Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
4 September 2012
This commentary has been getting traction at HLI and among a few FB friends. I think Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro’s point is just plain silly.
(F)or those Catholics who cannot bring themselves to believe the formal teachings of the Church on life and family matters it would be more honest to leave the Church rather than betraying Her.
This commentary is astray on a number of fronts.
First, betrayal is a rather serious charge. In citing Pope Benedict, Msgr Barreiro considers the situation of Judas. But other apostles betrayed Christ. Peter denied the Lord, then abandoned him. Paul conducted a campaign of murder against believers. All three arrived at a moment of contrition. Peter and Paul knew there was a community willing to embrace them. In Peter’s case, he had a lot of company, but the women who did not abandon the Lord still accepted him. And Paul, though there was doubt as to his motives, was eventually received and revered by the early Christians. Judas’ problem wasn’t that he failed to leave Jesus earlier. It was his own sense of profound separation from the Lord and from the community that led him to feel first remorse, and then despair to the point of suicide. There are people all over the Church who are wrong on life and family matters. Some of them are active bishops. I may not like the sins they have committed, but I am obliged to love them. And I must admit, they are as much a part of the Body as I am.
Second, I think it’s extremely problematic for a person who dissents from Church teaching to actually teach the dissenting view. That is where a person should step back, not from membership, but from the role as teacher.
Third, we must all recognize that we are a community of sinners. Within the life issue of abortion, there are distinctions between a person who actively procures an abortion, and someone who might prefer that the ability to persuade others is within one’s skills, rather than place hope on a political system to outlaw some or all procedures. Many pro-life Catholics make a conscious choice to decline to associate ourselves with the political pro-life movement. And the Church does not obligate me to embrace particular political or social methods or to emulate behavior I don’t judge to be Christian. That might cause observers to rub their chins and say, “Hmm.” But adhering to the HLI line is not Gospel. As much as it might make some HLI followers “feel better” about the issue.
Fourth, Msgr Barriero is advocating a self-inflicted penalty even stronger than the one accorded to those who have procured an abortion. That seems drastically out of line.
In light of the challenges of evangelization, I have to wonder if this SCGS* meme hasn’t fallen prey to its own divergence from Church teaching: hopelessness. Believers don’t get to suggest who should be removed from the fold. That duty belongs to the Lord. Not a priest with “a doctorate in Dogmatic theology.” We may not like a pro-choice Catholic or a misbehaving bishop. But we are always urged to cultivate hope, and to avoid becoming like those Jesus did condemn, we likely need to apply hope to people we don’t think are suitable.
Speaking for myself, every baptized person has a place in the Church. Don’t ever let anyone suggest you’re better off elsewhere. Or certainly that we’re better off without you. God’s grace manages the truth of things great and small. No believer has any place making suggestions to leave. That role is reserved to God.
*Small Church, getting smaller
4 September 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under On My Bookshelf
, spirituality 1 Comment
James Martin’s book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything has been on my bookshelf for the past week. It’s a popular seclection in our parish library, and I find much to recommend it. Four-hundred pages is a daunting length if your object is to read a book cover to cover. Fortunately Fr Martin is a superb writer, easily able to share and communicate enthusiasm for the subject matter. Which, quite simply, is applying Jesuit principles to (almost) everything in life.
I can see this book on the shelf of a person willing to take it a chapter or so at a time. I’m reading through it cover to cover, however, for a few reasons. First, I like Jim Martin as a writer. And I get ideas from good writers. Second, since it is a much-read tome, I want to be conversant in it generally. Third, I wasn’t expecting to find it spiritually helpful, since it seems to be aimed at people from seekers to believers on the threshhold of a deeper spiritual life. So it’s also been a cure for personal arrogance, and something of a corrective on a previous correction I made about forty-five years ago.
Up to about fourth grade, I did not challenge myself as a reader. I spent most of my allowance on books. And I usually bought books on subjects I already knew about and usually at my own grade level. For science, it was a few grade levels below my working knowledge. But I found a certain comfort in going with what I knew. I used books to confirm my working knowledge, not necessarily to expand it.
But in fourth grade, something changed. When I and some of my peers finished our classwork, the teacher gave us a pass to go to the school library. And at first, I borrowed books that confirmed my knowledge. But that got old quick. So I turned to the shelves where the middle schoolers read–the books without pictures. The books with text for two-hundred or more pages.
So it was new ground, and it was the start of reading way past my horizons. Which I still like to do today.
So I found Jim Martin’s book old ground in many ways: his discussion on discernment, contemplative prayer, retreats were interesting for his own experiences. In some aspects, it was like going back to old ground–just like I did before the fourth grade. But how he brings the Jesuit lens into (almost) everything: this was new to me. The extent of my exposure to the Jesuits has been limited to two eight-day Ignatian retreats, from which I don’t think I absorbed anything particularly Jesuitical.
The one thing that I found most helpful was Fr Martin’s approach to the daily examen. Back in the 90′s my spiritual director suggested I practice it, and I don’t ever think I got a good handle on it. But after reading Fr Martin’s approach, this will be the one aspect of the spiritual life I think I can delve into. More on that in another post, I think.
I told my wife it’s a good thing the Jesuits didn’t have a Jim Martin in the 80′s, because the book almost inspires me to go off and join them. The one kernel of Jesuit spirituality that I’ve been mulling over this past week: finding God in all things. The principle isn’t likely original to the Jesuits. But from how Fr Martin takes it and runs with it, they probably refined the notion to a degree up-to-now unheard-of.
Did I mention the tome runs four-hundred pages? For a guide to (almost) everything, that seems short. Some critics have said the book is too long and needed a tighter edit. Maybe they’re right, if they’re looking for a guidebook. The subtitle of the volume is “A Spirituality for Real Life,” and I think one could easily drop into any chapter, and gain significant food-for-thought for one’s life. Fr Martin weaves in personal experience, Jesuit saints, and Ignatian spiritual principles with great ease.
Consider this a strong recommendation–and I haven’t even finished it yet.
4 September 2012
In theory, the institution is aware of the importance of evangelization, and that it is a Body-wide quality:
14. The Church knows this. She has a vivid awareness of the fact that the Savior’s words, “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God,”[Lk 4:43] apply in all truth to herself: She willingly adds with St. Paul: “Not that I boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty that has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it”[1 Cor 9:16] It is with joy and consolation that at the end of the great Assembly of 1974 we heard these illuminating words: “We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church.”["Declaration of the Synod Fathers", 4: L'Osservatore Romano (27 October 1974), p. 6] It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.
It should not be a surprise that the ultimate Christian goal is to present the Gospel to every person in every corner of the world. Each individual is free, of course, to embrace Christ or to move on. Keeping that focus in mind, we also acknowledge that the grace of God with which the Church is entrusted. It does not depend on our perfect action in that regard.
Note that the entire Paschal Mystery, not just Calvary, is involved in the sacrifice of Christ, and something again, in which we participate.
4 September 2012
With today’s post, we begin Chapter Two, the core of the document, “The Church Building and the Sacred Rites Celebrated There.” In order we will look at aspects of the Church building, the sacraments, the liturgical year, and pretty much every significant consideration that needs to inform the design of a Catholic Church.
Note two emphases: the housing of the baptized, and the full celebration of the rites of the liturgy–not just the Mass.
§ 46 § The church building houses the community of the baptized as it gathers to celebrate the sacred liturgy. By its practical design and beauty it fosters the full, dignified, and graceful celebration of these rites. The primary concern in the building or renovation of a space for worship must be its suitability for the celebration of the Eucharist and other liturgical rites of the Church. Consequently, the fundamental prerequisite for those engaged in the building or renovation of a church is familiarity with the rites to be celebrated there.
Anyone involved in a building project must be well-acquainted with all the rites. It can’t be put any more succinctly than that.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.