Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Francis Card. Arinze Says No to Liturgical Dance

August 18th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

Francis Card. Arinze, the recently retired Prefect for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, once more reiterated that liturgical dance is inappropriate for most of the Catholic dioceses of the world. Here are the Cardinal’s statements from an August 16th, 2009 homily for the Bishops of Asia, emphasis added:

“Dance in particular needs to be critically examined because most dances draw attention to the performers and offer enjoyment,? he continued. ?People come to Mass, not for recreation but, to adore God, to praise and thank him, to ask pardon for their sins, and to request other spiritual and temporal needs. The monasteries may be of help in how graceful body movements can become prayer.”

This is certainly not the first time that Cardinal Arinze has spoken harshly against dance being introduced into the liturgy. Here are comments from the good Cardinal on liturgical dance from a question and answer session in 2003 (a video is available here), emphasis added:

There has never been a document from our Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments saying that dance is approved in the Mass.”

the tradition of the Latin Church has not known the dance. It is something that people are introducing in the last ten years — or twenty years. It was not always so. Now it is spreading like wildfire, one can say, in all the continents — some more than others. “

we come to Mass primarily to adore God — what we call the vertical dimension. We do not come to Mass to entertain one another. That’s not the purpose of Mass. The parish hall is for that.”

So all those that want to entertain us — after Mass, let us go to the parish hall and then you can dance. And then we clap. But when we come to Mass we don’t come to clap. We don’t come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.”

But when you introduce wholesale, say, a ballerina, then I want to ask you what is it all about. What exactly are you arranging? When the people finish dancing in the Mass and then when the dance group finishes and people clap — don’t you see what it means? It means we have enjoyed it. We come for enjoyment. Repeat. So, there is something wrong. Whenever the people clap — there is something wrong — immediately. When they clap — a dance is done and they clap.”

Why make the people of God suffer so much? Haven’t we enough problems already? Only Sunday, one hour, they come to adore God. And you bring a dance! Are you so poor you have nothing else to bring us? Shame on you! That’s how I feel about it.”

Somebody can say, “but the pope visited this county and the people danced”. A moment: Did the pope arrange it? Poor Holy Father — he comes, the people arranged. He does not know what they arranged. And somebody introduces something funny — is the pope responsible for that? Does that mean it is now approved? Did they put in on the table of the Congregation for Divine Worship? We would throw it out! If people want to dance, they know where to go.

Also, from the 1975 Vatican document “The Religious Dance, An Expression of Spiritual Joy“, emphasis added:

The dance has never been made an integral part of the official worship of the Latin Church.”

If local churches have accepted the dance, sometimes even in the church building, that was on the occasion of feasts in order to manifest sentiments of joy and devotion. But that always took place outside of liturgical services.”

Conciliar decisions have often condemned the religious dance because it conduces little to worship and because it could degenerate into disorders. “

Concretely: there are cultures in which this is possible insofar as dancing is still reflective of religious values and becomes a clear manifestation of them. Such is the case of the Ethiopians… However, the same criterion and judgment cannot be applied in the western culture. Here dancing is tied with love, with diversion, with profaneness, with unbridling of the senses: such dancing, in general, is not pure. For that reason it cannot be introduced into liturgical celebrations of any kind whatever: that would be to inject into the liturgy one of the most desacralized and desacralizing elements; and so it would be equivalent to creating an atmosphere of profaneness which would easily recall to those present and to the participants in the celebration worldly places and situations.”

Neither can acceptance be had of the proposal to introduce into the liturgy the so-called artistic ballet because there would be presentation here also of a spectacle at which one would assist, while in the liturgy one of the norms from which one cannot prescind is that of participati
on. Therefore, there is a great difference in cultures: what is well received in one culture cannot be taken on by another culture.”

When will the Diocese of Rochester get the memo?

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27 Responses to “Francis Card. Arinze Says No to Liturgical Dance”

  1. Anonymous says:

    When did the diocese ever care what the Vatican says on Church matter?

    Lay preaching is not allowed, we have that.

    Lay people may not run a parish, we have that.

    Liturgical dancing is inappropriate during the Mass, we have that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To be fair, that second photo from St. Ambrose was not liturgical dance.

    …But it WAS a mime passion show using the sanctuary for the stage, the altar for the sepulcher (the young clown there laid on it), and the ambo for trite commentary. Nearly as bad.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WHY do we have ballerinas dancing in our Cathedral? WHAT is the purpose? What reason could there possibly be? There is absolutely nothing "liturgical" about ballet during Mass.

  4. This is somewhat off the topic, but I just read that Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, OK. when he celebrates Mass at his cathedral (Holy Family) he will does so "ad orientem" which means both the Bishop and the people will face God…WOW!!!

    The just recently restored the Cathedral and it is magnificient. They have videos of it on youtube.

    How come we never get some good news like this in Rochester.

  5. Dr. K says:

    Choir, I'm literally working on a piece about this right now, lol 🙂

    It'll be up in a moment, trying to find how many parishes we currently have in the DoR.

    ~Dr. K

  6. My apologies Dr. K, if I had known I wouldn't have been so premature in my comments above.

  7. Dr. K says:

    No prob. It shows how important the story was that we both found it to be so interesting!

    ~Dr. K

  8. Great minds think a like. A Doctor and a squirrel.

  9. Imagine it is immediately after the close of Vatican II and we had this style of fag-flitting dancing in church. Just think of the uproar we would have had. People still had a sensus Catholicus back then and they never would have put up with this. They would have protested immediately and the dancing would have stopped.

    Systematically over the ensuing years after the Council, we have been dumbed down little by little until now when most Catholics don't see anything wrong with this stuff.

    It's the frog in the pot of water scheme, obviously.

    Gimme that ol' time religion! If it was good enough for Pius X, it's good nuf for me

  10. Anonymous says:

    I find your description of the dancers offensive.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Bishop Clark is pushing his personal agenda with these liturgical dancers.

    I posted a comment on the Ten Reasons blog saying that if Bishop Clark brings a male liturgical dancer into Sacred Heart Cathedral, then I quit.

    Sure enough, within a few months, there is the male dancer in our Church dancing in front of our Lord, as posted above.

    The New York State Religious Corporation Law needs to be amended with a new law to deal with a bishop who has become incompetent.

    Rome is too slow to address the destruction. Let the NYS civil law take action to protect the parishioners.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would caution against that, because it would mean that liberal Catholics could fight against orthodox bishops.

  13. Anon 11:37 – I don't find it offensive because it's true;)

  14. Matt says:

    Choir-I find your description of the dancers spot-on…Check that idiot Warfield's facebook page sometime if you're curious…very much a gay activist and an all-around sh*t for brains.

  15. Dr. K says:

    Matt, is it the man with the naked profile picture who danced around in our Cathedral? The one who lists himself as "spiritual" and not Catholics? The one who lists that he is an advocate for "gay rights" (I'm assuming gay marriage)? The one who posts prayers from Unity Church?

    If all the above are accurate, what was this man doing dancing during our Chrism Mass?

    ~Dr. K

  16. Anonymous says:


    Here is our cathedral dancer in all his nudity:


    Still better than Ray Ray's bum.

  17. Anonymous says:

    At least nothing naughty is showing, unlike Ray's bouncy buttocks.

  18. Anonymous says:


    The use of the word gay is acceptible.The word you used is not and you know it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    "fag" means bundle of sticks.

  20. Anonymous says:

    you must know it is considerd a hate word.

  21. So then you could rightly say "Joan of Arc was tied to the stake and surrounded by burning faggots?"

  22. Or, how about givin' me a fag, mate? My cousins in England say it. But don't name a guy Randy. It has a totally different meaning there than here.

  23. Anonymous says:

    SorryIn the choir loft. I agree with annoy 4:58 p.m Does not make sense. In other words you were saying,"this style of bundel of sticks flitting dancing in church.
    Ask your spirtual counselor or civil liberty folks. I am not disagreeing with what you said. It is how you said it.Very offensive. I usually agree with you but not this time.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone else notice the guy with the purple scarf looks like he is about ready to give the guy in front of him a big booty smack?

  25. Dr. K says:

    Re: Anon 1:43

    You're right! lol

    ~Dr. K

  26. Sister Emily says:

    Dr,K Its me Sister. I posted anon. because I thought I might be alone in my rather permissive sightings.It's not the only time I was the first to spot bum sightings. (hint)

  27. Dr. K says:

    I know exactly what your talking about, Sister. 🙂

    ~Dr. K

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