Creepy Clown Masses On The Rise

October 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Mass

Image: Graeme Maclean

Image: Graeme Maclean

Reports out of Cincinnati, Ohio today suggest sightings of Creepy Clown Masses are on the rise nationwide, and at levels not seen since the introduction of the 3rd typical edition of the Roman Missal five years ago.

While anecdotes abounded in the 1990’s, most Catholics had never seen a Creepy Clown Mass themselves until recently.

“I was ascending the side altar for my morning Latin Mass when I suddenly heard a calliope playing ‘All Are Welcome’ for a procession of creepy clowns in the nave,” said Monsignor Adrian Fitch. “They wouldn’t leave until I let them present the gifts. Another time I felt this hand on my shoulder and, at first, I thought it was just crazy ol’ Sister Ann [Provincial of the Congregation of Pant-Suited Pantomimes] extending her hand again for the Consecration, but nope, it was a freakin’ creepy clown with a chalice in one hand and a machete in the other.”

While some are calling the phenomenon a natural response to calls for more inclusive and diverse faith communities, others are calling it a publicity stunt for the upcoming Vigil of All Saints Day.  A growing minority, however, are attributing it to the circus atmosphere of the current Pontificate.

  • Casper

    Not sure that people consider Pope Francis to be a fool. Something more sinister, usually.

  • Casper

    Just google “Catholic clown mass youtube”.

    Seems like there are a few to choose from…

    • Heinz

      I did, and the results were meagre.
      There was a “clown mass” in Puerto Rico (in combination with 1st holy communion preparation) with the attendance of about 10 children and a mother.
      Then there were some masses in which clowns participated, but the priest was not made up as clown.
      Then there is the `Blasphemous “Catholic” Masses, and liturgical abuse!!` video, but he also includes the above mentioned episcopalian mass, because he is more keen on forcing an argument than researching his sources.

      The next link in the search results is:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2014/03/the-overblown-legend-of-the-clown-mass.html

      Last week in a german town were many reports of creepy clown killers on the interwebs. Wrong reports that is. There are no creepy clown killers (yet).

      But technically you are right. At least the puerto rican mass proves that there have been catholic clown masses. But I’m not worried about those.
      There was this one priest who went on kayak tours with his young parishioners and celebrated mass on an upturned boat as altar and two paddles as a cross. That guy became John Paul II, now a saint.

      • Casper

        Upturned boat Mass – – a long way from purposefully mocking Mass in a dress-up Mass.
        http://www.tboyle.net/University/H_T_Conflict.html
        “On Palm Sunday, March 23, 1975, the new pastor of Holy
        Trinity Parish, Rev. James English, S.J., had nine performers from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
        join in his celebration of the 9:30 a.m. Family Mass.
        Shown above is the photograph that accompanied a Washington
        Post story the next day.
        Ms. Kristina Knop is pictured in the sanctuary before the church’s
        high altar doing a hand-stand atop an 18 foot vertical pole held by a
        colleague standing on another pole being held between the shoulders of two other colleagues…When the Archbishop criticized the event, Fr. English responded that the very same “circus Mass” had been performed in New York City at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the presence of Terence Cardinal Cooke.”
        Undoubtedly there were others in the following 40 years, even if they’re not on youtube.

        • Heinz

          Hmmm, it is just this last sentence, that I have to disagree with. Why is it so hard to find the “undoubted” ones throughout 40 years of increasing media coverage?
          There have been some problems implementing Vatican2 and here we have a conflict. There are worse.

          I find it very much blown out of perspective if one has a problem with an extraordinary show during the liturgy of the word. I’m sure (and the last letter to the editor confirms) that it is possible to have even a circus performance for a few minutes and still due respect to the Lord.
          It’s harder, maybe, and there is the danger that the mass becomes irrelevant behind the show, if done regularly, but that is a slippery slope argument (or rather fallacy).
          Eating sugar or sugary cake also has the danger that you start eating for the taste, and not for the nutricion, but that is no reason to ban sugar, is it?

          If all that happens is of the billions of masses celebrated in 40 years a few in which clowns appear in full dress, then that is just a bit of icing on top, not yet full blown diabetic obesity. (Assuming that due respect is given to the God)
          I do not like icing on things, but I do not get worked up about some that eat it.

          I draw the line at what the priest does, though. Inviting “lay guest preachers” is a common practice in masses for children, but a priest dressing up as clown and celebrating the eucharist with white gloves and a red nose is mixing entertainment into the sacrament.
          Do you have an example of that happening in a catholic church?

          • Casper

            “The Clown Mass, or “clown ministry’” as the larger phenomenon would be
            called, really did exist, and the intent behind this ministry is
            fascinating. In short, a “Clown Mass” involved liturgical ministers and
            congregation members dressing up…as clowns. Donning garish colors,
            light-up antennae, face paint, and red noses provided a means of
            tangibly and concretely heightening one’s awareness of human absurdity,
            inviting a refreshing playfulness into the sometimes-too-serious
            business of worship….
            Distinct from clown ministry at large, the practice of the “Clown Mass”
            in specific was met with swifter response by a concerned National
            Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (responding to
            repeated questions from the Congregation for Divine Worship) in the
            Bishops’ Newsletter appearing in November of 1985. Though the
            Committee did not doubt the sincerity of those involved in clown
            ministry, in the context of the Mass, clowns were officially deemed as
            having no legitimate liturgical function. No more were we to “send in
            the clowns” it seems—at least during Mass.”
            http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2014/09/29/the-legitimate-liturgical-function-of-clowns/

          • Heinz

            Thank you, that is a great blog post there. I fully agree with it and all history that it reports and in particular the last two paragraphs and the first comments.
            I’m not entirely sure about your position, but as you posted this as a source, I will assume that we are agreed.

            I know now that there have in fact been catholic clown masses and that they are far less bad than they seem, precisely because there is hardly any coverage for them. Now advertising with it, like “come to our church, because we are more fun than others” would indeed be a Very Bad Thing, and that is the first impression that you get when you hear “clown mass” – something aiming to draw attention.

            I think the practice has the the position that it should have: an experiment on the side by some people that really love God. I’ll be glad never to experience one myself (ditto for polka masses), because I find it to be a dead end, but I will not complain on principle.

            Concerning your other comment:
            “””Gee, I don’t know why we wouldn’t find more pictures of them. It’s not like they are controversial, or anything…”””
            You seem to be saying that controversial things by their nature receive less coverage. In my experience the opposite is the case.

          • Casper

            Gee, I don’t know why we wouldn’t find more pictures of them. It’s not like they are controversial, or anything…

  • Victor H

    the whole thing is hilarious, just found out about it today. catholics, non-radtrads, non-libs, etc… BUT non-catholics. whats the matter with francis? do you guys have to always follow what the press says about popes? lol

  • teo

    good thing you didnt break wind. that contributes to global warming. and thats a sin!