The Very Reverend Charles Cimpl, also known as Fr. Chuck, is the pastor of Saint Michael’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Saint Michael’s is the largest parish in the diocese and many consider Fr. Chuck as the pastor par excellance in Sioux Falls. This month marks the 37th anniversary of Father’s ordination to the priesthood. It is also worth noting that Fr. Chuck is the Vicar General for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, second only to Bishop Paul J Swain in this capacity.
All of this is why the recent video below is so disturbing. Watching Fr. Chuck’s “performance” one might be tempted to quip: “I went to a school Mass and a Wiggles concert broke out.” However, since this sing-along homily falls right in the middle of the Holy Sacrifice, laughing it off is not an acceptable response. As a priest in the diocese said to me after recently viewing Fr. Chuck’s homily: “This is right out of 1970’s and has no place in the liturgy.” Of course, many will view the clip with little to no surprise as the lines between the Holy Mass and a school pep rally were blurred long ago (think Life Teen).
In his modern classic “The Spirit of the Liturgy” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger describes the essence of an anthropocentric liturgy. Remember this quote as you watch Fr. Chuck’s sing-along. From Cardinal Ratzinger:
“The worship of the golden calf is a self-generated cult…Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking, and making merry. The dance around the golden calf is an image of this self-seeking worship. It is a kind of banal self-gratification…
“Ultimately, it is no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one’s own resources. Then liturgy really does become pointless, just fooling around. Or still worse, it becomes an apostasy from the living God, an apostasy in sacral disguise.”
Brian Williams is a convert who entered the Catholic Church in 2006. He is a graduate of Long Beach State University with a BA in History. Brian blogs on life, liturgy and the pursuit of holiness at liturgyguy.com. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and five children.