Liturgical dance question

alright question real quick

I went on a youth conference this week well I helped run it but that doesn’t matter

but right before the mass a group probably middle school and high school kids did a liturgical dance but it was over before the procession started meaning it ended before the mass started.

was this wrong for them to do this right before the mass?

another question

if you think its wrong is there ever an instance where liturgical dance is ok, or is it always wrong and should be done away with?

[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman]Cardinal Responds to Questions on Liturgy

Something done before (or after) Mass is actually extra-liturgical, so it is unregulated. In other words, if the pastor desired to do that, there is no regulation that would state otherwise.

As far as DURING Mass, buffalo’s link above addresses that.

Hmmm… if it’s not part of the liturgy, is it really liturgical dance? Non-liturgical performances can be done in churches, but they generally must be religious in nature - here is the exact rule:

Canon 1210
In a sacred place only those things are to be permitted which serve to exercise or promote worship, piety and religion. Anything out of harmony with the holiness the place is forbidden. The Ordinary may, however, for individual cases, permit other uses, provided they are not contrary to the sacred character of the place.

Here is a document from the CDW that covers the general issue of extraliturgical performances.

[quote=catholictiger]if you think its wrong is there ever an instance where liturgical dance is ok, or is it always wrong and should be done away with?

There are a number of places where the Church has adapted local customs for its own use, and incorporated some of these into the mass. This is inculturation. However, most of these places are outside the US.

I think I would rather bash my head into a wall until unconscious, than allow “liturgical dance” in any parish I serve.

Not that I have an opinion on the matter…


Given a European based culture that has no history of sacred dance, there is no reason for “liturgical dance” to exist. Period. Dance in such a culture has been done either for entertainment or eroticism and this cannot translate into something sacred.

The same principal follows for things like using polka music or rock music for Mass.

This may be seen differently by the Church in a place where there IS a history of sacred dance.

I listen to quite a bit of Bott Radio and the pastors there often have full sermons about David’s pitfalls and successes.

I attended services at a protestant denomination and there they were acknowledging how David rejoiced by dancing before the Lord (Ark of the Covenant) in 2 Samual 6:14.

Like David, we sang and clapped, clapped and swayed, etc. etc. etc. but remained fully clothed.

The song was an eternal five minutes long. I wanted to yell out, “Enough about David already.”

What a great, informed and instructive post. Below I will paraphrase something that Pope Benedict wrote in one of his books; it went like this;

Anytime applause breaks out during or after the liturgy you can be sure that reverence for the liturgy has completely dissappeared and has been replaced with a form of religious entertainment.

I can provide the exact reference and quote if anyone is interested. Having said the above, we are tthe purpose of going to mass is to join in the Sacrifice made present and worship God. Entertainment of anykind has no place in the liturgy.

God Bless,

Iowa Mike

I agree that dance outside of a liturgy of some kind can not really be “liturgical”.

The OP does not say where this conference took place. It’s common that Masses at conferences take place in an auditorium rather than in a Church. But such auditoriums are often set up as if they were a church. And again, the OP doesn’t say where the Mass was held.

If it’s in an auditorium, there wouldn’t be any canonical restriction as to what goes on before or after, since it hasn’t been dedicated as a church.

Can. 1214 By the term church is understood a sacred building designated for divine worship to which the faithful have the right of entry for the exercise, especially the public exercise, of divine worship

However, the local bishop might choose to limit that activity as a condition of granting permission for mass to be celebrated in the space.

I love that qoute I read this book as well so much great stuff in it, I remember one night reading it I had to stop every couple of seconds to pick up my jaw off the floor for the amazing points the pope was making and how much since they made.

but back on topic I completely agree with what the pope is saying when you add entertainment into the mass you are taking away from the reverence of the liturgy, just like praise and worship music would, spectacular lighting, guitars, doing different things with your hands that show you are “praising God” examples of this would include maybe putting your hand over your heart and the other one in the air, or spreading them out as far as you can, I could go on all day.

I think a good question to ask all of these people who bring “entertainment” into the mass, if Christ showed up not in the precesnse of Body and Wine but as flesh and blood and looked exactly like us would you act the same way you do in mass would you clap to the beat would you jump up and down to high energy music, and so on and so forth. IF you answer no to any of those questions then you shouldn’t do it in the mass becuase Christ is there present body soul and divinity in the form of bread and wine.

Also I think we need to look how Christ prayed in the Bible and I think we should do our best to imitate our prayer off of his, becuase who better to imitate then God himself who became man.

Be sure to read Pope Benedict’s ‘Light of the World’, nothing short of fantastic.

Any entertainment done in the nave before, during or after mass is just plain wrong. If people want to dance, sing, juggle, put on plays and otherwise demonstrate their talents they should do it in the Church Hall or someplace else. The Nave of the Church must be reserved for worship.

I love the tune ‘Lord of the Dance’. In fact I saw Michael Flately dance to this tune when I lived in Ireland. This catchy little tune was written in 1963 by Sydney Carter and is based on the Shaker tune ‘Simple Gifts’. The Shakers are so named because their bodies shook and trembled in religious devotion. Their name is actually United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing or something like that.

Why anyone in the world would sing this or any other protestant song during a Catholic mass is simply beyond explanation considering that the Catholic Church as the greatest compendium of holy music on the planet. This tune, in and of itself, isn’t meant to stimulate worship but to entertain…and entertain it does that very well.

God Bless,

Iowa Mike

Could you tell me which book is it from? is it Spirit of the Liturgy?

pp 198-199.

Have any of you seen liturgical dance? I’m not saying I’m a great fan, but it is normally done in worship – not for entertainment. What is wrong with doing it outside of the mass?

Given a European based culture that has no history of sacred dance, there is no reason for “liturgical dance” to exist. Period. Dance in such a culture has been done either for entertainment or eroticism and this cannot translate into something sacred.

Not everyone’s ancestors were European, so is it wrong to include elements of other cultures (not during mass), but before or after?

Liturgical Dance

What is erotic about the dance in that video?

Oh by the way, the clapping is done in worship to Christ.

Exodus 15:
19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen[e] went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.”
The Waters of Marah and Elim

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