… both the CDF and the LCWR to offer an example to the world on how disagreement and misunderstanding are handled. From the letter:
We pray for a successful outcome of the mutual dialogue that will occur between your leadership, the Bishops and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We are confident this conversation will provide a much needed example to the wider world of respectfulness and civility, as it embodies a degree of mutuality, trust and honesty, often absent in today’s world.
Thanks to Fran for the heads-up on this.
We have a handful of Korean students at the student center. I’ve come to know a few of them, those involved in liturgical ministry. It’s always interesting to hear how faith has developed for different people in different cultures. My wife is genius for drawing out people’s faith stories. When she’s in the conversation, others follow soon. I keep my ears open.
So I read with interest this commentary at the excellent UCA News site. The heady years after Vatican II were good for Catholics in Korea:
The impact of the Council … helped move the Church towards a more participatory body in terms of religious dialogue and ecumenical movements.
As of the end of 2011, the local Church had 5.32 million Catholics, or 10.3 percent of the total population. In 1962 when the Council convened, it had only just more than half a million.
Many factors contributed to such a sharp rise in the Catholic community, but I think the Council was a principal one.
The Church in Korea saw a six to 10 percent increase each year after the 1960s. However, in the last decade the rate of increase has dropped to two percent, similar to trends in the West.
It’s difficult to maintain such a heroic pace. On a local level, the Church is sometimes bolstered by charismatic leadership. People are attracted to personalities. That’s not a bad thing, in moderation. The lived witness of the Christian life is an important part of the evangelical life. It’s biblical. One sees it in the life of the saints. One sees it in many modern charisms, both healthy ones and those less so.
(P)articipation in what is the core of the life of faith and an indication of spiritual maturity – the sacraments – has greatly weakened.
Many Christians, even Catholics, speak of that personal relationship with Jesus. One would think that the sacramental life is the key locus for Catholics to experience that relationship. So I wonder: what is it about the sacramental life that doesn’t nourish and deepen that relationship, at least on the scale of the larger Catholic culture? Regular readers here know I’m deeply skeptical of the supposed link to traditional Catholic piety and obedience. I think that intentional communities are closest to touching on this relationship in more than a casual, being-serviced, suburban way. Those communities usually happen off the mainstream and into the margins. Those would be places with well-defined missions: university communities, inner cities, particular apostolates. The rest of the parishes? Sometimes we flounder.
(T)he numbers of infant baptisms, first communions and Sunday school attendance, all of which are indicators of how well faith is transmitted to the next generation, has fallen steeply over the last decade.
These trends suggest the Korean Church may be repeating the failure of the European Church and requires analysis of socio-cultural challenges and factors within the Church.
That analysis would be interesting. If we can detach from political trends within the Church long enough to look at the signs and discern our directions. The most effective approach will include substantial input from various Catholic factions. We will need it. The task ahead is big, and since the late 70′s, we’ve been losing ground. A charismatic pope clearly wasn’t enough. Somehow, we need to get about a billion Catholic believers into the charismatic realm to convince the other five billion humans we have something more than a big, happy, dysfunctional family to offer.
Speaking for myself, I need to ponder the approach we’ll take at Catholic Sensibility to the Year of Faith. It won’t be completely congruent to the institutional path, mainly because others will cover this effort much better and more comprehensively. Ten weeks to figure it out. Any ideas?
As always, I note the kind contribution of Richard Chonak who translated the Latin original of the second edition (1988). Today, we look at the situation when there are two readings, not three, in the Liturgy of the Word:
9. When there is only one reading before the Gospel, the Gradual Responsory is sung after it, or the Alleluia with its verse. In Paschaltide, either one of the Alleluia chants is sung.
10. At the singing of the Gospel, after the final proper cadence, the conclusion Verbum Domini is added, as notated in the common tones; then all respond: Laus tibi, Christe.
For a weekday Mass, sing the Psalm or the Alleluia. During Easter, sing either Alleluia chant.
11. The Credo is sung in the customary manner either by all or in alternation.
12. The Universal Prayer [Prayer of the Faithful] is carried out according to local custom.
I’ll state the singing of the Credo has always been a mystery to me. For the faithful to state the faith: this seems a spiritual priority, and if a musical setting can enhance it, well and good. But if the musical setting were in any way an obstacle, the sung version should be dropped.
Laurie Goodstein at the NYT has a feature up this weekend on the upcoming LCWR meeting and the response to come from a summer of discernment. I guess my own summer has been roaring by; I didn’t realize the moment of truth was so near.
Looking back, I have to say that I admire Bishop Blair for going on NPR’s Fresh Air to state the bishops’ view. That interview could have gone much worse for him and the bishops than it did. As it happens, I don’t think he carried himself well at all. If he’s any indication, the bishops see this as an issue of obedience to Church teaching. For the sisters, I don’t think the Church teaching is a matter of dispute, at least not in any great numbers. They see it as a twofold problem.
First, the matter is one of what’s fair game for discussion. This report is more about imposing a gag order on disputed topics. Not aligning oneself against faith and morals. Secondarily, it seems the sisters have a serious case to say that the views cited in the report are taken out of context, or even blatantly misunderstood.
If the CDF is intentionally misreading their reports, then that would be a matter of grave sin, a participation in gossip and defamation.
I’m more inclined to think that this is something of a dialogue of the deaf, as one cardinal put it. I’d say a certain intellectual curiosity is a danger signal to modern bishops, who, it seems, lack the general theological aptitude of their forebears of the post-conciliar years. Uniformity is routinely confused with unity. Talking and listening equates with accepting. This is just not logical.
If the LCWR as a canonical entity can’t get past the blockade of ignorance, then I don’t see its purpose. Religious sisters seem well-able to convene in conference in any sort of way. It continues to happen among communities. No doubt it will continue outside the approval of the bishops–there are simply too many women who will talk about minsitry and theology and way too few bishops to have a prayer of stopping them. All that has been accomplished is the weakening of the institution. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.