Hey Western Christians owe a lot to Elvis because of his invaluable influence in the liturgical reform.
Take a look at this great article, it's written by a Latin priest.
THE "ELVIS" RITE
By Father Jerry Pokorsky
Several weeks ago, I had an Elvis Presley sighting in my home parish. Perhaps I should clarify: There was an Elvis movie on the American Movie Classics TV network. I happened to catch the very end of the movie. I don’t know the name of the movie. I don’t think it was comedy. [The movie to which Father Pokorsky refers is apparently Change of Habit (1969) - Ed.] All I know is that Mary Tyler Moore was very young, and Elvis Presley had not yet gained his Las Vegas weight. In any case, the movie helps illustrate how far we have come in liturgical reform and where we, please God, must go.
Here is what I saw: Mary Tyler Moore appears in the pews of a church as a nun in full habit. The church has many statues and a beautiful crucifix. A Mass is being celebrated. The priest is wearing traditional Roman vestments. The sanctuary has a spectacular Gothic design. There are no “altar servers,” there are only “altar boys” in cassock and surplice. The Mass is being celebrated ad orientem—that is, facing east—and the tabernacle is on the altar in the middle.
And Elvis Presley is banging on his guitar just outside of the sanctuary, singing, “Let us sing together to the Lord.”
You either had to laugh or cry. Elvis and his hootenanny combo are not facing the sanctuary in worship; they are facing the people, with their backs to the altar and tabernacle. The people are being entertained, while the Mass takes place in the distant sanctuary. The priest and his altar boys seem oblivious to the vulgar behavior taking place just outside the sanctuary.
Of course the producers of the movie probably didn’t have any kind of agenda. They were only representing what was taking place in many Catholic churches at the time. I’m personally grateful to Elvis for the contribution he has made in preserving our liturgical heritage.
If the contrast of the ancient Mass of the Catholic Church juxtaposed against the swiveling hips of Elvis Presley is either humorous or horrifying, that contrast is also instructive. Why did it happen in the first place? What has changed over the thirty years since this movie was released? Let me address those questions.
Why did it happen in the first place? I don’t blame the Second Vatican Council. There is nothing in the conciliar documents that promote hootenanny Masses (although I once read that the first “Hootenanny Mass” took place, under the guidance of a certain Father Rivers, during the time of Council, in late 1964). I am persuaded that liturgical reform was hijacked by a Catholic culture that had an inferiority complex.
American Catholics couldn’t break into national politics in any big way until John Kennedy denied that his Catholicism would have any effect on the way he governed. With many noble exceptions such as The Song of Bernadette and the Alfred Hitchthingy film, I Confess, popular Catholic movies had very little to do with religion. Think of the Bing Crosby movies, such as The Bells of St. Mary’s. Aside from the setting, there was nothing particularly religious about many of these movies. Catholics, like everyone else, delighted in Bing Crosby’s personality, not in the fact that he was representing a distinctly Catholic point of view. Catholics were proud that Hollywood would use the trappings of Catholicism—but only the trappings, in most cases—to entertain. How else would an Elvis movie in which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was used as a backdrop have been permitted without a loud and boisterous Catholic outcry? American Catholic culture had an inferiority complex, and it was starving for affection. In my view, the Second Vatican Council simply lanced a festering boil.
What has changed over the thirty years since that Elvis movie was released? In most of our parishes, Mass is now being celebrated facing the people. The high altar, if there ever was one, certainly is no longer being used. The tabernacle is no longer in the center of the church. Statues have been removed. Crucifixes have been replaced with quilts —of dubious quality, carrying dubious symbolism. The choir has pride of place near the sanctuary, usually in full view of the congregation—roughly where Elvis was performing in that film. The piano and guitar have become the instruments of choice. But today, the priest and his ministers no longer are oblivious to Elvis. They want a cut of the action. So the priest now competes with the musicians for as much attention and affection as he can muster. In short, after thirty years of liturgical reform, it is clear that Elvis has won. In many of our churches, the name of the game is entertainment and ego, not worship.
For the sake of convenience, let’s call the cumulative effect of these innovative practices since the Council, the “Elvis Rite.” The key component to the Elvis Rite is self-absorption. How can the externals of the liturgy become self-absorbed—or as Cardinal Ratzinger writes, “a community closed in on itself?” Let me count the ways:
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ the priest who behaves like a toastmaster rather than a mediator in Christ who offers the Holy Sacrifice;
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ a priest who cannot resist the impulse to begin or conclude Mass with his own friendly words of welcome;
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ the displacement of the tabernacle and altar as the center of attention at Mass, replaced by a “presider’s chair”;
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ the cantors who flamboyantly lead the assembly with song from the lectern (a practice which, by the way, will be prohibited by the new liturgical legislation);
GÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³ the musicians who grow impatient with the hymns that are accessible to ordinary Catholics and agitate to sing hymns throughout the Mass, choosing music that can be performed only by trained voices.
There are no glass ceilings in the Elvis Rite. “Ministry” is no longer a solemn privilege; it now seems to be considered an inalienable human right. Liturgical dance has become the self-absorbed behavior of choice in many churches. Now, everyone—priest, ministers, musicians —stumble over each other competing for the affection of the people. Masses with “themes” are also in vogue. We no longer simply celebrate a low Mass or a Solemn High Mass. We celebrate folk Masses and polka Masses and clown Masses and children’s Masses with puppets. (I am not making this up.)
the whole artcile can be found here:http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Igpress/2002-01/essay.html