Marty Haugen’s third and last entry into the Dance will match up with a popular Praise and Worship song that surfaced on a few recent polls. Your choices for the next 72 hours:
“All Are Welcome” placed number eight on the NPM poll, the highest rated Marty Haugen song. It implies, like another oft-used gathering hymn, a standard at which we aim, but haven’t really achieved. That quality of hopefulness seems irrepressible in many Catholics, despite the naysayers who prefer to sing and speak about surety. From Pastoral Music, a commentary from Linda Corey of Eau Claire, Wisconsin:
I believe that the words really are words for our time, both for our Church and our world. They tell us who we ought to be and what we are to be about as Catholic Christians. It calls us to be who we say we are. When we sing it at our parish I feel a real sense of community, even though I know we have a long way to go to be the ideal Christian community. When we sing it I experience a sense of unity even as it challenges us to strive together to become that more ideal Christian community.
“In Christ Alone” is one of the most recent compositions in the Dance 2012 polling. In a little more than ten years, this Keith Getty/Stuart Townsend collaboration has soared to the top of many UK polls and has a lot of traction in some Catholic circles on this side of the Atlantic too. I’m not aware it has made it into any mainstream hymnal yet, but that seems likely to come. View and listen to a nice video at the composer’s web site. I was first introduced to the tune when my last parish’s middle school music director (a non-Catholic music director on his weekend gig) brought it to the young people. Nice tune. Enjoy the polling.
Pope Benedict drew a lot of attention for his Chrism Mass (not Mass of the Lord’s Supper) homily rebuking (or “ripping” or “denouncing,” depending on your news outlet of choice) those Austrian clergy for being uppity about celibacy, women, intercommunion, and the divorced-and-remarried. Natürlich, the supposed letter to those priests seems to have disappeared. No diktat, says Cardinal Schönborn’s spokesman. What do you believe?
As opposed to the homily slapdown, another disobedient group, one actually in schism for a generation now, seems to have arrived at its moment of truth. It’s hard not to read the various media on these and come to some disturbing conclusions. For me, it goes beyond considerations of whose pom-poms are waving the most energetically. And that we even have these conversations comparing the approaches to different groups and individuals shows there’s significant need for reform. Days like this, I’m inclined to agree with the Holy Father: the Church possesses no competence for making choices on women’s ordination. Rome hasn’t even figured out governance. Who can believe it will get it right with women? Or celibacy? Or any other deep issue of impact?
I’d sure like to see the contents of that secret final offer the SSPX has supposedly been mulling over since last Fall. Do you suppose the SSPX heads were invited to a six-week retreat? (At this point in the liturgical year, I would love love love it if the CDF invited me to a six-day retreat in a monastery.) What do you think their final answer would be on that?
I’d say that Rome is facing the same crisis of leadership we find in the secular West. There’s a serious erosion of respect for authority, and they have little outside themselves to seriously blame for it. Schismatics appear to be treated with deference. Yet for a bishop who suggests a discussion on vital questions, canon law itself is abrogated. You can’t call it “law and order.” Law and disarray is closer to the truth.
At this critical juncture in our history, the ACP believes that this form of intervention – what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin recently called “heresy-hunting” – is of no service to the Irish Catholic Church and may have the unintended effect of exacerbating a growing perception of a significant “disconnect” between the Irish Church and Rome.
There will be no abandonment of the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church but this will be addressed as a pastor and not in some brutal way.
The Temple Police have no inclination, skill, or sliver of pastoral sense. Their approach to the parable of the lost sheep would be to shoot the wayward animal, skin it, and wave the hide like a banner of victory. I wonder if those long years at the top of the CDF heap didn’t harden the Holy Father to pastoral responsibilities. Those responsibilities weren’t given up at the switch from Archbishop of Munich to a Roman desk job. Here and there, we’ve seen some good sense from this pope over the past several years. It’s not bad at all to have a teacher as a pope. But other people are on the Church payroll to teach.
And that we need to talk about a pastor being non-brutal shows how far things have fallen in the past generation.
As a lay person, I’m seriously worried. I see an appalling lack of competence in too many quarters in the institution. It’s no wonder Catholic numbers are lagging. It’s a darned discouragement, if not a dis-grace.
The Eucharist is more than a reward for a believer without sin:
Moreover, the desire of Jesus Christ and of the Church that all the faithful should daily approach the sacred banquet is directed chiefly to this end, that the faithful, being united to God by means of the Sacrament, may thence derive strength to resist their sensual passions, to cleanse themselves from the stains of daily faults, and to avoid these graver sins to which human frailty is liable; so that its primary purpose is not that the honor and reverence due to our Lord may be safe-guarded, or that it may serve as a reward or recompense of virtue bestowed on the recipients. Hence the Holy Council calls the Eucharist “the antidote whereby we may be freed from daily faults and be preserved from mortal sin.”
More than a century after this document was issued, I still hear very little on this Tridentine principle.
Most of these four “guided initiatives,” and others of their kind, are probably best-handled on at least the diocesan level. But likely regional or national, given some the expertise listed here:
214. The importance of the matter, as well as, the indispensable phase of research and experimentation requires initiatives guided by legitimate Pastors. These include:
>– promotion of widespread catechesis which serves to overcome ignorance and misinformation, the great obstacle of every attempt at inculturation: this permits that dialogue and direct involvement of persons who can best indicate effective ways of proclaiming the Gospel;
>– carrying out pilot-schemes of inculturation of the faith within a programme established by the Church: the Catechumenate of adults according to the RCIA assumes a particularly influential role in this respect;
>– if, in the same ecclesial area there are several linguistic or ethnic groups, it is always useful to provide for the translation of guides and directories into the various languages, promoting, by means of catechetical centres, an homogenous catechetical service for each group;
>– setting up a dialogue of reciprocal learning and of communion between the Churches, and between these and the Holy See: this allows for the certification of experiences, criteria, programmes, tools and for a more valid and up to date inculturation.
Number one is often interpreted as “apologetics” these days. But assessing the struggle against misinformation requires something of an understanding of exactly what the Church’s misinformed critics are actually saying. The third and fourth of the initiatives listed seem to assume some cooperation between and among dioceses. I’ll tell you that doesn’t happen on occasion. Bishops within a province and their catechetical staffs are not always working from the same page these days. Ideology is a significant obstacle. And a lack of trust.
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.