Is there a place for dance within Catholic Liturgy

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Re: Is there a place for dance within Catholic Liturgy

Post by JW »

In England we are not used to this sort of thing and, as Bob and others have said, it is distracting and even embarrassing to us. However, as some cardinals have recently pointed out, the future of the Church is not in Europe.

John Ainslie
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Re: Is there a place for dance within Catholic Liturgy

Post by John Ainslie »

There is indeed a cultural dimension in play here. And there are some important lessons for participation.

You've probably seen a video of an Offertory procession (to use the shorthand term) taking place in Africa. The participants in the procession are dancing (or shimmying, which Cardinal Arinze said was OK). But the entire congregation is on its feet swaying (and probably singing) in time with them - and thus taking a physical part in the movement of the procession, even though they are staying in their places. It's a fantastic bit of liturgical participation. It can be multi-cultural, at least for specific events - it remains my vivid memory of the launch Mass of the 'At Your Word, Lord' Westminster diocesan course at the former Wembley Arena in 2003.

Compare this with the average Sunday Mass at St Philomena's-in-the-Marsh where the congregation is seated for the collection, Offertory procession and rite of Preparation of the Gifts. OK, there is a case for having a 'resting time' between the Liturgies of Word and Eucharist. And yes, being seated enables the congregation to see the procession making its way through the church to the sanctuary, and thus take a vicarious part in it. But the participation in the movement is obviously much weaker than in the African example cited above. And then we ask them to keep their eyes not on the procession but in a hymnbook, singing something which may or may not relate to what is happening?

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Re: Is there a place for dance within Catholic Liturgy

Post by organist »

I recall a wonderful dance by Vietnamese children after communion at Westminster cathedral at the migrants Mass. Also Africans bringing up the offertory and worrying if the hosts were going to stay in the ciboria (they did!) Dignified processions are also movement! The toruble is processions in Catholic churche are often anything but dignified - priests not walking in pairs and straggling behind. And why is it that some servers and priests are unable to sing in procession? Shouldn't everybody join in? Anglicans are much better at processions. Why? They practise them! I think we should praise the Lord with all of ourselves and our bodies. After all organists do it all the time! :D

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