Imagine the scene, if you dare—for some readers this might be triggering or flat-out traumatic. But, there he is, a once-young, now-aging priest celebrating Mass, arriving at the homily, with Britney Spears headset microphone in place, center “stage” (err … Sanctuary), ready to “share” a “talk” (not a homily, God forbid!) dripping and gushing with vacuous platitudes and, in all seriousness, stereotypically diva-like gestures and postures.
And everyone is just beaming and smiling at him.
God is just soooooo big, he insists, no creed, no doctrine can have anything meaningful to say about him! Wait, strike that—not “him”—what was I thinking? That masculine pronoun for God never passes his lips. It is always “God’s-self,” never “himself” or “he” anything. In effect, he leaves the dazzled assembly with the sense that God is really just this amazing, infinitely squishy plush pillow, a gooey, androgynous shepherd figure who really just wants to hug the stuffing out of you.
And still he is not done with this ghastly assault on his captive “audience.” To drive home his faux-homily, he approaches the edge of the Sanctuary where a pre-set, purple Kurzweil SP-88 stage piano awaits his delicate fingers.
In full vesture, he giddily plays a soft, arpeggiated accompaniment, while the lead musician of the Mass, a keyboardist with big hair that must have time-travelled from an ’80s band, begins to sing his part of their slurry duet. The priest, eyes mostly closed, most soulfully sings a paraphrase of Psalm 23 with his musical partner. The barely recognizable “biblical” text seems mmm-kay with the raptured crowd as that last vestige of a lounge-singer’s favorite major-seventh chord can be heard through the harmonized “oooohhhh….” emanating from priest and singer as it mixes in the with the tinkle of chimes that ends his … homily.
An account of Liturgy Movement and renewal gone far, far astray.