Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Suffer the little children to come unto me...

...and keep 'em the heck away from that liturgical junk food you're trying to feed them!!!

Found this on Father Cranky's blog (a recent favorite of mine):

(my comments in blue)

CLOW-ning Around

I don’t know when it started, but many years ago someone saw that Protestants send their children to day care during their worship services, and voila, we invent Children’s Liturgy of the Word, or as it is called in these parts (and makes my teeth grind) CLOW – pronounced like ‘dough’ and not (as it should be) like ‘clown.’ Just add the word nursery, then the Clown factor cannot be disputed.
It is because the readings and homily for the Mass are tooooo haaaarrrrd for our young ones, and unfortunately some of the powers that be agreed and produced a Children’s Lectionary. I don’t remember the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel being:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. But remember to use really little words and special gatherings with the children, and make sure you have crafts for them because glue on Sunday clothes is a good thing, otherwise it will be too hard for them to really understand, and we can’t possibly expect any of the adults in their life to explain it to them."
You are forgetting the key word Father. FUN. "We have to make it FUN for them, they won't learn unless it is FUN".

All things that are being done in the name of the children have a way of coming back and infecting everything else we do.
A new rite forms during Mass called the dismissal of children, when the priest has to don his best pied piper voice and invite all the children in the audience (let’s not really call it a congregation) to come up front. This takes about 5 minutes. Then he may or may not choose to interact with them with all the ensuing hilarity of the little darlings saying the cutest things. (Wasn’t it W.C. Fields who said to never work with children? Smart man.) Then we have the oh-so-cutesy exit music for them because like all good modern parishes we have cover music for everything. Ack! I can hear the music now! "Children hear the Good News..." That just made my skin crawl...Those parents who decide they want to keep their kids in sight and in Mass are then glared at by the tolerant/intolerant progressives because how dare they contaminate the purity of our adult gathering with children. Yep, I know that stare. I can almost hear the thoughts behind them too..."Those poor children..." Gotta love 'dem tolerant modernists! Don’t they know when their kids are to be dismissed? Why won’t they send their children to our friendly re-education camps? The Liturgy of the Word must be sterile and devoid of children, just like our homes and marriages. Don’t remind us of life as we listen to the Word of God. The whole sad episode takes 5 or more minutes and completely breaks any kind of solemnity or prayerful attitude that might have been built up – but hey, we never really needed that anyway, this is a modern celebration of the Eucharist! We’re all meant to be happy (and childless)!
Great observation Father! I'm gonna have to remember that one!
The next problem is that you have a bunch of volunteers, probably under the auspices of a hired staff member (and some day we’ll talk about staff) who probably have absolutely no good training in biblical exegesis (bow when you say the holy word of exegesis) and certainly no training in homiletics. They have an age group that can range from barely out of diapers (and sometimes NOT out of diapers) all the way up to third and fourth grade. They’ll only read one of the Scripture readings despite the fact the Church now gives us three, and they’ll give their genuine and heartfelt opinion about it to the kids. "...but...but...but...they are reeeal nice people..."
We won’t even discuss the breeding grounds for ignorance and heresy that exist here. And it causes an infection back to the Mass. If uninformed or non ordained folks can give the Word of God to our kids, why can’t they do it at the regular Mass as well? If Sr. Megan Pantsuit can do the “kids homily” why can’t she do the adult’s homily once a month or so? Why do the adults have to suffer by listening to priests and deacons? And if the kids can do neat crafts and have fun times during the Liturgy of the Word, why can’t everyone else? As I heard it in one parish – we’re all God’s children so why can’t we have the CLOW for everyone? This kind of back spreading infection happens every time you have one or more special ‘experiences’ at a Mass – it always comes back to sicken the other Masses.
Gotcha Father. These little tykes are gonna be the next generation of, "Well, I use to be a Catholic, and I think..."(incert heretical opinion here) catholics.
When the children are released back into the Church becomes a problem as well, but it isn’t worth exploring, except that all those crafts that were so lovingly produced during their special experience now get played with during the rest of the Mass. Actually, this is the point where mean old traditional dads like me get our comeuppance. Remember those dirty looks from the 'tolerant modernists'? Well they are now shooting those eyeball daggers at the jacked up CLOW(N) kids and their parents! With the irony of their behavior going completely over their heads along with thepriests homily! On Easter Sunday one year they all came back with butterflies on strings to whirl around. You see Jesus didn’t really die (too scary for kids) he just went to sleep like a caterpillar and woke up as a butterfly – I kid you not. I think if I saw this, I'd have a reeeeeal hard time fighting the urge to see how far I could shove a butterfly...oh, nevermind...
Lastly, at what age do you actually cut the little darlings off from this fun-fest disguised as liturgy? I have been in parishes where the first full Mass that children ever attend is the Mass for their First Communion. So is First Communion the cut-off date? Great, let’s assign a nice negative event to First Communion. Sorry Johnny, but you can’t have fun and make crafts during Mass anymore, you’ve received the Body of Christ, so you have to sit here like the rest of us.
Cut them off? Shouldn't this be when the prep starts for all those fun (remember, the key word...FUN) teen masses start? I mean, we all know how kids are dying to sneak a listen to all of mom and dads James Taylor and Cat Stevens music. And we all now how they want liturgical music presented in this genre by a burnt out 70's reject who has an image of Christ that more than likely resembles Jerry Garcia.

Cut them off? The Fun doesn't have to ever end!!!
I’ve gotten better questions from five year olds on the readings and homily (in non-CLOW parishes) than I’ve ever gotten from adults.

Amen and thank you Father...

...oh, and Father, if you ever consider relocating to the Southeast, may I submit for your consideration the Diocese of Raleigh. We could use you here.

Link to Fathers Blog:

Saint Michael the Archangel...Defend us in battle!!!


Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...


12:35 AM  
Blogger bobw45 said...

Right on Father Cranky and NYPD!!

6:43 AM  
Blogger Bill Hoog said...

Did ja evernotice that the parishes that do this CLOW(N) crap seem to have less & less children??

10:55 AM  
Blogger TCN said...

I love the part where the volunteers turn the kids loose in the church about the time of the consecration. Nothing says "respect" like a bunch of unschooled hooligans waving their coloring sheets and saying "look, Mama" at the top of their lungs.

Maybe this explains why so many supposed adults still chat and wave before Mass, when they are supposed to be on their knees in silent, prayerful preparation.

Why can't these "CLOW"ns at least teach the kids how to pray?

My son will not be attending.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

If only I had a dollar for every "recovering catholic" I've met.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

NYPD Green,
Excellent post that should be mandatory reading in every diocese (one can hope!). I have witnessed exactly what Father is talking about. There are three things that were omitted, however.

One is the scamble and subsequent sour faces on the losers to see what kid will be chosen by Father or Sister Polyester to carry the kid's lectionary (I never examined it but wouldn't be shocked to learn it's in comic book format) out of the church and to their "special place".

Another is the kids returning to the church to hunt for their parents and the usual giggles and "ahh, isn't he or she cute" over the kid who's on the verge of tears because he can't find his folks.

Finally, there's the kids -- any number of whom have already made the First Holy Communion and intend to receive at this Mass -- coming back into church munching on a donut or other treat because, heaven knows, we can't make a lesson on the gospel interesting enough without stuffing a sweet in the kids' pie hole. Forget about teaching the older ones the duty to abstain from food for an hour before Communion.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Little Ferret said...

Dude we are almost neighbors! I'm from Florence, SC!

1:09 AM  
Blogger Al said...

Fortunately my parish doesn't do this every week. But when they do the song is "Go Forth in Peace". & the pastor uses 1 of the Eucharistic prayers that should only be used at Masses where most of those there are children & never at a regular Sunday Mass.

then there is the timing (lack of actually) of their returning to their parents that never matches up with the end of the homily.

The 1 positive I can say is that at least they don't have to suffer through some of the homilies I have.

I would be happy if this child's liturgy of the word dies a fast & permanent death.

8:59 AM  
Blogger The Rockin' Traddy said...

You know, I've only witnessed this thing once in my life. It was a few weeks ago, and my wife and I decided to go to an earlier Mass at a neighboring parish cuz we had stuff to do, and boy was that a mistake we won't be repeating.

After listening to the sermon that day, I wonder if I wouldn't have done better going off with the kiddies meself.

I still don't know which was worse, the sermon I heard, or the scrum that occurred when the kids all came back into the worship space...

10:36 PM  

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