NAPLES (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholics are expressing outrage after the video of a Buddhist dance performed during Holy Mass on the Feast of the Assumption at Naples Cathedral went viral on social media.
The Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary was renamed "International Mid-August Mass" and included "ethnic dances" and prayers from representatives of the African, Chinese and Sinhalese communities.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, who presided at the Eucharist and delivered the initial and final greetings in seven languages, told the congregation that prayers were offered "at all levels and at various latitudes" for overcoming the pandemic and for those who suffer from its effects.
Speaking to Church Militant, Sri Lankan theologian Shane Mack explained that the Kandyan dance, as it is known, originally rooted in Hinduism, "cannot be separated from its close religious connection and significance to Buddhism."
"The most spectacular (and best known) performance of the Kandyan dance of Sri Lanka is performed in a religious context during the annual 'Kandy Perahera' procession in the city of Kandy (and hence the name Kandyan dance)," Rev. Mack said.
"This religious perahera (procession) is conducted by the Temple of the Holy Tooth Relic of the Buddha in the city of Kandy. This temple is one of the most holy religious sites in the nation."
"Thus, this dance is closely associated with this religious festival and is certainly more than just a cultural tradition," the pastor emphasized.
Other forms of Kandyan dance like the Udekki has a special place in Hinduism because the Hindu god Shiva holds the Udduku drum in his right hand, and from its vibrations, all creations originate while the deity plays the percussion instrument.
"Sacrilege against the Blessed Virgin Mary is becoming a hallmark of the Bergoglian pontificate," a furious Dcn. Nick Donnelly told Church Militant.
"First it was the veneration of the 'pregnant' Pachamama idol in St. Peter's and the pornographic photograph of an Amazonian woman breastfeeding a weasel in Santa Maria in Traspontina. Now it's Hindu dancing during Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary," the popular English commentator said.
"Such dancing is central to Hindu and Buddhist worship, with deities such as Shiva portrayed as dancing. No matter how this syncretism is dressed up, this dancing originates from the worship of demons," Donnelly stressed.
"A more fitting dance to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption is the Mother of God stamping on the head of the Devil," he noted.
Shocked members of the congregation also pointed out that while they had to wear a mask during the service, the dancers and the drummer were permitted to perform without a mask.
"We also pray for the intercession of the Virgin whose Assumption into Heaven we celebrate today. For us this feast is Mary's Easter. It is the Mother who listens to us in this moment of great uncertainty and pain in the world," Cdl. Sepe, archbishop of Naples, preached.
Auxiliary bishops of Naples Lucio Lemmo and Gennaro Acampa concelebrated at the Eucharist.
The readings and prayers of the faithful were entrusted to representatives of ethnic groups from English and French-speaking Africa, China, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Latin America, Poland, Sri Lanka (Sinhalese and Tamil) and Ukraine.
In 2016, Sepe came under fire for "turning the cathedral into a restaurant" and setting up tables in the cathedral's sanctuary to serve lunch to immigrants and the poor — complete with pizza ovens in the churchyard. Similar hospitality events had earlier taken place only in the cathedral hall.
Naples Cathedral, widely known as the Cattedrale di San Gennaro, is famous for the vial of the blood of the city's patron saint, St. Januarius. The vial is brought out three times a year when the dried blood usually liquefies. If the blood fails to liquefy, then legend has it that disaster will befall Naples.