This is from a bulletin via St.
Gertrude Catholic Parish in Chicago, Il.
We are happy to announce that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., will speak at the
10am mass this Sunday, June 20th. Rev. Jesse Jackson will speak at the 10am mass
this Sunday (June 20th) at St. Gertrude. He will reflect on the day’s lessons
for about 1/2 hour after communion, around 10:45am. Since the 10am mass will
run a little longer than usual, we hope this reminder will help ease the flow
between the end of the one mass and beginning of the other.
Mark Loveless, who participates at the gym mass and also at Operation Push,
has been negotiating this event for a number of months. We are grateful for
your effort, Mark
And this is from a letter from the Pastor of this same church.
Dear St. Gertrude,
Reverend Jesse Jackson joins us today at the 10am mass, thanks to the persistent
effort of Mark Loveless. Mark and his son, Nathan, participate at the gym
mass as well as at Operation PUSH. It was Mark’s connection there that
led to the inspiration to invite Rev. Jackson to join us. Welcome, Jesse!
No chance I suppose that you’d be running in November to get us out
of the mess we seem to find ourselves in?
Arg! Where do i start. I was afraid to find out anything about
the Gym Mass and I was prophetic on that wish because it is even worse than
The hallmark of 10:30 a.m. Mass is the communal homily, whereby
people share from their own experiences of living the Gospel. Art, drama, music,
and liturgical dance also engage participants in a fresh look at the central
symbols of our faith. Plan for a longer Mass (about 1 hour).
Oh my, liturgical dance and a communal homily. And with all this
fun they have managed to schedule a whopping 30 minutes of time for confession
once a week.
Jessie Jackson was once pro-life and like so many others has
arranged a Faustian deal for political power in the Democratic Party. I always
wondered how someone, especially a Reverend, could go from pro-life to pro-abortion.
Do you wake up one day and realize that God did not ensoul that child
at conception? That one day it was a human being in need of protection and
the next a tissue blog to be excised when inconvenient. Regardless this Church
offering Jackson a change to speak during Mass is beyond inappropriate. It
would be bad enough allowing him to speak in an non-liturgical event, but as
of the Mass and after the Eucharist sacrifice is just plainly a scandal. I
guess the pastor did not read the letter
issued by the Bishops two days previous
to this event.
It is the teaching of the Catholic
Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord’s own witness to the sacredness
of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically
evil and can never be justified. If those who perform an abortion and those
who cooperate willingly in the action are fully aware of the objective evil
of what they do, they are guilty of grave sin and thereby separate themselves
from God’s grace. This is the constant and received teaching of the Church.
It is, as well, the conviction of many other people of good will.
To make such intrinsically evil actions legal is itself wrong. This is the
point most recently highlighted in official Catholic teaching. The legal system
as such can be said to cooperate in evil when it fails to protect the lives
of those who have no protection except the law. In the United States of America,
abortion on demand has been made a constitutional right by a decision of the
Supreme Court. Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members
of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore
have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective
laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the
… The Catholic community
and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of
our fundamental moral principles. They should
not be given
awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. (emphasis
The pastor’s wish that Jessie Jackson would be running for president
is pathetic. What isn’t John Kerry pro-abortion enough? Exactly where does
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Jackson depart on issues.
The amusing thing is that I’m fairly sure I’ve heard about this parish before, because the “gym mass” sounds familiar.
I don’t know what to feel about this, sadness, disgust or both. They have a discussion forum on their website, wouldn’t it be funny if all of your readers posted there and told St. Gertrude’s just what they think about Jesse Jackson and the “gym” mass?
Actually, the saddest thing is that Rev. Jackson (like Dennis Kucinich) used to be pro-life until his first presidential run in 1984.
I’m not too sure that a gym Mass is too unusual, especially given that many new parishes build schools before churches. Lots of otherwise decent parishes are stuck in gyms for years because, don’t you know, Catholic elemntary school education, not liturgy, it deemed the source and summit of the Christian life.
I mentioned the fact that he use to be pro-life in the post.
My complaint about the Gym Mass was the communal homily and liturgical dance, both which strictly are not allowed. As far as the locations goes, Redemptionis Sacramentum says:.
[108.] �The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place.� The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.
[109.] It is never lawful for a Priest to celebrate in a temple or sacred place of any non-Christian religion.
So the question would be is this approved by his Bishop and that the circumstances truly necessitate this. If done temporarily while building a new church would be one thing. Permanently would be a whole other matter.
It is astonishing how so many want to “jazz up” the Mass.
The Mass itself is mystical and holy, it needs no dancers, circus acts, or visiting politicial nonsense.
Jesse Jackson is a clown
We value community, family, work, and spiritual nourishment as ways that draw us closer to God. We also struggle with such things as crime, racism, family stress, underemployment, and materialism, all of which make it more difficult to live peaceful lives. If you share our values or our struggles, then join us at one of our weekend services.
And if we believe in — erm, value — the Holy Trinity?
Heaven is a peaceful life?
I do have to congratulate anyone who can fit “family stress, underemployment, and materialism” into the same list.
Anyhow, nothing shocks me anymore. What most surprised me was the phrase
Plan for a longer Mass (about 1 hour).
including a “communal” “homily,” “drama, music, and liturgical dance?” Is the priest just there long enough for the words of institution? Is he down to just one altar card?
I did see your comment about Jackson; that’s why I mentioned it was the “most saddening.” Dance remains a disputed point, even in Rome. And the sad truth is, lots of parishes are encouraged by their bishops to found schools at the expense of having a decent worship space. In a nearby diocese, it is common practice with the approval of the bishop. Still a silly decision, but one in which, like dance, people are given plenty of wiggle room when the mood suits.
Ahh, but check out the comments in the Church bulletin’s “forum” segment. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.
A parish near us had a Mass every Wednesday evening which seemed to appeal especially to the Peace’N’Justice committee members, in which Father read the Gospel and then invited congregants to tell, from the pews, what it meant to them. I wanted to wait for a Wednesday when the Gospel was something really juicy, and then attend and give a short talk about it from an orthodox viewpoint, but Cacciaguida put the kybosh on it. They’d probably have called security and had me thrown out.
Liturgical Dance in the US has been specifically outlawed by the Bishops conference in one of their liturgical letters. There is no wiggle room on this subject only room for disobedience.
“all dancing, (ballet, children’s gesture as dancing, the clown liturgy) are not permitted to be “introduced into liturgical celebrations of any kind whatever.” [NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS (BISHOPS’ COMMITTEE on the LITURGY) NEWSLETTER. APRIL/MAY 1982.]”
It is funny how these people take documents such as “Environment and Worship in the Arts” and “Always our children” (documents that were never approved by the bishops as a whole) are taken as Gospel but the GIRM and other directives are ignored.
An interesting fact:
On March 25 of this year, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments put out a document “Redemptoris Sacramentum”. In it it states:
64. The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself, �should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate�.
65. It should be borne in mind that any previous norm that may have admitted non-ordained faithful to give the homily during the eucharistic celebration is to be considered abrogated by the norm of canon 767 �1. This practice is reprobated, so that it cannot be permitted to attain the force of custom.
66. The prohibition of the admission of laypersons to preach within the Mass applies also to seminarians, students of theological disciplines, and those who have assumed the function of those known as �pastoral assistants�; nor is there to be any exception for any other kind of layperson, or group, or community, or association.”
I think this disqualifies “Rev.” Jackson from preaching during the context of the Mass.
The April/May 1982 Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy newsletter does allow dancing outside of the liturgy:
However, no dancing is allowed in the sanctuary during Mass–this is clear.
I would recommend that all bloggers register at St. Gertrude’s discussion forum (it’s quick and easy) and post your frustration concerning Jesse Jackson’s visit.
JJ–you are absolutely right that no layperson is allowed to give the homily. Even the longstanding practice of seminarians giving homilies has been disallowed in Redemptionis sacramentum.
Interesting that you would present a quote from a sub-committee newsletter as authoritative, but reject a document commissioned by the whole body of the USCCB.
At any rate, while Jackson’s defection from the pro-life cause makes him no hero of mine, there has yet to be a single authoritative voice that has banned liturgical dance in the US. All we can say is that it remains a disputed point. Do we agree that a gymnasium is a poor choice for a permanent liturgy no matter how much the local bishop might think otherwise?
Those other documents I referenced were commisioned by the Bishops, but were never voted for approval.
I believe the same was true of the BCL Newsletter. Hence the dancers are free to leap another day, even in Rome.
And we’re free to continue saying it goes against the law of the Church, and the spirit of the Liturgy, and referencing strong statements against it, from Rome and elsewhere.
Y’all are free to say whatever you wish to say. Dance remains a disputed issue for Catholics in the US. It continues in many places, even in Rome. There is no definitive prohibition, at least nothing stronger than USCCB committee documents and newsletters. Individual bishops can and do prohibit liturgical dance in some cases, as is within their power. Beyond that, nobody on this blog has produced anything more definitive against dance than personal dislike and a newsletter’s editorial.
Although this is not authoritative, it does carry some weight:
Cardinal Arinze responded to questions on the liturgy at a 2003 conference sponsored by the Apostolate for Family Consecration. On liturgical dance, he said:
The question of dance is difficult and delicate. However, it is good to know that the tradition of the Latin Church has not known the dance. It is something that people are introducing in the last ten years — or twenty years. It was not always so. Now it is spreading like wildfire, one can say, in all the continents — some more than others. In my own continent, Africa, it is spreading. In Asia, it is spreading.
Now, some priests and lay people think that Mass is never complete without dance. The difficulty is this: we come to Mass primarily to adore God — what we call the vertical dimension. We do not come to Mass to entertain one another. That’s not the purpose of Mass. The parish hall is for that.
So all those that want to entertain us — after Mass, let us go to the parish hall and then you can dance. And then we clap. But when we come to Mass we don’t come to clap. We don’t come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.
Don’t misunderstand me, because when I said this at one place somebody said to me: “you are an African bishop. You Africans are always dancing. Why do you say we don’t dance?”
A moment — we Africans are not always dancing! [laughter]
Moreover, there is a difference between those who come in procession at Offertory; they bring their gifts, with joy. There is a movement of the body right and left. They bring their gifts to God. That is good, really. And some of the choir, they sing. They have a little bit of movement. Nobody is going to condemn that. And when you are going out again, a little movement, it’s all right.
But when you introduce wholesale, say, a ballerina, then I want to ask you what is it all about. What exactly are you arranging? When the people finish dancing in the Mass and then when the dance group finishes and people clap — don’t you see what it means? It means we have enjoyed it. We come for enjoyment. Repeat. So, there is something wrong. Whenever the people clap — there is something wrong — immediately. When they clap — a dance is done and they clap.
It is possible that there could be a dance that is so exquisite that it raises people’s minds to God, and they are praying and adoring God and when the dance is finished they are still wrapped up in prayer. But is that the type of dance you have seen? You see. It is not easy.
Most dances that are staged during Mass should have been done in the parish hall. And some of them are not even suitable for the parish hall.
I saw in one place — I will not tell you where — where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it — they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water! [laughter]
Why make the people of God suffer so much? Haven’t we enough problems already? Only Sunday, one hour, they come to adore God. And you bring a dance! Are you so poor you have nothing else to bring us? Shame on you! That’s how I feel about it.
Somebody can say, “but the pope visited this county and the people danced”. A moment: Did the pope arrange it? Poor Holy Father — he comes, the people arranged. He does not know what they arranged. And somebody introduces something funny — is the pope responsible for that? Does that mean it is now approved? Did they put in on the table of the Congregation for Divine Worship? We would throw it out! If people want to dance, they know where to go.
The blockquote above was supposed to include everything after the colon. Those are all the Cardinal’s thoughts, not my own.