Dance in the Liturgy


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10.1 http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A096rcDancingJesuit.htm EXTRACT

The feminine man who performs these dance steps is nothing less than a Catholic priest.
He is a Jesuit from India, Fr. Saju George. He learned this dance - called the Bharatanatyam - from Hindu gurus.
It is performed in Hindu temples to worship their false divinities. In these nude torso exhibitions, Fr. George pretends
that he "gives momentum to God's word in tangible form."
The Kolkata Jesuit Province of India supports Fr. George.
These data were taken from an article by Fr. Francis Gonsalves, professor of theology, who also praises the innovations. 73.

10.2 The Dancing Jesuit by Francis Gonsalves, S.J. National Catholic Reporter Vol. 2 No. 42 March 29, 2005

[The two pictures on the Traditionalist site above are copied from the four that can be seen in Fr. Gonsalves’ article]


http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/globalpers/gp032905.htm nationalcatholicreporter: see following page

Chennai, India - King David danced before the Ark of the Lord with all his might (2 Sam 6:14, 16), and proclaimed, "I will make merry before the Lord" (v.21). Likewise, Indian Jesuit Fr. Saju George uses India's ancient Bharatanatyam dance not only as a means of making merry before God but also as a medium of evangelization. "Dance is integral to my priesthood," says Saju mopping the sweat from a supple body that has just performed Mary's Magnificat.

His magical mudras (dance gestures conveying meaning) enthrall appreciative audiences, worldwide, and give Indian worshippers a glimpse of God.


Dance as a liturgical 'sacred performance'
"Liturgy is sacred performance," explains Saju referring to the role of dance in Catholic liturgy. "The Eucharist is 'community worship' and the faithful assemble -- very much like the audience in a theatre -- for a communitarian God-experience. The priest is the 'main performer' who animates worship from the front." Saju feels that dance is a comprehensive form of worship: "For the dancer, it involves the mind, heart, body and soul, and for the faithful it is both, an audio as well as a visual means of encountering God."

"Indian classical dances express the deep yearning of the human being (jivatma) for an experience of the Divine (Paramatma), and this experience is conveyed by expression," says Saju. Unlike Western dances that communicate messages by body movements in space, Indian classical dances narrate stories through stylized and conventional facial expressions, fingers-arms-head movements and body postures. "I spend long hours in meditation before dancing," confesses Saju, "for, unless the dance becomes a part of me and is meaningful to others, dancing is meaningless."



Dance moves as 'Good News'

Saju considers himself a 'servant of God's word'. "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12), but, says he, "that sword must be wielded. Through dance, I give momentum to God's word in tangible form. When God's word is proclaimed in body-movements the impact is incredible. Saju's mudras, and bodily movements synchronized with meaningful words, are heartrending homilies on creation and reconciliation, crucifixion and resurrection.

God saw everything as "good" since goodness is engraved in every fiber of creation. Saju's keertanams (praise-dances) glorify God's goodness. "It is sad that dancing is not given any space in church," bemoans Saju pointing out that while Christian artists, musicians, conductors, sculptors and painters are provided with the space to praise God through their pictures, musical instruments, choir conducting, sculptures, and wall paintings, dancers are denied this.

As an example of the efficacy of dancing in liturgy, Saju alludes to a 1989 offertory dance during the Pope's Mass in Delhi: "Based on the offertory words, 'Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread/wine to offer, fruit of the earth and work of human hands,' a group of us did a dance depicting sowing, harvesting, threshing, winnowing, and finally the offering of bread."

He reminisces about the tremendous impact the dance had on the faithful.


Dance as dialogue among Indian religions
Saju has learnt to take bouquets and brickbats in his quest to evangelize through dance. Since Bharatanatyam -- offspring of Bharata's Natyasastra circa 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. -- is typically a dance that originated in Hindu temples, some Christians criticize this Catholic priest's passion for it.

"How do you reconcile your being a Catholic priest with also doing dances of Hindu gods?" I teasingly asked this onetime theology-student of mine. Saju replied, "For me, Christ is God; but when, for example, I do the Ananda-Tandava (the awesome dynamic dance of bliss) of Siva-Nataraja which symbolizes the five cosmic acts of Siva -- namely, creation, preservation, destruction, concealment and bestowal of grace -- I do not find these contrary to the Divine action manifest in our everyday experience and liturgical practice, and so I put full force into conveying these aspects."

Saju's dancing has opened doors to the Divine and built bridges between believers of religions, especially the Hindu majority in India. "People come together through dance," says he. His dance "gurus" (teachers) include Hindus like Khagendranath Barman, C.V. Chandrashekhar and Kalanidhi Narayanan who respect the young Jesuit's bhakti (devotion) and provide him with valuable suggestions in the development of Christian dance themes.

Pauline 'glory' and Ignatian 'greater glory'

When there were rumblings among ecclesiastical circles to disallow dance in liturgy, Saju was dismayed.

"Most misconceptions come from the West," he explained, "since dance developed there in the secular world hostile to anything sacred. However, in India, dances have a sacred, spiritual origin and were originally performed in temples as a form of worship."

Despite the fact that St. Paul uses "body terminology" to describe Christian community, Church leaders often fear the human body since dancing is susceptible to sensuality. "Such fears stem either from non-comprehension or from mental blocks," says Saju. "I believe that the human body is 'temple of the Holy Spirit' and I glorify God in my body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The Kolkata Jesuit Province to which Saju belongs is supportive of his evangelical experiments; for, when St. Ignatius spoke of "greater glory of God" in the context of "finding God in all things" he wanted his spiritual sons to sanctify every sphere of life. Surely, Ignatius rejoices that an Indian Jesuit makes merry before the Lord and translates his "Take and Receive" into dance.


Fr. Francis Gonsalves is a Jesuit in the Gujarat Province, India. He lectures in systematic theology at Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi, and has published many articles on theology, spirituality and social justice.

74.

People might "come together through dance" for Fr. Saju George, but they are doing so not in Jesus’ Name. When St. Ignatius spoke of the "greater glory of God", he surely meant the Father God whom the Son came to reveal. Our good theologians will of course have their own liberal interpretations as they do for the words of the Bible. This theology student of Fr. Francis Gonsalves cannot be expected to have assimilated -- or to deliver -- anything different from the kind of gospel his guru preaches.

In an interview, parts of which I have excerpted on page 73, nowhere does Fr. Saju George use the name of Jesus, and he uses the term "God’s word" freely. He could be meaning anything, but not in the least what the Church means by "getting closer to God" or by "prayer".
The following does not pertain to the theme of this article which is on priests performing Hindu dances like Bharatanatyam, dancing in the church and dance during the Mass, but it helps us to understand why a Jesuit would write about Bharatanatyam and include pictures of a dancing priest.

FR. FRANCIS GONSALVES S.J., THEOLOGIAN, GUJARAT PROVINCE, INDIA

10.3 Meditating and Medicating on the Margins http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/globalpers/gp090303.htm is the caption of an article written by Fr. Francis Gonsalves, SJ. It was first published in the left-wing liberal National Catholic Reporter, September 3, 2003, Vol. 1, No. 23. It is a virtual report on the extent of the New Age infiltration among priests and nuns in the Catholic Church in India. The author, however, is in content with the situation.

The article has been reproduced in various reports filed by this ministry, so only an outline -- in which the terms ‘meditating’ [eastern meditations] and ‘medicating’ and [alternative therapies] on what ‘margins’ will be examined -- will be given here.

Fr. Gonsalves writes about "Catholic priest Swami Devaprasad, who harmonizes hatha yoga with Christianity"; "Fr. Peter D'Souza conducts vipassana courses"; "Medical Mission Sr. Ruth Manianchira heals hundreds through reiki. Fr. Joe Pereira of Mumbai cures alcoholics and drug addicts through yoga, while in South India, Jesuit priests Ama Samy and Sebastian Painadath run Zen courses and Bhagavad Gita retreats, respectively, with rousing response."

"Spirituality, not doctrine -- the human body, not merely the mind -- is the meeting ground of India's modern missionaries who meditate and medicate on the margins between Catholicism and Indic religions. Moreover, their margin-ministries are moving the Indian church toward rediscovering the Indian Christ, and refurbishing Indian Christian-ness," he writes.

And this is the very same Francis Gonsalves, SJ who has been contributing the Sunday Reflections [based on the respective liturgical readings] for Chennai Catholic fortnightly The New Leader for the past several years.


A priest who would glorify the propagation of New Age alternative therapies and meditations by priests and nuns would have no difficulty in certifying dances like Bharatanatyam. By extension, one can see that priests who are into accepting these things gravitate together as do their practices.
11.1 Saju George, S.J. - The Dancing Jesuit - Performance & Interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfYjgbMVbYk Oct. 30, 2010 Produced by the Jesuit Mission, Switzerland

EXTRACT Saju George performances at the 2nd Ecumenical Kirchentag in Munich.
The Bharatanatyam is an elegant form of dance with a strong visual impact. Originating in the temples in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, literally thousands of years ago, this dance style is the oldest of the main forms of classical Indian dance… Saju George is also director of various centers of art, culture and social development, including: Kalahrdava, the Art Peace Foundation and Shanti Nir, in Calcutta.

In this video, in-between snippets of his dance, Fr. Saju George confesses:

Indian dance originated in Hindu philosophy, Hindu temples as part of the Hindu worship, the rituals, like a liturgy of Hinduism… So for Hindus, dance is a party of their worship, part of their culture, part of their life, and therefore it is always pointed to the sacred – gods and goddesses.
Another video interview with Fr. Saju George

11.2 Saju George sj: What does Priesthood have to do with Dance?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zx9cN6IeFE&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zx9cN6IeFE&feature=related

Interview with Fr. Saju George sj, the dancing Jesuit, just after his performance in "Museu do Oriente", in Lisbon,

29th May 2009.
In this video, we watch Fr. Saju George dancing in homage to Shiva in the sanctuary of a church

11.3 Un jesuita danza para Shiva en una iglesia de Viena July 16, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IY1JwjzLv4

The Spanish title translates as “A Jesuit performing a Shiva dance in a church in Vienna”

75.


The introductory posting dated July 16, 2009 translates as “The Jesuit Saju George performs a dance at the Scottish Church (Vienna) for the faithful of the city in homage to the Hindu god Shiva on 18 May.”

VIEWERS’ COMMENTS

1. It is a Christian dance but the title is misleading (maybe intentionally). We have seen it in Brussels’ Saint Michel’s Church in September 2010 performed for the Jesuits, General Adolfo Nicolas and the Belgian Provincial Paul Favereau, 300 people, Jesuits, friends, and it was fantastic. It is not dancing for Shiva but for God. EDITED

2. Why doesn’t he do it in the parish hall, outside church?
Yet another video of Fr. Saju George

11.4 Getanzte Gebete - Stärkung von Körper und Geist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFRAzkJQMDM&feature=related 2010 Produced by the diocese of Wuerzburg

VIEWERS’ COMMENTS

1. Not good, not good.

2. Sick…

3. Where are You, Holy Father? Excommunicate them ALL!!!

4. What does he do? Is he a Catholic priest and Jesuit still?? This is sick. Greetings for Catholic Church in Germany who should be called: Union Of The Amusement Industry!! Not the Church!! My God!! Community of chip'n'dales. EDITED

In a church in Leuven, Belgium, Fr. Saju George, encouraged by the Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicholas, dancing before the altar

12.1 http://www.jamshedpurjesuits.org/jamwp/OCT2010.pdf Jamshedpur Jesuits Vol. 58 No. 10 October 2010

We had the Welcome Days for all the International students on 23 and 24 September at the University of Gent. The academic year 2010-11 began officially on 27 September.

On 25 and 26 September Father General Adolf Nicholas visited both the Jesuit Provinces in Belgium. He was in Brussels on 25 with the Jesuits of the French speaking region of Belgium. The Province had arranged a presentation of Bharatnatyam (classical dance) by Fr. Saju George from Kolkata Province on the occasion of Father General’s visit to their Province. His performance was absolutely splendid and was appreciated by all.- P.M. Anthony SJ

This is a YouTube video clip of the sacrilege committed by the Father General and Fr. Saju George

12.2 http://www.jesuites.be/-Le-saviez-vous-.html [larger link]

Le saviez-vous? danse religieuse exécuté par George Saju, jésuite indien

http://www.jesuites.be/danse-religieuse-execute-par.html September 25 2010

Le Père Saju George, jésuite de la Province de Calcutta conclut pour nous la "Journée de Province" du 25 septembre par un spectacle de "Danses sacrées bengalie et chrétienne".

11. An eminent Jesuit who composes songs for Bharatanatyam dance, Fr. Michael Amaladoss SJ is one of India’s most liberal of the liberal theologians.


"Faith meets faith". Living with cross-cultural experiences - Interview with Michael Amaladoss SJ, Delhi

www.franziskanerinnenheute.de/Mission/Interview_Amaladoss_mwi.doc EXTRACT

I studied vocal music. Although originally I began also playing the violin, I couldn't continue too long. As a Jesuit, given all the other commitments, I had not much time to practice, so I gave it up. After the ordination, I began composing liturgical songs. I must have composed over 200 songs and bhajans. I ran for some years a liturgical music publication with the title Isai Aruvi ("Fountain of music"), which also brought out discs and cassettes.



I have also published a small "teach yourself" book with lessons in Karnatic music – Isai Elithu ("Simple music") – introducing 60 ragas to beginners. More recently I have composed some songs with Christian themes for Bharata Natyam (South Indian classical dance)…

I also got involved with his [Fr. D.S. Amalorpavadass’] work at the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) in Bangalore. I used to lecture in the many courses there regularly, till I moved to Delhi. I was present at all the major research seminars tackling the problems of the Indian Church and Indian theology like the one on the Inspiration of Non-Christian Scriptures, the Ministries, the Indian Church in the Struggle for a New Society, etc. I was involved with the group that prepared the "Indian Rite" for the Eucharist…



Michael Amaladoss SJ Vidyajyoti College of Theology 23, Raj Niwas Marg Delhi 110 054 INDIA

I have documented his heresies and loads of theological rubbish that oppose some of the very basic teachings of the Catholic Church in several of my reports such as Catholic Ashrams, Dharma Bharathi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the New Community Bible, Yoga, etc.


Where there is serious error and dissent, Fr. Michael Amaladoss SJ is there, leading from the front.

It is therefore not in the least surprising that Fr. Michael Amaladoss SJ is also into Bharatanatyam.

See also page 84.

76.

12. Fr. Paul Poovathinkal CMI, Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy, Thrissur, Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dance

On page 63, we noted the influence of the NBCLC on “liturgical music in the Indian Church” in the January 1, 2005 The Examiner story "Unique Meet Discusses Music and its Positive Effects on Human Life" concerning the "National Music Consultation held on November 11-14, 2004" at which Fr. Thomas D’Sa, the notorious Nrityavani/Indian Rite of Mass liturgical-abuses priest and director of the NBCLC delivered the key note address. In that story, we came across for the first time the Carmelite priest “Fr. Paul Poovathinkal CMI… the first Indian priest to obtain a Ph.D. in Carnatic music for his paper on 'Nadayoga: a Meditative Approach to Absolute Music'.

In the preceding pages, we have seen first the comment by fulltime lay preacher JP state that "Carnatic music has numerous references of and praises to various Hindu Gods" page 21.

Next, on page 51, Kalai Kaviri explains its "Quest for Music Divine" thus:

"Music and dance when viewed in Indian tradition are fundamentally one spiritual art, an integral yoga and a science of harmonyIndian music is said to have originated from the Vedas and music was considered one of the best forms of worship. Carnatic music is said to have evolved from sacred music, but though it moved through time in the realm of 'art music', the content never changed. Many ragas (recitative songs) are named after Gods, and it is believed that each God has a favourite raga." This confirms what JP said. And, on pages 46, 47, 48, 68, 72 and 76 we find that Carnatic or Karnatic Music can simply not be divorced from Bharatanatyam. They are two sides of the same Hindu coin.


In the following pages, we will examine the influence of Carnatic music on this priest and on priests who do Bharatanatyam, as well as on the liturgical aberrations taking place during the Holy Mass.
Fr. Paul Poovathinkal’s Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy promotes both Carnatic music [Sangeet] and Bharatanatyam dance [Natya].

1. http://www.thecityguide.in/Thiruvananthapuram/Recreation/UUAN/Chetana-Sangeet-Natya-Academy-Thrissur EXTRACT

Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy*, Thrissur *founded by Fr. Paul Poovathingal CMI

Dr. Fr. Paul Poovathingal CMI, Director, Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy C. R. Iyyunni Road, Thrissur – 680020. Ph: 0487 – 2336667 (Mobile) 9447736667 Email: singingpriest@gmail.com; p_poovathingal@hotmail.com;

Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy is considered to be one of the most eminent dance schools in the country. It teaches and organizes necessary artistic researches on Indian classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Mohininatyam, Kathak and Kuchipudi.
2. A rare concert by G.S. Paul March 31, 2006 / Laudable choreography by G. S. Paul February 9, 2007

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/fr/2007/02/09/stories/2007020900910200.htm EXTRACT

Select compositions of Arnos Pathiri** were choreographed and presented by teachers and students of Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy, Thrissur. ** German poet Johann Ernst Hanxleden

Arnos Pathiri's compositions had captured the imagination of Father Paul Poovathingal CMI [from Christ College, Bangalore] since his initiation into priesthood two decades ago. Soon after he graduated into a professional musician with a doctoral degree in Carnatic music, he presented a concert comprising select poems of Arnos Pathiri. Taking a cue from the wide appeal of this project, Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy, of which he is the director, choreographed and staged in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattom the works of Arnos… a German evangelist who arrived in Kerala in 1700.

3. http://nh47.com/tsp/ EXTRACT

[He] is the first catholic priest to be invited for a performance at Rashtrapathi Bhavan***. He is the disciple of K J Yesudas.



*He performed before the former President of India, Abdul Kalam, on July 21, 2007.

K J Yesudas is a Catholic but he is one of the most prolific singers of hymns to Hindu deities.

I quote from http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/04/allow-music-legend-yesudas-into.html April 18, 2007:

A debate is going on in the state of Kerala whether music legend Yesudas should be allowed into the world famous Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayur. Yesudas, a Christian by birth, has rendered hundreds of Hindu devotional songs and is living legend. In fact, in several temples in Kerala, Lord Krishna wakes up listening to his heavenly voice. The singer is warmly received in Sabarimala and the Kollur Mookambika Temple. But several temples in Kerala do not allow non-Hindus to enter the temple premises… Yesudas had trouble getting his son baptised by a Christian church, because he sang at Hindu temples! Yesudas and his wife are card-carrying Christians. But the Christian church balked at the ceremony of sprinkling holy water on their son because Yesudas had committed the ‘crime’ of singing Hindu devotional songs!



Hindu bloggers demand that Yesudas convert to Hinduism before he is allowed into a temple.


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