Let’s call it Reason #9577 for Summorum Pontificum

This is pretty bad.   Let’s call it Reason #9577 for Summorum Pontificum.

This is the ordination of a man of Tamil origin in the Diocese of Rodez, in France.

One must ask how it was that they thought that some of these choices were good choices.  From the beginning, when the ever so serious bishop is waving that coconut, or whatever the hell it is, around, I got the creeps.  The creeps were not helped by the chant by the woman that followed, I think after the “Eucharistic Prayer”.  I don’t know what she is singing, but I’ll bet you it has nothing to do with the Roman Rite.

About the singing.  I don’t mind the style so much, although I wonder if the idiom is pagan.  I remember during the beatification Mass of Mother Teresa, when old Marini was in charge and was running inculturated-amok, a priest from India next to me (in the press corps area on the braccio) got angry.  He explained that the melody and gestures they were using in their liturgical dance rubbish had un-Christian connotations.  Music and styles have connotations.   They change only very slowly.  Inculturation is tricky.  We must always give logical priority to what the Church has to give to the world.

A screenshot.  Note the spot.

This screams for a caption.

Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 14.23.43

I am reminded of my very first day of seminary (aka The Pit, aka The 7th Circle of Hell).

In our first team-taught “Liturgy Colloquium” class they had us stand in a circle, gave us tulip bulbs (“John, receive the tulip bulb of life!”… “Thanks… Jim.”), asked us to name them – I am not making this up – and then had us march out as the “team” chanted a kind of mantra to Mother Earth and the Bringer of Light.  This class was led by a priest who would eventually leave the priesthood after shaking up with woman on the faculty, after which they lived on her VA benefits from her MIA Vietnam vet husband.  This same priest, the vice-rector, would eventually throw me out of seminary when he took over after the rector’s heart attack.  A couple days before we had had a rather acrimonious dispute in class when he explicitly denied the doctrine of transubstantiation.

That’s what this style of “ritual” or whatever the hell it was reminded me of.

I think I named mine “Bob”, or something exceptionally meaninful like that.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Christopher Meier says:

    Caption submission:

    “…and he brought forth the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch…”

  2. Iggy75 says:

    Another caption:
    “Dang, that elephant has good aim!”

  3. ce lathrop says:

    …or yet another reason to go East. It’s simply amazing what some of you RCs put up with….

    Cf. Fr. Robert Taft, “Sunday in the Byzantine Tradition.”

  4. Mr.Cynical says:

    “O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.”

  5. Cantor says:

    “Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.”

  6. Jim says:

    The woman is chanting (mostly) ‘Aradhanai aradhanai …. Yesuvae’ Tamil for ‘adoration adoration… Jesus’. I cannot understand the rest. The music style is Tamil cinema and the pagan dance is the classical south Indian Bharatanatiyam, which is being horribly performed btw. The bishop with the coconut thing is the Tamil Hindu way of welcoming a newly web bride and groom home (the brides’s parents’ home or the bridegroom’s).
    The tamils are Latin rite only(the Syro Malabar and Syro Malankara rites are from the state to their west – Kerala) – so you all know how close this is to the Latin rite Mass. The lady in the plain brown saree is actually a nun. Thats the way some Indian congregations went with abandoning their Catholic habits following the “spirit of Vatican 2”. That brown cloth (called kadhhar is what Hindu “holy men” traditionally wear). No lay Tamil Catholic I know, and i know quite a few, like any of this, but then their opinions matters not. To end, the SSPX are growing in Tamil Nadu and are the only ones who offer the Mass of all ages.

    That the Church still survives in India – I consider that as a positive proof of the existence of God.

    [Thanks for the help. It is very tricky indeed to attempt to Christianize elements of non-Christian cultures. It can’t be forced and it can’t happen overnight. Inculturation is a long process that must be constantly checked.]

  7. Barnacle says:

    “Mine’s a korma -what are you having?”

  8. Barnacle says:

    …or, better, “Mine’s a Tikka Marsala, Bob! What are you having?”

  9. jskelley says:

    Well…I kinda like the antependium. That’s a plus, right??

  10. OldProfK says:

    Beat me to it. “Brother Maynard, consult the Book of Armaments….”

  11. jaykay says:

    “And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large chu…”

    Large chunks of coconut? It’s liturgy, Jim, but not as we know it.

  12. gracie says:

    My only thought regarding this post is, why Bob instead of Rob?

  13. Kerry says:

    “This is my artichoke, and my melted-butter vessel. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. As it says in the Palms, ‘Behold! And there was brought forth thistles which became artichokes, and Mayonnaise was confected, and his/her/their bretheren and sisterethen, Hollandaise, and Bearnaise. And eggs were brought forth, with French Toast, and the bacon of the French Canadians…”
    My internet lip reading might be off…

  14. Huber says:

    Dances created to please pagan “gods” have no place at the Altar of the Lord’s Sacrifice. Forget receiving the Eucharist, they should be drinking water strewn with burnt pagan offerings.

    “And laying hold of the calf which they had made, he burnt it, and beat it to powder, which he strowed into water, and gave thereof to the children of Israel to drink.”

  15. Elizabeth D says:

    Were there Sinsinawa Dominicans involved in this tulip bulb paraliturgy or was it actually all devised by males? [There were two women and two men on the team… well, 2.5 woman and 1.5 men. And it’s funny that you mention the Sinsinawa, if “funny” and “Sinsinawa” can be used in the same sentence. One of them ran our lives at that seminary as “deanette” of studies. She hated us, I’m sure. I have loathed them ever since, especially in light of the antics of Donna Quinn, et al. And, btw, new readers here should look at my post NUNS GONE WILD!]

    Did anyone else notice the current news story that is really a non-story about the fact that the House of Representatives has had for decades and continues to have and enforce a rule that appropriate business attire should be worn, including having shoulders covered? http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/08/bare-shoulders-debate-on-dress-code-for-female-hill-reporters-heats-up.html My bishop dared at Christmas midnight Mass to recommend that women wear veils (because women are sacred and we veil what is sacred!), but would even he dare to recommend a sound standard of modest dress, shoulders covered, no low cut, no exposed midriff or back, no see through or skin-tight, clothed to below the knee? Most Reverend Bishop, how about it? How about any other bishops, are any of you reading and have so much courage and charity? I was reading some things at the Fr Hardon archives just today and read this refreshingly straight talking and spot-on Q&A with Fr Hardon:

    Q. To restore chastity in the modern world is it not necessary that first there be a return to modesty, especially among women? —J.A.W., Ohio

    A. You are absolutely right. There is no chance of restoring chastity in the modern world without a return to modesty, especially among women. Immodesty in women’s dress and bodily behavior arouses men’s passions to sins against chastity. In His sermon on the mount, Christ declared that if a man even looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. The immodest attire and physical exposure of their bodies by women is part of the logic of the evil spirit to seduce men to internal and external sins against chastity. This is so true that it has become part of every paganized culture the modern world. What we call immodesty becomes the accepted standard of a society, as in the United States. We who have the true faith must also have the courage to live up to our faith. On these grounds, the practice of Christian modesty is an apostolic responsibility of professed Catholics. We have the duty to promote chastity by our own practice and promotion of modesty. (–Fr Hardon)

  16. APX says:

    To quote a bishop, who shall remain anonymous, after leaving an ecumenical liturgy, “what was that??”

    Someone’s MC needs to be relieved of his duties as MC.

  17. Valid question Fr. Because of all this is his ordination Invalid from such desecration of the liturgy (with possible notes of cultural insensitivity if the new priest wasn’t consulted?)

  18. _Dan_ says:

    Caption submission:

    “All behold, the totem of the land of fruits and nuts.”

  19. Jack007 says:

    “Oh Fr. Z, you who nurtured many a bonsai, can you use your powers to make it bear fruit?”

  20. “Behold the precious coconut…”

    [ Tom Hanks character from Cast Away yelling …. ]

    “Beware, coconut water is a natural laxative!”


  21. MikeR says:

    How can any of this hot bubbling nonsense in any way be called Catholic?

  22. Ocampa says:

    When I was beginning Catholic, this kind of stuff made me wonder if the successors of the Apostles actually believed in the faith of the Apostles. It was a hindrance to my conversion. Nevertheless, i still wonder.

  23. Michael_Thoma says:

    Caption my face at viewing this:

    “So glad to be Malankara Syriac Catholic and NOT Latin from India”

  24. iamlucky13 says:

    Seattle’s diocesan magazine this month also had a brief blurb about a parish in the area that prayed the general intercession in hula dance for Pentacost.


    I’m familiar with the parish, but didn’t realize they’d had a “liturgical hula ministry” for over a decade.

    That said, my understanding is hula developed as a form of pagan chant, and perhaps there is a reasonable case to be made to re-appropriate it to Christian prayer. For all I know, the parish may have received permission from the bishop to do this. But lacking any explanation of that or how the dance conveys the general intercessions, I have to wonder…

  25. Poor Yorek says:

    I think it was 1971 when “the Lime in the Coconut” become valid matter.

  26. Matt Robare says:

    The really sad thing is that there have been Christians in India since Thomas the Apostle visited there, so it’s not like there aren’t traditions that couldn’t be acknowledged. This is just paganism for the sake of paganism.

  27. pelerin says:

    I wondered whether you would find that Fr Z. I did not dare refer you to it when I first saw it but just wanted to forget about it!
    Caption: ‘I think someone just shot me but I musn’t drop this thingamajig.’

  28. Fr_Sotelo says:

    LOL. Watching this video made me hungry for chicken tikka masala on a bed of basmati rice, served with fresh nan.

    [Okay. Now that’s what I want too.]

  29. Dafyd says:

    What symbolism intended by the clergy there lined up against the wall of the sanctuary, peering out at the congregation? It would distract me to no end. Far better to stick them in the pews in choir habit or align them perpendicular to the altar and facing it, where they won’t be tempted to make eye contact at people in the congregation.

  30. msc says:

    Haec est mea nux. Facite pinas coladas pro me.

  31. Knight from 13904 says:

    Fr. Z it is a miracle you are a Catholic priest after having to endure that BS in seminary. Keep up the great work you are doing for the Mystical Body of Christ!

  32. rmichaelj says:

    The next time I hear a complaint about the SSPX conditionally ordaining priests, my one word retort will be “Fonlupt”.

  33. SenexCalvus says:

    Here’s my own favorite seminary memory. In Introduction to the OT at the now defunct WTU (affectionately referred to by its students as “Women’s” Theological Union), the professor, a gnostic sister who had apparently transcended every gender (including her own), asked the class, “Why did Israel love Joseph best of all his sons?”

    I thought this was low-hanging fruit, so I raised my hand: “Because he was the child of his old age.”

    “No, you’re wrong,” she said.

    “But I’m quoting the text verbatim,” I countered (Genesis 37:3).

    Her reply: “You’re still wrong. You’d have to be a woman to know the answer.” She never called on me again, even when I was the only volunteer, and I left the seminary at the end of the semester.

    I’ve been happily married to one of the good professor’s better (i.e., female) students for almost twenty years now, so I guess I owe her a debt of thanks.

  34. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Two years ago, I was in Fiji in the South Pacific, and I had the opportunity to attend Masses with those wonderful God-fearing people.

    For bringing up of the gifts, they did have a Fijian Dance. To me it didn’t feel “cringe-y” like with “liturgical dancers” here in America. It felt like there was 1,000+ years of tradition behind these moves and costumes, it didn’t feel awkward to me. You don’t have that with liturgical dancing here in America. That’s NOT our culture. We don’t prance around with long streamers behind us like idiots.

    I thought, “These wonderful people can have THEIR culture in the Mass, why can’t I have MY culture in the Mass?” Our “liturgical dance” IS the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, that is my culture, and my heritage, and we have a right to it just like these Fijians have a right to their culture and heritage.

    If Catholicism is truly “Universal” then yes, elements of other cultures can, should, and will be adopted to the Mass and the Church as a whole over time. Those elements should be Baptized and Christianized and made a part of God’s Church. Ancient Celts loved knots in their art, St. Patrick converted them, so we now today have Crosses made of Celtic Knots. St. Augustine would have never encountered a Celtic Cross with knots. Gothic Cathedrals, St. Ignatius of Antioch would never have set foot in side one of those, but those a part of the Church. The list goes on and on of “stuff” that has been brought into the Church.

  35. npmccallum says:

    How about this for a caption?

    “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”

  36. Elizabeth D says:

    Yes Father, I could not possibly forget the misery you suffered from some Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters at that seminary. i do not want to loathe anyone (how I would like to contribute to the conversion and salvation of Sr Donna; how I love the thought of her making it to heaven and there praying for me; I have done my part to try) but have long and perseveringly prayed for the Sinsinawa Dominicans more or less in the way that Abraham prayed for Sodom.

  37. Hans says:

    Okay, I’ve looked and looked, and I can’t find where you tell us that this is some grand farce (of the intentional kind). I even checked the calendar, but it’s long since April 1. I give up, where did you hide it?

  38. Joy65 says:

    WHY do the people who want to do this kind of thing even join, belong to, call themselves or associate with the Catholic Church????????????????????????????????????? If they want to do those kinds of things there are PLENTY of churches that will be more than glad to have them join. And PRIESTS who think they can change things on their own or slacken the Church’s rules will sadly find out the hard way one day that NOPE they can’t do that. Just do your own thing but do it OUTSIDE of the Catholic Church PLEASE!

  39. JustaSinner says:


  40. Y2Y says:

    “And St. Attila held the Holy Hand Grenade on high, saying: ‘Bless this, O Lord, Thy Hand Grenade, that with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy'”

  41. MrsMacD says:

    It reminds me of something they did to the german soldiers during the time Hitler was in power. They would allow a dog in the barracks and once the soldiers got to love the dog they would force the men to watch the dog being tortured, the first time men could be seen crying, but over time they would become hardened, and they did this over and over to desensitize the men.

    Over and over they force Faithful Catholics to watch their beloved Mass tortured. We’re becoming desensitized. We’re being forced to endure abuse. Abuse of the Mass but ultimately abuse of Jesus. We being seasoned to deny our Faith.

  42. Filipino Catholic says:

    Is now a good time to request someone to do an impression of a very irate Christ and clean the church out in a suitably aggressive manner? Zelus domus tuae after all.

    [After all!]

  43. Imrahil says:

    Dear MrsMacD,

    did they, or is that just some story?

    I’m not wishing to exonerate the then German Armed Forces; preferring the beloved animals to human beings (say, Jews) was as much as a vice, actually. But for all immoral exaggeration of the thing, it was in any case present. Göring took particular pride in establishing a law that made animal torture an imprisonable offence, at a time SS guards that tortured concentration camp inmates faced no punishment at all.

    So while I can (sadly) imagine these Germans exterminating Jews, torturing Poles, and sending Ukrainians over mine-fields, I still find it very hard to believe that even then they would do conscious harm to a dog. (Of all animals, actually.)

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