Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
23 August 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Politics
, The Blogosphere Leave a Comment
I note that blogocommenters are going either goo-goo or gah! over Archbishop Dolan’s invite to pray “as a priest” at Tampa’s GOP Convention in a few weeks. I confess I can’t get excited either way. The Cardinal is a US citizen, perhaps a card-carrying Republican. And if the local bishop is okay with it, why is it a bother to me? Or anyone else?
The New York archbishop stumbles in the eyes of some by inviting the president to dinner. The blogocritics pile on. Yawn. This is pretty much the same, isn’t it? Cardinal Dolan gets places, and he’s not afraid to spread it around, is he?
I just point out that actions have consequences. He associates with the president, and some critics will pounce, and pounce with bile. He associates with the GOP in a rather formal way “for a priest,” and that action has predictable consequences too. For me, it seems to be part of the cult of celebrity. Our culture is soaked in it, and the Church has its moments of hero-worship too. Me, I just can’t get excited about it one way or the other. I am watching Hurricane Isaac. What do you want to bet that Rep Bachmann and conservative others don’t think a hurricane strike on the GOP is an act of God?
23 August 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Liturgy
, My Family
, Scripture 1 Comment
My mother’s only sibling passed away last Friday after nearly ninety-one years of life capped by a four-month struggle with cancer. She was my last and favorite aunt. Despite the trip aligning with the first three days of Iowa State students in classes, I thought we could sneak a trip to Ohio, my wife, the young miss and I.
I believe this was my first Baptist funeral, and I have to say that with the exception of the reports of pastoral care and a few well-chosen Protestant hymns, I was fairly disappointed. My aunt loved to travel with friends and relatives. Her new pastor reported that she would always be in church on Sunday. Except when she reported that she would be away on a trip. He said her attitude in her final days was very similar. She expected to be in heaven, and reported that with the same feelings of anticipation and joy as she reported visiting her younger son in Alaska, or her daughter in Florida, or when going on one of her short cruises with a friend or sister-in-law.
My aunt’s favorite Scripture passage is Psalm 103. (I didn’t know that!) Verses 1 through 11 were printed in the small brochure. The pastor emeritus (or reassigned–not sure which) got up to preach over an “altar rail” of flowers and commented that he had never preached on a psalm before. And alas, after getting to the third verse of the 103rd, he veered into Romans 8 and I suppose he can still say he’s never preached on a psalm. I love Romans 8:31-39 as much as any other Christian, but still …
I do get to an occasional Protestant service now and then. But I want to know when the proclamation of Scripture has been set aside.
The message, alas, was hellfire for the unsaved. I know I had family members present who are not churchgoing Christians. Not sure what the point was in the attempted scare tactics on the non-believers and inactives. I suppose in the tradition of Luther and Calvin and the Great Awakening, the message was orthodox enough. But was it prudent? Or effective? Or even in keeping with the message of the Psalmist:
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide:
neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins;
nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth,
so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (Ps 103:8-11, KJV)
23 August 2012
It seems that many believers approach the modern world somewhere along a spectrum of two mindsets. One might lament the present day and its many problems, and look to the Church as a bastion of good sense and virtue, holding back the flood waters of evil. The other can look for vigor and goodness and potential in the world, and work from the assumption that the time and place is right for bringing the Gospel out from behind shuttered gates.
Pope Paul VI had it hard in some ways. John XXIII called a council and gets the glory. But his successor was left to oversee three-fourths of its sessions, plus weather the inevitable joys, storms, and resistance that followed. Plus, he is remembered for Humanae Vitae. I suspect the fruit of his time as Bishop of Rome is a bit richer than that.
Over the next few months, I’d like to look at his document Evangelii Nuntiandi. In this “apostolic exhortation,” Paul VI summarizes the 1974 Synod of Bishops on the topic of spreading the Gospel. As we break open the first paragraphs of this document, let’s keep in mind some important aspects of language. Pre-conciliar Catholicism spoke most often of the mission apostolate, of “professionals” going to non-Christian lands and “converting” non-believers.
Paul VI begins to speak more of “evangelism” here. I think the perspective here is a bit wider. The Church is not interested only in lassoing members into the official fold. The evangelism here includes a kerygmatic element–the basic preaching/presentation of Christ in the Word of God. And then we await God’s grace to move people curious about Jesus Christ from there.
Without jumping too far ahead of ourselves, suffice it to say that this is an important document. Probably more important than many encyclical letters for the content, import, and consultation that went into its composition. Pope Paul addresses this letter “to the episcopate, to the clergy and to all the faithful of the entire world.” Consider this series a delivery of a very important letter addressed to you (if you consider yourself a believer). It may have been the result of bishops discussing and meeting way back in 1974. It may have been lost to most Catholics as the first edition of the Roman Missal was completed. But it’s still worth considering, discussing, and certainly implementing in our individual lives, in our parishes, and in the universal Church.
Venerable brothers and dear sons and daughters: health and the apostolic blessing.
1. There is no doubt that the effort to proclaim the Gospel to the people of today, who are buoyed up by hope but at the same time often oppressed by fear and distress, is a service rendered to the Christian community and also to the whole of humanity.
For this reason the duty of confirming the brethren – a duty which with the office of being the Successor of Peter[Cf. Lk 22:32] we have received from the Lord, and which is for us a “daily preoccupation,”[2 Cor 11:28] a program of life and action, and a fundamental commitment of our Pontificate – seems to us all the more noble and necessary when it is a matter of encouraging our brethren in their mission as evangelizers, in order that, in this time of uncertainty and confusion, they may accomplish this task with ever increasing love, zeal and joy.
I find the echo of Gaudium et Spes; do you? No doubt that the people of today, of 1975, and of 1965 suffered their “griefs and anxieties” (GS 1) as well as their “fear and distress.” Do Catholics today see non-believers or inactive Christians as bouncing between the hope of their lives and the “fear and distress” which is also an undeniable product of the times? Or perhaps as people to be preached “at”?
Not sure who Paul’s “brethren” are here. He didn’t write EN in English so he could mean his brother bishops. If he means all the baptized, as he addresses in his introduction, then of course, he means all his Catholic brothers and sisters. We will see the laity possess a vital role in the spreading of the Gospel. And these men and women, too, need encouragement to weather the circumstances of “uncertainty and confusion.” Don’t you think?
23 August 2012
The last section of BLS Chapter 1 treats “Liturgical Principles for Building or Renovating Churches.” We will devote the next week looking at these principles. BLS informs us these principles are found in Sacrosanctum Concilium and the various liturgical documents that implemented conciliar reform. This is the sort of list that should be in every church architect’s mind, every artist’s drawing board, and every design committee binder’s first page.
§ 27 § The basic liturgical principles for designing and renovating churches today are drawn from the Second Vatican Council and the documents that implemented its decrees. (These include the SC, the GIRM, the RDCA, the Ceremonial of Bishops, the various sacramental rituals, and canon law.) Even though the Church offers no universal blueprint or style for the design of a church, attention to the following principles will insure that from the beginning, the ritual requirements will receive the priority they deserve in the design process.
What are these principles? Here is how they are organized in BLS 28-45:
The church building is designed in harmony with church laws and serves the needs of the liturgy. (BLS 28-30)
The church building fosters participation in the liturgy. (BLS 31)
The design of the church building reflects the various roles of the participants. (BLS 32-37)
The church building respects the culture of every time and place. (BLS 38-43)
The church building should be beautiful (BLS 44-45)
We’ll get to each of these principles in turn over the next several posts. But for now, any glaring omission, poor inclusion, or needed adjustment? Other comments?
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.