Los Angeles and Liturgical Inversion

Our Lady of the Angels Sanctuary

A few months ago the Archdiocese of Los Angeles offered its annual “Celebration of Cultures Mass” in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This annual occurrence sadly illustrates that anthropocentric and desacralized liturgy is alive and well in southern California.

Celebrating Ourselves

The Mass began with “the rapid fire sound of pounding drums, which seemed to bounce off the earth-tone high walls” followed by “yellow and red fabricated lions, with two agile males under each, lead(ing) the procession with the Chinese Dragon Dance…their ancient mission…to chase away evil spirits”. (The Tidings Online, October 4, 2013).

The priest celebrant was Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar, with bishop emeritus Roger Cardinal Mahony in choir. Bishop Salazar shared the following observations during his homily:

“What a great symbol we are to one another…and what a beautiful sign we make.”

“So as we gather to be nourished and celebrate the great gift of God’s diversity…”

“Let us ask the Lord to help each one of us to realize how important we are…with respect for each other’s customs and cultures, traditions and backgrounds.”

Hearing such statements should cause us to pause. After all, isn’t the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass an offering to God the Father? When did the Mass become an opportunity for the community to celebrate itself?

In this rush to celebrate diversity and multi-culturalism the Church has embraced the secular notion of identity. Who we are by birth has now become more important than what we profess by faith. Too often the focus at Mass has shifted away from God and has instead been directed onto the community itself.

Diversity at the Expense of Unity

Further contributing to this is the nearly exclusive use of the vernacular within the Mass. Later in his homily Bishop Salazar noted that 42 different languages are spoken in the Los Angeles archdiocese, which is comprised of 287 parishes, making it one of the largest and most diverse diocese in the United States.

In many dioceses today one may encounter masses in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Polish, Italian, Hmong, Tagalog, Portuguese and many more languages. What we now have is diversity celebrated but at the expense of unity, with the balkanization of the Church through these specific language masses.

In all of her wisdom, Holy Mother Church has given extensive direction in the past on the need, as well as the benefit, of celebrating Holy Mass in the universal language of the Church, Latin.

In the encyclical Mediator Dei, Venerable Pope Pius XII noted that, the “use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity…”

Blessed Pope John XXIII noted in the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia that “the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society…it is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic and non-vernacular.”

Amazingly, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with 42 languages spoken in its 287 parishes, has only 3 parishes currently offering a weekly Traditional Latin Mass, with a fourth offered at a local Catholic college.

It is unfortunate that the archdiocese with its annual Celebration of Cultures Mass fails to recognize or celebrate the very culture and liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite itself.

Below is video from the Celebration of Cultures Mass in 2012. For those who love beautiful liturgy, viewer discretion is advised.

Posted on December 31, 2013, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Nauseating. On a related note, watch the following video on YouTube:

    The “New Springtime” of Vatican II at the Taj Mahony

  2. Wow! Did you watch the whole show (and I do mean show)? If you did, you’re made of stronger stuff than I.

    • Terry,

      In full disclosure…no. I couldn’t hang in there. Just too painful…which is very sad indeed. The Church will suffer and our efforts at evangelization will fail if our worship of God isn’t right. The Mass as a “celebration of us” has devastated the Lord’s vineyard for over 40 years. Los Angeles still doesn’t get it apparently.

  3. Your comments are apropos though your attitude is kinda cocky.

  4. I am not gonna watch that stupid video. I’ve already seen enough of this garbage to last two lifetimes. May God have mercy on their souls.

  5. Ugh. I went to a Sunday Mass recently where the priest asked everyone to come up, stand around the altar in a circle, and hold hands. I was the only person who refused to budge from my pew – but everyone else went up, and stood (holding hands) the entire time that he did the consecration. Enough with the liturgical abuse.

  6. How does this happen? It makes me ill to read some of these things. How do Bishops allow churches with no kneelers, tabernacles that cannot be seen, lack of reverence for sacred objects and Eucharistic abuses?

    • All good questions. I believe that many Catholics, both clergy and laity alike, still don’t understand the importance of the Mass. Formation and catechesis has been nearly universally horrific. Hopefully more will seek to learn from the lessons our pope emeritus was teaching us for his 8 year pontificate. The Mass matters. Sacred Music matters. Sacred architecture matters. Orthodoxy isn’t optional.
      God bless!

  7. Reclaiming the Sacred, if you really want to reclaim the sacred, forever renounce ever again attending another Novus Ordo service.

  8. Also, regarding the novel “Ordinary/Extraordinary Form” terminology, search the net for this essay:

    If It’s Just the “Extraordinary Form” What Do You Expect? by Louis Tofari

    The following essay is also most enlightening:

    The Oath Against Modernism vs. the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’ by John Vennari

    And go to YouTube and watch the following 14 part series of videos:

    Bp. Fellay on the Crisis in the Church

    Be sure there to read the description under the first video.

    Oh, also search for this great essay:

    Gnostic Twaddle by Christopher Ferrara

  9. Early in my conversion, I was blessed enough to land in a parish that reverently celebrated the Ordinary Form: Latin hymns and chant, servers in cassocks and surplices, weekly incense, orthodox homilies, central tabernacle, etc. Not ad orientem, but worship was clearly focussed on God and not the priest nor congregation. Can’t say the same was/is true for all the parishes in our diocese. We’re not fully recovered from the 1970s, but we’re farther ahead than most on the west coast. Vancouver leads the way in sober theology and sensible liturgies.

    Re: “Liturgical Inversion”—great work exposing triumphalist anthropocentric narcissistic look-at-me liturgy!

    “What a great symbol we are to one another…and what a beautiful sign we make.”—pretty much says all that needs to be said, eh?

  10. Sigh, selective quoting at its finest. If you’re going to quote, at least use the full quote. Unity in diversity, just like Pope Francis has said, “uniformity kills.”

    “And we come from all different parts of the world,” he declared. “What a great symbol we are to one another. And what a beautiful sign we make. If we could take a snapshot from the top of the cathedral looking down, we would see this colorful gathering of peoples forming a living cross….

    “And yet we realize that we are only a portion of the body of Christ. Also decorating the cathedral walls are men and women from all different nations who are a temple of the Lord. [John Nava’s tapestries represent the Communion of Saints, with figures of the apostles and martyrs mixed with ordinary individuals.] And what they are, we want to be. So as we gather to be nourished and celebrate the great gift of God’s diversity, and God’s presence in our diversity, then we also realize that we are truly made one by the body of Christ.”

    “It’s bringing in tradition,” she said. “It’s giving them tradition.”


    • Thank you for your comment Jane. The quotes referenced stand on their own. The “Celebration of Cultures Mass” sums it up, as does the 2012 video. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has instead been offered as a celebration of the community, an anthropocentric liturgy. I stand by that assessment. I sincerely hope and pray that a true understanding of Christocentric worship is recovered.

      Celebration of the diversity of the Church, and in this instance the LA Archdiocese specifically, is a good thing. A festival, a procession, a praise and worship service…all fantastic. Sincerely. The Mass…not the right time to celebrate ourselves.

      Thank you again for reading the post, the original Tidings article and for your comment.

      God bless!

  11. Once I hit “publish” on my blog awards post, I realized that I wasn’t finished. As we begin the new year, I’d like to give you 3 awards in appreciation for your wonderful, faithful blog. Details here: http://8kidsandabusiness.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/better-than-the-oscars/

  12. I know that I am a sinner and not worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus, but watching this mass was very painful.
    I pray for the sole of the bishops present, because what they have turned the mass into may earn them the fires of hell, turning what is supposed to be holy into irreverent spectacle.

    1. The mass is diluted & attacked from within.
    2. Exchanging holy hymns for rock & role music from hell, (the father of hymn “ST EPHRAM” must be turning in his grave).
    3. Parade of cultures = earthly authority NOT God.
    4. None clergy present on the alter floor, (especially alter girls behind the bishop seat).
    5. People all over the alter space without any respect to who is on it.
    6. Bishops accepting alter girls on the holy alter of God = step toward women priest.
    7. Bishop encouraging & applauding himself.
    8. A women carried on a platform carrying a bible = Hawaiian goddess I think ?.
    9. Pop performance by a singer for over 10 minuets worthy of a nightclub.
    10. Mariachi band singing hymn I suppose ?, totally NOT appropriate.
    11. The entire set up of the church & alter is like a theater auditorium, no separation between the celebrant & the people.
    12. Handing out both species as if a consecrated host dose not contain the full divinity of our lord.
    13. None consecrated souls co-celebrating mass with the priests & bishops.
    14. This mass looked like a Billy Graham event.
    15. The roman catholic mass has become a venue for musical talents, in this mass and in most churches, the dreaded so called “contemporary mass”.

    I could go on, the problem is that no one cares or wants to listen.

  13. E. Maria Villasenor

    Totally ugly, ugly ugly! If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought this to be a secular building. Its far from looking like a Catholic church! One World Government and, ONE WORLD Religion coming up folks and it ain’t gonna be pretty!

  14. Did you see the Vietnamese martyrs mass today?? Sad, very sad.

  15. Arthur P. Bourgeois

    You conservatives, get off the planet! Relax, and celebrate human culture in church or elsewhere.

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