Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A friend notes, "Still a long way to go" at Westminster Cathedral.


A makeshift altar was set up in front of the sanctuary, in the nave of the Cathedral, on a raised platform.
Yep, we can tell.

Ah yes. A children's liturgy. You can tell by how cheap and idiotic everything looks. 'Cause you know, children are stupid and can't grasp or appreciate things like Palestrina. Give the kids a balloon and a rickety folding table but whatever you do, don't make it look or sound like something serious or real.

Bishop John Arnold, who reminded the children during his homily that God was all around them and inside each of them.

He demonstrated this by inviting them all to breathe in and out, saying that God was in each breath.

Children were invited to write a word on a paper brick which represented what they would like to change about the future.

One child said "family" another said "hope" and another "trust" and another "justice"
[No coaching on these from teachers, of course]. The bricks were used by the children to build a wall before the altar, which was designed to symbolise the foundations their faith provides for the building of their future and the future of the world.


When I was a kid, I was always deeply offended at the sight of anything that looked like adults "dumbing" down the world for me. I took exception every time we went out to eat and I was offered the kiddies' menu. I could never understand the need for "children's" versions of dictionaries or cook books.

6 comments:

agellius said...

Several years ago on Palm Sunday our parish liturgy director had the novel idea of playing a recording of a heartbeat throughout the reading of the Passion. My wife and I looked at each other with puzzled expressions -- what's the point of this? But when the reading reached the point where Jesus dies on the Cross, the heartbeat suddenly stopped. Ohhh, I get it! The heartbeat was played for ten minutes so we could have this Big Dramatic Moment when it stops. See, this makes Jesus' death Real to us.

It was extremely distracting, and while it was going on my 7-year-old son whispered to my wife, "That's so annoying!".

Hilary writes, "Give the kids a balloon and a rickety folding table but whatever you do, don't make it look or sound like something serious or real."

Exactly. On Holy Thursday of another year our liturgy director had another new and novel (and therefore good of course) idea, which was to display the Eucharist in a glass bowl sitting on top of a faux bronze cylinder with an electric light inside, so that the light would shoot up through the top of the cylinder and into the glass bowl. Very dramatic, you see.

The cylinder was set up in the middle of a bunch of potted plants, which in turn were surrounded by folding chairs in the school auditorium. So that when people came to adore the Eucharist we could also sit in a circle and look at each other.

In the car on the way home, my other son, who at this time was also about 7, said, "I felt like it was just bread and we were all just pretending." Which is what happens when you get all theatrical about things: you make people feel like they're play-acting. Our children feel like fools and can't wait to be grown up so they can abandon this childishness.

DP said...

It's a lousy analogy, but the only one I can come up with:

When I was growing up, Bugs Bunny was always my favorite cartoon because I *didn't* get all the references and jokes. Something Witty was going on before me, and one day I knew I'd understand and appreciate it more. And now I do.

It's like when I explain to my kids the symbolism at a church, that the building is oriented on a east-west axis for a reason, who the saints are in the stained glass, that the metal used in the chalice is gold so it won't tarnish, what the reliquary is--they don't grasp it fully, and won't for years. But they know it is important and worthy of respect nonetheless.

Lucille said...

I remember as a teen how much I hated magazines marketed towards teen girls. I would gravitate towards news magazines, National Geographic, and other such materiel.

N. Trandem said...

I have the same reactions you do, but I have grown to realize that the vast majority of humanity likes their experiences to be at about a 6-year old level. Those few who are intellectually beyond the 6-yr-old level still desire the dumbing down for themselves and others out of a sense of egalitarianism. Egalitarian infantilism is the "norm" these days, and is especially prevalent in the clergy.

Louise said...

I have grown to realize that the vast majority of humanity likes their experiences to be at about a 6-year old level.

Yes, that explains it. I have often thought that people like doing "kiddy" stuff for themselves (and their "Creativity" etc).

I didn't like it as a child, either.

The young fogey said...

You know it's in England because the vestments are better than in the States.

When I was a kid, I was always deeply offended at the sight of anything that looked like adults "dumbing" down the world for me. I took exception every time we went out to eat and I was offered the kiddies' menu. I could never understand the need for "children's" versions of dictionaries or cook books.

Same.