Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DIALOGUE: A Response from Ms Combier-Donovan

Catherine Combier-Donovan <>
standing maryanna <>
Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 9:19 AM
RE: A Request from the blog: Richmond Voices

Dear Blogmaster,

Thank you once again for the invitation to enter into dialogue with you and other members of the Diocese of Richmond. The question about the tabernacle tends to be an emotional one, so I would like my response to be prayerfully pondered and carefully crafted. Because I will be out of the country for the next two weeks, I don’t have enough time to do this well right at the moment. Rest assured, however, that I will respond when I return.

I’m sure some of my colleagues would be interested in participating in the kind of dialogue you are proposing, for we see poor communication as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to effective ministry.

In the peace of Christ,

Catherine Combier-Donovan
Office of Worship


standing maryanna []
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:43 PM
Catherine Combier-Donovan
A Request from the blog: Richmond Voices

Dear Ms Combier-Donovan,

Your kind response to the question about Holding Hands During The Lord's Prayer was gratefully received by the people who frequent my blog, Richmond Voices. Actually, they were quite surprised that you took the time to respond to the question. Again, I thank you for doing so.

In continuing the discussion on the blog, a question was raised about the possibility of opening a dialogue between the Lay Leadership on the Diocesan level and readers of the blog.

I am very much aware that many people on the parish level in our diocese and elsewhere have questions that have been posed to their parish leaders or to others in diocesan leadership positions about why certain changes occurred in the Liturgy or in the church building. Either the changes were not properly explained or the questions were dismissed. This has been hurtful to many people who love the Church and love their parishes.

When the question was raised about a dialogue with you and others, I thought it was a very good idea and an opportunity for this blog to be useful for our people. I also realize that even if you were agreeable to a dialogue, you might not want to use a blog for the dialogue. An alternative venue could be through a column in the Catholic Virginian.

At any rate, I want to refer you to another article that I wrote where a dialogue project could be commented on. That article is Project: Discussions and Questions for the Diocesan Lay Leadership. But first I would ask you to read the comments to the article referenced in the first paragraph above since that is where the discussion began.

It is my hope that you will consider such a dialogue with my readers; either through Richmond Voices or some other venue. There have already been several questions posed as you will see when you read the comments. I have found that those wishing to ask questions have done so in a respectful manner.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon. God's graces and blessings are being wished for you this evening.


standing maryanna
"Richmond Voices"


Katie Beaumont said...

Standingmary puts action behind her words. A praiseworthy quality not found in many people these days. If other people’s concerns and points of view are acknowledged and considered in light of our Faith, this will prove to be a spiritually wholesome conversation. Would our Lord approve of a conversation such as this? I think so. Would our Lord prefer that we not ask questions but rather go about our daily living with an aloofness towards our Church’s environment and liturgy? I would think not. I sincerely appreciate Ms. CCD's willingness to converse with the laity of this diocese - also an admirable quality. It is likely that our diocesan leaders are very busy people; however, I hope this type of conversation is something that can occur on an on-going basis for the obvious result of fostering greater understanding and holiness in the Church. This type of interaction would also be another means by which diocesan officials could gage the spiritual compass of the diocese, especially in the realm of worship.

Mark said...

I too wish to thank you, Standing Maryanna.

I assume we'll submit our questions in this post? If so, this is what I would like to ask:

Catechesis in our Diocese, for the most part, uses products of two publishing corporations: RCL Benziger (a member of the CFM Publishing Group), and William H. Sadlier, Inc., its Religion branch. In the past, the Baltimore Catechism was used throughout the United States to teach the Faith to the Catholic youth.

However, even a cursory review of the currently used catechetical products, shows that they differ markedly in emphasis, style, and even in content, from the Baltimore Catechism.

In view of this, my question is:

Why was the use of the Baltimore Catechism discontinued in our Diocese, and replaced by a relationship with these two companies?

Katie Beaumont said...

I think we already asked our questions before Standingmary invited a reply from the office of worship. Your question does not sound like a question that would pertain to the office of worship. Are you suggesting we multi-task and throw out a potpourri of questions? I just don't want this to get out of hand and put fruitful dialog in jeopardy.

Richard Bolbet said...

I agree that we should limit our questions for the Office of Worship to worship, not religious education.

To begin, our questions should focus on official policies & statements published by the Office. Toward that end I repeat questions already brought up on this blog:

a. The universal GIRM and its US adaptation specifies that the deacon should kneel for the consecration of the Host and Chalice whenever deacons assist at Mass. To the contrary, however, our Office of Worship directs deacons in our diocese to ignore this rubric. Where is the Roman indult for this modification of a rubric in the Mass? Local bishops can modify posture after the "Lamb of God" but nowhere else without working through his conference and the reception of a Roman indult.

b. Tradition, both local and universal, as well as specific legislation from the US Bishops, gives pastors the option of using a crucifix during the Good Friday adoration of the cross (see the US Bishops "Built of Living Stones"). Our Office of Worship, to the contrary, specifically discourages this long standing custom. How is it just to be more restrictive than our own tradition and the US Bishops? Strange that our Office of Worship is so moderate in its interpretations in other places (hand-holding) but is so restrictive here.

c. The GIRM and our own local practice for hundreds of years asks the people to kneel during the canon of the Mass (especially at the consecration just as the deacon is asked to do). Our Office of Worship has published a misleading explanation about this practice under FAQ on its website where it claims that kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer is an addendum unique to the US. This explanation is misleading because it neglects to explain the difference between universal & particular law. It omits mentioning that the universal norm is to kneel for the consecration everywhere in the Latin Church and the fact that Australia has the same particular norm as the USA by directing the faithful to kneel for the entire Eucharistic Prayer. Additionally, contrary to justice - the FAQ actually directs that people ignore US particular law whenever kneelers are not installed in a church when it is clear that our common tradition never made compliance with the kneeling norm conditional to furnishings. This places the Office of Worship in opposition to the US bishops & the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship which stated that people should kneel on the floor when kneelers are not present in a church or oratroy - (see Not 14 -1978- 302-303, no. 4). Why doesn't our Office of Worship know this?


Mark said...

You're right Katie, I've thrown out a number of questions on the past few posts, including this one - time for me to wait for any replies.

standing maryanna said...

Remember that Ms Combier-Donovan will be out of the country for a couple weeks.

Let's try to keep the questions short; though I understand that Richard Bolbet might wish to make sure the people from the Office of Worship know the references for his questions.

Also, I wrote back to Ms CC-D to thank her for agreeing to respond; and invited her to speak to her colleagues in the other Offices to read the blog. I also invited her to contact the pastors who might also have something to say; though I suggested the pastors should write anonymously...

Would you all like for me to gather the questions and place them in one blog article? Or leave them as they are now...

Mark said...

Dear Standing Maryanna:

If others agree, I suggest it may be easier to respond if our questions were collected in one place. Also, if any new blogger would want to submit a question, he or she would have an agreed to place.

standing maryanna said...

Mark, maybe I can take your original set of questions and make it into an article of its own and then I can keep adding other questions to the basic article when other questions come up... OR other questions can just be added in the combox. Would you mind if I did that?

I don't think I have time anymore tonight but in the next couple of days....

Katie Beaumont said...

I'm so glad that the focus is on the content of one's question rather than who is asking the question. I also hope that the questions are answered in a way that doesn't just defend the status quo but instead acknowledges the concerns of others with an openness to changing the status quo to meet the spiritual needs of some Catholics better. In other words, if it's impossible or undesired to place a tabernacle in a prominently visible spot in the main sanctuary where Sunday Mass is celebrated, then how can it be made possible and desirable systematically across the diocese in every parish? Where there's a will, there is a way. If there is no will, how can the leadership and non-leadership laity make it happen sooner rather than later? How does the Bishop feel about the silent minority of Catholics in his flock who are offended and segregated to blessed sacrament chapels (when they can be found)away from the gathering community to pray before Sunday Mass? Does the diocese prefer that people not pray before our Lord in the Tabernacle before Sunday Mass? Is it that Catholic theology only allows for this on weekdays? Are our Blessed Sacrament chapels so full of visitors during the week that there is no need to pray before the tabernacle with our Lord before Sunday Mass?

Mark said...

Standing Maryanna:

I suggest we defer to your role as the referee at this point.

Katie, Richard, and I proposed a number of questions to begin this dialog. We're in somewhat uncharted waters here, and we'll learn the finer points of logistics of it as we go along.

Thank you, Standing Maryanna, for your outstanding effort.

standing maryanna said...

First of all, I want to thank you all for your kind words. I really DO hope that this blog will a worthwhile discussion area for our people of the Diocese of Richmond.

I definitely do not want this blog to end up as the earlier Richmond blogs did. I also don't intend to moderate this blog. I have no problem with people disagreeing with one another. However, I won't hesitate to delete inappropriate or disrespectful comments.

I thank all those who have commented thus far in the way the subjects have been addressed.

About the questions: I may gather the questions into one article and then turn off the combox for that article. Then as new questions surface, I can add them to the list. Then periodically, bump the article up to the top...

Well, let me think about it... I am open to other suggestions.

standing maryanna said...

Attention Robert Dibdale:

You suggested some very involved questions under the article: Ms Catherine Combier-Donovan: Holding Hands at the Lord's Prayer.

If you would like for me to include your questions, please rephrase them. They are too complicated to add in their present form.


standing maryanna said...

Attention Richard Bolbet:

Please rephrase #c in your list of questions.


Katie Beaumont said...

I stumbled across this USCCB site today. I understand it will be updated on a regular basis. It pertains to the New Roman Missal coming our way soon....

Richard Bolbet said...

(Abbreviated Question) It is hoped that the Office of Worship will clarify its response in FAQ # 5 addressing concerns about GIRM (43) “Kneeling at Mass when churches have neglected to install kneelers for the people’s use”.
The Office of Worship’s response is incomplete & potentially misleading because it fails to properly differentiate or explain universal and particular law, is confused about other conferences that have a particular law identical to the US particular law (Australia), and fails to address contradictory indicators from the Congregation of Divine Worship re. kneeling when kneelers have not been installed in a church or oratory, Not 14 -1978- 302-303, no. 4. Given the above, the Office of Worship’s directives appear unhelpful because their directive seems to run contrary to: the Church’s universal law to kneel at least for the consecration, US particular law asking us to kneel for the entire EP except for occasional exceptions, and, notably, Not. 14 (1978), which authoritatively indicate that kneeling at Mass, is not conditional to furnishings.

(Separate Question) Why must today’s parishioners be held bound by dated liturgical views and liturgical agendas originating in the 1970’s and 1980’s in so many diocesan parishes?

The Office of Worship’s response in FAQ # 5 about GIRM (43) fails to consider that contemporary parishioners participation at Mass is now sometimes frustrated by erroneous interpretations of Vatican II liturgical renewal or obstinate attitudes about what liturgical renewal should look like typically dating from the 1970’s and 1980’s. An obstinate refusal to install kneelers in parishes that can easily afford to install them is indicative of this. Diocesan responses to employ the profound bow when the priest genuflects does not address the many other times that people are asked to kneel during the liturgy.

(Separate Question) Re. FAQ (5) addressing GIRM (43) the Office of Worship does not address the people’s posture after the Lamb of God chant or other times during the liturgical year when people are asked to kneel or carry out a lengthy genuflections which require people to kneel on the floor in many of our parishes (i.e. Palm Sunday and Good Friday during the Passion, the long genuflections during the Credo on the Annunciation and Christmas, and again on Holy Thursday. There is no provision in the GIRM for an “on occasion” profound bow at these points in the Mass.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I have a question. Are we still allowed to genuflect? I always thought you bow to symbols and genuflect to the real thing; but my friend told me that we're not allowed to genuflect and that her son was reprimanded for genuflecting before a Mass at his Catholic school. Is this position sanctioned by the diocese? No genuflecting, only bowing? What's the universal norm?

Katie Beaumont said...

Richard and Anonymous make valid points. Does the diocese officially endorse favoring one liturgical style or practice over another? Are catechists allowed to push one liturgical practice over another? For example, when training first communicants, can the catechist emphasize communion in the hand over receiving on the tongue? I never did understand the "NO GLOVES" rule if you're receiving on the tongue anyway. Why is this "NO GLOVES" rule emphasized at every first communion orientation? Is communion in the hand the universal norm or are first communicants instructed that they are still allowed to received on the tongue?

Anonymous said...

Here are the rules according to the Roman Missal. Taken from Zenit

First of all, the norms regarding the structure of the tabernacle are found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 314:

"In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, readily visible, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.

"The one tabernacle should be immovable, be made of solid and inviolable material that is not transparent, and be locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is prevented to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, it is appropriate that, before it is put into liturgical use, it be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual."

The tabernacle described by our reader certainly failed to adhere to this norm on several counts. It was apparently neither opaque nor immovable. I suggest that our reader inform the bishop of the diocese where the retreat house is found, as his permission is required to have a chapel and it falls under his direct supervision.

A sterling resource for the themes of exposition, adoration, and Eucharistic processions can be found in Monsignor (now bishop) Peter J. Elliott's "Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite," published by Ignatius Press. This book effectively synthesizes several official sources such as the Roman Ritual for Eucharistic Worship Outside of Mass and the Ceremonial of Bishops. There are also many other recent publications that give ideas for suitable hymns and texts that may be used during adoration and processions. An excellent resource online is found at

Based on Monsignor Elliott's work we can say the following regarding the question about exposition at the end of Mass:

While Mass may never be celebrated before the Blessed Sacrament exposed ("in the same area of the church or oratory" where the host is exposed), exposition and adoration may commence immediately after a Mass. This action should be seen to flow from the Eucharistic liturgy; therefore, a host consecrated at that Mass should be exposed immediately after Communion.

The Prayer after Communion is said at the chair. The final blessing and dismissal are omitted. After reciting the Prayer after Communion the celebrant, deacon(s) and ministers line up in front of the altar, genuflect and then kneel while a suitable hymn of adoration is sung. The Blessed Sacrament is incensed as usual for exposition. After the incensation and a brief moment of silent prayer, all genuflect and return to the sacristy. The final hymn of the Mass is omitted.

Devotions may immediately follow the incensation (before the celebrants return to the sacristy), but Benediction is not to be given immediately after Mass.

The recommendation that the host for exposition be consecrated at the Mass refers above all to occasional periods of adoration. This would not be practical in places having daily or perpetual adoration. In this case it is probably better for the priest to finish Mass as normal, return to the sacristy, remove the chasuble and then return to expose the Blessed Sacrament.

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