Friday, February 1st, 2013
1 February 2013
Posted by catholicsensibility under bishops
, sex abuse  Comments
My wife got me the news before the blogosphere did: Cardinal Mahony relieved of duty in light of his mishandling of sex predators in the 80′s and 90′s. A retired bishop? What duties? Is the Frequently Misspelled One still on Vatican committees, and boards of directors stateside? Is pulling himself off the confirmation docket his own idea?
Thomas Reese, SJ:
This is very unusual and shows really how seriously they’re taking this. To tell a cardinal he can’t do confirmations, can’t do things in public, that’s extraordinary.
It’s a big change from 2002, that’s for darn sure.
The Frequently Misspelled One responds on his own blog. The man got bad advice from friends who thought he should speak his piece. He may well have cause to feel pounded by his successor. But there’s a prudent time and place for a talkback. I think this was a time for the cardinal to take one for the team. Talk to Archbishop Gomez over a beer–don’t air this dirty laundry out in the blogosphere.
Readers here know I’ve never been a fan of Cardinal Mahony. He’s too much of a JP2 bishop in the worst sense of that term. Still … it doesn’t seem terribly fair for some bishops to skip off to plum assignments in Rome, to continue sitting at the kingmaking table and all. It doesn’t seem very fair for one bishop to accept conviction for a serious crime and remain “in good standing.” What drives that? The money behind the
Nobody ever said it was going to be easy for the US bishops to regain their shredded reputations. This is one small step for Archbishop Gomez. But it won’t be the last needed one. Others will need to come from other bishops. Some will need to come from Rome. And not veiled through the actions of a local bishop. And some bishops will need to man up and take their own initiative. Delegate confirmations to their parish clergy for a few years. Decline a red hat if offered. Recommend another bishop from a smaller see who has a good reputation.
I will comment that Archbishop Gomez, with or without the approval of Rome, has upped the ante considerably on the cover-upu scandal. Other bishops will be judged by his yardstick. I wonder if it’s a time of soul searching on the banks of the Missouri River tonight. Or maybe time for a lot of soul-searching at bishops’ residences around the world. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.
1 February 2013
Jeffrey Tucker calms down and pulls back from his elation on Tuesday:
Fixing this fixes nearly everything.
There are two errors to correct in the news that Bishop Alexander K. Sample is headed to Portland, Oregon. The first is that it means nothing. The second is that it means everything. As is often the case, the reality will be something in between.
The reality is always to be found between two expected extremes. If you believe the reform2 camp, it was all vocal cords and roses before Vatican II, and all guitar chords and crap afterward. That might not be as gross a caricature as it might seem. Jeffrey does talk about 1968-2010 as if it were a monolithic age of impoverishment. I found a 1983 Music Issue from OCP at the bottom of a box a few years ago. Not much similarity between that and the 2011 on my office bookshelf. It’s been a significant and steady upward crawl from there. Oh, wait: Jeffrey is already talking about that today:
The change won’t happen immediately. It might not even be detectable by anyone but the closest observers. It might takes several years. But it will come. And the Church and her liturgy will be much better off as a result. Making this change in Portland will spread change to the whole of the American Church and then to the whole of the English speaking world and then to the whole rest of the world. This is the center, the core, the spot from which a major problem that exists in the Catholic world can be rectified.
This is typical of my excitable friend. He starts off with a dose of reason. Change is incremental. Change happens slowly, and often with great resistance. Our life experiences in the Church and outside of us inform us of this.
Of course, the kind of change he’s been speaking of has been taking place in the Catholic Church over the past fifty years. OCP included. Comparing Music Issues twenty-eight years apart makes it seem like night and day. Anybody want to check on how many of the Hymnal for Young Christians are still in pews? Those red, sky blue, or orange Glory & Praise books? Tens of millions? Are you sure? Are all those Protestants still laughing at “Here We Are”? Really?
Jeffrey dreams big. Portland to all of America to the English speaking world to the whole planet. Suddenly Bishop Sample seems to be at the spiritual epicenter of “everything.” Oops.
There are a lot of false assumptions running up the spine of reform2. It’s one reason why the movement borders on dangerous–a lack of respect for history. You heard that right.
Jeffrey and his young CMAA turks think that we’ve all been languishing with Pete Seeger for the past two generations. The truth is that Ray Repp was exploring plainchant before most of these guys were born, and before Jeffrey could define “anarchism.” He concedes Bishop Sample’s approach of gratitude and gentle urging forward is wise and effective. And he’s right. Too bad many of his buddies don’t emulate it.
As for me, don’t criticize me because I choose not to fly in your flock. Just thank me for learning to read chant notation (1984) for improving my abilities as a singer and conductor (since 1983) for a theological education, for teaching plainchant hymns, propers, and antiphons to my choirs for the past two decades. Acknowledge that your contemporaries in American church music don’t betray chant by not programming it 100% of the time.
And here’s the thing: everyone knows that things must change. The problem with Catholic music is famous. I’ve never spoken to a group of Catholics where the problems are not well known and understood widely. You only need to raise a slight eyebrow on the subject to garner laughter. Everyone knows. More importantly, everyone at OCP knows too.
Of course things must change. That’s the whole point of reform. Of liturgical renewal. It was bad and worse in 1950. I don’t think the problem with Catholic music is “famous” so much as it galls a number of people who care. People have laughed at me for being Catholic for a lot more than their possible perception of poor church music. I was asked to play guitar at a friend’s wedding in a Protestant church many many years ago. “That was actually quite … good,” their music director said. I said thanks and I packed my instrument and left. I know I work on my musicianship, and even three years into playing, I was a far better than average guitarist. But I don’t need the regard of snobs to keep me afloat.
“Everyone” at OCP indeed knows. That’s why they offer a substantially better set of options today than they did ten, or thirty years ago. Perhaps if Jeffrey really talked with his “friends” at OCP and less with the bitter voices of resentment in CMAA, he might learn a thing or two. I suspect that if Bishop Sample is as described today, he’ll learn a thing or two in Portland too. Somewhere between nothing and everything.
1 February 2013
A new legislative year starts, and bishops are lining up to go to jail over the HHS mandate which, as far as I can tell, is still in the negotiation stage.
It’s interesting to suggest one might go to jail for a just cause. Jesus, of course, suffered unjustly. And perhaps we like to think of the honor of sacrifice for a worthy cause–the end of the build-up of nuclear arms, the Occupy movement, the SOA campus in Georgia–causes not seen in the same light as the current majority ideology on the bishops’ bench.
Equally interesting and possibly illustrative that some of the same bishops are unwilling to go to jail for their own transgressions. Blame has been passed on to others, and prison sentences avoided.
It also strikes me that in the health insurance arena, we’ve been hearing about financial penalties more than we’ve been hearing about the Hobby Lobby CEO going to jail. Face it: if bishops aren’t going to wear prison orange for mismanaging sex predators, it’s not going to happen for idelogical resistance to the federal government. That’s a PR fiasco even the Democratic Party and its president are unwilling to risk.
I’d prefer seeing the bishops team up with the guys who have real insurance savvy, the Knights of Columbus, and drag along Catholic health care institutions and do what could have been done a generation ago: disentangle health insurance from employment and offer a real alternative. If the bishops want to go to jail to get that done, I’m all over that.
1 February 2013
Liturgy News, the quarterly organ of the Brisbane (Australia) Liturgical Commission, had a brief look at this clunker from the new Roman Missal.
(I)t remains doubtful whether a revised translation (of the Rite of Marriage) along the lines of the new Missal will be helpful. Look what has happened to thse favourite lines from one of the Prefaces for marriage:
Love is our origin,
love is our constant calling,
love is our fulfillment in heaven.
The new translation in the Missal reads:
For those you created out of charity
you call to the law of charity without ceasing
and grant them a share in your eternal charity.
I’m sure the Latin original is caritas, but there’s no doubt the MR1 is superior in this instance. A threefold repetition of a three-syllable word is just too much. It begins to border on caricature. That’s especially true given the frequent attendance of the unchurched at weddings. Charity has shifted significantly in meaning, and in the Western culture, is not always associated with something positive.
Losing this miniature litany is lamentable. Another casualty of the CultureWars(TM). Another turn off/tune out moment for the Roman Rite, just when we needed a stronger dash of evangelization.