Grass Clippings in Chicago

The June USCCB meeting has some interesting stuff, as reported by CNS. Lay ecclesial ministry merited some discussion, and a forthcoming major document will get continued discussion in November.



People seem to think highly of Cardinal George, but I can’t say that from a distance, he seems particularly impressive. According to CNS, “he cited the ‘ministry of grass cutting’ as an example of how, at one point, the notion of ministry had expanded so much that the word had lost real meaning.”


I think un- or ill formed people might fail to make distinctions about church employees and church ministers, but I can’t ever recall the pendulum swinging too inclusively far. My home parish back in Rochester had lots of ministries in its heyday in the 80’s, but still listed the parish organist with the secretary and custodian as part of support staff. My sense is that a lot of ministry goes on in the Church and the hierarchy still doesn’t recognize it.



Archbishop Pilarczyk sensibly added that the proposed document speaks of the call as involving not just a desire to serve, but also a process of discernment on the part of those who feel called and those who will authorize individuals to act in the church’s name. I can buy that. I’ll say it’s in the best interests of my profession as well as lay ministry to be involved in a process of God’s call, personal discernment, official recognition and commissioning for service: the whole nine yards.

Cardinal George didn’t have the best of times. CNS also reported on liturgical adaptations brought to the floor for discussion:

When it came time to vote on the entire package, however, Cardinal George asked if the bishops might not be “creating a needless conflict” since they do not yet know what the English translation of the new Roman Missal will look like and how the proposed adaptations will fit in.

Bishop Trautman reminded him that last year, when the liturgy committee decided to make the proposal seeking advance Vatican approval of those adaptations, “you were chair” of the committee.

“Well, I was wrong,” Cardinal George replied.

At least he has the guts to admit it.



The liturgy proposals were tabled, pending a look at the newest English translation of the Roman Missal.



Oh, by the way … my lawn still needs mowing this week. Don’t suppose I have any takers, do I?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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