The US bishops are set to meet later this week. Some liturgy folks from both sides of the ideological divide think this may be the most significant American fulcrum since the bishop brigade trotted off to Rome for the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). On the agenda is the vote on the Ordo Missae, the core piece of the Roman Missal that includes the everyday prayers of the Mass.
In a setting like this, you can bet the voting episcopate will not be bothered by flies, heat-induced sweat, or a lack of ice water. This is what the hotel website tells you:
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Didn’t I tell you? Not a trace of sweat.
More than one source tells me to expect the liturgy vote to be a concession toward Harbert English and the new ICEL. A good day for being company men, but perhaps not so good for being leaders and pastors. The question I have in reserve is this: how do these guys know when to switch from being followers to being leaders? Do they wake up some mornings and get their hats mixed up? “Who am I going to be today: errandboy of Rome or a take-charge leader of my flock?”
For the most part, I wonder if these guys are the wrong leaders for the wrong times. If they didn’t have a Vatican primer, would they know which side came up buttered in embryonic stem cells, or human cloning, or IVF, or any of the other modern conveniences awaiting the third millennium?
For my part, I’ve always appreciated leadership that’s a little on edge, a little unpredictable, a bit of a loose cannon. That could just be me. Meeting where Angelina stayed on Oscar weekend doesn’t strike me as being resistant to the culture of relativism. But that could just be part of the philosophy, “When in LA …”
So when the votes are tallied Thursday, I’ll be enjoying vacation in Ohio. If I scramble for a tv set or internet site, I’ll be checking out round two in group play. And since I’m going to that bastion of liberalism (Rochester — ha!) for next weekend, I most likely won’t be wishing good things to somebody’s spirit.