14 February 2011

More incensing virgins

A reader was so moved by the ladies carrying bowls of incense at the Vespers welcoming the new Bishop of Dodge City that he sent a link to this performance. It’s not new to the web, but if you haven’t yet seen it you should. There’s so much liturgically wrong here that it’s quite an achievement. List what mistakes you can.  


  1. Wow! I have never seen this and I can think of a lot wrong with it, however, there were right things too. There were also deeply ironic things.
    1. There is the whole question of liturgical dance period. If liturgy is performed correctly the actions are dance indeed.
    2. There is the question of young women acting as liturgical principals. My feeling was that it was a terribly female community.
    3. There is some problem with a dance substituting for a required liturgical act.
    4. Why were the overfed concelebrants flopped in their seats while the sacrament was exposed on the altar. This in contra-distinction to the young women who were nicely and modestly groomed and dressed and who comported themselves with grace, reverence and dignity.
    5. Did the celebrant really have a cope on over a chasuble?
    6. Would this have been as problematic if the ladies carried lights and performed a reverential ceremony and went before the procession? The same question might be asked if they carried flowers. The Rev. Michael P Forbes, Minnesota

  2. Just a portent of more things to come. Prepare ye the way for much more than the Dance of the Censers.

  3. It seems that this mass was broadcast and its errors were immediately made available to a wide audience. I hope that the show did not inspire bored priests and parish liturgical experts.

  4. Maybe the should change the name of the Diocese to Dodgy City

  5. I'm not sure this is what the Holy Father meant by 'mutual enrichment' between OF and EF - a traditional Latin hymn with "Bring on the Dancing Girls!"...?

  6. Two rubrical aberrations:
    1. non-black color of vestments
    2. no human sacrifice (preferably by cutting the heart out) after incensation

    Other than that it's a nice, though amateurish, attempt of a horror movie.

  7. Let's prescind for a moment from the "dance" element, which I think in this case has more to do with "performance values" and aesthetics and less to do with aberration (it could have been much worse, after all), and look at what's objectively wrong here. As Fr. Forbes noted above, the concelebrants should have knelt or stood with the Sacrament on the altar; likewise, Father noted the cope over the chasuble. What about the instrumentation -- this is Holy Thursday, and the organ (at least) should have been silent at this point in the liturgy. Canopoeum or Ombrillino would have been nice, but not strictly necessarily in an obviously EF liturgy. One big problem is that the celebrant himself should have censed the Sacrament, both before taking it off the altar, and after reposing it -- not just leaving that action up to the additional thurifers. Concelebrants should have walked behind, not in front of the Sacrament, and a thurible should have been in closer proximity to it, though the latter would be a minor point all things considered (plenty of smoke to go around). Finally, the Tantum Ergo begins a tad early -- it shouldn't have started before the Sacrament was in the capsa at the altar of repose.

  8. Thank you, Father Knows Best,

    I had actually notiiced some other rubrical flaws in this procession and reposition, but I am concerned in my response with what constitutes non- verbal communication in this ceremony.

    The dancers spoke to me more forcefully than the sacred ministers an their assistants as to the significance and gravity of the meaning of the Eucharistic presence. Let me hasten to add that theatricality is not appropriate in theis procession which should be a simple and reverent and dignified transfer. Without the dancers there still would have been a big problem in this area.

    ntsI think a distinction made between liturgical dance and religious or devotional dance. Liturgical dance is intrinsic to the actions of the liturgy. It has to do with praying what is in the red as well as what is in the black. Let us be instructed by these dancers. They had a careful plan, they had coaching to make certain the plan was accomplished and to critique the character of the execution. They practiced and then they executed their purpose with care and discipline. How many clergy celebrants plan carefully, make use of a liturgy coach, practice and then execute with recollection and care? There is content to learn well. There is the need for help in the how we do what we do and does it work as intended, for priests and all other participants.
    Do we have practice and are we very intentional and recollected in execution?

    Those are areas at which we can all work.

    Devotional dance and meditative music are valid if youse beside the liturgy. They are even traditional. I only need to name the sixes of spain in honor of Our Lady on the feast of her conception or the circle dances done in the Corpus Christi processions in the Basque country or the hopping procession in Luxenburg.

    I have to tell you that I believe that there is a place for dance in worship. It must be carefully done and not be artifical. I could have seen this dance in a well planned extended adoration. The violin solo on Pange Lingua was wonderful but belonged to a separate ocasion. We all have to get better at understanding the underlying meaning of Liturgy and get better at the craft of executing it. The Rev. Michael P. Forbes Minnesota.