Christus Vivit 11: Young Women Of The Old Testament

Compared to males, there aren’t many examples of female positivity in the Bible. But Pope Francis found a few:

11. A Jewish servant girl of the foreign commander Naaman intervened with faith and helped him to be cured of his illness (cf. 2 Kg 5:2-6). The young Ruth was a model of generosity in remaining beside her mother-in-law who had fallen on hard times (cf. Ru 1:1-18), yet she also showed boldness in getting ahead in life (cf. Ru 4:1-17).

The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation can be read on this link at the Vatican site.

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Posted in Christus Vivit | Leave a comment

OCM 43-44: Final Notes On Adaptations

The praenotanda (introduction) to the new marriage rites concludes with some general observations on non-Christian traditions for weddings. Let’s read a thought on celebrating in mission territory:

43. In the usages and ways of celebrating Marriage prevailing among peoples now receiving the Gospel for the first time, whatever is honorable and not indissolubly connected with superstition and errors should be sympathetically considered and, if possible, preserved intact, and in fact even admitted into the Liturgy itself as long as it harmonizes with a true and authentic liturgical spirit.(cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 37)

That harmonization might depend on the preaching or catechesis of a sensitive, creative, and observant pastor. It has happened in other places in the Church’s liturgy–the date for celebrating Jesus’ nativity, for example.

44. Among peoples for whom the Marriage ceremonies customarily take place in homes, even over a period of several days, these ceremonies should be adapted to the Christian spirit and to the Liturgy. In this case the Conference of Bishops, in accordance with the pastoral needs of the people, may determine that the rite of the Sacrament itself can be celebrated in homes.

I perceive a potential floodgate of requests if parishes began to permit weddings on beaches and in forests and such. But other sacraments are celebrated in more “secular” environments–bedrooms, hospitals, sports arenas, hotel ballrooms, and the like. Funeral vigils were once celebrated in homes. I don’t see a theological or liturgical difficulty with a wedding in a home.

Your comments?

The text cited in blue is from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Rite of Marriage | Leave a comment

Palm “Origami”

I read Lizette Larson’s interesting research on folding palms into crosses and other objects.

Is this a practice to be encouraged? When I received palm leaves from my first last-Sunday-in-Lent, I didn’t want them folded up into crosses. I left them on my desk in my bedroom. I noticed some people slid them behind their crucifixes.

When I first began to collect old palms for Ash Wednesday, I noticed some really intricate work. But people were still willing to donate them for burning.

Posted in Holy Week, spirituality | Leave a comment

Person Or Personality?

I was whispered to this link where one of the bishops attending the Mundelein retreat earlier this year reflected on a timely question offered by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa:

Is Jesus for us a person, or just a personality, a celebrity, a cult figure?

People today gravitate to celebrities. The experience of social media, corporate advertising there and in traditional media, plus the vacuum of leadership in western culture all contribute to a state in which people grasp for any head above the crowd, any voice shouting over the din.

Personalities include people like Julius Caesar, Napoleon, George Washington, or any number of people who have a following today. A personality is someone whose name is on everyone’s tongue, someone you can freely write about or talk about, but not someone you can talk to or speak with. By way of contrast, a person is someone you can talk with and speak with.

The key point, according to Fr Cantalamessa via Bishop Mark O’Connell, is that some believers have yet to pierce the glow of cult to enter more deeply into the experience of a relationship:

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of Christians, Jesus is a personality and not a person. He is part of a set of dogmas, doctrines or heresies. He is the one whose memory we celebrate in liturgy, proclaiming the Eucharist as his real presence, but as long as we remain on the “objective” level, without Jesus becoming “subjective”, that is, without developing a personal relationship between ourselves and Himself, He remains external to us, outside of ourselves, something that touches our minds, but doesn’t enter into and warm our hearts. And despite everything, there He remains, a remnant of the past, because we instinctively place twenty centuries between ourselves and Him.

Many pastoral leaders also know that it is wise to avoid becoming the object of celebrity in whatever sphere they inhabit: a parish ministry, the rectory, the cathedral, the lecture circuit. It is all too easy for talented people to drift above the person-to-person contact that builds the Reign of God. We move into a rarefied atmosphere of objectivity.

To a degree, this is inevitable for musicians, actors, athletes, and politicians. Fangirls and fanboys encourage it. But in the realm of the Gospel, it is not ministry. It is distance, a gulf between us and individual persons, and a gulf from the mission of Jesus. Maybe it fits Jesus as celebrity. But not Jesus as the Son of God who desires most of all our friendship.

Posted in spirituality | Leave a comment

Christus Vivit 9-10: Young Royalty In The Bible

In Chapter One, Pope Francis looks at Biblical examples of young people. In paragraphs 9 and 10, the perspective of youth from two great kings. The choice of the first was based not on the privilege of being the eldest of siblings, but on the quality of the person:

9. King David was chosen while still a boy. When the prophet Samuel was seeking the future king of Israel, a man offered as candidates his sons who were older and more experienced. Yet the prophet said that the chosen one was the young David, who was out tending the flock (cf. 1 Sam 16:6-13), for “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (v. 7). The glory of youth is in the heart, more than in physical strength or the impression given to others.

The attribution of great wisdom to Solomon wasn’t something that came with age, but from a young person’s precociousness:

10. Solomon, when he had to succeed his father, felt lost and told God: “I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act” (1 Kg 3:7). Yet the audacity of youth moved him to ask God for wisdom and he devoted himself to his mission.

The prophet thought to be most similar to Jesus also had an experience of being called from a young age:

Something similar happened to the prophet Jeremiah, called despite his youth to rouse his people. In his fear, he said: “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jer 1:6). But the Lord told him not to say that (cf. Jer 1:7), and added: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:8). The devotion of the prophet Jeremiah to his mission shows what can happen when the brashness of youth is joined to the power of God.

These examples are apt. I would have suggested that the Holy Father give the Scriptural citations of the entire calling of these figures, Jeremiah 1:4-19, for example. I am sure some writer will expound on Christus Vivit and do more work in that regard. Meanwhile, any other comments?

Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site. The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Posted in Christus Vivit | Leave a comment

OCM 42: New Marriage Rites

42. In addition, in accordance with the norm of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (art. 63b), each Conference of Bishops has the faculty to draw up its own Marriage rite appropriate to the customs of the place and the people, with the decision approved by the Apostolic See, provided the law is observed that the person assisting must ask for and receive the consent of the contracting parties (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 77) and the Nuptial Blessing must be given.(cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 78) The Introduction in the Roman Ritual is to be prefixed even to a proper ritual,(cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 63b) except for those points that refer to the rite to be used.

Customs of place: I would interpret this as the virtues found in the culture at large. Customs of people: particular traditions found in families and cultures who may be far from home. There are two unchangeable things: consent and nuptial blessing. And any such local rite must get approval from the CDWDS. Anyone  know of any such request being made or granted yet? I’m not.

Your comments?

The text cited in blue is from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Rite of Marriage | Leave a comment

Pope Benedict’s F

I noticed a letter from Pope Benedict XVI released last night. I took a brief look at it, then spent a bit more time with it today. It’s a frustrating read. I understand complaints about 1968, and about moving forward in theology. The focus on pedophilia and ignoring institutional scandal just shows our last pope was out of his depth in diagnosing the problem.

People with power victimizing people who are weak has always been with us. B16 assessing this as godlessness is true enough. It happens in the realms of economics, law (or lawlessness), bullying, gossip, education, work, and even families. And yes, where sex is used as a tool for abusing persons.

Pedophilia is not a new thing. It didn’t develop in 1968. And it was never endorsed by moral persons. It was hidden, covered up, and excused by bishops–probably for generations.

Pope Benedict earns an F for overlooking the nature of the scandal since 2002. For the past seventeen years, Catholics have known their bishops and the Vatican have been groomed by predators and have been part of various conspiracies of lies, intimidation, and cover-up.

In perusing commentariats in a few places, it seems some former B16 fanboys and fangirls have soured on their hero. I find that unfortunate. Human heroes are imperfect. They have blind spots and flaws. When they are elderly and retired, I think there’s a time to be a quiet mentor. In a church context, a ministry of intercessory prayer. I’m sorry to see this document released. I don’t see it as constructive or helpful for the situation today. Just sad.

Posted in Church News, sex abuse | Tagged , | Leave a comment