Did Pope Paul have anything to say about reclaiming Christians?
54. Nevertheless the Church does not feel dispensed from paving unflagging attention also to those who have received the faith and who have been in contact with the Gospel often for generations. Thus she seeks to deepen, consolidate, nourish and make ever more mature the faith of those who are already called the faithful or believers, in order that they may be so still more.
The following words were written almost four decades ago. Do today’s alarmists have a problem with plagiarism?
This faith is nearly always today exposed to secularism, even to militant atheism. It is a faith exposed to trials and threats, and even more, a faith besieged and actively opposed. It runs the risk of perishing from suffocation or starvation if it is not fed and sustained each day. To evangelize must therefore very often be to give this necessary food and sustenance to the faith of believers, especially through a catechesis full of Gospel vitality and in a language suited to people and circumstances.
Pope Paul is shortchanging other means of nourishment. Catechesis is definitely important. But the life of liturgy, prayer, and spirituality is a more universal tangent for believers. The experience of knowing God trumps the knowing about God.
The Church also has a lively solicitude for the Christians who are not in full communion with her. While preparing with them the unity willed by Christ, and precisely in order to realize unity in truth, she has the consciousness that she would be gravely lacking in her duty if she did not give witness before them of the fullness of the revelation whose deposit she guards.
We share the preparation for unity: a significant distinction for a church that some members see that all the work toward unity is to be borne by others. Not so.
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Three brief sections reflecting on the needs for the Rite of Marriage. First the essentials:
§ 106 § The Rite of Christian Marriage contains no directives about the spatial requirements for the celebration. Instead, the ritual focuses upon the consent given by the bride and the groom, the ambo from which the word of God is proclaimed, and the altar at which the couple share the Body and Blood of Christ within a nuptial Mass.
The Rite of Marriage gives the couple, priest, and parish broad leeway in terms of ritualizing the moments outside of the liturgies of Word and the Eucharist.
§ 107 § The options within the Rite of Marriage provide for a procession of the priest and ministers to the door of the church to greet the wedding party, followed by an entrance procession, or the entrance of the wedding party and movement down the aisle to meet the priest celebrant at the altar. Some planners have experimented with seating arrangements that eliminate a center aisle in favor of two side aisles. Although this plan can be very useful by allowing the congregation to face the altar and the priest celebrant directly, it challenges parishes to plan how they will provide for entrance processions and recessionals, especially during wedding processions when all wish to have equal visual access to the wedding party.
In designing a church, most people will pnder the more popular local option or two for couples, and ensure that a new design accommodates this somewhat. By far I see more of the priest and ministers greeting the couple (reunited) at the edge of the sanctuary.
The reference above to two side aisles is a little curious. Churches with dseating in the round usually have a dedicated central aisle, even if it is not long.
§ 108 § If it is the custom to have the bride and groom seated in the sanctuary, then the design of the sanctuary should be spacious enough to allow an arrangement of chairs and kneelers that does not impinge upon the primary furniture in the sanctuary. Many ethnic groups and local churches have additional customs for the celebration of marriage that can be honored and accommodated when they are in keeping with the spirit of the liturgy.
How many churches provide for the wedding couple to be seated in the sanctuary?
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.