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National Catholic Reporter,  September 9, 2005

Indian Mass includes pagan symbols and blessing

June 24, Los Angeles - The group of Indians above is preparing to enter San Gabriel Mission Church for a Confirmation Mass that integrated Indian rituals, songs, and dances into the Catholic liturgy. Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala officiated at the event, calling it an "historic" Native American Mass.

After a pagan blessing of the "sacred space," Bishop Zavala began the service, saying: "Grandfather Creator, fulfill your promise. Send your Holy Spirit to make us witnesses before the world. So the good news proclaimed by elder brother Christ, who lives through you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever."

The liturgy was a mixture of Catholic and Indian rituals. The Offertory song was "Planting Stick," the Communion song, the "California Bear Healing," and the meditation and exit hymns were ancient pagan songs in the Tongva Indian tongue.

Was it a Catholic Mass or a pagan Tongva Indian ritual? Who can really distinguish? It is an example of the religious syncretism that has been promoted since Vatican Council II under the ambiguous name of "inculturation."

Below left, Bishop Zavala stands in prayer before the "sacred sage" is lit for a Tongva "blessing" to be given to the Confirmation recipient.

Below right, the Confirmation candidate dressed in full tribal garb carries a gourd rattle used to make music and song during the ceremony.

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The Tidings,  June 30, 2006

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