As an astronomy buff, my ears perk up at that phrase, “time and space.” Time is obvious. The Church marks time based on the Christian observance of the day and week, as well as marking years with the celebration of our two chief cycles.
The connection with space seems a bit weaker to me. Not that I dispute God’s supremacy over the universe; I just don’t quite grasp the link between churches and “all space.” What do you see?
§ 20 § The Church marks time as holy by setting aside Sunday and by celebrating the Liturgical Year with its rhythm and seasons. It demonstrates God’s reign over all space by dedicating buildings to house the Church and its worship. Each Sunday the baptized are challenged to rest from their daily labors, to contemplate the goodness of God, to make present the victory and triumph of Christ’s death (SC 6), to enter the joy of the Risen Lord, to receive the life-giving breath of the Spirit, and to commit themselves to serve those in need. Sunday affirms both the primacy of God and the dignity of the person.* While the worship of God is not limited to any one place, Christians build churches to shelter the liturgical assembly that praises God and celebrates the sacraments through which the Church is sanctified.
I’d like to let Pope John Paul II take up the commentary on this. The starred note refers to Dies Domini: Observing and Celebrating the Day of the Lord 68. The money quote from BLS’s footnotes:
In order that rest may not degenerate into emptiness or boredom, it must offer spiritual enrichment, greater freedom, opportunities for contemplation and fraternal communion. Therefore, among the forms of culture and entertainment which society offers, the faithful should choose those which are most in keeping with a life lived in obedience to the precepts of the Gospel. Sunday rest then becomes ‘prophetic,’ affirming not only the absolute primacy of God, but also the primacy and dignity of the person with respect to the demands of social and economic life, and anticipating in a certain sense the ‘new heavens’ and the ‘new earth,’ in which liberation from slavery to needs will be final and complete. In short, the Lord’s Day thus becomes in the truest sense the day of (humankind) as well.
I really like this text. Outside of the realm of worship, I like setting aside Sunday for freedom, contemplation, and community. We all need that. We all need to make good judgments about activities in which we engage. It is not surprising that John Paul II would suggest that the Lord’s Day is also our own.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Archbishop Dolan concedes he’s bothered by criticism of his invitation of the president to the Al Smith dinner. Mark Silk at RNS dismantles some of the giving-scandal concern.
My sense is that the word “scandal” has a particular meaning. In the theological and moral context, it does not mean “stuff I disagree with,” as defined by rabid pro-lifers and other ideologues. Professor Silk cites Thomas Aquinas and the Catholic tradition in suggesting that if a person is scandalized by another person’s good behavior, other moral qualities (such as envy) may be involved in the so-called scandalized. It seems that everybody needs to not only step back and take a deep breath, but conduct an examination of conscience.
On NPR earlier this summer, I recall Bishop Leonard Blair was bothered that Sr Pat Farrell and the LCWR declined to define themselves as pro-life in exactly the way the politicos want. This is sort of what’s happening to Archbishop Dolan here. He’s the LCWR. His pro-life critics are the CDF and Bishop Blair.
Perhaps it is possible for a person to embrace full moral goodness and live the anti-abortion message 24/7/365. At some point a certain radical standard cannot be met. Do political pro-lifers skip meals, decline to watch tv, get less sleep, refuse entertainment, and become hermits in order to further the cause? If someone is criticizing the Al Smith dinner, can other activities of pro-lifers be fair game? Things like walking the dog, sipping a coffee, taking a vacation, or sending one’s children to college? Because that’s where the logical approach will find this line of thought, when taken to extremes.
I feel badly that Archbishop Dolan is feeling the heat on this. But I’m not at all surprised. Anger has to go somewhere. And many of my otherwise fine brother and sister pro-lifers have allowed a basic good–the defense of human life–to color and cloud relationships. Not to mention obscure an even greater good than life. Faith itself.
I don’t feel badly, though, that the good archbishop is in good company with the Misunderstood. The LCWR likely would tell him to just take a number. His last word:
I’m encouraged by the example of Jesus, who was blistered by his critics for dining with those some considered sinners; and by the recognition that, if I only sat down with people who agreed with me, and I with them, or with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone.
I’d tell the man this is about more than being a solo foodie. This strikes at the very heart of the SCGS* movement. Divide and conquer, it seems to me, and an attempt to get 1.2 billion Churches of one. Good army slogan, perhaps. Less so for the cause of the Great Commission.
* Small Church, Getting Smaller