This week Marty gives you a protracted but organically consistent read, harmonious with previous Rethulian editions. Persevere until the end, and liturgical salvation may be yours.
After the aberrations of the Roman Rite which continue to occur sporadically up at the Auckland Cathedral, and the intolerant injustice of forcing frequenters to participate in liturgical abuses, Marty has done some research into whether a haka may be performed as an honorary concert piece during the celebration of Holy Mass.
Is the show-piece of a loud haka, performed towards the congregation on the steps of the sanctuary, a valid form of liturgical inculturation, or is it cultural festivity which should be kept for other non-liturgical occasions?
Marty, and indeed many of his contemporaries, will agree that Vatican II and other post Conciliar documents have allowed some types of inculturation.
But what is true inculturation in the liturgy?
To answer this difficult question, some discussion is required, as well as the input from several Magisterial documents which will be consulted, named, and quoted.
Firstly, Marty has consulted the NZ GIRM (General Instruction for the Roman Missal in NZ) and the Third Edition of the Roman Missal recently printed by the NZ Bishops Conference (NZCCB). In these official Liturgical Books, which have recognitio (approval) from the Holy See for NZ, there is not a single mention of any such haka-like adaptation for NZ as valid inculturation.
Furthermore, Marty has studied up those sections of the GIRM which refer to inculturation, and has decided to reproduce the pertinent sections here, for all to easily comprehend the mind of the Church in these matters. See further below.
If a haka is a valid cultural adaptation for the liturgy, why is it not mentioned in the NZ GIRM? Surely, if the NZ Bishops considered it an important adaptation, and one that is common place enough to be upheld, they would have asked the Holy See to approve it, so that all can be clear and in the light.
Surely, if the haka has become an integral part of the NZ liturgical landscape, then the NZ Bishops would have sought to have it officially recognised as part of our cultural liturgical scene. The haka has been around for a long time, and the introduction of the new Missal would have been a cunning moment to have this officially inserted into our liturgical books, so as to become a concrete and standardised expression within our NZ Liturgy.
Maybe our Bishops did, and they were rebuffed?
Marty considers this as quite plausible because it is obvious to any reasonably formed Catholic person that the haka is not in harmony with Catholic Liturgy and would be a contamination of the Rite, were it performed as an honorary show-piece in Holy Mass. This isn’t an All Blacks test match after all.
It is quite possible that they were denied permission, as they have often asked for things which are inconsistent with the Catholic Faith; e.g. did not Archbishop Dew request the Holy Father at the Eucharist Synod, to allow remarried divorcees to receive Communion as well as their non-Catholic partners (2005)?; did not Bishop Brown when in Auckland ask for women priests and married priests (1987)?;did not Bishop Campbel lecture the current Holy Father at the Word of God synod, telling him that theater after the Gospel proclamation in Mass is more fruitful than reverent liturgy (2007)?; and apparently did not all of the NZ Bishops personally ask Pope John Paul II at their ad limina visit to allow communion for remarried divorcees in NZ?
Here are the relevant passages on Inculturation for the Liturgy from the NZ GIRM.
The norm established by the Second Vatican Council, namely that in the liturgical renewal innovations should not be made unless required by true and certain usefulness to the Church, nor without exercising caution to ensure that new forms grow in some sense organically from forms already existing, must also be applied to implementation of the inculturation of the Roman Rite as such.
So, any implementation of inculturation must grow organically from already existing forms, and should be introduced with caution. Their addition must also be shown to be truly and absolutely spiritually useful and fruitful for people. Clearly, from an authentic Catholic understanding, a haka does not meet any of these requirements.
Inculturation, moreover, requires a necessary length of time, lest the authentic liturgical tradition suffer hasty and incautious contamination.
Marty thinks that it is clear to any reasonable person that the imposition of a haka within Mass is hasty and incautious. Marty also thinks that it is clear to any reasonable person that a shouted aggressive haka (axiomatic really) performed towards the people on the sanctuary steps during Mass, is a contamination of the Roman Rite, which leads to a diminution of people’s faith and worship.
It distracts people from Jesus, and leads to purely human praise and glory, which in the context of Catholic Liturgy runs the risk of becoming sacrilegious or even blasphemous; because it tends to place human efforts above the work of divine redemption in the liturgy, at the very moment when we should be adoring God for what he has done for us in Christ.
For how long and how often has the haka been aggressively shouted during Holy Mass?
Not very often, Marty would guess; even at Maori language Masses, and only in recent years. The haka at the Auckland Cathedral was a hasty, incautious, and contaminating addition, which is contrary to the Liturgical patrimony of the Western Church; it is at odds with the instructions from the Holy See, and nowhere to be found in any official instructions from the NZCCB. It was introduced solely by the priest there, and the youth organizers.
Finally, the pursuit of inculturation does not have as its purpose in any way the creation of new families of rites, but aims rather at meeting the needs of a particular culture, though in such a way that adaptations introduced either into the Missal or coordinated with other liturgical books are not at variance with the proper character of the Roman Rite.
A haka during Mass and other Maori mihi before Mass, are the false ‘creation of new families of rites’ which, from all outward appearances, have no official approval from the NZCCB, nor the Holy See.
A haka during Mass is at ‘variance with the proper character of the Roman rite’, because it is not organically consistent with the Rite, in its own structure, gestures, and in its words. Neither is the haka theologically consistent with the Rite. The Roman rite is ordered towards the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit; and its actions, gestures, and movements are solemn, sober, modest, and reverent; something very different to the haka, both theologically, and expressively.
An analogy would be inserting a Guns n Roses song into the middle of a Mozart piano piece. It doesn’t fit, either in form, tone, or inspiration. Actually, it’s worse, because at least ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ may lay some claim to being ‘musical'; a haka can have no claim to being ‘liturgical’.
True inculturation meets the needs of a particular culture in their Christian expression, but is not at variance with the proper character of the inherited Christian Liturgy, as received in the Living Tradition and guaranteed for us by the Magisterium.
The Liturgy has particular Christian elements which must be safe-guarded and which are not re-adapted from culture to culture; e.g., Jesus used bread and wine, and in Asia it is not acceptable to use rice and tea. One can’t just add in whatever ritual that one likes to the already established Christian rituals.
So it’s not just a matter of ‘each to their own taste’. It’s about seeing the Holy Spirit at work in the Tradition of the Church, and seeing that He has ordained the Liturgy like this (in the different Rites) because it is consistent with man’s spirit/body and His relationship to God, to worship this way: solemnly, reverently, nobly and humbly.
Some elements of Holy Mass are determined by Christ, some are Apostolic and were set by the Apostles, some develop within the life of the Church in the different liturgical traditions. We now receive this heritage as having been guided by the Holy Spirit.
Any new changes, accretions, or pruning, must be in harmony with what has already grown organically. That is why the authority of the Church has the right to discern and determine which cultural adaptations are good for the liturgy and which are harmful to it. From the GIRM:
And so, the Roman Missal, though in a diversity of languages and with some variety of customs, must in the future be safeguarded as an instrument and an outstanding sign of the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite.
Must be safe-guarded … From what? Haka-like additions which have no official Church approval.
In response to this, so as to attempt to validate the haka and its associated add-ons, some researchers might be tempted to refer to some African offertory processions, and other such dignified and valid inculturations, which have been approved by the Holy See.
Watch what Cardinal Arinze (the previous Prefect of CDWDS) has to say about dance in the Liturgy, and secular music, including the African processions. He makes it clear why these processions are acceptable, how they are not dances, and what is not in accord with the mind of the Church: Cardinal and Dance
Placing a haka after the Gospel, which is shouted and screamed at people sitting in the pews, like a performance, is not, according to the Church’s documents, a valid way of inculturating certain Maori forms to the liturgy.
The haka does not express Christian worship of Christ and, what is more, it is not universally accepted in NZ culture. It’s structure, tone, and gestures are foreign to the true nature and expression of Christian worship; and thus it creates great tension when artificially inserted into the Mass, such that well-formed Catholic people are scandalized, and distracted from the Lord. The haka creates distracting ‘noise’ in Mass.
With these principles in mind, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter The Church in Oceania, said this regarding authentic inculturation for Oceania:
To guide this process, fidelity to Christ and to the authentic Tradition of the Church is required. Genuine inculturation of the Christian faith must always be done with the guidance of the universal Church.
Notice that: ‘…with the guidance of the Universal Church…’ ‘…fidelity to Christ…’ and ‘…to the authentic Tradition…’. Has anybody asked the Holy See whether a haka is ok for Mass? Maybe the NZCCB have done so, and have been told ‘no’ by the Holy See. Maybe they haven’t even asked. I’m not sure which is worse. JPII continues:
While remaining wholly faithful to the spirit of communio, local Churches should seek to express the faith and life of the Church in legitimate forms appropriate to indigenous cultures.
But this does not mean any old form. It means LEGITIMATE forms, consistent with the Faith, and ratified by the Church authorities. Not forms which disturb people, turn them away from Jesus, and turn the liturgy into a distracting spectacle, where they watch others do their artistic dance.
Liturgy is not theatre, nor is it entertainment, nor is it performance, nor is it pantomime.
Liturgy is not a place where people get to dress up, and do performance in front of people. If that has happened, we certainly have entertainment going on, but we also have a type of reverse polluted clericalisation going on, where instead of effeminate priests parading around the sanctuary and ‘posing’ in their nice vestments, enjoying the attention, and drawing everybody to themselves, we now have lay people doing it, but under another form. Cultural plays in the liturgy are a new type of narcissism in the liturgy, drawing people away from Jesus and towards performers in the sanctuary.
Cultural dances in Mass could well be a new type of ‘clericalisation of the laity’. Not clericalisation, where lay people wrongly try to do true priestly things, but where lay people are being encouraged to copy false and corrupt egotistical priestly distortions. JPII again:
New expressions and forms should be tested and approved by the competent authorities. Once approved, these authentic forms of inculturation will better enable the peoples of Oceania to experience in their own way the abundant life offered by Jesus Christ.
Tested and approved. Has a haka been properly tested? Has it been approved by the NZCCB or the Congregation for Divine Worship? As noted above, I would have thought that the new GIRM for NZ would have contained any of these approvals, had they been approved.
Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis made it clear that the Roman Rite is supra-cultural:
The Synod of Bishops was able to evaluate the reception of the renewal in the years following the Council. There were many expressions of appreciation. The difficulties and even the occasional abuses which were noted, it was affirmed, cannot overshadow the benefits and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are yet to be fully explored. Concretely, the changes which the Council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities.
No artificial discontinuities: … haka = artificial; haka = discontinuity.
In 1994, the CDWDS put out a particular guide for Inculturation, called Varietates Legitimae:
Innovations should only be made when the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing. ‘This norm was given in the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium in relation to the restoration of the liturgy, and it also applies, in due measure, to the inculturation of the Roman rite. In this field changes need to be gradual and adequate explanation given in order to avoid the danger of rejection or simply an artificial grafting onto previous forms.
This document also said:
The process of inculturation <u>should maintain the substantial unity of the Roman rite</u>. This unity is currently expressed in the typical editions of liturgical books, published by authority of the supreme pontiff and in the liturgical books approved by the episcopal conferences for their areas and confirmed by the Apostolic See. The work of inculturation does not foresee the creation of new families of rites; inculturation responds to the needs of a particular culture and leads to adaptations which still remain part of the Roman rite.
Adaptations of the Roman rite, even in the field of inculturation, depend completely on the authority of the Church. This authority belongs to the Apostolic See, which exercises it through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; it also belongs, within the limits fixed by law, to episcopal conferences and to the diocesan bishop. No other person, not even if he is a priest, may on his own initiative add, remove or change anything in the liturgy. Inculturation is not left to the personal initiative of celebrants or to the collective initiative of an assembly.
Let me repeat that… ‘No other person, not even if he is a priest, may on his own initiative add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy…’
So, it is obvious that the priest-celebrant, nor the youth office, has any right to impose a haka on the liturgy up at the Auckland Cathedral (or anywhere else, for that matter); nor may they subject Mass goers to such personal whims and cultural performances.
Also worth considering in these matters, is Redemptionis Sacramentum:
Finally, it is strictly to be considered an abuse to introduce into the celebration of Holy Mass elements that are contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books and taken from the rites of other religions.
Placing a haka into the Mass, as an honorary celebration, which almost always results in applause, is certainly the introduction of elements which are contrary to the liturgical books, contrary to the liturgical rite, contrary to authentic worship, contrary to Christian spirituality, contrary to the NZCCB, and contrary to the Holy See.
Regarding dance in the liturgy (the haka is a type of war dance, even if it is a way of showing honour; it’s aggressive), and the often resulting pew-sitter applause, Cardinal Ratzinger, in discerning what causes it, had this to say in his book Spirit of the Liturgy:
Dancing is not a form of expression for the Christian liturgy. In about the third century, there was an attempt in certain Gnostic-Docetic circles to introduce it into the liturgy. For these people, the Crucifixion was only an appearance…dancing could take the place of the liturgy of the Cross, because, after all, the Cross was only an appearance. The cultic dances of the different religions have different purposes – incantation, imitative magic, mystical ecstasy – none of which is compatible with the essential purpose of the liturgy as the ‘reasonable sacrifice’.
So, dancing is not compatible with liturgy. Ratzinger continues…
It is totally absurd to try to make the liturgy ‘attractive’ by introducing dancing pantomimes (wherever possible performed by professional dance troupes), which frequently (and rightly, from the professionals’ point of view) end with applause.
It is absurd to try to make liturgy more attractive, especially to young people, by inserting dancing. Ratzinger continues…
Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.
When applause breaks out, the essence of the liturgy has disappeared, and we see that it is really entertainment that is happening. Ratzinger continues…
None of the Christian rites include dancing. What people call dancing in the Ethiopian rite or the Zairean [Congolese] form of the Roman liturgy is in fact a rhythmically ordered procession, very much in keeping with the dignity of the occasion. It provides an inner discipline and order for the various stages of the liturgy, bestowing on them beauty and, above all, making them worthy of God.
The current Pope, as a wise theologian, and a holy man, makes the careful distinction between the gentle dignified processions from Africa and their harmony with the Christian Rite, and other aggressive passionate dancing which has no place in the liturgy.
Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation. This is why the Christian East calls the liturgy the “Divine Liturgy”, expressing thereby the liturgy’s independence from human control.
In reading all these documents, it is clear that there are places for authentic inculturation in the Roman liturgy, but only in certain geographical areas, and only according to certain criteria.
But these adaptations, normally require time, and must be proved to be truly beneficial to the spiritual life of the Faithful. They are only approved by the local Ordinary, the local Conference, and the Holy See.
Finally, it would seem that if a haka had been approved in NZ there would be ample documentation, and it would have been included in the GIRM for NZ. Currently, there is no such adaptation in the NZ GIRM.
Congratulations for reading this far!
Marty will do a little celebratory dance, but in his lounge.
Not in the sanctuary.