Thursday, April 5, 2012

"What is up with leftists and giant papier-mâché puppets of doom?"

I ask myself that question at least three times a day.

And so does Christopher Johnson over at Bad Vestments, a site that I have not visited in a long time, more's the pity. Really hilarious stuff. Think "Cake Wrecks" but on liturgical vestments.

Update: quot. by Christopher Johnson (who, BTW, is not Catholic)...
You see them all the time in secular leftist demonstrations and I sort of understand using them there. Well, no, actually, I don't. If you want to convince me to back your cause, looking as stupid as you possibly can is no way to go about it.
But I really don't understand using them in church. Do these people seriously believe that people like me are going to take one look at ridiculous displays like this and think, "Jeepers, are these people spiritual!! Maybe they're right and I'm wrong."


  1. So, what you're saying Mrs Pinkerton, is that after 2000 years of Catholicism, there is only one true way to celebrate our faith? With all due respect,I find the most beautiful aspect of our faith is not its liturgy, but its Diversity.
    Yes, there are liturgical 'violations' in our day and age, but that's because people are experimenting with the richness of this diverse faith. I say all power to them! Especially if they do bring people in the pews. Even in the picture you posted...not only is it all young people, it's all women!! We live in an age were many young women are very alienated from our Church, so personally, I find the picture you posted very comforting.

    IF what you're advocating for is a pre vatican 2 Church that strictly watches over the faithful,then what you're advocating for is a Church on the brink of extinction. There are many out there -myself included- who never would have returned to this Church if it wasn't for Vatican 2 and the openness it generated.

    Furthermore, I feel that your comment neglects to consider the diversity of the more universal Church as well.Were you to go to mass in Jamaica, would you be disturbed about the usage of drums and tamtams during Mass? How about on our native reserves in Canada. If you went to a mass there, you'd see how smudging and (again) drumming are prominent part of the mass. Would that perturb you?

    It shouldn't. I say, thanks be to God that we have an eclectic Church community that does things differently and challenges the tradition without discarding it.

    But, I'm willing to admit that you may be right in some aspects. Some of the liturgical experimentation is problematic. But this is not one of them. This is young people expressing their love for the Lord in a creative way. There are no liturgical violations here...and there is nothing 'leftist' about this. It's youthful, it's creative, and it's even prayerful.

    These are my thoughts for you today.
    I hope I didn't offend you.
    Blessings on your living journey with Christ.

  2. No, Dan, you certainly did not offend me. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I have re-read my post, but I cannot find the part where I said there was only one true way to celebrate our faith. Which by the way, can include many venues besides Mass. At kids' events, youth retreats, prayer meetings, go puppets! A friend of mine even attended a women's retreat where the speaker went around to all the tables and invited the participants to "speak their pain" to a puppet of St. Therese of Lisieux, which she wore on one of her hands. I truly hope it was therapeutic for all involved. I would prefer the confessional, personally.

    Aesthetically, I think giant paper puppets are, frankly, ugly, and therefore inappropriate for use at Catholic Masses, which should always be beautiful and sublime, regardless of cultural context. And I know how joyful-crazy those Masses can be. Not only do I own a television (Fr. Barron's "Catholicism" series--booyah!) but in our very own humble diocese we are priveleged to be served by priests from all over the world. I happen not to like bongo drums or burlap banners; other folks dislike realistic statues and Chant. Thankfully, when it comes to liturgy, personal taste does not trump Vatican directives--which ought to (but sadly doesn't) prevent the loonier forms of church art and liturgical "experimentation."

    Oh, and the church is FULL of beautiful vibrant, faith-filled young women in love with Christ. Have you heard of Face to Face Ministries, Catholic Christian Outreach, Communion and Liberation, for starters? The photo above is of people who are still (yawn) hankering after women's ordination. The Church has spoken on that score. Hence the (yes, rather flippant) use of the word "leftist". And by the way, I was quoting Mr. Johnson not only in my use of that word, but also in the two-paragraph comment which follows the picture, and which you mistakenly attributed to me. On this blog, when a block quotation appears in bolds, and is indented, it means it has come from the linked source, which I presume you did not follow. Perhaps that's an indication that I need to be more careful in clarifying which words are mine and which are not. So thank you for helping us improve our blog!

    Have a blessed Triduum and Eastertide. Our youth choir (in which all of my girls sing, despite my personal aversion to most songs by Haugenhaas), will be singing for Sunday Mass, and they will likely use bongo drums.

    Peace out.

    1. Thanks for your equally thoughtful response!
      I guess I've heard enough 'Conservative' Catholics (most of them hate the label, but I still use it because it's a reality of the Church today) argue something similar to what you were arguing, so I implied the conclusion that you were saying there can be only one way to celebrate the faith (something many of my more conservative friends would argue). My apologies. And no, I didn't follow the link to Mr Johnson's site...I guess I like to focus on one blog at a time. Thanks for clarifying which quotes were his!
      Although I don't necessarily always agree with the Women's ordination movement in the Church (there's only so much anti Vatican talk I can put up with after a while!), I don't think it's necessarily leftist, nor is it always a bad thing. Whether we like it or not, there are women out there who have a call to follow Christ as an ordained priest, but who at the same time, love this Church so much, that unlike many of their sisters who have left the Church to become Anglican or Protestant ministers, they stick to their guns. For better or worse. Personally, I appreciate their presence. They have great things to contribute to the world and are eager to do so as Catholics, and I see them as my sisters in Christ, even if the Vatican disapproves of them.
      Finally, I don't deny that there are many young women in the Church, but as a Jesuit, I encounter just as many who are bitter and alienated by it (the more liberal type of Catholic seem to like hanging around us alot!), and I can't ignore their voices. I usually try to engage them in dialogue, as I have you, to help them see that everything is not so black and white...that if the Church were 'anti woman' we wouldn't have so many women working as ministers in our parishes, nor would we have any women at all in the pews every Sunday.
      I guess that's my life's engage people, learn from them, but also hopefully make them see that nothing is ever as black and white as we claim.
      I Chose to see God in all things (my shout out to St Ignatius, the man I call Igy!), from the Vatican to the women activists that want to bring new life into the Church. And as you argued, there is already tremendous life in the Church. We can't deny that. But nor can we say that it's perfect or that it speaks to everyone. This is why the Church has changed so much over the milleniums, and why it will continue to change.
      I just pray that the next generation of changes will come from both, the vatican, and the people.

  3. Yes, labels are not ideal, but they are succinct and convenient—as long as everyone retains a sense of perspective / humour (and tries one’s best not to descend to being uncharitable, which I certainly do from time to time). But we must remember that no one can really be boxed completely into a stereotype. All evangelization (and the dialogue which must facilitate it) is built on a relationship with a complex human being.

    With all respect, Dan, the Church does speak to everyone. But some of us are not listening--and I include many on the conservative side of the spectrum: how else to describe practicing Catholics who think torture--pardon me!-- "enhanced interrogation" is OK. Salvation in Christ is indeed offered to all. We either believe in the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit and submit to the Church's authority, or we go down the path of disunity (50,000 denominations and counting of our separated brethren?).

    I know you did not use the word, but many people indeed do FEEL bitter and alienated by the Church. We cannot entirely discount feelings (Dr. Alice von Hildebrand has written a theologically sound and compelling essay in their defence) but nor can we base our lives or actions on them. The truth is what matters. Do we believe the Church is ordained by Christ to speak that Truth, or do we not? If so, are we prepared to follow that Truth, not matter how inconvenient or unappealing it is?

    It’s a little ironic that some progressives* (for lack of a better word) often tout diversity whilst failing to practice it, in that they dismiss or shout down with slogans, those who disagree with them. (*I hesitate to use the word ‘liberal’, because its traditional, and sadly now-defunct, meaning is “open-minded and generous”—and incredibly enough, there are conservatives who fit that description.)

    Another reader commented to me privately by email, and she made a good point, which I will share with you, not intending to deride you in any way, but only inviting you to examine your own language (and presumptions). She found it interesting that you told me how I “should” feel (ie. not perturbed) by the way different cultures celebrate the Mass. Not to be sarcastic, but nothing quite says diversity like someone telling you that your own reactions are not valid. Would it surprise you to hear that I would be perturbed if someone told me I had to wear a lace veil in order to celebrate Mass? Who gets to decide whose feelings are correct? I’m glad that in the end, feelings don’t ultimately matter. I’m also glad that there are norms and rubrics and that someone else is gifted/burdened with determining what they are. As a laywoman, it is my job to evangelize in my sphere of influence, not play tug-of-war with Father in the sacristy.

    My friend ended her email saying: “Anyway, God bless him. It's good when people can disagree without using expletives.”

    I agree, and I’m very glad you chose to comment on our blog.

    “I just pray that the next generation of changes will come from both, the vatican, and the people.”

    Amen, brother! Your prayer will be answered. The Holy Spirit infallibly guides the Church; the laity will transform the world by living the faith and taking the Gospel to the marketplace. Christ will triumph. No one, clergy or lay, can ‘put one over’ on God. Sin and confusion sometimes derail us, but the Church sallies on through the millennia. And so she will until the end of time. We have Christ’s word on it—gates of hell not prevailing and so forth. Trust the Holy Spirit.

    I will keep you in my prayers this Triduum, and I hope you will do the same for me. God bless!

  4. Happy Easter to the housewives! I hope it was a season of great renewal of the spirit and being re-energized in Christ's gift of love.

    I shall at some point respond to this post, but for the time being, I will only say that I was very careful with my choice of words..but as it turns out, I will have to defend it. And defend it I shall,once my papers are done -in about a week's time!-.
    In the meantime, have a blessed continuation in your Easter journey. May you and your family
    celebrate the fact that we are an Easter People every day of this blessed holy season!!

    hope, love and peace to you all!

    Brother D

    1. I will jump into the conversation to say thank you for the Easter greetings and to wish you a happy and blessed Easter season, too. God be with you as you write your papers.