Thursday, July 12th, 2012
12 July 2012
A tale of two cities, Philadelphia + San Francisco.
New or renewed initiatives in western of these two archdioceses, even while the other closes down a chunk of its chancery.
Does this seem like a zero-sum game? Philly’s archdiocesan print organ is no more, but SF launches San Francisco Catolico, directed at Spanish-speaking believers in its area.
In this era of “assault” on marriage and family, the same archdiocese has decided to reopened a shuttered office:
During the past 15 years, the number of sacramental marriages in the archdiocese, and across the nation, has fallen by almost 60 percent, an interim task force on marriage assembled by the archdiocese found. There is a constellation of forces behind the statistic, (Auxiliary)Bishop (Robert) McElroy noted, including the growing secularization in society. Launching an office amid those challenges, as well as managing other ministries, including support for separated and divorced people, aid to the grieving and support for people after they’re married, is a tall order, Bishop McElroy said, and so part of the director’s job will be to find volunteers to assist.
Don’t mistake my criticism of bishops confusing same-sex issues with heterosexual marriage. I certainly believe the Church needs to devote a lot more ministry effort in the direction of marriage formation, and the accompanying ministries. Fighting same sex unions or so-called gay marriage just takes energy away from the real work.
And by the way … sixty percent? Is that for real?
12 July 2012
Another narrative of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s interesting that the Lectionary framers carefully omitted some verses (47-49, 51, 54-56), but they also give the option of a shorter reading (in blue below). This narrative picks up where the good thief left off. What is distinctive about Luke’s account that you wouldn’t get in the other Gospels? Mainly one thing: instead of “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (from Psalm 22), Jesus utters a phrase from Psalm 31.
If at death, we are pleased to commend a believer to God, this is an act of faith in the face of grief. Perhaps the dying person was able to do this. Note, please, I don’t criticize those who hold on strongly–I just recognize that different families are at different places in the spiritual journey. If mourners are able to commend a person to God, then this might be a good reading to explore:
It was now about noon
and darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”;
and when he had said this he breathed his last.
Now there was a virtuous and righteous man
named Joseph who,
though he was a member of the council,
he went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
After he had taken the body down,
he wrapped it in a linen cloth
and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
in which no one had yet been buried.
But at daybreak on the first day of the week
the women took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this,
behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here,
but he has been raised.
The shorter option excises the Resurrection narrative here. Comparing with the other Gospels, Luke relating the “puzzling” is unique to him. A caution: I don’t endorse slotting a Scripture scholarship lecture in place of a homily. I mention Luke’s original content to distinguish from the other death and resurrection narratives in the funeral Lectionary.
If you use the long form reading, looking carefully at the women’s puzzlement might be good. Human beings are puzzled by mysteries. They poke our curiosity. And spiritual mysteries like the resurrection may ultimately lead us to God. And death is an appropriate time for us to engage God, to bring our grief, consternation, and our mortality. We can be puzzled. We won’t get all the answers in this life. But we can seek and receive the reassurance of grace.
12 July 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Church News
, Ministry  Comments
I surely not a psychologist, but maybe having read enough books to be dangerous, I still have a sense of projection when I see it. So what’s with these loyalty oaths popping up all over the place?
If you listen to the Vatican II detractors, the Church started going downhill with sappy music, fabrics like felt and polyester, and such forty years ago. Call a council, and suddenly everything’s up for grabs. So why the fuss now? The hemorrhage is in full bleed-out, the patient is as pale as a vampire victim, and the nuns are out the cloister gate and on the bus.
I was reading about catechists declining to sign oaths in northern Virginia, and for what? Didn’t Jesus make a deal about our yes meaning yes and all? The faith formation directors I know put a lot of work into finding qualified parishioners. Most dioceses require or strongly urge certification. People are walking after being asked to sign loyalty oaths, and many of these same catechists were also required to do child protection training for the sins of priests and bishops.
George Mason University history prof Rosemarie Zagarri resigned as a volunteer catechist, objecting to the “slap in the face” to Catholics who have remained active and close to the church despite controversies. From her letter to Bishop Paul Loverde:
Although I fully understand the authoritative role of the Catholic hierarchy in defining the teachings of the faith, in my view only a person who is willing to abandon her own reason and judgment, or who is willing to go against the dictates of her own conscience, can agree to sign such a document.
I think we know what the reaction would be if bishops were required to sign an oath of morality for the protection of the innocent before they took the cathedra in their dioceses. There would be mewling from the crypt to the top of the steeple. And some canon lawyer would probably tell us it was all meaningless anyway.
While I recognize that the bishops have a legal authority to do this, many Catholics today recognize that they lack the moral authority. And perhaps this is what troubles them so deeply about the Catholic situation in this day and age. They’ve been on any number of hot seats: a pope and curia who seem to be selectively interfering on some important issues, but not all of them; clergy who have their own issues with support from guys who are mostly insulated from ordinary give-and-take with parishioners who live lives in the world; and from the laity who are watching every bishop carefully these days for any chink in the child protection armor.
Most bishops are wholly moral and good men. I have to wonder if the Holy Spirit is seeping out and they’re reacting in a right-angle way. Maybe they themselves really want to be loyal. But like many of us in the world, they have their first profound encounter with the sort of conflicts many of us face in balancing families, employers, citizenship, and our own desire for closeness and loyalty to God.
Meanwhile, I feel for my faith formation colleagues in loyalty zones. For the moment, I don’t have to screen choristers and instrumentalists. On the other hand, if bishops have to get out to the parishes and do their own teaching, at least they’d have less time for jetting to Rome and other places for committee work. At some point in all this, something’s going to give.
12 July 2012
Good musicians don’t grow on trees. John Paul II knew that, as did his predecessors. Vatican II endorsed the musical formation of the clergy:
9. In this area, therefore, the urgent need to encourage the sound formation of both pastors and the lay faithful also comes to the fore. St Pius X insisted in particular on the musical training of clerics. The Second Vatican Council also recalled in this regard: “Great importance is to be attached to the teaching and practice of music in seminaries, in the novitiate houses of studies of Religious of both sexes, and also in other Catholic institutions and schools”[SC 115]. This instruction has yet to be fully implemented. I therefore consider it appropriate to recall it, so that future pastors may acquire sufficient sensitivity also in this field.
In the task of training, a special role is played by schools of sacred music, which St Pius X urged people to support and encourage[TlS 28] and which the Second Vatican Council recommended be set up wherever possible[SC 115]. A concrete result of the reform of St Pius X was the establishment in Rome in 1911, eight years after the Motu Proprio, of the “Pontificia Scuola Superiore di Musica Sacra” (Pontifical School for Advanced Studies in Sacred Music), which later became the “Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra” (Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music). As well as this academic institution, which has now existed for almost a century and has rendered a high-quality service to the Church, the particular Churches have established many other schools that deserve to be supported and reinforced by an ever better knowledge and performance of good liturgical music.
A hundred years ago, or even forty, the setting up of a music school would be assumed to be a resident/bricks-and-mortar thing. I doubt this is possible or truly necessary. Conferences, seminars, and even colloquia serve this role nicely on a few levels for different people. Charles and others: thoughts?
12 July 2012
What differentiates between a church dedication and a blessing? Today’s post will cover it. Chapter V of the RDCA addresses the rite for blessing a church. The introduction is fairly brief and we’ll cover it today. The rites themselves should take three posts and cover sections 8 through 28 of this chapter.
1. Since sacred edifices, that is, churches, are permanently set aside for the celebration of the divine mysteries, it is right for them to receive a dedication to God. This is done according to the rite in chapters two and three for dedicating a church, a rite impressive for its striking ceremonies and symbols.
Oratories, chapels, or other sacred edifices set aside only temporarily for divine worship because of special conditions, more properly receive a blessing, according to the rite described below.
Doubtless, there are situations that fall into the gray area. Ultimately, the bishop would be part of the discernment here, since you can’t have a dedication (ordinarily) without one.
For a church blessing, it is still important to form the people:
2. As to the structure of the liturgy, the choice of a titular, and the pastoral preparation of the people, what is said in the Introduction to chapter two, nos. 4-5, 7, 20, is to be followed, with the necessary modifications.
The bishop presides, or, may delegate a presbyter:
A church or an oratory is blessed by the bishop of the diocese or by a priest delegated by him.
A Sunday is preferred:
3. A church or an oratory may be blessed on any day, apart from the Easter triduum. As far as possible a day should be chosen when the people can be present in large numbers, especially a Sunday, unless pastoral considerations suggest otherwise.
I suppose a religious community might make a case for a day other than Sunday.
4. On days mentioned in the Table of Liturgical Days, nos. 1-4, the Mass is the Mass of the day; but on other days the Mass is either the Mass of the day or the Mass of the titular of the church or oratory.
5. For the rite of the blessing of a church or an oratory all things needed for the celebration of Mass are prepared. But even though it may have already been blessed or dedicated, the altar should be left bare until the beginning of the liturgy of the eucharis!. In a suitable place in the sanctuary the following also should be prepared:
container of water to be blessed and sprinkler;
censer, incense boat and spoon;
The Roman Pontifical;
altar cross, unless there is already a cross in the sanctuary, or the cross that is carried in the entrance procession is to be placed near the altar;
altar cloth, candles, candlesticks, and flowers, if opportune.
6. When at the same time as the church is blessed the altar is to be consecrated, all those things should be prepared that are listed in chapter four, no. 27 and no. 29, if relics of the saints are to be deposited beneath the altar.
7. For the Mass of the blessing of a church the vestments are white or some festive color. The following should be prepared:
for the bishop: alb, stole, chasuble, mitre, pastoral staff;
for a priest: the vestments for celebrating Mass;
for the concelebrating priests: the vestments for concelebrating Mass;
for the deacons: albs, stoles, and dalmatics;
- for other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved dress.
Other comments? This seems fairly straightforward. Do you know of churches that have been blessed but should have been dedicated instead?