Comment: The Church has laws governing the liturgy. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that God is worshipped with the reverence which is His due, and to protect Catholics from being scandalised. Many of the bishops in England and Wales seem not to care about either of these things, and a Mass is being organised in their name which drives a coach and horses through the Church's laws, in order to produce the kind of embarrassing 'relevant' and 'youthful' liturgy which has emptied churches up and down the land, especially of young people who, unlike the bishops, know what being youthful is really like.
The proposed programme is beyond parody. The theme is 'green' issues, a highly controversial and political set of questions on which the bishops want to take sides. The Church's teaching is that we should take care of the envioronment, not that any practical measures to do so proposed by the liberal elite should be so beyond the scope of reasoned debate that they should be incorporated into liturgical prayer. Nevertheless, among the 'ideas' proposed for this Mass we find:
• A "litany of penance" that asks God's forgiveness "For over-filling our kettles" and "For wasting paper"
• A prayer "that the tyranny of profit be quelled"
• The distribution at Mass of Fairtrade chocolates wrapped in paper carrying an exhortation to switch to energy-saving lightbulbs
• Persuading the priest to wear a chasuble stitched together from recycled material
• Energy saving lightbulbs will be presented with the gifts at the Offertory. (H-T to Damian Thompson)
And liturgical dancing: on the Reading from Ezekial
This passage works well as a simple mimed drama or dance. One person can play the role of the shepherd Lord, who stands amongst his sheep. As the passage is read – slowly and strongly – different lines can be dramatised. For example, in the line, ‘I will rescue them from wherever they have been scattered’, ‘sheep’ can wander round in a confused way, using raised hands to symbolise searching in the darkness, with the Lord collecting each one and returning them together. Movements should be simple but obvious enough to be able to be seen clearly.
You may wish to play some gentle, reflective music in the background.
After the proclamation of the Gospel, consider presenting the following sketch, which interprets the Last Judgement from the perspective of a television news broadcast.
This is the Good News – Sheep and Goats You will need five people to play the different roles: Angus McCoatUp (news presenter); Sue Stainable (reporter); Larry Lamb (sheep); Theresa Green (special correspondent); Billy Gruff (goat)
Angus This is the Good News. The headlines at six o’clock. Bong! Feeling sheepish? It’s eternal life for the nation’s favourite animal. Bong! Get your goat up! Gruff news for selfish beasts. Bong! It’s the end of the world as we know it. Which side will you end up on?
Yes, this goes on and on. See the whole thing on their website.
The fact is that dancing is simply not allowed in Mass. The tinkering with the words of the prayers, which is also present throughout, is also forbidden. Quite apart from the bad taste of the every aspect of this liturgy, it is illicit.
Does your bishop even know about this? Tell him. Will Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor defend this? Will Cardinal Arinze ignore it? Here's a video of Cardinal Arinze on the subject of dancing at Mass.
Here's something else to think about. This parody of the Mass, on what they are calling 'Youth Sunday', is actually on the Feast of Christ the King. This feast was instituted to reaffirm the fact that Jesus Christ should reign over every society: the laws and customs of every nation should conform to His will, since He is the source of all authority. Today the laws and customs of the UK are very far from being in conformity to God's will. The killing of the unborn is a constant reminder of the state's abdication of its divine mandate to protect the weak against the strong. At this very moment the most monstrous legislation is before Parliament to allow the creation of half-human and half-animal hybrids. The customs of ordinary people take for granted sexual immorality on a scale unimaginable in former times, and this is being imposed on children in schools. The bishops have made various protests about these things: they condemn them. But when it comes to thinking up a theme for a Mass on the Feast of Christ the King for young people they want to emphasis an issue on which they can agree with the government, the editors of liberal newspapers, TV journalists and so forth.
What does this tell us? It tells us the bishops have no fight left in them.