Objection to a TIA Critique on
a Dancing Bishop
I have been reading through your site for several months now, and have been tempted many times to write a letter to you, but this piece was the proverbial straw. You disapprove of Bishop Kevin M. Britt dancing (click here), but you fail to mention what music he is dancing to.
Just by glancing at the picture I can tell you the name of the song is either "Our God is an Awesome God," or "Yes, Lord." Those are the only two songs that have a dance with a "thumbs up," like the one shown in the picture.
Do you object to a dance that praises God? If King David, God's anointed king for His people, danced and sang the praises of God before the Ark, why should you malign one of God's anointed shepherds for doing the same?
Yours in Christ,
We are pleased to see that you tried to make a serious objection. Thank you for that.
For the sake of clarity, we will divide our answer into parts.
- You faulted us for not mentioning the name of the song to which Bishop Kevin Britt is dancing. We did not know it, so we could not report it.
- You stated that “just by glancing the picture” you can tell the name of the song, which would be either “Our God is an Awesome God’ or “Yes, Lord.” According to your judgment those are “the only two songs” to which one dances with “the thumbs up.” We acknowledge that you are convinced of your opinion, and we respect it. We hope you may also realize that your opinion is open to discussion.
- Based on this disputable discernment you asked: Do you object to a dance that praises God? You seem to confuse singing in honor of God and dancing in honor of God. Even though one can sing and dance at the same time, they are not the same thing. So, let us distinguish the actions.
For Bishops to sing in honor of God is a laudable custom in the solemn liturgies of the Church. Therefore, we do not have any objection to Bishops singing. In fact, we praise this action.
Regarding Bishops dancing, we do object to a Bishop dancing. It is our conviction that a Bishop should be a model of Christ for his diocese. Now, Our Lord never danced. He came to establish the way of the Cross to be walked by his followers, and not a worldly way of continuous entertainment and amusements. He ordered his Apostles to follow Him on the same path. They died martyrs because they obeyed this command of Our Lord and opposed the pleasure-oriented pagan world that surrounded them. Therefore, as an imitator of Christ and as a successor of the Apostles, a Catholic Bishop should not dance.
- This opinion is confirmed by History where the rule for Bishops is not to dance. We are not aware of exceptions to this rule, but would like to know if any existed. In this sense, we would appreciate if you could point out - before Vatican II - some examples of Catholic Bishops dancing.
- This opinion is also confirmed in the Old Covenant, wherein God described in great detail all the ceremonies and rules the Levites should follow for His honor and glory, and, as far as we know, never mentioned dancing.
- On the contrary, it is normal among some Protestant sects like the Pentecostals to dance at their ceremonies. It is also habitual for Hindu and Buddhist monks and Muslims dervishes to dance. From these spurious sources, and not from the crystal waters of Catholic tradition, the post-conciliar Church assimilated the present day habit of dancing and shouting at religious gatherings, replacing the previous seriousness and recollection that reigned.
- The example of King David dancing before the Ark does not apply to the case of dancing Bishops because he was a layman, not an ecclesiastic. You employed the expression “God’s anointed” in two different senses imagining that it has only one. The first meaning of “anointed” refers to the blessing given to a King or a Prophet, which is not a part of the Sacrament of the Holy Orders; the second meaning is the consecration of a Bishop, which constitutes the plenitude of that Sacrament.
Your example applies to lay people, even Kings, who dance outside the religious temples. We do not have any problem with that. It does not, however, apply to ecclesiastics.
If you want to use the Old Covenant to present evidence for your point, you can look for examples among the Levites and High-Priests who were the pre-figures of the Presbyters and Bishops of the Catholic Church. We would be pleased to know the fruit of your research.
TIA correspondence desk
Posted November 22, 2005
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