Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Clowns to the Left, Mimes to the Right, Here I Am....Stuck in the Middle Pew

(H/t to Orthometer Blog for the photo)

The photo directly above is from a Catholic Church in Switzerland that recently employed a women mime to give the homily. I wouldn't be surprised if she was hearing a small voice from the tabernacle saying " Not in my Church, you don't! " Thankfully, our parish would never be host to such liturgical abuse. (Thank you Father R. and Monsignor H. for your commitment to orthodoxy)

In my previous life as a non-Catholic Christian, our church once had "Clown Communion." Our clown ministry* at the time had requested that they be allowed to pray over and distribute the bread and grape juice one Sunday. At the time, I was far from being Catholic but had the sense to know that something wasn't quite right about it. I believe it was my Catholic childhood kicking in here that made me realize just how wrong this was. Even then, I respected the Lord's Table and knew that there was something more to it. Having clowns to "bless" and distribute the elements just didn't seem right and if the truth be told, I suspect there were many ex-Catholics there that day that had similar feelings, but I will never know.

Prodigal Daughter (my wife) was sitting next to me in tears. I thought she was being touched by the Holy Spirit! (Boy was my discernment in the toilet that day) Little did I know she had been drawn back to the Catholic Church specifically because God opened her eyes to see that Christ was truly present in the validly consecrated elements in the Catholic Mass! Years later, and after I converted, she told me how she felt that the clown communion was making a mockery of the precious Body and Blood of Christ. To be sure, they had no intention of mocking communion because they were godly Christian folks, but this was a clear example of what happens when you try to re-invent the wheel, liturgically.

The Methodist church we later attended again caused her much pain when she saw the vacuum cleaner brought out after the service to suck up the crumbs of the "blessed" bread. Theoretically, Prodigal shouldn't have been so upset since these events were just communal sharing of bread and grape juice and not a partaking of the Eucharist (due to the lack of apostolic succession). But, it was the palpable sense of how far we had departed from what she believed to be true that drove her to tears. My wife longed to receive His body and His blood and these communion services were a continuing source of pain for her that she silently endured for 5 years before God opened my eyes and brought me home.

"Man should tremble, the world should vibrate, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest." (St. Francis 13th Century)

*I want to explain here that I am not anti-Clown, and have no small respect for clown ministry outside of the Divine Liturgy. I must admit though, I am uncomfortable talking to people when they are dressed like clowns, see here.


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I saw, read and my jaw plummeted to the floor to see this was in a Catholic Church! What's that Judy Collins song..."Boot out the clowns" oh, wait, that's my version.

My husband had much the same reaction one Saturday service at our former place of worship...the pastor held the chunk of bread, (we had big round loaves that each person broke off) he held it up, (he's from Kentucky btw) Nothing against Kentuckians, but he was quite far removed from Catholic, to say the least, anyway, he held up that chunk of bread and said with a loud voice, that made Rich shudder and almost wince with pain, (I wasn't aware of that at the time) He said: This is a symbol! This is only a symbol! Kind of like 'It's only a movie, only a movie'

Rich was so hurt and felt so empty, as did PD, that he told me after we converted, with tears in his eyes, and his heart in his throat, that he "KNEW" he was in the 'wrong place.'

Thanks TJ.


August 04, 2007 8:35 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I have a confession. I'm pretty much anti-clown. They scare the @#$@ outta me! (Thank you, Stephen King.) Actually they bugged me before I saw IT, but I can't tolerate a painted face...just too dang creepy.


August 04, 2007 8:47 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"Rich was so hurt and felt so empty, as did PD, that he told me after we converted, with tears in his eyes, and his heart in his throat, that he "KNEW" he was in the 'wrong place,

Wow, what a similar story to ours.
Maybe my late Mom was right, "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic"

You were so right Mom!!

Yes Susie, beware of clowns bearing gifts!

August 04, 2007 9:07 PM  
Blogger + simonas said...

Right. One thing that Christ is incapable of is a smile.

I am sorry. I am not trying to mock your reverence of the Holy Sacrament, or rather Christ himself as he communicates Himself to us, but I do think that even he likes when we, His brothers, sisters, and most importantly as His Father's children throw ourselves joyfully into his loving arms.

So, that's a new metaphor to chew on, which does not negate the Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent that I love so dearly.

August 05, 2007 2:53 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven. When Jesus becomes present on the altar in a validly celebrated Catholic or Orthodox Mass, heaven is opened and literally comes to earth. All the angels as described in revelation sing "Glory Glory Glory." In the Book of Revelation the Mass is described in metaphorical terms and no where is there anything equivalent to clowns, jesters in the court presiding over the great feast. Please read Scott Hahn's book The Lamb's Supper for more on this.
This is time to throw ourselves on our knees and faces and worship in spirit and in Truth. It is not the time to display levity, foolishness, mime etc.
Perhaps if I frame it out like this you could understand it. Imagine, the priests of the OT officiating in the holy of holies, and they thought to spice it up and bring it down to the level of the people, they decided to put on their dancing shoes and put on white face!
As Catholics, we believe that Christ literally enters the room at the time of the consecration of the elements. Imagine the queen of England coming into a room and you decide to greet her in whiteface and big red rubber nose. Ouch!
That is why it seems like a mockery
of the greatest miracle that still happens each day in every Mass across the world.
There is a time and a place in Catholic devotional life for us to joyfully throw ourselves into his loving arms. We can do that in a spiritual sense in the Mass, but it is not the place for clowns. Catholic saints throughout the ages have written and preached about a joyous loving intimate relationship with Christ. Read Therese of Lisiuex, St. Faustina, and you will see that Catholicism celebrates with great joy our relationship with our Father God. But the Mass as it has been celebrated for 2000 years has always been solemn
and the highest form of worship God has allowed us humans this side of the veil.
I can't be sure but I think it would be safe to say that Christ as he exsanguinated, hanging on the cross presenting his Body to the Father for all of mankind, WAS NOT SMILING. In Mass, Christ is not re-sacrificed, but His sacrifice which goes beyond mortal bounds of time and space is again re-presented to the Father at every Mass. If you can get a glimpse of that for yourself Simonas, you will see why some of us Catholics become nauseated at the thought of clowns, mimes, jesters, etc anywhere near an altar in a Catholic Church.

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven.

August 05, 2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

What makes you think God the Father is smiling, to whom all sacrifice is sent? What do you think he would do to anyone in Old Testament Israel who would don a clown suit before the sacrificed lamb? It's God the Father's smile you ought to be worried about and not Christ's.

August 05, 2007 7:52 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

But then again, what service might a poor humble mime offer if not in the liturgy? Perhaps mimes could provide a post-liturgical example by helping to preserve a reverent silence after Mass? Let's make use of this neglected resource! A mime is a terrible thing to waste.


August 14, 2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

now, you have a little too much time on your hands! LOLOLOLOL

That was great, btw your comments regarding judgment were well said on the other post.

August 14, 2007 4:52 PM  

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