Dance in the Liturgy

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In adopting forms of expression alien to our Liturgy,... have they made sure of the specific Hindu ideology underlining those forms? Will it not be said that we are adapting ourselves to one type of Indian culture that is specifically Hindu?- Valerian Cardinal Gracias of Bombay † Source:
2.5 Hindu “Mass” Sparks Violent Altercation in Toronto Churchyard by Cornelia R. Ferreira EXTRACT [Also at:]

The flyer below reads: Roman Rite Liturgy of the Eucharist with religious cultural adaptations of India approved by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. DIVYA YAGAM Indian Order of Eucharistic celebration St. Ann Church (corner De Grassi St. and Gerard St. East) Presider: Fr Thomas D’Sa Director of the National Biblical Catechetical Liturgical Centre (CBCI) Bangalore, India

The "Indian Rite of Mass"** was in full swing at St. Ann’s Church in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday, July 2, 2006…

It should be noted that the event was advertised on the Archdiocese of Toronto website although there is no "Indian Rite" or "Ordo" that has official Vatican approval. Also, there is no exclusively "Indian" religion or culture, as many religions co-exist in that country. The "Mass" concocted in 1969 by the Indian bishops has always been a Hindu-Catholic syncretic hybrid, the version at St. Ann’s being an obvious adaptation for Western audiences.[3] As for dance during Mass, which has always been forbidden, even the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, in 1975, said dance "desacralizes" the liturgy, "introducing an atmosphere of profanity."[4] **See page 61

The service (photographed and video-taped by the intrepid band of traditionalist protesters) was a consciousness-raising workshop, with Fr. D’Sa explaining the significance of each dance and ritual. Though cloaked in Catholic terminology, the explanations made it clear that he would be conducting Hindu worship or puja, with the barest essentials of the Mass grafted onto it…

It was announced that Fr. D’Sa and his dance troupe were on a workshop tour. They had been in Europe and their next stop was the University of Winnipeg ("Celebrating Spirituality and Dance," as advertised on Winnipeg’s Archdiocesan website).

A little background on the troupe is in order. Named “Nrityavani," which means “the voice of dance,” it is an official organ of the Indian Bishops’ Conference. It was devised “to inculturate Catholicism through dance"[6] – in other words, to Hinduize Catholic liturgy and belief worldwide, through its adaptations of Indian classical dance, which is an expression of Hinduism.

Directed by Fr. D’Sa, Nrityavani features Catholic dancers as young as nine, and at least one dancing priest.[7]

On April 1, 2006, the Indian bishops honoured Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s* Jubilee with a function at the NBCLC… Following NBCLC Director Father D’Sa’s welcome speech and Hindu devotional songs, Nrityavani dances depicted that "Wisdom is divine and the divine gifts are to be distributed freely." […]

Let us now return to the Hindu Ordo Mass at the century-old St. Ann’s Church in Toronto. Site of a Native Peoples’ Parish for two decades, it had already been desecrated by Canadian Indian rituals. Before the Mass, Father D’Sa announced he would be explaining the dance gestures and postures as used in "the Indian culture." He said the Entrance Procession would be preceded by an opening dance honouring the Blessed Trinity. The three barefooted Nrityavani dancing girls positioned in front of the altar were introduced respectively as representing, by their gestures, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Another abomination took place at the Our Father. Instead of reciting the prayer together as a congregation, the people were asked to sit down while the girls launched into another interpretive dance number. Most gestures were completely unfathomable, with the exception of receiving bread and forgiving trespasses (a shove, hurt feelings, forgiveness, hugs all around). The musical accompaniment was a Hare Krishna chant! Father D’Sa intoned the words “Our Father” four times. The response each time was the mantra “Hare Krishna”; towards the end of the prayer, the mantra was repeated over and over. Krishna, the reincarnation of Vishnu, who represents the Absolute Lord, is said to have seduced 16,000 women, and a whole occult, erotic literature has been developed around this aspect of Krishna.[17]

The Blessed Trinity Dance featured the chanting of the magic (occult) mantra OM as each “Person” of the Trinity came "on stage." […] Father D’Sa was the main celebrant, and the pastor of St. Ann’s the concelebrant… After the Great Amen, the dancing girls performed a triple arati of flowers, fire and incense to the accompaniment of more pagan chants whilst the celebrants held aloft the consecrated Sacred Species.

See and


3. Victor J. F. Kulanday, The Paganization of the Church in India, 2d rev. ed. (San Thome, Madras: 1988).

4. Cornelia R. Ferreira, Catholic Family News, January 2004.

6. Father Aidan Turner, “Man of Vision Bring [sic] Indian Dancers to Mass,” in “Diocesan News,” The Voice,, August 2005.

7. Ibid.; (click on News, "Recent Events," Nrityavani, June 1, 2005). The website lauds the troupe for spreading the Gospels "via Asian Dance," thus disguising its Hindu-evangelizing nature even further.

17. John B. Noss, Man’s Religions, 3d ed. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1963), pp. 287, 289-90. Kulanday, pp. 82-83, 151.

2.6 Indian dancers to perform at Asian Mission Congress ICNS September 16, 2006 [For details, see article on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar] EXTRACT

The dance team from the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre, based in Bangalore, southern India, will use Indian classical dance to present a dance-drama on mission in Asia. A dance group from India will perform at the Asian Mission Congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand, adding color to the second such event in Asian Church history. The eight-member dance group of the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Center (NBCLC) in Bangalore will perform a ballet on "Telling the Story of Jesus in India."

The theme of the Oct. 18-22 2006 Congress is: "Telling the Story of Jesus in Asia." END OF EXTRACT 59.

The NBCLC dance troupe was expected to perform at the Holy Mass in Chiang Mai as they did in Toronto. It did not. Why?

A question was asked by me against the above ICNS report prior to the event, in a three-page letter* – that ended with a question** – which was sent by me to all the Bishops and Executive Secretaries of the Commissions of the CBCI and to the concerned officials of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, and to which satisfactory responses were received. **The question: Can our reverend Bishops and the concerned CBCI Commissions confirm that this particular 'Indian Rite of Mass' – which does not have the official approval of Rome, and which seems to include several liturgical abuses and aberrations – will not be introduced at Chiang Mai as "Telling the Story of Jesus in India"?

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