Four Principles

In a thread on married priests and reform2 at dotCommonweal, commenter Jack Rakosky applied an outline from Evangelii Gaudium suggesting this is how to read Pope Francis. In Chapter IV (EG 217-237) four principles are presented in part III, The common good and peace in society:

Time is greater than space [222-225]
Unity prevails over conflict [226-230]
Realities are more important than ideas [231-233]
The whole is greater than the part [234-237]

Mr Rakosky’s comments on each:

(Pope Francis) has begun reforming the Curia and bringing real government by synods. Unfortunately everyone is waiting to see how he will do this and how it will work out. This is a big mistake.

Agreed. Another mistake is using the seeming openness to input to recreate a blogosphere-style fog in the dialogue. The liturgical discussions will move forward, but without those who bring bile and resentment. A good spiritual director would urge a bitter person to resolve her or his own issues first, then deal with liturgy later when the internal churning is resolved.

What are some things to avoid: people with fixations, conversations that seem to surface a very long list of problems, one after the other. Early on, I realize the dialogue is not about liturgy, or even atheism or the Bible, but about the person. Then I tailor my expectations accordingly.

(P)eople are expecting (Pope Francis) to resolve the conflicts when he expect us to resolve conflicts by taking each other seriously and “walking together.” I see his remarks on the reform of the reform as opening up this encounter about liturgy by being honest about his thoughts rather than settling anything.

Liturgy, especially in the ancient forms, allows a person to mask more of the self, to hide in the exterior trappings. While the modern Roman Rite is bedeviled by performance-driven narcissism, it is also far more difficult to hide in it. Very clearly, a person’s preparation and preaching and human interaction with ministers and people will show deficiencies in maturity. Many “Benedictinisms” like the row of six candlesticks or facing East or declining to exchange peace with the laity are means of hiding in the liturgy. And hiding is as much a signal for narcissism as pretending to be a talk show host.

Notice the importance (Pope Francis) has placed on gathering data and having local discussions for the Synod on the family. People interested in liturgical renewal should be initiating discussions and gathering data at all levels (national,diocese, parish).

Do you suppose the internet would ever be a place for a serene discussion on liturgy? Looking at the core values–such as wonder–and exploring together where these emerge?

We should be open to ideas and trends from outside but the danger is “we risk falling into step after everybody else, admiring their glitter, and applauding at the right times.” A wonderful discription of liberal and conservative movements, liturgical and otherwise, since Vatican II. “The local keeps our feet on the ground” but without the global to challenge us we risk becoming museums.

Thoughts on this last one?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Liturgy, Ministry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Four Principles

  1. FrMichael says:

    “Notice the importance (Pope Francis) has placed on gathering data and having local discussions for the Synod on the family. People interested in liturgical renewal should be initiating discussions and gathering data at all levels (national,diocese, parish).” Actually I note how little data was gathered in advance of the first stage of the Synod. 5 cardinals actually had to go out of their way to create a scholarly book on the subject of remarriage and communion and their had to be a revolt of bishops to stop the whitewashing by the leadership.

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