Saturday, November 22, 2008

Moving the Sign of Peace

The Associated Press reported yesterday (November 21, 2008) that the Pope Benedict XVI is considering making a change in the Liturgy by moving the Sign of Peace from its present location just before the reception of Holy Communion to the Offertory of the Mass .

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, interviewed by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, announced that the Pope has asked the bishops for their opinion of this change and then will make a decision. Cardinal Arinze said the change could create a more solemn atmosphere for those preparing to receive communion.

I would certainly welcome this change in the Liturgy. I find that the Sign of Peace interrupts the prayerful moments before we receive Communion. By moving the gesture of peace to the Offertory, it could also emphasizes the need for reconciliation with each other before coming to offer our gifts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Article about St. Benedict's Chapel in Tidewater

I thought you might be interested in reading an article from the New Liturgical Movement blog regarding the design of the new church building that is being built for this traditional Latin Mass congregation. The article can be found HERE.

As I mentioned before, I am interested in all that is going on in our diocese; not just progressive or moderate news. I routinely check out a variety of blogs. The NLM is quite a prestigious one with lots of beautiful photographs that is even appreciated by a progressive eye. :) I may even have scooped our own diocesan newspaper!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christian Education in Our Parishes

The conversations going on in the comment section of the previous article have made me curious about the types of Christian formation or education that are occurring in our parishes. Perhaps in this thread, readers of this blog can comment on the types of programs your parish offers and whether they are successful in teaching about the Catholic Faith.

If you name specific programs, please explain a little about their content. Some of us may not know these programs. Give us your success stories or what you consider failures. I invite people from other dioceses to add their comments also. We can learn from each other. Include programs for both children and adults. And describe your parish.

My own parish is a small one and has many elderly people. Several times each year there will be a Christian education week for adults in the parish. Speakers are brought in to speak on many different subjects; primarily on peace and justice issues. There is a yearly parish retreat that is very well attended. There is also at least one scripture-sharing group that meets on a regular basis. Homilies are a teaching tool in our parish.

The few children we have, receive formation pertaining to the sacraments as they reach the appropriate age. There is a newly formed youth group where prayer, participation in ministry, and scripture reading is encouraged. We have lost many of our young people to other Christian churches because we have not been able to provide a consistent Catholic education program for them.

It is really quite sad. One problem is that we did not have clergy available for many years and so our priority had been simply to keep the church open. We look to have some relief in the future.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

USCCB and Liturgical Translations

The Bishops have been debating translations again. I can remember as a child hearing the word, gibbet, a strange and ugly sounding word whose meaning I could never figure out. I was too young to check the dictionary. So I have done so now...

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Pronunciation: \ˈji-bət\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English gibet, from Anglo-French
Date: 13th century

1 : gallows 1a 2 : an upright post with a projecting arm for hanging the bodies of executed criminals as a warning.

Comment: Do we really need to use a 13th century word in a 21st century world?

Pronunciation: \(ˌ)i-ˈne-fə-bəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin ineffabilis, from in- + effabilis capable of being expressed, from effari to speak out, from ex- + fari to speak — etc.
Date: 14th century

1 a: incapable of being expressed in words : indescribable b: unspeakable

Comment: Believe it or not, with all the reading that I have done over many years, I doubt if I have seen this word more than 3 or 4 times and it apparently was never important to the meaning of the sentence because I never knew what it meant until now.

We'll be seeing more of ineffable since it was voted to be used. I don't know about gibbet though.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Opening of the Bishops' Conference in Baltimore

This excerpt of an article about the opening of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Baltimore is from Catholic News Service and was written by Chaz Muth.The complete article can be found HERE.

Bishops' conference opens with nod to historic presidential election
By Chaz Muth
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The historic significance of the election of President-elect Barack Obama dominated the Nov. 10 opening address of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore."Symbolically, this is a moment that touches more than our history when a country that once enshrined race slavery in its very constitutional legal order should come to elect an African-American to the presidency," said Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the USCCB. "In this, I truly believe, we must all rejoice."

Aren't Cardinal George's words today in marked contrast to his sharp November 5th remarks that Mark quoted in a comment in the previous article? I'm curious as to what will come out of this meeting of the bishops.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kansas City Bishop Finn's Homily on the Eve of the Election ~ Requested by Mark

Mark has requested that the blog publish one of Bishop Robert Finn's homilies concerning responsible voting by the Catholic electorate for your comments. Bishop Finn is the Bishop of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph. This homily was given on November 3, 2008 - the eve of the election.

Because of its length, I will only include the first part of the homily but give a link to the DIOCESAN website where you can read the homily in its entirety.

Dear Friends,

Over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We will make decisions about amendments and propositions. This is a wonderful process and privilege of citizenship in a country that values the ideal of freedom.

But let us have no doubt about this: through this process we are more than participants in a democratic process. We are becoming participants in life and death. The candidates we choose do not arise merely on their own. We place them in office.

Clearly, all these leaders are imperfect men and women like ourselves. They will make decisions day by day, and many of the circumstances of war and domestic work are not able to be known until they happen. Nonetheless, when they tell us specifically what they will do and we are therefore able to foresee some of the likely consequences of their leadership we share in the responsibility of their acts. In this sense an election is about even more than physical life and death. It is also about your eternal salvation and mine. This is the first reason to pray. Pray that we will take seriously – that every other voter will take seriously – the meaning of our choices. In a country where we have made choice an absolute, we must remember that underlying every choice is a value; that flowing from every choice is a consequence; that we must give an accounting to God for what we decide.

Our Lord instructs us in the Gospel we have heard, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” The enormity of this election is founded, in part, on the radical determination of some who would lead our country deeper than ever before into the darkness of the culture of death. This is a path that would certainly mean the death of countless more innocent lives. As shepherd of this Diocese I am also deeply saddened by the prospect of the cost in people’s souls, the souls of those who would place a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity above the life of the most innocent of our brothers and sisters.

Most perilous is the fate of those Catholics who, with hardened hearts, decide to create for themselves, and preach to others, a false gospel that the “right” to an abortion must not be challenged, or that the humanity of the child need not be protected...

Homily continued here. As I have said from the beginning, I am willing to publish articles for discussion from the entire Catholic spectrum, whether we all agree or not. However, I ask for respectful comments.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Academic Freedom on Catholic Campuses...

You will find an interesting article by Kate Childs Graham who has written the November 6, 2008 article in the Young Voices column on the National Catholic Reporter website. The article concerns several incidents that have occurred on Catholic universities campuses where the debate on academic freedom is raging.

You may have read that this week, despite strong objections by Cardinal Edward Egan, the Fordham University Law School awarded Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer the 2008 Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize. Cardinal Egan and The Cardinal Newman Society, a conservative group, objected to the award being given to Justice Breyer because of his pro-choice stand.

On the other hand, because of her progressive idealogy and theology, the University of San Diego canceled Rosemary Radford Ruether’s appointment to the Msgr. John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology. The action was brought about through pressure by a conservative Catholic group.

I think this is an important issue. Must Catholic universities teach only the Catholic view of things or should Catholic universities be allowed to present all sides of an issue, so that a Catholic student can form their conscience through analyzing opposing viewpoints.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be careful tomorrow when you go to vote

Overheard on Saturday:

One man was bragging to another, "I just bought 300 rounds of ammunition. If Obama wins, I'm going out and buy 500 more rounds

Friends, whichever your candidate is, please VOTE! But by the same token, please be careful. As you can see, there are crazies around.

Whoever our next president is, he will need our prayers to bind up the wounds of our country.