Wednesday, April 4, 2012


From the Wall Street Journal's March 31, 2012 interview with Timothy Cardinal Dolan, When the Archbishop Met the President:

WSJ: What about the argument that vast numbers of Catholics ignore the church's teachings about sexuality? Doesn't the church have a problem conveying its moral principles to its own flock?

Cardinal Dolan: "Do we ever!" the archbishop replies with a hearty laugh. "I'm not afraid to admit that we have an internal catechetical challenge—a towering one—in convincing our own people of the moral beauty and coherence of what we teach. That's a biggie."

For this he faults the church leadership. "We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality." He dates this diffidence to "the mid- and late '60s, when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics in general got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught, first and foremost, is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everybody else."

And then this from Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of Columbo, Sri Lanka

Last month, on the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19), Cardinal Ranjith reiterated in an address to his clergy that this manner of receiving communion is mandatory for all of the faithful in his territory, even during outdoor Masses:

May I also remind you once again that in all Churches and Chapels in the Archdiocese Holy Communion is to be administered only on the tongue and kneeling. This should be implemented as normal use even at Holy Mass celebrated with the participation of a big crowd outdoors. On such occasions at least the youth and the children as well as the “youthful” should be called upon to kneel and receive the Lord. This is the most appropriate way of expressing our profoundest belief in the continuous and personal presence of the Lord in the most Sacred Host as we acclaim “down in adoration falling, lo! the Sacred Host we hail”. And in all our Churches, as an expression of that faith our people should be called upon to receive the Holy Communion, kneeling. And so kindly take steps to fix the altar rails and a cushion line fixed to the ground before the railing so that all could kneel and receive easily. It is also good for us to explain to our people about the teaching of the Church on the Most Holy Eucharist as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church Nos. 1373-1381 WHICH YOU CAN READ BY PRESSING HERE.

My Comments:

Brick by brick, I believe that many bishops in the hierarchy as well as a growing number of priests are beginning to realize that the renewal of the Church that Vatican II actually envisioned has to be built on what was the strongest aspects of the Pre-Vatican II experience of the Church for most Catholics, clergy, religious and lay. These were:

1. Strong catechesis of children where the basics taught would last a lifetime (isn't this what Cardinal Dolan is lamenting that Catholics today don't know the faith because Catholics of yesteryear (1960's and onward) were told to dance with the world not with God? In the 1960's we also told strong, traditional Catholics that everything they learned in pre-Vatican II times was wrong and that the new and improved religious ed materials were much better than memorizing any silly old catechism that presented material in a black and white way, after all the world isn't black and white. They got that last part right didn't they!

2. When it comes to the liturgies of the Church, especially the Mass, the clergy and laity have a very important ministry of making sure the rites are celebrated with dignity and reverence and that reverence and dignity be defined in the traditional way, not the worldly way. I am convinced that the post Vatican II Mass will not be changed greatly in the future but what can and should be changed is what Cardinal Ranjith mandates for his diocese, kneeling for Holy Communion which means the restoration of altar railings. That along with "ad orientem" celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist will jump start the true renewal of the Church that Vatican II envisioned.

3. There are many forms of Catholic spirituality, in fact we really need to speak of spiritualities. However there are some forms of spirituality that are opposed to Catholic spiritualities and the Catholic faith and these need to be named and purified. Our bishops need to teach people how to pray as Catholics, how to meditate as Catholics and how to bring Catholic spirituality and devotions to their homes. We need to recover what it means for the home and Christian family to be the Church in miniature and that husbands are sacramental images of Jesus Christ the bridegroom and head of the family (church) and that wives are a sacramental image of the Church, the Bride of Christ and that together, head and members of which the husband is also a part of the Body of Christ, they are to offer submission to Christ the Bridegroom and head of the Church. Submission to Christ and all that Christ is and teaches does not debase husbands or wives or their offspring! In the Church today, have you heard a bishop or priest speak about submission to Christ as a good thing? In a wedding homily, have you heard a bishop, priest or deacon speak of the necessity of submission to Christ in their marriage where the Bridegroom and Bride are sacramental images of the Mystical Body of Christ? Have you heard the choice of the Epistle reading proclaimed at weddings, "Wives be submissive to your husband..." with its complete meaning properly preached?


Anonymous said...

Well, Fr. McDonald, certainly one of these has what it takes to be a wonderful Pope. And no doubt "both of whom some believe have what it takes". But I wonder whether any single person thinks that both do, since they seem somewhat incompatible from a liturgical viewpoint. (Though of course, not everyone has seen both of them celebrate Mass.)

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how strong Cardinal Dolan's theology is, that is, I have not read his writings/teachings. But that one act of taking the yoke of RESPONSIBILITY, not blame, makes my eyes moisten. I am not a supporter of an American Pope for several reasons, but I am not dead set against it if the guy is in the same intellectual league as Cardinal Ratzinger was.

I have said this before: when you are scared absolutely witless and about to pee in your pants about your situation the person who sticks his face in yours, smiles, and says 'follow me' gives nerve to your arm and steel to your spine. They are not usually the pretty boys, either. I see some of that in Cardinal Dolan. I sincerely believe he would pop President Obama in teh nose, then help him up, wipe up the blood with his cassock and hug him. and like the shampoo bottle says, 'repeat as necessary'. What ever his future, we are blessed to have him here.


ytc said...

I admire these Cardinals.

Please teach the faith, not some watered-down pseudo-Catholic by-product of Catholic lite.

Joseph Johnson said...

Dolan is a great moral teacher and one of the best spokesmen the American Church has had in a long time. I just wish he was as outspoken regarding the "Reform of the Reform" and in promoting the EF as Ranjith has been.

Likewise, John Paul II was, no doubt, a great Pope and moral teacher. In the same way, I had always wished that he had been more interested in restoring continuity to the liturgy, as Benedict XVI has been.

ytc said...

The only thing about Cardinal Dolan that I don't like is that his Masses are literally all OVER the place. They're extremely casual and his movements are very harsh and abrupt. Of course he does this in a jocular manner but... his masses are so un-solemn. He walks around in front of the altar back and forth during his homilies (at least at St. Pat's). He does use Latin and Greek, so that's a plus, but still. His deacons and priests assistant and altar boys (seminarians presumably) look very solemn and dignified, and so there's a certain tension.

Anyways, his moral teaching is absolutely superb and I admire him for that, but I don't understand how we can't connect orthodox teaching with liturgical orthopraxy. We haven't crossed that threshold yet. How can we expect people to respect our MORAL teaching if WE don't respect our own liturgy? Since the liturgy is the front-line attack of the Church, so to speak, shouldn't it be carried out in a manner that reflects and respects our moral and faith teachings?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Sometimes I delete things by accident when I post from my iPhone:
Joseph Johnson has left a new comment on your post "CORRECTING THE WRONG HEADENESS ABOUT WHAT VATICAN ...":

Please allow me to correct my "Spirit of Vatican II" hangover terminology. I should have said the "Roman Catholic Church in America" rather than the "American Church."

Unfortunately, it is a kind of mental osmosis that comes with being over 50 and having grown up with the "Spirit."

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