Having culture in the mass


I’m Samoan and I have grown up attending Mass in my mother tongue. On special occasions, when our community celebrates a certain feast day, the Mass is somewhat intertwined with our Culture into the Holy Mass. When I spoke to a Priest, he said that when our Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u (May he Rest in Peace) spoke with the Pope, we were granted an indult.
I LOVE my culture, but I don’t necessarily see why it should be in the Mass. Not that it’s not beautiful, it just doesn’t necessarily feel right.

Hope someone has some insight into this or some docs I can read up on in regards to this topic.
God Bless,



I don’t know if there’s a document about it, but Native American Catholic Churches have drumming sometimes, and I think they dance at Masses in Africa.

Not to mention that a lot of Church music is classical (European) in origin.

The Church grows and evolves with the people in it when it comes to worship.



As at Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u 's Funeral Mass @SepeliniM ?

It looks fine to me .

It adds beauty and dignity .



I’m with you OP. How does that one young lady doing her dance enhance the congregation’s worship of God?



It’s a cultural thing.
I don’t see this dance as any less valid than our using the music of Bach and Beethoven in worship.
(Although the Apostles would never have known either cultural tradition)



Or vestments based on fourth and fifth century Byzantine imperial court dress.



So if a young lady got up in Mass, and did a solo dance interpretation of Bach or Beethoven, you’d be totally fine with that too?

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So the fact that these vestments have been used for a millennia and a half has no meaning?

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Symbolic meaning, perhaps.

Cosmic meaning, none at all.

Sorry, but I am not a sucker for argumentum ad antiquitatem.



Does something get more meaningful culturally just because it’s used longer? By that measure, then a cultural dance will get more meaningful if it’s done at Mass for 1000 years, so that’s a good argument for continuing to do it. There wasn’t anything special about choices made in the fifth century.

As for your dancing point, in Europe dance does not have any spiritual overtones and has never had them. In many, many other parts of the world, dance does have spiritual overtones.
When you laugh at the idea of dancing at Mass, you’re very obviously coming from a European outlook. It’s okay to have a preference, but laughing and such seems very disrespectful of both other cultures’ ideas and the decisions of the Church magisterium.



Hmm. I wonder what spiritual overtones Samoan dance has. Is it expressive of the Catholic liturgy?



Have you discussed this with the clergy involved in using it? I would suggest they are better equipped to answer the question than the average person on this forum.

But, I get the impression your mind is made up and you are not interested in discussing so much as continuing to make negative remarks regardless of anyone else’s thoughts on the subject, so this discussion to me is unproductive. Have a nice day, muting.



This short item from the Catechism may be helpful:

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”

It is good if the Mass is intertwined with Samoan culture which long ago prepared Samoans for the Gospel, or which today strengthens the faith of Samoan Christians.

The video posted by @Rob2 shows an Offertory procession, and there are at least two ways to see the good in this.

  • The YouTube member who posted it writes (in his notes) that the dancers are respectfully escorting the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.
  • The Offertory is also the time that we offer ourselves to God, personally and as a community.

I wonder (and perhaps you could elaborate) whether the procession of dancers represents the community and its members offering the bread and wine, and offering their lives in service to God.



The video reminds me of another video (which I cannot find now) of a Mass somewhere in Africa, presided over by Pope Benedict XVI, in which a procession of dancers brought the book of Gospels up to the Sanctuary, with the musical accompaniment of many drummers and singers. It was a beautiful cultural expression of reverence for the Word of God.



One more post (for now). Here is a video of Cardinal Francis Arinze answering questions at a meeting in the US. For several years, he served the Church as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, so he knows what he is talking about. Here he comments on cultural dance and music, when it is appropriate at Mass, and when it is not:

I have set up this YouTube link to start at the beginning of the relevant section, playback time 3:11. I can’t program the ending time, but the question of cultural dance is answered between 3:11 and 5:54.



Aren’t you taling it too far? [quote=“Loud-living-dogma, post:7, topic:545883, full:true”]

So if a young lady got up in Mass, and did a solo dance interpretation of Bach or Beethoven, you’d be totally fine with that too?
[/quote]How on earth was this even suggested? :confused:

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Similar takes place in many cultures. The Church talks about it in Nos. 1204-1206 of the Catechism.



Because the young Samoan lady was dancing, and Scarlett expressed that this is a normal cultural thing at Mass, then she compared it to Bach or Beethoven at Mass. So if she’s okay with Samoan cultural dancing at Mass, why not other cultural dancing at Mass?



I wish I could like this clip more than once! So thorough. Excellent. :two_hearts:



I understood @0Scarlett_nidiyilii to be okay with Samoan cultural dancing in liturgical context during a Mass attended primarily by Samoans in a Samoan parish either in Samoa or in an expatriate Samoan community outside Samoa, not at absolutely any Mass celebrated anywhere in the world.


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