Tuesday, 31 July 2007
This quote is parody in and of itself:
I was struck during that service by ... how poorly written the psalm setting was. It was awful. I thought to myself—I could write this badly!
Ladies and gentlemen, make up your own punchline.
So in honour of this remarkably ingenuous bit of truth-telling, another song parody: unsure of the source... but I know how the author feels. (I used to cut and paste and save without noting the URL, and now would be hard pressed to verify much of what I thought was valuable or interesting. It's not from the Moratorium site. Ah well...)
To the tune, (not noted, but one needs no confirmation,) of "Gather Us In."
1.Here in this place, music is droning
Here, prayerful silence vanished away.
Hear in this space, the very walls groaning,
Echoing back that insipid cliche.
Plodding along, its tune uninspired
Its rhythms monot'nous, dogmas obtuse,
It's harm'nies simplistic, (its singular virtue?
No chance for that cantor to really cut loose.)
2.We are the young, we smell condescension,
We are the old, our needs are ignored,
Peering, we note, with sad comprehension
Ev'ry PIP seems either angered or bored.
Please, not that song! we've heard it too often.
Please, not that song! It's nothing but drek.
St Peter's barque, on swells of Art once borne,
Om'nously, now's headed straight for a wreck.
3.Lyrics profound once prevailed at the altar
Poets and mystics, each did his part,
Words of such grace, from Office or Psalter
Pinnacle of the hymnographer's art.
Once there was verse by Bede, odes of Ambrose,
Phrases from Faber, Aquinas and Neale,
Know'ng as "orandi," so followed, "credendi,"
What matter's what we believe, not what we "feel."
4.Enrobing these prayers? their musical mantle?
First there was chant, transcendant and true;
Then came the Byrds, Palestrinas, and Bruckners,
Tallises, Mozarts... a Haydn or two.
And good, homely tunes, true voice of the people;
Sturdy, much loved, authentically "folk."
Now we're reduced to pedestrian pablum,
Mass-produced pop tunes, an over-hyped joke.
5.How can this stuff, drawn from the dread "Gather,"
Worthily bear heart-felt praise to the Lord?
How can this prattle, this yammering blather,
Suitably clothe prayer to Him, most adored?
Wait just a mo'! Is that their intention?
Ignore the One Godhead, in Persons Three?
Honoring 'stead, a quite different "person,"
The FIRST person, plural? Yes, us, ourselves, we!
6.Down with this dogg'rel shaped by committee!
Trite ditties penned by purveyors of shlock!
Ye hucksters a-hawking soul-sapping songbooks:
The Sacred Restored will no doubt be a shock.
For breaks a new dawn! let new songs be sung now,
New but organic, "in tune" with the past!
Soon, true reform, so thirsted, so longed for!
Our "desert" of forty years ending at last.
It was came back with a note pinned to it, "It distresses us to return work that is not perfect."
He tells the story as an apology for a movie, or a role, or something of which he is not particularly proud.
Now let me say, first off, I am too lazy to claim that I always strive for perfection, it would be hypocritical to do so.
But at things that really, truly matter, I do my best.
Not perfection, but MY best. (The biography of St Francis that I'm reading has interesting things to say on the "medieval" striving for spiritual perfection.... really? such efforts are medieval? but I digress...)
So I do my best.
But I understand that "everyone has his reasons."
And that everyone has different priorities, so opinions may vary as to what "really, truly matters."
But I cannot but gnash my teeth when I am doing my level best to... well, do my level best.
And someone who doesn't know, or doesn't care tries to prevent it.
Sometimes, truly infuriatingly, it is someone whose business it isn't even.
I don't expect HN, or SMM or even JT to agree with me. I don't expect the first two to be as well informed in matters specific to my area as I have worked hard to become. (I don't expect the first-named to even care to become informed, but that's another story.)
But they certainly all have a greater right than the average PIP to express their views, and have me at least give them a hearing (and of course, the last named, more than that, he has a right to expect compliance. And oddly, of the three, it is of course the one with not only the least knowledge but the least authority who most expects the world to ask "how high?" when the order to "Jump!" is issued. But again, long digression, NOT what this is about.)
Yesterday we had a funeral so tiny that pall-bearers needed to be hired.
One of the funeral choir's number buttonholed me waving her copy of the In paradisum, and asked, not trying to hide the disgust she always displays in reference to this recessional, "do we HAAAAAFTA sing this? the funreal's so small they'll be outside before we get to the song!", meaning the hymn which I always program for immediately after as a concession to those who resisted my minimal moves toward orthopraxis.
I explained for the umpteenth time, that the In paradisum, (almost invariably in English, I hasten to assure you, in respect for the liturgical sensibilities of my pastor,) is an actual prescribed part of the ritual, unlike the hymns which are merely tacked on.
"Yeah? Then why don't the other priests do it?"
And what could I answer?
That I can't say, but that perhaps at other parishes they are either unaware of or unconcerned with what the liturgical books actually ask for?
One of our priests, for instance, regularly preaches at funerals that funeral vestments "used to be black" but since Vatican II, white is "what's called for." How could I tell him no, purple actually, and then black, and then white in some places but only as an indult.
And if he doesn't know what the actual rite calls for, what chance is there of the PIPs, or the PILs knowing?
Funeral liturgical praxis is generally woeful in the Church in this country, and it is understandable that it should be, (for more reasons than inaccuracies often spread by those given charge of it.)
A family in mourning, or even shock are in no condition to receive catechesis on the right conduct of the liturgy, the importance of ars celebrandi, (at least not directly.)
They are in need of catechesis on so much more immediate concerns (the actual teachings of Holy Mother Church, for instance, on worthy reception of the Body and Precious Blood of Christ, the good death, the necessity of prayer for the dead, purgatory, atonement...)
And the charge to be "pastoral" is often carried out badly. Some think an equivalent is "being nice by giving people whatever they ask for."
They don't realize that rite ritual has a catechetical power all its own, that solemnity can inform, that obedience can teach.
And funerals become the "gateway" do-it-yourself liturgy, and the infection spreads.
Infinitesimally small concessions often turn out to be virulent.
From using "other suitable hymns" we get to ignorance of the very existence of propers, then to other unsuitable songs," then to the anything-goes Mass.
During the Mass why shouldn't we have Over the Rainbow?
A toast with the beer he loved?
Her favorite poems read?
A 20 minute "roast" of the deceased and all his family friends and their humorous foibles?
An opening greeting, welcoming "this party, this send-off" delivered by the cheery bereaved?
ALL of these.
Nothing made-up, or second-hand.
It is not necessary to exaggerate to make this point.
1st Communion and Confirmations are not far behind in their wanton hi-jacking and privatizing of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but frankly, if the Liturgy is to be "fixed," if the world is to be saved, I'm not sure it won't have to start with the Mass of Christian Burial.
Patriarch Teoctist died of a heart attack following surgery on his prostate gland earlier Monday, doctors at the Fundeni hospital told Realitatea TV.
Teoctist was appointed to head the church in November 1986, but briefly stepped down after anti-communist protesters in 1989 said he had been too conciliatory toward former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. He had refused to condemn Ceausescu's destruction of Orthodox churches in Bucharest. He was reinstated a few weeks later.
I wonder how much longer the "church men who collaborated with the oppressors" scandals will go on after the effective fall of communist socialism.
Nazis, Communists, tribal warlords... weak men with good intentions have always made deals with the devil.
Of course the genocides in Africa (how hideous that that word must be used in the plural!) , and the primal urge to "find a way" guarantees more accusations and perhaps more revelations (not always the same thing.)
I also note, completely aside, that the Patriarch was 92. I note this with joy.
I pointed out to Himself just yesterday that Benedict is a vigorous eighty, he has led a temperate life, he takes exercise, he has immediate access to the very finest medical care, and perhaps most important, THIS IS THE 21st CENTURY!
He will, God willing, have time to accomplish much.
Anyone reading this, please offer up a prayer right now for the Holy Father.
Sunday, 29 July 2007
Pope Surveys Post-Vatican II Trials
Aide Says He Gives Vision of Realism and Humility
VATICAN CITY, JULY 29, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he had great enthusiasm during the Second Vatican Council, but acknowledges the difficulties the Church has faced since those years.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi recounted the Pope's words during the most recent edition of the Vatican Television program "Octava Dies."
The Vatican spokesman was commenting on the Holy Father's question-and-answer session last Tuesday with priests from two dioceses of northern Italy.
Father Lombardi recalled that the Bishop of Rome answered a priest who spoke of living through the Second Vatican Council, the hopes of "changing the world," and the difficulties of the succeeding years.
The Pontiff replied: "I also lived the time of the Council with great enthusiasm; it seemed that the Church and the world had met again. We had hoped a great deal -- but things showed themselves to be more difficult."
Father Lombardi affirmed that the question-and-answer session had a "relaxed climate of reciprocal confidence among those who have dedicated their lives to so many years of pastoral service in a difficult world that is in constant change."
In this context, "the Pope delineates with a few very effective sketches the Church's path of the last decades, profoundly interpreting it in the context of the contemporary world," the Vatican official added.
Real hopeFather Lombardi said Benedict XVI recalled "above all the cultural crisis of the West that exploded in '68, with the fascination for Marxism and the illusion of creating a new world, and the crumbling of the communist regimes in '89: the fall of the ideologies that did not give room to faith but rather to skepticism.
"The Christian proclamation has to come to terms with this context," the Vatican spokesman added. "And the Church faces it with realism and humility without ceding to the triumphalism of those who think that they have found the way to the new world."
At the bottom of this is the humility of the Crucified, which will always be contrasted by the great powers of the world, but which generates a real hope that is manifested in the creative vitality of the Church: in her communities and her movements, in the new responsibility of the laity, in ecumenical relations, in liturgical and spiritual experiences.
"The Pope of great theological ideas and great cultural wealth is also the one who helps us to live the simultaneously humble and rich condition of the hope of the Church on its way, as he says: 'With our feet on the ground and our eyes turned toward heaven.'"
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
(Someone has presented an idea.)
Dubious executive: I dunno, we'll have to run it by Standards and Practices.
Smart-ass on-air personality: We have standards and practices?
Executive: You know we do, those guys in the suits are Standard and Practices.
Smart-ass: no, I mean, we have actual standards?
I think of it as discussions turn to rubrics.
I imagine some Liturgy-monger after being told his latest idea is in violation of the rubrics:
I mean, we have actual rubrics?
It seems Mary Jane had similar thoughts.
Many people in positions of actual authority literally don't know.
July 21, 2007
The Constant Temptation
It is the constant temptation of the liturgist and the creative, artistic mind to want to "set things right."
Truer words were never spoken. This line comes from a discussion of various liturgical changes made in the post-Vatican II period. And while it's easy (and in some cases, correct) to attribute sinister motives to some of the players, it's probably not true for all.
How many of us have gazed out at the listless (or so they seem) congregation and thought "if only we could do something that would wake them up"? I've thought it - and I've learned to squelch it quickly. There's no reason that my "creative liturgy" is more justifiable than anyone else's. Oh, but how I long some days "to set things right."
That is why we have rubrics. I've found the discussion of the difficulties of the extraordinary rite interesting. Commentators keep talking about how hard the rubrics would be to learn, with the unspoken implication that there are no rubrics at all in the Novus Ordo.
I would be grateful if we followed the rubrics in the ordinary rite.
Monday, 23 July 2007
Very contentious thread http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/07/she-shouted-oh-shut-up-and-stormed-out-of-the-sacristy/#comments
on Fr Z's, which he prudently closed.
The incident, from Orthfully Catholics http://orthfullycatholic.blogspot.com/2007/07/high-masslow-mass.html:
Today I served the RCIA Reunion Mass, which was a very interesting experience. As it was attended by people who had come home through the RCIA programme the priest and catechists decided we should show them what home they had come to by having a Latin High Mass (Ordinary Form obviously) but the Music Directress didn’t like this idea. When she was told the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were going to be in Latin plainchant she shouted, ‘Oh, shut up’ and stormed out of the sacristy. She then jumped in at each of those times accompanying Paul Inwood style tunes on the electric keyboard. The only thing she couldn’t put a stop to was the professional singer we had got in to sing ‘Panis Angelicum’ [sic] at Communion, however she did fight back by singing some happy clappy song straight afterwards."
I weighed in, of course, http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/07/she-shouted-oh-shut-up-and-stormed-out-of-the-sacristy/#comment-26328
"I am not excusing such behavior ... but if this was a regularly scheduled Mass, the music for which has always been this person’s responsibility, I think she had a legitimate grievance... last minute changes made by someone else with no thought to the preparation that might have already gone into it, or what instantaneous preparation might now be required"
I noticed that, Fr Z's readership being what it is, naturally the response was overwhelmingly supportive of the musical and liturgical sensibilities of said Music Directress's antagonists.But I was struck that only other musicians seemed to acknowledge that MDs are constantly the brunt of such dumping upon, justifiably bridle at having changes sprung on them and delivered by fiat (often from someone with no authority to do so,) and that there may be more to the story.
The always kind and wise Michael E. Lawrence:
Music directors of varying stripes in churches the world over are disrespected in ways that many would find hard to believe. Much of this disrespect, regrettably, comes from the clergy ...It may also be good to keep in mind that this might well have been one episode amongst a number of things, and it MIGHT not have been about ideological factors. Perhaps, if the music director was indeed approached with this at the last minute, it might not have been the first time that such a request was made minutes before Mass was to begin.
And this from Veiled Woman
"The crowning incident came when [a "dear woman who holds a Master of Theology" yet once declared "Vatican II outlawed Latin!”who "Holds the parish liturgies hostage" ]and the pastor she influenced threatened to fire me if I did not sing a “hymn” set to a Disney tune, “It’s a Small World” as requested by a parishioner who wintered in Florida. We have a new pastor now and her power is diminished, but I seriously doubt that we will ever see a Latin Mass in this parish.
Why do I stay? One reason: the job helps support our only child, a 19 year old seminarian, who loves the Latin Mass. Where did he develop that love? Not at our parish."
(That one truly horrified me, as I have made jokes that I naively thought were over the top about the "It's A Small World" settings of the ordinary contributing to the Disneyfication of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.)
"How do you know that those who approached the music director didn’t provoke her out of their own frustration? Granted, not the best response, but 'shut up' sounds more like a response to [a provocation] rather than a neutral stating 'We’re singing these songs.'"
I’m assuming that this musician was neither qualified, prepared, or willing to do chant. That priest put her on the spot, and I’ll tell you she acted a lot more civilized than I would have. If my priest were to say to me, ON A SUNDAY no less, “Gavin, I want you to do On Eagle’s Wings four times at Mass today”, he’d have my resignation and no musician for the Mass. While I strongly disagree with this woman’s hatred of Latin, the priest was just a jerk to demand something that she could not and did not want to do.
One aspect no one brought up -- the possibility that the musician had put a great deal of preparation into something else especially for the occasion.
ST J's choir loves to tell two stories that speak to such a situation.
1. Permission to sing a complex and difficult choral creed for a "big" Mass, lot of work to perfect it, and when the time came, the priest just started reciting it. (Apparently the director waited patiently until it concluded and then, as the priest was inhaling to begin the General Intercessions played the intro to the prepared Credo full organ.)
2. The cranky bishop who simply shouted from the sanctuary up to the loft, in the middle of some choral anthem, "That's enough o' that for now!"
I am occasionally left out of the loop when the scheduling for our "Three Rites" of Baptism, changes, despite the fact that it is they who do the scheduling who mandate the use of the absurd Becker, and that they know that not all the cantors can do it competently, and that cantor scheduling takes place nearly a month before the Mass where "final rite," overshadows all other considerations and ceremony, and that they would prefer two cantors (hard enough to be certain one will show up sometimes!,) if there is no choir; and finally that, in the ever user-unfriendly GIA scores, reading inserted names (also as requested by those who do the scheduling,) so that they can be sung is always a challenge, so I personally go to the trouble and time of setting it on the computer, (in an often vain attempt to make it easier for the choir or cantor.)
Fr is terrific, he understands, or at least understood when it was so presented, that music no more occurs spontaneously at Mass than does the sermon -- and does a seven minute homily require 7 minutes of his time to prepare? and is always apologetic and abashed if a change is required last minute.
(Yet, my impression is that change is sometimes required, five minutes before Mass, whereas my impression is also that even with several weeks lead time, it is always too late to tell a lay reader that, oh, say, a votive Mass will replace that of a Sunday in Ordinal time.)
The only time our relationship in this regard was in any way strained was the OLofP incident, and while he was unreasonable (how would I have known in time for the Sunday Masses, much less the anticipated one, that a committee of which I am not a member, and which had met at 2:00 that Saturday afternoon, had decided that a particular song was to be sung at every Mass for the next month?) I was detached enough from the situation that I could remain perfectly cool, as well as a little indulgent and sympathetic to him because of the WOB with whom he was constrained to work.
And I think because I was able to be cool, there was no baggage from the incident.
Lawdie, I've gone on here, haven't I......?
I'll leave it to another post to discuss the draconian but not entirely lack in merit "rules" set forth by another poster before the thread was quashed.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
Christopher Zehnder in California Catholic has this to say:
"...one of the greatest fears of 'progressive' Catholics is the return of the Bad Old Days before Vatican II -- the days when the “Spirit” did not dash about the Church as freely as It does today. The 'Tridentine' Mass, of course, is for many the symbol of that oppressive past, just as wisecracking celebrants, 'Glory and Praise,' altar girls, and liturgical dance routines are of the age of liberation. The return of the Tridentine Mass is the reemergence of the stern, old Patriarch just when we were beginning to have fun,"
before going on to bemoan the sloppy ars celebrandi of some devotees.
This has certainly not been my experience, but it is a warning worth heeding.
Saturday, 21 July 2007
(Wouldn't a staged reading in the nave of St John's, , maybe Bob and Aline, maybe Margaret and Mary Ellen and Alyse too? , interspersed with Marian music be a corker? Hmmmmm... the Nieland Magnificat, maybe the wonderful calypso carol, the glorious 4th verse of the Christina Rosetti poem with Holst's glorious music, one the the SAVAE "restorations" or whatever they are, Zdravasbud, the Arcadelt, a psalm for Joseph to chant in Hebrew....)
The Birth of Mary
O how hard it must have been for the angels
to not suddenly break into song, the way one breaks out crying,
because they knew: in this night the mother is born for the boy,
for the one soon to appear.
Flying they kept silent and showed the path
where, alone, the house of Joachim lay.
Oh, how they felt within themselves and within space pure thickening,
but no one was allowed below with him.
For, already the two were beside themselves
A neighbor came by, curious, unable to comprehend,
And the old man, carefully, went and silenced the mooing
of a dark cow; for things had never been like this.
The Presentation of Mary in the Temple
To understand what she was like then,
you have to imagine yourself in a place
in which columns affect you;
where you can retrace stairs
where arches full of danger
bridge the chasm of a space
that remained within you,
because it had been made, towering,
of such pieces that you can no longer
remove them from yourself lest you demolished yourself.
If you have reached that state, if everything within you
is stone, wall, ramp, view, curve, then try
to remove the big curtain in front of you
with both hands:it sparkles of very noble things
and surpasses your breath and touch.
Up, down, palace built upon palace,
Railings stream wider from within railings,
and surface above surface on such edges
that vertigo, as you can see, grasps you.
Clouds of incense diffuse what is close,
but still the most distant aims right
inside of you with its straight rays -
and now, when the glow from clear bowls
of flame plays on slowly approaching robes:how can you bear it?
She, however, came and raised her eyes
to view all this.
(A child, a little girl among women)
Then she ascended silently, filled with confidence,
towards the spoiled luxury which made way for her:
For that is how much everything that men built had
already been exceeded by the praise within her heart;
by the desire to give herself to the signs within her:
The parents wanted to lift her up,
the looming figure with the bejeweled chest
seemed to receive her:
But she passed through everyone,
small as she was, slipped from every hand
into her destiny, which, higher than the hall,
was ready, and heavier than the temple.
Not that an angel entered (realize this),
scared her. Just as others would not startle
if a ray of sunlight or the moon at night
busied itself in the room, the form in which
an angel walked, did not scare her;
she barely had an idea that this stay was
difficult for angels. (O if we knew just how pure
she was. A doe once beheld her in the forest and
became so fond of her that within her was conceived
the unicorn, the animal from light, the pure animal)
It did not scare her that he entered,
but that he was so utterly present, the angel,
bearing a young man's face, and turned to her;
that his gaze and hers, looking up to him, collided
as if everything outside had become empty,
and everything that millions saw, did, wore
became condensed in them: only her and him;
Seeing and seen, nowhere else except in this very spot
- see, that scares, and both startled.
Then the angel sang his melody.
The Visitation of Mary
She still bore it easily in the beginning,
but ascending she sometimes already
was aware of her wondrous body,
and then she stood, breathing,
on the high mountains of Judea.
But not the land, her own fullness
was laid out around her;
walking she felt: one never transcends
the greatness she now felt.
She felt compelled to lay her hand
on the other body, further along than she was.
And the women dizzily approached one another,
touching clothes and hair.
Each one, filled by her sanctuary,
protected herself with her cousin.
O, the Savior within her was still a blossom,
but the Baptist in the cousin's womb
was already moved to leap for joy.
And the angel spoke and made an effort
with the man clenching his fists:
But don't you see from every crease
That she is cool as God's morning.
But the other man looked at him, gloomy,
mumbling: what has changed her so ?
Then the angel cried: Carpenter! Do you
still not realize that this is the Lord's doing ?
When you make boards, in your pride,
do you really want to challenge the one
who humbly causes, from the same wood,
leaves to sprout and buds to swell ?
He understood. And when he lifted the gaze,
quite frightened, to the angel, he was gone.
He removed his thick cap slowly.
Then he sang praises.
GO READ THE REST! http://closedcafeteria.blogspot.com/2007/07/life-of-mary-das-marienleben.html
Friday, 20 July 2007
TheBri used to call the Irish twins Mrs. Budinksi, and Mr. Weisenheimer, and indeed, their personalities were firmly established when they were so nick-named at the age of 4 (and 4.)
I'm thinking we may be aristocrats, with hyphenated moniker, ya know?
The "Budinski-Louds" perhaps?
Yeah, that seems about right....
The dynamics of dealing with the immediate health concern and the chronic one is so complicated, I'm just going to bow out of offering opinions.
Everyone now knows what the parameters are, and I think we'll come through the first happily, and muddle on with the other.Well, was that oblique enough?
But the final point is, anyone reading this, if you can find the time, offer a prayer for families?
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2007c/072007/072007w.htm to accompany the Stinking B. Cheese linked below:
"the avalanche of commentary the Latin Mass issue has generated comes from small minorities with vested interests."
Are they being funny? are they knowingly and ironically adding their "vested interest" commentary to this "avalanche"?
"Rembert Weakland, then archbishop of Milwaukee, wrote what must now be seen as a prophetic article in America magazine in 1999 that warned of a creeping rubricism and movement to reinterpret Vatican II to assure validity and orthodoxy. Like Weakland, we have to ask: 'Can the two, the reform of the liturgy and the reform of the church, be separated?'”
I would answer the self-destroying prelate, "no."
They cannot be separated.
Likewise, the degradation and deforming of the Liturgy went hand in hand with the degradation that the Church went through.
The wreckovations of sanctuaries were part and parcel of the decimation of our congregations.
The guillotine-like attempt to sever our contemporary worship from any connection with what had gone before was mirrored in the disconnectedness of so many cultural Catholics (two lost generations!) from both their traditions and Tradition.
And BXVI is remedying what well-meaning but deeply disturbed individuals such as yourself, Abbot Weakland, have wrought.
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
Update: all is well, (all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well...,) it was a very minor incident and some adjustments in medication are all that seems necessary.
I am reminded of a friend who asked for prayers on his blog, and then expressed dismay at the fact that while the counter showed that people had read the thread, no one had actually post their prayer intention.
Art the time, he acted hurt and I thought it rather odd, but now I think I know what he was feeling.
When I was a child, my dream was to live in a library.
I have achieved this to a large extent .
I have the books, the documents --- the shelves and organization not so much...
So, the BBC reports on grumbling by users of the Vatican libraries who will lose access while an enormous and apparently necessary renovation is accomplished.
I feel for the temporarily displaced scholars, but it is the nature of old buildings to need restoration, and it is the nature of vast buildings to discomfit large numbers of people when such restoration occurs, and it is the nature of magnificent building to not be able to accommodate temporary, make-shift solutions during such restoration.
Hmmm... I don't think our half-thought-out plan to get to Roma would be liable to be realized much before 2010.
Wouldn't it be fantastic? -- I wonder if nobodies can gain access.
p.s. I am a SUCKER for any place that had the foresight and integrity to hang onto their card catalogues.
Monday, 16 July 2007
Stinking Bishop Cheese:
I think this is a great idea, and a great service offered by the Gentlemen.
Because to agree (on one point only!) with the Bishop Trautmans of the world, (and with my own ordinary, I suppose, when it comes down to it...,) there will be very few people who desire this.
But to deny their existence and to make it difficult if not impossible for them to connect and organize and grow in faith does seem the intent of many on the other fringe of the Church.
Benedict has given a great gift to the people of the Church, especially those whose main concern is the "reform of the reform."
The very existence of the Extraordinary Rite, with its greater precision required in the the ars celebrandi will serve as a model, as a reminder to everyone else of what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can be, should be, must be.
I would give a great deal to be able to help this happen.
It will certainly not happen at our parish, or at any other in the cluster.
But I know for a fact there are people who want this but who have been asking for years and have tired of asking.
They will not be taking the initiative in this, the chances of their taking advantage of the internet to network are slim to none.
And strangely, my work, my actual position, my very activity in Church music means I am not in a position to help, or actively encourage them.
But who knows, perhaps the next time a family requests that the Ordinary be sung in Latin at a funeral, TPTB will soften and finally consent.
It must be painful to see a Church whose leaders are not afraid of a Hard Saying, when your own denomination is self-destructing through your leaders willingness to appease the world, and thereby, its prince.
We must all pray for a true ecumenism, serious efforts at which have not yet been seen coming from the Church (it is not unlike what happened in liturgical reform -- the need was observed, the ideas were expressed, the groundwork was laid ; and then the loudest, most impatient, most energetic of the troops marched off to battle in the wrong direction. As a result, an astounding numbers of "Christians", were the simple question put to them, "Do you not desire for all of mankind to come to know and believe in and follow Jesus Christ?" would give the wrong answer.)
Last week the Vatican released a document [that] has upset many Protestants, and in particular those who have labored in the ecumenical movement...
Ecumenists lament that the clock has been turned back and that the Roman Church must not be serious about its prior overtures toward mutual acceptance by Christian bodies. ... Apparently the ecumenicists forget who broke up the party to begin with.
...To me it just sounds like the Pope is talking and acting like a Roman Catholic.
...Protestants, including Anglicans, believe that theirs are true churches every bit as much as the Roman Church .... It's as if all churches and all theological systems are entitled to an equal claim to truth...
It doesn't trouble them that the same God can be found to contradict, even denounce, Himself.
...What I found refreshing about the Pope's repackaging of the old ecclesiology is the fact that it was not the product of a church diplomatic corps. It is not a contrived doctrine that aims only at hitting the right buttons succeeding only in avoiding offense. Such is the daily fare of ecumenists. The Vatican statement has a purpose that goes beyond validating the members of a bureaucracy. Perhaps the era of ecumenism is over. If it is, good riddance. The limited potential for religion by committee is by now very clear. Ecumenical groups can be very effective at doing public service projects. These do not require the lofty interventions of experts. Christians who understand themselves very differently can still do real good for their local communities. At the same time there is no need to pretend that the finer points of doctrine are unimportant -- or worse, that mutually exclusive doctrines are really the same.
...If Protestant bodies could only clarify their own distinctive positions, without fear of criticism by non-constituents, then they too would be ready to compete honestly and convincingly in the marketplace of ideas. The Roman Catholic Church is apparently ready to enter its own future with eyes open. Unfortunately the historic Protestant churches cannot say the same thing.
Read the whole piece:
Sunday, 15 July 2007
Wow, and wow again, Fr Christopher Saliga.
Thought-provoking, orthodox, intelligible, surprising.
He brushed off compliments with, "Well, that's pretty much the way all the guys in my Province preach...," but nonetheless:
So, that "OP" actually means something.
A byte: Christ didn't preach congeniality.
More on it later, I'm off to rehearsal, but had to note that before I went, I'm trying to make notes mentally so that I can remember it.
(And here it is, later:)
He talked about Ratzinger's heading up the the CDF, yeah, the Inquisition, and weren't there questions we did need to look into? things we did need to consider? ideas that were worth being precise about?
That Ratzinger in his former position had things to say that were not universally well received, not unlike the hard truths Jesus had to give us. (I think he used the term "shock and awe")
And that he is continuing on that path as pope.
That "love" without Truth is not Love at all, that we are all called to metanoia,
yes, those who do not yet know Christ,
yes, those who do not accept the Truth of Christ's Church
yes, all of us in that Church, including those in positions of authority who teach in error.
And that sometimes digging for the Truth seems like filleting a fish -- would it be better to leave the bones in (my addition: when we feed it to our children? or the neighbor's children)?
I'm not doing it justice, and I'm remembering it wrong probably, and I may be incorporating my own understanding of what he said in the re-telling, for which I apologize, but it was just first rate.
Saturday, 14 July 2007
They name the (over-)reaction for what it is: hypocrisy.
"... the statement was simply an affirmation of longstanding church doctrine. The criticism is hypocritical because many religious institutions and individuals similarly hold the belief that their path is the only way to salvation. This is a doctrinal matter, important only to each individual belief and worship system.... Bigotry and hatred must be abolished by the faithful embracing their similarities and savoring their differences."
Tasteless but not obscene, some very pointed satire and some witty, witty parodies of other musical styles. (That, actually, is its greatest flaw -- I didn't think the second act would ever be over with one mock-uplifting anthem after another, it felt as if there were multiple finales; enough already!)
Excellent production though, direction, choral sound, two or three superb performances... terrific evening on the whole, if it weren't sold out, I would post the info, I'd be proud to advertise it.
I'm glad to have Himself back. too.
It's a little gift from God that as soon as a show opens he has complete amnesia concerning how utterly bat-guano-insane the process makes him.
A gift to HIM.
Me, I get to live with an actor practically in a fugue state from self-esteem issues, and paranoia about what everyone else involved must be thinking about him and saying about him.
But it's not really that big a deal.
My only real problem is that the title fits perfectly the opening hook of a P & W song I despise, and every time it comes up again at church, that word will be running through my head. (In fact, a complete parody wrote itself, uncoaxed, in my head.)
And no, I can't just "ban" the song... that's not how being a pastoral musician works -- sorry, Mary Jane, I just had to use the term ;o)
Somehow, as much as it creeps me out, the thought of having mice doesn't upset me as much in nice weather -- I suppose because the house is so much more open, so utterly NOT well sealed, that if the little rascals take the bait and die, they will probably wander outside to do so, and we won't have that lovely aroma.
And indeed, in most articles in the secular press they are being seen as facets of the same jewel. (Well, no, you're right, they are seen as faces of the same lump of coal, but many see through a glass darkly, I mean, it really IS a jewel, isn't it.....)
The headline from a Reuters piece: Pope accused of turning back the Catholic clock
Recent moves will alienate Protestants and other faiths, critics say
Despite the headline (the view expressed in one always has more weight than an opposing view that shows up in the body of the story,) the tone isn't awful, and the actual reporting is ; but the quotes are from doubting Fr Reese, and carefully neutral and objective John Allen -- a con- and an abstention, as it were, no "pro" voice.
And it is nice to see a MSM outlet acknowledge that "For most of the immediate period after Vatican II, modernizers won the day even though church attendance fell and the number of men who left the priesthood rose," although I would have preferred an "and" to its "even though" or perhaps scare quotes around the "won the day," although there is plenty of whistling in the dark going on, progs who refuse to see that if there was a victory, it was Pyrrhic,
But this : "Jews, Muslims and members of other Christian faiths were no longer seen as heretics to be converted or shunned," has a lie hidden in the truth -- Catholics were never not called to evangelize and convert, despite the heresy (yes, "heresy," ) of even powerful voices denying that duty and doing their damnedest to convince the Church.
And that this (accurately reported,) fact, that "Benedict also approved a document that said all other Christian denominations apart from Catholicism were wounded and not full churches of Jesus Christ," is surprising, hurtful or disappointing will never cease to amaze me.
What is the alternative?
Indifferentism is Death. If there is no other reason than inertia to adhere to a creed, that creed will eventually have no adherents.
So I ask, what is the alternative?
Some of your beliefs contradict some of our beliefs and that to the degree that your denomination's teachings diverge from our Church's teachings, we hold that yours is is incomplete, "broken", "wounded," dare I say?.... wrong.
The alternative is utter folly: to say, oh yes, this is what I believe, but don't worry, even though I believe it, it's not like I think it's TRUE or anything.
A surprisingly bitter, surprisingly misinformed journalist, Susan Jacoby needs your prayers.
Oh, how odd, in the middle of my posting her page about the "arrogance" of B16 disappeared, (which makes it impossible for me to post quotes in support of my opinion. You'll hafta trust me on this...)
Could her employers have thought better of sponsoring her anti-Catholic screed?
Anyway, pray for her.
Friday, 13 July 2007
Must there be cheeze in church?
And must it be sung by me?
Cheap, sentiments of which
The focus is I, not He?
Just praise our Creator!
Why is that so hard?
Wallowing in how we feel
Is silly self-regard.
Let cheeze be banned in church,
Let this be the moment, now,
With every breath we take,
Let this be our solemn vow,
To take our song, and address our song
To Him, eternally!
Ban not just cheez in church,
Putting aside the fact that the writer doesn't know what he's talking about (I believe he means "pop" not "modern," as the Church has never had strictures against newly composed music, certainly not in this diocese; and that is a false dichotomy: "hymns" vs. "modern music",) using the lyrics of a song (pop or otherwise,) to illustrate a point about human existence during a homily is not at all the same thing as using said song as liturgical music.
And not to take anything away from the Beatles oeuvre, but a priest could draw useful lessons about the human condition from many a song -- Kermit the Frog singing "It's Not Easy Being Green," or Suicidio from La Gioconda -- without it indicating anything whatever about that song's suitability for use during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
(Although if the homilist really took the occasion to note the fact that he himself was "writing the words to a sermon that no one will hear," points off ....)
I don't know the dates of poor Rembert Weakland's episcopacy and his approbation of "He's Got the Archbishop in His Hands," , but by the late '60s, it seems silliness had set in.
Which reminds me, in the mostly excellent World Over dealing with the motu proprio, I think which ever guest fielded it, dropped the ball on the question from the caller (however belligerent,) who asked how his guitar playing was going to fit into the Extraordinary Rite.
There is, or should be a place for a skillfully played, actuosa participation inspiring, acoustic guitar.I think guitar lends itself nearly as well as organ (the venue being small enough,) and a great deal better than, say, brass instruments (whihc have long been admitted to the Tridentine rite,) to accompanying the chant, which after all, is the liturgical music par excellence for the TLM.
IMMORAL, IMPOSSIBLE, GOD ONLY KNOWS
(Tune: St. Denio)
1. Immoral, impossible, God only knows
how tenors and basses, sopranos, altos
at service on Sunday are rarely the same
as those who on Thursday to choir practice came.
2. Unready, unable to sight-read the notes,
nor counting, nor blending, they tighten their throats.
the descant so piercing is soaring above,
the melody only a mother could love.
3. They have a director, but no-one knows why,
no-one in the choir deigns to turn him an eye.
It's clear by his waving, he wants them to look,
but each of them stands with his nose in the book.
4. Despite the offences, the music rings out.
The folks in the pews are enraptured, no doubt.
Their faces are blissful, their thoughts are so deep,
but it is no wonder, for they are asleep.
Original, verse 1, by Austin Lovelace.
Verses 2-4 added by Ron Hodges (choir of St. Mark’s, Palo Alto, California, USA) for the church’s 50th anniversary in November 1998.
Interesting AP story
I assumed the "priest" of the headline, telling of Mrs Johnson's death was Episocopalian (I do know, or rather did know, ECUSA members who insisted they were not Protestant, and ministers of their denom who were addressed as Father, and called themselves priests.)But the writer, (Kelley Shannon) takes it as a given that "priest" means a Catholic clergy man.
I like to think of the Litany of the Saints being sung at her deathbed, the idea is quite, quite beautiful.
Wish I knew the "triumphant hymn" known to both the Catholics and the Protestants present. (And I am surprised at the priest's' surprise that there were such hymns.)
By permitting the English language to be replaced by Latin, a language spoken by ancient Italians who enslaved the Greeks and built a wall in Yorkshire to keep out Scottish migrant workers, Pope Benedict XVI has delivered a harsh blow to the great tongue which has given us the literature of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Jimmy Carter, and Maya Angelou.
A German Pope has accomplished what the English-speaking peoples fought the Second World War to prevent. People not of color do not understand Latin, with the exception of EXIT signs and the expression ET CETERA. Latin is not even spoken in Latin America. Winston Churchill failed Latin at Harrow, so how does the Pope expect us to speak it?
Latin lacks that dynamic malleability which permitted the ICEL texts creatively to split infinitives and change males to females and use sentences in which nouns and verbs do not agree. If the Latin types have their way, we may soon have Masses at which Anglo-Saxons speak the same way as the chaps who threatened civilization with the Spanish Armada.
Latin was the language of Brutus and Pontius Pilate and people who invented spicy food. It is very sad to think that this motu proprio will undo the dialogue with Anglo-Saxons which was the dream of Gregory the Great who said the Anglo-Saxons were angels. He never called the Italians that. And certainly not the Huns.
I find it inspiring, (though I found it, who knows where? It's origins lost in the mists of time....,) (not really, I just promised its author, C. A., not to reveal said author's name,) and may do a little collecting and posting of humorous texts and parodies (though most at, say, the Moratorium site are not all that carefully crafted... they don't always scan, and are often as lame as the texts they mock.)
I'd prefer parodies set to bad songs, actually, and I think I shall try my hand at a few, but funny alternate words to good hymntune or even secular music (such as this one,) are also funny and will... well, go on the list.
In fact, I have a few ideas for writing some.
1. With the Church in dire need of some liturgical reform
I've got a little list, I've been drawing up a list
Of some dreadful little ditties, that alas, are now the norm
But never would be miss'd, if we banned what's on the list
Those happy-clappy tunes of the self-celebrating kind
By Who'sThatPagan, Thing'ma-Monk, and likewise-- Never mind
And Sister Thang, and What's-his-name, and Father You-know-who
The task of naming names, well, I'd as soon leave that to you
(I admit I fear a lawsuit if their publishers get pissed,
So keep'em off the list, only songs go on the list.)
(Chorus: He's got a little list, he's got a little list,
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.).
2. Detraction is a sin; avoid ad hominem attacks!
You see, I must insist: no people on the list!
It's just their songs of which we would rejoice to see the backs,
In charity persist, but let's work on that list!
The endless Songs of Self, whose very thesis seems to be
"Enough of me, for now, God, tell me how much YOU like me,"
Our boasting that "we'll build a house", "create ourselves anew,"
Since of the world "we are the light," there's nothing we can't do!
So what surprise that sins of pride and hubris then ensue?
I think we need a list. Gadzooks! we need a list!
(Chorus: He's got a little list, he's got a little list,
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.)
3."Vox Dei" texts are fine; King David used them, it is true,
Yet some land on the list. Here's why they're on the list:
Just look at what the current crop of wordsmiths seem to do,
In their songs that crowd the list: (they fit right in, on the list!)
The words put in His mouth, as if our God could be so trite,
That "Lord of Sea and Sky" whom we heard "calling in the night."
The doggerel banal, and metaphors so much confused
That the very Word Incarnate might unjustly be accused,
With you, and I (the "breads of life?") Himself to have confused.
Such songs should HEAD the list. No joke! We need that list!
(Chorus: He's got a little list, he's got a little list,
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.)
4.Now really, can't we live and let live? where's the harm, you ask?
Why bother with a list? What need for such a list?
I yet maintain there's danger if we fail at this task,
Of making up a list, this necessary list,
Since sensibly shod geezers, indeterminate of sex
Comprising the Liturgical-Industrial Complex
Indoctrinate our young, those innocent, and fresh-faced throngs
With Bad theology encapsulated in bad songs
(One suspects ideas came whilst they were taking drags on bongs.)
You see? We need a list. Admit -- we need a list.
(Chorus: He's got a little list, he's got a little list,
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.)
5. Inspired by such nonsense, and encouraged by such songs,
As those that make the list, (you do recall the list?)
Some strive to turn our Catholic Rites, into their Catholic Rongs.
They're why I wrote the list, their follies forced the list.
That planning group that suffers from Liturgical Tourette's?
This music helps enable, yes, it aids and it abets
Them in their strange endeavors, playing at popes and popettes
While poor old John Q Catholic, sad and silent merely frets
Fearful worse awaits him, as these songs are just the grist
For the mill. They'll not be missed, these songs that make the list.
(Chorus: He's got a little list, he's got a little list ,
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.)
6. When someday prayer is borne aloft by worthy songs and chant
We'll laugh about this list, that we needed such a list.
Some might even wax nostalgic for these dated tunes, I grant.
But they really won't be missed, the songs that "graced" this list.
And we'll smile, that once we suffered through such clangor and such din,
And forgive it's perpetrators their aesthetic venial sin.
And we'll marvel that the publishers once managed with their hype
And marketing, to sell ungodly quantities of tripe,
Of tacky tunes,and wacky words, of silly songs we "dissed,".
And justly booed and hissed, no, they'll none of 'em be missed.
(Chorus: You may put 'em on the list, you may put 'em on the list,
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.)
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Well, I will often seek out more in depth coverage of something I heard on the news (or Colbert or Stewart,) the night before, check to see differences in coverage of partisan issues, notice MSM vs. Catholic media, vs my own vs. blogosphere assessment of the importance of certain news.
So I catch a more complete account of the House Oversight Committee's hearings, whihc are revealing an appalling degree of politicization of various matters of science and health in the executive branch. The story I caught last night said today's hearings brought out that in the Clinton and Bush administrations the Surgeons General had been pressured to change or suppress statements.
Well, yes and no.
Nothing un-factual there, but the presentation of the facts is so misleading as to constitute a lie.
Lying with the Truth.
Further reading seemed to indicate to me that Surgeons going back as far as the Reagan administration say they have all been so pressured, and they all agree that what happened under the current Bush administration is all out of proportion with what they experienced.
So why did the TV news I watched report it that other way? Did that seem more "fair and balanced" because they named on Republican and one Democratic presidential administration? That made it even-handed in someone's eyes??!?@?#??
How foolish is that?
One might as well report of another incident of which I just read, "both parties to the fight sustained injuries."
This would be true, although it paints a rather inaccurate impression of a beating in which one man was pummeled into a coma and the other walked aways with a broken hand.
Now, we were all kids once -- we all know, and I daresay, have all taken advantage of the fact that you can lie to your Mom without straying from the truth:
Why is your brother crying, did you hit him?
No, Mom, honest! (You didn't ask if I kicked him...)
But shouldn't we expect more of new outlets than of 6 year olds?
All this leads back to my reading about SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM.... CNN, via Reuters came up with this boner:
The decree met with mixed reaction from Catholics, ranging from concern among liberal lay groups to a wary welcome from schismatic traditionalists.
Really? Reaction "ranged" from wariness to concern? To steal from an old theatre critic, they ran the gamut from A to B?
Thereby it is implied that nobody was really happy with it, nobody liked it...
Which is a lie.
One prominent Jewish leader criticized the revival of a prayer for the conversion of Jews, saying the old text was "insensitive ... insulting" and said it could set back the progress of reconciliation between Catholics and Jews.
Well, yes he did do this -- but wouldn't you think as a news gathering organization you'd have some sort of obligation to dig in a little and find out if he was CORRECT? or if, instead he was referring to a prayer that no, is no longer part of the rite.
Goebbles, Big Brother, presidential press secretaries, CNN and me pounding on younger siblings -- we all knew how to tell lies with facts.
But I'd like to think I grew up...
When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.
It’s “the first thing that I’vie seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.
They studied the fish and decided the main culprits were estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth control pills and patches, excreted in urine into the city’s sewage system and then into the creek.
Woodling, University of Colorado physiology professor David Norris, and their EPA-study team were among the first scientists in the country to learn that a slurry of hormones, antibiotics, caffeine and steroids is coursing down the nation’s waterways, threatening fish and contaminating drinking water.
Since their findings, stories have been emerging everywhere. Scientists in western Washington found that synthetic estrogen — a common ingredient in oral contraceptives — drastically reduces the fertility of male rainbow trout.
Doug Myers, wetlands and habitat specialist for Washington State’s Puget Sound Action Team, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that in frogs, river otters and fish, scientists are “finding the presence of female hormones making the male species less male.”
This summer, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association will begin a major public awareness campaign regarding contamination that’s resulting from soaps and pharmaceuticals, including birth control.
What the Boulder scientists discovered, however, is that few people care.
Read the rest
This poor Chittester (sp?)woman soooooooo doesn't know what she's talking about. (I will not be uncharitable and assume she is deliberately spreading falsehoods.)
PapaRatz has spoken and written of the Hermeneutics of Rupture -- she's like a walking ecclesiological
It must be sad to have worked for so much of your life for something that turned out to be at best a trend of the moment, at worst, utterly wrong.So now instead of admitting she doesn't really much care for either of them, she has to try to pit two valid and beautiful and life-giving liturgies against each other.
She needs and deserves your prayers.
"In their fundamental messages [the two different Rites] present us with two different churches."
I won't dignify her silliness with the title heresy -- it is simply hogwash.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
THE APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE BENEDICT XVI
The Church calls each of us to full, conscious, and active participation in the Mass. The vast majority of the faithful have experienced the celebration of the Mass in English with the priest facing the congregation and with the expanded use of the Sacred Scriptures much easier for them to unite their hearts, minds and voices to the sacred action of the Mass. Few of our priests possess the rubrical and linguistic skills required for the reverent celebration of the Mass using the 1962 Missal.
Pope Benedict XVI appreciates the above realities very well and for that reason indicated that "the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite." I fully expect that to be the case here in Northwest Indiana.
Pope Benedict XVI has allowed the use of the older Missal in use prior to the Second Vatican Council as the extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. He has made this generous gesture in a spirit of reconciliation and unity as he said "to make every effort to make it possible for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew."
For the same reason, I have for many years permitted the celebration of the Mass according to the pre-conciliar form at the Carmelite Monastery in Munster. There are certainly very limited numbers of the faithful who prefer to worship using the Latin language and the older Missal. With Pope Benedict XVI, I fully believe that, with few exceptions, our priests and people will continue to prefer to worship in English and with the Missal currently being use.
July 9, 2007
The Pontiff's letter is clear. It is a decision which comes from the heart and from the mind of a Pope who loves and knows liturgy well. He wishes that the heritage represented by the ancient liturgy be preserved
Benedict XVI has not walked or will walk, in any way or expression, on a path which is different from that indicated by the Council.
I am not aware, in the History of the Church, of any moment in which important decisions have been taken without difficulty. But I strongly hope that they may be coped with and overcome, with the approach suggested by the Pope in his letter.
I wish to clarify, though, that the papal document has not been made for the Lefebvrists, but because the Pope is convinced of the need to underline that there is a continuity in the Tradition, and that in the Church one does not move forward by way of fractures.
The ancient Mass has never been abolished nor forbidden."
Thanks to Rorate Coeli (what a fine blog, all the news that's fit to print without any of the preening found in other up-to-the-minute Vatican-watcher blogs)
(In further reading in comments around the 'net on this documents, I came across of quote by Msgr. Knox -- I had no idea! at the age of 6, I had come to a great truth all by myself -- all the good non-Catholic people I knew, I assured myself were saved by their unknowing membership in the Church -- after all, one didn't need to know the name of a street in order to get to where you were going on it.)
++ Sacerdotes eius induam salutari et ++T.POST PENTECOSTEN++ sancti eius exsultatione exsultabunt ++
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
"Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church"
The Second Vatican Council, with its Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and its Decrees on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and the Oriental Churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), has contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiolgy. The Supreme Pontiffs have also contributed to this renewal by offering their own insights and orientations for praxis: Paul VI in his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam suam (1964) and John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (1995).
The consequent duty of theologians to expound with greater clarity the diverse aspects of ecclesiology has resulted in a flowering of writing in this field. In fact it has become evident that this theme is a most fruitful one which, however, has also at times required clarification by way of precise definition and correction, for instance in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae (1973), the Letter addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Communionis notio (1992), and the declaration Dominus Iesus (2000), all published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The vastness of the subject matter and the novelty of many of the themes involved continue to provoke theological reflection. Among the many new contributions to the field, some are not immune from erroneous interpretation which in turn give rise to confusion and doubt. A number of these interpretations have been referred to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Given the universality of Catholic doctrine on the Church, the Congregation wishes to respond to these questions by clarifying the authentic meaning of some ecclesiological expressions used by the magisterium which are open to misunderstanding in the theological debate.
RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONS
First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?
Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.
This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council1. Paul VI affirmed it2 and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: "There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation"3. The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention4.
Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?
Response: Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community"5, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.6 "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him"7.
In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church8, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.
It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.9 Nevertheless, the word "subsists" can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church.10
Third Question: Why was the expression "subsists in" adopted instead of the simple word "is"?
Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are "numerous elements of sanctification and of truth" which are found outside her structure, but which "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity"11.
"It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church"12.
Fourth Question: Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term "Church" in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?
Response: The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. "Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds"13, they merit the title of "particular or local Churches"14, and are called sister Churches of the particular Catholic Churches15.
"It is through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches that the Church of God is built up and grows in stature"16. However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches17.
On the other hand, because of the division between Christians, the fullness of universality, which is proper to the Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him, is not fully realised in history18.
Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of "Church" with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery19 cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense20.
The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
William Cardinal Levada
+ Angelo Amato, S.D.B.Titular Archbishop of Sila