Do you want to know what true clericalism looks like? How about taking it on yourself to edit Scripture to be read at Mass.
I got an email today from a regular priestly correspondent. He sent Sunday’s (tomorrow, 21st Ordinary) second reading options – ahhh… the Novus Ordo and its options!
Here is what he sent:
An option is provided in the prescribed Lectionary for those who disagree with Saint Paul on married life. – Ironically, the Gospel reading begins with people saying “These are hard sayings…”
Christ loves the Church, because it is his body
Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because it is his body – and we are its living parts. For this reason, a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body. This mystery has many implications; but I am saying it applies to Christ and the Church.
Follow Christ by loving as he loved you. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because it is his body – and we are its living parts. For this reason, a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body. This mystery has many implications; but I am saying it applies to Christ and the Church.
[In the following remarks I use the word lector merely in the sense of one who reads and do not pretend to the clerical grade]
The thing that kills me about this is that although I have been a lector for about twenty years I cannot bring myself to alter anything in the readings, not an iota, even when it seems obviously justified. For example, as you know, the first readings end with the lector saying, “The Word of the Lord,” but often the reading begins with, “Brothers and Sisters,” which is NOT the word of the Lord. To me it has always seemed a species of false witness. Yet, who am I to alter the lie of a bishops’ conference?
More importantly, I would very much like to self-alter passages that now say “people” that used to say “men,” yet if I did so I would come down from the ambo with my heart pounding and would have no peace until I confessed it sacramentally. Seriously.
Yet I have often sat through women readers neutering scripture on the fly. Not so much anymore, since their translations have largely been incorporated in the lectionary at this point, but I have always been stupefied by their chutzpah. Finally I have found a parish where a coterie of women defends the congregation from these feminist translators by insisting that only men be lectors.
When I encounter the psalm that says, “Let the high praises of God be in their throats,” I have to bite my tongue to keep from continuing “And the two edged sword in their hands.” Instead I meekly continue with the pleasant non-violent phrase that is too innocuous to remember.
For all of this may God hold me guiltless and abundantly bestow Fear of the Lord on the creators of lectionaries!
Ordinary time??? That’s the MOST ridiculous thing I have ever heard.. Please people it’s the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Vatican II sure made a mess of things. How can there possibly be an option???? in the lectionary
[In the Novus Ordo calendar it is the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time.]
The REAL question will be: What does the local Bishop know about that change? And if he knows, what has he done about the “editor” ?
What in my lifetime has been more damaging to good morals and the Christian spirit than the flattening of sexual difference in the modern mind? Just as a woman’s submission to her husband makes no sense apart from his loving her as Christ loved the Church, so too a man’s Christlike sacrifice for the sake of his wife makes no sense but in the context of a relationship wherein both regard him as her head. Take away the headship element and there can be no more Christlike sacrifice.
Straight [irony intended] from the USCCB:
“EPH 5:21-32 OR 5:2A, 25-32”
“Soft” clothing indeed.
When I was a lay reader, I had the task of proclaiming this lesson on a Sunday. Given that no priest had yet arrived in the sacristy before Mass, I determined to read the long version. Then I made the mistake of telling this to the sacristan, who went on some rampage about offending women yadda yadda yadda. I blew him off, and during Mass, I read the whole thing. The priest afterward told me he would have been disappointed in me had I not read the long version. I told him: “Father, I would have been disappointed in you if you tried to make me read the short one.”
We understood each other.
If there is one thing where the liturgical reform made an improvement, it may be here:
“Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Unfortunately, verse 21 is not included in the Epistle of the Traditional Nuptial Mass, which instead begins with verse 22.
“Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.”
Maybe verse 21 should be included regardless. Paul’s message is one of mutual submission, if in a different form for the wife as opposed to the husband. In fact, it seems to me that more is being asked of the husband. Paul is not asking the wife to lay down her life for him.
I have always thought that this particular reading was horribly sexist and have felt sorry for the men who have to listen to it. After all, women only have to obey. Men, in loving their wives like Christ loved the church, have to lay down their very lives for their beloved.
Chaswjd, most excellent observation.
At Mass last evening we had the correct version of this reading.
It’s difficult to reconcile what St Paul writes here with the modern view of marriage as a partnership of equals. In the wedding vows in the Novus Ordo brides do not promise to obey their husbands: what does the Extraordinary Form require the bride to promise? (The reality of many marriages appears to be that husbands tend to obey their wives!! One comes across husbands who affectionately refer to their wives as “the boss” or “she who must be obeyed”.)
LeeGilber, thou has writ:
“For example, as you know, the first readings end with the lector saying, ‘The Word of the Lord,’ but often the reading begins with, ‘Brothers and Sisters,’ which is NOT the word of the Lord. To me it has always seemed a species of false witness. Yet, who am I to alter the lie of a bishops’ conference?”
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter.
It is traditional for the readings, both the Epistle and Gospel, both in the East and in the West, to have introductions added when proclaimed at Mass. The letters of Paul would begin with “Carrissime” (“brethren,” or more literally, “dearest” or “darling”) and the Gospel begins with “In illo tempore, dixit Iesus …” (“At that time, Jesus said …”). You are unlikely to find those words in the applicable parts of the Bible itself. The Church has authority over Holy Writ, since it is She who determined those works that were of divine inspiration, as opposed to them having fallen out of the sky in one piece as the King James Version.
So, rest easy, say the black, do the red, call it a day. Pax.
Surprisingly enough our new associate pastor had the whole thing read today. (He’s not a fresh-out-of-the-seminary guy either – had some health issues which is why he isn’t a pastor). In his homily, he came right out and said that some priests are going to skip over that part because it’s too hard to talk about, but since it is in Scripture it deserves to be read. While the version that was read uses the term “subordinate” rather than “submit”, he called out both words. He then tied that to the second half about husbands loving their wives and said the true love is putting your own wants and needs second to the person you love, submitting to their needs, such as a parent who might want / need to sleep but stays up with a sick kid.