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Archbishop Coleridge on liturgical reform February 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass.
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Liturgy is doctrine.  What goes on during the Mass, both what is said and unsaid, the actions and inactions, all have a great bearing on what we as Catholics believe.  That’s why a thing  like changing the priests around to face the laity was a truly novel and momentous change – should we not all face God as the priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass?   Does an interactive method of prayer, where the people give various responses to the priest, really indicate greater participation in the Mass?  Does such outward participation facillitate inward participation, or would long periods of silence by the faithful enhance inward participation? 

These are all questions related to the liturgy.  Of course, the liturgy changed a great deal with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Mass in 1970.  Some of these changes could be viewed as being so great as to represent a ‘rupture’ with some long held Catholic beliefs.  Our good Pope Benedict XVI has been trying to reform some of these areas where some rupture may have occurred, and this has drawn the ire of some.  Into this breech steps the Archbishop of Canberra, Australia.   He gave a really interesting speech discussing the new English Mass translation (a desperately needed new translation), as well as some other issues.  I highly recommend you read his comments, as well as Fr. Z’s.  The  money quote, in relation to those critical of some of Pope Benedict’s efforts:

“Nothing will happen unless we move beyond ideology and reducing the church to politics and the slogans that go with them, which are unhelpful,” he said. “Drinking from the wells of tradition passed on supremely in the liturgy is what this new moment of renewal is all about.” 

I’ve commented before about those who seem incapable of viewing discussions within the Church through anything but a political lens.  I understand that we can all fall prey to this from time to time, but to reduce every church issue to politics is very sad.  Archbishop Coleridge makes a most important point, however, in stressing that those who want to improve the English translation of Mass, or incorporate elements of Latin into it, or to bring more Chant or other traditional elements back into the Mass, aren’t doing so because they are trying to turn back the clock.  They are trying to renew the Church by drawing on the best of time-proven liturgical elements that have deep meaning and great effect.  Using terms like “turning back the clock” are really just intended to slam the opposition and shut down debate, it’s not a serious point.  When people like Archbishop Chupungco use such terms, I think it reveals that he’s perhaps having a hard time articulating more cogent reasons to block the use of these older liturgical elements. 

I have a weakness February 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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It’s a bad weakness.  I don’t like Oprah Winfrey.  At all.  In fact, you could probably say my feelings towards Oprah run stronger than a profound dislike.  But, I try to be understanding, and pray that God may give me more charity. 

And, now, I have to say that Oprah has actually done a good thing.  It may not be for the right reason, but in covering the life of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Oprah has helped evangelize the world.  These beautiful, profoundly happy, satisfied women provide a different image of female religious to the world than we’ve received in recent years from such sisters as Joan Chittister.  I’ve met a few cloistered nuns, and they are uniformly some of the most peaceful people I have met – they have an amazing vocation, and deserve our admiration and support.

In the videos at les femmes, I find the interplay between the values of the world, and the values of these nuns very illuminating.  I found the question, “how do you handle the fact that you’ll never (again) have sex?”, incredibly sophmoric, and indicative of the far too high (and, at the same time, too low) an emphasis the world places on the sex act.  It was interesting to watch the interviewer ask questions about “how hard is it to leave behind your I-pod, your internet friends, etc.), and to watch the young ladies give answers the interviewer obviously had a hard time comprehending.   I completely agreed when a young novice stated that she was very glad to leave the noise, and the bustle, and the illusions of the world behind.  I don’t think the interviewer understood – an authentic Catholic spirituality recognizes that the world and everything in it is an illusion, ephemeral, false; it is God’s wonder and beauty and infinite love, mercy, and justice that are real.  That’s a very hard thing for those immersed in the world (myself included) to grasp, but these cloistered nuns have been given a wondrous gift in their charism to try to approach God our Creator in silent prayer and adulation, to try to draw closer to Him.  Their calling from God is a great gift, it is not a burden.  I’m not sure Oprah or the interviewer could ever quite grasp that, while they do appreciate the outward manifestations of the deep peacefulness of this immense spiritual gift. 

Oprah and the interviewer, Lisa Ling, are very rich.  As Christ says, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God.  Heed the lesson of the rich youth who wanted to follow Christ.  When Christ told him to give away all his many possessions to follow him, the youth could not do it.  These young ladies have. 

Let us pray for the conversion of many people, Oprah included, as a result of the experience of seeing the lives of these nuns. 

Would you consider supporting these nuns monetarily?  I do so, and encourage any of my readers to moved so do the same.

USCCB scandal grows and grows February 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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Michael Voris at realcatholictv.com continues to add to the growing list of concerns regarding the USCCB directly supporting and sponsoring groups that from all appearances profess beliefs that run directly counter to long established Catholic moral teaching.  He’s got new vids up here and here

The USCCB has an operating budget of $150  million per year.   From that sum of money, many millions have been documented to support organizations that are very hard to reconcile with Church doctrine.  This goes beyond CCHD, although that is the core of the problem.  There is increasing evidence of a systemic minset within the USCCB bureaucracy that is very biased towards supporting heterodox, dissent oriented groups (and by dissent, I mean dissenting with, disagreeing with, long held Church doctrine).  I have to wonder aloud, again, what specific purpose USCCB serves that makes it so indispensible.  The Church in the US existed without the USCCB just fine for hundreds of years.  The Church existed around the world for millenia without national conferences. 

William F. Buckley had a maxim that appears quite true: all bureaucracies will tend towards leftism over time, because primarily leftists are attracted to the kind of work bureaucracies do.   The USCCB came into being at an interesting time, a period in this nation’s history when, for the very first time, the federal government became deeply involved in funding private charities.  The USCCB has hence been intertwined with this growth in federal involvement in charities, and, one could argue, the USCCB’s primary purpose is to lobby for that federal funding.  The USCCB does of course do a great deal of other work, much of it laudable, but little of it in my mind, irreplaceable. 

I am not proposing to have the final answer to the USCCB and the repeated scandals that seem to be breaking now that people are, for the first time, looking into USCCB funding activities.  I have my own opinion, but I recognize the limits of that.  I do think the time has come for a serious discussion within the US Church specifically and the Church at large regarding the role and purpose of national conferences, and whether they fulfill their intended role well.   I think serious questions need to be asked regarding whether national bishop’s conferences have become a sort of barrier between that direct relationship that is supposed to exist between the Holy See, and each local ordinary.   Are they the generally a boon to the mission of the Church militant, or are they a barrier?

Long weekend February 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
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Sorry I haven’t posted for the last 3 days.  I had a busy weekend – snow day on Friday (a foot of snow, in DALLAS!), spent the day out with the kids, and drove 700 miles on Saturday.  Yesterday was catchup day, and I had to chop a bunch of wood I brought back from God’s own country, Harper, Texas USA. 

I’ll try to get some posts up today.  Lots of interesting goings on for me to blather on about endlessly.