Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Liturgy as P.F. Chang's

The Hispanic Mass. The multicultural liturgy for Pentecost. The diversity of song and dance for the contemporary Mass. Catholics in America have become used to "festive" liturgies and other ways that highlight the global family we are.
Danza! Danza! Danza!
When I was in seminary, it seemed that monthly we'd have a cultural Mass with afterwards, no kidding, a dinner highlighting the central culture's food..Among the kultur-Masses was an African Mass (which is a continent, by the way), a German Mass, a Chinese Mass, and a very ill-advised African-American Mass which had our rector intoning the Mass parts in a vaudeville baritone.
Hip young priest celebrates Mass in Kinte Cloth reflecting his heritage...emm...broadmindedness.
I'm not a fan of multicultural. It's silly. But I usually don't say much about the silliness because it's sort of the thing to do and I may come off as sort of a xenophobe. Which I may be. But the silly?

I'm more confident in the silliness now after reading this article Sunday.

Professor Haley's book
This USM professor, Andrew Haley, provokes the reader to think of how all this multicultural food appeared and what does it say about our tastes (pun intended) as a culture? Well, it says we're middle class! Which is not a bad thing to be culturally. But awful as THE BRIDE OF CHRIST! The Church should not be reflective of any social  "taste" or "trend" nor should she  be "middle" anything. But I am afraid we have become very middle (and slipping).

The love of all things diverse is obvious. Just look at the excitement "anglos" have over the Guadalupe Fiestas of last week. That's not about our faith. It's about being entertained culturally. Or feeling very cosmopolitan but not having to travel. Haley says this in the article that has some good value to the way we think of our Liturgies and Mass:

"I would argue that in the 19th century American culture is shaped by upper class elite taste, whereas in the 20th century the middle class has come to define how we eat, the music we listen to, the way we dress," Haley said.It's also changed the food landscape of places like our very own Hattiesburg. Ever wonder why you have your pick of Thai, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Chinese and Italian restaurants in the heart of a Southern city?"

Haley goes on to say that the restaurants don't exist for the cultures that produced the food but for the middle class, largely white people, who desire the exotic tastes. Sound familiar?

The book is called "Turning the Tables". Interesting title in context. Maybe our tables need to be turned..back and our culture as Catholics be put in the class we deserve.