Friday, July 13th, 2012
13 July 2012
A parable, and one of the best:
Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came and those who were ready
went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.
This Gospel would likely be inappropriate for casual believers. Jesus addresses this parable to his disciples. That’s an important context. If you are with the Lord in belief and practice, you should be awake and aware of your surroundings. If there is no doubt that the departed walked with God, and indeed, was as prepared as the wise virgins, then perhaps this parable would fit. That leaves aside the possibility that this parable might, by its preaching, be directed at mourners who, let’s say might be closer to the foolish end of the virgin scale than the wise.
Let me be clear about the appearance of mixed messages. I love this parable. Undoubtedly, some timid believers might need to hear the message. Is a funeral the best time to communicate that message en masse to a faith community? Most pastors seem to think not–I’ve never heard this Scripture proclaimed. What do you think?
13 July 2012
If you are new to the discussion of this document, don’t be shy: chime in. Feel free to comment on previous posts, too.
Today let’s have a look at John Paul II’s brief thoughts on contemporary compositions:
10. Since the Church has always recognized and fostered progress in the arts, it should not come as a surprise that in addition to Gregorian chant and polyphony she admits into celebrations even the most modern music, as long as it respects both the liturgical spirit and the true values of this art form. In compositions written for divine worship, therefore, the particular Churches in the various nations are permitted to make the most of “those special forms which may be said to constitute the special character of [their] native music”[TlS 2]. On the lines of my holy Predecessor and of what has been decreed more recently by the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium[SC 119], I have also intended in the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia to make room for new musical contributions, mentioning in addition to the inspired Gregorian melodies, “the many, often great composers who sought to do justice to the liturgical texts of the Mass”[EE 49].
Let’s tease out this first comment about “progress” in the arts. I suspect that the Holy Father was talking less about one era improving on another in terms of better music, more progress, and such. I would agree. However, I think individual composers can and should improve on their craft. Publishers can improve their product. Parishes and other faith communities search out better repertoire for congregational singing. Progress is good, possible, desirable.
It’s inevitable that the skill or charism of composing music nets us a pyramid. Many people try it. Fewer are good at it. A select few are universally acknowledged as “great composers.” It comes with the territory of human endeavor. Preachers exhibit this: most are poor to mediocre. Some are good. Few are excellent.
13 July 2012
The outline for the first two parts of the Mass for blessing a church:
The entrance is a simple one, the third form of chapter II. There is no reverencing the altar; the bishop goes right to the chair (V, 8). The Sprinkling Rite (10-13) always follows. The Gloria (14) is omitted if this blessing rite takes place during Advent or Lent.
Liturgy of the Word
- [Profession of Faith)
The readings may be taken from the church dedication rites, or from the liturgy of the day (16). No lights or incense at the proclamation of the Gospel (17). The homily (18), creed, and general intercessions (19) follow. So the blessing of the Church will take place at the juncture between the liturgies of Word and Eucharist.
13 July 2012
This illustrates a serious quandry for the bishops: do they fight legal definitions? Any by doing so, do they express an adequate theology of the Church? Win or lose, have they set a moral (forget the canonical) precedent? Or, can secular lawyers consult canon law and church documents to learn what the institution really thinks of the relationship between bishops and clergy, not to mention pope and bishops? Finally, what impact do legal fights like this have on the morale of the clergy and laity?
Jimmy Mac sent me a link to this article from the Tablet, in which the British diocese of Portsmouth was found it can be held liable for the actions of abusive clergy. Summing up:
In November last year the High Court ruled that the diocese could be held liable because the relationship between a bishop and a priest is “akin to employment”.
The diocese appealed and in a judgement released today the Court of Appeal ruled the diocese is liable.
In a statement, the trustees of the diocese said the case raises questions of wider legal importance for the Church and the voluntary sector. They stressed that the case was not an attempt to avoid paying compensation to victims – they say they regularly pay damages to victims with valid claims – but rather about establishing an important legal point.
Bishops are moved at the request of the pope. Clergy, too, at the direction of their bishops. In the news recently, we know that bishops can be fired by the pope. Most of the headlines on this one spoke of a “rare show of authority.” Rare? Is this true? We know that bishops muzzle priests, like this one.
I’m certainly aware that Rome takes sacramental matters with grave seriousness. It should. But moral matters like the sexual predation on the innocent have their own sense of gravity. Sexual predation has shown it knows no ideology. Prominent conservative priests and bishops have been caught up in the whirlwind. Nobody seriously suggests that the sexual abuse of children is a immoral domino at the end of a chain that started with Vatican II reform.
It’s time for the institution to add sex abuse and its coverup to the list of “rare show of authority.” It is demonstrable that Catholics across the ideological board are alarmed at sex abuse and particularly, its cover-up. It is a demonstrable Scriptural point that God detests the obstruction of faith by leadership, above and beyond serious liturgical offenses. It seems clear that hundreds of thousands of believers have left the Church or limited their involvement not because of the occasional abuser, but because of the institutional cover-up.
My question of the day for bishops and for the institution: Do you believe in the grace of contrition or not?