Dutch Dominicans call for laity to celebrate Mass

Meanwhile… while we are all focused on the gravitational pull the usus antiquior will have on the newer form of Mass, some folks are still making looney proposals.   Get this, from the lefty weekly The Tablet.   

My emphases and comments.

Church in the World
8 September 2007
Netherlands

Dutch Dominicans call for laity to celebrate Mass

William Jurgensen
    
THE DOMINICAN Order in the Netherlands has issued a radical recommendation that lay ministers chosen by their congregations should be allowed to celebrate the Eucharist if no ordained priests are available.  [Are they out of their minds?  This sounds like the leavings of Schillebeeckx to me.]

In a booklet posted to all 1,300 parishes in the country, it says that the Church should drop its priest-centred model of the Mass in favour of one built around a community sharing bread and wine in prayer.  [In other words become Protestants.]

"Whether they are women or men, homo- or heterosexual, married or single, makes no difference. What is important is an infectious attitude of faith," said the brochure, which has been approved by the Dutch order’s leaders. However, the Dutch bishops’ conference promptly said that the booklet appeared to be "in conflict with the faith of the Roman Catholic Church". It said it had no prior knowledge of the project and needed to study the text further before issuing a full reaction.  [And to gather the stake, wood and oil.]

The 38-page booklet, Kerk en Ambt ("Church and Ministry"), reflects the thinking of the Belgian-born Dominican theologian Fr Edward Schillebeeckx. [Thought so.   This was the pure **** we were force fed in my U.S. seminary by the, then, vice-rector and, now, ex-priest who taught sacramental "theology".  We had a constant diet of Schillebeeckx’s books.  I don’t think it is a surpise that, from my class at that seminary and for that diocese, I am the only one from my year still in active ministry.] In 1986 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned Fr Schillebeeckx that his views on the Eucharist and lay ministry were "erroneous" but took no action against him. The booklet was written by four Dominicans including Fr André Lascaris, a theologian at the Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society in Nijmegen. Fr Lascaris was involved in peace work for Northern Ireland from 1973 until 1992 and has published numerous articles and books on conflict, violence, forgiveness and reconciliation. The other authors are Fr Jan Nieuwenhuis, retired head of the Dominicus ecumenical centre in Amsterdam, Fr Harrie Salemans, a parish priest in Utrecht, and Fr Ad Willems, retired theology lecturer at Radboud University, Nijmegen.

The booklet says that many Dutch Catholics are frustrated that combining parishes and closing churches is the main response to the challenge of a dwindling clergy. "The Church is organised around priests and actually finds the priesthood more important than local faith communities," said Fr Salemans [Funny…  does that not sound just like the wacky ideas of Sr. Joan Chittister?] in an interview posted on the order’s Dutch website. "This is deadly for local congregations."

Using the early Church as its model, the booklet said a congregation could choose its own lay minister to lead services. The minister and the congregation would speak the words of consecration together. "Speaking these words is not the exclusive right or power of the priest," the booklet said. "It is the conscious expression of faith by the whole congregation."  [Heresy.]

The ranks of Dutch Dominicans have thinned along with those of other clergy, and now number only 90 men. Since 2000 around 200 parishes in the Netherlands have been closed due to the lack of priests and the fall in church attendance

Why did we need the Motu Proprio now?

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61 Responses to Dutch Dominicans call for laity to celebrate Mass

  1. Joshua says:

    Does anyone know how the Dutch bishops have dealt with things like this in the recent past? I mean, they are the ones that gave us such things as the Dutch catechism. My impression was that there has been some improvement. Maybe this will occasion an opportunity to gauge how much

  2. Larry says:

    Using the early Church as its model, the booklet said a congregation could choose its own lay minister to lead services. The minister and the congregation would speak the words of consecration together. “Speaking these words is not the exclusive right or power of the priest,” the booklet said. “It is the conscious expression of faith by the whole congregation.”

    This brings to mind the story of Korah in Numbers 16, doesn’t it?

    “The whole community, all of them, are holy; the LORD is in their midst. Why then should you set yourselves over the LORD’S congregation?”

  3. Mark says:

    Things like this are perhaps as close as a layman can come to the shame heaped upon good priests by their brother priests who most greviously and gravely abuse their rank and position and cause scandal.

    This sort of thing almost kept me from making final profession as a Dominican Tertiary (but the sins of some are not enough to stand me down). There have always been men who abandon the faith to chase the winds of every strange doctrine that comes from the mind of man, but it is the charism of the Dominican to calm such winds, not fan them! It bodes ill that the Order seems paralyzed and unwilling to respond to such at this time, may faith and reason regain supremacy.

    Holy Father Dominic, pray for the conversion of your sons who betray you and our Lord so boldly, and strength for your faithful sons.

  4. There are still Catholics in Dutchland? Who knew!

  5. Mark says:

    Yes, there are still Catholics in the Netherlands, Kevin. Perhaps not as much as we’d all would like (especially in the north, where I’m from), but we’re there, and with quite a strong faith, also among younger people.

    A statement like the ones by the Dutch Dominicans is a disgrace and implementation of its ideas would only succeed in further alienating the faithful in those parishes who have to make do without a priest. Not only would it make the ‘word and communion services’, as they are known, the norm, it would also make the holy service of celebrating Mass and partaking in Communion into nothing but a meal together. The invaluable element of sacrifice would be completely forgotten.

  6. Fr. Marc says:

    The Dutch bishops reacted very strongly against this document. No way they said that the booklet only appeared to be in conflict. They wrote: “[it] is in absolute conflict with the catholic faith”. Being a Dutch catholic it is very tiring to be constantly reminded of things that happened in the sixties. Since the beginning of the seventies we have had quite good bishops, but they were often lonely at the top. At the same time it is true that the liberal cultural situation makes proclaiming the Gospel very difficult.
    So please pray for us, especially for the younger generetions of priests!

    Father Marc

  7. danphunter1 says:

    We should send our Bishop Burbidge over to the lowlands for a week and have His Excellency bang some heads together until some sense is knocked into them.
    Dutch Catechism anyone?

  8. Bruce T. says:

    It’s clear as day that thos Dominicans are not Catholic in belief. If they were honest and men of integrity, they would not pretend to e part of the Church. There are plenty of Protestant sects which share their beliefs and, if they can’t find one, they can always invent a new one. But, that would mean they would no longer receive material support of faithful Catholics nor from the Dominican order. It’s much easier to play the weasel (actually, they give weasels a bad name)!

  9. Joe says:

    Fr. Marc and Mark,

    I will pray for you. The United States is not free from this mess either.
    We should not scoff and ridicule our tormented fellow Catholics in the Netherlands.

    Is there any way that the number of priests in the Netherlands can be bolstered by the (allegedly) large amount of orthodox Polish priests coming out of seminary?

    God will save us. Try not to tire bearing your crosses.

    Joe

  10. Frédéric says:

    Shame on all of you self-righteous hypocrites who can only think “in the box.”

    If Rome drags its feet much longer, we will have no priests, no mass, no communion, no nothing! Why should marriage prohibit any upstanding man from being ordained? Did not Paul go from place to place and designate leaders (priests?) upon the recommendation of the elders in their communities? What then is so unusual about applying this tactic in a time of great need in our Church?

  11. Fr. Marc says:

    My bishop has invited priests from all over the world to come to work in the diocese. We are very grateful to have them. Let’s hope their enthusiasm inspires the local communities.

    What about Summorum Pontificum? Almost nobody cares. It is not considered as an opportunity to a new evangelization. Most of the so called neo-cons are très opposé.

  12. Jordan Potter says:

    Frederic said: If Rome drags its feet much longer, we will have no priests, no mass, no communion, no nothing! Why should marriage prohibit any upstanding man from being ordained? Did not Paul go from place to place and designate leaders (priests?) upon the recommendation of the elders in their communities?

    But according to these alleged Dominicans, it doesn’t matter if you run out of priests, since the laity can confect the Eucharist without a priest. Too bad nobody told St. Paul, or he wouldn’t have wasted his time going from place to place, installing priests for each church.

    And it’s not “thinking in the box,” it’s called holding to the holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

  13. Frederic,

    One clarification…

    “If Rome drags its feet much longer, we will have no (flaky) priests,
    no (clown) mass, no (sacriligious) communion, no nothing!”

    Celibacy is not the issue…I was a seminarian, and a happy celibate for 5
    years, despite my love for the fairer sex. The thing that turned me
    off a priestly vocation (aside from genuine discernment) was the fact
    that the last thing my diocese wanted was a Roman Catholic priest.

    This is true in 1000x places. There are plenty of men who are ready to
    respond to the call, but either they haven’t been given the proper Catholic
    formation, or they are refused entrance into seminary by a
    screening process run by anti-catholic dissenters.

    A well-known Canadian Bishop I will not mention,
    told a friend of mine (from his diocese) this winter,
    a well-mannered, orthodox, mature, 19 year old, that “if you even
    VISIT Lincoln Nebraska (a noted Conservative diocese in the US,)
    I will NEVER ordain you for my diocese”.

    Not surprisingly, he just began studies for the Lincoln diocese this summer.
    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why places where the faith is taught
    and observed, literally have to turn seminarians away due to overcapacity,
    while liberal dioceses like my own, haven’t had a single seminarian in 5 years
    .

  14. As a Lay Dominican, I’m ashamed to read what my “brothers” are up to in the Netherlands. I pray for their conversion back to the orthdox and traditional faith preached by our Father, St. Dominic de Guzman. Now that Summorum Pontificum will bring back the Traditional Latin Mass it’s time for the Master General of the Order to bring back the traditional Dominican Rite as a way of bolstering an increase of orthodoxy within the Order of Preachers.

  15. Fr. Harrie says:

    Joshua,
    “the Dutch Catechism”was published in 1966! In 1969 the Vatican gave order to pubish a new revised edition. That never happened, only a small booklet called “additions to the new catechism”. There was a commission of Cardinals who had supervision for the changes: Frings, Lefèbvre, Jaeger, Florit, Browne and Journet. But hardly anyone bought the booklet, the damage was already complete because the text of 1966 was already translated than!
    Meanwhile all the bishops of those days are dead or replaced. Think we have good bishops now, but they could be more deciscive in making descisions. The only problem is at the moment the older generation of clergy and religious, what became clear last week by the publication of the booklet of the Dominicans, because they are very frustrated that their ideas of the sixties did not bring what they hoped. Now there is a last attempt of the “last of the Mohicans (read dominicans) before they close their eyes….
    Fr. Harrie

  16. Legisperitus says:

    What’s uncharitable is for a bunch of Dominicans (who know exactly what they’re doing) to try to lead people astray by spouting such absurdities.

  17. Derik Castillo says:

    It is very sad for me as a Tertiary Dominican to learn that some friars are
    forgetting the example of the founder of the Order, who in a time of
    religious crisis found many vocations. I really hope that the erroneous
    views in that document are corrected. I pray for the prior of that province
    that he will be strong to hold to our Catholic and Tradition, and for
    the “enforcers” in Rome to help them to reconsider their thinking.

  18. I apologize for my flippancy, Mark and Fr Marc! One would never know from the news services that there is a lively (though undoubtedly small!) Catholic community in the Netherlands. News like the above foolishness of the local Dominicans only serves to reinforce the impression of a local church gone adrift, whose bishops enjoy sinecures and the proceeds of the sale of properties rather than in safeguarding the faith or pastoring a flock, which I take it is the general state of affairs. I am sorry to have generalized so.

  19. Berolinensis says:

    I found it very interesting that when I visited Amsterdam recently for the first time, there were three Churches in the old City (which only comprises a very small area) that offered the Novus Ordo in Latin each Sunday, one of them even twice. One of these Churches (a Jesuit Church, of all places) is a breathtakingly beautiful neogothic building, and while they did install a “people’s altar”, they left the amazing Highaltar with ciborium alone and even kept the altar rails. And then there is of course St. Agnes with the extraordinary form of the Mass. And that is Amsterdam, which my “rural” Dutch friends regard as the den of iniquity ;-) So, it sure seems there’s hope. I guess from the US, always reading (unfortunately true) horror stories like this, it is too easy to think that Europe is a complete wasteland – after all, there seldom are blog posts on regular, faithful parishes that simply adhere to Christ and His Church without doing anything “noteworthy”. Being German, I know what it’s like being regarded as coming from a “problem Church” :-) So, my Dutch brothers, oremus pro invicem.

  20. Thank you Berolinensis for more useful information.

    As to the silly proposals from the Dutch Dominicans for a Eucharist celebrated by the laity, I have carefully read Fr. Z. and all the comments.

    I of course agree with what other commenters have said.
    But is no one going to say in plain language what seems obvious to me ?

    Such a celebration would be totally invalid.
    It would not be the Mass.
    There would be no confection of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
    Only an ordained priest could perform this role.

    And that, as they say, is that.

  21. A Dominican Nun says:

    I’m grieved at the news that our Dominican Brothers in the land where our Saints like John of Gorham who suffered cruel martyrdom for His believe in the Holy Mass and Eucharist should publish such an idiotic thing! We always knew that the Dutch Dominicans were off but this is a disgrace!

    PRAY for them! For those whom much is given much is demanded and these Brothers DO KNOW the Truth and are denying it.

  22. Supercilious Dutch Dominicans. As the queue of the Dutch clergy pass on, may God forgive them, and may He raise up a new generation that will return to the roots of the Order as stated in the Vatican II document, Perfectae Caritatis, Para 2(b). I am thankful that there is a new generation moving into the Order of Preachers to carry the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

    In St. Dominic,

    John Keenan, OPL

  23. PNP, OP says:

    On behalf of faithful Dominican men and women everywhere, I apologize for my Dutch brothers. Northern Europe– the Netherlands, Belgium, Swenden especially–has long been bins of loony experimentation and dissent. What my brothers are calling for is nothing less than Protestantism. Europe has a Protestant church, and I am sure it could put the brothers’ many gifts to good use. What Europe needs is a faithful Roman Catholic Church…and faithful Dominicans to assist the magisterium in teaching the faith by preaching the gospel (LCO 80). This sort of experimental nonsense is the last gasp of a dying generation.

    In Dominic, Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP

  24. Franklin Jennings says:

    Is it wrong to hope their clogs are infested by termites?

  25. RBrown says:

    I am reminded what is said about the Church in the Netherlands: They believe everything changes except the bread and the wine.

  26. RBrown says:

    Shame on all of you self-righteous hypocrites who can only think “in the box.”

    If Rome drags its feet much longer, we will have no priests, no mass, no communion, no nothing! Why should marriage prohibit any upstanding man from being ordained? Did not Paul go from place to place and designate leaders (priests?) upon the recommendation of the elders in their communities? What then is so unusual about applying this tactic in a time of great need in our Church?
    Comment by Frédéric

    This time of “great need in our Church” was caused by the Protestantization of the Church. And now you’re saying we need even more Protestantism in the Church. The consequence should be obvious to anyone who is objective: it will produce a time of even greater need.

    Frederic, you’re not only not thinking outside the box, you’re not thinking at all.

  27. JPG says:

    I have come this PM from listening to Martin Mosebach and Fr Lang to read this scanadalous mess.
    Have these twits not yet learned that this approach is doomed to failure? It seems they enjoy presiding over apostasy and dissent. Please not the above mentioned talk was at a Dominican Church in New Haven. The talk and discussionwere wonderful. It is easy to take shots just as I have at these Dutch idiots, but I suppose we ought to beg the intercession of Our glorious Lady through her most Holy Rosary for the conversion of the Dutch(never mind the Russians.)
    JPG

  28. After passing this Tablet article on to the provincial of my province and the president of our theological school, the president, with support of the provincial, informs me that a reply will be made ready for release to the press.

    I cannot speak for the other Dominican provinces in the U.S. but I understand from bot that my Western Dominican Province does nothing but reject the theology of this document.

  29. Greg Smisek says:

    “What is important is an infectious attitude of faith”

    Let us pray that this most unfortunate and diabolical infection is soon eradicated.

  30. James says:

    The Japanese Catholics of Nagasaki kept their faith over 300 years without priests; the Korean Church grew with barely any priests in her beginnings. If there is a critical shortage of priests then the response is to forego Holy Mass. How hard that must be, but how powerful the faith which endures under those conditions.

  31. moretben says:

    These people are NOT Catholics. They are not in communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not share her faith. The Dominican Order and the hierarchy must make this clear to them, and to the faithful.

  32. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    A comment on a comment:

    “The Japanese Catholics of Nagasaki kept their faith over 300 years without priests…If there is a critical shortage of priests then the response is to forego Holy Mass. How hard that must be, but how powerful the faith which endures under those conditions.”

    True enough. But the tenacity of Japan’s underground Catholics was the product of vicious
    persecution. If we Westerners were to have no priests, that would likely be the cue for most of us to drop our faith, rather than cling to it.

  33. TJM says:

    Father Thompson,

    I grieve with you regarding this matter. I believe the only way the Dominicans can salvage
    this mess and be a witness for Christ and His Church is to force these “priests” to publicly
    recant or toss them out. There is too much risk in allowing these loons to remain. If they’re tossed out perhaps they can enter occupations where at least they would be doing honest work:
    snow removal, grocery packing, house painting, instead of dishonestly serving as priests.

    Matt Robinson, I trust you’ve read Michael Rose’s “Goodbye to Good Men.” It validates what you
    are saying.

    Tom

  34. Latin Mass Fan says:

    The only good sign in this mess: Orthodox Dominicans are denouncing their brother Dominicans for this mess!

    This would never occur in the ranks of the Jesuits!

    “And this must pass for consolation . . .”

  35. P NP, OP says:

    Latin Mass Fan,

    I don’t think you are going to see Dominicans denouncing Dominicans. I hope not! I hope my fellow Dominicans will simply stand up and clearly state that the proposal put forth by our Dutch brothers does not represent the views of the whole Order and that these views are in conflict with fundamental Catholic teaching. By failing to distance ourselves from this sort of theological nonsense we risk budding losing vocations to the Order, good relationships with companionable bishops, and the good will of faithful Catholics everywhere. No doubt our Dutch brothers will follow up this booklet with a statement explaining that they are merely trying to engage the question of priesthood so as to raise awareness of the shortage and spark more creative solutions. Does anyone know whether or not this booklet received approval from the Provincial?

    Fr. Philip, OP

  36. Paul, South midlands says:

    Isn’t this the real agenda behind the introduction in the 1970s of comnmunion in the hand and Extraordinary Monsters? [sorry Extraordianry Ministers of Communion]

  37. Brian says:

    Wow – with proposals like these, it’s a wonder they don’t understand why they have so few priests and so many closed churches. Thank the Holy Spirit for his guidance away from things like this, in the direction by Pope Benedict.

  38. I found it very interesting that when I visited Amsterdam recently for the first time, there were three Churches in the old City (which only comprises a very small area) that offered the Novus Ordo in Latin each Sunday, one of them even twice. One of these Churches (a Jesuit Church, of all places) is a breathtakingly beautiful neogothic building, and while they did install a “people’s altar”, they left the amazing Highaltar with ciborium alone and even kept the altar rails. And then there is of course St. Agnes with the extraordinary form of the Mass. And that is Amsterdam, which my “rural” Dutch friends regard as the den of iniquity ;-)

    Even Los Angeles does not have that!

    I don’t think you are going to see Dominicans denouncing Dominicans.

    Fr. Philip, then that is part of the problem. It would be one thing if we were talking about some brothers who were legitimately mistaken on a point of scriptural interpretation, or made an error preaching from the pulpit, or an error of judgment. Then let all charity rule a careful consideration of a response. This is frankly apostasy! It would be a greater witness to our blessed Lord were all Dominican provincials, friars, and even the superior general of the order to stand up and denounce the pamphlet as heretical and demand the brothers in question return to the Catholic faith. This would perhaps help an otherwise weak kneed bishop to do his duty and officially inspect the brothers for heresy.
    This is why Traditionalists such as myself get angry when such strong action is taken against the SSPX, but then nothing happens in return to Bishops and priests who are a million times worse than the worst things the SSPX is said to have done. Why did the then Josef Ratzinger do nothing to Fr. Schillebeeckx? Why did he (and does he) do nothing about Hans Kung, an outrageous heretic who denies far more of the Catholic faith than this pamphlet? Many very good priests such as yourself wish to convince us that the modern Church is in continuity with the old, but then nothing happens to heretics and de facto schismatics who ignore the Pope left and right. When you hold back the rod, you tell folks such as these confused Dominicans in the Netherlands that they can keep doing what they are doing, nothing will happen. This Pope will be gone and a new one will come who is more like them. That’s the sad fact.

  39. Athelstane says:

    “The ranks of Dutch Dominicans have thinned along with those of other clergy, and now number only 90 men.”

    By their fruits, you shall know them.

    And if the Dutch Dominicans keep doing stuff like this, they’ll be on an even faster track to hold their meetings in a phone booth.

  40. TAAD says:

    Seems like the Dutch OP’s need to think outside the box and admit what effect birth control,
    abortion, and materialism have done to vocations. They are cowards for not stating that
    that the lack of vocations is because selfish people. It’s easy to cast stones at teh
    Vatican. It’s much harder to tell your people they need to change.

  41. PNP, OP says:

    Mr. Candido,

    Do you want us to condemn the Dutch friars who wrote the pamphlet or the pamphlet itself? Important distinction there. I wrote above that we are not likely going to see Dominicans condemning Dominicans. I fully expect to see and hear Dominicans condemning the pamphlet.

    Fr. Philip, OP

  42. Berolinensis says:

    As a first step of the Order of Preachers reacting to their Dutch confratres, the Dutch province has cancelled the study meeting they were planning to have about their pamphlet “Church and Office” at the behest of the Dominican Generalate (see: http://www.dominicanen.nl/detail_page.phtml?act_id=196&username=guest&password=9999&publish=Y&username=guest&password=9999&groups=DOMINICA&banner=3&categories=).

  43. Des of New Zealand says:

    God bless the Dutch Dominicans for their prophetic proclamation. We need inspiration not ordination. Let us welcome the new church based on the gospels of Jesus applied today. The signs of the times are surely that God wants an end to the current situation – a time for new skins for new wine. What an exciting time .

  44. Norman says:

    Mr Candido says, “This is why Traditionalists such as myself get angry when such strong action is taken against the SSPX, but then nothing happens in return to Bishops and priests who are a million times worse than the worst things the SSPX is said to have done. ”

    What Mr Candido says has been repeated to me by SSPX-types over and over again ad nauseum.

    I empathise with Mr Candido’s anger but the reaction to it should be measured and reasonable. We should pray for whoever has strayed off into heresy. I’m sure everyone, including Mr Candido will do that. That should include praying that we ourselves may not be misled by our own pride and of course, heretical ideas that may unknowingly seep into our thought.

  45. My response to Des of New Zealand is unprintable.
    Instead, I will have to use the word : “Nonsense”.

  46. Des, anyone can speak prophetically, but whose mouthpiece are they being? Their own, or God’s, or perhaps even someone else’s? The things they are saying are not Catholic, but Protestantistic. If they want to shill for Protestantism and Prostestantistic doctrine, then they should join one of those thousands of sects. But they should not proclaim themselves as faithful Catholic Dominicans when they are clearly advocating not just peculiarities but things that have been anathematized.

    Follow the rules of the clubhouse or have your membership revoked, not matter what dues you’ve paid.

  47. As an Eastern Catholic, I am very obviously a supporter of married men being ordained priests, as was, I might add, the Second Vatican Council which I still hold to be ecumenical and authoritative.

    So some of the responses condemning our traditions and practices which have been referred to as “venerable”, while clearly in reaction to Frederic’s own self-righteous claim to set himself up as judge and jury of the entire blog, are outside of the bounds of Catholic teaching and practice on the matter.

    I respect the pastoral authority of Rome and the Pope on this matter as it pertains to disciplines of the Latin Church. I disagree, however, with the prudential judgment of Rome vis-a-vis the practice of ordaining married men to the priesthood (which Rome does as an exception for converting Protestant clergy), since I do believe that the practice of ordaining older married men of virtue has great merit, as stated recently by Cardinal Schonborn, and also fulfills the discernment criteria mentioned by St. Paul to St. Timothy regarding the value of a man’s fatherly leadership in his household as a critical point of discernment of his fittingness for ministry as spiritual father in the household of faith. Rome, for a variety of reasons, changed its own practice in this regard for the Latin Church, as it has every right to do.

    As to the matter of the Dominicans and “lay presidership”, I think this is clearly an attempt to lay the blame for their own pastoral failures and dwindling membership on the teachings of the Church. They do not have vocations because they are unwilling to be orthodox. Plain and simple. Rather than projecting their issues onto the Church, I think they are overdue for an examination of conscience regarding their own status and ecclesiatical trajectory.

    In other words, shape up (convert, heart and mind) or ship out (leave or get out of the way).

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  48. L Brown says:

    Everyone is relying on the description by The Tablet of what “Kerk en Ambt” says. If one goes to the Dutch Dominicans website (here), one might realize that The Tablet’s summary is a bit flawed. I don’t speak Dutch. So the following comments are based on a very rough translation of the Dominicans’ news release into English. I have not read “Kerk en Ambt” because it is not available online. One can buy it from the publisher, http://www.valkhofpers.nl

    The news release explains that they drafted “Kerk en Ambt” to begin a discussion about allowing more communion services led by lay ministers in the Netherlands because of the severe priest shortage. The news release notes that, even with the closure of many parishes in the Netherlands, Dutch priests frequently have to say Mass at multiple parishes. As a result, the priests are frustrated because they are viewed as outsiders by the parishioners because the parishioners so rarely see them. The news release seems to indicate that, even with priests saying Masses at multiple parishes, some parishes still lack priests to say Mass on Sunday.

    The news release indicates that the Dominicans are proposing that a lay minister or lay ministers (voorganger, which means anyone entitled to lead a religious service) be choosen by a congregation and then APPROVED BY THE BISHOP. The news release states that these lay ministers would not need to be limited to only those who meet the requirements for being a priest and gives the example that the lay ministers wouldn’t need to be celibate. In The Tablet article, it seems to quote from “Kerk en Ambt” on the same point with a statement that indicates that the lay ministers could be men or women, homosexual or heterosexual, married or single as long as they were faithful Catholics. What the Dominicans are proposing appears to me to be the same as the current standards for a lay minister set forth in the guidelines issued by the Catholic Church for “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest.”

    These lay ministers would be allowed to lead the congregation in a communion service only when NO PRIEST was available. The news release indicated that some parishes in the Netherlands already hold communion services, which are led by someone appointed by the bishop or by a volunteer, but that such services are discouraged in the Netherlands.

    It is not clear to me (perhaps because the translation is so rough) to what extent, if any, the types of services that the Dominicans are proposing would differ from the types of communion services led by lay ministers already being done in the Netherlands and other countries, including the United States. From what I can tell, the only “radical” part of their proposal is that communion services led by a lay minister should be used much more widely in the Netherlands then they currently are.

    It seems like what the Dominicans are proposing is what was done when I lived in Saudi Arabia. The complete absence of priests to say Mass on Sunday was the normal condition for Catholics in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia in the late 1970s and early 1980s when my parents and I lived there. Saudi Arabia did not and still does not allow Christians to openly practice their religion. When we lived there, a Filipino priest, who pretended to be an ordinary laborer to get a visa, would visit once every 3-4 months. He would leave enough consecrated hosts so that the local Catholics could meet on Sunday, read the Mass prayers, and receive Communion from the hosts already consecrated by the priest. (Keeping the consecrated hosts for 3-4 months did create a dilemma about whether it was OK to put them in the refrigerator or freezer so that they would not go stale or moldy in the Saudi heat.)

    This type of service strikes me as little different from what the Dominican booklet is proposing from the description in the Dominicans press release. In both cases, the congregation would only be taking these steps because no priests were available to say Mass. The major difference between the two circumstances is the reason for the lack of priests. In Saudi Arabia, the government banned priests from the country and in the Netherlands, the lack of vocations and, perhaps Dutch limits on foreign immigration, have led to a severe shortage of priests that is forcing the closing of parishes throughout the country.

    Given my experiences in Saudi Arabia, I don’t think allowing lay congregations to say the Mass prayers when no priest is available is such an outrageous suggestion as long as one is also doing what one can to address the causes of the priest shortage.

  49. Jordan Potter says:

    L Brown said: Everyone is relying on the description by The Tablet of what “Kerk en Ambt” says.

    No they’re not. You seem to have missed Fr. Marc’s comment above. He is a priest in the Netherlands, and he said:

    The Dutch bishops reacted very strongly against this document. No way they said that the booklet only appeared to be in conflict. They wrote: “[it] is in absolute conflict with the catholic faith”.

    Communion services led by a layman are not in absolute conflict with the Catholic faith. So what do you think the Dutch bishops had in mind if it’s just more Communion services these wayward Dominicans were calling for?

    I don’t think allowing lay congregations to say the Mass prayers when no priest is available is such an outrageous suggestion

    The Church disagrees. If a layman says the Mass prayers, which only priests may say, then that means you have a layman pretending to be a priest and pretending to confect the Eucharist. Suggesting that laymen be allowed to stage mockeries of the Eucharist is indeed outrageous.

  50. RBrown says:

    Gordo,

    As an Eastern Catholic, I am very obviously a supporter of married men being ordained priests, as was, I might add, the Second Vatican Council which I still hold to be ecumenical and authoritative.

    Where does Vat II support married men being ordained to the priesthood?

    And I think the current practice of ordaining married Anglican clergy has led to confusion.

  51. RBrown says:

    God bless the Dutch Dominicans for their prophetic proclamation. We need inspiration not ordination. Let us welcome the new church based on the gospels of Jesus applied today. The signs of the times are surely that God wants an end to the current situation – a time for new skins for new wine. What an exciting time .
    Comment by Des of New Zealand

    Whoever believes that doesn’t believe that the Mass is a Sacrifice. Whoever doesn’t believe the Mass is a Sacrifice isn’t a Catholic.

  52. L Brown says:

    Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest is a form of communion service led by a lay minister or deacon. The format for these services was established by the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Word and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1988. See http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/DocumentContents/Index/2/SubIndex/11/DocumentIndex/55
    These services include introductory rites, liturgy of the word, thanksgiving, communion rites and concluding rites. They contain most, but not all, of the prayers and readings typically found in a Mass.

    No one who leads one of these services is pretending to be a priest. The Dominicans did not suggest that the lay minister pretend to be a priest. No one in these services is mocking the Eucharist. These services were specifically developed to deal with situations when a Catholic community wanted to gather on Sunday but could not attend a Mass because no priest was available to say one. Parishes throughout the United States use these services with the approval of the bishops when no priest is available to say Mass.

    These services are discouraged because it is preferable for Catholics to attend a Mass when one is available. By merely suggesting that these services be encouraged and made more widely available, the Dominicans’ brochure could be viewed as at odds with traditional Catholic doctrine. I suspect that this was what concerned the bishops in their press release. Until they issue their more substantive analysis of the brochure, however, no one knows what they found problematic in the brochure.

  53. Jordan Potter says:

    L Brown asserted: The Dominicans did not suggest that the lay minister pretend to be a priest.

    And yet The Tablet article says:

    Using the early Church as its model, the booklet said a congregation could choose its own lay minister to lead services. The minister and the congregation would speak the words of consecration together. “Speaking these words is not the exclusive right or power of the priest,” the booklet said. “It is the conscious expression of faith by the whole congregation.”

    Whom should we believe, the folks at The Tablet, who have seen and have read the booklet, or you, who do not read or speak Dutch are working with a rough mistranslation of nothing more than a news release?

    Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest is a form of communion service led by a lay minister or deacon. The format for these services was established by the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Word and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

    That proves that what these heretical Dominicans have called for is not Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest. If that’s all they were calling for, the Dutch bishops would not have condemned their heretical pamphlet as being in absolute conflict with the Catholic faith. Do you really think all the bishops in the Netherlands are so clueless as to not know the difference between a Catholic Communion service and a Black Mass with the congregation speaking the words of the consecration?

    No one who leads one of these services is pretending to be a priest. . . No one in these services is mocking the Eucharist.

    If they are laymen and they speak the words of consecration, that’s exactly what they are doing.

    Now, if you have some evidence that The Tablet misquoted this tract, please provide it.

    Until they issue their more substantive analysis of the brochure, however, no one knows what they found problematic in the brochure.

    Maybe it’s the passage quoted by The Tablet article, that asserts every Catholic has a right to speak the Anaphora and the words of consecration.

    I also note that “problematic” is rather weaker than “in absolute conflict with the Catholic faith.”

  54. Jordan Potter says:

    P.S. I found that “L Brown” has posted almost identical comments at ProfessorBainbridge.com, under the name of “Elizabeth.” There she included the URL of the Dutch Dominicans’ news release summarising their pamphlet. This is my comment in response to Elizabeth/L Brown’s post over there:

    Elizabeth, you are not accurately conveying what the Dutch Dominicans’ news release says. Like you, I don’t read or speak Dutch, so I Babelfished the news release, and I found that the news release is in perfect agreement with the article in The Tablet: they aren’t just calling for more lay-led Communion Services, but are arguing that it is the entire parish congregation, not the priest alone, that validly confects the Eucharist. That is unquestionably heretical, irreconcilable with the faith that Jesus revealed to His Church.

    http://www.dominicanen.nl/detail_page.phtml?act_id=189&username=guest&password=9999&publish=Y&username=guest&password=9999&groups=DOMINICA&banner=1&categories=nieuws,

  55. RBrown,

    I apologize for being unclear – Vatican II was supportive of the married priesthood OUTSIDE of the Latin Church. The relevant pasage is found in PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS:

    16. (Celibacy is to be embraced and esteemed as a gift). Perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, commended by Christ the Lord and through the course of time as well as in our own days freely accepted and observed in a praiseworthy manner by many of the faithful, is held by the Church to be of great value in a special manner for the priestly life. It is at the same time a sign and a stimulus for pastoral charity and a special source of spiritual fecundity in the world. Indeed, it is not demanded by the very nature of the priesthood, as is apparent from the practice of the early Church and from the traditions of the Eastern Churches. where, besides those who with all the bishops, by a gift of grace, choose to observe celibacy, there are also married priests of highest merit. This holy synod, while it commends ecclesiastical celibacy, in no way intends to alter that different discipline which legitimately flourishes in the Eastern Churches. It permanently exhorts all those who have received the priesthood and marriage to persevere in their holy vocation so that they may fully and generously continue to expend themselves for the sake of the flock commended to them.

    What we learn from the teaching of the Council is:

    1. Celibacy is not intrinsic to the nature of the priesthood.
    2. Optional celibacy was practiced in the early Church, as it is today in the Eastern Churches.
    3. There are very praiseworthy married priests who exemplify the ideals of priestly life in their marriage covenant.
    4. The different discipline is legitimate and it should rightly flourish in the Churches of the East.
    5. Married priests are exorted to persevere in their holy vocation – of both marriage and the presbyterate.

    Sounds like high praise to me! And a bit of a mea maxima culpa for the humiliating and unjust nonsense we Easterners had to endure from the North American Latin bishops and from Rome which spawned both the Orthodox Church of America and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese…all of whom were at one time Eastern Catholics.

    So I offer a fraternal challenge to those Latins out there who believe married priesthood to be “un-Catholic” or “Protestant” and say as much on forums like this:

    Every time you do so, you contravene the teachings of an Ecumenical Council. You betray a most “un-Catholic” attitude towards OUR legitimate, praiseworthy and ecclesially sanctioned traditions (this has been affirmed repeatedly by the papal magisterium since Vatican II) and thus cause offense and further division between East and West. The problem is that Latins too often exclusively identify their own legitimate traditions with “Catholicism” and develop a manner of speaking and thinking that is conditioned by what can only be called a schismatic attitude, that is, an attitude which serves to perpetuate the schism. If we read Orientalium Ecclesiarum and Orientale Lumen, we see support by the Catholic magisterium at the highest level for our traditions (ncluding a married priesthood) and their restoration, as well as for Latins to come to know, love and appreciate the East…even to the point of “breathing with both lungs”.

    You are rightly proud of your great Latin heritage, which includes a great tradition of celibacy and sacrifice for the kingdom. We, your Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ, support you. We are equally proud of our heritage, which includes a married priesthood alongside a celibate priesthood.

    So please do not refer to as “Protestant” what is in fact fully and unequivocally “Catholic”.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  56. RBrown says:

    Gordo,

    1. I thought that your comments referred to VatII on the Eastern churches, but I wanted you to clarify it.

    2. I don’t much care for the phrase “optional celibacy” simply because we are born celibate. And so the option for an adult is to marry–not to be celibate.

    3. As you well know, in the Eastern churches no priest can marry after ordination–a married but not marrying priesthood. And no married priest can become a bishop. In fact, I had two North American Ukrainian classmates in Rome. One finished his studies, then took some time off, got married, and then was ordained–he is now in Austria. The other was ordained after studies and was recently named a bishop.

    4 In the West, one third of all priests are religious, and so they would not marry regardless of any change in the discipline.

  57. RBrown,

    Interesting point on the idea of “optional celibacy”. Of course, I meant it in reference to candidates for the priesthood, not for existing deacons and priests.

    The merits of a married episcopate are being debated in certain circles within Orthodoxy, but I do not believe it is being considered seriously in any broad sense. Of course, I cannot envision – save for exceptional circumstances, such as what happened in the underground Church in Ukraine – such a thing ever evolving in the Catholic communion for a variety of reasons which I will not go into now.

    What you mention about your friend now in Austria is quite common. After completing studies, these men often return to their hometown or village and get married and then soon afterwards present themselves for ordination to the diaconate.

    For myself, I favor a more organic approach. I see within the progression of minor orders and eventually major orders a gradual development of pastoral leadership skills and scope. To my mind, let a man serve in a variety of ministries as a married man in his twenties, let’s say, and then in his mid to late twenties study for the diaconate. He should then serve faithfully as a deacon for the next 7-10 years until he is at least 40 at which time he should be (if all has gone well) regarded as a candidate for the priesthood, should God, his wife and the bishop (in that order) believe it to be the case. The notion of presbyter as fatherly “elder” I believe has great value, especially in a married candidate who has been through the process of raising children (the fruit of his baptismal priesthood in the marriage covenant), and has an established stable marriage as well as a track record of pastoral leadership in the local church. Obviously, for those who wish to remain celibate, there should be a similar progression with collapsed time frames. I certainly do not favor a 6 month or 1 year diaconate. I believe this sort of practice cheapens the ministry of deacon and places a man in the position of exercising his priesthood without sufficient experience of leadership in a parish. I would personally favor two years of diaconal service – 1 year in the seminary and 1 year outside of the seminary before ordination to the priesthood.

    I will also say that there should be no assumption made that as a man progresses in Church leadership, that the, what one author calls, “omnivorous priesthood” is the goal! For some, being a Reader is the vocation. For others, a Subdeacon. For others, the Diaconate. But all of this should be discerned in the context of the local parish family, which offers its”Axios!” (“He is worthy!”) when the candidate is presented for ordination. The notion of priestly formation as an academic exercise seems to be prominent, but it is quite foreign to the ethos of the early Church, IMHO.

    Again, this is only my own thinking on the matter as someone who works internationally in the field of leadership consulting and development.

    God bless,

    Gordo

  58. RBrown says:

    What you mention about your friend now in Austria is quite common. After completing studies, these men often return to their hometown or village and get married and then soon afterwards present themselves for ordination to the diaconate.

    Actually, he was a Canadian. I’m not so sure how he wound up in Austria–his wife is a doctor, and she might be Austrian.

    A bit more on celibacy and the priesthood:

    Although marriage is not intrinsically an impediment to Holy Orders, nevertheless, the parish priest is in the only priestly apostolate that is not intrinsically connected with celibacy (cf. the Eastern Churches). Other apostolates, e.g., monastic and apostolic, presume a certain independence that is possible only with the celibate.

    And I disagree with your notion that the minor and major orders are grades of pastoral leadership. The primary purpose of the priest is to celebrate the Eucharist. All the other grades of order are there only to assist him during the celebration, the deacon being the exception.

  59. RBrown,

    “And I disagree with your notion that the minor and major orders are grades of pastoral leadership. The primary purpose of the priest is to celebrate the Eucharist. All the other grades of order are there only to assist him during the celebration, the deacon being the exception.”

    (How do you do that bold thing again?)

    So what is servant-leadership in the Eucharistic assembly if not servant-leadership in the Church? And since the appointment or ordination to these ecclesiastical offices is clearly a participation in the pastoral solicitude of the bishop for his congregation, it is therefore in some sense a participation in his fatherly, pastoral leadership. This is especially the case with the subdeacon, whose role is really to help serve the deacon (hence the name) in the exercise of his diakonia both within and as an extension of the liturgy.

    I can only assume that your reference to “primary purpose” is not an attempt to reduce the ministry of the presbyter (elder) to simply that of a cultic functionary. Rather, his liturgical ministry as a priest finds its source and summit at the Eucharistic Table (for those who might not know, it is called the “Holy Table” in our tradition while the “Altar” refers to the whole sanctuary behind the Iconostasis), which must be seen as overflowing in his exercise of spiritual fatherhood within the congregation on a daily basis. The kenotic pattern of his ministry “within” the assembly is the iconic pattern for the exercise of his ministry “outside” of the assembly.

    To a certain extent (remote as it may seem or be), the same could be said readers, subdeacons, cantors, acolytes, etc…but especially of subdeacons. The pattern of their service in the congregation gathered for the liturgy should be replicated outside of the liturgy. Readers, for instance, should be servants of the Word of God and should exercise that service according to their personal charisms and capacity. Their fittingness for the ministry of reader should be determined in part by their love and knowledge of the Word of God, not just by their singing voice. I know several who serve as catechists and view their service in this capacity as an extension of their liturgical office. This is especially true of subdeacons and some of the history of the subdiaconate bears this out.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14320a.htm

    Subdeacons are also generally placed “in charge” of the acolyte/server corps, which can sometimes be as challenging as shepherding cats!

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  60. RBrown says:

    So what is servant-leadership in the Eucharistic assembly if not servant-leadership in the Church? And since the appointment or ordination to these ecclesiastical offices is clearly a participation in the pastoral solicitude of the bishop for his congregation, it is therefore in some sense a participation in his fatherly, pastoral leadership. This is especially the case with the subdeacon, whose role is really to help serve the deacon (hence the name) in the exercise of his diakonia both within and as an extension of the liturgy.

    Of course, it’s a participation, but what about a layman who teaches theology to seminarians? Or a lay woman who teaches theology, e.g., the excellent Scripture prof the Gregoriana in Rome). Or a lay woman working at the SCDF, like the Belgian Marie Henricks. According to your pastoral leadership paradigm, they would all fit somewhere between the diaconate and subdiaconate–teaching theology is just an academic version of commenting on the Gospel, as deacons and priests do in giving homilies.

    That Pastoral Leadership Paradigm blurs the distinction between the priesthood and the laity–which is why we are in the present mess.

    I can only assume that your reference to “primary purpose” is not an attempt to reduce the ministry of the presbyter (elder) to simply that of a cultic functionary.

    Primary purpose means the existence of other purpose(s). In no way could it be taken to mean a reduction that excludes other purposes.

    Rather, his liturgical ministry as a priest finds its source and summit at the Eucharistic Table (for those who might not know, it is called the “Holy Table” in our tradition while the “Altar” refers to the whole sanctuary behind the Iconostasis), which must be seen as overflowing in his exercise of spiritual fatherhood within the congregation on a daily basis. The kenotic pattern of his ministry “within” the assembly is the iconic pattern for the exercise of his ministry “outside” of the assembly.

    See above.

  61. RBrown,

    “Of course, it’s a participation, but what about a layman who teaches theology to seminarians? Or a lay woman who teaches theology, e.g., the excellent Scripture prof the Gregoriana in Rome). Or a lay woman working at the SCDF, like the Belgian Marie Henricks. According to your pastoral leadership paradigm, they would all fit somewhere between the diaconate and subdiaconate—teaching theology is just an academic version of commenting on the Gospel, as deacons and priests do in giving homilies.

    That Pastoral Leadership Paradigm blurs the distinction between the priesthood and the laity—which is why we are in the present mess.”

    Let me be clear – we are discussing ecclesial offices and the progression that occurs within that framework. I never said that lay theologians (male or female) apart from being ordained or appointed to an ecclesial office were somehow in the same “pipeline”. Clearly they exercise some form of charismatic leadership by virtue of their ordo as baptized/chrismated laity and their training as theologians. It is not the same as “pastoral leadership”, which is a designation I believe should be reserved for those who serve in minor or major orders.

    My point is that we should not reduce the ministry of minor orders to its cultic function alone. I am clear now that that was not your intent.

    As to the issues of today, I believe a restoration of minor orders coupled with actually USING them would be a great way to clarify the situation in the Church vis-a-vis the ordo of the laity and the hierarchy. Setting aside for the moment the question of the ministries of deaconess and widows, minor orders are traditionally the domain of men, specifically trained and appointed for that purpose. That way the notion that “we need to get everyone involved in liturgy” is curtailed somewhat. I also see a restoration of minor orders as fertile ground for vocations. As one progresses up the leadership pipeline, taking on various responsibilities that steadily increase in scope, hopefully the seed of a higher vocation will follow and develop.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.

    Gordo