Our townie neighbors to the north have their Advent wreath set up in their narthex. The icon of Christ in the center–that’s usually where they display an icon or image of a saint on the feast day. I like this set-up. I think it tempts young Christians to enter that circle, but hey–seasonal festive adventurism is good.
Friday, November 30th, 2012
30 November 2012
30 November 2012
What’s for dinner? Leftovers.
I had some cooked chicken from the other night. Refried with garlic, corn, and melon seed pasta. Tomato juice and a pat of cream cheese. Simmer till the pasta is done and then sprinkle with basil.
30 November 2012
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The bishops recommend a fmailiarity with good work done elsewhere. Sound advice:
§ 193 § Before people make architectural and liturgical decisions, they need some experience of the broad spectrum of architectural designs already in new and renovated churches. People’s preferences are often determined by things with which they are familiar. Visits to a variety of churches can help them to develop a store of images that they can evaluate and consider as potential options for the building project in their own parish.
§ 194 § Although the visits should not be confined to the work of architects or liturgical consultants under consideration for their project, people will want to visit churches that demonstrate the candidates’ work. Gaining knowledge of a professional’s previous work, whether religious or secular, is indispensable to the process of selecting the architect.
§ 195 § When actual site visits are not possible, slides, videos, and other visual aids can expand the experience of those preparing for the building or renovation of a church. Liturgical and construction offices within the diocese also can be invaluable resources in advising parish building committees of recent or exemplary projects in the local area.
One important piece is to check the references of architects, contractors, and artists among church projects they have done. It is useful to get a good sense on how other churches have worked with professionals. In my current parish, we are looking to upgrade the sound system from the fire-damaged former set-up. In speaking with consultants, we were less impressed with eight-figure projects for convention centers, arenas, or even megachurches. We wanted people with church experience, preferably Catholic. We also asked churches for their assessment in working with professionals. A professional may do excellent work, but their interpersonal skills with a committee’s, a parish’s, and a pastor’s expectations need to also be a good match.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
30 November 2012
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Pope Benedict’s personal assessment comes to the fore here, as one might expect when the references are his own homilies. Let’s read:
2. Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. During the homily at the Mass marking the inauguration of my pontificate I said: “The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.”[Homily for the beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome (24 April 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 710.] It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied.[Homily at Holy Mass in Lisbon’s “Terreiro do Paço” (11 May 2010): Insegnamenti VI:1 (2010), 673] Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.
First off, I would agree that the Christian ideal is presented well here: “Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society.” This is a basic responsibility of the believer, that our human interactions in friendship, arts, politics, sports, school, work, and all loci in our culture, are to be infused with our orientation to Christ and to the Gospel. I don’t think any serious Christian would disagree.
The Holy Father writes, “In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied.” I’m not convinced that this presupposition could ever be taken for granted, at least not outside committed religious communities. And from the viewpoint of a lay person who has been very critical of the hierarchy, I think we’ve had periods of time in which the curia and Rome have been steeped in scandal. The blundering of administering sex predators is so widespread in the Church that it touches upon church administration in other matters. I don’t think the laity, either liberals or conservatives, presume a lived-out faith among some members of the hierarchy. Some of this breaks along ideological lines. But some of it is “bipartisan” in the sense of the outrage over the grave errors in reassigning sex predators.
I would agree with Pope Benedict’s assessment that we cannot perceive a “unitary cultural matrix.” It might be said we never really could. Perhaps some element of church governance rely on that “unitariness”–some might say uniformity. Perhaps that time is gone and never to return. We shouldn’t then waste energy trying to reimpose or recover some golden memory of uniformity. We can instead take advantage of the opportunities of engaging human culture in all its richness. And be prepared for anything.
What I need to hear more from the institution is a frank admission of their culpability in the crisis of faith confronting not only Catholicism, but other Christian traditions. If there is a crisis of faith, or as I hear often, a sense of sin adrift, then its time for pope and bishops to man up, and to demonstrate by example–not preaching–the optimal approach to recovering a sense of sin, contrition, and remedy.