Music From Jordi Savall

Basílica_de_SantiagoReaders here know of my love of early music. This concert was broadcast on a French tv network and brings about fifty minutes of delightful ensemble work from one of my favorite musicians, Jordi Savall.

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The Synod Fathers Speak 6: Generativity

window from inside

We continue with the so-called “short” document from the synod. It is online is here, in English.

In today’s paragraph, the bishops get it, and don’t buy in totally to the meme of Catholic laity as breeding stock:

This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. It includes the capacity to offer life, affection, and values—an experience possible even for those who have not been able to bear children. Families who live this light-filled adventure become a sign for all, especially for young people.

This is right. Generativity is the key. Generativity covers many aspects of marriage–not just the visibly obvious experience of producing children, but also of the sacrifice of one’s life, the giving of affection, and the passing on of values. This is what makes marriage sacramental: that we imitate Christ by self-giving, that our efforts spread the mission of the Son, and that our loves strives to cast an ever-wider net into the world. This net is cast whether or not we produce children for our aristocratic overlords.

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Theology of the Body Stands at the Door, Knocks

George Weigel, among others, is miffed that Theology of the Body wasn’t invited to the synod:

It’s also disconcerting that John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which is the Church’s best answer to that challenge, seemed to have been systematically excluded from the synod deliberations, in that no member of any of the John Paul II Institutes on Marriage and the Family around the world was invited to the synod. We may hope that that will be remedied when the cast of characters is assembled for 2015.

What sort of exclusion qualifies as “systematic”? Is it possible that ToB isn’t as relevant to family life as it is among young singles? Were questionnaires filled out by IMF people turned away? Can we just say that nobody attended? I don’t think any divorced and remarried persons deliberated. Nor any LGBT people. Is this representative democracy Mr Weigel is suggesting: that every flavor of institute and think tank needs to be at the table?

I read another commentator somewhere the past few weeks suggesting that St John Paul II was more a champion of clergy and religious than married persons, if we were to look at a comparison of those elevated to sainthood on his watch. More than a decade ago, wasn’t there a movement to find more lay people to canonize? Didn’t they just shrug their shoulders and Rome and say, “Nope. None to be found.”?

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DPPL 103: The Christmas Novena

STA altar at night smallAnother Christmas novena is here, if you want to get an idea of how they are viewed in the popular imagination. The several I viewed online to prepare these comments were less Advent observances than Christmas ones. What the Church suggests here is more anticipatory of the Nativity, rather than celebrating it. Folding it into the Liturgy of the Hours is suggested:

103. The Christmas novena began as a means of communicating the riches of the Liturgy to the faithful who were unable easily to grasp it. It has played a very effective role and can continue to play such a role. At the same time, in current conditions where the faithful have easier access to the Liturgy, it would seem desirable that vespers from the 17-23 of December should be more solemn by adopting the use of the “major antiphons”, and by inviting the faithful to participate at the celebration. Such a celebration, held either before of after which the popular devotions to which the faithful are particularly attached, would be an ideal “Christmas novena”, in full conformity with the Liturgy and mindful of the needs of the faithful. Some elements, such as the homily, the use of incense, and the intercessions, could also be expanded within the celebration of Vespers.

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

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The Synod Fathers Speak 5: Path and Miracle

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For reference, the so-called “short” document is online is here, in English. As of early this morning, the full document is still unavailable in English.

Some more lovely language; whoever is responsible should be writing more official stuff for the Vatican:

This authentic encounter begins with courtship, a time of waiting and preparation. It is realized in the sacrament where God sets his seal, his presence, and grace. This path also includes sexual relationship, tenderness, intimacy, and beauty capable of lasting longer than the vigor and freshness of youth. Such love, of its nature, strives to be forever to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved (cf Jn 15:13). In this light conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common.

This citation of John reminds me of the appropriateness of the mandatum for the Rite of Marriage. Service that leads to sacrifice and which ultimately involves the offering of one’s life for the beloved: this is the sort of inspiration that will inspire people who already hunger for it. I believe many people would embrace a ritual that speaks more deeply to the connection of Christ to marriage.

If only this common miracle shone more brightly for those who first encounter the rough waters of relationships.


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DPPL 102: Immaculate Conception

STA altar at night smallThe Immaculate Conception inspires the first major feast of the liturgical year. Some of DPPL 102 covers ground already touched on, the novena, and Latin American customs.

102. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is profoundly influential among the faithful, is an occasion for many displays of popular piety and especially for the novena of the Immaculate Conception. There can be no doubt that the feast of the pure and sinless Conception of the Virgin Mary, which is a fundamental preparation for the Lord’s coming into the world, harmonizes perfectly with many of the salient themes of Advent. This feast also makes reference to the long messianic waiting for the Savior’s birth and recalls events and prophecies from the Old Testament, which are also used in the Liturgy of Advent.

We also get something of a revisit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, squarely in the middle of the Christmas novena.

The novena of the Immaculate Conception, wherever it is celebrated, should highlight the prophetical texts which begin with Genesis 3,15, and end in Gabriel’s salutation of the one who is “full of grace” (Lk 1, 31-33).

Some testimony from today’s saint:

The approach of Christmas is celebrated throughout the American continent with many displays of popular piety, centred on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (12 December), which dispose the faithful to receive the Savior at his birth. Mary, who was “intimately united with the birth of the Church in America, became the radiant Star illuminating the proclamation of Christ the Savior to the (daughters and) sons of these nations”(John Paul II, Discourse at the Angelus of 24 January 1999, Mexico City.).

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

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Archbishop ChaputArchbishop Chaput doubles down on rigorism. From David Gibson’s RNS report:

“I was very disturbed by what happened” at the synod, Chaput said. “I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.”

Is he concerned about the openness? That wasn’t the chant he was singing when he high-tailed it to Philly a few years ago:

I think people who know me, my priests and others, would say that I’m a rather kind and gentle person, but I also am not going to run away from issues. I’m not going to hide. We have to deal with difficult things right away, rather than letting them fester.

Responding to the question, “Your view is that dealing with things up front is ultimately less divisive?” he replied:

It’s less divisive, both for our own personal hearts and our relationships with people.

Still, the archbishop may be on to something with that citation of evil. Where I see the most confusion is on the conservative blogs. Even the tame language of welcome to sinners, without a hint of a change in doctrine, was vilified.

Archbishop Chaput has been critical of conservatives before:

Some of the worst emails I get are from Catholic conservatives …  I mean, just awful kind of stuff that they write. Sometimes, I must admit, that when I write back, I’m not as friendly as I should be. But I try not to be mean.

The left mail I get will use terrible words but be less vitriolic. They use the F-word and things like that, call me names like that. But the right is meaner, but they’re not as foul.

I think that the archbishop is well-placed to minister to the conservatives. He has stated that Pope Francis is their pastor, too. Well, the top prelate of Pennsylvania may well be a lot closer, especially to the meanies with whom he corresponds.

Let’s chant a bit about people who cite the devil too readily. I’m a skeptic there. Regarding the current state of confusion in Catholicism, I interpret that as self-inflicted. And if it is, the devil may well be amongst those who are most proud for having resisted evil advances. I remember in the Exercises that St Ignatius described the way long-time believers are tempted. The route is through good things. In this instance, good morals, virtue, and reverence for marriage are used to harden hearts and create little monsters who cannot abide any sinner might approach Christ and experience a mercy they are unwilling to offer. Is it meanness? Or is it envy?

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