of this nonsense becomes the norm under Francis, whether he agrees with it or not, the worse the situation will be for the Church. It was clear in 2005 Ratzinger’s choice of Benedict was meant to show he wanted to be a diplomatic Pope who healed the rift, or at least narrowed the gap, between the traditionalists and modernists. And despite the best efforts of his own Vatican, Benedict nearly accomplished a good portion of his goal with SSPX.

    Activities like this cannot be allowed to continue. The Mass is not supposed to be what a priest wants it to be. It is not supposed to be a reflection of that person’s views. If the spirit of VCII continues to dominate the thoughts of those in the Vatican, the SSPX and other traditional movements will only grow larger and stronger. Surely, that can’t be what’s best for the Church.

  58. OK, just to spice things up a bit, I will be a bit contrarian.

    A bit: I don’t countenance this as part of Holy Mass; I don’t really see a place for this in church; I don’t care for this at all.


    In the long history of the Church, it was once common to put on “mystery plays,” in association with feast days. For example, it was a “mystery play” associated with the Feast of Adam and Eve (Dec. 24) that gave us the Christmas Tree. It was when those plays–popular in Germany in the Age of Faith–were stopped by bishops because they got out of hand, that the main prop–a tree decorated with apples and discs of bread–began to make its appearance in people’s homes. The rest you can figure out.

    Emotionalism, bad choreography, poor choices in music, etc., are not something invented since Vatican II. I’d bet that people have been acting out dramas to illustrate the Faith from almost the beginning–and not all such attempts would, if available on video–would be inspiring. We don’t know about past misfires, because who wants to remember them? We remember the more successful ones (such as Passion Plays).

    The final question I am pondering is whether having such things in church is all that unprecedented? A thousand years ago, if they were having a “mystery play” in the public square, and a rainstorm threatened, do you suppose someone suggested having it in church? I don’t know. But it wouldn’t surprise me.

  59. SimonDodd says:

    It matters a great deal that this is not a Mass. So long as this kind of thing is not inserted into the liturgy, so long as it’s just something that’s being done for the edification of the faithful, so long as absolutely no one is obliged to endure it, and so long as it doesn’t infringe any doctrine of the faith, I don’t have much of a problem with it, even if it’s presided over by a bishop and even if I find it horrific.

  60. netokor says:

    “a country so far of Rome and let almost by himself when Pope JP-II did whatever he did for 25 years.”

    When JPII is canonized I will pray to him and ask that someone apologize to the faithful for all liturgical abuse, altar girls and all the scandals they have suffered–just as he apologized to Galileo. While I’m at it I will pray for the conversion of frjim4321, that he come to repudiate the non-mission of the church of nice.

  61. Cricket says:

    This all rings true. We have a Brazilian fellow who sings in our Gregorian Chant Schola. He’s full of horror stories of what he describes as “Woodstock Liturgy.” Fortunately, there are strong Traditional Latin Mass communities popping up here & there around Brazil, as an antidote to popular liturgical abuses.

  62. VexillaRegis says:

    Whoah! Hmm… We arrived home earlier today after a week’s holyday, and I really thought I was having a very nasty flash back when I read this or that WDTPRS had had a break down. You see, I distinctly remember commenting on the first clip last fall or even earlier (I joined here a year ago :-)).

  63. Pearl says:

    Jaykay – Don’t Feed the Trolls!! ;)

  64. Supertradmum says:

    “It’s boring! Why do we have to go to Church when it is boring, mom?”

  65. Fr AJ says:

    …and I was wondering why Brazil may be a majority Protestant country in a decade or two.

  66. Christopher says:

    I couldn’t finish the video(s) my head kept coming in contact with my desk.

  67. TheAcolyte says:

    It is rather obvious that this indeed taking place during Mass, because you have all the priests in chasubles and the deacon who receives the Bible (which is being used in this case to replaced the Lectionary in order to “glorify” the Bible rather than just the Gospel) is wearing a dalmatic.

    The deacon is also seen taking the bible to the podium in order to recite the Gospel (or perhaps the lesson); paradoxically after the circus farce of an entrance, he attempts to do this with as much reverence, pomp and circumstance as possible.

  68. maryh says:

    I agree with you. It makes a big difference whether it is a Mass or not.

    @Fr Martin Fox
    I see what you’re saying. I’ve been thinking about the Mystery plays, and also about a devotion/celebration we have at our church to Our Lady of Guadalupe that moves me very much. It includes an Aztec dance, but the devotion is not during a Mass, isn’t led by a priest, and doesn’t take place in the Church but in a social hall.

    But isn’t that the main problem? No one has (or used to have) a problem recognizing the difference between a religious Mystery Play or other devotion, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Yet this event takes place in a Cathedral, with a bishop presiding, and it is completely plausible that this is taking place during a Mass.

    It seems we have been getting rid of popular devotions and parades and celebrations by the laity, and moved them into the Church and the Mass and the control of the clerics, where they don’t belong. Is this part of the clericalism of the “spirit of Vatican II” folks?

  69. TheAcolyte says:

    A mystery play is a big difference for an actual liturgical service, which is the official worship of God. It should also be stated that generally-speaking, the mystery plays were performed outside the church, such as on the porch steps. Furthermore, a mystery play is not actually a devotion (especially in the strict sense) but merely presented for the edification of the watchers – like a… play.

    Much is made of those mystery plays that were supposedly offered inside churches, but I believe that a quick historical review will reveal that not only was this not the norm, but even more so, such a practice was eventually deemed an abuse and thus eventually and wisely ceased altogether – after all, a church as a sacred (sacer = separate) place dedicated to the worship of God should be just that.

  70. Andrew says:

    Fr Martin Fox:

    But it wouldn’t surprise me.

    It would surprise me a lot. It is hard to understand the profound differences of sentiment across cultural divides. The deep respect for the sacred that produced the TLM and the whispering of prayers in Latin wasn’t born in a culture that invades temples with profane festivities. Some of that attitude reminiscent of the middle ages still survives in certain places.

  71. Robbie says:

    So the sacraments from this “Mass” are valid, but those from the SSPX aren’t? It’s a strange world in which we live. [Clarification: No one says that the Masses celebrated by SSPX priests are invalid.]

  72. JonPatrick says:

    The latest update includes one of my pet peeves:

    “Holy Father also told me that at the end of the celebration, he will look down from the balcony (christened with the name of Pope Benedict XVI) to pray with the faithful outside the Sanctuary who will follow the Mass on giant screens.”

    Sounds like the Brazilians have adopted the unfortunate tendency here in the US to adopt the Protestant term “sanctuary” for the entire church building, rather than the part where the celebrant and ministers celebrate the Holy Sacrifice, what would be behind the altar rail if they still existed. I suppose it could be a translators error too.

  73. I am cloudowl says:

    One of the many great qualities of Benedict XVI was his tendency to direct the crowds’ attention onto the Sacred mysteries and away from himself.

    TLM or not, a spectacle like this doesn’t glorify God, it puts a human performance before the Sacrament of the Altar.

    Can you imagine trying to take the message of the Gospel and the eucharistic sacrifice seriously/quietly/reverently with this cacophony going on?

  74. Robbie:

    That’s a rabbit hole. I know of no one–“right” or “left”–who claims the Mass and the Eucharist celebrated by the SSPX priests aren’t valid.

  75. rkingall says:

    Having completely abandoned Christian charity, I cackled in my cube so loudly while watching these clips. Oh, lord, please forgive me….

  76. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was going to make the same comment as TheAcolyte. Mystery plays, Miracles plays, etc., were much greater in number during the 11th-century than we know of, today. Remember, the final form of the Mass had only, recently, been solidified, so the Mass, itself was still open to suggestions. That is not the case, today. Also, as TheAcolyte noted, these plays were performed, “on the steps,” of the church. I think they were purged (most of them) during the Cistercian reform of the early 12-century, although they were well thought of and continue to be so. It is just that these plays were an extended form of teaching for a laity, most of whom, could not read. The plays were written by clergy and were fairly strict in conforming to the Biblical narrative (although some of the miracle plays got a little over-the-top). The plays served a need. The mess depicted in this film is purely gratuitous. It does not teach anyone, since most of Brazil is literate and it detracts from solemn worship. Moreover, the music associated with the Medieval plays were newly composed liturgically motivated music. These were not celebratory pieces and neither were the plays. One need only look at the Play of Daniel to see how much the play was meant to frighten the Medieval congregation.

    This, video, on the other hand, is pure spectacle.

    It is not, however, true that Catholics are going over to Pentecostalism in South America in droves because of bad Catholic liturgies. They are going over, I say this sadly, because of two reasons, I think: 1) a hunger for the supernatural manifested in a dramatic fashion (to satisfy the South American soul) – the quiet of the holy worship of the Eucharist (you know, God, in person) isn’t enough for them, and 2) the preaching of a prosperity Gospel that seems very inviting to a South America steeped in the economics of Liberation theology. The bad liturgy acts as a rationalization to hide these other two reasons, I think.

    The Chicken

  77. Chicken:

    Thanks for that interesting information, on mystery plays in particular.

  78. Tradster says:

    All that is missing is the flash mob like the recent Anglican wedding.

  79. vetusta ecclesia says:

    It put me in mind of the “Enthronement of Reason” in Notre-Dame de Paris after the Revolution.

  80. contrarian says:

    It’s kinda trippy, actually. Especially with that weird, sped up music. I have some old college acquaintances who would probably enjoy watching this while, ahem, being in a certain altered state.

    As for the upcoming WYD. Brace yourselves, everyone. Brace yourselves.

  81. Priam1184 says:

    A gratuitous post Father. I see with my own eyes what has been done to the Liturgy every week of my life and I didn’t need to see it here. I thought that this blog was about saving the Liturgy, not gawking at a car wreck.

  82. keithp says:

    This is so frustrating and candidly makes me so mad….

    I suppose I would self identify as someone who, with new priests or visiting priests, getting nervous when they start the NO Mass. I just seem to wait for some level of liturgical abuise.
    After attending a men’s religious shrine for the past three years, I supoose I got complacent. A new provincial was assigned to the shrine and the former is moving out at the end of the month.
    Unfortunately, he changed the word to the Orate Fratres to “Pray Friends, that OUR sacrifice….”
    There were a few other items like homily away from the ambo, too.

    Why is it so hard for priests to follow the liturgy? Why do they feel that have to change or can improve it? I’m so very weary of exposing myself and family to this nonsense.
    No EF Mass near me either.

  83. norancor says:

    A couple of notes. This is the “solemn novena” for Our Lady of Aparecida, the national title of Our Lady for Brazil. It isn’t Mass.

    They aren’t in cassocks, per se. I believe this monstrosity is being led by Redemptorists… perhaps the kindred brothers of the Redemptorists in Denver (search for them on Youtube. aw-ful.) that do the shimmy and electric boogie as they process into Mass.

    Like Father alluded to, this is what you get with the trajectory of “liturgy as public spectacle and distraction” instead of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and devotional piety focused on God.

    I was actually not surprised at this, and that is a saddening thing.

  84. Theodore says:

    I think the easiest way to understand this is to label it Cargo Cult Catholicism.

  85. APX says:

    Fr. Martin Fox is right about the past. I learned last year in my English Lit class that way back a long time ago during the Middle Ages, the Church had “Liturgical Plays” (aka “Morality Plays”) that we’re acted in churches, often during Christmas and Easter Mass.

  86. (Subject to clarification or correction by someone who understands Portuguese) I take it from the Shrine site that this celebration of the Novena de Aparecida centers around celebration of Mass at the Shrine on each day of the novena, and that some or all of these youtube videos are indeed scenes from the Masses.

  87. Supertradmum says:

    APX and Fr. Martin Fox, the plays were not acted in Churches. They were acted outside of churches either on stages or move commonly, moving stages on pageant wagons and went from town to town. I, too, have studied these at great length and these were not done in churches or cathedrals.

    The laity in guilds ran these plays and these ended finally after Elizabeth I, who did not want to suppress them as she enjoyed these Mystery and Miracle Plays. The guilds organized the entire salvation history stories from the Bible and humour was involved as well.

    But these were never, never, never liturgical, as this mess on the video is.

  88. James Joseph says:

    Sounds like Brazilian Portuguese… This is the sort of stuff that goes on in Massachusetts where the liberals have so completely suckered in the the Brazilians that you cannot even mention “Mary Mother of God” without being run away from in fear by Brazilians who shout, “No! No! He’s a Protestant. He’s not a Catholic! Run!”

  89. Dave N. says:

    One wonders whether this is the cause of the implosion of the Catholic Church in Brazil, or the response to it.

  90. cresci says:

    Trying to explain that mess:

    September in Brazil is considered “the month of the Bible”. During september and entering some days in october, it is a “local custom” to make a solemn procession with the Bible prior to the Liturgy of the Word. Then the procession for the Gospel. That mass was on the 3rd day of the Novena prior to Our Lady of Aparecida feast day (October 12).

    In the countrysides of Brazil (Aparecida included) they love to do these clownish things. They think it’s legitimate and inculturated, thanks to the Theology of Liberation. Take theatrical presentations, spinning incense bowls (like African religions or the Religious Education Conference in Los Angeles), and “liturgical dancers”.

    You can see also how far they go while doing a Charismatic Renewal version of the 40 Hours devotion (Quarant’ore) that stretches through 7 days – based on both Joshua 6 and also on the apparitions of Jasna Gora @ 1978; on the following page’s videos:
    (if you have the guts, as it’s far worse than the Aparecida’s videos)

    Nota bene: bishops celebrating in Aparecida have no power to do anything. The Redemptorists have a fixed scheme there and dictate what they have to do and even the homily timing since it’s televised. They just have to obey blindly and accept all abuse. I have met many conservative bishops who didn’t like much of those clowny stuff but they had no power to change it when they themselves celebrated it, just swallow along with huge doses of water. Since it’s the only decent national pilgrimage shrine, they don’t want to be blacklisted to never celebrate there again if they go against the rules.

  91. if you can’t tell if it’s Catholic,maybe it’s NOT?

  92. Pingback: Love the EF Mass, Doesnt Stop Me Loving Pope Francis - BigPulpit.com

  93. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Theodore,

    You wrote:

    “I think the easiest way to understand this is to label it Cargo Cult Catholicism.”

    Better: Conga Cult Catholicism :)

    The Chicken

  94. The Masked Chicken says:

    I have not watched the video because there are certain things that should not be seen. Brazil is not a missionary country so what’s the deal with inculturation? One wonders: if this is a spectacle produced by a specific religious Order, should not one of the Congregations within the zhollywood See be contacted for an examination?

    The Chicken

  95. jaykay says:

    Supertradmum said it all: read Eamon Duffy’s “The breaking of the Altars” or “Voices of Morebath” and it is clear that Mystery plays were extra-liturgical. Anyone who has the Oxford Book of Carols can see that the very famous Coventry Carol is described as being “From the pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors”. Yes, pageant. Definitely not in the church. People had a highly developed sense of the sacred, for example processions , of which there many but always treated with utmost reverence and solemnity.

  96. Susan the Short says:

    panem et circenses

  97. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Jaykay,

    Whatever happened among the laity after the Mystery Plays were removed from the Church activities, the fact is that we have need of a lot of scholarship about their original performances. The whole 10th – 12th-centuries are wide-open areas for musicologists and theater historians.

    That bring said, it is not, actually, correct to say that Morality/Mystery/Miracle plays were always extra-liturgical, in a loose sense of the word. There were often processions to the steps of the Church on Good Friday when Passion Plays might be performed. There is an echo between this and the reading of the Gospel Passion narrative that would evolve, later, in the liturgy or Good Friday. The point is, however, that the procession might be considered a liturgical trope on the Mass of Good Friday. In earlier days, there was more flexibility for these sorts of things for a time within the Medieval Church.

    The important thing to remember is that the Church as had an additional 1000 years to grow. She is no longer the adolescent playing make-believe that she might have been back then. This video is a form of cultural regression, not a celebration of a culture -at least, certainly not the culture of the Church. It regresses from the maturity of Church culture by contaminating it with a worldly culture, as if the two could every be reconciled.

    Why don’t the bishops simply forbid this? They do have the authority to deny the Redemptorists a place in the city.

    The Chicken

  98. The Masked Chicken says:

    Yikes! My 2:59 pm comment should read: Holy See, although Hollywood See might be closer to the mark. Gotta love auto-spell.

    The Chicken

  99. Father G says:

    @ TheAcolyte and to others,

    These antics are NOT taking place at Mass. I have seen these videos before. There are even one hour and two hour videos of this novena on-line. Not one of them shows the celebration of a Mass. Yes, there are priests and deacons vested, but did you notice that the bishop who is present is not vested for Mass? He is wearing a cope. If you review more videos, you will see that the Blessed Sacrament is brought in and Benediction follows.

  100. jaykay says:

    Chicken: always good to read your comments. And of course the book was “The Stripping of the Altars”… my bad, on a mobile :( Well, I’m not a mediaevelist but I think the fundamental point is that, whether they may at times have taken place in churches or not (who can know?) what happened in the church in the context of the actual liturgy would have been entirely dignified, no matter what May have taken place outside. OK, even if certain things like the Feast of Fools were inside, and it seems they were certainly raucous, I’m sure they were never mixed up with the liturgy as that “happening” in Brazil seems to have been. The records just demonstrate that people had a genuine sense of the sacred. Duffy’s books show the sacrificies they made for beauty in their churches and liturgy, even in poor cut-off places like Morebath.

  101. Unwilling says:

    leitourgia: elevatio mentis in Deum.

    Oh, this is so similar to the scene with the disobedient people wanting a golden tulip pulpit, no, calf, in the last 10 minutes of Part 1 in Cecil B. de Mille ‘s “The Ten Commandments” (the original 1923 silent version). So similar!

    Sorry, I could not find a good un-blocked link on YouTube. But see from about the 40-minute mark of this

    Not fair. Beyond irony.

  102. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Fr. G,

    While I don’t think I said this took place during a Mass (I was making comments on Liturgical Plays), nevertheless,

    1. It is taking place during a novena, which is somewhat an act of religion, not involving the sacraments, which is a reflection of the Faith, both of the Church and of the individual.

    2. In this light, Can. 214 and Can 223 seem particularly relevant:

    Can. 214 The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church.

    Can. 223 §1. In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties toward others.

    §2. In view of the common good, ecclesiastical authority can direct the exercise of rights which are proper to the Christian faithful.

    It seems to me that bishops have the authority to stop this. Certainly, this does not promote a common understanding of the Church’s teachings and scandalizes tender consciences. As I say, this is over-the-top inculturation, not envisioned for non-missionary countries by Vatican II.

    My opinion.

    The Chicken

  103. Sieber says:

    I see now the answer to my above question. The presiding bishop is Cardinal Raymundo Assis, archbishop of Aparecida. He is the host for the pope during his stay there.

  104. vetusta ecclesia says:

    I suspect that “quem quaeritis”and other early playlets were done in church, though what followed and developed moved outside.

    If the Redemptorists are in such total control then the bishop need not attend.

  105. Precentrix says:

    Three words in response:

    Rifan! Rifan! Rifan!

    (JMJ MMV)

  106. “Inculturation

    a) Requirements Emerging From The Nature of the Liturgy

    21. Before any research on inculturation begins, it is necessary to keep in mind the nature of the liturgy. It “is, in fact the privileged place where Christians meet God and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ” (cf. Jn. 17:3).[39] It is at once the action of Christ the priest and the action of the church which is his body, because in order to accomplish his work of glorifying God and sanctifying mankind, achieved through visible signs, he always associates with himself the church, which, through him and in the Holy Spirit, gives the Father the worship which is pleasing to him.[40]

    22. The nature of the liturgy is intimately linked up with the nature of the church; indeed, it is above all in the liturgy that the nature of the church is manifested.[41] Now the church has specific characteristics which distinguish it from every other assembly and community.

    It is not gathered together by a human decision, but is called by God in the Holy Spirit and responds in faith to his gratuitous call ( derives from “call”). This singular characteristic of the church is revealed by its coming together as a priestly people, especially on the Lord’s day, by the word which God addresses to his people and by the ministry of the priest, who through the sacrament of orders acts in the person of Christ the head.[42]”

  107. Oliveira says:

    My name is Oliveira, I’m from Brazil, this is my first post here at Fr. Z’s. Just to add some words, from my perspective…
    1) Yes, this really happened in the biggest sanctuary of the country, the basilica of our patroness Our Lady of “Aparecida”.
    2) Yes, that music was really playing there. That You Tube channel is the official channel of the sanctuary TV (yes, the sanctuary has its own TV). The music was not added later.
    3) Yes, processions like that are common in parishes throughout the country, the difference is the size and the… how can I say… “extreme innovations”…
    4) Yes, that music certainly means “circus” to Brazilians also.

    All that having been said, I don’t think this kind of thing will happen during WYD with Pope Francis here. And, let’s be honest, this is not the situation in all parishes… there are some quite decent liturgies in some places.

    The problem IMHO is a pretty misinterpreted concept of inculturation, which deprives totally the liturgy from its eternal sources. In the first video, for example, the idea was that the message of the Angel brought joy to Mary, sooooo….. to represent this joy… the Bible, the Word of God, comes by the hands of… “happy circus angels”! Admirable! =)

  108. haha ,,jcocucci says:“Cirque de Solesmes”? ,,that was good.PAX

  109. eremitaosppe says:

    Love the MC with the spinning hands signal: “wrap it up and fast”!!!!!!

  110. Kathleen10 says:

    what the…….

    I’m reading that these scenes were part of the Holy Mass, and that they are not.
    If they are, were, Jesus should be here in about five minutes I’m thinking.
    If not, and not in a church or cathedral, well, knock yourselves out Brazilians, and you just might, flying around on swirling, huge, elevated cake-tops.
    Wait five more years and those angels will be men in drag. Then we’ll really faint.

  111. muckemdanno says:

    “Reason #7856642 for Summorum Pontificum!”?

    I say it’s Reason #1 for June 30, 1988

  112. Mike Morrow says:

    To be fair…is any of this (including the dangleberries in the first clip) much worse than listening to On Eagle’s Wings at the local newchurch?

  113. wecahill says:

    While watching these videos I kept thinking of two quotes:
    “Damn everything but the circus! …damn everything that is grim, dull, motionless, unrisking, inward turning, damn everything that won’t get into the circle, that won’t enjoy. That won’t throw it’s heart into the tension, surprise, fear and delight of the circus, the round world, the full existence…” e.e. cummings (I also think that Harvey Cox quoted this in one of his books) …
    “Your Excellency, it’s a DIFFERENT RELIGION” Bishop Fellay to Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos

  114. Father G says:

    @ The Masked Chicken,
    Such nonsense should not happen in a church, whether it is during a Mass, a novena, or even in the reciting of the rosary.
    I am most disappointed that it’s the Redemptorists who organized this, the same congregation that gave us this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlU95lcxMfE (it gets worse toward the end of the video)
    The Redemptorists inspired my calling to the priesthood, but it was stuff similar to this that never made me discern joining them.

  115. NBW says:

    @ Fr. G ,
    The Redemptorist priest on the link reminds me of this priest:
    The intro sets up the video. It’s kind of weird both priests had the same song in mind.

  116. Gatekeeper says:

    St. Alphonsus, pray for your order!

  117. DanW says:

    Perhaps His Holiness while in Brazil should put a stop to this extravagant nonsense. Imagine the cost of the costumes alone much less the props! Shouldn’t this money be given to the poor? Or wouldn’t the Bishop of Rome have the authority to do anything?

  118. iowapapist says:

    What part of “God will not be mocked” do these folks not understand? On the positive side, “The Entrance of the Gladiators” is certainly more inspiring, and arguably more liturgically appropriate, than Haugen, Haas, Schutte, Foley, etc. If that isn’t a back-handed compliment I don’t know what is.

  119. jhnewman says:

    Reminds me of the kind of spectacles the Borgia’s laid on!

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