Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
5 September 2012
I’ve been on the fence commenting about Cardinal Martini’s parting interview which has been getting lots of Catholic blogosphere traction the past few days. For a few days, it seemed enough to let others carry the ball on the supposed “progressive hero” that I honestly didn’t know much about. The news from Milwaukee tips me over. If there’s a good way to link up two stories in some new way, I’m inclined to jump in with both feet.
The deceased cardinal has been quoted all over Google as saying the Catholic Church is two-hundred years out of date. More on the Reuters translation from Corriere della Sera:
Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up; our rituals and our cassocks are pompous.
The church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops. The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation.
The Catholic Right is in full spin on this one, including Britain’s Catholic Herald:
(P)lease let us remember that reform is not to be confused with abolition.
Even the CH admits there’s nothing about doctrine getting pulled back. So why are they even bringing it up? Just to make sure the alarm spreads, and any potential renewal gets a quick clamp down.
A bit more than a decade ago, Milwaukee’s archbishop got no little Vatican heat for suggesting that rather than close parishes, he would prefer that communities surface viri probati, “proven men” who, though married, would make sound, reliable, and honored clergy to continue the mid-1900′s wave/glut of ordained priests. So much for the proven solution. Slap it down, then let the Jovial One pass on the tough decisions to his sorry-sap successor, who tries to put the best face on it:
Now that a long-term strategy has been determined for the archdiocese, it is extremely important for each parish and cluster to become actively involved in planning for the future. Each pastor or parish director in consultation with the parish pastoral council is charged with the responsibility for these planning efforts. The full implementation of the plan will require the collaborative efforts of everyone in the archdiocese.
Collaboration is indeed a worthy strategy to share. But I can’t help but think Archbishop Listecki is a cover boy for Cardinal Martini’s 200-Year comment. While it may have a time-honored practice in the West, a celibate priesthood is not a matter of faith and morals. It has nothing to do with doctrine. Even if the Church was somewhat preoccupied with Napoleon on the loose two centuries ago, there was no reason not to explore the viri probati solution, say, thirty to forty years ago. Would have done Catholics a lot more good than an Anglican Ordinariate. Or the return of the TLM. Ask Bishop Lennon in Cleveland if he wished he’d have dodged getting taken to ecclesiastical court over his reduction plan.
Let’s not kid ourselves. This has nothing to do with doctrine. Cardinal Martini was being generous with his brother prelates in the curia. They and their neo-aristocrat followers want to dial it back to the Dark Ages. Make no mistake about that.
And as for your own bishop, be aware of his priorities in all this. If he has to close a hundred parishes to prop up the 200-years, he’s going to be his own best advocate, career trail or not. You can bet he will never, ever buck the institution on the non-doctrinal front for you or any of your diocesan parishes.
5 September 2012
EN 15 is a key section. We’ll cover it in a few posts rather than just one:
15. Anyone who rereads in the New Testament the origins of the Church, follows her history step by step and watches her live and act, sees that she is linked to evangelization in her most intimate being:
- The Church is born of the evangelizing activity of Jesus and the Twelve. She is the normal, desired, most immediate and most visible fruit of this activity: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations.”[Mt 28:19] Now, “they accepted what he said and were baptized. That very day about three thousand were added to their number…. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.”[Acts 2:41, 47] – Having been born consequently out of being sent, the Church in her turn is sent by Jesus. The Church remains in the world when the Lord of glory returns to the Father. She remains as a sign – simultaneously obscure and luminous – of a new presence of Jesus, of His departure and of His permanent presence. She prolongs and continues Him. And it is above all His mission and His condition of being an evangelizer that she is called upon to continue.[Cf. Lumen Gentium 8; Ad Gentes 5] For the Christian community is never closed in upon itself. The intimate life of this community – the life of listening to the Word and the apostles’ teaching, charity lived in a fraternal way, the sharing of bread[Cf. Acts 2:42-46; 4:32-35; 5:12-16] this intimate life only acquires its full meaning when it becomes a witness, when it evokes admiration and conversion, and when it becomes the preaching and proclamation of the Good News. Thus it is the whole Church that receives the mission to evangelize, and the work of each individual member is important for the whole.
Pope Paul VI makes a strong case that evangelization isn’t just one of a number of ministries of the Church. It’s not part of the body like a foot, an ear, or an organ. It’s more like the bones, supporting everything. Or the skin, covering everything. Or the muscles, perhaps most of all, powering everything.
The Scriptural witness is undeniable: from the Church’s very inception, evangelization was its chief activity and best success.
The Church is the chief agent of evangelization because we are the way Christ continues to be presented to the world. It is part of a God-given mission.
Note that the internal expressions of the Church: the proclamation of the Word, catechesis/formation, internal charity and social life, and the liturgy–all of these lack “full meaning” without the public witness and proclamation to non-believers. This is a fairly audacious statement for a Church concerned with liturgy and internal things, not to mention the letter of the law. If we take Pope Paul VI at his word, many institutional aspects are “incomplete” without the outward focus.
Does every Christian pray? Learn? Love and offer charity? Most Christians would say yes, even if they acknowledge their best individual gifts don’t lie in all these areas. If we take EN 15 seriously, evangelization is as much a part of the “full” Christian as liturgy, formation, and apostolic action are. Does the Holy Father overstate? Or is he right, and we’ve just been missing it?
5 September 2012
The first considerations are the Eucharist, the other sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours, and more to follow:
§ 47 § The prayer life of the Church is richly diverse. The eucharistic liturgy, the other sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours are sacred actions surpassing all others. The praise and thanksgiving, which are at the heart of the Eucharist, are continued in the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. The Liturgy of the Hours is the Church’s daily liturgical prayer that expresses the nature of the praying Church and is, itself, a sign of the Church.(Laudis Canticum) In addition to their participation in communal prayer, Christ’s followers deepen their relationship with God through private prayer, which flows from the liturgy. Thus, the Church encourages popular devotions that “harmonize with the liturgical seasons” and “lead people to [the liturgy].”(SC 12 & 13) Besides its primary role of providing a suitable place for the celebration of the liturgical rites, the church building also offers a place to which individuals may come to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and in which groups of the faithful may gather for a rich variety of devotions expressive of the faith life of a given culture, region, or ethnic community.
§ 48 § This chapter is intended to help a community fulfill its role in designing a place that readily accommodates all these needs. In new construction, parishes usually have several options for various elements of design. Sometimes those options are limited by the space or terrain, or by financial resources. And sometimes, as in the case of renovation, there are additional limits imposed by the existing structure. This chapter reviews the spatial demands of the various liturgical rites and offers principles for choosing among the various options. Many dioceses have developed their own procedures and guidelines for the building and renovation of churches. The principles in this document should guide dioceses in the writing of local directives.
Laudis Canticum, found on the Adoremus site, is the 1970 apostolic constitution that promulgated the revised Liturgy of the Hours.
We likely have a broad concession that the renewal of the Liturgy of the Hours among the ordinary laity has yet to take real root, but that one aspect of devotion, praying before the Blessed Sacrament, continues to have a needed place in churches.
Other devotions, too, those in harmony with the church’s liturgical practices, have a place in the building.
BLS 48 reminds us that the principles that follow in sections 49 through 139 will form the core of a community’s formation as a new church is built or an older one renovated, and also any guidelines offered by the local diocese for its parishes and other faith communities.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.