Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Holy Obedience tied into charity and not ripping apart:

In the comments on my post below on the Mass as prayer, sacrifice, meal..., Ave Verum wrote:

Excellent post, Father, and excellent, respectful comments as well (sometimes the comments here are so disrespectful that I wonder if we are still Christian, let alone Catholic!) --thank you.

I think I would want to echo those sentiments as we post. There is no need to attack anyone and critiquing comments can be done in a very positive way and there is no need to crucify anyone whom you cannot convince to come to your way of thinking. Last Sunday's Gospel about the two Greatest Commandment, complete love of God and loving neighbor as oneself, should guide any and everything we do even in commenting. There is no need to be vitriolic as I believe this does go against the virtue of charity and thus is a sin and it appears to me to go against the two greatest commandments.

But let's talk about holy obedience in religion, Catholicism in particular. When we obey the Church in the areas of faith, morals and canon law as well as diocesan regulations approved by the local bishop, we build up the unity of the diocese and of the Church.

That doesn't mean that we like all the rules of canon law or diocesan regulations. These are open to modification and change if this doesn't interfere with divine law which cannot be changed. We might want even a more democratic approach to decision making in the Church on her various levels, international, national, diocesan and parish. Can that happen? I think so, but there are many opinions worldwide as to how that can happen.

But suffice it to say, as a parish I have a great deal of authority to implement various things that are prescribed or regulated worldwide, nationwide or diocesan wide. Not everyone will like everything, like standing for Holy Communion, receiving from the chalice, Communion in the hand, the new translation, the EF Mass at a regular Sunday Mass, style of music so and so forth.

But when legitimate decisions are made whether one likes the process or not or the outcome or not, one should abide. And when things are decided that allow for caveats here and there, like receiving on the tongue or kneeling if that is one's personal preference for Holy Communion, the EF Mass, then I say what the heck as long as no one is tripped or in any way damaged by what is allowed by way of personal preference.


Ave Verum said...

Father, thanks, I guess...
But my comment/question in that response was regarding YOUR post involving intinction. I had quoted from GIRM: "...though the option of administering Communion by intinction always remains." Since you have stated your views on intinction many times here, I just really wanted to know--is intinction allowed or does the local Bishop decide about such things? Are you, the local priest allowed to institute this change?

William Meyer said...

For my part, I respect my pastor's decisions, whether or not I am a huge fan of some of them.

I do wish, though, that he would say some words to folks--mostly to the members of various ministries, such as the choir--about the reality that the church is a place of worship, and therefore a place for quiet whispers. Too often, before Mass, I can barely hear myself think.

And I have, on occasion, been interrupted in my prayers by an RCIA team member who merely wanted to say hell. Really? I'm on my knees, and chatting takes precedence? One of us is gravely confused.

In the final analysis, with regard to the liturgy, I trust in my pastor, and if something seems disturbing, I will arrange to chat privately, that I may better appreciate why things are as they are. Unless I find something at odds with the G.I.R.M. (yes, I read the last one, and will read the new one) I assume it is a matter of my ignorance or misunderstanding, and seek to correct that.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I asked my previous bishop in writing and he said no. This was after he had asked us not to have the common chalice because of the fear of epidemic regarding H1N1. That is my question--can he say no when it is allowed in the GIRM--he is the final authority on this and as we have seen in Phoenix, I think a bishop can regulate the common chalice as the bishop there is doing.

William Meyer said...

Interesting. The question of what the bishop can or cannot override is no better than hazy for me.

I'd be delighted to see my parish switch to intinction, but I shan't hold my breath. We routinely see 10-12 (not very) extraordinary ministers, so it's chalices, as far as the eye can see. Things get so crowded up there that I really think reducing the body count would reduce the time for serving. However, to these folks, (recent) tradition is everything.

I'd prefer to receive kneeling, but it would certainly be disruptive, and totally unexpected.

The changes I could wish to see would all be in the direction of making the Mass a more worshipful experience, and much less the community gathering it now resembles.

Jenny said...

The Authority of Compassion
-Henri Nouwen

“The Church often wounds us deeply. People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.
There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let's keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.”

Gene said...

Yeah, I read Nouwen's books in grad school and seminary. Nice guy. He was a favorite of Protestant "encounter group" leaders. Sometimes, exhortations to compassion are merely efforts to get people who disagree with you to shut up. Frankly, I think the terms "love" and "compassion" have become so cliched as to have become cheapened. I would like to hear more of words like "duty," responsibility," "obligation" and, on the theological side, "sovreignty," "righteousness,"chastisement," and "judgement." As far as the Church being more "democratic," please, that is unthinkable. That is what the post VAT II near destruction of the liturgy was about. People like Ignotus need to be told exactly what to do and how to do it...with somebody standing over them watching...with a cattle prod. LOL!

Templar said...

I find it easy to be courteous and polite when we are discussing the weather, politics, etc etc (things of ultimately no import in God's plan).

However when were are speaking about the Faith, The Liturgy, THE SAVING OF SOULS, I fail to see how being "nice" can be an acceptable alternative to "truth". The "Truths" I fight and defend are the Truths handed down to us by Holy Mother Church with over 1900+ years of Tradition. If we really and TRULY believe (for example) that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Risen Lord, then HOW can anyone remain standing before him? The Bible tells us we should kneel, tradition says we should kneel, and a Council of Bishops for the last couple of decades decide, Nah, go ahead and stand. You don't need to be a Theologian to KNOW the Bishops are WRONG. There is simply no debate to be made.

Far too many people (especially clergy) hide behind their Obedience....Obedience is the Servant of Faith, not the other way round.

Anonymous said...

My day job involves creating and executing extremely detailed plans. As with all things of a complex nature, there are multiple ways to reach the goal. Even within the individual stages of the plan there are alternative actions to take. It can make the people working with me dizzy, or even confused, if I do not ensure that they are clear, and in full agreement, on exactly HOW we will do a particular step. Some people call this the 'buy in'.

I can absolutely guarantee failure if I do not acknowledge that the alternate paths exist and become completely familiar with them. When my team creates the plan I decide which alternate is our choice and accept the other action as a contingency plan if the initial choice becomes blocked. This not only acknowledges the person who brought the contingency to my attention but also acknowledges the value of their contribution, creating the 'buy in' and an energetic supporter who can, if required, execute the alternative if we run into trouble. My next step, in the after action review of our project, is to determine if that alternative should have been our first choice, or if it should remain in our library of alternate plans.

When I wake up in the morning, my goal is to reach that Altar and each action had better support reaching that goal. There are lots of distractions along the way, but I trust the Church has picked a way that will get me there. In fact, She has shown me several different ways of making that final approach. There are some ways I prefer because they keep the Destination in sight better than others. My contribution, my 'talant', is the feedback that sometimes I got distracted and had trouble keeping my eye on the target due to the leadership. Rest assured, there is no doubt who is the leader. One objective of an NCO is to help the rest of the group keep an eye on both the leader and the objective and to let the leader know that sometimes all we can see is the leader and are not clear on where he is headed.