Rorate Caeli

(UPDATED) The Bishop as the Chief Liturgical Dancer of his Diocese

UPDATE: A reader forwarded to us an article from the Philippine bishops' conference's own news agency reporting on the installation after it happened. The article speaks of the bishop and some priests dancing for a whole minute to the loud cheers and sustained applause of the congregation:

At least 42 cardinals, archbishops and bishops from all over the Philippines and several local and provincial government leaders attended the occasion.  

The Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto and Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle, Gaudencio Rosales and Ricardo Vidal were Evangelista’s concelebrants.  

During the offertory, priests and laypeople performed the “Caracol,” a traditional dance of the Cavite natives as they offer gifts to the bishop bringing a lively atmosphere inside the church. 

The people broke into loud cheers and sustained applause when the bishop joined the priests in dancing after the offertory that lasted for a minute.


The following is part of a report that was forwarded to Rorate by a Filipino reader. Edited for this posting.

This report is absolutely timely with our publication of Fr. Cipolla's "The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass".

The news agency of the Filipino bishops' conference reported this on June 3:

MANILA, June 3, 2013—Newly-appointed Bishop of Imus Most Rev. Rey Evangelista is set to be installed in solemn ceremonies at 9 a.m. on June 5 at the Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral by Papal nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto. 

Evangelista’s installation will be graced by the presence of three Filipino cardinals: Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop-emeritus of Manila; Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop-emeritus of Cebu; and Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila. 

“Aside from the three cardinals, more than 50 bishops from all over the country also confirmed their attendance in this momentous event,” Fr. Allan Valero, the parish priest of the Cathedral-parish said. 

Arrival honors and welcome ceremony will be held in front of the Cathedral to formally welcome the new bishop. 

One of the highlights in the installation will be the traditional dance of Caviteños, known as ‘Caracol’, during the offertory. 

Valero said the traditional dance will be performed by the lay faithful who will offer the gifts to the bishop. 

“Those faithful are coming from communities that we call ‘mananayaw’ or from the old towns in Cavite. But I’m not sure if Bishop Rey will dance,” Valero said. 

According to him, when then Imus Bishop Tagle was ordained and installed as bishop of Imus, he joined the dancing. 

But Valero believes Bishop Evangelista will try to dance ‘Caracol’.

The 'Caracol' is a dance sung to native tunes (not always religious) that dates back to the Spanish era, but it is traditionally danced in some Filipino towns during outdoor Marian processions but never inside a Church or during Mass. It is unfortunate as the pictures of the installation Mass show that the bishop actually danced during the Offertory.

The bishop danced during the Offertory in the presence of the three Cardinals of the Philippines and the Papal Nuncio. In some pictures Cardinal Rosales is clearly seen clapping during the dance. Is the Mass now entertainment? The Philippines has enough noontime entertainment TV shows! 

Other pictures of the Offertory show the altar boys and the priests also dancing. 


  1. "The dance has never been made an integral part of the official worhship 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.

    Theoretically, it could be deduced from that passage that certain forms of dancing and certain dance patterns could be introduced into Catholic worship.

    Nevertheless, two condition could not be prescinded from.

    The first: to the extent in which the body is a reflection of the soul, dancing, with all its manifestations, would have to express sentiments of faith and adoration in order to become a prayer.

    The second condition: just as all the gestures and movements found in the liturgy are regulated by the competent ecclesiastical authority, so also dancing as a gestre would have to be under its discipline."

    Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship
    Notitiae 11 (1975) 202-205

    Let me highlight this passage; "..would have to express sentiments of faith and adoration in order to become a prayer."

    Where is faith and adoration in this act where the bishops are dancing like lunatics, the priest-concelebrants are clicking away with their cameras, and the centre of attention is now the new Ordinary who was doing it for the 1st time.

  2. "David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod." 2 Samuel 6:14

    I think dancing, if it is even permitted during Holy Mass, is distracting and draws to much personal attention to the priest rather than to Christ.

  3. What a shame for our Filipino cardinals and bishops to tolerate this kind of novelties! These kind of abuses are so rampant here in the country and I personally experienced it way back when I was studying in high school in a Carmelite school. I was then the Chairman of the Liturgical Committee. We were allowed to compose our own liturgical prayers for the mass. I am really grateful that I discovered the beautiful traditions of the Church through the SSPX. My gratitude to all the faithful priests of Archbishop Lefebvre who came here in the Philippines to counter this kind of novelties.
    The words of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi is truly applicable to our hierarchy.
    "Blind that they are, and leaders of the blind, inflated with a boastful science, Modernists have reached that pitch of folly where they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true nature of the religious sentiment; with that new system of theirs, they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, condemned by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can rest and maintain truth itself." - Pope St. Pius X, 'Pascendi Dominici Gregis'

  4. So much for the sense of the sacred. Let's party!

  5. How can you reconcile these Novus Ordo abuses with the guidelines set forth by Pope Pius XII for our liturgical services? Pope Pius XII wrote in his great encyclical of Mediator Dei and I quote:
    "Three characteristics of which Our predecessor, Pope St. Pius X spoke should adorn all liturgical services: sacredness, which abhors any profane influence; nobility, which true and genuine arts should serve and foster; and universality, which while safeguarding local and legitimate custom, reveals the Catholic unity of the Church."

    The modernists in the Church must be condemned once again. Pope St. Pius X condemned them in his famous encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. He wrote and I quote,
    "First of all (Modernists or liberals - the 'worst enemies of the Church') lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be, among the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject - dogma, Church, worship, the Books we revere as sacred, even faith itself."

    May the restoration of the timeless Catholic Traditions in our country will soon be realized so that we may be worthy once again to the great words of Pope Pius XII when he said to us:
    "Philippines! Kingdom of Mary! Philippines! Kingdom of the Holy Rosary! Remain firm in the Holy Faith of your fathers, that you have received at the cradle...Open your souls to what is new, while maintaining the antique faith; organize your nascent nation but in giving a rightful place to Christian values; be yourselves without however breaking off from the trunk that gave you the life of the spirit. By so doing, you will guarantee for yourselves the best in all things and prepare yourselves to be in the Far East a lighthouse of Christian life, column and pillar of an edifice whose greatness no one can predict."

  6. One can but wonder.

  7. How can we stop this? It has to end. Can't we bombard the chanceries with e-mails, phone calls, etc? Is there no action we can do to annoy these people so much that they'll realize their mistakes?

  8. Some have claimed that the ancient Ethiopian church has an order of liturgical dancers, and on the basis that "catholic" means "whatever has been done somewhere, sometime, by somebody", have tried to import it into worship.

    However, I was told by an Ethiopian Orthodox priest that these supposed "dances" are actually stylized processions, and are done OUTSIDE the church, and never during liturgical services.

  9. Dear Taylor. Laugh at them openly and loudly when they do such things in your presence.

    One loud laugh is worth a thousand letters.

  10. Dear Taylor. Laugh at them openly and loudly when they do such things in your presence.

    One loud laugh is worth a thousand letters.

  11. Wow! An "emancipated liturgy"!

  12. Emancipated formation and a Mass without superstructures at work! This will definitely bring the faithful back to the pews. Can I get an Amen!

  13. If you give me an "HALLE!" I'll give you a "LUJAH!"

    Seriously though, why can't these guys understand that there wasn't dancing in the temple. Dancing was reserved for celebrating outside the sacred place. Nothing wrong with a good hootenanny. Just. Not. In. The. TEMPLE!

  14. Taylor,

    With all due respect, I think you are naive if you think it is simply that these men - Cardinals and Bishops - are simply "unaware of their mistakes."

    There are reasons and explanations and theories and so on and so forth, but quite simply, it boils down to this:

    they, for all intensive purposes, do not have the Faith. Resist them.

  15. I am residing in Cavite, and I AM NOT IMPRESSED WITH WHAT MY BISHOP HAS DONE.

    Enough said.

  16. I am a resident of the Diocese of Imus, and I AM NOT IMPRESSED WITH WHAT MY BISHOP HAS DONE. I'll go to Mass somewhere else outside Cavite come July.

  17. In all seriousness, is there something we can do? Are people who don't live in the diocese allowed to bring it to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? This is certainly liturgical abuse, and it reveals deep misunderstandings of liturgical theology in those participating. There truly ought to be canonical and pastoral penalties from the Holy See.

    This debacle is probably already known to Rome, because of the presence of the Papal Nuncio and the pictures freely available on the internet, but I'd feel better if I could personally alert them to the displeasure of at least of the faithful. These things were done by a bishop in the presence of dozens of bishops, multiple cardinals, and the Papal Nuncio! Presence implies consent. It certainly implies, too, that the bishop was confident no one present would object!

    Could you good people at Rorate Caeli point us readers toward some official Church avenue for being heard--whether the Congregation or something else? It weighs down my soul to read all the articles (and on other blogs, too) about the sad state of many things in the Church. Of course, abuses and failings aren't the whole story--the Spirit is present, and He is faithful to preserve and bring life. Our Lord will preserve his Church; we have His Divine promise for that. We should always fix our eyes on that, and never forget it, never yield to despair. No matter what our bishops and cardinals do, Christ is King. Yet now we are the Church Militant, and the battle rages around us.

    Please forgive for asking so bluntly (perhaps I do not understand), but what good does it do to report these things without also providing some avenue through which readers can pursue change? It seems, at least in me, only to breed sorrow that the devil tries to edge toward despair. Perhaps it is a reminder that our trust is not in princes. We can always pray, of course. And we should pray, as much and as fervently as we can. We should endeavor to grow in grace and humility that we may be examples, however unworthy. Those are the most important things.

    But, please, is there anything else we can do? Ecclesiastically? Canonically?

    In the Mercy of Christ,

  18. Well the Philippines is what the USA created. A Catholic country that has forgotten or warped its Spanish legacy combining it with the individualism, materialism and egoism of the USA. It has 2 colonial legacies that compete with each other. One thing I find odd is the Philippines Catholic Church has done so little to Catholicise its neighbours, but Pilipino priests drift to western countries for the money like housekeepers in Arabia or Pilipino women with old Caucasian men

  19. The pictures give the impression that these priests and bishops are just celebrating THEMSELVES. This looks like one big act of NARCISSISM. Where is the sobriety and simplicity that one should expect in a sacred liturgical act? And these are the leaders of the Church who will be making decisions every day about liturgical practice. It is posts like these that make being a Roman Catholic today very discouraging.

  20. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.."

  21. Liturgical abuse is more than not doing the red and not saying the black. Rather, it is the intrusion of creativity that destructs the solemnity of a rite. It is the subjugation of objective liturgical Tradition, of genuine piety and devotion to elements of entertainment and personal or cultural preferences.

    Dancing, no matter how one intends its use in a Mass, is a grave abuse. Not only because it is not prescribe by the rubrics but because it destroys the sacrificial nature of the sacred act by reducing the Mass into a common banquet and feasting where every one shared the meal of the God-Man. The Mystery of Redemption through the unbloody sacrifice of the God-Man was thus veiled in a myriad of entertainments apt for the taste of the modern man.

  22. Anonymous6:13 AM

    Cavorting about at the foot of Mount Calvary. Disgusting.


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