Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
17 January 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Scripture 1 Comment
Two Iowa priests afflicted with cancer.
One survives and scales a mountain.
I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
From whence shall come my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
or your guardian to sleep.
Behold, the guardian of Israel
never slumbers nor sleeps. (Psalm 121:1-4)
One will not and asks to depart in peace.
Now, Master, dismiss your servant in peace.
You have fulfilled your promise.
My own eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples. (Luke 2:29-31)
Two separate songs of God, and each in their own way, lift up the faithful believer.
17 January 2012
I’m curious. Aren’t you?
What will be the official Catholic position when our own discrimination/unlawful termination/they-hate-me suits come before the SCOTUS? Like the one decided last week.
Will lay Catholics be promoted from “extraordinary” status to full-fledged ministers? Will lawyers for the plaintiffs have access to this document and then present their case? Non-ordained Catholic employees are collaborators, not ministers!
Catholic Justice Samuel Alito seems to have a problem with this view:
(The definition of minister) should apply to any ‘employee’ who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith.
Messengers or teachers? Heck, that could apply to practically every active Catholic. Doesn’t sound so extraordinary to me.
Regardless of the result, I’m sure that churches all over will continue to struggle with the very obvious challenge. The American judiciary may let them off the hook, but mistreatment of employees–even the perception of it–comes with a cost. Money handed out in settlements may be saved today. But grasshoppers in the clergy might consider that a little bit of harder work, a little more consideration in the moment might save many headaches in the future.
Churches get an exemption from good behavior. How the heck does that look? The employers who should be the best-behaved get to run HR-considerations like the dance line at a high school sock hop. Juvenile behavior, even if legal, always has consequences. Or so my mother told me.
17 January 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Ministry  Comments
Jimmy Mac picked up on Msgr Charles Pope’s response to me on his blog. I openly wondered about the quality of recent episcopal appointments. Even if the bishops are poor, he replied:
“(T)hey are the Bishops God has placed there and they deserve respect.”
Jim and Thomas suggested God’s agency here is doubtful. But I think it’s worth a serious look.
The ordination of a bishop is a sacramental event. As such, we Catholics believe Christ is involved in a real way. Perhaps any individual believer accepts or rejects this. And that rejection could be for any number of reasons, valid and invalid.
In the document Christus Dominus, Vatican II confirmed what Vatican I taught, that bishops are appointed by the Holy Spirit. Lumen Gentium 20-22, and the Catechism 1555-1561 give a brief summary of Church teaching as well. However, what of the current practice of assigning a bishop from another see? Is God involved with the elevation and installation of bishops? The latter might seem to be based on a subjective human judgment. And what of situations in which people reject a bishop-designate? Does the installation provide anything new that the ordination didn’t?
Probing a little deeper, Catholics are accustomed to a rather high degree of practical quality with regard to the validity and liceity of the Eucharist. By this I mean the matter has to be correct (you can’t consecrate rice bread and apple juice) and the proper ritual must be utilized (you can’t say any old words) and you have to have the proper intention of the Church (that is, you must intend for a sacrament to be celebrated–a priest walking into a bread factory and saying the right words just isn’t going to work).
Are bishops and the bishop-selection process subject to a similar level of scrutiny? In a way, the Eucharist is easy: bread and wine are inanimate substances. And the Church would tell us that gender is all-important, that you can no more consecrate a woman than pomegranate wine.
But suppose the bishop-candidate is “wrong.” Does the Holy Spirit really intend that a person appointed for political reasons is proper matter for the sacrament? A person incapable of good leadership, effective teaching, who does not strive for holiness?
Does God give us the office, but leave the Church with the freedom to appoint appropriate or inappropriate shepherds?
I can accept that in every life situation, God can work good from horrific evils. I can acknowledge the grave evil of World War II, but in doing so, need I reject my own existence? If not for this immoral bloodbath, my parents–from different regions of the country–would never have met and married. Does my existence, and that of my siblings and nephews and nieces justify Hitler?
I’m far from denying that the office of bishop, even as a post-Resurrection reality, is God-given and makes Christ present. But I’m far from satisfied in sitting with the notion that incompetent, insensitive, or even in coherent leadership is “of God.” God can work through a lot of flaws. And I believe God’s intent is that we strive for holiness in spite of our own sins. But giving bishops too much of a pass because they are appointed by God seems to drift off too much to a priest saying the “right words” at a bread factory.
17 January 2012
Between peace and the procession:
155. After this, the Priest takes the host, breaks it over the paten, and places a small piece in the chalice, saying quietly, Haec commixtio (May this mingling). Meanwhile the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is sung or said by the choir and by the people (cf. no. 83).
156. Then the Priest, with hands joined, says quietly the prayer for Communion, either Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God) or Perceptio Corporis et Sanguinis tui (May the receiving of your Body and Blood).
157. When the prayer is concluded, the Priest genuflects, takes a host consecrated at the same Mass, and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, facing the people, says, Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God) and together with the people he adds, Lord, I am not worthy.
Nothing here about hosts on the altar not consecrated at this Mass. At my parish, if they are needed, they are brought out later.
158. After this, standing facing the altar, the Priest says quietly, Corpus Christi custodiat me in vitam aeternam (May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life), and reverently consumes the Body of Christ. Then he takes the chalice, saying quietly, Sanguis Christi custodiat me in vitam aeternam (May the Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life), and reverently partakes of the Blood of Christ.
159. While the Priest is receiving the Sacrament, the Communion Chant begins (cf. no. 86).
Does the Communion chant begin in a timely way in your parish?
17 January 2012
The GDC gives four tasks for inculturation concerns in catechesis:
110. In this inculturation of the faith, there are different concrete tasks for catechesis. Amongst these mention must be made of:
– looking to the ecclesial community as the principal factor of inculturation: an expression and efficient instrument of this task is represented by the catechist who, with a profound religious sense, also possesses a living social conscience and is well rooted in (her or) his cultural environment; (Cf. Guide for catechists, 12)
This would entail a strong sense of community, perhaps stronger than in many parishes. Catechists are usually more to the forefront of active and aware believers in the community. Well-rooted in the cultural environment: what impact might that entail for the catechesis of children, youth, and young adults?
– drawing up local catechisms which respond to the demands of different cultures (Cf. Catechism 24) and which present the Gospel in relation to the hopes, questions and problems which these cultures present;
More the realm of nations and regions. Perhaps this is part of the basis for the YouCat.
– making the Catechumenate and catechetical institutes into “centres of inculturation”, incorporating, with discernment, the language, symbols, and values of the cultures in which the catechumens and those to be catechized live;
– presenting the Christian message in such a way as to prepare those who are to proclaim the Gospel to be capable “of giving reasons for their hope” (1 Pt 3,15) in cultures often pagan or post-Christian: effective apologetics to assist the faith-culture dialogue is indispensable today.
This last piece may be a challenge in some quarters. You readers here know of my skepticism on apologetics. But cultivating the quality of hope: this is indeed essential. And overlooked in the trinity of virtues. Love? We may falter with it. But we long for it. And faith, at least among believers, is less of a problem, though it could be stronger. Hope is the lost virtue for many–I know I struggle with it most of all. And I’m sure that struggle hampers my presentation of the Gospel.
What about you?