Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An unpleasant excrescence

Just saw this at American Papist (Hat tip: Acts of the Apostasy):

They are quite serious about puppets at St. Agatha's. They have a "Puppet Ministry History" page on their website and a chance to "meet the cast" (my favorite is Clyde, a "Male camel who thinks he is self-important and superior to the other animals" - like all males, I guess).
All links above are from Thomas Peters' original post; I'll warn you that actually visiting this church's so-called "puppet ministry" pages may cause irritation, eye pain, head shaking, involuntary fist-clenching, and sustained daydreaming involving the creation of a puppet known only as "Mr. Lighter Fluid" and his deadly superhero rampage against inappropriate church-ministry puppets.

Good grief.

I sometimes get tempted to get discouraged over what are actually rather minor liturgical matters, or to find the more modern songs we sometimes have to sing almost intolerably insufficient for worship, or to become distracted by things that I really wouldn't even notice if I myself were paying the proper attention to the Mass. Hearing about a parish whose 9 a.m. "Family Mass" is usually invaded by the grave liturgical abuse of puppets in the sanctuary giving a wholly inappropriate performance at some point during the Mass reminds me of just how bad things really can be, and how trivial some of the things I get upset about are--at least, in the grand scheme of things.

This doesn't mean that minor irregularities and unfortunate music shouldn't eventually disappear from our liturgies as well. But it's relatively easy to find the patience to deal with these things when some parishes have apparently abandoned the liturgy altogether, and are happily making up their own "variety-show" Mass, puppet show and all, apparently blind to the hideous and egregious abuse of the Mass such a display really is.

Because minor abuses can arise out of ignorance, inattentiveness, or error. But something like this can only arise when a parish has become convinced that the Mass is some kind of people's plaything, to be constructed or deconstructed by the whim of the "audience." I notice on the parish website that they have a "Traditional Choir" which sings Gregorian Chant along with other classical Mass pieces; they also have a "Contemporary Choir" which provides modern music including modern instruments. It's just a matter of taste, you see; there's no "right" way to "do" Sacred Music, just as there's no "right" way to "do" liturgy.

Except, of course, that there is. And puppets, whatever one thinks of them generally, can only be an unpleasant excrescence upon the Mass.


Kindred Spirit said...

One can only hope that those Saint Agatha's parishioners who keep the Faith will have their Purgatory time reduced for having undergone such suffering as this. May God have mercy on those who substitute a carnival side-show for the treasures of the Catholic Church. This is a tragedy.

LarryD said...

I had to look up excrescence.

Thanks for the link!

TomE said...

Is Fr. Charlie the puppet? If so, will he be presiding/consecrating?

SherryTex said...

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Must stop deliberately poking self in eyes so as to not see.

eulogos said...

I risked going to the page, and although I didn't stay long, I noticed that they referred to "the audience." That's the problem. People at mass are not an audience. They are actively offering worship and sacrifice to almighty God.

I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with puppets presenting Bible stories to children in Sunday school, or in a program for a Catholic school. I can't imagine this as something for grown ups in any settign, but to each his own,de gustibus non disputandum, so long as what is presented isn't heretical...and it is NOT AT MASS! These people simply do not understand what we come together on Sunday to do.
Susan Peterson