Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

See, with balloons you get a low Mass and a high Mass

Loopy liturgists here in North America will be as pleased as orthodox Catholics will be appalled by the following:

Lifeteen Mass, European style?

Unless strongly repudiated, this event will be dragged out by AmChurch as Exhibit A of Vatican acceptance of all manner of liturgical nonsense over here.

My first impulse is to defend good Cardinal Schonborn, general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, holy Dominican scholar and priest (with whom I had the good fortune of spending some time when he visited Steubenville). Was he blind-sided? Is that a credible explanation? The official spokeshole for the Austrian archdiocese attacks everything and everyone except the event itself and how it was staged, suggesting full knowledge.

I don't think you need to be a foaming traditionalist to be very disturbed by this. Reactions around the blogsphere among orthodox Catholics are not good. Liturgical abuse is not really too strong a term in this case: Prayer card balloons released during the Mass (what is it the balloon fetish?); wooden ciboria; St. Louis Jesuit-style ceramic chalices; tie-die vestments; obnoxious rock guitars jangling in the background; strobe lights; rave lasers; deep dish pizza-sized eucharistic bread (Great for falling crumbles! If that recipe is kosher with the rubrics, I'm the Easter bunny.)

Maybe this brand of infantilization of the divine liturgy is what helped made an atheist out of a former Lifeteen music leader I know....(With all deference to the good that some Lifeteen Masses have done, etc., ipso facto, yadda blah, and so on.)


Anonymous Mike said...

Greetings STD readers:

Presumably, I'm the former LifeTeen music leader that Patrick is referring to, so I thought I had an obligation to chime in on this one.

Obviously, I'm no longer a Catholic. But I'd like to dispense some advice to anyone who watched the video of this mass and didn't get as miffed as Patrick. I'm not one to normally stick up for the church, but I couldn't let this slide.

Has the church in Europe become this desperate?

Lifeteen is a well-meaning, genuinely sincere organization. But I hardly believe this is what they had in mind when they formed. I attended a mass at St. Timothy's in Mesa, Arizona where the Lifeteen program was formed, and I can tell you that THIS is not the way things are done.

This European "mass" is absurd. A few years down the road, they're gonna throw in some DJ's, ecstasy, and the vague notion that a full-blown orgy will follow. My guess is that that poor Bishop was wondering how the hell he let this one slip by in his diocese.

The "Youth Movement" has to realize that there's a point where you lose sight of the ball. These teens aren't going to be attending mass for the "right" reasons. They're going for the free pizza and chance to make out with the cute girl in Pew 3 after "LifeNight". I've been there. I had groupies for God's sake (pun intended), and we were not nearly this tacky. My guess is that singer in the middle is already picking out his favorite screaming girl. He looks waayyyy to happy.

Contrary to what Patrick has suggested, the Lifeteen program didn't make me leave the church (but I can see why he would draw the conclusion). If anything, I hung around for a few more years for the pizza and, er, "friendship". But those are terrible reasons to stand up and profess a belief each week. Is this the generation of Catholics you want to raise?

There's nothing wrong with adapting the music so that a mass is less painful to those without an appreciation for the CBW. My former church was pretty good at that. But this "party church" is insane. You can't lure teenagers in with the promise of free pizza, balloons, and a rock concert and expect them to hit up the confession box afterwards. They're not there for the confessional.

This looks more to me like liturgical prostitution.

If you really believe that your transubstantiating your God, then you probably shouldn't shouldn't welcome him into your heart with this prelude to a orgiastic mosh-pit. Jesus is not amused.

Either way, I'm no longer a Catholic, so y'all can do what you like. I'm just suggesting embracing these kinds of cheap tactics will only put the church on the fast track to half-assed party Catholics and the extinction of any admirable traits of the church.

Quality, folks, not quantity.

I'd love to hear some comments from other readers. Fire away, if you'd like. Patrick, any further thoughts?

9:40 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Yes, a question: are you suggesting that my readers have a sexually transmitted disease?

1:05 PM

Anonymous Mike said...

Giggle. Acronyms are fun.

Although technically, I should have omitted the "t". But Secure Digital readers aren't as much fun.

1:35 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Factoid for you. STD is an acrostic, not an acronym. And acronym must spell another "word" like SCUBA or FEMA. Hence CBC, NBC, STD etc etc are all acrostics.

I'm here for you, man.

1:11 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

A few years down the road, they're gonna throw in some DJ's, ecstasy, and the vague notion that a full-blown orgy will follow.



12:17 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

12:19 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Too much! Thanks, PDP.

3:23 PM

Anonymous Mike said...

Yay! A new word! But the following seems to suggest a different meaning:

And this site is telling me it is an acronym:


6:52 AM


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