My young friend Elise sang brilliantly at her senior recital this past weekend. Lots of classical stuff and the usual art songs. I was delighted with William Bolcom’s “Amor.” I don’t have a medium of my friend’s version, but I found this one, from my hometown and quasi-alma mater, which is nearly as nice. Arnold Weinstein’s lyrics are delightful.

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Fr Anthony posted at PrayTell today that it’s been two months since the CDWDS head was shipped off to Valencia.

I wondered over there if all of the Holy Father’s candidates have turned him down. What if you posted a job opening, and nobody applied? Someone on the site suggested that maybe it’s an organizational thing: CDWDS will get folded into Saints or the CDF.

On the latter option, I hope not.

Someone once told me that at least half of the priests offered the office of bishop under Pope Benedict XVI did not accept. Imagine that. What if Rome’s first choices all said yes in the past ten years. Would we have a hierarchy better or worse, do you think?

Maybe it’s time to look for a lay person to head the office for liturgy. Really: how many bishops have to say no for the Holy Spirit’s message to get through?

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My wife greeted me with “Happy Anniversary!” this morning. “Anni” is not operative, truly. It’s been 225 months, 75 seasons, 18.75 years.

WordPress sent me 8th anniversary greetings, too. I don’t follow those commemorations as closely. It will be ten years of blog hosting in a few days. That’s too big a chunk of my life, it seems. Still doing it for the fun. No idea when I wrote my first blog comment, however. It was probably deleted.

The older I get, the more anniversaries pile up. And I suppose I’m more inclined to forget them.

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The Synod Fathers Speak 10: Looking Ahead With Prayer

window from inside

For reference, the so-called “short” document is online is here, in English. Today, I’ll reproduce the bishops’ final request of us, that we journey with them on this pilgrimage:

We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world:

            Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.

            Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.

            Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.

            Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.

            Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy.


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The Precipice

Ross Douthat wrings his hands in the NYT:

(A)dmitting the divorced-and-remarried to communion … conflicts sharply with the church’s historic teaching on marriage’s indissolubility.

Except that it really doesn’t.

Did he say “precipice”?

Ireland_cliffs_of_moher2I like to watch a bit when amateur theologians, especially conservatives, attempt to tackle the maze of history. There was a time when murderers, adulterers, and apostates were simply kicked out of the Body. There was no reconciliation, no Penance, no hope for a hug. Only the mercy of God in the wide world.

And that changed, but the Gospels did not.

Mr Douthat asserts that we have to be saved from contradiction. I don’t think so. We just need more fallible memories.

On second thought, perhaps better memories would be in order. Remembering timeless lessons from Luke 15:11ff, and especially for the conservatives who have propped up the Church. those verses 28-32.

A Church near a precipice? If that’s where the lost are, that’s a good thing.

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DPPL 108: Five Christmas Contributions of Popular Piety

STA altar at night smallHow would you assess popular piety along these five points?

108. Much of the richness and complexity of the mystery of the Lord’s manifestation is reflected in displays of popular piety, which is especially sensitive to the childhood of Christ which reveals his love for us. Popular piety intuitively grasps:
• the importance of the “spirituality of gift”, which is proper to Christmas: “a child is born for us, a son is given to us” (cf. Is 9, 5), a gift expressing the infinite love of God, who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3, 16);
• the message of solidarity conveyed by the event of Christmas: solidarity with sinful (humanity), for whom, in Christ, God became man “for us … and for our salvation”(DS 150; Roman Missal); solidarity with the poor, because the Son of God “who” was rich but became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of your poverty” (2 Cor 8, 9);
• the sacredness of human life and the wonderful event that is every birth, since the Word of life came amongst (people) and was made visible through his birth of the Virgin Mary (cf. 1 John 1, 2);
• the messianic joy and peace to which (people have) aspired in every age: the Angels announce the birth of the Savior of the world to the shepherds, the “Prince of Peace (Is 9.5) and proclaim “peace on earth to (people) of good will” (Lk 2, 14);
• the spirit of simplicity and poverty, humility and trust in God, suggested by the events surrounding the birth of Christ.

Gift, solidarity, sanctity of life, peace, and humility. There is an overarching joy–not just in the aspect of and hope for peace. Celebration can sometimes cloud the more serious aspects that Christmas draws out in some believers. It seems a right balance can be struck, especially if people are formed from childhood.

Popular piety, precisely because it can intuit the values inherent in the mystery of Christ’s birth, is called upon to cooperate in preserving the memory of the manifestation of the Lord, so as to ensure that the strong religious tradition surrounding Christmas is not secularized by consumerism or the infiltration of various forms of neopaganism.

It seems that it was Christianity that “infiltrated” pagan religion all those centuries ago. A few aspects of celebration were absorbed into Christmas festivities. That such considerations resurface in an age in which Christian societies or post-Christian cultures accept non-Christian expression is not really an invasion so much as an opportunity. How do we present Christ and his incarnation in an irresistible way? Are we up for the challenge?

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

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The Synod Fathers Speak 9: The Eucharist

window from inside

The Sunday Eucharist has a pull for many believers. We would do well to consider what a grace that is.

The high point which sums up all the threads of communion with God and neighbor is the Sunday Eucharist when the family and the whole Church sits at table with the Lord. He gives himself to all of us, pilgrims through history towards the goal of the final encounter when “Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:11). In the first stage of our Synod itinerary, therefore, we have reflected on how to accompany those who have been divorced and remarried and on their participation in the sacraments.

The whole Church, saints and sinners alike, sit at table with Christ. The Eucharist is part of life’s pilgrimage. I think we should take seriously those who are inspired to return to the Lord’s table. Walking with the divorced and remarried is basic to our mission and pilgrimage.

For reference, the so-called “short” document is online is here, in English.

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