Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Clown Mass

Given my constant complaining about bad hymns at our services, someone suggested that I read "Why Catholics Can't Sing" by Thomas Day, a music professor at Salve Regina College. Day is frustrated by what he sees has the "triumph of bad taste" in American Catholic culture. Unlike many, however, he believes that Vatican II is not responsible for our bad hymns (and poor taste) but that it represents a much deeper cultural issue with American Catholicism.

One example of bad taste is the "clown Mass" where the priest and other ministers dress up as clowns. I thought it was a joke. Turns out I was wrong.

Yes, that is a priest wearing a clown vestment and clowns standing next to him in the sanctuary. How did we come to this -- in forty years from the Latin Mass to this?

I really hope this priest's bishop had a sit down with him immediately.


Rodak said...

To be a good Christian, you must learn to think outside the box!
Compare the concept of the Clown Mass to these words of St. Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians:

16 Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are. 18 Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

As we all know from Shakespeare, the king's Fool (a clown) always delivers wisdom with his hijinks that the king's counselors do not possess.

William R. Barker said...


I'm Episcopal (thus your sectarian "better"...) (*GRIN*), but I grew up in a very Catholic town - Irish and Italian Catholic - with more than a fair smattering of secular Jews so having attended all sorts of services let me share my "findings."

"Cafeteria Catholic" ain't just a terms referring to "pick which teaching you'll follow." Nope. Where I grew up - Pearl River, NY - the Catholics LITERALLY went to Masses held in the cafeteria!

Oh, sure... Masses were ALSO said in the Church proper... but my experience going to MANY, MANY Masses with Catholic friends and their families was basically...


In other words... Church was "on the list." Attending Mass was something that was to be done once a week come hell or high water, but as for the service... by rote.

The singing... also by rote - if at all. (*SHRUG*)

I'm not writing this to disdain, and I'm not saying this was EVERYONE... I'm just saying that as a "snapshot" of the "Catholic community" of my town... there just didn't seem to be a whole lot of spiritualism and true "love of Christ" as opposed to the "norm" of... we're Catholics - this is what we do - these are our "obligations."

My experience with "my" Episcopal Church... well, I always make Christmas Eve Mass and it's truly a JOYFUL experience - and seems to be for everyone. To put this in "Bill Perspective," I wouldn't miss my church's Christmas Eve Mass for an open bar event at the White House. (*SMILE*) (*SHRUG*)

We sing, baby! I mean... WE SING!!! And in a TRULY joyful manner - sharing the joy of CHRIST.

As for the Jews... I've always found going to Temple to be an interesting experience - a true mixing of secular and spiritual. On the one hand people are coming and going throughout their service, dealing with kids, being social, and then in the blink of an eye it's sincere concentration on the rituals and I'm assuming the spiritual underpinnings of the rituals.

Anyway... just my two cents worth.


Anthony said...

Rob -- I have no idea what you are talking about. In any event, that clown Mass is an embarrassment.

BevC said...

Anthony: I am 52 and wandered in a liturgical desert from age 17 to age 37 when I found the Tridentine Mass at St. John Cantius. Deo Gratias. In those 20 years I probably walked out of more so called Catholic litugies than you've attended in your entire life. I do indeed remember priests in clown face, in baseball uniforms, one with a paper bag over his head, one who sang selectons from Les Miserables, the Broadway musical, during the Mass, one who did stand up comedy throughout including the --most invalid -- Consecration. In short, nothing surprises me. I was castigated by more Father Flakes and Sister Sunshine-Rainbows than I care to count for being "intransigent" - read FAITHFUL and "judgmental" -- read INTELLIGENT enough to know big steaming piles of B.S. replacing sound doctrine.

Rodak said...

Rob -- I have no idea what you are talking about. In any event, that clown Mass is an embarrassment.

That's because you don't think that St. Paul meant what he said. I think he did.

Anonymous said...

I was always afraid of Clowns as a child. As a adult I never trusted Catholics. This is my worst nightmare.

Anonymous said...

This clown mass is at an Episcopal church in NY. i.e. NOT Catholic.