Adoro te ... devote?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 28, 2005

Intimate Liturgical Apparel by Hérmès of Paris

"The great achievement of liberal Protestantism," wrote cocky atheist H.L. Mencken in a moment of astute cynicism, "was to make God boring."

It's true. Liberal (small-p) protestants, many of whom are (capital-C) Catholic clergy, are bored to distraction by the impotent, changeable, tardily fashion-conscious deity that they've created in their theological journals in the course of a century. Who wouldn't be? There are no more "strong hands that reach down to create and to destroy" (in C.S. Lewis's words), no "mystery that fascinates and terrifies" (in Rudolf Otto's). God works no healings, rains down no fire, makes no demons tremble, and -- apart from some school-marmish tetchiness about gender-exclusive language -- seems largely unconcerned about human conduct.

It's perfectly fitting, then, that those who find God boring replace the Roman Ritual -- as far as possible -- with the kind of floor show you see above (That's the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles under the second E of EEK -- at the youth mass for the recent Religious Ed Congress). Face it, when you need an electric bass and dancing cheerleaders to keep your audience from fidgeting or drifting away, you're admitting the Main Act is a flop from the get-go.

Eucharistic Adoration? Forget it. It's violently, almost comically, at odds with the L.A. model of liturgy. Adoration is in perfect harmony with the God addressed in the Roman Ritual, of course, but no one bends the knee before the rainbow refrigerator magnet that Fr. Roger Haight and friends offer us as His replacement. Not even liberals themselves can keep up interest in a liberal god -- except, perhaps, as a weapon for settling childhood grudges. That's why their own children eventually drop religion altogether for aromatherapy, or else become Traddies. That's why -- as with the chanteuse in the photo above -- renewed liturgy is a matter of heightened decibels, lowered necklines, and lengthened slits in the skirt. What else is there?

The doctrinal "fault lines" which, in the case of Anglicanism, are rupturing to form new islands before our eyes, exist as well in the Catholic Church, and it's only a matter of time before the latent schism becomes patent. The California land-mass may never split off from the mainland as threatened, but votaries of L.A. liturgy will inevitably break from Rome. Give credit to the Religious Ed Congress for this: that what it may lack in religion it makes up in education, by clearly instructing us, in this Year of the Eucharist, what it looks like when God no longer rates a genuflection.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 17 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Mar. 02, 2005 8:13 PM ET USA

    The chanteuse is singing Cardinal Mahony's favorite, to Schutte's "Here i am, Lord": "I'm the lord of my own diocese/ I have heard God's people crying/ i've got them dwelling in dark & sin/ my hand won't save 'em/ I who made the darkest days/ I will make their darkness darker/ who will bear my agenda to them?/ whom shall I send?/ Here I am, Lord/ aren't you lucky Lord..." Is Cardinal Roger in Communion with Rome? Is he leading young people astray? Is there a millstone supplier in the LA region?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 02, 2005 12:42 AM ET USA

    Send this picture, get pictures of the thongs and the gay dancers in pastels, get pictures of all the liturgical abuses you can and keep sending them to Rome and don't leave them alone until you get an answer. Diogenes has made the point that the differences between the abuses in Austria and here was photographic couldn't be ignored. And my feeling is (not sure if this is canonically correct) stop giving money to diosceses that sanction heresy, liturgical abuse and immorality.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2005 1:26 PM ET USA

    Per Giorgio: These, and many other obscenities, have been reported to Rome many times. Rome couldn't care less what goes on in America - look how swiftly the Vatican moved in the St. Poulton (sp?) seminary scandal vs. the criminal actions of the "bishops" in this country. See RCF's ( latest report on the numerous heresies of "cardinal" Mahony. Looking for help from Rome is worse than useless. Personally, I'm praying for a pope who'll do more than spend words.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 11:40 PM ET USA

    In a more Catholic time, when even one's barber was an astute observer of all things theological, the Cardinal would have been driven from his see by the flock he presumes to lead. The man is a heretic and needs to be publicly condemned as such, if only by the barbers of LA! If the next Pope does not kick his ... out of the Sistine Chapel at the time of his election, we are doomed to more years of the same ....

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Feb. 28, 2005 10:43 PM ET USA

    Sophia, am sorry you and the faithful have had to endure so much rubish. My question: has any or all of this been reported to Rome? by anyone?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 8:55 PM ET USA

    Sadly, there is one word to describe Cardinal Mahoney...PATHETIC!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 6:44 PM ET USA

    (cont'd) homosexual dancers bounding down the center aisle to ring the altar; a procession of gold-robed gays in pastel slippers, and more such. It was the liturgies, finally, that made me stop attending. No matter how far I lowered my standards, I couldn't find an endurable one. However, in my experience, there was in fact always a room set aside for Adoration, and a few people present, praying. It's one of the mysteries of the whole dreadful business.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 6:38 PM ET USA

    Let me assure you, folks, that this is MILD, tame and almost raditional, compared to many of the liturgies I've experienced at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress over a good many Mahony-years. (Actually the protests began before Mahony's arrival, but I didn't attend those Congresses.) What I saw involved a great deal more skin -- "Indian" buttocks in thongs, bare-chested Hawaiian dancers (male; the females weren't bare-chested, but nevertheless pretty primitive)(more to come...)

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 5:50 PM ET USA

    Hot cantor! Where can I get one?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 2:39 PM ET USA

    Speaking of the chanteuse in the pic, I was edified to learn, as my mouse pointer drifted over her calf, that she's wearing "intimate liturgical apparel by Hermes of France" no less. What are the guys wearing? Where are the guys, by the way?

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Feb. 28, 2005 1:00 PM ET USA

    This reminds me of a story the late Fr. Thos. O'Donnell, SJ told me. A Bishop was at a Parish for confirmation, and there was a girl doing liturgical dance. The Pastor of the place asked the Bp. what he thought. The Bishop replied, "I don't know. But, IF she asks for your head on a silver platter she's got it!" Heads should be rolling! figuratively speaking, of course. ;) Thank you for your insights Diogenes!

  • Posted by: Brad - Feb. 28, 2005 12:36 PM ET USA

    Shut them down. You can get that kind of entertainment at the local bar or by simply turning on your televison. We are to be holy, which means "set apart". This form of "church" simply reflects the culture - far from being "set apart", it is "ingrained within" and apparently unable to free itself. If you look closely at the picture you will see Satan smiling in unison with the Cardinal.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 12:29 PM ET USA

    I am woman hear me roar with a Cardinal too big to ignore, I am woman! (Sung to the tune of Helen Reddy's 1970 hit).

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 10:59 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, could you or Phil or someone with a Vatican connection send the picture to them? You made the point a while back that the difference between the U.S. scandals and those in Austria, in terms of getting a quick response from Rome, was the photographic evidence. Might work in terms of liturgical abuse as well.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 8:35 AM ET USA

    From priestesses in leotards, engaged in "liturgical" dance . . . Parce nobis domine!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 7:36 AM ET USA

    It seems, Cardinal Mahoney is well on the way to formal schism. A new Holy Father will have to make it one of his agenda items to rein in this distructive movement. The Cardinal is constantly finding new ways to schock. His novement promotes newagey sensuality. In Lent even? I though Mardi Gra was over.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Feb. 28, 2005 6:05 AM ET USA

    These are things I don't understand. Where is the cultural sensitivity of L.A. why don't they invoke our Lady of Guadalupe? We see northern european lack of faith imposed on the Latin faithful. One more time cultural insensitivity.