12 March 2011

Ash Wednesday Gone Horribly Wrong

OK, I'm going for charity here... but truth, too.

When one hears of the term "mutual enrichment" in light of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, the mind struggles to give a meaning to the phrase. "Mutual enrichment" certainly implies an "enrichment" that is "mutual". If we assign the ordinary meanings to these words, instead of politically nuanced ones, it gives Catholics who love the liturgy great pause when they are applied to the situation between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. And if a hopeful legalist will point out that we must stick to the authorized, promulgated rubrics, it is not so easy to do, considering that one of the Forms is not often celebrated as promulgated.

I can certainly see how the Extraordinary Form can enrich the Ordinary Form, but when I contemplate the idea of it happening the other way around it isn't so easy. In fact, "enrichment" isn't the term I would pick, especially when I consider this video:

Flash Mob Appears at Ash Wednesday Mass

By Jon Wilson

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent . It a time for penance, reflection, fasting and apparently, dance for one group of catholic students. We attend one Ash Wednesday Service that was interrupted by an unexpected, but emotional flash mob.

Not long after receiving the ceremonial ashes and final blessing, a flash mob broke out during the Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sioux Falls. The name of the song was "Where you go I'll go" by Chris Tomlin. A timely tribute for the beginning of the
lenten season.

"We had done it for our talent show and it had such a powerful message behind it/we had a lot of people asking could we transform it into church or mass," St. Mary Teacher Julie
Kolbeck said.

St. Mary Artist-in-Resident Vicky Fuller helped with song selection and dance moves, originally designed for a small group of performers.

"Flash mobs have been really kind of becoming a You Tube phenomena and our principal thought you know this would be something that really gets the kids interested,"
Kolbeck said.

This dance is a way for these elementary school kids to celebrate their faith. And of course, the message behind the flash mob is much stronger.

"It's like how God tells us what to do, then we have to follow it," St. Mary 6
th Grader Emily Olson said.

"Its one of those things as a parent to see their faith that your kids have and see these kids carry that message on themselves and to present it in such a beautiful way, its very powerful,"
Kolbeck said.

A faithful flash mob with a fitting performance on one of the holiest days of the year.


I included the text of the story along with the video just so you can let those quotes sink in.

It doesn't make me want to run out and put my children in a Catholic school, for one thing.

But back to the point of mutual enrichment, this is the type of banality that all too often passes for what should be the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is in many ways the "typical form" of the Ordinary Form as it has been handed down to the average Catholic. The horrible aesthetics of the space. The uninspiring and slightly disturbing Corpus on the Crucifix. The awful dining room tablecloth polyester chasuble. The sanctuary set up as for a cooking show. The need for the faithful to "perform" as though it were a Broadway show. Children being deprived of authentic worship to such an extent that one must seriously question if they are not also being deprived of the faith itself.

I don't think I want that kind of "enrichment" in the Mass of all ages.


Andy said...

How does that not constitute child abuse? The organizers should be arrested. Just think of the years of counseling and therapy it will take for these kids to get over this once they realize that they were the subjects of a social engineering experiment.

Athelstane said...

Nice performance. And there's a place for it, and it's not a church sanctuary - especially not during mass.

Anonymous said...

And that priest, those nuns, those parishioners, are in "full communion."

But these people are not:


Kansas Catholic said...

Well said.

Irene said...

I have to take issue with Athelstane who said: "Nice performance. And there's a place for it..."

In my opinion, that seemed just too kind. There is a place for watching children walking about waving ribbons around while listening to canned music? Where? When? Who would look forward to going to see an evening of that? Who would eagerly turn on the television to watch competitions to see who could be the best at that? Who would use a video of that as a resource for inspiring recollection and meditation?

Dad (R.I.P.)left in the middle of a performance of Brigadoon that my sister was involved in. Correct me if I am wrong in some detail sis. You were in the play, right? (She reads this blog too.) I'm not sure I can really defend Dad leaving, but I find it refreshing that he didn't think everything was great if only his kid was involved in it.

At some point children's performances are supposed to resemble art, are they not? If my child had been involved in that numbslop, I would have hated to hear the question, "How did you like it Daddy?"

If I had seen anything like this before I had become Catholic, it would have made me think that I knew the Catholic Church was false.
I would be sorry and embarrassed if my non-Catholic friends and relatives could get a glimpse of the Flash Mob Mass or whatever they call it.


mary said...

I'm so embarrassed to be from South Dakota. The land of hunters, ranchers, and farmers... the land of real men. And now the land of a "flash mob" at the holy sacrifice of the mass. Where are the real men? Probably fishing...

doughboy said...

for some reason, the video wouldn't play for me. i've never heard of a "flash mob." i'll keep my eyes/ears open.

dulac90 said...

Neat theater. I wonder what's in that box in the background.

Anonymous said...

Nice performance and I don't have anything against the music...but I'm afraid that Mass is the last place for this.

Peggy said...

The worst masses I have ever been to have been school masses. The abuses that go on in the name of "involving the children." Or "making it relevant" to them. I don't feel so bad that we are unable to send our children to the parish school when I see these abuses. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

OK, well that wasn't as bad as I expected, given that I had no idea what a 'flash mob' was. I expected something similar to the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' video. Or maybe something from 80's era 'Fame'?

Anyway that's not to say that it is appropriate for a Mass. And even assuming arguendo that it ever would be appropriate at any Mass, what on earth makes it appropriate at an Ash Wednesday Mass.

Let's not take the easy way out, however, and paint all Novus Ordo Masses with the flash mob brush. While this kind of thing is far too prevalent, it's a very minute minority of the Masses that take place.

Irene said...

The problem is that some think that if because we are entertained by seeing trained elephants, bears, and horses walking around in some choreographed manner at the circus, that we should be equally pleased to see human children doing it at church.

Nope. What is elevating to animals is degrading to humans. What we like about the circus is the elevation of spirit and trained actions that make it seem like the animals are reaching upward toward humanity. I despise this flash mob business because I don't want to watch human children do poorly what Tennessee Walking Horses do well.


Anonymous said...

"Assuming arguendo" - anon 9:56 must be a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Wow that was just strange. And to the post about school mass..not so everywhere. We are in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, though out of the city proper and our priest gave a very formal Ash Wednesday service for the school kids at the 8 am mass and included in his homily, (referring to Archbishop Carlson's article on the important of attending mass every week)that the childrens' parents were sinning twice if they were not taking themselves and their children to mass every Sunday and the children should tell their parents so. Excellent I thought. Now it would have been more appropriate also if he had given this same homily, but addressed to the adults (i.e. the parents) of said school kids so as to get the message across.