Sunday 11th October - Liturgical Abuse

Spotted this post over at The Hermeneutic of Continuity:

This video has gone "viral" over the past few days as an example of really silly liturgical abuse. As I have pointed out before, when young people see this sort of thing, you have to bear in mind that they are not laughing with you, they are laughing at you.

It reminded me of something I wrote in an essay on worship and liturgical diversity:

Liturgical diversity can be a source of enrichment, but it can also provoke tensions, mutual misunderstandings and even schisms. In this matter it is clear that diversity must not damage unity. It must express only fidelity to the common faith, to the sacramental signs that the Church has received from Christ, and to hierarchical communion ~ CCC: 1206.

What exactly is the definition of diversity? Is it diversity from the worship of Catholics? If this is the case then Catholics are ‘unconsciously’ passing judgments upon their fellow Christians; further accentuating the differences in the way they worship. As a Catholic, I find this disconcerting. Whilst I found the Baptist service very different from what I am accustomed to experiencing, I believe that as Christians we should respect each others varying forms of worship despite them being (in someway) as different as chalk and cheese.


Whether I still believe this or not, I'm not sure; my point being that for most, more eccentric ways of worshipping may be deemed 'abuse' but for many others it is simply their way of expressing and glorifying God (although I’m beginning to think I’m straying away from Catholic worship and more into a rant on Christian worship as a whole by saying this).

I know the above video is not exactly a great or typical (albeit amusing) example of the way a mass should be celebrated but perhaps this type of worship is a glance into a community’s culture; a way of life that is so embedded in their history that to worship any other way would be unfaithful to their identity.

To be fair, the featured video really does nothing for what I’m trying to say. I was thinking more along the lines of inculturation, and specifically the case of the Missa Luba in Africa.

Please note that I’m not endorsing happy-clappy worship, I’m just playing with the idea that what may be one society’s idea of worship is not the same as another’s. Not that it is carried out purposefully to cause offence, but because it is an expression of one’s identity and way of life. But as a lecturer once said, discussing different forms of worship is not focused solely on theology but more on the history of a people and how such a practice has risen out of cultural experience.

Gosh I’ve ranted quite a bit. I really should put these ranting skills to good use and actually start one of my (many) essays.

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