DPPL 33: Dualism

STA altar at night smallAs we approach the Renaissance, some affirmative developments in liturgy, thanks to popular piety:

33. In the middle ages, the relationship between Liturgy and popular piety is constant and complex, but a dual movement can be detected in that same relationship: the Liturgy inspired and nourished various expressions of popular piety; and several forms of popular piety were assumed by, and integrated into the Liturgy. This is especially true with regard to the rites of consecration of persons, the assumption of personal obligations, the dedication of places, the institution of feasts and to the various blessings.

There were storm clouds, however. Note the developments that led to the Reformation, and a council that was too late to solve the problem of a fractured Christendom. Can the sins of the 16th century be attributed in part to the divorce between good theology and catechesis and the devotional life of believers?

A dualism, however, prevailed between Liturgy and popular piety. Towards the end of the middles ages, both, however, went through a period of crisis. Because of the collapse of cultic unity, secondary elements in the Liturgy acquired an excessive relevance to the detriment of its central elements. In popular piety, because of the lack of adequate catechesis, deviations and exaggerations threatened the correct expressions of Christian worship.

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

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The Armchair Liturgist: Praying for Clergy at Mass

Catholics who pay attention know that in the Eucharistic Prayer, the pope and bishop are prayed for by name.

In GIA’s 1979 collection for the “Ecumenical Daily Prayer,” Praise God in Song, a number of good intercessions are provided for Evening Prayer. One of them I’ve used on occasion for Sunday Mass:

For N., our pope, N., our bishop, N. our pastor, and for all ministers of the Gospel.

Probably makes sense for the Liturgy of the Hours. For Sunday Mass, too much repetition with the Eucharistic Prayer? What about the mention of the pastor with pope and bishop?

Sit in the purple chair and render judgment: tell us what you would do, or what happens at your parish.

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DPPL 32: A List of Medieval Developments

STA altar at night smallA listing of medieval developments. Some of these have developed into some of the most glorious moments of Western musical art. I’ll also mention that children, excluded in many ways as the medieval laity were, often identify with some of these more deeply than the Mass.

32. Throughout the middle ages many forms of popular piety gradually emerged or developed. Many of these have been handed down to our times:
• the organization of sacred performances depicting the mysteries celebrated during the liturgical year, especially those surrounding the salvific events of Christ’s birth, his passion, death and resurrection;
• the participation of the faithful was encouraged by the emergence of poetry in the vernacular which was widely used in popular piety;

Just imagine a world without Vatican II: hip-hop, the modern poetry even more ascendant in some circles.

• as a parallel, or even an alternative to many liturgical expressions, several devotional forms appeared; for example, various forms of Eucharistic adoration served to compensate for the rarity with which Holy Communion was received; in the late middle ages, the rosary tended to substitute for the psalter; among the faithful, the pious exercises of Good Friday became a substitute for the Liturgy proper to that day;

Walking the Way of the Cross is no longer something confined to Holy Week, or even Lent.

• the growth in popular forms of devotion to Our Lady and the Saints: pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and to the tombs of the Apostles and martyrs, veneration of relics, litanies, and suffrage for the dead;
• the considerable development of the rites of blessing which, together with Christian elements, also reflected a certain response to a naturalistic sensibility as well to popular pre-Christian beliefs and practices;

Recall even substitutions for liturgical seasons:

• nucleuses of “sacred times” based on popular practices were constituted. These were often marginal to the rhythm of the liturgical year: sacred or profane fair days, tridua, octaves, novenas, months devoted to particular popular devotions.

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

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Swans Hold On

swan-in-attack-mode-2I thought I had a glimpse of Good Swansea/Bad Swansea, especially in the second half of today’s match versus Burnley. The NBCSN announcers were gushing over Swansea play, especially in the first half. A bit of the bad broke out in the second half: Shelvey letting his passions overcome him a bit, Gomis looking invisible after subbing in for Bony, who looked just as good defending and in midfield as he did in the penalty area on one or two tries. A bit disappointed in Jefferson Montero, too. But a win is a win. Burnley had good moments, and Ings seems to be a capable forward. It seems that like the early match (Aston Villa vs Newcastle) a number of teams just have a hard time finishing in the Premier League.

In contrast, when I watch MLS, it seems that bonehead lapses doom some teams–the top players from overseas seem to capitalize big time on napping defenders stateside. Sleepytime in England (and South Wales) seem to be more catnaps.

That said, Burnley looked like they belonged on the same pitch as the Swans today. Shackell in particular was notable saving one goal off the line and defending capably when it looked like a mess for the visitors.

I think the Swans need Bony. The alternative is holding off the top teams and hoping for the best. Though it was a practice match in Minnesota, I wasn’t convinced the last time I saw Bafetimbi Gomis in a Swans jersey. If Bony gets transferred, I sure hope the French star wakes from sleep.

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A Tale of Two Ecclesiologies

NCRep sums the LCWR meeting. Two commentators who were not present were quoted, among others. Jesuit Bruce Morrill:

To my mind, this is a stellar example of how fundamentally different are the cultures the LCWR and Roman Catholic hierarchy practice. The LCWR thus declares its willingness to continue ‘to work with’ Archbishop Sartain, but they do not describe any readiness to meet the CDF and the archbishop’s command that they henceforth submit their conference agendas and selected speakers for the archbishop’s approval.

Yes, and it’s not just a matter of women’s democracy versus men’ hierarchy. The essence of religious life is deeper: women and men who have a history that predates the curia of electing leaders and living a church life more communal, more shared, with mutuality. Maybe women have benefitted from not being ordained in the sense that they’ve been sucked into the power game. Certainly, the more open and shared governance model is not exclusively a female thing.

Ann Carey beats the drum:

LCWR has three choices: It can implement the reform required by the Holy See and remain a canonical superiors’ conference; it can go its own way as a professional organization without any canonical status; or it can disband. LCWR seems to be searching for a fourth option that would allow it to keep its canonical status while going its own way on doctrinal matters. Time may run out on them for that fourth option, however, for the reform is supposed to be completed by April of 2017.

Ms Carey assumes that the positive regard of authority is something for which to be sought. If the sisters gain no benefit from canonical recognition, then these three choices would be how Ms Carey would view it. And I suspect she would be obedient to the bishops and align her will with theirs.

There would seem to be no problem with option 2. If all the dialogue with Rome degrades into an occasional he said/she said smackdown, then what’s the point?

And doctrine? Where does doctrine figure in this? This is a political and administrative tussle.

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Pell-Mell on Abuse

Cardinal_George_PellCardinal Pell is taking much heat for his comments on administrative accountability on sex abusers. Via Josephine KcKenna at RNS:

Using a hypothetical example, Pell said the church was no more responsible for cases of child abuse carried out by church figures than a trucking company would be if it employed a driver who molested women.

“It would not be appropriate, because it’s contrary to the policy, for the ownership, leadership of that company to be held responsible,” Pell told the inquiry. “Similarly with the church and the head of any other organization.

“It is, I think, not appropriate for legal culpability to be foisted on the authority figure.”

The analogy does not quite hold true. More accurate would be that if the trucking owners found that when one if its drivers attacked women on one route, they would simply extract a promise from him not to do it again, then transfer him to a different route to prey on new victims.

So … Cardinal Pell does not understand the scandal facing the bishops and their institution, it would seem. Does that make him unfit in his roles as a churchman? Unfit to be a bishop, I would say yes. He’s not quite on target as far as a good sense of culpability and sin. Is there a problem with his moral judgment? That’s a more difficult question, but we have to admit the question is actually in play.

We can say Cardinal Pell’s judgment on sex abuse and cover-up is impaired. Might that mean his judgment with regard to finances and administration is damaged? Outside of the hierarchy, I’d say there are significant numbers of people who might say yes.


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DPPL 31: Medieval Developments

STA altar at night smallIf DPPL 30 catalogued the liturgy-piety split, this section looks at some positive developments:

31. The Middle Ages saw the emergence and development of many spiritual movements and associations of different ecclesiastical and juridical form. Their life and activities had notable consequences for the relationship between Liturgy and popular piety.

+1 for the Dominicans and especially the Franciscans, it would seem:

The new religious orders of evangelical and apostolic life, devoted their efforts to preaching and adopted simpler liturgical forms in comparison to those found in the monasteries. These liturgical forms were often close to the people and to their expressive forms. On the other hand, they also developed and promoted pious exercises that encapsulated their charism, and diffused them among the people.

Lay people continued to live discipleship, even if the liturgy was more and more shut off from them:

The emergence of the Confraternities, with their religious and charitable objectives, and of the lay corporations with their professional interests, gave rise to a certain popular liturgical activity. These often erected chapels for their religious needs, chose Patrons and celebrated their feast days. Not infrequently, they compiled the officia parva and other prayers for the use of their members. These frequently reflected the influence of the Liturgy as well as containing elements drawn from popular piety.

The various schools of spirituality that had arisen during the middle ages became an important reference point for ecclesial life. They inspired existential attitudes and a multiplicity of ways of interpreting life in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. Such interpretations exercised considerable influence on the choice of celebration (e.g. episodes from the Passion of Christ) and were the basis of many pious exercises.

Passion plays feature in our memory of medieval dramas.

Civil society, constituted ideally as a societas Christiana, modeled many of its structures on ecclesiastical usage and measured itself according to the rhythms of liturgical life. An example of this is to be found in the ringing of bells in the evening which called the peasants from the fields and simultaneously signaled the Angelus.

Intentionality or happy accident?

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

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