The title’s footnote reads: Report of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, the Secretariat for non-Christians and the Secretariat for non-believers and the Pontifical Council for Culture The Phenomenon of Sects or new religious movements: pastoral challenge, L’Osservatore Romano, 7 May 1986.
201. In a climate of cultural and religious relativism, and sometime because of the inappropriate conduct of Christians, a proliferation of “new religious movements” has occurred. These are sometimes called sects or cults but, because of the abundance of names and tendencies, are difficult to categorize in a comprehensive and precise framework. From available data, movements of Christian origin can be identified, while others derive from oriental religions, and others again appear to be connected with esoteric traditions. Their doctrines and their practices are of concern because they are alien to the content of the Christian faith. It is therefore necessary to promote among Christians exposed to such risks “a commitment to evangelization and integral systematic catechesis which must be accompanied by a witness which translates these into life”. (The Phenomenon of Sects or new religious movements: pastoral challenge, cit., n. 5. 4) Thus it is necessary to overcome the danger of ignorance and prejudice, to assist the faithful in engaging correctly with the Scriptures, to awaken in them a lively experience of prayer, to defend them from error, to educate them in responsibility for the faith which they have received, confronting dangerous situations of loneliness, poverty and suffering with the love of the Gospel. Because of the religious yearning which these movements can express, they should be considered “a market place to be evangelized”, in which some of the most pressing questions can find answers. “The Church has an immense spiritual patrimony to offer mankind, a heritage in Christ, who called himself ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6)”. (Redemptoris Missio 38)
Some of these “new religious movements” are probably less religious and more spiritual. They possess an attraction because they appeal to the Western poverty for the deeper levels of yearning for God, for meaning. It’s not a surprise that the past few centuries have seen organized religion more and more powerless in the face of violence, war, and corruption. A weak response to these grave challenges has turned millions of believers out of churches to search for people who have answers. A recovery of the mystical and artistic aspects of Catholicism, and a more skeptical view of rationalism would do wonders.
388. Those adaptations spoken of below that necessitate a wider degree of coordination are to be decided, in accord with the norm of law, in the Conference of Bishops.
A rather nice candy-coating of current translation dynamics:
389. It is the competence, in the first place, of the Conferences of Bishops to prepare and approve an edition of this Roman Missal in the authorized vernacular languages, so that, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, the edition may be used in the regions to which it pertains.[Cf. Canon Law 838 §3]The Roman Missal, whether in Latin or in legitimately approved vernacular translations, is to be published in its entirety.
Well, some countries are permitted to publish partially. This is a US rule. A few other countries. Not everybody.
390. It is for the Conferences of Bishops to formulate the adaptations indicated in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself. They are such as these:
• the gestures and bodily posture of the faithful (cf. no. 43);
• the gestures of veneration toward the altar and the Book of the Gospels (cf. no. 273);
• the texts of the chants at the Entrance, at the Presentation of the Gifts, and at Communion (cf. nos. 48, 74, 87);
• the readings from Sacred Scripture to be used in special circumstances (cf. no. 362);
• the form of the gesture of peace (cf. no. 82);
• the manner of receiving Holy Communion (cf. nos. 160, 283);
• the materials for the altar and sacred furnishings, especially the sacred vessels, and also the materials, form, and color of the liturgical vestments (cf. nos. 301, 326, 329, 339, 342-346).
It shall be permissible for Directories or pastoral Instructions that the Conferences of Bishops judge useful to be included, with the prior recognitio of the Apostolic See, in the Roman Missal at an appropriate place.
Thoughts on what you see in your parish, diocese, or nation in this list, which, by the way, is not exhaustive.
Well, maybe not soul, as in genre. Tonight, let’s see how two hymns with different pedigrees compare in the CS commentariat.
“How Great Thou Art” was an easy top-ten NPM choice. It finishes pretty much at the top of any non-Catholic poll. It’s an easy choice when you want an ecumenical gathering to sing: everybody knows it. More than you might want to know is spelled out in several versions amd verses. Did you know Erik Routley hated text and tune? He wrote new verses and reharmonized the Swedish folk tune. Here’s a 1995 version from the New Century Hymnal:
O mighty God, when I survey in wonder
The world that formed when once the word you said,
The strands of life all woven close together,
The whole creation at your table fed,
Refrain: (vss 1-3)
My soul cries out in songs of praise to you,
O mighty God! O mighty God! (repeat)
Only in Christianity could you get a 19th century Swedish text set to a folk tune translated into English, used by the foremost evangelical Christian of the 20th century and spread in numerous translations and versions throughout the world. Now it’s considered a “gospel song.”
The prayer Anima Christi goes back to the late Middle Ages. Authorship has been credited to St Ignatius Loyola, Pope John XXII. Probably neither. It’s older. Here’s a metrical setting:
Soul of my Savior sanctify my breast,
Body of Christ, be thou my saving guest,
Blood of my Savior, bathe me in thy tide,
wash me with waters gushing from thy side.
Strength and protection may thy passion be,
O blessèd Jesus, hear and answer me;
deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me,
so shall I never, never part from thee.
Guard and defend me from the foe malign,
in death’s dread moments make me only thine;
call me and bid me come to thee on high
where I may praise thee with thy saints for ay.
The common hymn tune is attributed to Fr W. J. Maher. Tons of arrangements available. Tons.
Regarding Islam and other religions, a heavily footnoted title includes references to Evangelii Nuntiandi 53, the 1977 Synod of Bishops Message to the People of God 15, Christifedeles Laici 35, Redemptoris Missio 55-57, Catechism 839-845, Tertio Millennio Adveniente 53, and the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples – Pontifical Council for inter-religious dialogue’s Dialogue and Proclamation (19 May 1991). You might get the idea the Church takes interfaith relationships seriously. Let’s read:
200. For the most part, Christians today live in multi-religious contexts; many, indeed, in a minority position. In this context, especially with relation to Islam, catechesis takes on a particular importance and is called to assume a delicate responsibility which is expressed in several duties. Above all, it deepens and strengthens, by means of appropriate adaptation or inculturation, the identity of believers—particularly where they constitute a minority—who find themselves in an obligatory encounter between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of other religions. For this exchange, solid, fervent, Christian communities and well prepared, native catechists are indispensable. In the second place, catechesis assists in creating awareness of the presence of other religions. It necessarily facilitates Christians in discerning the elements in those religions which are contrary to the Christian message, but also educates them to accept the seeds of the Gospel (semina Verbi) which are found in them and which can sometimes constitute an authentic preparation for the Gospel.
In the third instance, catechesis promotes a lively missionary sense among believers. This is shown by clear witness to the faith, by an attitude of respect and mutual understanding, by dialogue and cooperation in defence of the rights of the person and of the poor and, where possible, with explicit proclamation of the Gospel.
This “third instance,” is the situation contrasting the catechetical approach with ecumenism (other Christians) and/or Judaism. Any thoughts on this?
Mississippi has the country’s highest percentage of African-Americans, who are known for being the most religious group.
“Most people say that’s the reason why the state is the highest,” (Frank Newport, editor-in-chief) said, “but even people in Mississippi with no religious identity are more religious than people in Vermont who are religious.”
We wanted to make this announcement as soon as possible so that parishes might begin to look at how this blessing might be woven into the fabric of parish life. Eventually the new blessing will be included in the Book of Blessings when that text is revised.
Hopefully, people who have wanted such a blessing in the past were able to just ask a cleric, who, of course, would just give it. Still, having a ritual is nice.
about Todd Flowerday
A Roman Catholic lay person, married (since 1996), with one adopted child (since 2001). I serve in worship and spiritual life in a midwestern university parish.
Neil has been a blogging collaborator for the past several years on Catholic Sensibility. He brings his unique experiences from theology, spirituality, and the ecumenical sphere. Pay special attention to each one of his posts.