Remarriage Worse Than Murder

Bishop Robert Lynch reflects on a “Rubicon” about to be crossed:

Think about it for a moment, I can absolve the most heinous of criminals who seeks God’s forgiveness for the sin of murder and give him or her the Eucharist, but let a twenty-one year old who made a mistake in choosing a spouse for a bevy of reasons return to the Eucharist – no way says the Church and I pray instead for some way. Pope Francis has instilled in my heart a desire for reconciliation of all, forgiveness, mercy and compassion for those who need it and seek it, and a Church which is itself a beacon of hope to those who walk in the darkness of this day and age.

Seems right. A person is murdered. Seems like that person should come back from the dead in order to undo the sin and permit a repentant killer to return to the sacraments.

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DPPL 61: Values in Popular Piety

STA altar at night smallValues in popular piety, according to popes, we start with the Holy Spirit, the recognition that the Spirit guides people and the magisterium accepts this, in principle:

61. Popular piety, according to the Magisterium, is a living reality in and of the Church. Its source is the constant presence of the Spirit of God in the ecclesial community; the mystery of Christ Our Savior is its reference point, the glory of God and the salvation of man its object, its historical moment “the joyous encounter of the work of evangelization and culture” (John Paul II, Homily given at the shrine of the Virgin Mary of “Zapopang”, 2, in AAS, 71 (1979) 228). On several occasions, the Magisterium has expressed its esteem for popular piety and its various manifestations, admonishing those who ignore it, or overlook it, or even distain it, to adopt a more positive attitude towards it, taking due note of its many values (Cf. Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, 31; John Paul II, Allocution to the Bishops of Basilicata and Apulia, ad Limina visit, 4, in AAS 74 (1982) 211-213). Indeed, the Magisterium sees popular piety as “a true treasure of the People of God” (John Paul II, Homily given at the Celebration of the Word in La Serena (Chile), 2, in Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, X/1 (1987), cit., p. 1078.).
The Magisterium’s esteem for popular piety is principally motivated by the values which it incorporates.
Popular piety has an innate sense of the sacred and the transcendent, manifests a genuine thirst for God and “an acute sense of God’s deepest attributes: fatherhood, providence, constant and loving presence”, (Cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 48) and mercy(Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 54).

Admonishing those who ignore, overlook, or disdain popular piety: I think there is a strain of people who are skeptics on non-liturgical spirituality. To what degree do people actively discourage this strain? I think it happens institutionally here and there, but more likely focused on questionable practices: St Jude chain letters, Medjugorje, excesses. Thing is, some people are attached to excesses, and they take not kindly to others suggesting perspective.

The Latin American bishops are cited here:

The documents of the Magisterium highlight certain interior dispositions and virtues particularly consonant with popular piety and which, in turn, are prompted and nourished by it: patience and “Christian resignation in the face of irremediable situations”(Puebla 965); trusting abandonment to God; the capacity to bear sufferings and to perceive “the cross in every-day life”(Evangelii nuntiandi 48); a genuine desire to please the Lord and to do reparation and penance for the offences offered to Him; detachment from material things; solidarity with, and openness to, others; “a sense of friendliness, charity and family unity”(Puebla 913).

What do you think?

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

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Aparecida 77 – More On Corruption

Paragraph 70 treated corruption in the context of economics. In paragraph 77, the context is the political.

The bishops note how corruption has affected all branches of the government:

A major negative factor observable in much of the region is the intensification of corruption in society and the State involving the legislative and executive branches at all levels. It also extends to the judicial system, which in its ruling often sides with the powerful and fosters impunity, thereby jeopardizing the credibility of government institutions and increasing the mistrust of the people. That phenomenon goes hand in hand with a deep contempt for legality.

An important addition here is the mention of impunity. Crimes go unpunished; many are not even investigated.

This leads to a lack of credibility of the government and mistrust. Thus many people are reluctant to even report crimes, since they see little chance of justice being done or of witnesses being protected. Sometimes this situation leads to people taking the law in their own hands, leading to cycles of revenge.

Another possible result of rampant corruption is disenchantment with politics and a withdrawal from involvement in the public sphere.

Broad sectors of the population, especially young people, are increasingly disenchanted with politics, particularly with democracy, because the promises of a better and more just life were not fulfilled, or were fulfilled only partially.

The bishops therefore note the importance of formation in democracy and participation.

 Thus it is forgotten that democracy and political participation are fruit of the formation that becomes a reality only when citizens are conscious of their fundamental rights and of their corresponding duties.

Thus in many countries in Latin America, CARITAS and other Catholic institutions have projects that from people in their human rights and duties.

Here is an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

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From Supreme to Honorary


Tweet-whispered a few hours ago, Sandro Magister reports Cardinal Burke’s career arc is about to descend to a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean. More specifically, to a “patronage” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

If confirmed, Burke’s exile would be even more drastic than the one inflicted on Cardinal Piacenza, who, transferred from the important congregation for the clergy to the marginal apostolic penitentiary, nevertheless remained in the leadership of a curial dicastery.

With the shakeup on the way, Burke would instead be completely removed from the curia and employed in a purely honorary position without any influence on the governance of the universal Church.

This would be a move that seems to have no precedent.

It might free the former US bishop for more airport time.

Rorate Caeli:

Why not a movement back to an American see? A translation of Cardinal Burke back to any of the “red hat” see in the United States, much less one as influential and prestigious as Chicago, would simply not be welcome to many liberal and “moderate” bishops in that country, not least those Cardinals such as Wuerl, O’Malley and Dolan who have found themselves on the opposite side of Burke’s strident promotion of Canon 915.

Or perhaps Rome wasn’t so interested in repeats of schism, which happens when a person in charge takes canon law to its fullest extent–as a weapon to wield. Welcome to other bishops? Let’s talk about Chicagoland parishes. That’s a lot of churches to close down in the 2020’s.

Wait–liberal and moderate bishops? Really? Really!? Where the heck did they come from?

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Praying From A Psalter

ICEL PsalterWith desire and longing on my mind in my own spiritual journey, I turn to the psalms these days, especially psalms of longing. Psalm 62 I chose for a staff meeting this morning, which included:

Wait, my soul, silent for God,
for God alone, my hope,
along my rock, my safety,
my refuge: I stand secure. (62:8-9)

Afterward, one of my staff colleagues searched for the translation on Amazon. And it is there, still being sold. She was surprised new hardcover copies are still available, and still being sold … for up to $100.

I could bequeath her my copy, or I mused, hold onto it and finance my grandchildren’s college education.

Or perhaps I should hold on to the thought of the Psalmist that God alone is my hope.

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DPPL 60: Liturgy and Popular Piety in the Church’s Magisterium

STA altar at night smallIn sections 60 through 75, we will review what popes and bishops have said and taught on this topic since Vatican II.

This outline may be helpful:
The Values in Popular Piety (61-64)
Deviations in Popular Piety (65-66)
The Subject of Popular Piety (67-69)
Pious Exercises (70-72)
Liturgy and Pious Exercises (73-74)
General principles for the renewal of Pious Exercises (75)

And with that, chapter two begins:

60. Reference has already been made to the Magisterium of the Second Vatican Council, and to that of the Roman Pontiffs and the bishops, on the subject of popular piety(Cf. DPPL 2). At this point, it seems opportune to provide an organized synthesis of this material so as to facilitate a common doctrinal orientation for popular piety and to encourage a consistent pastoral approach to it.

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

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Aiming For Discipline, Not Doctrine

John Allen at Crux continues his pre-synod features on the family and related issues. I see the stories and mostly opinion pieces on that new site, including today’s projected compromise.

Tackling the unforgiveable sin, remarriage after a divorce, this will be difficult. Crux is not alone in media outlets confusing the boundary between what constitutes doctrine and what is an expression of discipline. Many places, in an attempt to maintain the battle lines to protect marriage, have dug their trenches solidly in pelagian territory.

It’s a difficult conundrum, to be sure.

Permitting remarried people to receive the sacraments (not just the Eucharist, it should be pointed out) is not just about those who abandoned one spouse for another and still want to be noticed in church.

It involves people who were in this non-Catholic’s situation: married for a few months long before her children became Catholic. The children, at the time, were in a family with a 25-year-long marriage just at its midpoint. Who is the best arbiter of that? A Tridentine-era canon lawyer, or the local pastor? When weighing a very brief marriage without children or a subsequent relationship with clearly discernible fruits, how many pastors need to refer to a tribunal? Would it help you to know the person in question never became Catholic?

One thing I don’t see in the headlines on Roman marriage practice is how many people are barred entry to the Church for a second marriage that isn’t even their own. A non-Catholic in a first marriage to a person in a second cannot be confirmed and receive Communion unless their spouse seeks an annulment.

The current Roman practice flirts dangerously with the heresy of pelagianism: the smug knowledge that by good sexual behavior (or its appearance) one can avoid the worst penalties of church membership. And we have the tendency of antigospel: that people are barred from even church membership based on youthful errors. Or even mistakes not of their own doing. On top of that, there is a perception of unfairness. “Scandal” is often cited as a good reason not to return remarried Catholics to Communion. But no such incident has ever had the negative impact that the Church’s administrative scandals (not the actual sex abuse, to be sure) have had on membership, participation, and public witness.

And all of this totally evades the possibility that the Eucharist is a means for God to heal and bring people to the fullness of faith. And perhaps even sinners need that.

Chapter 27 in the Rule of St Benedict strikes me as a properly balanced approach for the law-n-order side. Yet how many of these precepts are ignored, especially by the elder siblings, and by the leader of the community?

Let the Abbot be most solicitous in his concern for delinquent brethren, for “it is not the healthy but the sick who need a physician” (Matt 9:12) And therefore he ought to use every means that a wise physician would use. Let him send senpectae,
that is, brethren of mature years and wisdom, who may as it were secretly console the wavering brother and induce him to make humble satisfaction; comforting him that he may not “be overwhelmed by excessive grief” (2 Cor. 2:7), but that, as the Apostle says, charity may be strengthened in him (2 Cor. 2:8).  And let everyone pray for him.

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