Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, our diocese ordained two transitional deacons. Diocesan deacons who will be called to the priesthood make two "promises." One is to "celibacy" for the sake of the kingdom and the other is to "obedience" to the bishop and his successors. There is very little wiggle room for interpreting these two promises. Celibacy means chastity, refraining from sexual, genital expression for the sake of the kingdom of God. The healthiest celibates are the ones who do so positively and seek God's grace in the more difficult aspects of this promise especially as it concerns loneliness and the desire for intimacy. However, I know a lot of men and women who have a lot of sex and still are quite lonely and have no real intimacy with those to whom they conjoin themselves.

The promise of obedience to the bishop has everything to do with Church unity. It is not a blind obedience to this, that or the other, but an obedience to the faith and morals of the Church handed onto us in the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium of the Church as well as respect for the teachers of the Church, the Pope and the bishops in union with him even when they teach in a more casual or less official capacity, like promulgating guidelines, or suggesting certain ways of doing things or whatever the case may be. And certainly obedience to the local bishop means cooperating with his plan for the diocese and the personnel policies he has put into place. In other words, there should be obedience towards his administrative leadership also. Obviously this takes a mature approach to obedience and respect for those who are over us, not that we don't sometimes complain.

One of the things that the we Catholics in this country will have to do in the very near future is to implement the new English translation of the Mass. Some say it will be implemented in Advent of 2011. There are those who are so opposed to this new translation that they are fomenting postponement of the implementation of the new translation and calling for yet another revision to it. They simply hate the new translation. There are even some bishops who think we could have gotten a better one.

Part of the controversy goes to Rome which a few years ago under Pope John Paul II ordered that the English translation that had been developed over the course of several years and was almost complete in 1998 be scrapped and a new committee formed to translate it to be more literal with the original Latin. The 1998 translation relied upon a hermeneutic of translation that the Vatican had mandated in 1969 that allowed for equivalency in translating from the Latin rather than literalism.

What Pope John Paul II did in promulgating "Liturgicum Authenticum" and shifting the task of translation to others and scrapping years of work of others was to create a great anger in the group whose translation and work over the course of years was rejected.

But that is water under the bridge now and we have a new translation that is more accurate than our current one and I believe more elegant. However, it is not perfect and there are some long, run on sentences in some of the prayers and one does have to ponder for a moment what is actually being said. Yet, our prayer is to God and I think He knows what is being said. Some people like to pray in tongues, no one understands that but God alone!

So, what do you think about obedience even when it comes to something you might not like or want, like a new and more clunky English translation of the Mass and Pope Benedict's allowance for the EF Mass to be offered for those who would benefit from it and that pastors should see to it that it is offered in parishes regularly and that individuals have a right to the EF for their weddings and funerals?


pinanv525 said...

You obey the mandates of those you have chosen to serve because it is your duty. If you cannot perform that duty, get out. These disobedient priests and nuns are like the guy who wanted to join the Army but did not want to march. This is not "blind" obedience, either. People know what they have signed on for ahead of time. If there are illegal orders or activities, then there are avenues for addressing them within the structure. This whining and bitching by self-absorbed neurotic clergy really gets old. Hey, doofuses, it is called a "duty ethic." Get over it! (sorry Fr.)

OpusVeritas said...

CONGRATULATIONS on your 30th Anniversary - May God Grant You Many Years!

Anonymous said...

From the mouth of the saints, over and over again, you read that obedience and celibacy give great freedom to follow and go God's will. That does not mean that it is easy, however, the path to heaven is not for wimps.

Templar said...

I consider myself obedient to the Church and through it God, with the acknowledgment that I am a sinner of course. However I have been told that I am not obedient because I advocate for things like no communion in the hand which "is permitted".

I suppose in today's world of relativism you can make a point from other side of an argument, but I'm not buying it. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Period. Obedience means doing the right hing as God gives us the knowledge to see it.

Mackja said...

The call to obedience is not something new or developed later to keep control over the faithful. I will let one of the Church Fathers speak for himself. Ignatius of Antioch 3rd bishop of Antioch wrote this to the Ephesians as he was on his way to his martyrdom around 97-110 AD. This truth is timeless and a lesson relevant for today’s catholic laity and religious.

“I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person. For though I am bound for the name of Christ, I am not yet perfect in Jesus Christ. For now I begin to be a disciple, and I speak to you as fellow-disciples with me. For it was needful for me to have been stirred up by you in faith, exhortation, patience, and long-suffering. But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken upon me first to exhort you that you would all run together in accordance with the will of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the [manifested] will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds [of the earth], are so by the will of Jesus Christ.
Wherefore it is fitting that you should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also you do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God, in unison, you may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that you are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus you may always enjoy communion with God. For if I in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop — I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature— how much more do I reckon you happy who are so joined to him as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses Matthew 18:19 such power, how much more that of the bishop and the whole Church! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, God resists the proud. Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God. Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, Matthew 24:25 as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that you all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do you hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth.”