Tuesday, December 4, 2012


When the topic of clown Masses is brought up on other blogs, there are some who insist that these no longer take place. Well, wishful thinking, I'm afraid.

This sort of thing really calls into question the seriousness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when celebrated in such an inane way.

These pictures were first posted on Rorate Caeli. The following are pictures from a Mass celebrated a few days ago by Archbishop Giancarlo Maria Bregantini of the Archdiocese of Campobasso-Boiano, Italia.

Is the Mass suppose to be cute? Is this Archbishop cute? Heaven spare us!

Could you imagine anyone trying to do this in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass--most of us would say, no, that Mass is too serious!


ND said...

My heart cries out to God every time I hear or see of these unfortunate, terrible happenings. I pray that priests from my generation, the up-coming generation, may put a stop to this insanity!

ytc said...

Absolutely hideous, barf inducing, disgustingness.


John Nolan said...

Can't the kiddies have a party, with a bit of lit-ur-gee thrown in, without provoking a spittle-flecked rant from the reactionary fogeys, young and old, who infest the blogosphere? These are the wierdos who groove to Gregorian Chant and think Latin is cool! They obviously hate children, so I think we should all hold hands and pray for them (cue: Marty Haugen music).

Gene said...

Who are those idiots?

Marc said...

Who are these idiots?

Bishops and priests in "full Communion" and good standing with the Pope who aren't being asked to sign a Doctrinal Preamble and who are not being publicly questioned or reprimanded at all.

Unknown said...


His name is Archbishop Giancarlo Maria Bregantini of the Archdiocese of Campobasso-Boiano. Obviously, he was celebrating Gaudete Sunday a little early.

In short, His Excellency is Italian. Most shockingly of all, he was in 1994 and elevated in 2007. He is one of Benedict's boys.

Bret said...

What's with the brick wall behind the altar? Why don't they get real creative and spray some graffiti on it? "John 3:16" in neon green. "Jesus Christ Superstar" in bright red. "We are Church" in electric pink. "Andrew Lloyd Weber rocks!" in royal blue.

WSquared said...

Oh, good grief! God help us.

And that hot-pink fiddleback chasubule is just something else entirely. ...I hope it's just the white balance in the camera of whomever took those photographs.

The problem is that anything dumbed down is ultimately just plain embarrassing. The kids may not be able to put their thumb on why this is the case, but they can sense it.

Bret, don't give any of 'em any ideas!

Gene said...

Clearly, despite his efforts at "reform," the Pope is not minding the store. Who can take seriously his liturgical reform while his own Bishops are behaving this way? We have a very long way to go. I am not encouraged.

rcg said...

Well, you know the singing was great when Pavarotti cut loose with the Kyrie. I had no idea he was a Deacon. I do think letting the Ayatollah Kamenie serve is carrying ecumenism too far.

Henry Edwards said...

John: "He is one of Benedict's boys."

Well, not really. He probably illustrates a surprising phenomenon. Whereas the new bishops being appointed nowadays are all (without any recent exception I've seen) solid, not so with the archbishops, who must be promoted from the ranks of more senior and therefore pre-Benedict bishops.

Unknown said...


He was consecrated in 1994, true enough, but he was elevated in 2007, which means that he has some favor with Benedict.

I made the comment, not John.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - I JUST found this on Fr. Z's blog and thought of you....

"That said, remember that the Actor at Holy Mass is Christ Himself."

It is from this entry: QUAERITUR: Can we write down notes and thoughts during Holy Mass?
Posted on 5 December 2012 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Blessed Advent!

Unknown said...

Pater Ignotus:


What is Fr. Zuhlsdorf saying? He is not saying that Christ is like Jimmy Stewart or Robert Pattinson, but rather that Christ is the one who's ACTION is completed. He is not a person who performs as on a stage or on television.

That being said, thanks for thinking of me. ;)

Gene said...

Now, you see, Ignotus, there you go hunting bears with sticks again. What was that about context? LOL! LOL!

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - I never said "Christ is like Jimmy Stewart or Robert Pattinson" either. I said there are four actors in each mass - Christ being gthe first.

No one thinks Christ (or the Church or the priest or the congregation) is a person who performs on a stage.

Gene said...

Ignotus, then why do these supposedly in persona Cnristi types choose to make the Mass a Vaudeville show?

Now, no one has ever explained what this clown nonsense is supposed to represent or what statement it is supposed to make. I am sure my surmises are probably correct, but I would like to hear a theological explanation from one of these apostate, agnostic, Modernist, priests-in-name-only. Ignotus, why don't you explain it for us? Or are you still out there in Bond's Swamp stalking bears?

Unknown said...

Pater Ignotus;

"I never said "Christ is like Jimmy Stewart or Robert Pattinson" either. I said there are four actors in each mass - Christ being gthe first."

I'm not going to carry this over into another thread, but I cannot let that go. You are relegating Christ as just another player in the Mass. He is not. It is His action which is completed, it is not a stage play, which is what you are calling it.

Look, I disagree with your allusion. I think that it doesn't serve the ACTION which is being completed. I think that it cheapens and lessens and takes the salvific action which Christ completed once and is re-presented each time on the altar in an unbloody way to nothing more than a Protestant service. It is borderline Arian to use that allusion, becuase it denies on a very base level that Christ is God and asserts that He is just another man.


That does NOT mean that Christ is a mere actor, no Father, Christ is God and this action is worshipped and adored. It is the completion of an ACTION which is more than a stage play or a story, it is the salvation of the world.

It is my view that to reduce Christ to an actor, or to reduce any of the other three (as you put it) to actors is to misunderstand the purpose of the Mass, even in allusion.

But to support Gene's question, I would like to hear your answer to that question he just posed. It would be fascinating to hear.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - No, I am not relegating Christ to the level of the other Actors in the mass.

I am not calling the mass a "stage play." As Fr. Zuhlsdorf stated, Christ is THE actor (one who acts) at mass. The church, the preist, and the congregation also act in subordinate rolls.

I didn't say "mere" actor - you did.

I didn't say it is analogous to a stage play - you did.

I am not "reducing" Christ to an actor. Christ ACTS in the mass.

Pin/Gene - If you want to know why the "clowns" ACT the way they do, ask them.

Hammer of Fascists said...

John Nolan said: "They [i.e., the reactionary fogeys who like Gregorian Chant and Latin] obviously hate children . . ."

Actually, I think that per capita they have a _lot_ more of them . . . not being on birth control and all. :-)

Unknown said...

Fr. Kavanaugh;

You were a student of modern philosophy weren't you?

I am responding to your assertations from several months ago. I am not holding them to be true statements and I am not the one who is supporting them as fact.

It is you, dear Father, who is calling Christ an actor. I am saying that he is not. Christ is not an actor, he is the ACTION. Christ does not act, as an actor would, which by saying that he is an actor (along with the three others) is exactly what you're proposing. And I take issue with that proposition.

I am not going to continue this circular discussion, because it bears no fruit. We will simply disagree on this issue, apparently.

And I have no wish to hi-jack this thread any longer.

Gene said...

Ignotus, I am asking you. Since you and approve of these modernist ideas, I would like an explanation from you. Simple, neh?

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - I, along with the V-E-R-Y traditional Fr. Zuhlsdorf and others, call Christ an "actor."

No, I am not calling Christ an "actor" as one who acts on the stage or screen. I understand that Christ acts in the mass, and the Church, priest, and congregation act in subordinate roles.

I am not disagreeing with you. I am stating that I do not believe what you say I believe.

Pin/Gene - I do not approve of the "clowns" and I do not know why they did what they did. If you want to know, ask them. If you don't want to know, but want to be a poseur in this conversation, you won't.

Unknown said...

Fr. Kavanaugh;

You don't need to tell me how V-E-R-Y traditional Fr. Zuhlsdorf is. He is a personal friend. I actually served my first TLM on his footpace. He and I go way back.

As for the rest of the conversation, we disagree. I have said that I will not go any further and I won't. Consider that conversation squashed.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - "That said, remember that the Actor at Holy Mass is Christ Himself." Fr. Z, 5 Dec 2012.

You mischaracterize Fr. Z as you do Fr. P.I.

Gene said...

I can't ask them Ignotus, they are in Italy. Now, surely a good Modernist Priest like yourself has some insight into such things. Go ahead, enjlighten us...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - You can ask them - snail mail or email - but you don't want to because you aren't interested in their answers.

I've already told you I can't answer your questions. Unlike you, I do not have the capacity to read other peoples' minds...

You want to puff yourself up by trying to make other look bad. Which is what immature people do.

Gene said...

Ignotus, you need absolutely no help in making yourself look bad. Don't give me so much credit. This is not so difficult. Let me phrase the question differently: When Priests conduct an OF Mass wearing clown make-up or costumes what,in your understanding as a Priest, is the theological statement being made? Clearly, there is a presumption of understanding on the part of the laity and Priests involved. So, what is it?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin / Gene - Let me make myself clear. I can't read minds, therefore I don't know what motivated the priests in question to use face paint.

You conistently claim to have the ability to know what people believe, what motivates them, what their agenda really is.

So I will leave the pointless speculation to you, the expert. And I will suggest again that if you REALLY want to know what motivated these guys, you'd ask them. (But you don't want to know, so I'm not holding my breath.)

Gene said...

Ignotus, You are being disingenuous. Clown Masses have been a widespread phenomenon since Vat II. The subject has been mentioned on this blog a number of times. This indicates that there is some rationale for clown attire being worn by the Priest that is distributive across Catholicism. Since you are a, presumably, well-educated Priest from around the era of Vat II and its sequellae, please give us some explanation of what is being expressed here. Pretend I am your parishioner (God forbid)and that I have come to you puzzled and concerned at this apparent sacrilige which has tried my faith and caused me to ask disturbing questions. I am asking you a theological question, Ignotus. I am not asking for your subjective opinion. I am asking for a reasoned theologically cogent answer: What is the theological statement being made at a clown Mass...any clown Mass. Stop prevaricating and give us an answer. Hey, it could clear up all my doubts and convert me to an advocate of the OF and clown Masses. I might even bring peanuts to Mass to feed the elephants and munch on while I watch the trashy looking women in tights on the high wire. C'mon, enlighten me. After all, the Mass is the Greatest Show on Earth, n'est ce pas?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I am being honest. In 27 years as a priest and 54 being a Catholic, not once have I encountered, let alone celebrated, a clown mass. You are beginning to believe Good Father McDonald's disingenuous hyperbole.

I am a very well educated priest, as you so rightly state. Thank you.

I cannot tell you what reason these priests had for celebrating the mass as they did. If you want to know, ask them.

John Nolan said...

They do it because they don't see anything wrong with it. Because hardly any priest ordained since the mid-1960 has had any liturgical formation worth talking about, and this now includes archbishops. The next pope will be from Bregantini's generation (now there's a sobering thought ...)

Gene said...

Ignotus, I am indeed glad to hear that you have never participated in a clown Mass, in spite of the fact that many of the positions you have espoused on this blog, as well as your obvious contempt for the TLM and Priests like Fr. MacDonald, are the basis for such nonsense.
Once again, you are avoiding my question.I think it is a good and fair one. I am sure you have an opinion, as you have one about everything else on the blog. Since we, you and I, differ so markedly in our views on things, I would like to hear what someone of your theological/ecumenical stance has to say by way of understanding this phenomenon. Pretend like this is a theological discussion over beer in a tavern between a cradle Catholic Priest and a former Calvinist theologian/pastor become Catholic:
"Ah, Fr. Kavanaugh, this cold Killians' certainly hits the spot after spending all afternoon re-reading Calvin's Institutes on the doctrine of Total Depravity in light of my renewed reading of Augustine from my now Catholic perspective...say, did you see those morons in that picture saying Mass in clown suits? (Takes a sip of beer and smiles at cute waitress.) What in the Hell do you suppose they were trying to convey?"
Fr. Kavanaugh:........

Pater Igntous said...

Pin/Gene - I have never espoused anything that would encourage or support clown masses. I disagree with you and others, and you read INTO that that I support clown masses. That notion comes entirely from you, not from me.

I do not have contempt for the EF. Again, you read that I disagree, and morph that into contempt. Nor do I have contempt for Fr. McDonald. I disagree with 99% of his social analysis, his prescriptions for the "restoration" of Catholic identity, and his rubrically illicit behaviour on the altar. Disagreement is not contempt.

My opinion is that such clown masses are silly and should not be done.

If you want to know what they were trying to convey, ask them.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Illicits rubrics? Evidence please

Gene said...

Now, Ignotus, you said you were a well-educated Priest, but your reading comprehension is really lacking. I acknowledged the fact that you have nevr participated in a clown Mass. However, what I said was that your positions and statements regarding many liturgical and social issues are a part of the basis for such nonsense as clown Masses.

Asserting that you do not have contempt for Fr. Mac doesn't go very far when, on countless occasions, you have addressed him scornfully, sarcastically, and condescendingly. Don't give me that "no contempt" crap. You treat most of us in a condescending manner, which is both ironic and humorous.

Now, how 'bout another beer..." You know, this clown thing is odd, Fr. Clowns in literature and drama are often associated with the nihilism that underlies the appearance of happiness. Surely, that isn't the message of the Mass. Then, in circuses, clowns are merely silly and zany, which is not really happiness or joy, but rather a facile mockery of those emotions. That can't be the message. So, what do you think? I mean you are theologically educated and an observer of culture?" (Damn, that waitress gets cuter with every beer.)

Gene said...

"Hey, waitress honey!"
"Are you Catholic?"
"And Irish...wanna' fight about it?"
"Actually, no, I was wondering what you make of this clown Mass thing."
"Well, I believe it to be an effort to capture the existential moment when Kerygma intersects the nihilism of a post-Christian society. The clown represents the duality of an essentially meaningless world vis a vis the individual struggle to find joy or contentment through the expression of our common humanity. The Christ-event of the Mass becomes an existential renewal of our will to find meaning in the void through a celebration of the life of Jesus, the Truly Good Man. Thus, the Christ-event becomes the inner apotheosis of our truest nature expressed in community. Christ is, essentially, the Existential Hero."

"Damn, honey, that's really good. Hey, what say after you get off we go to my place and celebrate our common humanity?"

"I thought you'd never gonna' bring Zorro there with you?"

"Nah, he's gonna' stay here and drink."

"Cool. Can I bring my Camus to read later?"

"Sure, Honey. You can bring anything you want to..."

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I do not treat you condescendingly. You mistake correction for condescension and disagreement for contempt. I can't control how you perceive things, and I don't wish to do so.

And your suggesting that my use of sarcasm is unacceptable is the worst case of the pot calling the kettle black I have seen.

Keep enjoying your beers - without, thank goodness, my company. And now that, having read the minds of the priests with face paint - you assert they are nihilists who mock happiness, perverting the message of the mass - I'm sure you will stop asking me why they did it. I knew that you had exercised these amazing mind-reading powers of yours and that you "knew" all along!


Pater Ignotus said...

"I am convinced that if the Catholic Mass returned simply to mandating that Holy Communion be distributed to the Laity as they kneel in adoration, we would see a major shift toward humility in our worship and more Catholics in the future "strongly affiliated with the Church."

Evidence please.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Answer my question first, smoke and mirrors don't work with me.

Pater Ignotus said...

No "smoke and mirrors" here, Good Father. I asked that question on December 1st at 9:42 a.m. and have wondered if you would deign to answer.

What's sauce for the goose.....

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Oh, just wait until the first Sunday in January at our 5:00 PM Mass and you'll judge for yourself.

Gene said...

Now, you see, Ignotus, again you are not getting it. This young waitress offered a very cogent explanation of one possible theological/philosophiual context for a clown Mass. It is not the only one, but I'll bet it is a common philosophical posture of those who support such drivel. No, she was not accusing the celebrants of being nihilists. However, such behavior does trivialize the Mass and make a mockery of the Sacrifice. I think the waitress was pretty much on the money. BTW, she did not read the Camus; I talked her into reading Chesterton...nothing like Orthodoxy in the afterglow. Yeah, we'll go to a little while. LOL!

James said...


## The "evil beasts" - as Scripture says - who inflicted it on the Church: specifically, the "sons of perdition" the Pope has recently canonised, and the one he intends to beatify in October.

This is their doing, for they are the Popes who took so much trouble to harm the Church & to denature her. They aborted the faith and piety of millions, while attending only to the far less serious abortion of the body. Blind guides indeed ! Such are Saints of the "New Pentecost".

James said...

"Any comment that is vitriolic and disrespectful of the laity in general, and Pope Francis, bishops and priests in particular will not be posted!"

So when bishops and clergy (one notices that deacons are apparently fair game for criticism - but why them ?)ruin the Church, we are meant to pretend that they don't, or to applaud them when they do ?

If Christ - who called St Peter "Satan"; very "civil" that; not "disprectful" at all - had posted his comment, His comment would have been forbidden. If OTOH it would have been allowed, the equally justified criticisms of the much-persecuted Faithful ought also to be allowed. We live in a Church in which false teachers are beatified and canonised, in which Catholic attitudes are co-opted in order to destroy the Church, in which the liturgical abuses committed by Popes are defended and praised - but lo, we must on no account criticise this madness & impiety; it is better for the Church to be destroyed, than for the evildoers in the clergy to be called what they deserve :( Further than this, human respect cannot go :(