The Pope said he was writing “to avoid a split” in the Church after (German Bishops Conference President Archbishop Robert) Zollitsch told him during a March visit that “the bishops in the German-speaking world were still divided on this issue”.
Benedict said that when the Roman Missal was translated into German in the 1960s there was “exegetical consensus” that the word “many” was a Hebrew expression for an entirety. “This exegetical consensus … no longer exists,” he said.
Will the bishops accept this bit of scholarship from the scholarly pope, that the exegesis, which was clear fifty years ago, has muddied in the two generations since?
From this Sunday’s Gospel:
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:16)
The NAB note ponders these mysterious “other sheep.” Maybe the “dispersed children of God” mentioned in John 11:52, and maybe other Christian communities on the outs with those who received John’s Gospel. My own sense is that “other sheep” are a lot more widespread than is supposed. In fact, if all wooly hides were exposed to view, I imagine that even I would be surprised who was counted among the Shepherd’s flock. God seems to take a great pleasure in turning expectations upside-down. I think Pope Benedict can feel more secure and unified thinking of Christ’s salvific act “for many” instead of “for all.” If there are exclusions, the first would probably be within the Church itself.
God chose an elderly man to father a nation, a virgin to bear a savior, fishermen and tax collectors to be his closest disciples. Two-thousand years later, and I have no evidence God has abandoned the first, best plan and neglects the unexpected.
My take is that if people want to insist on “many,” they’re still going to get their socks knocked off by some wheat/chaff and sheep/goat revelations in the future.
This is one for the clergy in the reading audience, mainly. But anyone, feel free to chime in.
At the end of the preparation rites, just before the preface dialogue, the musician(s) wake up (or sleep walk) and start up the Sanctus. Before you know it, the music is done and everybody is kneeling. There are some choices:
A. Go back to the preface dialogue and skip the Sanctus
B. Go back to the preface dialogue, and sing the Sanctus again when indicated.
C. Forego the detour and continue with the Eucharistic Prayer as if it was you yourself who fell asleep.
I enjoyed reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s well-regarded Never Let Me Go a number of years ago. I wasn’t up for a novel the other week, but this collection of his, Nocturnes, struck me for two reasons. First, the subtitle of “Five Stories of Music and Nightfall,” a no-brainer for a musican, don’t you think? And shorter stories–not a novel. I read one a night over a series of late evenings. These were satisfying reads, so skillfully constructed and presented by a fine author.
Other things link these stories besides the musician-narrator of each, and the presence of nightfall. Mr Ishiguro’s stories are steeped in lament. These characters draw in the reader/listener. But the music is not at all a satisfactory resolution. There is the potential of love, but the characters often get in their own way. Is this something of a cliché–good musicians and poor in love? Maybe. But there’s enough of a grasp in these characters’ lives of something they can see and express in the music. But it just eludes them as they try earnestly to move that next step beyond the present.
Many musicians reach the point where they realize they are not the best at what they do. They possess enough experience and skill to know they stand fairly high up on the ascent. But others, stars and teachers and geniuses inhabit the summit. For some, the competitive types, that is a source of great sadness. For the characters of Nocturnes, it means tales of melancholy.
I have to admit I have played laments late, late at night in a church. But I also have to concede I find more joy in music playing with others in ensembles. And while Mr Ishiguro writes convincingly of characters who play well with others, each of these tales is a sonata for solo instrument. There are only vanishingly frustrating glances at ensemble play. These characters work with other musicians. There is no play.
These stories are masterfully drawn, but the characters fail in their best exploits because they insist on gong it alone. That’s a portrait of a loner, buzzed from a not-quite-finished third drink, under a single hotel room lamp, staring at the ceiling with the night’s music just a faint hum in the ears. These are sad stories. But unfortunately, they are all too true.
Here’s a difficult choice for Catholics: Mary or the Eucharist. Be consoled we never have to give up one or the other. This is just a playful polling exercise.
Two more NPM top-25 selections. Number 10 Ave Maria (fix your favorite setting in your mind–the pollsters didn’[t offer one) and number 22 “One Bread, One Body.”
A quote from The Didache, on which Foley based the third verse of his Communion song:
We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever.
Let’s continue with chapter one of the RDCA (Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar), Laying the Foundation Stone or Beginning Work on the Building of a Church. Participation of the community is a prime concern. As we read yesterday, this rite should be scheduled at a time when the faithful can celebrate. The bishop and the people should gather together.
We read the importance of advance catechesis on the importance of this first rite:
4. Notice of the date and hour of the celebration should be given to the people in good time. The pastor or others concerned should instruct them in the meaning of the rite and the reverence to be shown toward the church that is to be built for them.
It is also desirable that the people be asked to give their generous and willing support in the building of the church.
As for the actual location, the physical participation of the assembly is vital:
5. Insofar as possible, the area for the erection of the church should be marked out clearly. It should be possible to walk about without difficulty.
This is an important prescription:
6. In the place where the altar will be located, a wooden cross of suitable height is fixed in the ground.
What does this tell us? The altar is not just a locus within a building. The altar has a place in a mortal geography, apart from the walls that surround it and the roof that covers it. We are not afraid to place a large cross to mark our future altar under an open sky, and believers should not be afraid to bring the orientation to Christ–cross, altar, or lifestyle–to places in the world where it may be marked, remarked upon.
Any formation for catechists that focuses on the Scriptures and theology is, by nature, Christo-centric:
240. Besides being a witness, the catechist must also be a teacher who teaches the faith. A biblico-theological formation should afford the catechist an organic awareness of the Christian message, structured around the central mystery of the faith, Jesus Christ.
The context of this doctrinal formation should be drawn from the various areas that constitute every catechetical programme;
– the three great eras in the history of Salvation: the Old Testament, the life of Christ and the history of the Church.
– the great nuclei of the Christian message: the Creed, the Liturgy, the moral life and prayer.
In its own level of theological instruction, the doctrinal content of the formation of a catechist is that which the catechist must transmit. For its part, “Sacred Scripture should be the very soul of this formation”.* The Catechism of the Catholic Church remains the fundamental doctrinal reference point together with the catechism proper to the particular Church.
*Cf. General Catechetical Directory 112. Guide for Catechists, 23, underlines the primary importance of Sacred Scripture in the formation of catechists: “May Sacred Scripture continue to be the principal subject of teaching and may it become the soul of all theological study. Where necessary may this be actualized”.
Subject and soul: this is good. In order for a catechist to be well and thoroughly rooted, it’s vital to pray what is learned. The Word forms an indispensible part of that.
Four qualities of catechist formation follow.
241. This biblico-theological formation must contain certain qualities:
a) In the first place, it should be of a summary nature and correspond to the message to be transmitted. The various elements of the Christian faith should be presented in a well structured way and in harmony with each other by means of an organic vision that respects the “hierarchy of truths”.
b) This synthesis of faith should be such as to help the catechist to mature in his own faith and enable him to offer an explanation for the present hope in this time of mission: “The situation today points to an ever-increasing urgency for doctrinal formation of the lay faithful, not simply for a better understanding which is natural to faith’s dynamism, but also in enabling them to ‘give a reason for their hope’ in view of the world and its grave and complex problems”. (Christifedeles Laici 60c)
c) It must be a theological formation that is close to human experience and capable of correlating the various aspects of the Christian message with the concrete life of man “both to inspire it and to judge it in the light of the Gospel”. (Catechesi Tradendae 22) While remaining theological it must in some fashion adopt a catechetical style.
d) It must be such that the catechist “will be able not only to communicate the Gospel accurately, but also able to make those being taught capable of receiving it actively and of discerning what in their spiritual journey agrees with the faith”. (General Catechetical Directory 112)
Obviously, a lot to discuss here. I want to single out a few observations.
First, think beyond “catechist” of young people. We’re talking the whole gamut of catechetical ministry from liturgical preaching to evangelical outreach to classroom stuff to formation for apostolic life.
Second, note the importance of discernment in 241d. Forming catechists to discern in their own lives: critical. Developing in them the tools to assist others in discernment: very challenging. The importance of discernment in the life of the Church: priceless.
Lastly, note how the quality of hope is emphasized. Faith and love get a lot of attention, and in some ways they’re the more attractive sisters of these virtues. We throw around the word “love” a lot–both in the secular culture and in the Church. And faith is rightly the focus of initiatory catechesis. Faith is also a bulwark when life is full of obstacles and sorrows. Hope is a very elusive quality, one I think that is overlooked.
If I were forming catechists, I would say that a helpful spiritual exercise would be to reflect on their head-learning and life-experiences through the lens of hope. What does Christ offer that gives us hope? And how does that move from the theoretical of heaven into the present-day. And that movement is not only about our own hope, but also planting hope in the lives, minds, and prayers of those who are far less steady in their faith.
This is an important section. There’s much more to talk about here. What do you see?
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.