Kitsch and liturgy

In the thread on whooping, Jeanne Follman has some remarks and a link that I think deserve discussion in their own right (rite?). Here is what Jeanne wrote:
You have to wonder what it would take for, say, a group of reasonably affluent suburban white people to start whooping. I think it would take a lot more than what we currently can muster. It seems to me that today theres so much confusion in belief and so much niceness in liturgy that whooping is beyond our reach. Instead, we sing bland, self-referential songs about singing joyful songs: Here we are, altogether, as we sing our song, joyfully
IMO, the style of too much liturgy has gone kitschy, in the sense that its predictable, its easy, its not disturbing, it does not demand; it does not force you to transcend yourself. It satisfies with sentimental emotionthe fellowship of community vs. the awesomeness of a majestic God.
As Milan Kundera says in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being: kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence kitsch is a folding screen set up to curtain off death.
Catherine Madsen has a great rant on this in her article Kitsch and Liturgy. I think its a quite important insight because kitsch, where it exists, pretty effectively kills whooping.

In the thread on whooping, Jeanne Follman has some remarks and a link that I think deserve discussion in their own right (rite?). Here is what Jeanne wrote:

You have to wonder what it would take for, say, a group of reasonably affluent suburban white people to start whooping. I think it would take a lot more than what we currently can muster. It seems to me that today theres so much confusion in belief and so much niceness in liturgy that whooping is beyond our reach. Instead, we sing bland, self-referential songs about singing joyful songs: Here we are, altogether, as we sing our song, joyfully IMO, the style of too much liturgy has gone kitschy, in the sense that its predictable, its easy, its not disturbing, it does not demand; it does not force you to transcend yourself. It satisfies with sentimental emotionthe fellowship of community vs. the awesomeness of a majestic God.As Milan Kundera says in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being: kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence kitsch is a folding screen set up to curtain off death.

Catherine Madsen has a great rant on this in her article Kitsch and Liturgy. I think its a quite important insight because kitsch, where it exists, pretty effectively kills whooping.But isn't Tikkun's motto itself somewhat kitschy: "to heal, repair, and transform the world"?

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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Ideas of God and the Mass

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