Catholicism, religion

Do you read parish bulletins?

I must admit that mostly I don’t. Don’t read parish bulletins that is. (I often wonder if some parish priests also do not read the bulletin. Especially the pre-written piece copied onto the front page. You know, the related-to-today’s-Gospel bit.)

My sons, however, do read parish bulletins.

And one pointed out to me some interesting sections in a parish bulletin recently. (No, not my parish’s bulletin.)

I thought I’d share.

“May it be too bold to suggest that a successor of St Peter is to preach the resurrection with Pentecostal power and effect, that he too must be propelled into the world by a Spirit-filled gathering of female and male disciples. Why can’t the conclave of electors in the Sistine Chapel include women?”

Oh my.

Simple answer? Because it can’t. The Church has spoken elsewhere on the priesthood and on the role of women. How many times does this need to be re-iterated?:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (para. 1577) states:

“Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.” The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

And seriously, does this preclude a Pope from preaching “the resurrection with Pentecostal power and effect?”There seems no relevance , no connection between these two thoughts. The Pope preaches with the fire of the Holy Spirit,in the light of the Gospel and Tradition; he preaches to all with love for the common good; the sex of the electors in the conclave is a moot point. Really.

This bulletin passage denies the equality and differences of the sexes. Equality because we are all called to preach the Gospel in our daily lives; different because we bring our differences to the forefront in doing so. I do  not have to emulate a male to share God’s love; indeed, the world becomes a poorer place when we value the strengths of one sex over another, when we denounce the self giving love of women. For in giving of self, we women must first have a self to give; we must nurture and educate ourselves in prayer and in our vocations rather than seek to emulate others.

The bulletin continues..

“There is no single sacred language. All languages, all vernaculars, are capable of hearing and expressing what God wants to inspire, to breathe into human hearts.”

Oh my again. Does this writer possess even a glimmer of logic? For again the obvious must be stated.

Of course all languages can hear and express the Good News. There is no discussion, not now, not ever, about the ability of one language over another to share the Gospel.

This, however, has nothing to do with the use of a sacred language in liturgy. Sacred means set apart. And a language that is set apart and used in sacred liturgy, as Latin may be, is a language that is not open to many different interpretations and confusion. It is a language of unity. Set apart. Sacred. While also allowing the Gospel to be shared and breathed into our hearts.

I thanked my son for pointing out this bulletin piece. And I know now why it is a good thing that many of us do not read the bulletin.

We are saved from logical fallacies  in the form of theological reflection.

Life, Unschooling

Mums are like Spiderman.

We mums have a lot in common with Spiderman. We really do.

Spiderman has his spider senses, a tingling in his brain that warns him of dangers, a sense that he can also use to guide himself on his weblines.

And we, as mothers, often have this spider sense. We often know, deep in our hearts, what it is that is best for ourselves and our children.

Our spider sense is borne out of mothering, out of love, out of experience. Experience with this child and within our family.

So many times we question ourselves and our mothering spider sense. We listen to the experts and ignore that small, nagging voice, those inner qualms. Spiderman often does not listen to his spider sense when fatigued. Mothers often do not listen to our spider senses when we feel pulled in many directions and besieged by experts, by those who tell us they know best.

We need to acknowledge our own expertise in  mothering, as we acknowledge the expertise of others.

I can’t tell you the number of times a fellow mother has asked me for advice and then, during our discussion, I see a dawning light appear on her face. She knew already what should be done with her child. She knew in her heart he needs more love or she needs more time or he needs clear parameters or she needs a change of direction. We mothers just don’t heed our spider sense.

We mums are like Spiderman. We have our own mothering superpower, our mothering gut instinct, and this can be examined in the light of day with other mothers, with fathers, with children, in prayer. But only if we first recognise that it is there.

Sometimes, our spider sense is built on fear…fear that if he doesn’t do well in maths he won’t get to university or that she doesn’t write now at all so that means she will never write.So we listen to an expert, force a child into a mold, all out of fear.

What if we acknowledged the role of spider sense and examined it, fears and love, reason and truth? What if we worked through our “what ifs” and faced our fears? What if we took some time to pray and reflect on what is really going on and what that whisper in our heart tells us to do?

Many times, my spider sense tells me to give a son some time.

Many times, my spider sense lets me know it is time for a nudge.

Many times, I have ignored my mothering spider sense, my gut instinct, and I have been left with a less honest relationship, a less authentic path, and an unsettling feeling that something is not quite right.

It is trusting in that sapientia, that wisdom arising from prayer, love, reason and experience. If we can recognise this and exercise this wisdom, then we also teach our children to do the same. To reason, to love, and to listen to that still, small voice.

That spider sense.Image