QUAERITUR: a bunch of stuff

From a reader many questions.

General Tip: If you hope for a serious answer, send one question.  After that I start to lose attention and get silly.

Thanks you for your website.  It’s the third thing I read every evening.  You have been beaten out by NOAA Weather and Google News.

HUH?  You read the WEATHER before WDTPRS?  Didn’t the Lord say something about being able to read the weather?

A married man is being ordained to the Catholic priesthood in our diocese (Grand Island, Nebraska) who was an ordained minister in the Christian Church Disciples of Christ and has converted to Catholicism.  I thought that the pastoral provision that allowed married priests was only for Episcopalian priests who converted.  Our parish priest say that permission was granted by the Holy See.  Any idea what is going on here?

It is indeed possible for former clergy of other denominations may be ordained if they covert and they were previously married.   I am aware of a few instances of this.  It is rare, but sometimes the Holy See signs off on it, especially if they bring some of their flock along.

Recently, due to the swine flu scare, our bishop asked that communicants in our diocese receive the Eucharist on their hands (not on their tongues) and that the congregation not hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer.  It was mentioned at this time by our priest that the church actually prefers the hands upheld (orans position) form of prayer.  Though I was glad to hear the prohibition on hand holding, I thought that the orans position  was a priestly posture and its use by congregants contributed to the muddling of the distinction between the priesthood and the laity.  By the way, nothing was said about how to receive the Precious Blood and no change was made in the normal procedure regarding drinking from the chalice.

People can do what they want with their hands… welll… you know what I mean.  The point is that they are not to be instructed to hold hands or raise them, etc.

And finally, (I know I said a couple of question) what kind of camera do you have and what focal length lens do you use to get those close-up shots?

Lens?  I have just been sneaking up on them!  There are lens for this?!?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Sam says:

    As someone who is in a denomination closely affiliated with the DOC, I’d be interested to know the name of the individual that is swimming the Tiber. I’ve had many thoughts of that myself. Thanks!

  2. Your reader wrote:

    Though I was glad to hear the prohibition on hand holding, I thought that the orans position was a priestly posture and its use by congregants contributed to the muddling of the distinction between the priesthood and the laity.

    For your consideration, I respectfully submit the following perspective. (1) The orans posture is indeed a priestly gesture. (2) In Catholic theology, there are three kinds of priesthood: the High Priesthood which is held by Christ alone (Hebr. 3:1; Summa Theol II q. 22), the priesthood of ordained ministry, and the priesthood held by all the Christifideles (1 Pet 2:5; CCC 1268). I agree that the Catholic teaching on the second of these needs to be stressed. Indeed, these days, all three of these need to be stressed. (Modern Catholics, hazy on their doctrine, may fail to recognize that the ordained priests have a special character, but they are at least as likely to fail to recognize that baptism confers a special character.) (3) The Eucharistic Prayer is particularly the action of the ordained priest, acting in persona Christi. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for the congregation to use the orans posture during this prayer, just as it would be inappropriate (or worse) for a layperson to recite the Eucharistic Prayer on their own as part of their personal prayer regimen! (4) The Our Father, on the other hand, is a prayer given by Christ to all his followers (Mt 5:1-2, 6:7-15), and it is totally appropriate for any Christian to pray this on his own. Therefore when any Catholic Christian — ordained or religious or lay — prays this prayer, they are exercising their priestly ministry, since directly addressing God is itself a priestly act. (5) It follows that it is not inappropriate for a layperson to use the orans posture when praying the Our Father.

    Of course, this doesn’t address the more complicated questions of whether this is appropriate in a specific liturgical context (e.g., the Mass, or even a group rosary). You raised another issue: the pedagogical question of whether this enlightens or confuses the congregation. I think it has the potential to do either. If people do this without knowing its meaning, nothing good is accomplished. On the other hand, the congregation kneels silently during the Eucharistic Prayer, but stands (non-silently in the OF) during the Our Father; I think this helps to clarify that the priest and the laity have different roles in these two prayers. If the orans posture is used by the congregation during the Our Father, I think it would serve to further highlight the role of the ordained priesthood, because the distinction between these two prayers would be even more clear. (Another thing that is very important, in my opinion, is for the congregation to remain kneeling for the Great Amen — something that unfortunately is often not done. This too is essential for differentiating between these two prayers.)

    Submitted for your consideration!

  3. Picturing you in stealth mode, sneaking up on those birds.

  4. Formerly Correspondent says:

    He’s already swum the Tiber. Priestly considerations were entirely secondary. Bruskewitz would have had him, but his presbyterate wouldn’t, so he had to walk across the line so to speak. GI’s site has a page with his story: http://www.gidiocese.org/the_register/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2475

  5. Nicholas says:

    Lens? I have just been sneaking up on them! There are lens for this?!?

    If you’re shooting with a single-lens reflex camera, something with a long focal length (200mm or longer) will let you stand far away and still be able to make the subject fill the frame. They tend to be expensive, though.

  6. One can often spot Catholic converts in an Orthodox church because many still do this orans during the Lord’s Prayer. We have a couple in my parish.

  7. Tod says:

    Father, here is one question, if I may.

    How do you write “Say the black. Do the red” in Latin?

    Thank you!

  8. “Dic nigra, age rubra” would be the simplest way to say it. Perhaps “Dic nigra, rubra age” would be a more elegant word order?

    In classical Latin the word “rubrica” (originally referring to red-colored soil — who knew the Romans had visited Arizona??) acquired the second meaning of a law that was published with its title written in red. So there could be a red / rubric pun somewhere. Maybe “Nigra dicenda, rubra rubricae sunt”?

  9. Tod says:


    Much thanks, sir!


  10. Tod says:


    Taking this: “Dic nigra, age rubra”

    Would this be the proper pronunciation: “Deek neegrah, ahgeh roobrah”


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