Of Muppets and Men

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.

Be Sociable, Share!

    Comments: 61

    1. Valerie July 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Dear Mr Rethul,

      Thank you for your post. It was a fascinating read, and so informative. I watched that Cardinal Arinze video and wow! he is so clear and easy to follow. And he is comical.

      It so clear that a Haka is not suitable in Mass.

      Thanks again.


    2. John Jensen July 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Cardinal Arinze said that some sorts of what look to us like dance are appropriate in, perhaps, some African or Asian cultures, at Mass. This might lead to the conclusion that, since the haka is part of Maori culture, it is appropriate at Mass. This does not follow.

      The question is not merely whether a proposed action at Mass is part of the people’s culture. It is essential to think about what that action means in that culture. This is the point about the haka. There may be – I am not very knowledgeable about Maori culture – but there may well be some things that are just right for Mass. I was at Father Rory Price’s funeral in Te Atatu Peninsula ten or so years ago. At the end of the funeral his coffin was to be carried out. A Maori lady – Amelia, for those who know her – did the ‘auwe’ for the dead as he went. It was incredibly moving. I have never forgotten it. And I think it was just right for that at that point.

      The haka is a ritualised challenge. Despite what people say, it is not simply a welcoming ritual. It is a challenge. It has no legitimate place in Mass.


    3. Valerie July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Mr Jensen,

      I think you are absolutely right. I have been reading Varietates Legitimae that Mr Rethul quoted from and here are some other paragraphs which talk about funerals and possible adaptations.

      48. The constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium envisaged the admission of rites or gestures according to local custom into rituals of Christian initiation, marriage and funerals. This is a stage of inculturation, but there is also the danger that the truth of the Christian rite and the expression of the Christian faith could be easily diminished in the eyes of the faithful. Fidelity to traditional usages must be accompanied by purification and, if necessary, a break with the past. The same applies, for example, to the possibility of Christianizing pagan festivals or holy places, or to the priest using the signs of authority reserved to the heads of civil society or for the veneration of ancestors. In every case it is necessary to avoid any ambiguity. Obviously the Christian liturgy cannot accept magic rites, superstition, spiritism, vengeance or rites with a sexual connotation.


      58. Among all peoples, funerals are always surrounded with special rites, often of great expressive value. To answer to the needs of different countries, the Roman Ritual offers several forms of funerals. Episcopal conferences must choose those which correspond best to local customs. They will wish to preserve all that is good in family traditions and local customs, and ensure that funeral rites manifest the Christian faith in the resurrection and bear witness to the true values of the Gospel. It is in this perspective that funeral rituals can incorporate the customs of different cultures and respond as best they can to the needs and traditions of each region.

      However, the same principles still apply. Approval from Church authorities is necessary, especially the Holy See.


    4. Opthomistic July 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      What about Pacific cultures such as Kiribati, Samoan etc… processing the Gospel in following a sword which is swung around while the procession comes up the aisle? I can see the obvious symbolism of the sword being a symbol for the Word of God. I also panic that the church aisle is too small and that subsequently some kid is going to get a machete in the head in a terrible accident…

    5. Chris Sullivan July 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Chris thinks that while Marty appears to have a reasonable grasp of the principles of the sacred liturgy, he appears to be making a mountain out of a mole hill; making too much of a one off event. Marty seems to have lost sight of the fact that bishops only approach Rome for approval for the formal and official recognition of local liturgical changes when organic developments in the liturgy have reached the point that it seems appropriate to formalise them. The haka has yet to reach that point.

      Chris liked this that Marty said:

      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?

      What wonderful interventions ! Go the NZ Catholic Bishops !

      Although what Bp Colin Campbell actually told the Synod (and no he did not “lecture” the Holy Father as Marty uncharitably misconstrues it, and neither did he say theater would be more fruitful than reverent liturgy) was this:

      We at this Synod need to support:

      * That there be a homily at every Mass so that participants can be fully nourished. Even if it is for three minutes, a thought from the homily can be a way of gbreaking openh and digestingh the word of Scripture. The homily should never be an optional extra.

      * Also within the liturgy, visionary and dramatic ways of portraying the Gospel.

      * Out in society, again imaginative presentations of the Scripture can be fruitfully experimented with, e.g. street theatre, mime, acting out Gospel scenes adapted to today.

      There are many possibilities if we set our minds to it. This is the great task of the Gospel proclamation of the Kingdom we have. This is the great commission we have been entrusted with – congregations and others should not be caught up with rules and regulations about how many candlesticks on the altar or who cleans the chalices after the Eucharist. All these minutiae can be left to local Bishops’ Conferences.

      Our task ought to be concentrated on the full gospel message and how to share it. Our mind ought to be that of St Peter who said “… we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word” (Acts 6:4).

      We as Church need to harmonise or marry doctrinal truth with scriptural imagery and insight so that people can easily grasp the truths of the Kingdom in a simple, clear and uncomplicated way. As Jesus presented a loving and compassionate Father simply and clearly, we must in our preaching do the same. Let us do all in our power that the people of the third millennium receive that “Letter of love” from God and come to know the Father who has loved them from all eternity and shown this in his Son who gave his life for all, pro omnibus, so that they all might have life and life in abundance.


      The good Bishop’s emphasis on the centrality of proclaiming the gospel, and not getting caught up in liturgical minutae, is well taken.

      The Church would be well served if more bishops had the cojones to say what needs to be said to Rome.

      I think it would be a very good idea to incorporate appropriate Maori elements in the local liturgy.

      God Bless

    6. Chris Sullivan July 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm


      There is an important distinction between the original (going back centuries) haka as challenge (really a question: “do you come in peace?”) and it’s organic development into a welcoming ceremony used today to welcome important guests such as royalty.

      I suspect that one’s reaction to haka is largely influenced by how comfortable one is with tikanga.

      I have been invited to an ordination up North in a few weeks. It starts with a special welcome for clergy onto the Marae. If it is appropriate to welcome clergy with a haka then my presumptive opinion would be that it is appropriate to welcome Christ. The appropriateness of haka at that particular point in the Holy Mass would seem to follow.

      God Bless

    7. Andrewesman July 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      The fact that there is no provision for tikanga in the GIRM demonstrates to me either that Chris is right, or that the bishops have fallen down on the job. The Anglican Church has a long history of welcoming Maori culture in the context of the eucharist, and I thoroughly agree with Chris that waxing hysterical about this is worse than silly. I don’t think God minds.

    8. Teresina July 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      A very interesting post and if I agreed with inculturation, in any sense of the word, I would endorse it wholeheartedly. But certainly, from the texts quoted, the Haka has no place at Mass at all in any circumstance. For me and others at best it is a pagan war dance summoning up the spirits (demons) from the under world, sometimes performed by the All Blacks with a motion of slitting of the throat. Charming.

      But now that the Vatican II documents are being discussed, and in some quarters hotly debated, perhaps inculturation is one of those areas that should be opened up for discussion in the light of tradition. Has it any links with what has gone on in the past, and is it and was it necessary at all? After all don’t we believe, “There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:38.

      For many inculturation is one of the contentious points of Vatican II, as it has opened the door to all sorts of abuses at Mass and leads to, as Marty rightly says in reference to the Haka, “a contamination of the Roman Rite, which leads to a diminution of people’s faith and worship”. You only have to look at Brazil to see some of the worst instances of paganism introduced into the Mass in the name of inculturation.

      Of course the door it well and truly open and it is very hard to close now. I’m waiting for the English translation of Msgr Brunero Gherardini’s Vatican Council II: a Debate That Has Not Taken Place. He and others are signalling that perhaps the time is ripe for that debate to be had on all the contentious documents of Vatican II. Certainly, with all the erroneous views among Catholics that have been ushered in since Vatican II the minimum needed is a Council of Trent to point out to Catholics what the dogmas of the Faith are.

    9. Chris Sullivan August 1, 2012 at 6:38 am


      It is certainly the case that the Catholic Church has a lot to learn from our Anglican brothers and sisters. A lot to learn. Some people seem to forget that ecumenism is a two way street.

      God Bless

    10. Valerie August 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Mr Andrewesman and Deacon Sullivan,

      The fact that there is no provision for tikanga in the GIRM demonstrates to me either that Chris is right, or that the bishops have fallen down on the job.

      I think you’ll find that the new NZ Missal has Maori language in it along side the English. Tikanga is respected in the new Missal.

      I suspect that one’s reaction to haka is largely influenced by how comfortable one is with tikanga.

      I suspect that one’s reaction to Haka in Mass in largely influenced by how Catholic one is. If one is Catholic in their understanding of worship, then one will not accept a Haka in Mass. It’s quite simple.

      To suggest that rejection of a Haka in Mass is to reject all of tikanga shows a lack of intelligence. Tikanga has its place, some of it in valid inculturation, like Mr Jensen has mentioned, but not other aspects, e.g., a Haka. It’s about making intelligence distinctions.

      Bishop Colin,

      This is the great commission we have been entrusted with – congregations and others should not be caught up with rules and regulations about how many candlesticks on the altar or who cleans the chalices after the Eucharist. All these minutiae can be left to local Bishops’ Conferences.

      What a sad statement that makes a clear false dichotomy. Minutiae? If they are minutiae, why would you even bother with the local Bishops’ Conference looking after them. Why not allow the congregations, or whoever wants to, to determine these insignificant minutiae?

      He is definitely making a clear criticism of the Holy Father and his care for reverent Liturgy. The Holy Father has made it clear many times that authentic liturgy, and authentic ars celebrandi begins by being faithful to the liturgical rubrics, because by following the liturgical books, one ensures that the Liturgy expresses the Faith and builds it in people (lex orandi, lex credendi), c.f. Sacramentum Caritatis. The liturgical laws are not minutiae, and to suggest such is to manifest a clear misunderstanding.

      “Clean the chalices after Eucharist” – what a strange way to talk about the rite of purification of the sacred vessels that have been used in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

      What wonderful interventions ! Go the NZ Catholic Bishops !

      For those who regularly read BeingFrank, it is not surprising that you would say this Deacon Sullivan. Those requests from the Bishops in NZ are concerning, to say the least.


    11. Lucia Maria August 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Awesome post, Marty!


    12. Andrewesman August 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      As one of the Eastern Catholics said at Vatican II, there appear to be far too many Catholics who say that salvation must come through the Latin Rite.

      That’s very sad. If you can have swords and canoes and incense at the time of the gospel, then the bishops should apply to have Maori cultural forms in the GIRM. This isn’t something we can ignore in our Church, both because of our long history of Maori converts, and because we have Maori bishops.

      I misremember–I know there was one Maori bishop in the Catholic Church, has there been another?

      The kind of cultural elements I mean are well summarised in examples by Caritas in their pamphlet:

    13. Teresina August 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Valerie says “If one is Catholic in their understanding of worship, then one will not accept a Haka in Mass. It’s quite simple”. While that is true, unfortunately Vat II and Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the liturgy have given almost carte blanche authority to local Bishops Conferences to innovate and be creative in the Mass so, unless there is a proper debate on the Council documents (as called for by Monsignor Brunero Gherardini and others), we are stuck with it and the Novus Ordo Mass will continue to be subject to novelty, Hakas, tap dancing, clowns, you name it.

      While Marty’s post is excellent, and his sentiments are shared by many, the problem lies with the Vatican II Council documents themselves. It is much more than “the spirit of Vatican II”, the liberals do in fact have a mast to pin their flag to in these documents.

      Aside from his published works, Monsignor Gherardini has petitioned the Holy Father requesting that the documents be debated. Among the points he raises for debate:

      “11) What is the exact significance of the principle of “creativity” in the Liturgy, which without any doubt results from the fact of having granted to the Bishops’ Conference a broad competence in this matter, including the option of experimenting with new forms of worship so as to adapt them to the characters and the traditions of the people and so as to simplify them as much as possible? All this is proposed in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the liturgy: art. 22.2 on the new competencies of the Bishops’ Conferences; 37, 39 and 40 on adaptation to the characters and traditions of the peoples and on the criteria for liturgical adaptation in general; articles 21 and 34 on liturgical simplification. Were not similar options for innovating in liturgical matters condemned in all ages by the Magisterium of the Church? It is true that the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium still calls for the supervision of the Holy See over the liturgy and innovations in it (SC 22.1, 40.1-2), but this supervision has proved incapable of preventing the widespread devastation of the liturgy, which has driven the faithful out of the churches, and this devastation continues to be unleashed even today, despite disciplinary action and the intention of Your Holiness to eliminate abuses. Could not competent studies bring to light the reasons for this failure?”


    14. Abenader August 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm


      Can you elaborate when you speak of “our church”. What exactly is that?

      Secondly,if you are suggesting that there should be another Maori bishop, on what basis should that decision be made? (Sorry if I misread your comment).

      Chris Sullivan
      Ecumenism is a one-way street. Entry into the Holy Roman Catholic church. Not the false version that is in vogue.

    15. Valerie August 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Deacon Sullivan,

      The Church would be well served if more bishops had the cojones to say what needs to be said to Rome.

      I’m glad some of our bishops speak their minds when in Rome; as it makes it crystal clear how un-Catholic some of them are in their thinking. With such direct knowledge of the status quo, Rome will be very careful about future appointments to the Episcopacy in NZ.

      That’s what you don’t realize Deacon; that by having the cojones to speak that way, they make any such future Bishops in their image and likeness extinct.

      A very good thing for Catholics.


    16. jodokaast August 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      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.

      I think that this is really your strongest argument. Being as pale as can be, I have absolutely no clue if the haka can be solemn, sober, and reverent.

      Let us be honest here, we are a country at the end of the world with a total of five bishops, and a culture that is in many ways a unique blend between two unequally sized groups. We obviously have a rite that can be offered in Te Reo, and this means to me the implication must be that certain aspects of Maori culture can be incorporated into the congregations ‘parts’.

      I do think you make an argument that a haka cannot be fitted into the mass. However I think the rest of your arguments will be applied to insist that polyphonic Gregorian chant should be the only music for a Te Reo mass, and that seems to be an absurd conclusion.

    17. Helens Bay August 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Don`t worry about the Bishops over the next couple of weeks the L.W.C.R. will be making the old boys club sit up and take notice!

    18. Dominican August 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      The late Bishop Max Mariu was a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church who happened to be Maori not the Maori Bishop – there is a difference.
      Another interesting point is that the recently resigned director of the NZ Catholic Liturgy Office -(he is now parish priest at Waihi I believe – Fr Trevor Murray is of Maori descent. He was involved in the Maori translation of the “Mass”- I haven’t heard that he was promoting haka as part of the Mass.

    19. bamac August 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Helens Bay,

      Do you honestly believe that the cardials and bishops will really act upon anything that L.W.C.R have to say ? Really ? !!!


    20. Valerie August 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Deacon Sullivan,

      Chris thinks that while Marty appears to have a reasonable grasp of the principles of the sacred liturgy, he appears to be making a mountain out of a mole hill;

      Well, when Moses came down off Mt Sinai, and spat the dummy about the golden calf, I’m sure there would have been a few “Sullivans” hanging around saying exactly that.

      Mr(s) Dominican,

      Yes, I would like to hear what Fr Murray says about Haka in Mass.

      Mrs Helens Bay,

      Don`t worry about the Bishops over the next couple of weeks the L.W.C.R. will be making the old boys club sit up and take notice!

      Yes, I’m sure you’re right Helen, but for all the wrong reasons :wink_wp:


    21. Valerie August 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Mrs Teresina,

      Just wanted to say thank you for your posts. They have been good reads.

      Mr Jodokaast,

      However I think the rest of your arguments will be applied to insist that polyphonic Gregorian chant should be the only music for a Te Reo mass, and that seems to be an absurd conclusion.

      Just a small point: Gregorian chant, by definition, is not polyphonic. Polyphony came out of it, but is distinctly different.

      I know you’ve written your point for Mr Rethul, but as it’s in the main discussion anyway, I don’t understand how you get to that “absurd conclusion”. Can you explain?


    22. Chris Sullivan August 2, 2012 at 3:55 am


      Pardon my expression which meant something quite different to you than to me. Words often fail us, don’t they ?

      What I meant by a two way street is that both sides have something to learn from each other.

      I think it would be better to say that the Catholic Church contains a fuller expression of the faith but that both Catholics and Anglicans (and all Christians) are working towards a common unity and the Church won’t really be fully catholic until that is acheived.

      God Bless

    23. Chris Sullivan August 2, 2012 at 7:06 am

      Thank you Andrewsman for that wonderful link which can also be accessed here:


      It contains some great material and some beautiful photos of Maori and Pacific cultural elements in the Mass.

      Congratulations to the Diocese of Wellington for leading the way !

      I hope Marty and others who seem to fear introducing local cultural elements into the liturgy will study it carefully.

      Teresina is correct: the Council taught the importance of appropriate cultural adaptions; known as inculturation. The “liberals” (sic) do in fact have a mast to pin their flag to in it’s documents.

      Viva the Council !

      Readers are warned that Teresina’s dici link is to a website of the Society of St. Pius X, a group in schism with the Catholic church, who are using Monsignor Gherardini’s erroneous ideas to promote schism in the Catholic Church. Pay no heed to them and stick to the Holy Father’s teaching that Vatican II does NOT represent a rupture/discontinuity with the earlier teaching but in fact is in full continuity with the authentic Catholic tradition while introducing sorely-needed reforms.

      God Bless

    24. jodokaast August 2, 2012 at 8:56 am


      I’m a little short of time now and I’ll try to flesh this out this evening, however
      1) Marty is taking an approach that says – if it is not expressly allowed in the documents it is not allowed at all.
      2) The Church documents do speak glowingly about Gregorian Chant and from memory say it should have ‘pride of place’ in the celebration of the holy sacrifice. I think (and I will need to check) that the provisions for other types of music are only if Chant is unavailable.
      3) By Marty’s logic in this post it would be Gregorian Chant at a Te Reo language mass.

      I’m not sure how to put the rupture between these two more clearly than this: They don’t mix.

      Hopefully that gives you a very condensed couple of steps.


    25. Valerie August 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Thank you Mr Jodokaast.

      Yes, I think it would mean that. Maori is another form of vernacular. If we are encouraged in our vernacular (English) to give Gregorian chant “pride of place” as Vatican II teaches, then it applies to all vernacular languages.

      However, that doesn’t mean that there are not places for other types of quality music in the vernacular tongue within Mass; and that would include some types of cultural singing in one’s own cultural setting, e.g. Maori. But not to the complete exclusion of chant, because chant has a quality which is universal for prayer and contemplation.

      The problem with a lot of people’s understanding is that they think that Gregorian chant is only to be used at a Mass in Latin (Ordinary or Extraordinary Form). Gregorian chant, is like the rite itself, beyond cultures now. The chant has developed within the Latin Rite, so it should have a special place in all languages which are used with the Rite, but not to the complete exclusion of other quality styles.

      Back to the Haka.

      I really think that the biggest reason that people don’t understand this properly, is that so much of the liturgy that they have experienced has been quasi-entertainment with actors up the front who animate everything and keep people interested by their personality, wit, and style; and because of that, people come to Mass and sit and watch a lot of this, and don’t participate deeply enough in an interior way, in a contemplative way, in a personal relationship with Jesus way, within the community dimension.

      People at this level, feel the need to have the priest’s personality pulling them through the Liturgy, making them feel cosy, and light-hearted, and engaged, as they watch readers come and go, watch offertory processions, watch the priest in all his mannerisms, etc, watch the musicians, watch the cantors up the front, watch the extra-ordinary ministers troop up into the sanctuary, watch others go to Communion, etc.

      I’m not saying that these are all wrong, but that when one does that most of the time as Mass (sit and watch), and one is tempted to watch this lively activity every Sunday, one won’t see any problem with adding another thing to watch, e.g. a Haka.

      Distorted inculturation is a product of a lack of interior life at Mass. This lack leads to a desire among some priests and organizers to always have things happening which attract people at a sensory and exterior level, which is not really leading to the Reality/Mystery to which all the other authentic liturgical signs point.

      The Haka then becomes a counter-sign pointing in another direction to all the other proper liturgical signs. That’s why it creates tension as Mr Rethul has pointed out.

      For those who have a developed spiritual and liturgical sense, they will feel the tension; for others, for whom Mass is a bit of a show anyway, and where they remain at a superficial active and sense level, they won’t feel it.

      As part of this superficiality at an active level, there is the desire of some to make everybody do something active in this show-like mentality, which sometimes translates into coercing young people (or others) into putting on a show up the front, so that they feel like they are all part of it.

      This is all a fruit of an activist culture which doesn’t know how properly recreate (recreation) and so they try to import it into Mass.

      Josef Pieper (German Philosopher) talks of this when he says that we have lost the proper place of religious festivity as authentic recreation, and have tried to then push it into Christian Liturgy.

      It’s the distinction between Adoration and Festivity. Religious festivity flows out of proper religious worship, and it distinct from it. It doesn’t try and replace it. All authentic cultures have it in one way or another, but now, in the secular West, with our corrupt culture, some Christians are trying to mould them together because we don’t have proper religious festivity, and for those who are Christian, we try to include it all in one package.

      It’s because our secular culture only knows how to recreate by escaping reality (e.g, night clubs, drugs, movie theaters, facebook, video games, extreme adventure sports).

      We won’t help people properly find God, by messing up our adoration in Spirit and Truth (in Christ) by inserting religious festivity into Liturgy.

      A Haka is probably not a religious festivity anyway, because it wasn’t used as recreation flowing out of Maori mythical religious practices. It has other roots, closer to intimidation and war-like challenges, so it feels even more foreign to true Worship.


    26. Teresina August 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Chris Sullivan, as a Deacon (albeit a new one), I am surprised that you don’t know that the SSPX are not in schism with the Church and are in talks with Rome about regularising their situation under Canon Law. I am also surprised with your close links to the Auckland Diocese that you haven’t heard that Bishop Dunne requested the priests of the SSPX to offer the Latin Mass in the Extraordinary form in Titirangi recently.

      As for Monsignor Brunero Gherardini he is in good standing with the Church. The web site of the Society of Scholastics of which he is an advisor states:


      “Mons. Gherardini accepted this position on the board in May, 2007. Residing at the Vatican as a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, he is the secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas magazine. The Society is honored to have him as an advisor.”

      The DICI website merely contains a review of his most recent book which is a follow on from “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion” now available in English. A review can be found at: http://catholicism.org/vatican-council-ii-an-open-discussion-by-monsignor-brunero-gherardini.html#dsq-comment-43954

      “Monsignor Gherardini laments a “misguided ecumenism, in search of what unites, rather than of what divides. … We entered into a new spirit of conciliation, adaptation, resignation, wary of other people’s preconditions, almost as though we believed, perhaps without admitting it, that the truth was on the other side. Should somebody ask me whether modernism was ultimately let into the very fabric of the Council’s documents to the point that the Fathers themselves were infected by it, my answer would be yes and no. No, because the supernatural spirit is not at all absent from the Council thanks to its open profession of the Faith in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the universal redemption of the Word, along with its deep conviction about the universal calling to sanctity, its acceptance [of] and faith in the sanctifying effect of the sacraments, its particularly high regard for the liturgical and Eucharistic worship, the sanctifying role of the Church and a theologically nourished devotion to Mary. My answer is also yes, because modernistic ideas still can be found in several Council documents, notably in Gaudium et Spes, and a few prominent Council Fathers were openly sympathetic to old and new modernitsts. They wished to have a Church in a pilgrimage toward the Truth, like every other pilgrim, a friend and ally of every other researcher, endorsing even in the field of sacred studies, the same critical methodology applicable to every other science. In short, their Church was to be a kind of research laboratory rather than a dispenser of Truths from on high.”

    27. Abenader August 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks for your response. I agree that “words often fail us”. A good enough reason for our priests when offering the Holy sacrifice of the mass to say what is in the book (say the black and do the red- thanks Fr.Z), don’t you think?

      Also, as you probably know more than I do about Anglicanism, could you possibly give me a few pointers as to what exactly Holy Mother church could learn from Anglicanism? A two-way street as I understand it entails some sort of exchange (especially among equals).

    28. Teresina August 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Valerie, you put very succinctly the problems with the ordinary form of the Mass (the Novus Ordo): “Distorted inculturation is a product of a lack of interior life at Mass. This lack leads to a desire among some priests and organizers to always have things happening which attract people at a sensory and exterior level, which is not really leading to the Reality/Mystery to which all the other authentic liturgical signs point”.

      The problem with the ordinary form of the Mass is that it is almost open-ended and novelties can be introduced at will, depending on the whim of the priest or the liturgy committee. There has been a loss of the sense of the sacred. The Ordinary Form of the Mass was stripped down and reduced to very basic language and is open to constant change. For example, no sooner did we get the recent changes in the language of the Mass but that the music ministries have taken it upon themselves to take out “man” from the Creed and to introduce their own jazzy renditions of the Gloria, and in some parts of the country where I have attended Mass I don’t even recognise some of the prayers of the Mass.

      Added to that, we have the shortened forms of the Eucharistic prayer being used over and above Eucharistic Prayer 1. Therefore, we get a sermon (maybe laced with a joke or two) and then bang we are straight into the consecration – no time for recollection or to compose ourselves for the most important part of the Mass where one offers oneself in union with the priest (Christ) to the Father: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We are told that the shortened forms of the Eucharistic prayer are being used because people want to get away – the don’t want to be held up – even during the week! Well, I ask: why do people bother to go to Mass at all if that is their attitude and why should others be deprived of the fullness of the Mass because of the few who want to get away?

      We could go on and on about abuses that take place in the Mass in the Ordinary Form but we won’t get anywhere because that is the way it is. Short answer: if anyone has a desire for the sense of the sacred then attend the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass wherever possible, and follow the Missal or the booklet provided – that is real participation at Mass.

      It is going to take a couple of generations before the Ordinary form of the Mass gets back to being any way “normal”. The young people are being encouraged to attend hip hop, guitar and any entertainment form of the Mass there is rather than Latin and so know no different. Accordingly, they are being deprived of the deep spirituality that is the hallmark of the Catholic Faith and the tradition of the saints.

    29. bamac August 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm


      Thank you for all you put into your last comments The folowing link covers my understanding and love for our Holy Mass … particularly as it used to be celebrated as I grew up.


      Apart from Gregarian chant I have experienced many Hymns … mostly in English but also Tolie ( in New Guinea) Pigin English , French all of which were praising or supplicating God or begging Him for the forgivness of our sins and failings … how exactly does the Haka praise God?


    30. Chris Sullivan August 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Things we could learn from the Anglicans:

      Smaller, more friendly parishes with greater lay involvement.
      Married clergy.
      More deacons.
      Allow clergy to marry.
      Fewer sexual hangups.
      Greater respect for Maori/Pacific tikanga, including at the structural level.
      More beautiful and better English in the liturgy (cf the somewhat clumsy MR3 translations from the Latin).
      More local autonomy.
      Greater involvement of women at top decision making levels.
      Beat us to the English vernacular by 400 years !

      Of course, there are some negatives too….


      bamac asks:

      how exactly does the Haka praise God

      A haka can be performed to honor someone. As haka is performed to honor a human king, it seems appropriate to perform one to honor The King.

      God Bless

    31. JimmyG August 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      As haka is performed to honor a human king, it seems appropriate to perform one to honor The King

      Chris, from my perspective, there’s no problem doing a haka to honor God, but just not in the Mass. In Mass, the action which honors God, and offers Him praise and glory, and thanksgiving, is Christ’s work on the Cross. That’s what we offer, not human performances.

      That’s quite a list of things to import from the Anglican Church.

      The one I like best is the “Fewer sexual hangups”. That’s why they accept openly and active gay clergy, lesbian clergy, and in some countries, openly and active gay bishops. Yep, those additions are things that we can learn a lot from, ie, don’t allow them EVER

    32. Chris Sullivan August 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm


      What I meant by sexual hangups is that the Anglicans don’t seem to be as infected by the Jansenist heresy and the like, a puritanical attitude to sex, which the Holy Father mentioned in his homily today on St Ligouri.

      God Bless

    33. jodokaast August 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Valerie @ 25,

      I fail to see how you can maintain that Gregorian Chant is harmonious with Te Reo. The reason chant integrates so well with both forms of the latin rite, is both are latin, and our culture is heavily latin.

      When you are using Te Reo Gregorian Chant would be a counter sign and create rupture. It doesn’t work, Te Reo doesn’t have the same sounds, and I’m convinced a Gregorian Chant with Te Reo words would sound very odd. In fact the odd time I’ve been at mass in Te Reo I’ve never heard any of it sung and I’m sure that is the reason. P?whiris often use a musical structure suited for the language and this structure would be more harmonious at a mass were Te Reo was used.

      I absolute follow your argument with regards to the haka, but I repeat, the opinion of Marty that – if it is not strictly allowed then you cannot use it, leads to the insistence of chant even when the language is Te Reo (which you have said should be done) which creates the same disconnect in participants.

    34. bamac August 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      What exact puritanical attitudes and sexual hangups are you refering to Chris? If all the items you listed in #30 are things that you agree with and things that already exist in the Anglican Church and not ours, then would you not feel more at home as an Anglican deacon?


    35. jodokaast August 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      Chris @ 30,

      What I want to know is : What can the Anglicans then learn from the Catholics?

      I thought that was the question, and when I scrolled back to correct you I realise I was wrong.

    36. jodokaast August 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Teresina @ 28

      We could go on and on about abuses that take place in the Mass in the Ordinary Form but we won’t get anywhere because that is the way it is. Short answer: if anyone has a desire for the sense of the sacred then attend the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass wherever possible, and follow the Missal or the booklet provided – that is real participation at Mass.

      At the beginning of a second paragraph is the relevant bit of a Bishops memory of the Extraordinary Form.

      And its not dissimilar to what some of the more ancient Catholics I’ve spoken to have said. there seems to be this mystical belief that liturgy was good until Vatican II and abuses only occurred in the new mass.

      I have a desire for the sacred. But I think the sacred is found in both forms of the mass. Its just with the ordinary being the most common one, the most common Catholics go to, it gets more abuses. If you have a sense of the sacred, fantastic, but please, please come to a novus ordo mass and share it with the crotchety old women, the hobbling old men, the parents with two young kids, the bored teenager, and especially, especially my 2yr old who won’t sit still, he needs it.

    37. Abenader August 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Thanks for your honesty. Continuing in that vein then, do you recall a particular moment, maybe a light went off or something sort of similar, that you ceased to be Catholic?

      We take our kids to the latin mass though none of them are two yrs old. Kids are phenomenal ‘indicators’ of their surroundings. Believe me (or not), there is a world of difference between the NO and the TLM in terms of sacredness and also respect. It is extremely difficult,oftentimes impossible to maintain the ‘sense of sacred’ in the NO. We ‘Roamed’ for a long time trying to ‘settle’ in a parish, at a mass that could ‘offer’ the sense of sacred. Unfortunately, the noise for starters ‘drove’ us out. In my opinion, the TLM does not ‘allow’ teenagers to be bored.

    38. Teresina August 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Jodokaast, I go to the NO Mass most of the time. In fact, I recently went to a Samoan Mass, and it was beautiful. The singing was outstanding and, although I couldn’t understand the language, it sounded very much like chant. I was towards the back of the church and so could see that everyone was reverent and attentive throughout Mass, even the young people, and at the end of Mass they left the church in silence and spoke in the foyer. I was so grateful that I was able to miss the evening Mass at the Cathedral, with the lack of reverence there, all the noise with the guitars and drums, and little skits that are sometimes played out before, during or after the gospel. Unfortunately, it is largely (if I can say it) the remaining white people in the congregation who have lost the sense of the sacred, all others seem to retain an awareness that they are in a sacred place, and with the tabernacle there they are especially in the presence of Our Lord.

      At the Latin Masses I have attended there are people there of all shapes and sizes, the old and the young, the sick and the strong, but no matter who is there there is a reverence and sense of the sacred that you rarely find at a NO Mass, the exception being the Samoan Mass I attended recently.

      If we look at other religions, Moslems, Jews, Hindus, we may not agree with their beliefs but it is obvious to see that they maintain a reverence when it comes to their worship that we have all but completely lost in the NO form of the Mass. If we could see Our Lord face to face, would be remain standing? Wouldn’t we fall at His feet overcome with awe at being in His presence? And yet we see so many in Mass still sitting cross-legged in shorts and often scantily dressed. I heard someone say recently that the problem today is that people no longer have any shame and that seems to be the nub of it.

      Abenader, I have read many of Chris Sullivan’s posts where, as you say, it is obvious that he has “ceased to be Catholic”. Very worrying when you consider that he has been ordained a Deacon and is giving sermons to lay people. One sermon I heard from one of the Deacons a couple of years ago on (now) “Ascension Sunday” went something like, “When he ascended to heaven, Christ didn’t just go off to any old planet, you know. No, he ascended to heaven to become God”. And recently one Deacon stood up in the Cathedral talking about the parable of the mustard seed. He said this was not being actually said by Our Lord at all that words were put into His mouth that were written 60 years later by someone else. That seems to be the calibre of many of the sermons of the Permanent Deacons – nothing remotely Catholic – so Chris will be right at home among them.

    39. Dominican August 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I have been present at Mass when a Maori choir sang – they also chanted in Maori – their harmonies absolutely beautiful NOT A HAKA IN SIGHT OR HEARING.

      Last weekend (Saturday Vigil) I heard a priest tell us the 5,000 weren’t really fed – it was just their expectation. Then I heard another priest (Sunday morning – different parish) explain the significance of the 2 fish, 5 loaves and 12 baskets The first 5 books of the Old Testament the prophets and kings – the Apostles. Never heard it ever before and neither had the congregation who were spell bound.

    40. bamac August 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm


      Fr Ofa gave us a different interoretation of the story of the 2 fish and five loaves. Fr said that they were presented to Chist by a small boy … the loaves and fish were not much but they were all the boy had… Christ accepted the gifts and worked a miracle that multiplied them …. we can only give Him small gifts when we offer Him our selves , our actions, prayers and deeds … He will also multiply these small gifts of ours into so many graces for ourselves and souls ….many of us had not heard that interpretation either.


    41. Dominican August 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      I believe the significance of the numbers comes from a sermon of St Augustine.

    42. Abenader August 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      If you have not read Taylor Marshall’s blog posting over at Canterbury Tales (he’s a former Anglican I understand), he asks “Why do Catholic dissenters make social justice their highest goal”? An interesting and relevant read.

    43. jodokaast August 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Dominican @ 30,

      I think Te Reo chant &music is beautiful also, but unless I’m vastly mistake it is not Gregorian.

    44. jodokaast August 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      @ Teresina, (and Abenader 29)

      Every EF I’ve been to has also been silent and solemn. But I am absolutely convinced it is not the rite. Most of those old 80+ parishioners you run into can tell you the problems that occured when the EF was the default mass. Nowdays you only have people attending who want to be there, you don’t get people there ‘because its a Sunday mass and I’m Catholic’. You get the same type of person at your Novus Ordo mass and low and behold, its suddenly reverent.

      In my opinion whilst all of us have the right to a solemn celebration of the eucharist, each of us have the obligation to turn up, be as holy as we can, and actually make the efforts we can to remedy the abuses. I’ve seen so many people just cut and run to the ‘nearest reverent mass’, and I think it is very sad. How are our fellow mass goers meant to believe in a more deeper sense if everyone who does believe has absconded to follow Fr Orthodox?

    45. jodokaast August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Oh and whilst I think Deacon Sullivan in some of his opinions is completely off the wall, and in others just dead wrong, I still staunchly believe he is Catholic.

      It has been years before I’ve seen him say anything that is what I’d consider heretical, and nothing I saw was bad enough that I would consider him occurring excommunication and ceasing to be catholic.

    46. Dominican August 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm


      No probably not Gregorian as such but they do have a wonderful Maori translation of the Nunc Dimittis I believe – I have experienced this at two Maori funerals

      1.2 The purposes of the National Liturgy Office are to:
      a) Promote sound liturgical practice in New Zealand;
      b) Ensure the distinctive identity of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand with its Maori dimension is present in the liturgy;

      So in the light of what the National Liturgy Office has to say (and it purpose) entirely appropriate – so I believe Maori music – YES but “Maori dimension” does not necessarily give approval to the Haka.

    47. Dominican August 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Sorry – not the Nunc Dimittis – the De Profundis

    48. bamac August 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm


      I agree with your remark about Chris but I still feel that it is sad that ,if as a newly ordained deacon he would like to see all the changes he mentioned in #30, come to pass in the Catholic Church … surely in such a position one should , in all humility, be in agreement with all the Church teaches and holds dear in its magisterium and directives. … just my feelings as Chris knows,


    49. jodokaast August 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm


      Well put. But I think certain Priests should be in greater harmony in matters liturgical. But our response should be to accept they are Priests & Deacons, be greatful for them, and pray and offer mortifications for them. Not complain that they are not Catholic.

      Not that you seem to do that. But it riled me that others did.

    50. jodokaast August 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm


      Thank you, but my initial point was that a lot of Marty’s arguments against the Haka can be applied to Maori music.

      I agree with his conclusion but I think his argument is shaky as it seems to be “if it is not expressed allowed it is absolutely forbidden”

    51. Teresina August 4, 2012 at 12:36 am

      Abenader, thanks for pointing me to Taylor Marshall’s blog, Canterbury Tales – as you say, an interesting and relevant read – and actually the first time I’ve heard Sanctifying Grace referred to for quite some time. Certainly a blog to keep an eye on! Good to know there are still a few Catholics around … it can get a bit lonely sometimes …

    52. bamac August 4, 2012 at 11:39 am


      My thanks too for such a worthwhile link and introduction.


    53. Marty Rethul August 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Jodokaast.

      Up above you said:

      I agree with his conclusion but I think his argument is shaky as it seems to be “if it is not expressly allowed it is absolutely forbidden…

      Firstly, thank you for all your posts in this thread.

      No, that is not really the basis of the argument. I don’t think you’ve understood, and then you have projected a phrase onto my post which doesn’t fit with its general thrust: ‘…if it is not expressly allowed it is absolutely forbidden…’ is not what the argument is, nor can it be the conclusion.

      Saying that if something is not strictly approved it means that it is forbidden is not the true argument at hand here. When I look to see if the haka is expressly approved, and find it is not, it is to say: ‘There is no official document approving it, nor is there any official ‘testing’ period, therefore, my other arguments are the ones which now come into play, to prove it doesn’t work. Consider those…

      Let’s have a run through shall we?

      (1) In liturgy, in the Latin Rite (as well as others), certain things are strictly controlled by the liturgical books, i.e. say the black, do the red. That is because there is a Rite (sometimes different uses of the Rite, e.g., Dominican use of the Roman Rite) which communicates and inserts us into the saving Mysteries of Christ’s Life; and the Church wants to ensure a certain uniformity to the Rite(s) within their own authentic tradition, so that Unity in the expression of the Faith is kept, so that adhesion and entry into those Mysteries is safe-guarded, so that the living faith of the people (in charity) is fruitfully allowed to flourish and grow; firstly in God, and secondly, to go out to neighbour, in order to bring that neighbour to God.

      (2) There are some areas in liturgy where there is freedom within the Rite to be creative, e.g. music.

      Composers are free to compose their musical settings for the Mass parts (Gloria, Santus etc), and are free to compose hymns for certain use at different clearly defined moments (e.g. Communion).

      But the Church has criteria on those compositions (including the words and therefore theology expressed in them) as to what is better, what is best, what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable.

      The Church has guidelines for this freedom of creative expression for that part of the liturgy.

      This is true firstly of the music that is intrinsic to the Rite, i.e., chant. People are allowed to compose their own chant compositions, but as with any chant composition, some chant is better than others within the same genre. There are currently many chant composers around the world.

      This is also true of polyphonic music that is suitable to the Latin Rite.

      And it is true of other good quality hymns which may be used at certain strictly determined moments of the Mass (processional, offertory, Communion, recessional). There are no other places for hymns in the Roman Rite.

      (3) The Church in her wisdom, from experience, and from historical interaction with different cultural periods, has developed certain guidelines for music for use in the Liturgy. These guidelines exist to help this freedom of composition to serve the liturgy and to be the best it can be, at the service of liturgy and the needs of the people who pray the liturgy. These guidelines exist so as to help foster suitable music for Liturgy, and to help discern what is unsuitable music.

      That’s the way that the Church has always dealt with music in the liturgy: freedom of musicians to compose, but the right of the competent authorities to prohibit the bad stuff as and when the need arises. She doesn’t normally put out a list of expressly approved hymns and Mass parts, which means that everything else is forbidden unless expressly approved.

      It’s the other around: freedom for anything good, and a bit of control comes in if bad ones start appearing.

      Local bishops normally moderate this, and the Holy See has an overall say (and a determining say as well, due to the fact that the Pope is Universal Pastor).

      Although in saying that, the Church does have books (e.g. the Liber Usualis, the Roman Graduale, etc) which contain traditional and venerable musical settings for Liturgy, which have proven to be praiseworthy and good for liturgy (e.g. Mass, divine office, benediction et alia). But that does not mean that new settings can’t be composed by worthy composers and used in liturgy as and when needed. Those books promote some very good stuff, but are not the only say.

      Important to note that, if certain aberrations start occurring, e.g. rock music is being used in Mass, rap music, sensual sexy music, or grand operas (as was the case in history), or modern drums are being used, etc, the Church authorities can say, ‘Right, we’re putting a stop to this stuff, and it should be stopped not just because we as Bishops say so, and because we expressly put it in writing, and because it is now in our documents on the liturgy, but because it is, first of all, unworthy of God, secondly, unsuitable to the liturgy, and thirdly, it will lead to the liturgy being less fruitful for the faithful. It is a hindrance to contemplative prayer in the liturgy; it disturbs, it distracts, it divides people, it contains bad theology, it puts the emphasis on the wrong things etc, and is at odds with the principles of good liturgy. Therefore, we put it in writing that it is prohibited.

      The written prohibition is a expression of a concern for the liturgy to be protected from harm, so that people can enter the Sacred Mysteries as deeply as possible in the communitarian celebration and be fruitful in that life.

      Then, with certain types of new and previously unknown musical adaptation for the Liturgy, some Bishops began to say, in certain areas, ‘Before you just start implementing what you wish, by way of new instruments, new styles, new ways, and new sounds, come and talk to me first, so that we don’t end up with a trend which gets away on us, and is harmful to people and to the liturgy. For some new and novel things you must ask first, but for traditionally approved styles there is freedom of expression and composition. So, for new, novel, and previously unknown stuff, you must check with the authorities whether you can adapt it to the Liturgy before trying. For older, known, and approved styles, you have freedom to create…’…and so on.

      Now we come to the crux of it…

      (3) In recent times one area where there is a certain freedom of expression and adaptation for the local liturgy is liturgical inculturation. Just after the Council many bishops allowed things ‘ad experimentum’ on a 5 yearly basis, with permission from the Holy See. It was immediately after the Council. Bishops tried many different things in terms of cultural adaptation, with varying degrees of success and fidelity to what the Church had put out in terms of guidelines.

      Often it went way too far, e.g. clown Masses, disco Masses, bonanza Masses, etc, the excesses were often extraordinary in their craziness.

      I remember reading of a Mass in France, where the Mass was a ‘night-club’ Mass, and the celebrant-priest slipped out for a cigarette during the distribution of Holy Communion. Everybody thought that this was part of the cultural adaptation which was part of the aggiornamento (updating) of Vatican II.

      That is why Pope Benedict said in his accompanying letter to Sumorrum Pontificum, ‘…In many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.’

      Local Bishops were not following the principles for true inculturation as set forth by Vatican II and subsequent clarifications were therefore being issued from the CDWDS and the Concilium which Paul VI had set up. So, bit by bit, the Holy See began to tightly define and clarify what true inculturation is, and what it is not, due to these misunderstandings.

      It was about the Church teaching more clearly as an act of mercy, when there had been bad misinterpretations.

      The Holy See ceased the period of experimentation, and said that any new adaptations were to be approved expressly by the Holy See and had to be in harmony with certain principles of liturgy (like the musical analogy). The documents which I have quoted from above are some of those (though not all).

      In this problematic area of inculturation, which has often been badly misunderstood and misapplied, the Holy See has moved more and more towards saying, ‘If it is novel, and different, and new, which most post Vatican II inculturation is, it must be checked out first, and approved before being widely implemented in a Diocese, or local region'; i.e. you must have approval first, so that we can check whether it fits with the Liturgy, and is in harmony with everything else.

      They are doing this because it is often very hard to retrieve the situation in these types of things once the horse has bolted, and once the unsuitable practice becomes widespread. People, and even local bishops, start trying to claim that the practice has gained the ‘force of custom’, which is the first step to making something into a kind of ‘local rubric’. This happened in many places with many bad practices, which the Holy See had real trouble reigning in. These practices were often damaging people’s faith and prayer, and it was important to guard the Christian Liturgy from abuse, so that people’s faith was protected from diminution.

      We are not yet at the point you mention, that ‘if not expressly approved it is forbidden'; because there still remains a certain freedom for local bishops to allow some adaptations, but it is very narrow and clearly defined by the Holy See, and it has become more and more clear what can and can’t be allowed, from the documents which I had quoted, and from various other comments from the CDWDS (e.g. the video I linked to from Cdl Arinze). And for anything to be officially approved as an authentic inculturations, to be allowed to have official status, it has to have recognitio from the Holy See as approved and suitable etc.

      So, my argument regarding the haka in liturgy as invalid inculturation, is threefold.

      (1) It is not suitable from the point of view of theology and art at a self-evident level. A haka does not fit theologically, nor artistically, and it is obvious for anybody with half a formed Catholic soul that this is the case.

      (2) It is not suitable from the principles outlined in Church documents from the Holy See on this topic (from which I quoted).

      (3) It is not allowed because, if it were suitable, we would have seen by now some type of express approval of it, in some type of official document from the Holy See and from the local Bishops. If not, then we would have heard about the Bishops trying it, testing it, in an experimental stage, which is still requiring formal approval from the Holy See. I know people who have asked some bishops, and there exists no such ‘testing’ period occurring.

      The question of chant at a Te Reo Mass is clear.

      Say the Mass in Maori, chant in the parts in Latin, like we do all the time at English Masses.

      If not that, then use the Tri-lingual chant setting in Maori, which is approved as praiseworthy by the NZCCB. It’s available at the NLO website set up by Fr Trevor Murray. That setting is a chant setting, but the language is Maori. Maori works pretty well with chant modes. Talk to Fr Trevor Murray if you disagree. He is Maori, and chants the Maori very beautifully from what I have been told.

      If not that, with the freedom which we have to compose liturgical music , then adapt the Maori Mass parts to another chant setting which works better.

      If not that, then use Maori music styles for their Maori Mass. It’s simple, start from what the Church promotes as best (Gregorian chant), and then try other praiseworthy styles which are in harmony with sound liturgical musical principles.

      The Church is not a fascist regime. She promotes what is best, but then allows some freedom of expression for other suitable, good, and quality styles, whilst always having the authority to restrict certain things if they are not suitable.

      So, saying that if something is not strictly approved means that it is forbidden’ is not the true argument at hand here.

      When I look to see if the haka is expressly approved, and find it is not, it is to say: ‘There is no official document approving it, and there is no official ‘testing’ period, therefore, my other arguments are the ones which now come into play to prove it doesn’t work, and that it is unsuitable.’


    54. bamac August 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you Marty for all the work and effort and clarity that you put into your last post.


    55. JimmyG August 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Marty, thanks for that bro.

      Here are some of the Maori Mass chants:
      Holy, Holy, Holy
      Lamb of God

      To add to your excellent comments Marty, it looks like the NZ Conference has asked for composers to have their Mass Settings approved, probably to stop a lot of the bad compositions from setting up permanently in parishes. Approved Mass Settings in NZ. One of those moments where some control is being employed for the good of the Liturgy? Or will it be more standardization of mediocrity? Let’s hope most of these Mass Settings are of quality.

    56. Teresina August 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      jodokaast, I have just looked up your reference re the Bishop’s comments on his recollection of the EF Latin Mass, and when I found it was Bishop Robert Lynch, of St. Petersburg, Florida, a modernist Bishop who is well known for his opposition to the Latin Mass, I wasn’t at all surprised.

      Coincidentally, there is a post about the Bishop today on Rorate Caeli, where they say:

      “Bishop Robert Lynch, of St. Petersburg, Florida, still thinks he owns the Traditional Mass – he has become known for time and again prohibiting it, or for making it impossible for his priests to implement Summorum Pontificum in the largest city within his jurisdiction: Tampa, in Hillsborough County.”


      Further information on Bishop Lynch can be found here: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/070330:

      “Bishop Lynch accelerated the rate of “modernization” of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Traditional Catholics report that he radically reduced the practice of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in local parishes and he enthusiastically promoted sex instruction in Catholic schools. He permitted the continuance of Dignity-like Masses for homosexuals and welcomed New Ways Ministry into the diocese. In the horrific case of hospitalized Terri Schindler Schiavo, whose adulterous husband starved her to death, Lynch neither defended the young woman’s right to food and water or her right to Holy Communion as a baptized Catholic, one of the young woman’s few consolations in this world.”

      Thankfully, there are others, myself included, who have a clear recollection of being at Latin Masses in the sixties where there were no such abuses and the same reverent atmosphere pervaded then as does at the EF Latin Mass now. And it’s thanks to the good nuns and priests in the days of Faith that we are among the few of our generation who are still practising. Thankfully we now have a generation of young priests who are taking up the cudgels and rebuilding the Faith that modernists bishops and priests, such as Bishop Lynch, have all but destroyed.

    57. Valerie August 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Mrs Teresina,

      Yes, that Bishop Lynch is a disgrace. And that Schiavo matter was horrific. What a hypocrite, and a wolf. Jesus warned about bishops and religious leaders like Lynch.

      To say that chant doesn’t work at a Te Reo Mass is kind of like saying that genuflections, sign of the cross, signs of bread and wine, wouldn’t work at a Te Reo Mass.

      Te Reo is not the governing principle for Mass, when it is employed as the vernacular for some parts of the Mass. The Mass is the Mass (including its proper musical tone, ie, chant) and the vernacular language is adapted to the Mass, not the other way round. The Mass is already set by the Church, and some things are allowed to be in the vernacular now, but it doesn’t mean that everything now is changed to suit the vernacular mode, or the culture from which the vernacular emerges.

      The local culture is inculturated into the Liturgy, not the Liturgy to the culture.

      The Gospel incarnates itself in certain local forms, just as Christ incarnated into Jewish religious culture, but it is still the Christian Gospel, which enters the local culture, and which will purify the local culture from any errors, darkness, magic, materialism, etc, even its language, because some Christian words will have to be used by the local language to communicate certain truths, ie, baptism, Eucharist etc The Gospel will also adopt whatever is good in the local culture in order to be able to transmit the Gospel, and its saving message. But doesn’t mean setting aside what is essential to certain expressions of the Gospel. Some things can be given less importance, for sure, but others, are intrinsic to Christ, to the Gospel, to the Church, to the liturgy etc and can’t be just reinterpreted.

      With the Christian Gospel, which arrives in a local region, comes all the particular spiritual treasures of the Church, which includes the sacraments, and liturgy, and as Mr Rethul has pointed out, the liturgy is not completely reinterpreted and re-adapted each time the Church and Gospel arrive in a new land.

      Some things remain stable in the expression of the liturgy, including the musical tone of the particular rite, which in our case has developed for thousands of years. Chant began with the Jews. Pope Gregory simply codified it. People don’t realize this.


    58. bamac August 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Teresina and Valerie,

      Thank you both for clarifying facts about Bishop Lynch. I found it hard to understand how a bishop could feel that way.


      O Dear! I guess that I fit into nearly all the catagories of people you have mentioned for I am all but 80, maybe too I am crotchety and I do hobble somewhat with the help of Willie ( my very reliable walking stick) :grin1_ee: Had you been blest as I, and many friends of mine,and grown up with the quiet and,yes, reverent old Latin Holy Mass then you would understand why we attend it every chance we get ( maybe then you yourself would be wanting too also!) It is not a case of running away from N.O. but grabbing the chance to be present at, and feel more part of in a way which means so much to me . If this old girl wasn;’t held back by health reasons and lack of transport then for sure , she would be hobbling off to a Latin Holy Mass from time to time too.

      In our parish our week day Masses are quiet and reverent too, Chris could second me on that score….. there is reverence too at Sunday Mass but quiet! No.


    59. Valerie August 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Mrs Mac,

      I so understand your desire to attend a Traditional Mass on more occasions than you currently can. I wish all the dioceses in NZ would have an Extraordinary Form in each Cathedral on a Sunday, like the Cathedral in Christchurch.

      Unfortunately, that is an uphill battle, with most people “in charge” (who run and administer Cathedrals) thinking of the Traditional Mass as part of the problem that Vatican II has tried to eradicate. Until that erroneous attitude has disappeared, we won’t see much change.


    60. bamac August 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm


      Unfortunately I agree with you … I can not see such a Holy Mass happening in St Patricks in Auckland for sure .


    61. Originz August 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

      I am of Maori (Ngai Tahu) descent. I think that Te Reo would fit perfectly into Gregorian chant. In my experience from Te Reo classes, the vowel sounds are virtually identical to ecclesiastical Latin. Maybe other posts are coming from the perspective of less mellifluous North Island dialects.

      On the other hand, I am firmly of the opinion that haka does not belong in the Mass. Similarly, considering my other ancestral cultures, nor would I suggest introducing Welsh or Scottish war chants, or bawdy English drinking songs, all of which were used to praise various entities, but are quite unsuitable for praising God. Unfortunately, where I live now I am subjected to cheesy electric guitar and drum/percussion machine music better suited to a bogan 21st party.