Mutuae Relationes 45: Cordial Respect

SenanquecloisterYou can check the full document online here anytime, but today’s brief post will underscore the need for respect.

45. In order that the relations between bishops and superiors produce increasingly more fruitful results, they must be developed in cordial respect for persons and institutes, in the conviction that religious must give witness of docility towards the Magisterium and of obedience to their superiors, and with the mutual understanding to act in such a way that neither transgresses the limits of competency of the other.

Thoughts or comments?

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DPPL 235: The Litany of the Saints

STA altar at night smallThe Church reminds us that the Litany of the Saints is utilized more than just at the Easter Vigil:

235. The Litany of the Saints has been used in the Roman Church since the seventh century (Cf. Ordo Romanus in A. Andrieu (ed.), Les “Ordines Romani” du Haut Moyen-Age, III, Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Lovain 1951, p. 249. For indulgences cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 22, p. 68). Its liturgical structure is subtle, simple and popular. Through the litany, the Church invokes the Saints on certain great sacramental occasions and on other occasions when her imploration is intensified: at the Easter vigil, before blessing the Baptismal font; in the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism; in conferring Sacred Orders of the episcopate, priesthood and deaconate; in the rite for the consecration of virgins and of religious profession; in the rite of dedication of a church and consecration of an altar; at rogation; at the station Masses and penitential processions; when casting out the Devil during the rite of exorcism; and in entrusting the dying to the mercy of God.

The limitation in many of these circumstances, including at a parish’s Easter Vigil, is the addition of important patron saints of importance to the local community: parish patron, founder(s), etc.. Names of blesseds and saints may be included, if they have received formal Church recognition:

The Litanies of the Saints contain elements deriving from both the liturgical tradition and from popular piety. They are expressions of the Church’s confidence in the intercession of the Saints and an experience of the communion between the Church of the heavenly Jerusalem and the Church on her earthly pilgrim journey. The names of the Beati that have been inscribed in the calendars of particular Churches or religious institutes may be invoked in the litanies of the Saints (Cf. CDWDS, Notificatio de cultu Beatorum,13, in Notitiae 35 (1999) 446). Clearly, the names of those whose cult has not received ecclesial recognition should not be used in the litanies.

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

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No Suffocation

broken bandsI was a little surprised Aleteia published this 5 February interview. It was just posted yesterday. Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle on suffocation:

(N)obody should stop anybody from saying what he or she thinks about the current state of marriage, family, etc. Nobody should suffocate anybody. We should listen to one another and we should reflect on it and try to see what the Holy Spirit will tell us about how to accompany towards Christ people who find themselves in any form of marriage.

And an exchange with the interviewer:

Holy Communion is medicine for the sick. It is not a reward for the perfect.

But according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, whatever your sin may be, one must be in a state of grace in order to receive the Holy Eucharist (CCC 1415).

I would have to admit that, over the centuries, we have made a very tough line in that context.

The archbishop then spoke of the application of the power of the keys in Matthew 16. Can the pope unbind? The interviewer continued …

How would that be reconciled with the Lord’s words: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

That is true. What God has joined together. In fact, it is not “let no man put asunder,” but “what God has joined, no man can put asunder. No man can put asunder what God has joined together, and it is true. But then the same Jesus says: “Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” So what did he mean by that? Are they two statements that contradict one another?

Well, Your Excellency, they can’t contradict one another if the Lord said them, because He is Truth.

They cannot contradict one another, so we are going to have to find out through prayer what to do.

I haven’t seen much heat on this issue in the conservative blogosphere as of today. The Ghanaian archbishop is his nation’s selection for the synod this Fall. That may relieve the African bloc of the perception of being Burke-protégés. I do worry that some Catholics are conflating the practice of possible forgiveness with weakness on the moral front. In the name of Christ, the Church, after all, will forgive abortions, and quite serious misdeeds that cannot be undone.

Also some Catholics are unnerved by discussion that was largely stifled in the years 1978-2013. We don’t need the suffocation of those years, and we have nothing to fear from prayer and discernment.

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Mutuae Relationes 44: A Local Bishop’s Authority

SenanquecloisterThe Church weighs in next on “Requirements of Religious Life.” The second part of Chapter VI–the next eight posts–will take is through these considerations. In today’s post, what Vatican II taught in its document on the ministry of bishops, a direct quote:

44. With regard to the pastoral activities of religious, the Council expressly declares: “All religious, whether exempt or non-exempt, are subject to the authority of the local ordinary in the following matters:

  • public worship, without prejudice, however, to the diversity of rites;
  • the care of souls;
  • preaching to the people;
  • the religious and moral education, catechetical instruction and liturgical formation of the faithful, especially of children.

This makes sense. These are all essentially the responsibility of a bishop. They do not pertain to the internal life of a community, but rather how religious interact with laity and clergy within a diocese.

More of the quote, largely an elaboration on the four points above:

They are also subject to diocesan rules regarding the comportment proper to the clerical state and also the various activities relating to the exercise of their sacred apostolate. Catholic schools conducted by religious are also subject to the local ordinaries as regards their general policy and supervision without prejudice, however, to the right of the religious to manage them. Likewise, religious are obliged to observe all those prescriptions which episcopal councils or conferences legitimately decree as binding on all” (Christus Dominus 35, 4; Ecclesiae Sanctae I, 39).

Thoughts or comments? You can check the full document online here.

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DPPL 234: Celebration of the Eucharist

STA altar at night smallLet’s look at the intersection of saints with the actual celebration of Mass. We’re moving beyond feast days as we read that saints are united with us as part of a universal Church:

234. The celebration of the feast of a Saint or Beatus is not the only manner in which the Saints are present in the liturgy. The celebration of the Eucharist is the singular moment of communion with the Saints in heaven.

As the Scriptures are proclaimed, figures from both before Christ and in the apostolic era are recalled:

In the Liturgy of the Word, the Old Testament readings frequently refer to the great Patriarchs and prophets, and to other persons distinguished by their virtue and by their love for the law of the Lord. The New Testament recounts the deeds of the Apostles and other Saints who enjoyed the Lord’s friendship. The lives of the Saints sometimes reflect the Gospel so closely that their very personality becomes apparent from merely reading the pages.

Well, one needs good lectors for that to happen. In the prayers of the Mass, qualities of the saints are drawn into the texts:

The relationship between Sacred Scripture and Christian hagiography, in the context of the celebration of the Eucharist, has given rise to the composition of a number of Commons which provide a synopsis of a particular biblical text which illustrates the lives of the Saints. With regard to this relationship, it has been said that Sacred Scripture orients and indicates the journey of the Saints to perfect charity. The Saints, in turn, become a living exegesis of the Word.

In every Mass, at the Eucharistic Prayer, saints get some mention. And there are those lists in EP I.

Reference is made to the Saints at various points during the celebration of the Eucharist. The Canon mentions “the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham our father in faith and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek”(Roman Missal, EP I). The same Eucharistic prayer becomes an occasion to express our communion with the Saints, by venerating their memory and pleading for their intercession, since “in union with the whole Church, we honor Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, we honor Joseph her husband, the Apostles and martyrs: Peter and Paul, Andrew […] and all the Saints, may their prayers and intercession gain us your constant help and protection”(Roman Missal, EP I. Provision is made for a memorial of the Saint or patron of the day in EP III).

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

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On My Bookshelf: A Natural History of the Piano

a natural history of the pianoStuart Isacoff’s book–I could call this a biography–is a hugely enjoyable read. Great combo of historical information, personal testimony of artists and by artists, and the occasional supporting illustration.

Mr Isacoff starts with the ancient history of the instrument, early efforts to improve it, and how it became mainstream in classical music by the end of the 18th century.

The author doesn’t progress straight from A to Z, but addresses various styles of playing (like the Combustibles and the Melodists), a few select nations (like Germany and Russia), and moves freely between various genres, mainly jazz and classical periods.

You don’t need to be a pianist or a musician to appreciate this book, but it helps a bit.

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Mutuae Relationes 43: Too Tolerant?

SenanquecloisterRemember to refer to the full document Mutuae Relationes here. With this section we wrap up the first part of Chapter VI, discussing the pastoral mission of the Church.

In this section the Church gives a case for harm. But is it harm always, or sometimes just institutional alarm?

43. Great harm is done to the faithful by the fact that too much tolerance is granted to certain unsound initiatives or to certain accomplished facts which are ambiguous. Consequently bishops and superiors, in a spirit of mutual trust, in fulfillment of the obligations incumbent upon each and in keeping with the exercise of each one’s responsibility, should see to it with the greatest concern that such errors are forestalled and corrected with evident decisiveness and clear dispositions, always in the spirit of charity but also with due resoluteness.

Certainly, there can be acts of harm. Our tradition also reminds us of the sins of when we fail to do something. Deciding to do nothing, or to refuse to change is itself an active decision that likewise has the potential for serious consequences.

Liturgy gets attention:

Especially in the field of liturgy there is urgent need to remedy not a few abuses introduced under pretexts at variance one with another. Bishops as the authentic liturgists of the local Church (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium 22; 41; Lumen Gentium 26;Christus Dominus 15; cf. Part I, ch. II), and religious superiors in what concerns their members should be vigilant and see that adequate renewal of worship is brought about, and they should intervene early in order to correct or remove any deviations and abuses in this sector, which is so important and central (cf. SC 10). Religious, too, should remember that they are obliged to abide by the laws and directives of the Holy See, as well as the decrees of the local Ordinary, in what concerns the exercise of public worship (cf. Eccl. Sanctae I, 26; 37; 38).

You might guess I would differ with the tone here. “Adequate” renewal is insufficient. This was the case in the 70’s as it is today. Are we satisfied with adequate when excellence is possible? Thoughts or comments?

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