Thursday, June 7th, 2012
7 June 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Church News
, Scripture 1 Comment
SSPX: We can be Cafeteria Catholics too!
If they were talking about admitting divorced and remarried believers, I bet this unification would be nipped in its bud.
So the attitude of the official church is what changed; we did not. We were not the ones who asked for an agreement; the pope is the one who wants to recognize us.
I suspect the Holy Father was having a Matthew 5:23 moment. The person who is sought out in reconciliation is, according the Gospel, the one who has committed the wrong.
7 June 2012
Prior to this section in John’s Gospel is Jesus’ encounter with Martha of Bethany. In the option below, we read of the dramatic raising of her brother Lazarus. I’m surprised this passage isn’t selected more often. In fact, I cannot recall a funeral in which it was chosen.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping
and the people who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the people said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
“Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you
that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”
Now many of the people who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
There is a lot to reflect upon here. I’m going to confine my commentary to just two aspects.
Where his people are concerned, God possesses deep emotions for us. I’m reminded of this passage from the Wisdom tradition. In our moments of anguish, we rail against God. We question. We rage. Even if we consider ourselves beloved friends of God. God’s response? Grief, compassion, and union. God becomes one with us through the shared emotion on the death of a loved one. Mourners may not be ready for this, but God’s presence remains a sacramental and spiritual reality.
Second, I observe a dynamic of theological reflection in this passage. Father Robert Kinast penned a book focusing on John’s Gospel as an opportunity to explore theological reflection. In other words, the evangelist presents his readers with an episode in Jesus’ life. The Lord takes the opportunity to teach the disciple something of significance which can be applied in her or his own life. The raising of Lazarus is such an example. On the occasion of his friend’s death, Jesus invites Martha and Mary to a deeper understanding of the mystery of death and resurrection.
Bad things, even catastrophic things, present opportunities for grace. In this passage, deepening faith in the Messiah and God’s clear intention to lift a fallen humanity out of death.
Perhaps it is not so surprising after all that this reading is rarely chosen. Jesus seems indifferent at the time of his friend’s illness and death. Perhaps the tears are unconvincing. This might be a better message for the mourners after some months have passed.
You readers, would you consider this reading? If so, why? If not, why not?
7 June 2012
Cleveland’s Bishop Richard Lennon is reaching out to his priests.
I have become aware of a growing disconnect between many of the priests who serve faithfully in this diocese and myself. It saddens me to hear reports that a number of our priests feel anxious and uncomfortable in my presence and that rather than being co-workers with me, a number of priests feel left out of consultation.
Awareness, especially self-awareness is absolutely vital in ministry. Knowing one’s weaknesses involves the basic examination of conscience and subsequent confession. But it’s more than cataloguing the number of impure thoughts, white lies, and missed opportunities of charity. Not knowing Bishop Lennon at all, to appearances, this could be a sincere reaching out. The man supposedly invited a fellow bishop to assess his leadership last year. He has said he would not contest the reopening of parishes. Should his clergy take him at his word? A seemingly heartfelt statement:
Know I am entering this process willingly and open to change. Please join me in this sincere effort to improve the spirit, communication and trust in our relationship.
Charity and the relationship in ministry obligates. But this would be a last chance type of effort. If this outreach–and I mean what takes place beyond and behind the group meetings–fails, then the familial schism will likely not be healed. On the other hand, no Catholic can reject the opportunity for redemption.
On the other hand, Cardinal Dolan seems to have landed himself hip-deep in something that’s not yet a scandal and not quite a difference of opinion. Mark Silk seems to have the measure of the situation. Is the bishop who most thought was a can’t-miss jovial face for American Catholicism finding it hard to tread treacherous waters? Giving money to a sex offender priest: many sensibilities are offended. What is the boundary line between charity and a pay-off?
Many of those outraged at episcopal mismanagement might want clergy offenders paraded through life in an orange jumpsuit. Or wearing a scarlet S for all to see. A ten- or twenty-thousand dollar check is pretty nice, however you define it.
If I were paying closer attention to the New York prelate, I’d listen for tone of voice and watch body language. Does he exude a sense of peace and calm about how he has conducted himself as a personnel manager making tough decisions? Or does he come off as shrill and defensive? I’d want to have more than just what I read in the blogs. Here, too, I respect a man who makes an effort at reform and renewal. He’s been public about losing weight. I can totally understand that struggle. But the believer can also become bloated with lies, falsehoods, and words that lead others away from the truth. How does one shed that sort of excess weight?
Many correspondents suggested I check out Max Lindenman’s latest post on bishops and paranoia. As the token liberal at the Patheos Catholic Channel, I often wish his input there would match the relentless tone amassed by many conservatives there. When I read his words on paranoia, I was thinking more of the bishops as products of a culture of narcissism. The secular culture they were raised in as Americans is undeniably self-focused. Two, there’s the Catholic sense of entitlement. Then you throw in seminary training. And the way people seem to get appointed to sees, not to mention the George Jefferson methodology for upward mobility … It might be a minor miracle these guys aren’t worse than they are. Cardinal George, long/once thought to be the intellectual fulcrum for the USCCB is quoted:
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.
Right. If this prophecy comes to pass, it will be because successor number one will have been convicted of child endangerment. Or that successor number two will get mugged by his own clergy and/or laity.
And lastly, when I think about the Philadelphia trial of Msgr Lynn, one commentator nailed it as a lose-lose for the archdiocese. What a choice: Cardinal Bevilacqua was a heartless dictator, or the clergy screening bad behavior were giving the brothers a friendly pass. It looks bad for the episcopacy any way you slice it.
Is there a bright side to any of this? Any hint of metanoia could be, must be the grace of the Holy Spirit.
7 June 2012
After the water is blessed …
49. The bishop, accompanied by the deacons, passes through the main body of the church, sprinkling
the people and the walls with holy water; then, when he has returned to the sanctuary, he sprinkles the
One of two antiphons “I saw water …” (Ezekiel 47) or in Lent “I will pour clean water …” (Psalm 51) is indicated. “Another appropriate song” is possible.
“People and the walls” are mentioned together. It would seem to make sense that the bishop would sprinkle the people first, then the walls. Pragmatism might suggest that one trip amongst the people is sufficient, but I wouldn’t minimize this rite.
This prayer concludes it (II, 50):
May God, the Father of mercies,
dwell in this house of prayer.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit cleanse us,
for we are the temple of his presence.
II, 51 provides for the Gloria. That would be sung during Advent or Lent.
The collect completes the introductory rites:
fill this place with your presence,
and extend your hand
to all who call upon you.
May your word here proclaimed
and your sacraments here celebrated
strengthen the hearts of all the faithful.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The 2003 ICEL version:
Almighty and eternal God,
pour out your grace upon this dwelling
and extend the gift of your help to all who call upon you,
that in this place
the power of your word and sacraments
may strengthen the hearts of all the faithful.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.