VIDEO Horrific Sacrilegious “Mass”

This was a Swiss/German liturgical production from 2012. The video was just brought to my attention.

The worst liturgical sacrileges I have seen in recent times are perpetrated by German speakers.

If they puff up in high dudgeon about renovating bishops’ residences, perhaps ecclesiastical authorities should spare a few minutes for these liturgical horror shows.

Published on Dec 21, 2012
Mit einem Gottesdienst im Circus GO eröffnete die Kinderhilfe Bethlehem ihre diesjährige Weihnachtsaktion. Die Kollekte in den Weihnachtsgottesdiensten ist der finanzielle Grundstock zur Sicherung der Arbeit im Caritas Baby Hosptial in Bethlehem.

Be sure not to miss the belly-dancer with the enormous snake.

I don’t think there should be a statute of limitations on this sort of abuse. And the fact that this is for a children’s association makes it child abuse.

Reason #101 for Summorum Pontificum.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. mamajen says:

    Positively demonic.

  2. sw85 says:

    The Rhine flows into the Tiber… but what flows into the Rhine?

  3. MmeScherzo says:

    I have to keep reminding myself why I became a Catholic: To draw closer to Christ. To become holier. To draw closer to Christ. To become holier. To become a saint.
    I’m better now. Thank you, Fr. Z. That helps.

  4. Theology Nerd says:

    Please tell me that this really didn’t happen!

  5. Liam says:

    The presiders and assembly are all 68ers!

  6. disco says:

    What in the name of the creator the redeemer and the sanctifier were they thinking?!

  7. Matthias1 says:

    I had to stop watching; there was something in morning prayer today about closing my eyes lest I look on evil.

  8. mburn16 says:

    Should I bother trying to be charitable and assume that this is a misunderstanding that is the result of a bad edit job, and that the circus actually happened before or after the mass, rather than intermingling with it?

  9. majuscule says:

    At least there was a crucifix on the altar table.

    I have never seen non-handicapped people receiving while seated.

    The snake though…sorry, can’t type. Must go pray…

  10. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    All that’s missing is Liza Minnelli singing “Life is a cabaret, old chum.”

  11. Will D. says:

    I first ran across this video at The Deacon’s Bench blog. A reader there suggested that the video may be of a Lutheran service, because “Gottesdienst” is the word usually associated with Lutheran services.
    Small comfort, I know.

  12. mamajen says:


    Should I bother trying to be charitable…


  13. Jet41815 says:

    Is it just me, or is there something positively satanic about this “Mass”? I mean the snake(?!)- the universal sign of evil and Satan in Catholic scripture and theology?! Not even going to get into the lewd dancing that INCLUDES the snake. I don’t want to sound like a nutjob- but c’mon!

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been going to the EF exclusively for about a year; perhaps that made this exceptionally jarring. It’s hard to think that even the most liberal liturgical innovators of the 60’s would have found this acceptable.

  14. basis says:

    Look at Father shred on that clarinet! Actually I think that instrument is less egregious an infraction than Spanish Guitar.

  15. mamajen says:

    I don’t think these are Lutherans. The organization is “catholic”.

  16. MasterofCeremonies says:

    Really, that “communion” distribution… Does anyone hear “come to the table of plennnnty…” besides me? And for the rest, I think the word demonic bears repeating. Pray the rosary (just not at Medjugorie)!

  17. MmeScherzo says:

    I was tempted to paste a link to the news item about Lutheran ‘pastrix’ Nadia Bolz Weber, but in light of the hideous video above, I would hate to go any further. I need to pray.

  18. Angie Mcs says:

    I speak German fluently but Swiss German is a very strong dialect which made it hard for me to understand much that was said. I believe this took place in some kind of auditorium or club and that the proceeds from the mass would go to a childrens charity in Bethlehem. Perhaps tickets were also sold.

    Havent we all seen these kinds of masses before, even on a grander scale? Yet this was done just last year, and everyone should have grown up by now. And no amount of editing can account for a Father, dressed in vestments, playing his clarinet or going among the “audience” with the Holy Eucharist, which was consecrated earlier with the spotlight on him.

    This kind of entertainment belongs in a sideshow or Mardi Gras. Then I would understand it being offered as charitable entertainment. To combine it with a mass is simply ghastly. But the Germanic people have always been a strange breed. Those who brought you Beethoven and Goethe continue to manufacture the most horrible “kitsch” imaginable.

  19. Eliane says:

    “All that’s missing is Liza Minnelli singing “Life is a cabaret, old chum.”

    And Marlene Dietrich singing “They Call Me Naughty Lola.”

  20. jarthurcrank says:

    Indeed! Both Liza and Marlene have genuine showbiz cred, unlike this tragic cast of characters. And, after Liza, we would have her godmother, Kay Thompson singing her famous arrangement of Jingle Bells and Jubilee Time while being carried and bounced around stage by the Williams Brothers.

  21. Roguejim says:

    Well, if you’re inclined towards liturgical abuse…GO BIG!!

  22. Sonshine135 says:

    Seeing Mass videos like this often makes me think that these Priests and Deacons are really Atheists. They don’t believe in the true presence of Christ in the form of the unbloody sacrifice. How could they? I think they see themselves as celibate actors in some form of off-Broadway production number. Same thing with these “not good enough for Broadway” Music Ministers and LCWR Pastoral Consultants. Oh Lord, how long must we suffer!

  23. Robbie says:

    To paraphrase a saying made popular this past summer, “Who are we to judge?’

    All kidding aside, if this is a Catholic Mass, I think nonsense like this perfectly explains all that is wrong with the Church these days. First, it shows the most public form of our faith, the Mass, has little or no meaning to the priests who are charged with saying the Mass. Because we’ve endured 50 years of liturgical abuse, neglect, and outright hostility, today’s priests simply don’t see it in the same reverent and solemn manner those who came before them did.

    Second, it shows how pathetic the education of Catholics has been these last four or five decades. If I were someone who attended this Mass, I would have left in disgust. I think many of those who comment on this site would have done the same as well. Instead, those in the video seemed to have no problem with it. Sadly, I suspect the average Catholic of today wouldn’t have much problem with it either. And if someone did complain, the priests and the bishops in charge probably would’ve had a problem with the complainer and not the destruction of the Mass.

    Unfortunately, I think stories like these will only grow during the current pontificate. Some say the Pope is not concerned with the liturgy, and maybe he isn’t, but he did just clean house in the office of papal ceremonies. The five who were more in line with Benedict’s vision were replaced with men thought to be suggested by Piero Marini. So while the Pope may not be interested in the liturgy, the person on whose council he seems to rely is.

  24. guatadopt says:

    There’s nothing wrong with this! You’re just a mean priest who hates Vatican II ;)

  25. Would that be considered a modified limited Benedictine arrangement of the altar? A gesture of respect for the pope then still so gloriously reigning?

  26. ClavesCoelorum says:

    These aren’t Lutherans. I don’t think they have Gaudete Sunday. Latin, and so forth! ;) They would also use the term “Pastor”, not “Pfarrer” which is a more Catholic term. Unfortunately, the word “Gottesdienst” (which translates literally as “Service to God”) is a Protestant term that has found its way into Catholic terminology here in Germany. Oftentimes, Masses will be called “services”.

    Concerning the video: The priest playing the clarinet (I think it is a clarinet) encapsulates what I thought was the case: They’re mad! :)

  27. frjim4321 says:

    I liked the hymn tune during what I assume was the preparation of the altar.

    I did not care for anything else. I would be interested in knowing the back story.

  28. Michael_Thoma says:

    Eastern Catholic here, considering avoiding the Roman Rite Churches completely (except for TLM, Ad Orientem NO, Anglican Use, Ambrosian, and Mozarabic), it almost makes me want to look at an EO or OO Church… just disgusting.

  29. Jim R says:

    And here I thought I’d not see anything to top the “Super Soaker Mass” from a few years ago at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York.

    Silly me. Obviously, I don’t travel enough.

  30. OrthodoxChick says:

    Well at least the contortionist was in good company. Anyone who would consider that a Mass is doing the same spiritual manuever as she did physically.

  31. acardnal says:

    Those Germans obviously do not read Fr. Z’s blog. We should all buy some “Save the Liturgy, Save the World” and “Read the Black, Do the Red” swag from Fr. Z’s store and send it to those in the video.

    [I like the way you think!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  32. lana says:

    Michael_Thoma, I have never seen anything even remotely close to that. It is the very small exception, not the rule.

    Everyone should go to and sign up for a priest to pray for.

  33. rkingall says:


    Roguejim says:
    6 November 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Well, if you’re inclined towards liturgical abuse…GO BIG!!

  34. irish-italian mom says:

    Father Stefano Manelli, founder of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, when the discussion turned to liturgical dancers, was heard to say, “The Holy Mass is Calvary and the only one dancing at the foot of the Cross on Calvary was the devil.”

  35. Long-Skirts says:

    sw85 says:

    “The Rhine flows into the Tiber… but what flows into the Rhine?”

    What DOESN’T flow into the Rhine?

    Oh, wait a minute…the Catholic Faith!! What was I thinking?


    In the land
    Of Deutsch and Vaters
    Races Rhine’s
    All mastering waters

    No other creed
    Or freemasonry
    Hate like the Vaters
    Of Germany

    An Alter Christus
    For sinner and virgin?
    Rhine’s vineyard reds
    Lets deviance burgeon

    They will like you to death
    With all their fibre
    And drown your soul
    So you can’t reach the Tibre

    But in the land
    Of Deutschland’s waters
    It’s time to dam
    Rhine’s polluted Vaters!

  36. acardnal says:

    I should have said “Swiss/Germans” in my comment above.

  37. Andreas says:

    There’s nothing like an instance of very nasty liturgical abuse in SWITZERLAND at a Mass held by a Swiss Zirkus Pfarrer) (Priest asigned to a cuircus) in a Swiss circus tent to bring out rather venemous anti-German sentiment. Might I respectfully suggest that attending a Mass in Germany, Austria and the other German-speaking lands where the vast majority are not like that represented in this video may persuade you that we are anything but a “strange breed”.

  38. There is a phenomenon I’ve noticed at work in the Church, regarding the Mass. Basically, the idea is that anything good is “gooder” when you put it together with Mass. We have an awards ceremony. Good! With Mass? Gooder! Farms are good; so let’s have Mass on the farm!

    The extremity of this example makes us recoil. But a lot of folks who you’d think would know better just love to have a “Celtic Mass” or “Polka Mass” or “Patriotic Mass” and so forth.

    Anyway, I don’t know how to explain the thought process that skips over:

    Mass, Mass, Mass, followed by Circus, circus, circus;

    But instead insists on:

    Mass, circus, Mass, circus, Mass, Mass, circus, circus, Mass.

    It may well be demonic; on a natural level, it’s idiotic.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  39. Andreas says:

    My apologies for hitting the POST button before ensuring that the typing errors in my narrative above had been corrected. I fear that my two-finger typing has not improved over the years. It should have read “…held by a Swiss Zirkus-Pfarrer (a Priest assigned to a circus)…..”

  40. mamajen says:

    I can’t even laugh at it. There is something deeply obscene and calculated about a scantily-clad woman writhing seductively with a snake around her body at a “mass”. It’s like they’re honoring Eve’s disobedience toward God, and the notion that mere humans know better than He does. Dancing with the devil literally and figuratively.

    I’m ashamed, sad and embarrassed to think of how Mary must feel about things like this. What an affront to her.

  41. I may be mistaken but the priest on the left (with the purple stole) seems to have a pectoral cross – is he a bishop/abbot/prelate of some kind? Just before the belly dancer with the snake came on he genuflected and I think there’s a tabernacle on the ‘altar’/table. It defies belief that any Catholic, worse any priest, could fail to grasp how wrong it is to offer the Mass in combination with a circus-cum-cabaret. Why remain a priest if you mock the One who gave you your vocation? I am appalled.

    There is something not just disfunctional but really sacreligious about this Mass. This behaviour treats sacred things (above all the Blessed Sacrament) in a most unsacred way. It is the result of years of emphasizing the ‘pastoral’ approach and understanding ‘pastoral’ as keeping people happy. That easily slides into the lowest common denominator. When the ‘community’ is the focus of the liturgy one ends up trying to keep the ‘community’ happy; one ends up with circus. I have seen this on a milder scale and even when it manages to avoid being sacrilege it still ends up banal and self-indulgent.

    Pray brothers and sisters, pray!

  42. Supertradmum says:

    I would like to add Liturgical Abuse like this to the list of sins which cry out to God for vengeance.

    To me the worst bit is the dinner-theatre Holy Communion.

  43. ChesterFrank says:

    Yes, this is liturgical abuse and sadly many times the laity must sit through it. The ordained ministers (aka Priests) should take some type of formal action against this type of abuse. It is sacrilege, heretical, a mockery, and abhorrent. People sitting in the pews are dependent on Church hierarchy to put and end to these practices. They should not be tolerated. The alleged priests staging this charade should be defrocked.

  44. Chatto says:

    Br. Tom spotted it too – the priest with the pectoral cross. Man, it’s like ‘Circusgate’ or something…it goes all the way to the top! Or does it? Who is that bishop/abbot/protonotary apostolic?

    On another note, I don’t think we should get hung up on the snake. God saved His people from fiery serpents with the image of a snake, an image which Our Lord directly compares Himself to. There’s an interesting article about this at the Orthodox Arts Journal:

    There’s plenty of heinous doings in this video – the poor innocent snake is the least of the problems IMO.

  45. Bruce Wayne says:

    Fr Martin indeed earned a gold star.

    I want to echo those who put the blame on the priests involved. They are the ones who are endangering their own souls and, even worse, those of the lay faithful by not taking the sacramental nature of the Mass seriously. That quote about “liturgical dance” is wonderful as well.

    It is their lack of formation or their rejection of what good formation in their divine office they did receive that needs to be addressed when such things occur (or better while being planned) by the appropriate authorities in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. If a bishop does not act on this once he learns of it then we move up the chain and we expand disciplinary actions to the bishop as well. This is similar to the sexual abuse crisis and had a similar origin in a clear failing within seminaries that produced failures as priests who became failures as bishops.

    I really do not care about the lay participants and their role in asking for, dreaming up, planning, and otherwise encouraging liturgical abuse. My comment may seem to strike a note of anticlericalism but it is not intended that way. It also is not actually non-pastoral, non-egalitarian, or even intolerant. That is because the liturgically beautiful and reverent Mass is already pastoral, egalitarian, and tolerant. It achieves those values (such as they are) by the proper means of stifling our egos, of extracting our “selves” from ourselves and humbling us before our Creator and our Savior. And then offering to us, when we have become ready and properly disposed to receive it, the sanctifying grace of the Body and Blood.

    I know that living up to the burden of one’s authority as priest in relation to the congregation or as bishop to priests is not easy. It takes courage, however, it hardly ever takes heroic courage. A priest or bishop does not need to be a saint to handle this burden of his vocation. Hence, we should see it in action to deal with priests such as in this video almost every time an abuse happens.

  46. Bruce Wayne says:


    I won’t pretend to know what kind of discipline is needed but at I would suggest a period removed from saying Mass for the lay public while the priests involved are fully re-catechized and retrained in the various proper liturgical rites in their most sublime forms. And I mean that in the plural.

    I think that first you take these priests and make them learn the EF, learn the Eastern Rites, learn the NO in its most formal and traditional manner . . . AND . . . you have these priests experience these beautiful and reverent liturgies inside a beautiful cathedral amongst wonderful iconography and bring in a traditional and reverent choir with orthodox and reverent musical direction.

    Then you catechize them afterward and plumb them for whether they truly believe in the Real Presence, the mystery at the heart of the priesthood and their (presumed) vocations. The best result would be that the priest would come to renew his faith and commitment to his vocation and will be humbled by the awe of reverent worship in reverent settings and then can be allowed back amongst the laymen. Or alternatively the priest will search his soul honestly and ask for laicization.

  47. Raul says:

    What I would like to know, has any circus folks refuse to do this?

  48. Muv says:

    Chatto –

    Yes, we should get incensed about the snake. Draped around a writhing scantily clad woman it suggests only one thing. I’m sure you can guess what. The only thing missing was John the Baptist’s head on a plate.

  49. NBW says:

    At least the snake faced the altar longer than the priests did.

  50. RJHighland says:

    Hey what’s everybody getting so upset about those priests are in full communion go have fun it’s all good. Did Rome condemn this mass? Was there anything from Rome about this mass or any critisism of the priests? How about from their Bishop any reprimand? Has a Bishop or Cardinal in Rome made a comment on it? Of course not, so its all good. Just what ever you do don’t go to confession or get married at an SSPX Chapel that is evil and invalid and your going to go to hell because your sins aren’t absolved, this mass is a beautiful expression of the “Spirit of Vatican II”. These priests can hear your confessions, marry you, consecrate the gifts and lead you to heaven . This is the “New Church.” Relax all is well, nothing happening here. (Extreme Sarcasm)

  51. liliana51886 says:

    I did cry when I saw this, and I did have to pick my jaw up off of the floor as well.

  52. Pingback: Why is it always the Germans, Fr. Z Asks… | Quartermaster of the Barque

  53. janeway529 says:

    1) Where exactly is this?
    2) What is the context – Are these priests even in good standing? Maybe we’re dealing with an ultra-liberal faction of dissident priests, like rent-a-priest? In Austria, it’s known that even Cardinal Schoenborn has trouble with rebellious priests.

  54. paulbailes says:

    Well-said RJHighland

    There have perhaps always been these kinds of things as outliers?

    The real scandal is however
    1. The scale and frequency of same these days
    2. The apparent indifference (or worse) of the Authorities (from the top down) to this.

    What is Francis (and was Benedict) doing about it???

  55. mburn16 says:

    “Where exactly is this?”

    a mass
    A Masse
    A MESS

  56. yatzer says:

    No wonder the Church in Europe is in trouble. Alas, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it has happened here in the USA as well. (But if you know of it, don’t tell me. I have had enough problems sticking with Holy Church when faced with such as these.)

  57. RobertK says:

    Liturgical Terrorists!.
    yatzer says

    “No wonder the Church in Europe is in trouble. Alas, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it has happened here in the USA as well. (But if you know of it, don’t tell me. I have had enough problems sticking with Holy Church when faced with such as these.)’

    It has!. The LA Religiuos Education Congress ceremony.

  58. rbbadger says:

    “Br. Tom spotted it too – the priest with the pectoral cross. Man, it’s like ‘Circusgate’ or something…it goes all the way to the top! Or does it? Who is that bishop/abbot/protonotary apostolic?”

    The priest with the pectoral cross has the title of Domherr. He was a canon of the Cathedral in Basel.

    There is a bishop in The Netherlands who does punish priests who do this sort of thing. Bishop Jozef Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam suspended a priest in his diocese who had an “Orange Mass” during the last World Cup. He wore orange vestments in honour of the The Netherlands’ soccer team. He had parishioners kick soccer balls down the aisle while he acted as goalie. Bishop Punt, who had warned that priest before not to do these things, took away the priest’s faculties and sent him away to a monastery for several months. Really, that should be the least a good bishop should do.

  59. Peter in Canberra says:

    in full communion and making a mess. what else can one say?

  60. spesalvi23 says:

    That Land along the Rhine has produced many saints and has given a lot of its specific talents to the Church over the course of many centuries.
    Generalizations and are not required.

  61. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I am not sure whether to watch this or not. Meanwhile, may I recommend the expedient of searching using the term

    Kinderhilfe Bethlehem

    Among other things it brings you to, is the German Wikipedia article bearing that name, which includes a reference to Benedict XVI visiting the hospital they support on 13 May 2009 with a link to a photograph with, nota bene, Mahmud Abbas looking on over his shoulder.

    irish-italian mom quotes Father Stefano Manelli in reference to liturgical dance(ers). Does anyone know anything about the place of dance in discussions with, say, the Ethiopian and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches? And what of the Ethiopian Catholic Church – does it include liturgical dance practices?

  62. Rachel K says:

    From Wikipedia:
    “In the Book of Genesis, the Serpent is portrayed as a deceptive creature or trickster, who promotes as good what God had forbidden, and shows particular cunning in its deception”
    Seems to have succeeded here.
    I agree about the snake being a most sinister and demonic thing in this example. Quite physically repulsive.
    Also agree with Supertradmum about the cabaret tables, I mean come on, receiving communion with your half drunk cup of tea and food still on your supper table?!

  63. Art says:

    @Venerator Sti Lot:

    Yes they do have a place in worship.

    Eritrean/Ethiopian Orthodox:

    The St. Thomas Christians of India also included dancing/martial arts as an offering to God:

    But they can’t be compared to what is being presented here. I would love to hear their take on this though.

  64. Mariana2 says:

    I speak Swiss German. It was a ‘c’atholic Mass, Gaudete Sunday in fact, and it was in a circus tent, the priest in the beginning says so, and thinks it’s a great thing. At the end he invokes patron saints of jugglers and the like.


  65. COLRE says:

    Fr Heller has a website!

    Even for someone with only a smidgeon of German, it seems that he is no stranger to this type of liturgical buffoonery. He also seems to have been awarded a Papal medal a while back.

  66. DCMArg says:

    I am, as a sinner, ashamed of this… so-called mass.
    And I though my sins were taking up all of my “shame units”

  67. ByzCath08 says:

    To paraphrase Don McLean……”I saw Satan laughing with delight the day, the Mass died.

  68. teomatteo says:

    they certainly jumped the sha…er… killer whale….

  69. Gabriel Syme says:

    Reason #101 for Summorum Pontificum.

    Surely it would be more apt to say “Reason #101 why Vatican II has been a massive disaster”.

  70. Gabriel Syme says:

    Between this kind of thing, and the pictures of Pope Francis wearing a red “clown nose” – a new low, although I did think such an accessory ironically apt for Mr Bergoglio – I am very much suffering in my faith.

    Where is the credibility? The dignity? So much for the August sacrifice eh?

    Why does the SSPX (an organisation I increasingly admire) receive so much mainstream ire, yet very little is said about this kind of nonsense?

    I left the Catholic Answers forum after being appalled by so-called Christians saying they “hate” the SSPX and that they “hope the SSPX were excommunicated again”. And yet I do not remember even a gasp in horror from them at these kind of novelty quasi-masses.

    Mostly I attend SSPX masses now. The appeal over the clown-nose wearing, belly-dancing “mainstream” church is hugely obvious.

    Before anyone asks – I am from Glasgow and we only have one Diocesan Sunday Latin mass, and it only exists because the SSPX are present. No other reason. It is scheduled for the exact same time as the SSPX mass – in an obvious effort to split their congregation – and its in an exceptionally crummy part of town, which is known for its overt hostility toward Catholics. (The Church and Catholic school are routinely vandalised and the former priest had to take a sabbatical due to his nerves ).

  71. Jet41815 says:

    @ Fr. Martin Fox,

    Indeed. For example, would anyone here care to criticize Cardinal Bergoglio’s “Children’s Mass” (complete with gigantic puppets and inane sing-along songs)?

    I suspect that prior to the conclave, most commentors here would have harshly disapproved of this “Children’s Mass.” But now that he’s Pope, are these types of “Masses” a-okay now?

  72. Michael_Thoma says:

    The St. Thomas Christians of India also included dancing/martial arts as an offering to God:

    As a disheartened St. Thomas Christian of India of the Malankara Syriac Church, let me say that this Traditional Cultural Syrian Christian dance-story telling is OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT OF THE HOLY QURBONO (aka Mass), and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion. If these circus clown performed up to the door of the Church and before/after the Mass, this wouldn’t be scandalous. Why bring up these cultural customs as a comparison to the “circus Mass” – there is NOTHING like this in any Eastern Catholic or Orthodox Church.

  73. JKnott says:

    Actually, this “mass” suits perfectly some of our high profile American “catholic” politicians. That could easily be Nancy doing the snake thing.

  74. Robbie says:

    The long and the short of this video is pretty clear. Expect to see more and more of this stuff. I know this happened while Benedict was Pope, but Francis’ perceived style will likely only encourage more of this from rouge priests.

  75. The Astronomer says:

    Would attendance at this ‘Mass’ constitute an ‘occasion of sin’ due to the scantily-clad woman dancing with a snake? Jim Morrison would approve…not sure about Padre Pio.

  76. Michael_Thoma says:

    Good Lord. Someone posted his travesty on another site to show it isn’t just the Swiss or Germans. What is wrong with the Latin Church, and why are bishops and priests not being laicized over this?

  77. Salvelinus says:

    Reason #134,345,123,120 for Summorum Pontificum

  78. Jet:

    I’m not interested in going to find more dragons to slay, as it were. I don’t offer public criticism of bishops in general, so whether they end up as pope is irrelevant.

    Several folks here have brought up the SSPX in the context of these liturgical abuses. How do I say this charitably?

    Knock it off! (Smiling as I say it.)

    This line of argument, while understandable, is not really coherent. It’s the argument of a child who is caught doing something wrong, who points to another child and says, but you didn’t punish her for doing so-and-so.

    Now, parents should try to be even-handed; but–not being a parent, I’ll guess at this when I say, parents don’t usually have a lot of sympathy for this sort of complaint from the child.

    “This isn’t about what your brother did,” my mother would say, “but what you did.”

    The problems related to the irregular situation of the SSPX are in one bucket. They are a concern for a discrete set of reasons.

    The problems of liturgical abuse are in another bucket. They are concern for another set of reasons.

    Remember, the motive for the Church to take the approach she does toward the SSPX is the salvation of the SSPX’s members. Whether it’s mean, or unfair, or opportunistic, is beside the point.

    So, yes, Mother Church probably could handle the situation differently. Mom’s mean and unfair, boo hoo. In reality, this wish that Mother would not discipline ones misbehavior is really a wish for a neglectful Mother. And that’s a very bad thing to wish for.

  79. Ellen says:

    The poor snake, having to be a part in this wretched show. Unlike a lot of people, I actually like snakes since they eat rodents (nasty creatures).

    If I had been there, it wouldn’t have taken long for me to run screaming for the hills. What a disgusting display.

  80. robtbrown says:

    Fr Martin Fox,

    IMHO, it’s all just part of inculturation.

  81. robtbrown says:


    Remember, the motive for the Church to take the approach she does toward the SSPX is the salvation of the SSPX’s members. Whether it’s mean, or unfair, or opportunistic, is beside the point.

    That might be the case now, but it certainly wasn’t in the 1970’s. When JPII was elected, a Cardinal was asked what it meant for the SSPX. The answer: “It means the persecution is over.” Unfortunately, the effects are still with us.

    I recommend that you look at the Michael Davies books, which document some of the history of what happened between the Society and Paul VI. If memory serves, one incident occurred with a rep from Rome. Lefebvre pointed out that the post Vat II Church had no vocations, then asked what would be done about the shortage of priests. The reply: “We’ll ordained married men.” NB: This happened almost 40 years ago.

    If the SSPX is a monster, it is a monster created by the policies of the Montini papacy.

  82. robtbrown says:

    Jet41815 says:
    @ Fr. Martin Fox,

    Indeed. For example, would anyone here care to criticize Cardinal Bergoglio’s “Children’s Mass” (complete with gigantic puppets and inane sing-along songs)?

    Papa Bergoglio is said to want feedback. I wonder whether after such liturgy man told him that he was offended by it.

  83. Jet:

    No problem. If the holy father wants my advice or feedback, I am always happy to assist him in any way. I will wait for his phone call.

  84. Robert:

    I have a great deal of sympathy for those who remember, as you do, the wounds inflicted in years past. I am not for a purging of memory; on the contrary, our genial host and I have both discussed how there needs to be a careful documentation of what happened in the years right after the Council–in the name of the Council–now that those who perpetrated so many distortions are pretending they never happened in the first place. I call it “Operation Memory Hole.”

    That said, there comes a time when we move beyond that. Our beloved Eastern brothers and sisters are still complaining about the Sack of Constantinople in AD 1204. And, no, I’m not kidding about that!

    And, for the record, I did not call the SSPX a “monster.” I was simply pointing out the error of the “you didn’t punish So-and-so” line of argument.

  85. robtbrown says:

    Actually, it was not Jet but yours truly. You don’t need to wait for his phone call–you can write about in on your blog.

  86. mamajen says:

    Fr. Fox,

    Thank you–it grows tiresome. As a parent, I can say you are spot on. I don’t tolerate smugness, either.

  87. Nan says:

    @Fr. Martin Fox, thank you for your statement about not criticizing bishops. My bishop is undergoing much criticism and I expect it to continue for the next couple of years. I pray that he and the priests have the holiness and strength of faith to get them through it all.

  88. robtbrown says:

    Fr Martin,

    I never said you called the SSPX a monster. It was my word and reflects, IMHO, their present situation: We have a group not in union with Rome that uses Latin, which JXXIII said unites people to the pope. SSPX: Latinitas without Romanitas. Rome: Romanitas without Latinitas.

    That said, there comes a time when we move beyond that. Our beloved Eastern brothers and sisters are still complaining about the Sack of Constantinople in AD 1204. And, no, I’m not kidding about that!

    I’m fine with moving beyond that. It’s a matter of trust, and I’m not sure some of the things the pope has said (and not said) re moral issues do much to restore that trust.

    I know you’re not kidding. I had Eastern Rite classmates in Rome who complained about everything from that to Thomas Aquinas.

  89. Will D. says:

    Given the discovery of Fr. Heller’s website, I retract my suggestion that this foolishness was Lutheran. And I apologize to any Lutherans up to and including Martin Luther that I insulted by the comparison.

  90. Robbie says:

    Knock it off? Smugness? Forgive me, but even Cardinal Ranjith has said some of the concerns the SSPX has about the Liturgy are valid. Here’s the quote from a John Allen article on February 28, 2013. “In 2006, he said of the Lefebvrists that he wasn’t a fan, but that “what they sometimes say about the liturgy, they say for good reason.” Should he knock it off too?

    Frankly, I think it shows just how far the Church has fallen that a horrific and sacrilegious Mass is, none the less, deemed valid while those of a more orthodox group, who have serious issues with a pastoral council, need the harsh treatment for their own salvation.

  91. Art says:


    My response was to the question posted by Venerator Sti Lot on the legitimate use of dancing in the Christian context. It was in no way meant to equate long established traditions of other Churches to the sickness in Fr. Z’s post. That said, thanks for explaining the practice of your Church in its proper context. It was the response I was hoping for.

    As for what is going wrong with the Latin Church, a part of it may be from emulating how Eastern Liturgy presents heaven on earth but then we ignore uncomfortable things like the cross. Cheap entertainment.

  92. EVERYONE: Please breathe deeply and think before posting from here on.

  93. Robert:

    Sorry for the confusion. About the “monster” thing–I just wanted to avoid any misunderstanding.

  94. Robbie:

    You’ve entirely missed the point of my “Knock it off.”

  95. Jet41815 says:

    @Fr. Fox,

    Your answer is a total dodge, but at the same time confirms my point. You are the one who initially mentioned a “Celtic Mass” or “Polka Mass” or “Patriotic Mass,” so apparently the only “dragon” you’re not interested in slaying is Bergoglio’s “Children’s Mass.”

    Why do you criticize “Polka Masses” but turn a blind eye to Bergoglio’s blasphemous “Children’s Mass”? That’s a legitimate question, and can’t be brushed aside by simply changing the subject to child rearing and implying I’m some sort of tattletale. The same behavior that is criticized harshly gets a pass if the right person does it (i.e. Bergoglio). This glaring deficiency has filled the Church with a kind of cognitive dissonance that is becoming more apparent.

    As for the child rearing analogy, it is not an “error” to point out inconsistencies in discipline (it’s not an “argument,” it’s an observation). As a parent, I can tell you that inconsistent discipline is one of the worst things you can do to a child and family. A sure fire way to damage a child and create household enmity is to spank the daylights out one child and do nothing to another child for the same behavior. Inconsistency in discipline confuses a child and gives him/her an incoherent worldview.

    I never mentioned the SSPX, so I have no idea why you brought it up. I have never stepped foot in an SSPX chapel, and have no inclination to do so.

  96. Jet41815 says:

    Thanks for the reminder Fr. Z!

  97. robtbrown says:

    I see the point about not criticizing bishops, especially by priests who work for them (diocesan) or with them (religious). I try not to criticize priests, simply because they are caught in the middle.

    My point above re Abp Bergoglio was that I doubt he had ever been told by anyone that the kids’ mass was offensive. The Church is simply not set up for that kind of feedback. The average conversation between a bishop and a laymen is small talk.

    BTW, there is an article in the Chicago Tribune about the recent approval of homosexual “marriage” by the Illinois legislature. In the middle of the article is the following paragraph:

    Advocates (for same sex “marriage”) soon received additional help from Pope Francis, who warned that the Catholic Church could lose its way by focusing too much on social stances, including opposition to homosexuality.

    I wonder whether anyone will show him the article.

  98. Who didn’t get the memo?

  99. Jet:

    Out of respect for our genial host, you are welcome to post a comment on my blog and I’ll respond.

  100. Long-Skirts says:

    Fr. Martin Fox said:

    “This line of argument, while understandable, is not really coherent. It’s the argument of a child who is caught doing something wrong, who points to another child and says, but you didn’t punish her for doing so-and-so.”

    Children do not have informed consciences.

    In 1997 we had our 10th child and when he was 8 weeks old my dear husband wanted to take me out to dinner for a nice “date” alone.

    Our, then, 19 yr. old son, I will call him John, said he would babysit the 6 youngest for us as a gift. We were only going to a neighborhood restaurant nearby as I was nursing and didn’t want to be far away.

    I always provided a special treat for the kids, when we went out, and had a litre of Dr. Pepper and a bag of corn curls (always soft snacks as worried about children choking…mothers of 10 do things like this).

    John’s 20 yr. old cousin, Tom, dropped by wanting to hang out.

    Unbeknownst to John, his cousin poured Whiskey into the Dr. Pepper while he wasn’t looking hoping to get the younger ones sleepy so they would go to bed early. The kids all spit out their sodas and screamed “Yuk!”. John tasted it after asking what they were doing and realized his cousin had spiked it.

    John got mad at Tom, who evidently was a bit drunk, and a fist fight insued.

    As we were having our coffee and dessert my husband’s beeper went off (no cell phones) and it was one of the younger kids calling to say their brother and cousin were fighting. We left the restaurant immediately.

    The boys were still in the midst of the fight with the younger boys standing on the couch and chairs cheering and shouting, “This is the bomb!!” Lovely. Lamps were broken, shirts were torn and the baby was crying.

    My husband got between them both and when he asked “What the h*ll (sorry, this is real life) is going on?” Both boys started blaming the other. My husband told Tom to leave as he shouted at our son, John, “Shutup! You were put in charge this is your responsibiliy, don’t blame your cousin!”

    Our son went to his room and slammed the door. I was nursing the baby in our bedroom and one of the girls came in and said, “Mom, I think Tom did something bad and that’s why John and he were fighting. He made our soda taste bad and John wouldn’t let us drink it.”

    I told my husband what our daughter said after the kids were all settled in bed. He went to taste the Dr. Pepper and low & behold the “water had been changed into wine”…uhhh….errrrr….Whiskey!

    My husband called John out of his room and had a long talk. My husband apologised as he had been wrong about John.

    The next day I called my nephew’s Bishop, no, I mean, mother and she just said, “Oh, boys will be boys…your son is no saint, either.”

    No, he was no saint but he tried to protect our younger children’s innocence that night and for that ….

    “Knock it off! (Smiling as I say it.)”

    …I hope he NEVER knocks it off!! (Smiling as I say it, too, Fr. Fox.)

  101. robtbrown says:

    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says:
    Who didn’t get the memo?

    I just think that we are kicking the family dog by pointing fingers at priests. I take the W Edwards Deming approach: Don’t blame the priest. A priest is a product of a seminary and policies that come from Rome and Ordinaries, driven by the likes of Rahner and Schillebeeckx.

  102. robtbrown says:

    Also: Deming didn’t think that quality was a matter of inspection post production. It’s the same with priests. Many, many times people have complained to me about various priests. My answer is always the same: He is doing what he was trained to do.

  103. Elizabeth D says:

    I suspect the “memo” was about not using italics.

  104. robtbrown says:

    If so, I didn’t get it. The italics were supposed to show a citation.

  105. Long-Skirts:

    Thanks for the great story.

  106. mamajen says:

    I shall sit on my hands and say no more.

    I think the important thing is that we all agree the “mass” was dreadful, and that we all pray for the priest and the rest who participated.

  107. Long-Skirts says:

    Fr Martin Fox says:

    Thanks for the great story.”

    You’re welcome, Father, and thank you for being a Catholic Priest. Sacerdos!!!

  108. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Art, Thank you for the response (and links!) and further comment; Michael_Thoma, thank you for the comment.

    Behind my questions is the experience of having seen impressive examples of what I take to be liturgical dance in some sense by (as I recall) members of parishes of Eritrean (and I think also Ethiopian) Orthodox Tewahedo Churches, on YouTube, ecountered when I was searching for something else, and without accompanying annotation. I assumed they were indeed examples of long established traditions of legitimate use of dancing in the Christian context. But I know nothing about them, nor where to look (online) for reliable explanations. In that context I wondered both whether the Ethiopian Catholic Church had retained anything of the sort, and what place it might have in ‘inter-church discussions’. Was it, perhaps, reprehended, or quite the opposite, in Rome?

    I had not even heard of Parichamuttukali/”Traditional Cultural Syrian Christian dance-story telling” among the St. Thomas Christians, although I have been interested in them for decades, without, however, managing to read about them in any great detail. ( I have, as it happens, just been rereading brief accounts of the last years of Roberto Nobili, S.J. at Mylapore, on the one hand, and the consecration of Mar Thoma I on 22 May 1653, on the other.)

    “If these circus clown performed up to the door of the Church and before/after the Mass, this wouldn’t be scandalous”, that is my first impression, too (in general, still not having watched the video), though general questions as to the possible (il)legitimacy of public belly-dancing and dancing with snakes, while in costume, also seem to have been raised.

    Some of the Eritrean(/Ethiopian?) dancing I have seen on YouTube was taking place within Church buildings, and was not obviously extra-liturgical. So, the question of the (im)possiblity of licit liturgical dance (in whatever rite) seems a relevant one.

  109. midwestmom says:

    Father, you mentioned the statute of limitations…have you considered forwarding this video to the CDF? Somebody should.

  110. Pingback: WATCH: The Spirit of Vatican II – Telegraph Blogs

  111. Gabriel Syme says:

    @ Fr Martin Fox

    “Remember, the motive for the Church to take the approach she does toward the SSPX is the salvation of the SSPX’s members. Whether it’s mean, or unfair, or opportunistic, is beside the point. “

    But how is this at all coherent, Father, when you consider that, when the modern Church is cosying up to Protestants or encouraging ecumenical activities, we never hear any talk of “legitimacy” or “faculties” in those cases? Suddenly these things don’t seem to matter.

    Its OK to raise concern about the SSPX cannonically irregular status, but, when we look at how warm and inclusive we are towards Protestants denominations – heretics, essentially – its clear to see that this “canonically irregular” stuff is no more than a stick to beat Catholics with. Specifically those Catholics who value the depth and spiritually satisfying aspects of traditional Catholicism over the comparitively puerile modern Church (“Roman Protestantism” I have heard it called – and no wonder).

    For all we hear about warnings not to “ideologise” the old mass, in my persepective the real ideologues are the “other side”, the kind who want to dance about with clown-noses on etc. They are so rigidly intolerant to any view other than their own – thats why the SSPX situation perpetuates, in my view. You could demand a female pope and publicly rubbish Church teaching on sexuality – and thats just fine, no problem. But dont ever ask for a latin mass or accurate, faithful teaching – that is unacceptable “ideology”.

    In my neighbourhood, we have a small SSPX Church and a big Jesuit Church. I liked going to the Jesuits when I was largely ignorant about Catholicism, (as most post V2 Catholics are), but – now that I am better informed – I resent hearing stuff like “Sisters and Brothers” during the mass and I resent them using school-children as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Is it really any wonder I drift to the little SSPX Church?

    I would say I learned more about Catholicism in half a dozen visits to the SSPX, than I did from 35 years of association with the bland modern Church. Their homilies are crisp, clean and to the point. They exude a masculine confidence, even a bullishness in their Christianity – compared to the endless sickly-sweet “God is love” homilies I am more used to. I heard things – Salve Regina, the St Michael prayer etc – that I didnt even know existed. I was shocked at the scale of my ignorance and shocked at how short and cheap the modern Church sells itself.

    The best thing for me about visiting the SSPX is being able to receive communion properly, which I find very satisfying. The last time at the Jesuits, I was confronted by a uniformed school-girl (maybe 14 or 15 yrs old) giving out communion. She didnt say “Body of Christ” and was clearly appalled at having to place the host on my tongue. The whole experience was excrutiating and those Jesuit priests are kidding themselves if they think those school-kid ministers believe in the real presence.

    Anyway, if my wife and I are lucky enough to have a family, its very clear to me where my children and I will be worshipping (and its not with the Jesuits).

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