Sex, Gender, and Such

Lisa Fullam has a terrific summary at dotCommonweal on the basics of sex and gender. It rubs against the Gospel of ToB, but largely seems to be spot-on with what I’ve learned about people. Predictable hand-wringing in the commentariat about the Hermeneutic of Gender Complementarity, but I ever found that principle particularly convincing beyond the realm of wishful thinking.

Pope Francis seems not to be on board about all this. No biggie, in my estimation. The Temple Police are all over him for talking to and hugging a trans person the other week. Not sure: I don’t follow these stories deeply.

Anyway, good summation on the link.

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Mutuae Relationes 41-42: Innovations and Experiments

SenanquecloisterWhat about innovations? What happens when a long-standing effort must be blown up or replaced?

41. Apostolic innovations, which are later to be undertaken, should be planned with careful study.

Can the Church say it too much? Be exceedingly careful. Sometimes, it seems as if we are too timid, and the opportunity, the moment is lost. How to reconcile that? The bishops aren’t likely to listen to me–and I feel as if my enthusiasm for the effort has been blunted by three decades in the trenches.

On the one hand, it is the duty of the bishops through their office not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good (cf. 1 Thes 5:12 and 19-21; Lumen Gentium 12), in such a way however, “that the spontaneous zeal of those who engage in this work may be safeguarded and fostered” (Ad Gentes 30); religious superiors, on their part, should cooperate actively and dialogue with the bishops in seeking solutions, in arranging the programming of choices made, in launching experiments, even completely new ones, always acting in view of the most urgent needs of the Church and in conformity with the norms and directives of the Magisterium and according to the nature of their institute.

More dialogue. Yada yada yada. Conform to the Magisterium. Ditto. Sometimes spontaneity happens and later the Magisterium races, out of breath, to catch up. Maybe those lines of communication are pretty essential after all.

Bishops and superiors together monitor those experiments and innovations that can so easily go off the track.

42. The commitment to a mutual exchange of help between bishops and superiors in appraising objectively and judging with equity experiments already undertaken should never be disregarded. In this way, not only evasions and frustrations but also the dangers of crises and deviations will be avoided.

Sure. But it seems just as likely that old, ossified programs can easily hit crisis and/or deviation.

Periodically, therefore, such undertakings should be reviewed; and if the endeavor has not been successful (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 58), humility and at the same time the necessary firmness should be exercised to correct, suspend or direct more adequately the experiment examined.

So this means bishops and superiors must be working together. What happens when a prelate thinks something is going swimmingly and the superior sees sharks in the water? Or vice versa? Is there a level of trust between people in the Church to navigate these waters?

Thoughts or comments? Don’t forget that you can read the full document online here.

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Reconciliation Lectionary: Nehemiah 9:1-20, A Psalm of Memory

mary-the-penitent.jpgWe pick up on the long passage in #110 of the Rite of Penance. In yesterday’s post, we looked at the role of memory in reconciliation. We also viewed an introduction of ritual and liturgy into the Israelites’ of return from Exile. This long section of verses (6-20) reminded me of Psalm 106, a hymn recounting the events of the Exodus, and God’s saving plan for his people.

Note the direct similarity between Psalm 106:48 and Nehemiah 9:5. Then we get to the text of remembrance; I can imagine it sung:

Then Ezra said:
“It is you, O LORD,
you are the only one;
You made the heavens,
the highest heavens and all their host,
The earth and all that is upon it,
the seas and all that is in them.
To all of them you give life,
and the heavenly hosts bow down before you.

“You, O LORD, are the God
who chose Abram,
Who brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,
and named him Abraham.
When you found his heart faithful in your sight,
you made the covenant with him
To give to him and his posterity
the land of the Canaanites,
Hittites, Amorites,
Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites.
These promises of yours you fulfilled,
for you are just.

“You saw the affliction of our (ancestors) in Egypt,
you heard their cry by the Red Sea;
You worked signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
against all his servants and the people of his land,
Because you knew of their insolence toward them;
thus you made for yourself a name even to this day.
The sea you divided before them,
on dry ground they passed through the midst of the sea;
Their pursuers you hurled into the depths,
like a stone into the mighty waters.
With a column of cloud you led them by day,
and by night with a column of fire,
To light the way of their journey,
the way in which they must travel.
On Mount Sinai you came down,
you spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them just ordinances, true laws,
good statutes and commandments;
Your holy sabbath you made known to them,
commandments, statutes, and law you prescribed for them,
by the hand of Moses your servant.
Food from heaven you gave them in their hunger,
water from a rock you sent them in their thirst.
You told them to enter and occupy the land
which you had sworn to give them.

“But they, our (ancestors), proved to be insolent;
they held their necks stiff
and would not obey your commandments.
They refused to obey and no longer remembered
the wonders you had worked for them.
They stiffened their necks and turned their heads
to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But you are a God of pardons,
gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in mercy;
you did not forsake them.
Though they made for themselves a molten calf,
and proclaimed, ‘Here is your God who brought you up from Egypt,’
and were guilty of great effronteries,
Yet in your great mercy
you did not forsake them in the desert.
The column of cloud did not cease to lead them by day on their journey,
nor did the column of fire by night cease to light for them
the way by which they were to travel.

“Your good spirit you bestowed on them,
to give them understanding;
Your manna you did not withhold from their mouths,
and you gave them water in their thirst.”

This chapter, and this song of Ezra the Scribe, continues for seventeen more verses. These cover the essence of the experiences contained in the Jewish Torah. Everything that defines Israel is contained in the tale of the Patriarchs and their covenant, plus the experience of liberation from Egypt, including the Law.

It is good for a Christian to remember this. God made us. God entered into covenant with Abraham. God saved his descendants from slavery. God marked us as his own. Everything else in the Old Testament is derived from that essential identification as God’s people. Including our rebellion and subsequent contrition, confession, and restoration–and I would see that as personal as well as communal.

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Lenten Reflections: Arevakal

prayer 4Often missed in the blizzard of symphonies Alan Hovhaness composed are various works for orchestra not labeled “symphony,” but which to my ear, don’t sound much different from them.

You can hear an early Hovhaness work, his first concerto for orchestra, “Arevakal” on YouTube here. The recording goes back decades to when Howard Hanson was on the faculty at the Eastman School of Music and did a number of recordings conducting the “Eastman-Rochester Symphony.”

Arevakal intrigued me and I easily found Vartabed Zaven Arzumanian’s description of the Armenian liturgy at dawn online.

The Sunrise Service is performed traditionally during Lent, on the mornings of Wednesdays and Fridays for six consecutive weeks. Here in this country for convenience we sing it on Sundays, following the closed Badarak. By virtue of its message the Sunrise Service is performed during Lent, the message being Jesus, the Light to the World, versus the sinful darkness of the World. However, the traditional title of the service prescribes that the Sunrise Service is addressed to the Holy Spirit in view of the Resurrection of Christ who appeared to the disciples.

I love this piece. It has a playful interior that at first seems at odds with the more somber outer movements. But as a whole, I think it gives a great meditation and insight into Armenian Christian devotion to Christ and the saints.

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DPPL 232: Celebrate That Feast

STA altar at night smallA short section reminding us that a saint’s day is, by definition, a feast. And so we should act like it:

232. A “Saint’s day” also has an anthropological significance: it is a feast day. The feast also echoes (a person’s) vital needs, and is deeply rooted in his longing for the transcendent. The feast, with its manifestations of joy and rejoicing, is an affirmation of the value of life and creation. The feast is also an expression of integral freedom and of man’s tendency towards true happiness, with its interruption of daily routine, formal conventions, and of the need to earn a living. As a cultural expression, the feast highlights the particular genius of a certain people and their cultural characteristics, and their true folk customs. As a social moment, the feast is an occasion to strengthen family relations and to make new contacts.

Why celebrate a feast if it doesn’t include a party? Why would we let secular observances like Super Bowl Sunday trump our Christian sense of fun? Remember that the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

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For my daily Lectio, I’ve been in the book of Sirach. A proverb from today’s prayer:

Do not let the insolent bring you to your feet,
or they may lie in ambush against your words. (8:11)

bloodhoundsThe ambush of outrage continues against media target Fr Thomas Rosica. I was thinking of those bloggers, digging away at his past. One site uncovered something from 1986. That shouldn’t be fair game–Catholics weren’t even on the internet back then, lol.

The man had an appearance last week in his hometown. I’m sure something bad can be spun out of that.


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Bible or Breviary?

Check the Pope Francis image snapped for Twitter. Which book is he holding?

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