Thursday, November 30, 2017


I would say this is a loss of Catholic liturgical identity, wouldn't you? But it is nicely done! And how do you like the audience's response, in a Catholic Mass, by the way? This kind of response, apart from the theatrics, is what happens usually at the end of Ordinary Form weddings. How do you like it? Have you ever heard stuff like this at an EF Nuptial Mass???????????????????????????????????


rcg said...

Why not clap? It is a performance and only tangentially about the Lord.

TJM said...

Looks like the celebrant may be guilty of the sin of gluttony!

Henry said...

"Have you ever heard stuff like this at an EF Nuptial Mass?"

No, and surely no one else has either. The typical Nuptial Mass I attend looks like this.

Incidentally, the MC in extra-lacey surplice standing to the left of the deacon in the first few photos is now the assoc. pastor and Latin Mass celebrant in our parish.

TJM said...

rcg, this is such simpleton nonsense, an embarrassment. The priest should never have allowed this silliness

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, which photos are you speaking of?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Never mind, I didn't see the link. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

This was very beautiful, and brought a tear to my eye, but too bad they never were singing to Our Lord, but only performing for...perhaps the bride and groom? Hard to say who it was about.

I don't know why the singers had to come up onto the altar either, but I guess performers like to be seen.

The applause reveals that it was indeed a performance, as does the altar servers sitting on the steps of the altar in the background.

To me, Mass is about worship of God, not entertainment, regardless the beauty of that entertainment. I'd rather the two remain separate. I cringe at stuff like this.

God bless.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There are six main problems with this wedding. The priest allowed this kind of thing; he was not properly formed to be a priest; the bishop allowed it or did not reprimand him and the precedent that other brides will want these kinds of things at their wedding; other priests will have to clean up this kind of mess.

Sometimes the rigidity of the ancient Mass and liturgies prevents such silliness and should not be denigrated.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,


Fr Martin Fox said...

First, I want to commend the devotion that seems authentic. So often goofy things happen, not because the people who want them have bad intentions, but because they have good intentions and it can be a bit of work to steer them in the better direction. So the priest ends up giving them what they want. In this case, I think there was genuine devotion at work here. After all, they were singing a song about God's glory, rather than doing something like "Uptown Funk" or some sentimental thing that is only superficially spiritual.

With that said...I think this should not happen. Were this idea brought up to me, I would say, that sounds so impressive: I suggest you do it at the reception.

But here's the thing that needs to be emphasized. We are in this mess precisely because the rubrics for the liturgy are such a mess. In theory, we have clear rubrics. In practice, it is far less clear than they might be, for two reasons:

1. The rubrics themselves are far less specific and detailed than they used to be.

2. Worse, the Church has pretty consistently applied a latitudinarian rule of interpretation of the rubrics ever since the new Mass was promulgated. To a very great degree, there is a mindset that, if it's not specifically forbidden, the burden of proof is on the priest to show why you can't do it. And lots of priests know that if they are too severe, they will pay a big price; and they may even be undercut by the central office. Further, they know that if they contact the central office, they will often get neither a confident "yes" or a clear-cut "no," which leaves them hanging. And to be fair, this is because whoever heads the diocesan office of liturgy is in the same predicament. S/he knows that the current rubrical climate is pretty squishy, so in too many cases, a clear yes or no is hard to sustain, and thus risky. So they equivocate and return serve to the parish priest.

And I will add, finally, that when I have asked the bishop to tighten up on rubrics for weddings and funerals, he has said that my brother priests in the diocese do not share my desire for greater clarity. Perhaps in another 10 or 15 years?

Православный физик said...


Anonymous said...

Obviously this is a Catholic church (where? I might ask), but the priest bears an uncanny resemblance to Neil Alexander, the previous bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta (and current dean of the school of theology at Sewanee.)

rcg said...

Fr Fox gets it. The disarming question, “Why not at the reception?” Is the answer I have asked for YEARS. even the usual Sunday Mass with it’s novations of ‘Beech Spring’ and ‘Appalachian Spring’ seem to fit somewhat into the coffee and donuts session rather than wedged inappropriately into Communion hymns.

ByzRus said...


John Nolan said...

This is from Ireland, and a glance at Youtube will show quite a few similar videos. What is interesting is that nearly all those who comment think it is 'beautiful' and 'awesome', and see it as something to be widely emulated. One priest who makes a speciality of this kind of thing is Fr Ray Kelly, who stands at the altar in his Mass vestments and croons sentimental ditties into a microphone.

In the last fifty years there has been a complete loss of liturgical sensibility among many of the clergy. They are incapable of discerning what is appropriate and what is not; what is sacred and what is profane. This is not helped in Ireland by the low educational standards of too many diocesan clergy. This was caricatured in 'Father Ted' in the person of the dimwitted Father Dougal McGuire (played by Ardal O'Hanlon).

It is hardly surprising that the laity lap this up. They, like their pastors, do not know any better. In 2004 the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:'Anyone who, like me, was moved by this perception [i.e. the liturgy as a living network of Tradition] at the time of the Liturgical Movement on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, can only stand, deeply sorrowing, before the ruins of the very things they were concerned for.'

How and why this happened can be explained. What, if anything, can be done about it remains to be seen.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Spot on ! When I was young the "Liturgical Movement" meant the laity responding in Latin and singing in Latin. We've come a long way baby (and not for the better). We're emptying the pews one decade at a time

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"In the last fifty years there has been a complete loss of liturgical sensibility among many of the clergy."

Maybe it was a change, not a loss. Notions of beauty change over time. Bodies once thought to be beautiful in a Reubenesque way gave way to the Twiggy look in the 1960's and have further given way to the more athletic look. The austere beauty of a heavy Romanesque church gave way to the filigreed lightness of Gothic.

"They are incapable of discerning what is appropriate and what is not; what is sacred and what is profane."

Other than God, what, of its nature, is sacred? Is damask more "sacred" than woven wool? Is the music of an organ more "sacred" than music from a timbrel or harp?

Is an Advent wreath sacred in itself, or do we imbue it with its religious symbolism, its "sacred" character.

I'm not saying that the video is appropriate. I can't imagine that I would go for such in my own parish.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

I think you know what I mean by liturgical sensibility. It does not not depend on the rite being used, be it Byzantine, classic Roman or Novus Ordo Roman. I also think you are well aware of what Ratzinger meant.

I happen to believe true beauty is timeless, whereas you think it is relative. Fair enough; all your posts show you to be a relativist through and through, which is your prerogative, although it sets you apart from both Ratzinger and myself. I can appreciate Durham cathedral (Romanesque) and Lincoln cathedral (Gothic) in equal measure - the difference between them is due less to aesthetics than to advances in building technology.

The austere beauty of Gregorian chant cannot be improved upon, but can happily co-exist with later styles of sacred music. However, unlike you, I believe that there is such a thing as sacred music and your relativist position on this puts you, I suspect, in a minority.

The so-called Advent wreath is a pious Lutheran custom of the 19th century which has spread to other denominations. I never saw one in a Catholic church until the 1970s and although it is a harmless custom it has no liturgical significance. I wonder why you chose to bring it up.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

True beauty may be timeless, but that does not mean that one time or one place or one people or one Christian denomination or, for that matter, one religious tradition has cornered the market on beauty. You and Ratzinger may think that is the case. I do not agree, obviously. Catholicism is not a Western European thing.

You, it seems to me, believe that Western Europe did, indeed, corner that market in terms of music and architecture. I can appreciate Durham and Lincoln - and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque) in Istanbul, the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, the proposed Baha'i Temple for Papua New Guinea, and a host of other religious structures that reflect, in their own ways, the beauty of God.

Gregorian Chant has it's own austere beauty. But that beauty does not eclipse the beauty of other forms of chant, whether that chant is European or subcontinental, Japanese, or the dan tien of Buddhist monks.

Does this make me a relativist? By no means.

You might have concluded that since we are celebrating the First Sunday of Advent, I mentioned the Advent wreath.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This isn't about Advent Wreathes, legitimate forms of chant or inculturation, it is about the bastardization of the Latin Rite's Nuptial Liturgy with a theatrical performance that manipulates one's hormonal reaction to such stimuli by bringing about aa standing ovation for the entertainment experienced such as at a Broadway Performance. This is not prayerful Liturgy but entertainment and in no way should be justified by any member of the clergy who are mandated by the Church to read the black and do the red.

To justify this Liturgical abuse simply because it was well done by professional singers is absurd.

John Nolan said...

Fr K,

I don't think anyone, Ratzinger included, subscribes to the absurd notion that one form of beauty eclipses another. One can argue that in purely qualitative terms western classical music is superior to even the best music of other cultures, and that its appeal transcends cultural boundaries. Gregorian chant does not eclipse (say) Buddhist chant, but it strives to do a lot more.

In the 1960s there was a lot of talk about 'the myth of objective consciousness' underpinning western artistic values. I suspect you bought into this, just as you bought into Derrida's deconstructionist theories about language, which you have regaled us with on more than one occasion.

Since this renders criticism not only otiose but absurd, it allows the intellectually lazy to wallow in a relativist swamp. We can't have value judgements, can we?

Catholicism is a western European thing in the same way that Orthodoxy is an eastern European thing, Islam is an Arabian thing, Hinduism is an Indian thing, Buddhism is a far eastern thing, and so on. It cannot be understood in isolation from the cultural milieu which nurtured and formed it.

You are a western European thing, unless you are a Red Indian, which seems rather unlikely.

ByzRus said...

Fr. AJM at 5:50 -

Well said. Regardless of how 'well done' it might be, to stop the liturgy (at any point) for what is effectively praise style singing cannot be justified. I feel sorry for priests for having to be put in the middle of this sort of thing (while at the same time, potentially being distracted from more pressing matters) particularly if the diocese itself, who should be the ultimate keeper and protector of the liturgy, won't back priests who try to avoid these types of displays.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"One can argue that in purely qualitative terms western classical music is superior to even the best music of other cultures...

And one can argue the contrary.

"Since this renders criticism not only otiose but absurd, it allows the intellectually lazy to wallow in a relativist swamp. We can't have value judgements, can we?

Yes, one can have value judgments, and have them till the cows come home. But one cannot conclude that one's personal, subjective value judgment (THIS church building is objectively more beautiful than THAT church building) is the norm that all human from all time and cultures must agree and act accordingly.

"Catholicism is a western European thing in the same way that Orthodoxy is an eastern European thing, Islam is an Arabian thing, Hinduism is an Indian thing, Buddhism is a far eastern thing, and so on. It cannot be understood in isolation from the cultural milieu which nurtured and formed it."

No, Catholicism is not a Western European thing. It is, by its own self-definition, a universal thing. No, we cannot understand Catholicism apart from its history, but we also cannot determine its future based solely on its history. History, while instructive, is not determinative, unless one is speaking of genetics. Even then - even then - mutations and recombination make the future different from the past. The Church today, including in its music and architecture, is not simply a clone of any previous century.

TJM said...

Yes, "Gather us in " is right up there with Mozart's Ave Verum.

John Nolan said...


Indeed, or right down there, if you happen to be a cultural relativist like Fr Kavanaugh. According to his argument, Mozart is a greater composer than Marty Haugen only because I, subjectively, consider him to be so.

Unfortunately for those of his ilk, the standard tools of musical analysis can be used to determine that Mozart is the greater.

But then they will counter that musical analysis is purely subjective, and we get enmeshed in a circular argument.

It's a waste of time trying to argue with these people.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Well, is Mozart greater that Beethoven? I mean, using your standard tools of musical analysis, this should be a pretty simple question, no?

Is the Saint-Saens Panis Angelicus superior, more beautiful, than that of Cesar Franck?

Is Mona Lisa more beautiful than Ginerva de'Benci, or vice-versa? Standard tools of analysis must be employed at all times.

You appreciate Durham and Lincoln cathedrals, but, surely, employing the analytical tools at hand, you can tell us that one (or the other) is a smidgen more beautiful, can't you?

You waste your time not arguing with "these people," but with defending your indefensible position.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

I agree. Ironic, that leftists like Kavanaugh wouldn't pick a surgeon that way. All of a sudden there would be "objective" criteria

John Nolan said...

The standard tools of musical analysis will demonstrate that Mozart and Beethoven were both composers of outstanding genius and originality (though in some respects Mozart was less of an innovator than either Haydn or Beethoven). They will also demonstrate conclusively that Beethoven was greater than Clementi, and Mozart greater than Dittersdorf, despite the fact that Clementi and Dittersdorf were fine composers.

If criticism amounted to simply parading one's likes and dislikes, it would be a futile exercise. The critic's role is not simply to state that such-and-such is a great work of art, but to explain why it should be regarded as such.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

You mean, why he or she THINKS it should be regarded as such.

Surely there are critics with whom you disagree. What, objectively makes them wrong and you right?

TJM said...


What makes YOU right and others wrong?

John Nolan said...


That's not what Fr Kavanaugh is saying. He is in effect saying that good and bad are relative terms. In the phrase 'why he thinks it should be regarded as such' he emphasizes 'thinks' whereas the key word is 'why'. Had I included 'he thinks' it would not have altered the meaning - all critical judgements are the result of thought.

According to this relativistic Weltanschauung one man's opinion is no more valid than another's. To value informed opinion over ignorant opinion is a purely subjective choice.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Informed" opinion remains opinion.

I will certainly take the informed opinion of, say, my physician over the uninformed guesses of countless FaceBook "healers" who tell me I need to use rocks and minerals to cure my lumbago.