Dec 11, 2005

L.A. Masses

Can you top this?



Offertory procession at Samoan Liturgy, 2005 Religious Education Congress. Photo by Sr. Nancy Munro, CSJ. Found at the L.A. Archdiocesan website.

So tell us, How was "liturgy" at your "inclusive," "culturally sensitive," and "vibrant faith community" this weekend?

28 Comments:

Blogger Elizabeth said...

Well, there was one italian guy who sorta 'joined' our group for Mass in the Crypt of the Tomb of St. Peter at St. Peter's this morning..

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That pic explains why non-Catholic Samoans are entering the Church by the millions.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when can we have a southern white trash liturgy? cause that's my cultural heritage and well i just don't get haugen-haas ditties.

12:12 PM  
Blogger bobnd said...

Hmmm.....don't bash Haugen and Haas. I have 2 cousins that work with them and they are extraordinarily talented musicians. The church has to be more varied in that aspect. Plus read the bible and you'll figure where they are coming from. I think a variety of instruments are good but making the focus takes away from the Eucharist.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not live in L.A., but guess what my priests homily was about?

Priests taking it into their own hands to decide on how liturgy is done, instead of sticking to the rubrics.

All I see when I look at this picture is a joke. Honestly, how dare they do this.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Clayton said...

The fact that the music of Haugen and Haas is used widely in Unitarian Universalist churches speaks volumes about the doctrinal quality of their lyrics.

So, if you're tired of their stuff, come to the table of plenty by joining the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Daniel Muller said...

Well, these were Third Coast, not L.A., Masses, but:

I only arrived at the 1962 Mass ten or twelve minutes beforehand, which meant that there were already about ten people standing in the chapel, and more were arriving. So I drove to the parish that includes that chapel, but (Spanish?) Mass had begun half an hour before.

So I went to the next parish over. I was surprised to find the first reading already in progress, as I might have been five minutes late. I guess we were diverse as I was a non-Latino, and I guess we were vibrant as the church was fairly full and there was a simultaneous Spanish Mass in the gym.

It was hard to figure some things out from time to time, as the first two readings and the intentions were read by fairly small and ill-prepared girls.

Well, all music was from some annual OCP music issue. If I had not sung the limp Alstott psalm refrain, I doubt the person singing very quietly behind me would have, and then it would have been a solo for Cantorman in the loft.

Some people did sing the monotone Haas gospel acclamation thing, which had text and verses which were of unknown provenance; apparently they are stuck with it this season. But they still did not sing all four times that they were supposed to sing, and neither did I.

I have utterly forgotten what the replacement for the offertory was. I only remember that the refrain was twice as long as the verse -- repeated, you know -- and that we were not buying it either time. That was probably the one where the organist moved to a synthesizer set to "piano" + "strings" and, after announcing and singing another "congregational" song, tinkled for filler. As one pianist to another: Pretty nice tinkling.

The Sanctus was in a virtual monotone suspiciously similar to the Gospel acclamation, some awful shipwreck that I had never heard before and fervently hope I never do again. We left it to Cantorman.

Memorial acclamation and Great amen, being from the Massive Cremation, got some kind of response, not much.

Lamb of God was also MC. Less popular with the peeps; Cantorman gave up after one alternate invocation.

Communion brought another lifeless melody, one from David Haas. Yes, it was scriptural! No, not one person cared to join Cantorman.

After Mass, some of us actually sang "People, look East," and I propped up all four verses for those who were interested, but most people, including the sanctuary party, had had enough.

I cannot -- and frankly do not want to -- recall when the last time I saw supposed liturgical music fill a congregation so completely with ennui.

7:05 PM  
Blogger bobnd said...

Clayton....the link was a hoot. The H&H boys are not that bad. Holy God We Praise thy Name gets sickening each Sunday along with the Our Father. I'll take this over that because the choir in my home parish knew 6 songs and 2 of the six had to be sung every Sunday.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Clayton said...

bobnd,

I wasn't questioning the quality of their music, only whether the lyrics are doctrinally sound and whether the settings are appropriate for Mass. Some music may be technically excellent while being completely inappropriate for the liturgy. One criteria for making this judgment is whether the music reminds us of something else - a movie, a concert, Muzak, etc. Sacred music is music set apart -- distinctively for worship. See my interview with William Peter Mahrt here if you're interested in a fuller explanation.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Sorry bobnd. I would hereby like to hereby bash, criticize, throw brickbats, and -- horrors -- judge the quality (sic) of the Haugen-Haas monster. They may be nice people, and their ditties may include Scripture but you could shoot a porn flick in which the cast spouts scripture quotes from beginning to end. That wouldn't make it a "quality" film.

The H-H monster's music is either unsingable (very high notes and/or extreme note combnations) or lyrically banal. Irritating pop sensibility. Cliche. Hallmarkish. Syrupy. Tending toward ecclesiastical and theological loosey-goositude.

Clayton, that site...what a crack up!

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Quintero said...

Patrick-

"Loosey-goositude."

What a great word!!! Did you coin it?

3:20 PM  
Blogger bobnd said...

The H & H site is cute I will admit that I got a laugh. The music is designed for a femine choir. I do admit the notes are a bit high at times, but they do loan their music to some different things that traditional music can not do. Accapella and other instruments should be included also

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bobnd, a "femine" choir? Sounds more like it might be more appropriate to a "feline" choir--true "cat"-erwauling. And Haugen and Haas may be talented musicians, but so were Webern and Berg; that's still no reason to use twelve-tone (serial) music for supposed religious purposes, any more than the pablum of H&H, et al.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WOULD LIKE TO POST A COMMENT IN ANSWER TO A LOT OF THE NEGATIVE STUFF THAT HAS COME THROUGH IN REGARDS TO THE TAUPOU DANCING IN THE PHOTO. I AM A ROMAN CATHOLIC, OF SAMOAN DESCENT BUT BORN IN NEW ZEALAND, AUCKLAND WHICH IS IN THE NORTH ISLAND PART OF KIWI LAND. ON READING THE COMMENTS I CAME UP WITH THE CONCLUSION THAT NO WONDER THERE IS SO MUCH HATRED OUT THERE. IF ANYONE HAD TRIED TO EVEN FIND OUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT THEY WERE ACTUALLY DOING THEY WOULD KNOW THAT IT WAS A SIGN OF THERE RESPECT FROM THE SAMOAN CULTURES POINT OF VIEW FOR THE CHURCH. THE TAUPOU OR SAMOAN MAIDEN IS THE PRINCESS OF NOT ONLY THE FAMILY BUT ALSO ANY VILLAGE. WE ARE SHOWING REVERENCE TO CHURCH BUT HAVING OUR TAUPOU TAKE IN THE OFFERTORY INTO THE CHURCH. WE DON'T NEED TO BE EDUCATED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER. WE JUST HAVE TO BE CONSIDERATE AND THINK ALONG THE LINES OF TREATING EVERYONE LIKE WE WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED. I SEE THERE IS NO ENOUGH OF THIS GOING AROUND. THAT IS WHY I BELIEVE GOD IS PUTTING EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD THROUGH THE BIGGEST TEST, TO SEE IF AND WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY THE WORLD LEADERS AND LEADERS OF DIFFERENT CHURCH DENOMINATIONS WILL FINALLY STAND UP AND LEND A HELPING HAND. NO JUST TALK ABOUT IT BUT ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. THE WORLD HAS BECOME TOO MATERIALISTIC, TOO GREEDY, TOO NEGATIVE INSTEAD OF USING THE HEADS AND USING THE GOD GIVEN TALENTS AND IF YOUR A NONE BELIEVER JUST BELIEVING IN YOURSELF YOU CAN CHANGE THINGS. I AM SAYING ALL THIS BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW MUCH I COME AGAINST IN MY LIFE, MY PARENTS HAVE SET THE EXAMPLE FOR ME AS BEING A FIGHTER IN WHAT I BELIEVE IN BOTH IN MY RELIGION AND IN MY CULTURE. THE WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL BUT WE JUST DON'T TREASURE IT ENOUGH ANYMORE. IT WILL BE TOO LATE FOR A LOT OF US IF WE DON'T START SOMEWHERE AND THAT IS STOP WITH ALL THE NEGATIVITY, START WITH NOT GIVING IN TO EVERY HURDLE THAT COMES YOUR WAY. I'M NOT RICH IN MONEY, BUT I THANK THAT MAN UP THERE FOR MY PARENTS, MY SISTERS, MY BROTHERS, MY HUSBAND AND MY BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN AND FOR LETTING ME HAVE MY NANA AS WELL JUST FOR ANOTHER YEAR. MAY HE GRANT ME MANY MORE YEARS AND I CAN ONLY PRAY FOR THE REST OF YOU OUT THERE THAT ONE DAY SOON THERE TRULLY WILL BE WORLD PEACE AND FORGIVENESS. I HAVE SUFFERED THROUGH A LOT OF HEARTACHE BUT I AM ALWAYS REWARDED BY HAVING MY FAMILY WITH ME EACH DAY. GOD SPEED 2005 AND PEACE AND PROSPERITY FOR THE FUTURE. IA ALOFA PEA LE ATUA IA TE OUTOU UMA LAVA MA TATALO PEA I LE AIGA PAIA (IESU, MALIA MA IOSEFO)IA FOAI PEA IA TE OUTOU UMA LAVA LE AGAGA ALOFA MA LE LOTO FAÁMAGALO SEI OÓ I LE TAIMI TATOU TE TOE FEILOAI MA LE ATUA LE TATOU TAMA O LE LAGI. AMENE. BLESS YOU ALL AND PRAY THAT THE HOLY FAMILY WILL ALWAYS BLESS YOU WITH THEIR LOVE AND WITH THE STRENGTH TO BE ABLE TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO HURT YOU TILL WE MEET WITH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AGAIN IN HEAVEN. ALOFAÁGA AUCKLANI, NIU SILA.

4:00 AM  
Blogger Lucio Mascarenhas said...

The Liturgy of the Church of Christ is not designed to demonstrate "respect" for men and their culture, but to pay homage to God, to worship and thank and petition Him.

The "Taupou" may be an excellent ritual of Samoan culture - though, from the immodesty, I seriously doubt it - but it does not belong in the Liturgy, any more than any other purely secular socio-cultural rite of whatever ethnic group.

What next: Importing the Pub-hopping, beer-drinking culture of the contemporary Anglo-Saxons into the liturgy?

The attitude of the Catholic Church, as against the Roman Modernist sect's, is exemplified by the instructions of Pope Alexander to the French Missionaries on their way to Indo-China; it is also exemplified by the "Chinese Rites Controversy" and its parallel the Controversy over the Hindu rituals adopted by Robert di Nobili, S.J., both of which the Church forbade and suppressed.

Remember, the Church choose to allow the prospect of an Imperial Baptism of China to slip from its hands than to compromise the True Faith.

As for secular socio-cultural rites such as the Taupou, the attitude of the Church has always been that that what is not contrary to the True Faith be retained and purified; and that that what is contrary to the True Faith be excluded.

From the picture of the woman dancing, the Taupou is immodest and therefore, the Church would never approve of it as it stands, even in purely secular surroundings. Catholic Samoans wishing to do the Taupou would be required to dress modestly and act in accordance with the Faith.

Of course, and as pointed out by the Apostle Paul, the Church has always made allowance for the inability of immature peoples to appreciate and accept the high standards of the Church at first go, and therefore permitted these un-Christian practises to run on for some time. I know - I am Goan, and in Goa, the Church permitted my Brahmin ancestors to continue at least some social practises not compatible with Christianity to be observed.

Today, a person claiming to be a "Samoan Catholic" will demand that the Taupou be permitted in Church, as part of the liturgy. Why then should we object to the practise of certain ethnic groups of permitting nude men, and even nude women, to participate? And what's next, importing the Hindu Devdasin system of "Temple Prostitutes" into Christianity?

"Loosey-goositude" is the best, most accurate and charitable description of the nonsense, viciousness and malice against Christ and His Church that the above picture and rite represents.

Charity is not tolerating prostitution in Church.

Kind regards,


Lucio Mascarenhas, Bombay

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I see this image I am reminded of the beauty and richness found in Samoan Culture. It is a wonderful thing to integrate into the Catholic Masses.

I would try to articulately argue with many of you Catholics opposed to this in the liturgy, but you all obviously lack higher level brain function.

First of all, who cares? Can you please go get a life? (or a culture of your own).

Second, thanks for giving Catholics a bad name by being stuck in your traditionalist, judgemental ways. What is it exactly that scares you? Is it the headdress? Is it the fact that maybe God loves all people equally and you are no more special than any other person in His eyes?

Lucio, it takes guts to write what you did. Honestly, though, your comments were extremely inaccurate, offensive and degrading, especially since you have absolutely no right to even begin to judge my culture and it's role in the Catholic Church. Who do you think you are?

I, a Catholic Samoan, resent the fact that you even tried to draw comparisons of white trash anglo culture to ours, saying it was the next image to be seen on the alter. First of all, you can take that comment straight to hell with you, that is the only place it is welcome.

You came to the concluision that the Sacred Taupou resembles prostitution. Well, that is sheer brilliance - NOT! I don't know what kind of prostitutes you use, but I can assure you, male or female, they are never Samoans. Further, even if we were prostitutes, which we aren't, I am pretty sure I we would be just as welcome in the mass as anyone else.

I pray for the Catholics of the world - that their minds can be open to culture - that they do not fear what they do not know - and that they can accept ANYONE, by seeing first and foremost they are a Child of God.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Hiroshi said...

I read with interest at Mr Lucio Macarenhas comment about the Samoan Taupou partcipating in the Samoan Catholic worship to God. How dare you compare something sacred to my culture to a prostitute you foreigner.

Mr L.M has no understanding or knowlegdge of the Fa`aSamoa (samoan way) and of Samoans in general. Firstly, the use of the Taupou as part of the "Samoan way" of worship is none of your concern becuase we are not worshipping you or the mother church but God. The Samoan people have priests who have been ordained. We also had the only Polynesian Arch Bishop Pio Taofinu`u who is Samoan serve many years in the Pacific. These God ordained people have seen and saw the Taupou as part of the "Samoan way" of worship to God becuase they are Samoan and they understand only too well that this is the best of the best of what Samoan Catholics (not Euro, Asian or African) can offer to God. If the use of the Taupou in Mass was evil unclean and wrong than of course wouldint they have taken this out? As foreigners you will never understand this. I can easily say that Indians eat curry alot and are dirty people who wash in each others filth as part of Hindu practise...but i have no understanding and can never comprehend Hindu belief. Just like you to Samoan belief.

good day.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Paul Alfred Roger said...

This saddens me to think that fellow believers and lovers of the Catholic faith may share this view towards Taupo, an aspect of Samoan culture. A Taupou in Samoan cluture is a Princess a daughter of nobelity. Her traditional clothing has been modified over time for what the Western World thought was suitable, and to now say it is still unsuitable is shocking. I think the the Samoan Taupou (Princess) to take the offertory up to the alter to present the offering before the fellow believers of the Faith and Our beloved God is quite an important and strong message to the church. In a sense that it shows how much the Samoans love the church and also love their culture, fa'asao and fa'asamoa is still very strong. I humbling invite our brothers and sisters living in US and Europe to come and experience Mass in the Pacific. The hymns are sung in a way which is very new and different, not to mention the way the Procession of the Wor and Offertory. We Pacific islanders try incorporate our culture into these two. Its often danced and the singing is beautiful. Worn with traditional clothing without any indiscent exposure. No one goes before the Father half naked if that is what some of bloggers believe. I do not and will not believe this is the view of the church. Amen

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In fact the liturgy has it's own culture: a distinctive mix of Roman North African with Italian influences. I happen to be neither of these, but part of the purification of self that goes along with adopting one cult of worship over another is consciously changing ones habits to the culture in which THAT form of worship is native, not the other way around.
Were there a Samoan Patriarchal See founded by the apostles or present from antiquity, and a Rite that had apostolic origins, I would think differently of adopting Samoan cultures.

4:53 PM  
Blogger fagaloa10 said...

I think the questions that we should all be pondering on is: what is the purpose of having the Taupou dancing at Mass? What is its significance? Having read all these above comments regard this issue, I think it is better for all of us to go back and read what the Vatican II says about incultration. The Church strongly emphasizes inserting aspects of culture that best suit the praising and the glorification of our Almighty God. Most people above have spoken about the significance of the Taupou in the Culture. Which is very mportant. But being inserted into the liturgy needs clear explanation. The late Cardinal Pio was the pioneer of inculturation in the Pacific Islands. Now many have followed that path even non-catholic church. The insertion of taupou in the Mass originates from what we call Poula especially the taualuga. In any Poula the finale or the taualuga is where the taupou perform this dance. It is the culmination of the event. The highlight. Now coming back to the Liturgy, after we listen to Word spoken to our hearts, we are inspired to offer to God the fruits of our hands. As a way of doing that the Psalm says we must dance, with music and loud instruments. When we make our offering to God in the Mass we should be doing the same. And that is why my brothers and sisters in teh faith, Samoan liturgy inserts the taupou. Our offertory is the culmination of fruits of our hands which we place on the alter to be transformed into the HOLY BODY AND BLOOD of our dear Lord. What the taupou and the aiulis are doing is not a fashion show of the Samoan culture but it added into the presentation of our offering to God to be blessed. It a way of expressing joy and thanksgiving to God. So I hope that put some light on our discussion. It is really appropriate. As the world presents the gift to God, it should not be silent, it should not be only singing but with loud voices, dancing, sing and whatever is apppropriate to God. It is our best to the BEst. Amen....

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I BELIEVE THAT THE TAUPOU IS JUST ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING CULTURAL DANCE I HAVE EVER SEEN. ME, BEING A FILIPINO ROMAN CATHOLIC BELIEVE THAT ANY CULTURE MAY WORSHIP AND PRAISE GOD HOW THEY LIKE ESPECIALLY IF IT IS PART OF ONES TRADITIONAL BELIEFS. FOR EXAMPLE LOOK AT THE LATINOS THEY INCLUDE THE MARIACHI BANDS INTO THE LITURGY SO I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY SOME OF YOU PEOPLE POSTING ON HERE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE SAMOAN PEOPLE INCLUDING THE TAUPOU INTO THE LITURGY?!?! THINK OF THE SAMOAN TAUPOU AS "LITURGICAL DANCERS" JUST OFFERING PRAISE AND WORSHIP TO JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND GOD IN HEAVEN. I MEAN I HAVE ATTENDED A CATHOLIC MASS IN LOS ANGELES THAT HAD PRAISE AND WORSHIP DANCERS! AND I THINK THE CHURCH NEEDS TO ACCEPT THOSE TYPE OF THINGS BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT IT IN A SPECIAL WAY IT'S JUST BEAUTIFUL AND I KNOW FOR A FACT GOD LOVE'S THIS AND ADMIRES PEOPLE SHOWING HIM HOW MUCH THEY LOVE THE CHURCH. MORE POWER TO THE SAMOAN PEOPLE AND THERE CULTURE. KEEP UP WHAT YOU GUYS INCLUDE INTO THE LITRUGY IT IS AWESOME AND BEAUTIFUL IN GOD'S SIGHT! GOD BLESS...

12:49 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

September 17, 2008

Dear Samoan Catholics,

May I assure you sincerely that I love you wholeheartedly and I very much respect Samoan culture and your efforts to preserve it.

It's just that there should be other forums than Mass for so-called liturgical dance and demonstrations of any culture.

It's also that in this day and age we all need to encourage modesty for everyone who attends Mass, so no one, not just Samoans, should have bare shoulders at Mass.

Thank you for listening, and God bless you and Samoans everywhere!

11:43 PM  
Blogger Pax_hominibus said...

I am a Samoan Catholic. If you had checked your history of the introduction of the taupou to the offertory you would know that it was passed in Rome by the request of the late Cardinal Pio of Samoa. One last thing, this quote shows great ignorance: "That pic explains why non-Catholic Samoans are entering the Church by the millions."

There are not millions of Samoans in the world, let alone Catholic ones.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

January 21, 2009

Dear Pax Hominibus,

Thank you for your comment of January 2009. I hope you'll read my comment of September 17, 2008, and realize that I do not agree with ethnocentrism.

As I said last September, I respect efforts to preserve and promote Samoa's culture. I am not questioning the beauty and worth of Samoa's ancient culture.

The reason I published the photo, three-plus years ago, was to point out that the powers that be in our L.A. Archdiocese too often let dance dominate in Mass. I would say that about any dancing at Mass.

I think the anonymous person who made the comment three-plus years ago about "millions" of Samoans did not mean that number seriously and was trying to make a joke.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Amo Leota said...

Hi I'm a Samoan Roman Catholic and living here in Sydney Australia and very much involved in the Samoan Archdioese here and represent the Samoan Communities here in the Sydney Archdiocese.

The signifigance of Culture in Mass today is very much In my belief very Important especially in today's soceity, especially inregards to the Samoan Culture as it is a Culture souly centred on the Christian Values (When done in the manner is was intended).

One's Country's Traditions and Customs is a GIFT from GOD! and despite what others may feel I strongly believe that Our Traditions and Customs should be incorporated into the litugy as a way of giving thanks and praise to the father for this precious gift!

The Taupou is often used to play the Mother Mary in plays and liturgical dances as the Taupou "Traditionally" is a Virgin, (clean, immaculate & free from worldly processions) this is beautiful thing when put in comparsion with the Mother of the Church!

Inregards to Music and other things now being used in Mass taking away focus from the Eucharist. I strongly disagree! It enhances the beauty of the Sacrament and its significance!

9:28 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Amo Leota,

Thank you very much for writing.

I'm glad to learn of your good efforts in the Samoan and Sydney archdioceses.

I share your appreciation for the culture of Samoa and your love for our Samoan fellow Catholics.

My point is only that liturgical dancing, of any type or culture, is not a good idea at Mass.

Samoa's culture can be represented in Mass by, for instance, having Samoan couples or families bring up the gifts at the Offertory, and by having the priest wear Samoan Catholic-themed vestments.

Reverent Samoan Catholic hymns would also be a good idea.

And are there not vernacular Masses said in Samoa's tongue?

The same is true for any culture.

I hope you also acknowledge that people of whatever culture do not have to have every Mass geared to their own particular culture -- that they should also regularly appreciate "just plain Masses," as well as Masses that have the flavor of some other culture, and the age-old Latin Mass, too.

Thank you again for writing, and congratulations on all you do for Samoans everywhere.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Paul Alfred Roger said...

Do you know any Samoan hymn to process the Bible up.

I know one but kinda forgot the words.

Lo afioga lo'u sulu ni lena lo'u malamala le Atua

12:26 PM  
Blogger Paul Alfred Roger said...

i need help with words to the Thy Word is a Lamp onto my feet in Samoan. Do you know the words?

Lo afioga lou sulu ni lena lou malamala le Atua

12:27 PM  

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