In a comment down below about the Hawaiian Liturgy, SecretAgentMan left the following comment:
Well, then, I want a “country boy” mass. The priest’s vestments will be made from denim and plaid flannel, and everyone will wear ballcaps with confederate flags or industrial logos. We’ll have slide guitars wing-wanging the hymns (I suggest “Gather Us In” by M. Haugen and “A Country Boy Can Survive” by H. Williams), and halter-topped women sitting on the shoulders of their husbands out in the congregation, snapping their fingers and swaying to the beat. Tattered nylon lawn chairs will replace the inauthentic pews, and during the consecration the priest will fly about the church on invisible guidewires like Garth Brooks. All the men will reverently remove their dips before receiving communion. The “ite, miss est” will be accompanied by rebel yells and gunfire.
Like many of my commenters, SAM can really make me laugh. But inculturation in the form of a “country boy” Mass has some possibilities. I can just see someone walk in and tip his Cowboy at a statue of the Virgin Mary and say “Howdy Ma’am.” A priest with a large belt buckle with the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A pickup truck with a monstrance rack. Chapel veil material sold by the yard to cover large hairdos. A new liturgical color called denim.
I was rather surprised at the mixed response on the Hawaiian liturgy post and the defense of the use of ukuleles at Mass under the guise of inculturation. First of all inculturation is something that would be properly decided at the level of the Bishop’s conference under approval of the Vatican Definitely not something that each parish can decide to do on its own. Historically there have been times when missionaries wanted to do something to conform to a local culture that ended up not being approved by the Vatican. There is a balance that must be maintained and the tendency of parishes wanting to do their own thing. The Mass is not the private property of any person or culture and valid changes must be in a larger conformity vice a narrowing that can occur. There has always been inculturation such as when the Mass went from Greek to Latin and all of the varied adjustments that have happened over the centuries. The Church has many valid expressions via the various Rites both Eastern and Western.
There are many cultural expressions that do not add to reverence but in fact distract from reverence and our worship owed to God. For example something sacred is set apart and dedicated to God. Much as what passes for liturgical music is not set apart and dedicated solely to God and is only a mirror image of secular music. I term much of the hymns today as Sacrud music. Crud is to be set apart and thrown away. Most music would not pass what I call the Sesame Street test. If you can change the words and keep the same music and see it as being able to be used in Sesame Street or Romper Room, it fails the test.
Mainly what I dislike about false inculturation is that it is rooted in disobedience. People decide among themselves how to conduct the Mass since they know better then the Church. In a multi-cultural society such as ours, we should strive to be a melting pot. Instead we are being a centrifuge where each element is removed from the whole and is set by itself. This is not an indicator of the Catholicity of the Church and can be a denial of it.