Skip to comments.You Know Where To Go (to complain about liturgical dance)
Posted on 08/18/2006 2:40:48 PM PDT by NYer
Annunciations of a New Springtime came across a 2003 Adoramus article of Cardinal Arinze's speaking on liturgical dance that I had not seen before.
Now, some priests and lay people think that Mass is never complete without dance. The difficulty is this: we come to Mass primarily to adore God -- what we call the vertical dimension. We do not come to Mass to entertain one another. That's not the purpose of Mass. The parish hall is for that.
So all those that want to entertain us -- after Mass, let us go to the parish hall and then you can dance. And then we clap. But when we come to Mass we don't come to clap. We don't come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.
Don't misunderstand me, because when I said this at one place somebody said to me: "you are an African bishop. You Africans are always dancing. Why do you say we don't dance?"
A moment -- we Africans are not always dancing!
Moreover, there is a difference between those who come in procession at Offertory; they bring their gifts, with joy. There is a movement of the body right and left. They bring their gifts to God. That is good, really. And some of the choir, they sing. They have a little bit of movement. Nobody is going to condemn that. And when you are going out again, a little movement, it's all right.
But when you introduce wholesale, say, a ballerina, then I want to ask you what is it all about. What exactly are you arranging? When the people finish dancing in the Mass and then when the dance group finishes and people clap -- don't you see what it means? It means we have enjoyed it. We come for enjoyment. Repeat. So, there is something wrong. Whenever the people clap -- there is something wrong -- immediately. When they clap -- a dance is done and they clap.
It is possible that there could be a dance that is so exquisite that it raises people's minds to God, and they are praying and adoring God and when the dance is finished they are still wrapped up in prayer. But is that the type of dance you have seen? You see. It is not easy.
Most dances that are staged during Mass should have been done in the parish hall. And some of them are not even suitable for the parish hall.
I saw in one place -- I will not tell you where -- where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it -- they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water!
Why make the people of God suffer so much? Haven't we enough problems already? Only Sunday, one hour, they come to adore God. And you bring a dance! Are you so poor you have nothing else to bring us? Shame on you! That's how I feel about it.
Somebody can say, "but the pope visited this county and the people danced". A moment: Did the pope arrange it? Poor Holy Father -- he comes, the people arranged. He does not know what they arranged. And somebody introduces something funny -- is the pope responsible for that? Does that mean it is now approved? Did they put in on the table of the Congregation for Divine Worship? We would throw it out! If people want to dance, they know where to go.
Somebody needs to start a Cardinal Arinze Fan Club blog. He always provides a wealth of great commentary and common sense on the liturgy.
Gotta love him!
Dervishes manage to have dance without sex, and not all the Hindu dances have to do with Shiva's journey through history.
Gad, whatever has become of the RCs, have they all gone over to the Seventh Day Baptists or what?
I also find skits, clowns, and folk-music masses to be inappropriate. I am a Catholic convert and suffered through many "performances" in Protestant worship services, and they are simply entertainment.
I support the Cardinal, and am glad to hear that someone is speaking out about it. My sister's parish had a FLAMENCO MASS. Can you imagine that, with all of the shouting and hand-clapping?
Or are you saying he's ignorant of African dance and its role in liturgy? What was the point about sex? And what do you mean about all Catholics gone Protestant?
You can find the schedule for the church down the street at: http://www.stbernpar.org/
Most Catholics I know attend SATURDAY and avoid the Sunday situation as best they can.
And this crowd is pretty conservative.
Some Protestant groups are renowned for avoiding dance, both at church (Heaven forbid) and in private! These are the guys who really do sit on the floor when the music plays. BTW, many of them disagree with the idea of having musical instruments in church ~ too distracting, interferes with prayerful introspection, not truly a spiritual sort of thing, etc. To a degree they comprise the same group who objected to drums on stage at the Grand Ol' Opry. (You are not alone, although your allies would probably never enter an RC church even on a dare).
I've simply noticed that in our threads involving dance and church we are getting a preponderance of RCs giving the sort of comments I would usually expect out of the most conservative of Protestant groups.
Maybe what's going on is you have a group in the hierarchy who are pushing dance even in the face of no apparant demand for it.
The former Coca Cola executives who pushed "New Coke" could probably give us some insight into that error.
For a couple of years our parish had a half dozen prepubescent girls go up to the communion rail area, dressed to the nines, spread themselves across the front of the church and be the "sign language" singers for a couple of songs.
I felt the same way about that as I do about all this other liturgical invention.
I said it before and I'll say it again...liturgical dance is neither!
I think dance is inappropriate for the Mass. It is distracting, as would be jokes, mimes, acrobats, performing monkeys, or hurdy-gurdy music.
These things are not sinful, but they are not reverent.
Huh? Something got lost in the translation.
Don't forget those Flamenco Masses!
Has it stopped? If not, you may contact Cardinal Arinze. He is keeping tabs on these abuses.
Oh c'mon what do you have against the hurdy gurdy?!?!
" Cardinal Mahony thinks it's just swell!"
He is a disgrace.
I feel very sorry for those in his diocese.
It's actually very useful in church when you need a drone line. An Advent Processional setting of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" that we did in our old (ECUSA) parish actually calls for a hurdy-gurdy (as well as finger cymbals, handbells, and a bodhran). My husband played the hurdy-gurdy.
It actually sounded neat (very medieval) and was perfectly respectful.
I am unfamiliar with the instrument you are describing. I was, of course, referring to the organ-grinder's instrument. (Needless to say, I am not a musician.)
I know what dancers are supposed to look like, and these "liturgical dancers" aren't it!
The problem with these folks is that they could never get a real gig. They not only aren't good enough, they aren't even within shouting distance of good. So they go to church and inflict their horrible travesties on folks there . . . mostly because the sillies who let them do it don't know anything about dance.
Of course, it's also not appropriate for Mass . . . but the icing on the cake for me is that it would be awful wherever it happened to be.
Some of them look like little lutes . . . others are just a box shape with strings inside.
The one my husband played at church is the box type. Believe our choirmaster made it from a kit.
Here is some music, a 15th century Italian dance, with a hurdy-gurdy providing the steady background buzzing note . . . pretty typical! (It does keep everybody on pitch.)
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