Friday, June 27, 2008
The Polka Mass
Some years ago I slipped into the back pew of a local Catholic church to see it for myself. And yes, there it was - a local polka band prominently perched on the high altar, ready to 'lead' the worship in a rousing 'oompa' to inspire the faithful. I was aghast at what I saw, observing one denim-clad young mother swaying to the music as if she was at the summer fair. But I was equally disappointed when this 'event' showed up shortly afterwards in a local Lutheran church as well. Now I open my paper and see the advertisement once more: "Church plans polka Mass." And yes, they even call it an "event." Of course it was an article in the paper, and the word may not have been provided by the pastor or the church. But they got it right. Polka and polka bands are musical "events" and not to be mistaken for reverent worship, no matter how one attempts to dress it up. I am embarrassed for these poor people. It must take every ounce of strength for someone not to suddenly erupt into "Roll out the barrel" in the middle of the liturgy.
The logo above is from the site which calls itself the "Home of the Polka Mass." Here Father Perkovich states that his polka masses are "presented in a manner of dignity that enhances the solemnity of the mass." Raised in a German-Lutheran-Catholic community where polka bands were the regular staple at beer gardens and wedding receptions, I'm struggling to see it his way.... An interesting counter-argument from the EWTN site can be found here.