30 December 2011
Much was made of Lumen Gentium starting with the People of God and moving to the clergy fron there. In the GIRM we get it in reverse. But hey: when you’re number two, do you try harder?
95. In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people of God’s own possession and a royal Priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the unblemished sacrificial Victim not only by means of the hands of the Priest but also together with him and so that they may learn to offer their very selves.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 48; Eucharisticum Mysterium 12] They should, moreover, take care to show this by their deep religious sense and their charity toward brothers and sisters who participate with them in the same celebration.
A sense of sacrifice indeed for many of us, at many times.
They are consequently to avoid any appearance of singularity or division, keeping in mind that they have only one Father in heaven and that hence are all brothers or sisters one to the other.
Liturgy is not a time to parade divisions. I don’t think the GIRM is calling for these to be ignored or minimized. God knows we have them.
96. Moreover, they are to form one body, whether in hearing the Word of God, or in taking part in the prayers and in the singing, or above all by the common offering of the Sacrifice and by participating together at the Lord’s table. This unity is beautifully apparent from the gestures and bodily postures observed together by the faithful.
One difficult issue in my parish and in many others is the posture of receiving Communion. Does one offend against GIRM 96 and the observance of unity by, for example, being a minority kneeler to receive the Eucharist?
97. The faithful, moreover, should not refuse to serve the People of God in gladness whenever they are asked to perform some particular service or function in the celebration.
They can’t say no when the liturgist asks? Really? What do you have to say about all this?
29 December 2011
Posted by catholicsensibility under On My Bookshelf 1 Comment
The concept is hardly original. One of the better episodes of the last Star Trek series explored the premise of a person who wakes up every morning with no memories of the days and years before. I picked up S. J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep hoping I wasn’t going to be reading a derivative work. I was unaware the book has been a bestseller, and widely (though not unanimously) praised. I read this book in three nights. It was engaging, believable, and extremely well-paced. As one might expect from a quality author, it explored a good number of concepts while keeping the reader (and main character) off-guard with a gradual development of information, misinformation, and menace. The key idea emerges very near the end, and was hidden to me until about a page before the main character finally uncovers it herself. I had to intentionally slow down my reading pace to make sure I was catching the last drops of how the novel resolves itself.
This was one of my more enjoyable reads this year. After I finished it last night, I checked various reviews, and I have to say I disagreed with some points of the book’s critics. The 350 pages are more than boring repetitions–the author handles the dribbling of information quite well and logically. A thoughtful reader won’t find it tedious, but I can see how a skimming of the text would produce a yawn or two. It’s actually quite difficult to portray with interest a main character who wakes up every morning with no memories. For a first-time author, this is an impressive feat.
Also challenging is a man writing a woman–he seems to pull this off. (But I’m a guy; so what do I know?) Is amnesia like this a possibility outside of science fiction? I don’t know that, either. But as an sf fan, I was well-prepared to accept the premise, though this is far from being a science fiction work. Then again, I don’t really count Star Trek as science fiction, but that’s fodder for another discussion.
I would recommend this book. It’s a very good read. If I ever write a first novel, I’d be over the moon if it were this good.
29 December 2011
Part Two, Chapter I (GDC 94-118) is titled “Norms and criteria for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis”
This chapter leads off with two timely quotes, the Sh’ma Yisrael passage and a short excerpt from the incarnation narrative of John’s Gospel:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Dt 6:4-9).
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).
94. The source from which catechesis draws its message is the word of God:
“Catechesis will always draw its content from the living source of the word of God transmitted in Tradition and the Scriptures, for sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the word of God, which is entrusted to the Church”. (Catechesi Tradendae 27)
This “deposit of faith” (Cf. Dei Verbum 10 a e b; cf. 1 Tim 6:20 and 2 Tim 1:14) is like the treasure of a householder; it is entrusted to the Church, the family of God, and she continuously draws from it things new and old. (cf. Mt 13:52) All God’s children, animated by his Spirit, are nourished by this treasure of the Word. They know that the Word is Jesus Christ, the Word made man and that his voice continues to resound in the Church and in the world through the Holy Spirit. The Word of God, by wondrous divine “condescension” (Dei Verbum 13) is directed toward us and reaches us by means of human “deeds and words”, “just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself the flesh of human weakness, became like men”. (Dei Verbum 13) And so without ceasing to be the word of God, it is expressed in human words. Although close to us, it still remains veiled, in a “kenotic” state. Thus the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, has to interpret the word continually. She contemplates the word with a profound spirit of faith, “listens to [it] devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully”. (Dei Verbum 10)
Drawing heavily on Vatican II and the New Testament, the GDC lays the foundation for what is to come, namely, that catechesis is based on the living Word of God. Not human traditions. Not human documents. What counts is the grace of God, God’s gift of self-revelation and how that is communicated by human words, but also human deeds.
Catechesis is also not a discipline of human history. The Holy Spirit guides us to “continual” interpretation and discernment. To say, “The Church has always taught …” is not precisely grace–it is human history. The Word is meant to be contemplated, to be heard, to be guarded, and to be expounded upon in the situations of the times in which we find ourselves.
29 December 2011
Bishops, priests, and deacons each have a distinct role in the liturgy. Here’s what the GIRM has to say about them:
92. Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is directed by the Bishop, either in person or through Priests who are his helpers.[cf. Lumen gentium 26, 28; Sacrosanctum Concilium 42]
When the Bishop is present at a Mass where the people are gathered, it is most fitting that he himself celebrate the Eucharist and associate Priests with himself in the sacred action as concelebrants. This is done not for the sake of adding outward solemnity to the rite, but to signify more vividly the mystery of the Church, “the sacrament of unity.”[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 26]
If, on the other hand, the Bishop does not celebrate the Eucharist but has assigned it to someone else to do this, then it is appropriate that he should preside over the Liturgy of the Word, wearing the pectoral cross, stole, and cope over an alb, and that he should give the blessing at the end of Mass.[cf. Caeremoniale Episcoporum 175-186]
93. A Priest, also, who possesses within the Church the sacred power of Orders to offer sacrifice in the person of Christ,[cf. Lumen Gentium 28; Presbyterorum Ordinis 2] presides by this fact over the faithful people gathered here and now, presides over their prayer, proclaims to them the message of salvation, associates the people with himself in the offering of sacrifice through Christ in the Holy Spirit to God the Father, and gives his brothers and sisters the Bread of eternal life and partakes of it with them. Therefore, when he celebrates the Eucharist, he must serve God and the people with dignity and humility, and by his bearing and by the way he pronounces the divine words he must convey to the faithful the living presence of Christ.
94. After the Priest, the Deacon, in virtue of the sacred Ordination he has received, holds first place among those who minister in the celebration of the Eucharist. For the sacred Order of the Diaconate has been held in high honor in the Church even from the early time of the Apostles.[Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem; Pontificale Romanum, De Ordinatione Episcopi, presbyterorum et diaconorum, 173] At Mass the Deacon has his own part in proclaiming the Gospel, from time to time in preaching God’s Word, in announcing the intentions of the Universal Prayer, in ministering to the Priest, in preparing the altar and in serving the celebration of the Sacrifice, in distributing the Eucharist to the faithful, especially under the species of wine, and from time to time in giving instructions regarding the people’s gestures and posture.
Even in a cathedral parish, the bishop is not a weekly presider for parishioners. The challenge is that the bishop’s “direction” is largely a theoretical experience for most Catholics. And when they do see the bishop at liturgy, it’s usually in a situation in which the “outward solemnity” is part of the worship experience. The association is undeniable.
GIRM 93 is a good reminder for parish priests, especially the importance given to the “bearing” of his leadership style, and that conveying “the living presence of Christ” is as much about actions as it is about words. The hope that MR3 will be an occasion of renewal will fall flat on its face if clergy do not attend to what is beyond the words.
GIRM 94 on the liturgical ministry of the deacon: good reminders here, too. It should be one of the guideposts for discerning a vocation to the diaconate. Indeed, all three of these sections should be required for the files of every seminarian and deacon candidate. Authentic vocations for Holy Orders must take into account these listed qualities and responsibilities; they would be minimum requirements to serve.
28 December 2011
With this post we commence our examination of Part Two of the General Directory for Catechesis, “The Gospel Message.” It consists of two chapters:
- “Norms and criteria for presenting the Gospel message in catechesis,” numbered sections 94 through 118
- “This is our faith; this is the faith of the Church,” sections 119 through 136
Just to give you a bit of perspective, we’re about one-third of the way through the document as of this post. Let’s start with two aspects of faith:
92. The Christian faith, through which a person says “Yes” to Jesus Christ, may be analysed thus:
– as an adherence, which is given under the influence of grace, to God who reveals himself; in this case the faith consists in believing the word of God and committing oneself to it (fides qua);
– as the content of Revelation and of the Gospel message; in this sense, faith is expressed in its endeavour to understand better the mystery of the word (fides quae).
Both aspects, by their very nature, cannot be separated. Maturation and growth in the faith require their comprehensive and coherent development. For methodological purposes, however, they can be regarded separately. (Cf. General Catechetical Directory (1971) 36a)
93. Part Two, considers the content of the Gospel message (fides quae).
– The first chapter, sets out the norms and criteria which catechesis must follow so as to find, formulate and present its contents. Indeed every form of the ministry of the word is ordered to the presentation of the Gospel message according to its own character.
– The second chapter examines the content of the faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the doctrinal point of reference for all catechesis. It also presents some observations which may help the assimilation and interiorization of the Catechism and locate it within the catechetical activity of the Church. In addition, some criteria are set out to assist particular Churches in compiling catechisms based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which, while preserving the unity of the faith, must also take into account diversity of circumstances and cultures.
You see we’ll get some general norms on presenting catechesis, and we’ll also take time for a good look at the Catechism.
28 December 2011
GIRM Chapter III gives a look at “Duties and Ministries in the Mass, and covers numbered sections 91 through 111. This chapter’s opening paragraph is expanded a bit from the parallel section in the 1975 GIRM. There is a bit of a difference in the 2000 and 2011 translations. Notably missing is a quote in the first sentence below about the Eucharist being a “Sacrament of unity” (in the Latin, “quae est <unitatis sacramentum>”) Otherwise, this section is largely dependent on Vatican II for its substance:
91. The celebration of the Eucharist is the action of Christ and of the Church, namely, of the holy people united and ordered under the Bishop. It therefore pertains to the whole Body of the Church, manifests it, and has its effect upon it. Indeed, it also affects the individual members of the Church in a different way, according to their different orders, functions, and actual participation.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 26] In this way, the Christian people, “a chosen race, a royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,” expresses its cohesion and its hierarchical ordering.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 14] All, therefore, whether ordained ministers or lay Christian faithful, in fulfilling their function or their duty, should carry out solely but totally that which pertains to them.[cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 28]
27 December 2011
Posted by catholicsensibility under film
, Saints Leave a Comment
This film was at the library yesterday, so the family enjoyed viewing tonight.
My wife mentioned that she was always afraid of her. Stern. Powerful. All-knowing. This film seemed to soften that view. This is good, as her birthday is the saint’s feast.
The young miss: “It’s okay.” But she was glued to the tv like the rest of us.
My only wish was to see more of Hildegard as musician and composer, but the one scene from Ordo Virtutum was impressive. The young miss commented that the “devil” would get dizzy and fall after being bound up by the virtues.
27 December 2011
Posted by catholicsensibility under Commentary
, Liam  Comments
Liam sent me Jonah Lehrer’s piece, “Is The World Just?”
It turns out that we all have an intuitive belief in justice – people get what they deserve. This instinct makes all sorts of social contracts possible, but it comes with a perverse side effect, causing us to ignore stories of suffering that directly contradict that assumption. Because we believe in justice, we ignore stories of injustice.
This article has been sticking with me for a while. I meant to blog on it and with a few stories popping up about divorce and Christian persecution, the connections seemed to be clicking.
I suspect that everyone is predisposed to ignore injustice when it’s beyond their circle of comfort. Divorced people might have suffered any sort of abuse while they were married, but it was their own fault for
getting married sleeping with the enemy in the first place.
The martyrs fared even worse. Even though this victim was supposedly performing an act of altruism – she was suffering for the sake of others – the witnesses thought she was the most culpable of all. Her pain was proof of her guilt. Lerner’s conclusion was unsettling: “The sight of an innocent person suffering without possibility of reward or compensation motivated people to devalue the attractiveness of the victim in order to bring about a more appropriate fit between her fate and her character.”
Maybe Christian martyrs in the modern world are devalued. Even other Christians (but certainly secular media and government) can dismiss them as loony holy rollers who are too in-your-face about their faith. So they get what they deserve. Never mind that many martyred Christians in these countries have a religious legacy longer and deeper than, say, the United States.
The situation in Iraq is compounded by the Bush legacy. Conservative Christians seemed to align with adventurism in southwest Asia. That the Iraq War would lead to catastrophe for Christians is just incomprehensible to many. The war was supposed to be about extremism in Islam. Of course, Iraqi Christians may be easy to dismiss–they don’t profess in so many words Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. Plus they don’t look white.
What to do? Perhaps realize that it is human nature to have blind spots. When confronted with any possibility we are wrong, we can ask, “What have I missed?” We can also presume the best of any victim, regardless of ideology.
Read the whole Lehrer piece, especially the stories.
27 December 2011
Let’s read about five points where the GDC thinks RCIA is especially important:
91. In view of this substantial difference, some elements of the baptismal catechumenate are now considered, as the source of inspiration for post-baptismal catechesis.
– the baptismal catechumenate constantly reminds the whole Church of the fundamental importance of the function of initiation and the basic factors which constitute it: catechesis and the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. The pastoral care of Christian initiation is vital for every particular Church.
Calling people to Christ: yes, this is fundamental. More so than the Church’s existence for its own sake.
– The baptismal catechumenate is the responsibility of the entire Christian community. Indeed “this Christian initiation which takes place during the catechumenate should not be left entirely to the priests and catechists, but should be the care of the entire Christian community, especially the sponsors”. (291) The institution of the catechumenate thus increases awareness of the spiritual maternity of the Church, which she exercises in every form of education in the faith. (292)
For a number of suggestions on what this responsibility entails, refer to the RCIA page here. If nothing else, giving good moral and spiritual example to newcomers is essential. Also good liturgy, welcome into community activities, a willingness to get out there and engage the world.
– The baptismal catechumenate is also completely permeated by the mystery of Christ’s Passover. For this reason, “all initiation must reveal clearly its paschal nature. (293) The Easter Vigil, focal point of the Christian liturgy, and its spirituality of Baptism inspire all catechesis.
Paschal Mystery is key.
– The baptismal catechumenate is also an initial locus of inculturation. Following the example of the Incarnation of the Son of God, made man in a concrete historical moment, the Church receives catechumens integrally, together with their cultural ties. All catechetical activity participates in this function of incorporating into the catholicity of the Church, authentic “seeds of the word”, scattered through nations and individuals. (294)
We could spend a whole post on this topic. The Church, ideally, need not be afraid of cultural aspects brought within its walls, into its community. We’ve adopted pagan philosophies (Aristotle), pagan architecture (the basilica), and many non-Christian music influences (I’m thinking plainsong and traditional music) and made them our own.
– Finally, the concept of the baptismal catechumenate as a process of formation and as a true school of the faith offers post-baptismal catechesis dynamic and particular characteristics: comprehensiveness and integrity of formation; its gradual character expressed in definite stages; its connection with meaningful rites, symbols, biblical and liturgical signs; its constant references to the Christian community.
Whenever a non-liturgical document talks good liturgy, I sit up and take notice. Gradual formation in Christ and meaningful worship of the Father will root a community and the larger Church more than any other combination.
Post-baptismal catechesis, without slavishly imitating the structure of the baptismal catechumenate, and recognizing in those to be catechized the reality of their Baptism, does well, however, to draw inspiration from “this preparatory school for the Christian life”, (295) and to allow itself to be enriched by those principal elements which characterize the catechumenate.
Many RCIA people find themselves adrift after the Easter Vigil. I always wondered why. Mystagogy continues a formation in the Word, but one that builds on the sacramental experience. That note below on 295 is telling: mystagogy and ongoing formation in the faith–however you call it–is needfully based on a cooperative ministry in the faith community: worship, catechesis, social justice + charity, and the spiritual life.
(291) Ad Gentes 14d.
(292) Methodius of Olympus, for example, speaks of this maternal action of the Christian community when he says: With regard to those who are still imperfect (in the Christian life), it is for the more mature to form them and to bring them to birth as a mother. (Symposium, III, 8; GCS 27, 88). See also St Gregory the Great Homilia in Evangelia, I, III, 2; PL 76,1086 D).
(293) RCIA 8.
(294) Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 53.
(295) General Catechetical Directory (1971) 130. This article begins with the affirmation: “The catechumenate for adults, which at one and the same time includes catechesis, liturgical participation and community living, is an excellent example of an institute that springs from the cooperation of diverse pastoral functions”.
27 December 2011
Let’s finish up chapter II, and with it, the Mass:
90. To the Concluding Rites belong the following:
a) brief announcements, should they be necessary;
b) the Priest’s Greeting and Blessing, which on certain days and occasions is expanded and expressed by the Prayer over the People or another more solemn formula;
c) the Dismissal of the people by the Deacon or the Priest, so that each may go back to doing good works, praising and blessing God;
d) the kissing of the altar by the Priest and the Deacon, followed by a profound bow to the altar by the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers.
None of this is terribly controversial. Regarding 90a, I’ve seen announcements placed between the gospel and homily, and also after 90c, the dismissal. Often they are located before the post-Communion prayer, presumably to give the people a chance to take them sitting down. In my mind, preferable would be to stand (if needed) for post-Communion, then be seated for announcements.
26 December 2011
Posted by catholicsensibility under Church News
, Politics  Comments
A tale of two analogies. Two prominent Catholics who seemed to have been at a loss for words. And for their troubles, they should have stayed that way, rather than venturing to make comparisons that somehow, don’t quite fit.
GOP candidate Newt Gingrich endorses his campaign manager’s likening of a two-person ballot in the Virginia Republican primary to Pearl Harbor:
Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941.
Somehow I don’t think the loss of over two-thousand American service personnel quite lines up with a blundering campaign that’s struggling to shoot straight. Mr Gingrich has been a college professor. I think a better analogy is an undergrad who thinks he has the world owed him on a platter, and then gets an F for not turning in his project on time.
Cardinal George insisted on pressing the comparison between LGBT rights groups and the Klan:
The rhetoric of the KKK and the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people — Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.
An archdiocesan spokeswoman:
Whether it was the best choice of analogy I don’t know. Taken out of context the meaning can be misinterpreted.
And sure, if it can be misinterpreted, it will be misinterpreted.Hasn’t this guy been following the misadventures of Pope Benedict and the secular press?
People are calling for his resignation, but that’s going to happen next year anyway. The Vatican would refuse and early out–it would be a retreat in the culturewar, and we can’t have that. Anyway, the archbishop pulled back from his insistence:
Obviously, it’s absurd to say that the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan, but if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshipping God, well, then that’s the comparison, but it’s not with people and people — it’s parade-parade.
Not people-people? Parade-parade? What about dum-dum? Cardinal George had a reputation for being an intellectual when he was whooshed into Chicago via Oregon a decade ago. This latest episode sure doesn’t show it.
Oh, getting back to the former Representative from Georgia, this is what a heroes’ memorial looks like:
This is your campaign:
26 December 2011
Posted by catholicsensibility under Liturgy
, Parish Life Leave a Comment
Another first in my long years of liturgical ministry. Someone absconded with the parish thurible sometime in the past two weeks. Getting ready for the Vigil Mass Saturday night, the sacristan comes to the piano and asks where I put it.
Me? I’ve been sick the past ten days and out of the office most of those. I checked the usual hiding places, and it was nowhere to be seen.
Our pewter thurible is far from the most valuable piece of liturgical property on the premises. It’s almost more likely it went off in search of a busier parish on its own initiative. We average six funerals a year at the student center. The students burn more incense at vigils or Taize Prayer or other such activities than we do for Mass.
Of course, if we had something of the scale of the Botafumeiro, it would be much harder to run off with it.
26 December 2011
Posted by catholicsensibility under Astronomy  Comments
The Astronomy Picture of the Day site posted this global portrait of the planet Saturn. Image credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA
Astronomer Carolyn Porco describes that colorful swirly northern stripe here:
Over the past year, a great disquiet has swept across the face of Saturn. The normally serene countenance of this giant planet was pierced last December by the sudden eruption of a bright, discrete, and powerful convecting storm that over the course of two months grew and spread to become a planet-encircling colossus, a wide kaleidoscopic band of commingled waves, vortices, and eddies, all in continuous swirling motion …. a mesmerizing display of snaking, sensuous, churning, turning, chaotic, roiling atmospheric turmoil.
Saturn is now enjoying the equivalent of Earth’s mid-April. Orbiting the sun once every twenty-nine-and-a-half years, a month on Earth translates to the passing of about 25 hours on the ringed planet. A three-month season on Earth stretches out to a bit more than seven years on Saturn. Imagine a Spring that lasts so long, but only comes two or three times in one’s life. Imagine a Spring storm that takes two months to build and grow and sustains itself for a whole year.
Two other differences grace the ringed planet: those clouds are a few hundred degrees colder than the puffy whites of Earth. Totally different gases too. Saturn’s air is mostly colorless hydrogen and helium. The hues above are partly due to a camera sensitive to the wavelengths just beyond red–the infrared. What causes the coloration–the natural pastels of yellow, pink, and blue? Nobody knows.
Other features we do know about:
The thin blue line is the view of Saturn’s rings nearly edge-on from the Cassini spacecraft in this image.
Notice the ring shadows on Saturn’s cloud tops.
What’s that black dot in the lower left?
If you want to check Saturn’s progress from Earth, you’ll have to rise early in the morning. When I took the dog out about 6:30 AM today, Saturn was very high in the south, paired with the bright star Spica in the constellation of Virgo.
26 December 2011
Why is RCIA so important? The GDC suggests that the way we form newcomers to the faith is the “inspiration” for the faith formation of believers. That doesn’t mean that RCIA is the model for everything catechetical. But inspiration suggests that RCIA energizes and informs other methods of catechesis.
To begin with, an interesting parallel is drawn. Remember missio ad gentes from earlier in this document? The emphasis on “to the peoples?” The Lord’s Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 applies not only to the non-believing peoples of the world, but also to the simple Christian witness given to one’s neighbors and ordinary contacts in the world.
In the same way the RCIA with a focus on gradual conversion, divine revelation through Scripture, liturgy and the spiritual life, etc., is a model of faith formation and catechesis for believers.
90. Given that the missio ad gentes is the paradigm of all the Church’s missionary activity, the baptismal catechumenate, which is joined to it, is the model of its catechizing activity. (288) It is therefore helpful to underline those elements of the catechumenate which must inspire contemporary catechesis and its significance.
By way of premise, however, it must be said that there is a fundamental difference between catechumens those being catechized, (289) between the pre-baptismal catechesis and the post-baptismal catechesis, which is respectively imparted to them. The latter derives from the sacraments of initiation which were received as infants, “who have been already introduced into the Church and have been made (children) of God by means of Baptism. The basis of their conversion is the Baptism which they have already received and whose power they must develop”. (290)
This is a good principle: baptism as an undeveloped “power,” rather than a membership card or a diploma.
(288) Cf. 1977 Synod of Bishops, Message to the People of God, 8; Evangelii Nuntiandi 44; Christifedeles Laici 61.
(289) In this (GDC) the expressions ‘catechumens’ and ‘those being catechized’ are used to make this distinction. For its part canon law 204-206, notes the different ways by which catechumens and the Christian faithful have union with the Church.
(290) RCIA 295. The same Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, chap. 4, ponders the question of those baptized adults who need initiatory catechesis. Catechesi Tradendae 44 specifies the diverse circumstances in which this catechesis may be deemed necessary.
26 December 2011
The Communion rite doesn’t end with the distribution of the elements and the procession to receive and return to one’s seat.
88. When the distribution of Communion is over, if appropriate, the Priest and faithful pray quietly for some time. If desired, a Psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the whole congregation.
Two good points here. I can’t imagine an ordinary situation when “some time” for silence wouldn’t be appropriate. I’m very sympathetic to the need for silence at liturgy. I think those moments are better cultivated at the core moments of the Mass, and after Communion is one of them. Silence then becomes part of the innermost fabric of prayer, for both the individuals and the community as a whole. I’m more of a skeptic for the need for absolute silence before Mass, when it can be miscommunicated that silence is the only way to prepare for Mass, or that the introductory rites can take on a more perfunctory role, or that the one-stop shopping mentality of the culture is imposed on a weekly visit to Church. That said, if a community’s style is quietude before Mass, it should be cultivated from within, not without. There’s also nothing wrong with encouraging people to pray quietly on their own time.
The post-Communion hymn of praise is a good idea. After the silence. Before the post-Communion prayer. I think the prescription of GIRM 86 should be taken into account whenever an assembly doesn’t sing (whether it be by their choice or the music director’s). Spiritual union, gladness of heart, a sense of community: these are the values attributed to the Communion song in GIRM 86. They should be cultivated somewhere, somehow. This would happen before the presider’s prayer, not after it.
The Communion Rite concludes with the presider’s prayer:
89. To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the whole Communion Rite, the Priest pronounces the Prayer after Communion, in which he prays for the fruits of the mystery just celebrated.
At Mass a single Prayer after Communion is said, and it ends with the shorter conclusion; that is:
• if the prayer is directed to the Father: Through Christ our Lord;
• if it is directed to the Father, but the Son is mentioned at the end: Who lives and reigns for ever and ever;
• if it is directed to the Son: Who live and reign for ever and ever.
The people make the prayer their own by means of the acclamation Amen.
Note that this is not a closing prayer.
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