WDTPRS 29th Ordinary Sunday: “bear with me” – glory and pregnancy

The Collect for the 29th Ordinary Sunday is found the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary among the prayers for the 5th Sunday after Easter.  Those of you who participate in celebrations of Holy Mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum will hear this Collect on the Sunday after Ascension.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, fac nos tibi semper et devotam gerere voluntatem, et maiestati tuae sincero corde servire.

LITERAL RENDERING:

Almighty eternal God, cause us always both to bear towards You a devout faith, and to serve Your majesty with a sincere faith.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):

Almighty and ever-living God, our source of power and inspiration, give us strength and joy in serving you as followers of Christ.

CURRENT ICEL (2011):

Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.

The complex verb gero means basically “to bear, wear, carry, have”.  In the supplement to the great Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary, Souter’s A Glossary of Later Latin, we find that after the 3rd century A.D. gero can be “to celebrate a festival”.  This is confirmed in Blaise’s dictionary of liturgical Latin vocabulary; gero is “celebrate”.  In a construction with a dative pronoun (such as tibi) and morem (from mos as in the infamous exclamation O tempora! O mores!) it can mean “perform someone’s will.”  I think today’s tibi…gerere substitutes devotam voluntatem for morem.  That servio (“serve”) is one of those verbs constructed with the dative case, as in “to be useful for, be of service to”.

In our Latin prayers maiestas is usually synonymous with gloria.  Fathers of the Church St. Hilary of Poitiers (+368) and St. Ambrose of Milan (+397), and also early liturgical texts, use this concept of “glory” or “majesty” for more than simple fame or splendor of appearance.  A liturgical Latin gloria can be the equivalent of biblical Greek doxa and Hebrew kabod.   Doxa was translated into Latin also with the words like maiestas and claritas, which in some contexts become forms of address (“Your Majesty”).  This “glory” or “majesty” is a divine characteristic.  God will share His gloria with us in heaven. We will be transformed by it, made more radiant as the images of God we are meant to be.  Our contact with God in the sacraments and liturgical worship advances the transformation which will continue in the Beatific Vision.  “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another (a claritate in claritatem); for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).

When God wished to speak with Moses, His Presence would descend on the meeting tent as a cloud (Hebrew shekhinah) and fill the tent. Moses’ face would shine radiantly from his encounters with God and had to be covered with a veil (cf. Exodus 34).  The shekhinah remains with us architecturally in our churches… in some places at least.  Even more than the burning presence lamp, a baldachin or a veil covering the tabernacle is the sign of the Lord’s Presence.

When we enter the holy precincts of a church, our encounter with the Lord in mystery must continue the transformation which began with baptism.  During the Year of Faith, which is fast coming to a close, commit to be well-prepared to meet the Lord in your parish church.  Be properly disposed in body through your fast, in spirit through confession.

Today’s Collect always brings to my mind a fresco by Piero della Francesca (+1492) in little Monterchi near Arezzo. “La Madonna del Parto” shows Mary great with Child, a subject rare in Renaissance painting.

One meaning of the Latin verb gero is “to be pregnant” as in gerere partum.  In the fresco, twin angels in Renaissance garb delicately lift tent-like draperies on each side to reveal Mary standing with eyes meditatively cast down, one hand placed on her hip for support, her other hand upon her unborn Child.

The fresco, this wonder depiction of life, was ironically painted originally for a cemetery chapel.  The drapery and the angels invoke the image of a baldachin and the veil of a tabernacle.  It calls to mind the tent in the wilderness where the Ark with the tablets and its golden angels were preserved, wherein Moses spoke to God so that his face reflected God’s majesty.

Mary, too, is Ark of the Real Presence, the Tabernacle in which Christ reposed.  She, like the tent of the Ark, was overshadowed.  Our Sunday Collect reminds us also to look to Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church, our Mother.  She is the perfect example of the service to others that flows from loving her Son, bearing the faith, serving God’s transforming glory.

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Pope Francis’ final address to the Synod as it closes

Pope Francis addressed the Synod participants at the end of the Synod.  I’ll out the blah blah:

(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis addressed the assembled Fathers, thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to continue to journey.

Below, please find Vatican Radio’s provisional translation of Pope Francis’ address to the Synod Fathers: 

[..]

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality [Q: How are they different?] – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned: [Not that we want to dwell on them...]

- One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.  ["traditionalist" "intellectualisti".  Really?

- The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo] [This also means a "going along to get along", not to make waves.], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.[Because liberals are "do-gooders" and the traditionalists ... aren't?]

- The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

- The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

- The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; [I am not sure I get that part.  How can you both "neglect" the depositum fidei and then think you are its "owner".] or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things… [?  I didn't get that part, either.  Who neglects reality?]

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.  [I don't think the mere presence of the Pope that guarantees anything.  The Pope also has to act and speak.  No?]

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.  [Interesting!]

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. [Because he loves them, he corrects them.] But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it… that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse [Sermon] 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

[The hymn Te Deum was sung, and Benediction given.]

Thank you, and rest well, eh?

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NYC Day 1: Pastrami Edition

I am at the glorious Pastrami Queen on Lexington.

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Mushroom Barley soup

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Pastrami

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Corned Beef

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“Smile!” … yep… he was smiling.

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We spent time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, sort of my Mecca, to which I bow several times when I come to this city.  There are exhibits of incredible tapestries right not by Pieter Coecke van Aelst. Wow. There is also a small exhibit of Pre-Raphaelite stuff, of which I can’t get enough. Fascinating movement and period.

UPDATE:

Some of the cases in the lower hallways (straight on) have been switched around. Here is something I haven’t seen:

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This is a late Roman or maybe Byzantine piece, 300-500. It’s a chariot mount.  You see three figures, two orators and a grammarian.  The scrolls and the raised hand, palm outward as a teaching gesture give them away.  They also have writing tablets.  My interest in ancient rhetoric caused my eye to zoom to this piece as we were charging by.

I find this little medallion, perhaps made in Alexandria but maybe found in Tivoli, made in the early 300′s, to be charming.

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A mother, probably wealthy given the hairdo, with her son.

Did any of you listen to my LENTCAzTs last year?

Behold…

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Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (+1704).  This is a hard-paste biscuit porcelain piece from Sévres.  The Met, btw, has a spiffy collection of soft-paste, also.

When I am at the Met, I can feel my brain reactivate.

Also, during a short break for a refreshing beverage in the cafe of the American Wing, we were approached by a fellow who writes for Crisis, Tom Piatak.  Review his piece from last April about Divorce.  HERE  He makes great points drawn from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.

More later.

Posted in On the road, SESSIUNCULA, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 22 Comments

Hell’s Bible’s editorial on the Synod

At Hell’s Bible we find an editorial:

Pope Francis Walks the Talk
Vatican Signals on Gays and Remarriage Are a Hopeful Beginning

A half-century after the historic changes of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis is showing his intent to drive a comparably ambitious agenda for the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st century.

The current synod of bishops in Rome, called by Francis to encourage reform and modernization, [ahhh... that's why he called it!] set a ringing tone of compassion this week with an opening call for a more welcoming attitude toward gay people, unmarried couples, divorced Catholics who remarry, and children in these unions.  [See my earlier post about what the MSM was going to do next.  HERE  Did I call it?]

The bishops’ report on their first week of private discussions did not immediately change church doctrine.  [Not immediately... but there's hope!  As long as Francis the Hopepful, the most wonderfullest Pope evhur, the first Pope ever to smile or kiss a baby can fend off those hate-filled, close-minded mouth-breathing conservatives!] But it signaled the pope’s determination to have the church look anew at the realities of the modern world, [How revolutionary.  John Paul and Benedict never considered the modern world as it is.  Nope.  Never.  What was that phrase, again? "Dictatorship of Relativism"?] including what the bishops [No!  Archbp. Forte, not "the bishops"] were moved to call the “positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation” — a formulation unthinkable in an era when the church denounced such Catholics as “living in sin.[But doesn't now.  So, you would think that now the NYT is a fan of the Church.  Right?]

The synod’s summary language about gays and lesbians was even more remarkable.

Blech.

Moderation is ON.

Posted in Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged | 21 Comments

Views on the Synod right now

Another day, another Synod post.  Yes, it’ll be over soon.  For a while.  Then it will fire back up in full fury before next year’s Synod.

Today the bishops are working on the final Relatio.  They will use electronic voting during their session.  What could go wrong?

Meanwhile, let me throw a few items at you, in no particular order, for your consideration.  Some differing perspectives.   Listen for the premises.

From Corriere della Sera, my translation:

An imprudent move. This is what the publication of the report following the first week of the Synod was considered: the one that had the openings toward the divorced and remarried and homosexuals. When the Pope saw the texts in L’Osservatore Romano[the Vatican daily] and Avvenire[the Italian Bishops Conference's daily... yes, they have one], the Pope immediately expressed his concern about the impact they would have. A well-founded fear. The impression sent to the bishops and cardinals was that it was not a document to be studied and discussed, but a preview of the outcome of the meeting.

[...]

The Pope saw the texts in L’Osservatore Romano and Avvenire?   Really?  That’s stretches credulity beyond the breaking point.

A friend of mine in Rome sent me his take on this piece in Corriere, which I share with a little editing:

They [the MSM] are scrambling to blame Baldisseri etc. to preserve His Holiness. And yet the article is not by Vecchi, a vaticanista, but by Massimo Franco, a political analyst of Corriere and a bunch of other liberal organs and institutions, but was for years with Avvenire.

He has published books on the Church and has been pushing the image of Francis finally ending the chasm between the Church and the world. But normally he writes about intricate Italian parliamentary politics and international affairs. If he decided or they asked him to write something about this instead of the run of the mill vaticanista it is because they sense a BIG problem and needed someone who could make phone calls and not just speculate and spin the obvious.

Now, something in the tone of the article makes me wonder if this isn’t also a warning shot, signalling that maybe The Bishop of Rome is not fully in charge and may not be able to steer the Church in the “right” direction after all.

Could this, and not some affirmation of Catholic doctrine, be the possible beginning of the media forsaking him? I don’t know, probably not. But they are wondering. Now they’re seeing that episodes like [The Five Cardinals Book] or Muller voicing opposition to Kasper were not just desperate cries of a kook fringe but in fact representative of a more widespread than expected discomfort with the current state of affairs and the undignified mobster style of running the Curia, of which the Robber Synod was the catalyst.

I am reminded of when the media and church intellectuals revolted against Paul VI and started to return to their evergreen tune: that the problem is not so much of who is the Pope but the institution of the papacy in itself.

[...]

We’ll see. Servi inutiles sumus, but this article proves the good guys scored big the other day and that, with the help of Our Lady, we can succeed more than we believe.

Provocative food for thought.

Meanwhile, there is a statement, in English, from the Synod Fathers at the Vatican website.  Some of it is pretty good. HERE

An excerpt:

First, the ordinary Germans are correct. The Catholic Church is Germany’s second-largest employer with 690,000 employees. (That’s 7 times the size of Mercedes Benz, folks.) Bishops take home between $10,000 and $15,000 per MONTH, and they don’t pay for their residence, their cars or their upkeep. You can read all about it here, but suffice to say that the German Catholic Church has been a gravy train for clerics for the last 60 years.

Second, the gravy train is about to come to an end. Fully 140,000 Germans leave the Church every year. Plus, a demographic cliff looms, and the Germans — world masters at corporate planning — can see the end coming very clearly. Estimates vary, but basically in 15-20 years the well will run dry. The old people will die. The young people won’t pay.

Third, the Germans are playing to a German audience. The German Bishops care about what the German media wants. In turn, the German media wants eyeballs — plus they want to see the Church completely de-fanged for the usual ideological reasons.

Fourth, there’s the embarrassment factor. Also — and this is really a very minor point — it is a bit uncomfortable when nosy foreigners and the occasional naive media pundit asks why the richest Church in the world is such an utter failure. If and when this is admitted, it must never be attributed to the thoroughly modern German approach to Catholicism, but should be blamed on Rome at all costs.

Meanwhile, there’s this approach.

The moderation queue is definitely ON!

UPDATE: Beverley DeSoto of Regina Magazine has a take on the German views of the Synod.  HERE

 

Posted in The Drill | Tagged , | 56 Comments

What Card. Burke really said to BuzzFeed

Card. Burke to BuzzFeed:

BuzzFeed News: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?
Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that I’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.
BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?
CB: Yes.
BFN: You’re obviously a very well-respected person. That must be disappointing.
CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it.
On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…
BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the Order of Malta, is that right?
CB: It’s called the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, that’s right.

___

Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: The Full Transcript

At the request of many readers, BuzzFeed News has published a full transcript of its interview with Cardinal Burke in which he confirms his removal from the Catholic Church’s highest court.
posted on Oct. 18, 2014, at 12:30 p.m.

BuzzFeed News reporter J. Lester Feder spoke with Cardinal Raymond Burke Friday morning via Skype to discuss the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and address rumors that he was being removed as the head of the Vatican’s highest court of canon law.

Cardinal Burke: Hello, this is Cardinal Burke.
BuzzFeed News: Apologies, it seems we got disconnected. I was just asking if it’s okay if I record our conversation.
CB: Yes, it’s fine. That’s fine.
BFN: I know you don’t have a lot of time, so why don’t we just dive in. I’ve seen your comments suggesting that [the Extraordinary Synod on the Family] was being manipulated. Can you say a little bit more about that, and who is doing the manipulating?
CB: Since the presentation of Cardinal Kasper in February to the extraordinary consistory of cardinals, there’s been a consistent repetition of [Kasper’s] position that is trying to weaken the church’s teaching and practice with regard to the indissolubility of marriage. This has just been consistent, casting the synod — which was to be on the family, directed in a positive way on family life — suggesting that the main purpose of the synod would be to permit those who are in irregular unions to receive the sacraments of penance and holy communion, which is not possible. If someone is bound to a prior marriage which has not been declared null, and is living as husband or wife with someone else. That’s a public state of sin and therefore the person cannot receive holy communion or go to the sacrament of penance until the matter is resolved.
But that’s been — all along this keeps coming back, and I see more clearly than ever that that’s how the synod is. And certainly the media has picked up on this — very much so.
BFN: To the question of how that’s being done, presumably the pope was the one who asked Cardinal Kasper to frame the synod. Are you saying that [the pope] is the one who is manipulating these proceedings?
CB: The pope has never said openly what his position is on the matter and people conjecture that because of the fact that he asked Cardinal Kasper — who was well known to have these views for many, many years — to speak to the cardinals and has permitted Cardinal Kasper to publish his presentation in five different languages and to travel around advancing his position on the matter, and then even recently to publicly claim that he’s speaking for the pope and there’s no correction of this.
I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.
BFN: Would it be inappropriate for the pope to do that? To structure the conversation in such a way that it is consistent with his thinking?
CB: According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no it wouldn’t be correct.

BFN: I did a story a while back reporting on a conversation that sources relayed to me between an LGBT activist and Cardinal Müller. In that conversation, the activist apparently asked Müller about the possibility of the church possibly accepting some forms of civil unions, based on some of the comments that the pope had made and some of the positions he was understood to have taken while he was the president of the bishops conference of Argentina. Müller reportedly responded that [that decision] wasn’t up to the pope, it was up to “us,” referring to the curia. In that thinking about how these kinds of church teachings are made, can you explain to an outsider what the relationship is between this kind of conversation and the pope’s personal thinking?
CB: Well I suppose the simplest way to put it is that all of us who serve the church are at the service of the truth: the truth that Christ teaches us in the church. And the pope more than anyone else, as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth. And so the cardinal is quite correct that the pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other truth of the faith. On the contrary, his work is to teach these truths and to insist on the discipline which reflects the truths in practice.
BFN: It sounds like there’s a tension, what we’re seeing play out in this [synod]. It sounds like you’re saying there are some people who deliberately want to change teaching. Like the people who are supportive of some of the positions that were articulated in the Relatio are saying that they’re trying to balance the pastoral need to find space for people who are living outside what the church teaches is the appropriate lifestyle, to find a way pastorally to incorporate them into the community and to bring them more in line.
You’ve used very strong words about homosexuality; in a recent interview you say again that homosexual acts are always wrong and evil. Is there any middle ground, any way to make space for LGBT people inside the church while also adhering to church teaching?
CB: Well the church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of good will, even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction. But at the same time out of her love for the person who’s involved in sinful acts, she calls the person to conversion, in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.
There never can be in the Catholic Church a difference between doctrine and practice. In other words, you can’t have a doctrine that teaches one thing and a practice which does something differently. If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters than they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept what the church teaches. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.
BFN: But as I read the Relatio — and again I’m reading this as a layperson — it seems like what they’re saying is [trying to establish] a welcoming tone. While not changing the teaching, they’re also trying to not make the primary point of contact be a fight over these lifestyle choices. While holding up that the ideal remains matrimony, they’re not going to be pushed out and harassed by virtue of not being in that arrangement.
CB: The point is that for the church, moral teaching is never a matter of ideals. They’re understood to be real commands that we’re meant to put into practice. All of us are sinners and we have to undergo a daily conversion to live according to the moral truth, but it remains for us always compelling. It’s not just an ideal that we hold out there, that, “It would be nice if it were this way, but I can’t do it.” No, we’re called to conform ourselves to those truths.
That’s the difficulty with the Relatio, which is not well expressed, and does not have a good foundation neither in the sacred scriptures nor in the church’s perennial teachings, and also uses language which can be very confusing.
One of the confusions is that it confuses the person with the sinful acts. In other words, it tries to say that if the church teaches that these acts are sinful that somehow they are turning on the people and driving them away from the church. Well, if the individuals involved are sincere and want to live the truth of moral law, the church is always ready to help. Even if someone sins repeatedly, the church always stands ready to help them begin again. But the truth of the moral law remains and it is compelling. It’s for now, it’s for me, it’s not something out there, some ideal out there that would be nice to realize but it doesn’t compel me.
BFN: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?

Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that i’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.
BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?
CB: Yes.
BFN: You’re obviously a very well respected person. That must be disappointing.
CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it. On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…
BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the order of Malta, is that right?
CB: It’s called the patron of the sovereign military order of Malta, that’s right.
BFN: So where are we now? As I understand it, the final draft of the Relatio is expected later today and it will be voted on tomorrow, is that right?
CB: It’s scheduled to be read to us tomorrow morning and then there’s to be discussion and the final vote is tomorrow afternoon.
BFN: I’m curious about the revisions that happened yesterday in the English version of the [Relatio] and none of the others. I don’t know if you can shed any light on that…
CB: I only know the revisions that were suggested by the small group to which I belonged, I haven’t seen the other ones, they were all delivered yesterday and were studied yesterday afternoon and today for the revision of the text. From the reports which were published, the summary reports, I believe that there was a rather thorough revision.
BFN: On this final stretch, you have very well respected doctrinal experts like Cardinal Wuerl on [the Relatio] writing committee. Do you have confidence in them going forward?
CB: I trust that they will produce a worthy document. I must say I was shocked by what I heard on Monday morning, which was presented by a very reputable cardinal, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Budapest. So you can imagine I’m a little shaken by that, my trust is a little bit shaken, but I am hoping that we won’t have a repeat of that.
BFN: All right, sir, I very much appreciate you making the time, I know you haven’t spoken with a lot of secular outlets, so I am really honored that you’d be willing to do that for us.
CB: You’re welcome. Goodbye, and God bless you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and to protect the identity of a source.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 42 Comments

ASK FATHER: Lay people purifying vessels at Mass

From a reader…

I recently attended a “school Mass” at a local Catholic school while I was substitute teaching for the day. I had the misfortune of happening upon a parish that uses about one extraordinary minister per member of the congregation. After Mass, the extraordinary ministers gathered around the credence table to purify their vessels (they had given the Eucharist under both species in about 5 Chalices and Ciboriums each) while the priest stood by at the altar not really doing much. Eventually the priest purified his chalice at the credence table (not the Altar!). This situation seemed dubious to me (not to say for some other portions of the Liturgy). Is that permissible?

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) makes the matter pretty clear. GIRM 163, 270, and 271 indicate that the vessels are to be purified by the priest.   He can purify the vessels either at the altar or at the credence table.

If there is a deacon present at Mass, in accord with GIRM 183, he should purify the vessels at the credence table. It is also permissible simply to cover the vessels and purify them after Mass. That purification may be done by a priest, deacon, or, if no deacon is available, an instituted acolyte.  An instituted acolyte, not just anyone.  And an “instituted acolyte” is not someone who substitutes for the instituted acolyte, if you get my drift.

The Bishops in these USA had permission to experiment with allowing extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) to purify the vessels. That permission was granted on March 22, 2002, for a period of three years.

That permission lapsed on March 22, 2005.

The bishops requested an extension of the permission, but no response was forthcoming.

They renewed the request in March 2006.

On 12 October 2006, we just missed the anniversary, Card. Arinze, then-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote to the bishops to tell them that their request for an extension had been denied.

Hence, it is no longer permissible for EMHC’s to purify vessels.

Purifying the sacred vessels is a priestly thing.

One of a priest’s most important duties is maintaining the worship of God in and for the Church. That includes maintaining the things needed for the Church’s worship.

Isn’t it interesting that some of the priests who most often spew about the “bad old days” of clericalism, and who want to just be “one of the guys”, Father Just-Call-Me-Bruce, are also the priests who don’t want to purify their sacred vessels?  This is part and parcel of their mentality that doling out priestly tasks to the laity is the way to “empower” the lay faithful, to get them to participate “actively”.   This is real clericalism, negatively understood.  That’s so condescending of those priests: “I’m going to let you do something that I do, because you are not enough on your own, as a baptized person.  Nope, I get to make you special.”

Priests should help the laity embrace the apostolates in the world to which God has called them and for which He has equipped them.  That’s what priests are for: we offer Sacrifice, we give sacraments and counsel and teach in the name of the Church so that lay people can fulfill their roles in the world the best they can.

A priest was once heard to mutter loudly in the sacristy, “I don’t know why Rome won’t let lay people purify the chalices! I’ve got so many better things to do with my time than ‘do the dishes.’” A lay woman who was helping out in the same sacristy turned to him and retorted, “Yeah, that’s beneath you as a priest. That’s lay people work, isn’t it? It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do with my time, like go pick up my mother-in-law from the nursing home and bring her back to the house for the day, cook breakfast for my family, help my children with their homework, pack my husband’s clothes for his business trip, and collect some food from the neighbor’s for the food shelf. I’m sure you’ve got much better things to do than me.”

Honestly.  Lay people face things that would make most priests curl up in a ball and suck their thumbs.   On the other hand, believe me, lay people don’t want to deal with some of the things that the diligent and faithful priest (hated by Satan) deals with.

We don’t do lay people any favors by blurring the distinctions of the priesthood of the ordained and of the baptized.

we also don’t do them any favors by hiding the Truth or soft-peddling it until it is meaningless.

We each have our roles. Vive la différence.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

Card Sarah of Africa on Synod

Even as it had been decided that the Synod will end today, CNS has a piece about the view of His Eminence Card. Sarah. HERE

African cardinal: Pressure groups behind push to change Church

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2014 / 04:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Innacurate media reports about Church teaching on homosexuality published after the synod’s midterm relatio are an attempt to pressure the Church to change its perennial teaching, a cardinal who is also a synod father has affirmed.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, emphasized to CNA Oct. 16 that “what has been published by the media about homosexual unions is an attempt to push the Church (to change) her doctrine.”

“The Church has never judged homosexual persons, but homosexual behavior and homosexual unions are grave deviations of sexuality,” the cardinal, who is from the west African nation of Guinea, added.

Among the criticisms of the synod’s midterm report was the absence of some important statements, a point raised especially by some of the bishops from Africa.

Cardinal Sarah affirmed, however, that “some very important topics are reported in the relatio,” as for example “the Church’s refusal to promote policies linked to gender (theory) in exchange for financial aid.” [Like a... Church Tax?]

“This has been explicitly said in Cardinal Erdo’s relatio, and it is a relevant issue for developing countries as well as for the western countries,” the cardinal stressed.

Cardinal Sarah denounced the “government and some international organizations attempting to suppress the notion of te natural family, based on the man-woman relation; and the Church cannot be silent.”

The relatio read that it is not “acceptable that the pastor’s outlook be pressured or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations based on gender ideology.”

Cardinal Sarah said, “there is no Christian family without a glance to Jesus, who Incarnated in a family with a father and a mother.”

This is the reason why, he added, “the reference to Christ is needed, in order to avoid that the Christian vision is reduced to an ideology, and that we are obliged to take stances in contrast with the Magisterium, the history of the Church, and, above all, with the truth of the Gospel.”

The lack of any reference to the Gospel of the Family has been highlighted with concern by all the small groups that discussed the midterm relatio during this week.

Likewise, the small groups have highlighted the need to rewrite the section “Providing for homosexual persons.”

Read the rest there.

Hard to imagine why Card. Kasper didn’t want input from Africans. Not.

Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 20 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can’t get real baptism certificate! Wedding in six weeks!

From a reader…

I was born in a town in the Jefferson City Archdiocese twenty-four years ago. However upon birth, I was helicoptered to Children’s hospital in the st. louis Archdiocese, due to complications.

When I arrived at Children’s, I was baptized by someone at the hospital. My only records are my parent’s memory, and a letter & card from the Hospital chaplain (who I think was a methodist, based off of the research I did) saying I was baptized by him “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” on the day of my birth. I tried contacting the hospital AND the Archdiocese, with no results thus far.

However, things get messier. Apparently after my health issues were resolved, I was taken by my parents to Corpus Christi Tx, where I was “baptized” at a parish there before my mother’s family (she was Catholic, one of 8 kids). When I later received my first communion and confirmation at my home parish in my home diocese of Jefferson City, my parish used the baptismal certificate from the parish in Corpus Christi. I only found out about all of this just now… It seems that my parents may have hidden my actual baptism so that I could be “baptized properly” with “friends and family” in Corpus Christi…

As such, I’m having difficulties tracking down the actual baptismal records from Children’s hospital in St. Louis, and am in a mess over this. We are six weeks away from our wedding, and need to have our home parish send the records to our diocese, so that they can be forwarded on to the St. Louis Diocese where we are to be married (we found priests for a Solemn High EF there).

How should I go about rectifying this? My home parish has always sent records of confirmation to the church in Corpus, but that was not my ‘actual’ baptism???

Sometimes things get messy.

What should have happened in Corpus Christi used to be called “Supplying the Ceremonies” which now goes by the more precise but far less melodious title of “The Rite of Bringing a Baptized Child to the Church.” With this Rite, the Church receives children who were baptized in emergency situations. It does not “rebaptize” but simply adds those elements that were left out during the emergency baptism. (The older, traditional Rite is far richer, in my opinion.) This is also the Rite to be used when a child under the age of 7 who was baptized in a non-Catholic Church becomes Catholic (usually when his parents convert, or return to the practice of the faith after a time away). It can be found in the ritual book for the baptism of children.

For weal or for woe, your baptismal record is at the parish in Corpus Christi. That baptismal certificate, though historically inaccurate, contains the essential facts that are needed to marry: you are a baptized, confirmed Catholic who has never been married before.

Don’t fret that it doesn’t mention your earlier, true baptism. What was done was done.

If at some point in the future you are able to get it sorted out and you can get a statement from the Children’s Hospital that you were baptized (or you could get sworn affidavits from your parents who were present at the baptism), you could then get the record corrected in Corpus Christi so that it reflects what really happened.
For now, with your wedding coming up, a certificate from Corpus Christi will suffice.

 

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman | Tagged , | 16 Comments

My View For Awhile: Manhattan Edition

I’m off to NYC to meet some friends and have a couple of days of R&R before continuing on my way to Rome for the pilgrimage.

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So far it’s a typical Delta experience: flight delayed. At least I don’t have a connecting flight.

UPDATE:

After a loooong delay we are boarding.

Hmmmm…

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Finally seated:

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UPDATE:

We are on the ground in Chicago after an emergency landing. Sigh. And so the delays increase along with the pointless and less than informative apologies.

Rather like a Synod briefing.

UPDATE:

They set us down at O’Hare. As it stands they are moving us all to another LGA flight at the very next gate scheduled to board in about 20 minutes. Could be worse.

You know the old story about the pessimist who says, “Things can’t possibly get any worse!”, to which the optimist responds, “Oh yes they can!”

And watch out for N873RW!

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UPDATE:

Seated again.

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Is this an ironic contrapasso or what? Reading about Dante….

UPDATE:

Landed. Bag arrived. Cab obtained. Tri-B and FDR zoomed.

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UPDATE:

I find this building almost irresistibly photogenic. Decorated with hubcaps!

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Pumpkin seed brittle with a dash of cayenne. They could have used a bit more cayenne.

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A sampling of cheeses with friends as an afternoon snack.

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One of these days I’ll find out what this surreal business is all about.

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More tomorrow.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 13 Comments