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.

Catholicism, Life, religion

Meeting people where they are…

I read statements about meeting people where they are.

When it comes to liturgy, to the sacred, please don’t meet me where I am. Engulfed with thoughts about making ends meet, chores, tiredness, to do lists….

Please lift my heart and mind to Our Lord, to the sacred. Please feed my soul with beauty. Please fortify my prayer and worship, with God’s love, so that I can live my life with that love, sharing it with others.

That’s evangelization. Inspire one who can go out and share this inspiration, this love.

Liturgical come-as-you-are, liturgical do-what-you-wish, liturgical it’s-all-about the people (or community) does not lift a soul to God, does not give Him true worship.

It makes it about me.

It makes Christianity and subsequently evangelization, a religion of niceness (as a friend says, Niceness might just be the new, fourth, cardinal virtue).

In which case self-professed atheist Ricky Gervais is right….. if being a Christian is just about niceness, about meeting people where they are, he may be a better Christian than most Christians, as he claims..

But if Christianity is vested in liturgy, in true worship of God, in feeding our souls so that we can help the souls of others to find God, then we may meet people where they are but we then challenge them to an authentic life.

By giving them God’s word, by beauty, by a sense of peace , of another world, a “why” to why we live the life we live, a why to suffering, a means of experiencing deep seated joy.

Attention to the sacred and to beauty in liturgy does this. It is true inclusiveness. It is true worship. It is true evangelization.

20130329-201601.jpg