Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The RECongress Urban Fusion Mass: A Tragicomedy of Errors (and Liturgical Dance)

Many of you have likely not been acquainted with/assaulted by the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (or RECongress, pronounced "Wreck Congress" or like a cat yowling when she's in heat). The event is notorious for its particularly, um, innovative liturgies, but this year's latest experiment in the awful was really, really impressive in the scope of its utter suckage. In today's post, we will present a play-by-play of what has been dubbed the "Urban Fusion Mass", using GIFs by our very own Thomas "Tomnibus" Schumann, punctuated with commentary and superfluous hashtags by him and Yours Truly. Come, join us on a magical journey of anachronistic music and cultural relevance™! 

The Introitus was performed by Macklemore, apparently:

A talentless white guy rapping a hymn ("Let me hear ya, Church!"). What could go wrong?
This was followed by liturgical dancing, pagan incense and "urban art". Hat trick.

What's horrifying is this was actually practised. There is actual choreography here.

One wonders how many clergy attended against their will, having drawn the short straws in their respective dioceses. The main celebrant — sorry, presider — was the only clergyman actually into it. Things quickly turned into a really bad production of Godspell. At least Father looked happy to be there. Then again, the murderous clown from Saw would look happy to be there, too.

Of course, there were liturgical dancers, who all looked hypnotised or bored. It seriously looked like a gathering of Branch Dividians about to commit mass suicide. (Get it? Mass suicide? No? Okay.)

Kyrie eleison....
...Christe eleison.
Following a way too touchy version of the Confiteor and the readings, we had — sigh — the homily:

Father insisted on addressing "Church" throughout his sermon. Who is "Church", you may ask? We are Church. Because screw articles before nouns. GO HOME FATHER YOU ARE DRUNK



And then, inexplicably, he said this:

At this point, we both wanted to set ourselves on fire. We legitimately didn't understand the thesis of this sermon. He rambled with incredible proficiency. Instead of delivering an informative homily, Father came across like the Mass organisers found a random person on the street and offered him thousands of dollars to write a Christiany sermon. Those of you who have ever been to New York are familiar with the panhandlers at Penn Station — this priest is literally one of those panhandlers, except instead of asking you for a dollar, he talks about Jesus.


And he pronounced it "Man-DAY-lahhh". NO-ONE PRONOUNCES NELSON MANDELA'S NAME THAT WAY YOU FAKE-AFRICAN POSEUR. Also, "...all his peeps"? You just don't say some things in sermons. #sorrynotsorry Better yet, you just don't do some everythings in everything. #thisentireMass

Okay, so the sermon, miraculously, ended at some point, and whaddaya know, Catholic Macklemore was backlemore, and he and all of his talentless fabulous friends were, too!

Oh, well, and least the priest is done talki— WHAT THE FREAK? HE DID NOT JUST LITERALLY MAKE A HEART SHAPE WITH HIS HANDS:

That happened.
Anyway, so, there was more rapping, or whatever, and #psuedomass2014 got to the heart of the performance— er, the Mass: the Eucharist

Oh, what is this? The Blanket of Grace? Is this mysterious cloth to be a part of a complex magic trick where the priest jumps out of the altar?

So, what's this supposed to be, exactly...?

This is not happening. THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
And then, of course, the passing of the peace. Or whatever passes for the passing of the peace. Tom? If you would be so kind? "If you want to show me a sign of Christ's peace, kindly do so by NOT shaking my hand, NOT randomly embracing me, and NOT saying, 'Peace be with you,' because chances are very good that before you do any of those things, the peace of the Lord was with me. #tomalogue"

Thanks, Tom. Back to the action: At this point, we came to a revelation: The #pseudomass has the reverse Midas touch of turning everything that comes into contact with it into garbage. The priest looked so sad, because he knew it going to be over soon, and all the people in this auditorium wouldn't be paying attention to him anymore. And really, isn't the Mass supposed to be all about us? (Hint: No.)

And then, as if we needed further proof of the existence of Hell, all those in attendance held hands during the Pater Noster, via high fives. No, really. We were also impressed with the high number of elderly attendees, truly the future of the Church.

And it's time for another #tomalogue: "I'm going to go out on a limb and say that any priest who has to stop saying the words of the Mass, or whatever it is he happens to be saying, to allow the crowd to applaud, is doing something wrong. ERMAGERD stop with the liturgical dancing... and send Catholic Macklemore back to America's Got Talent so he can lose in the first round." [Editor's Note: Yours Truly would rather send him to the Roman arena.]

The only remotely redeeming aspect of this spectacle was the guitar... and that's about it. The singing was abominable, the dancing was atrocious and the fact that everyone was more pumped and excited than ever before once the #pseudomass was over was vomit-inducing. But hey, at least we have Catholic Macklemore so we can JAM OUT! IN THE NAME-A JEEZUS!

Actually, let's not, okay? Let's not jam out in the name of Jesus. (Ironically, "Same Love" is less gay than this.)

We also came to one conclusion as the #psuedomass dispersed: Many of the instrumentalists are very talented people. They're just in a horribly inappropriate venue. Shortly after noting this, the drummer blew a bubble with his gum. Tom? If you please? "That's basically this entire show, summarized, right there. This show is a bubblegum bubble inflated in the mouth of the world, only to once again be consumed and spit asunder, as so much pink, grotesque flotsam." (Grotesque Flotsam: The Novus Ordo in the Twenty-First Century would make for an epic history book.)

And yes, we ended on a killer drum solo. After a supposed Mass. Really. If every Mass ended with a drum solo like that, you might see a slight increase in attendance, but not by Catholics. Possibly the severely drunk, but not Catholics.

And with that, our coverage of #psuedomass2014 comes to a close. See you next year! We'll bring extra smelling salts for those of you who get the vapours. Also, flasks. Because obviously.

Us, attempting to maintain straight faces throughout this entire ordeal.
Hat tip to my friend Pedro at The Pinoy Catholic for calling this monstrosity to our attention!


  1. This is so painful. It hurts my heart. BAH.

  2. Well this was horrifying. I'll have nightmares about this mass murder for weeks.

  3. Still gets me every time I reread it. Great stuff Damian & Tom.