Funny things happening during mass?

Hi all, I’ve just came back from a charismatic community. That was my first experience with any charismatic and I’ve heard some horrible stories beforehand, but nothing major happened-- until the last mass on the last day, in which we had a drama/dance instead of the penitential rite, and had a rather elaborate sending away/blessing/praying things before the actual blessing part of the mass.

In my point of view that was completely unnecessary, since the same thing could have happened after/before mass with the same effect. But what are the church regulations about this?

Also, I remember playing Joseph when I was young in a play on Christmas Eve mass alongside the Gospel. Are these two examples of different nature? Are they allowed?

I’m sure benedictgal or one of the others will be along soon and can post the actual documents that speak to what you experienced.

But I’m almost certain that liturgical dancing is not allowed during the Mass. I don’t nurture a fiery hatred toward the Catholic charismatic movment like some people do, but I will say the story you posted is not at all uncommon and it’s why I avoid charismatic Masses or prayer services.

A year or so ago a good friend of mine (a Protestant) dragged me a charismatic/evangelic healing service. It was your typical Praise & Worship service, with a lot of people getting caught up “in the Spirit” and dancing around, spinning, hugging random strangers next to them, erupting in fits of “holy laughter” and the list goes on and on. The preacher was a famous figure in the evangelical Cherismatic movement. A couple people (myself included) didn’t participate in the “party” and the preacher made several veiled references to us and the “religious spirit” that was surely afflicting us. Anyhow, at one point, my good friend took my hand and tried to pull me into some odd circle-dance thing. I told her “No thanks…I’m Catholic, we don’t dance!” lol

The Penitential Rite should not have been replaced. Can you elaborate on the second point? Are you talking about the final blessing? Was it similar to the longer blessing during the Easter season?

Dancing(in our culture) and Christmas pageants shouldn’t take place during mass, not allowed.

Re: Claire

I don’t particularly hate charismatics. My personal opinion is that, where there are the Eucharist, there are unity. That’s why I think that although charismatic Catholics and some evangelical Protestants worship in much the same way, their fundamental difference is infinite.

But yeah I definitely share your attitude as a speculator for the whole thing… It is just so weird!!

Re: Spirithound

It was a weekday mass. Does that make any differences on the Penitential Rite issue?

About the second point, it happened before the final blessing, and the priest invited those who lived in the community last year, and ask people to come up, lay their hands on them and pray for them. then did the same with those who are moving in. There were much oral prayer and a bit of “speaking in tongue”. And no it was nothing like the longer blessings that we get during the Easter period.

Re: Claire again~ (from DE)

Are there church documents/regulations to support your reply? I actually am pretty sure it is not allowed, but didn’t want to point my finger at anyone without knowing exactly what I am talking about… Also, there weren’t any dancing in my incident.

About nativity play… does it help to point out that we still used the gospel? Merely that we had children dressed up and walking around in the church acting out the reading? Oh I wish it was allowed, after all it was only once a year at most… ;p


On a completely unrelated topic, can anyone tell me about the nature of charisma aka grace? I am pretty sure that charisma and signs are given to accompany their ministry, ie the nature of grace is not for the person(s) processing it but those around them. Last week I heard a different “interpretation”, describing speaking in tongue as a grace for that particular person “to say to God in prayer what language cannot describe”. Any thoughts?

Well the charisms of the Holy Spirit (tongues, prophesy, etc.) are thought to be gifts of the Holy Spirit for specific people, but yeah the entire congregation would also be thought to be blessed as well.

Maybe I’m not understanding the question…? But I know that speaking in tongues for instance is not a conduit of grace in the same way the sacraments are. The late Dr. William Marra recorded a great talk about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the fallacy of the “8th Sacrament” that many of these groups believe in. Namely, they believe that a certain form (gathering together in prayer, tongues, holding hands or music, swaying, etc.) is effecacious of a certain kind of grace. That’s a sacramental concept that is innapropriately applied to Charismatic worhsip.

Hope that makes sense. If anyone would like to hear the talk send me a PM and I can send you an mp3 of it.

The Rites of the Church, specifically as they pertain to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, should not be amended.

According to Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ’s faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ’s faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of “secularization” as well.31

RS also notes that:

[59.] The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy.

While it does not specifically make any references to the Penitential Rite, it is understood that it covers the entire gamut of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Furthermore, the Penitiential Rite has three options, none of which include any sort of dancing.

As far as dancing is concerned, there is no tradition in the West that calls for this kind of activty to occur. Unless you are in a community established in some indigenous missionary land where dance is common to the natives of the territory (i.e., Aztec Indians, African tribes, Aborigines, etc), this should not be occuring within the confines of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Holy See has made that perfectly clear.

Regarding the issue of the Christmas play imbedded within the Gospel, this is also highly ilicit:

[63.] Within the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, the reading of the Gospel, which is “the high point of the Liturgy of the Word”,139 is reserved by the Church’s tradition to an ordained minister.140 Thus it is not permitted for a layperson, even a religious, to proclaim the Gospel reading in the celebration of Holy Mass, nor in other cases in which the norms do not explicitly permit it.141

It is interesting to note that the Church does not allow for things like the Passion Play to usurp the proclamation of the Lord’s Passion, either on Palm Sunday or Good Friday:

  1. The passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is, by three persons who take the part of Christ, the narrator, and the people. The passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers. In the latter case, the part of the Christ should be reserved to the priest.

Thus, there are no allowances for plays to take place alongside the Gospel.

About nativity play… does it help to point out that we still used the gospel? Merely that we had children dressed up and walking around in the church acting out the reading? Oh I wish it was allowed, after all it was only once a year at most… ;p

The problem with the OP’s line of thinking, as I see it, is that if we are not moved by the actual text of the Gospel and need some sort of visual aid, then we have not really grasped the meaning of the story laid out before us. If the proclamation of the Good News does not move our hearts, then we have lost sight of why we are at Mass in the first place. Plays are great outside the confnes of the Mass, but, they have no place in the Holy Sacrifice.

Thanks for replying and pointing us to the right document!

in Redemptionis Sacramentum it also saids

[70.] The offerings that Christ’s faithful are accustomed to present for the Liturgy of the Eucharist in Holy Mass are not necessarily limited to bread and wine for the eucharistic celebration, but may also include gifts given by the faithful in the form of money or other things for the sake of charity toward the poor. Moreover, external gifts must always be a visible expression of that true gift that God expects from us: a contrite heart, the love of God and neighbour by which we are conformed to the sacrifice of Christ, who offered himself for us. For in the Eucharist, there shines forth most brilliantly that mystery of charity that Jesus brought forth at the Last Supper by washing the feet of the disciples. In order to preserve the dignity of the Sacred Liturgy, in any event, the external offerings should be brought forward in an appropriate manner. Money, therefore, just as other contributions for the poor, should be placed in an appropriate place which should be away from the eucharistic table.[150] Except for money and occasionally a minimal symbolic portion of other gifts, it is preferable that such offerings be made outside the celebration of Mass.

in that mass i described there was also a offering of our name tags, i think it refers to offering ourselves etc etc. later on we each pick up a name tag and we are meant to pray for that person afterwards.

to stretch the meaning a little bit, prayer is an act of charity for people when they experience spiritual poverty… (i dont even know what i am saying) and it was occational. so… yes? no? any thoughts?

Actually, the offering of name tags is also highly ilicit, since the only items that should be brought up are the bread, wine and the collection, as previously indicated in Redemptionis Sacramentum. This kind of an innovation is not good, even if it were made with the best of intentions.

Let me give you an example. My parochial vicar, when planning the White Mass for healthcare workers, had to put the kibosh on an idea from the doctors for the offertory procession. They wanted ot bring up a model of a brain, a stethescope and other medical implements. Based on RS, my PV killed the idea and put his foot down and said no.

Praying for the intentions of others is always a good thing, but, it should be done in a manner that is consistent with what the rubrics of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass require. We are not called to be creative with the Mass; we are called to humbly receive what has been given to us.

hmm, I have seen that once. when I was working in the mental ward after they handed out the daily meds. the doctors told me to stand back and give them room until the meds kick in…

I heard someplace of a rather traditional bishop visiting one of his more advanced parishes. Someone didn’t get the word and allowed a dancer in the mass. At the conclusion of the dance the bishop told the celebrant, “If she asks for your head on a silver platter, she’s got it.” :smiley:

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