Monday, July 7

Pastor in whose church football player fell to death has resigned, may be charged.

Bishop O'Brien pleads innocent

Greg Popcak adds his two cents to Catholics Without Qualifiers

The Church is a family. It is not like a family. It is a real, metaphyscal family. As such, I would suggest that family dynamics are the best prism through which to understand the family that is Church.....

A little catechesis, if you don't mind, on the Sign of Peace, known throughout liturgical history more properly as the "Kiss of Peace."

This is not a "prottie-" inspired innovation. (Lord, how ecumenical we are). The Kiss of Peace is a liturgical element we find in the earliest records of Christian worship. If you doubt me, check out the entry in the 1914 (or whatever) edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia on "kiss", which includes material on the Kiss of Peace


It is not easy to determine the precise link between the "holy kiss" and the liturgical "kiss of peace", known in Greek from an early date as eirene (i.e. pax, or peace). This latter may be quite primitive, for it meets us first in the description of the liturgy given by St. Justin Martyr (Apol., I, 65), who writes: "When we have completed the prayers we salute one another with a kiss [allelous philemati aspazometha pausamenoi ton euchon], whereupon there is brought to the president bread and a cup of wine." This passage clearly shows that in the middle of the second century the usage already obtained — a usage now claimed as distinctive of the liturgies other than Roman — of exchanging the kiss of peace at the beginning of what we call the Offertory. The language of many Oriental Fathers and of certain conciliary canons further confirms this conclusion as to the primitive position of the Pax. Thus St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat. Myst., v, 3) speaking of the time between the washing of the celebrant's hands and the Sursum Corda which introduces the Anaphora, or Preface, says, "Then the deacon cries out aloud: 'Embrace ye one another and let us salute each other. . . . This kiss is the sign that our souls are united and that we banish all remembrance of injury'." Many other Fathers (e.g. Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius, and also St. John Chrysostom, "De Comp. Cordis", 1, 3) speak in a similar tone and use language which implies that the Pax preceded the oblation of the elements. Even the so-called "Canons of Hippolytus", referred by some to Rome in the third century, though Funk ascribes them to a much later date, imply that the kiss was given at the Offertory. The same was undoubtedly the case in the Mozarabic and the Gallican liturgies. In Rome, however, the kiss of peace was more closely united to the Communion, and it must have followed shortly after the Pater Noster as it does at present. Thus Pope Innocent I in his letter to Decentius (A. D. 416) blames the practice of those who give the Pax before the Consecration and urges that it was meant as a token that "the people give their assent to all things already performed in the mysteries".

and further, how it had evolved by the time of the writing of this entry:

From a very early date, also, the abuses to which this form of salutation might lead were very carefully guarded against. Both in the East and the West women and men were separated in the assemblies of the faithful, and the kiss of peace was given only by women to women and by men to men. Then in about the twelfth or thirteenth century the use of the instrumentum pacis, or osculatorium, known in English as the "pax-board" or "pax-brede", was gradually introduced. This was a little plaque of metal, ivory, or wood, generally decorated with some pious carving and provided with a handle, which was first brought to the altar for the celebrant to kiss at the proper place in the Mass and then brought to each of the congregation in turn at the altar rails. But even this practice in course of time died out, and at the present day the Pax is only given at High Mass, and is hardly anywhere communicated to the congregation. The celebrant kisses the corporal spread upon the altar (he used formerly in many local rites to kiss the sacred Host Itself) and then, placing his hands upon the arms of the deacon, he presents his left cheek to the deacon's left cheek but without actually touching it. At the same time he pronounces the words Pax tecum (Peace be with thee); to which the deacon replies, Et cum spiritu tuo (And with thy spirit). The deacon then conveys the salute to the sub-deacon, and the subdeacon to the canons or clergy in the stalls.

In other words, the Kiss of Peace never was abandoned in the West, it was merely, like so much of the liturgical action, confined to the personages in the sanctuary.

History is always much more complicated than we would like it to be, isn't it?




A BBC photo essay on Franciscans from the Bronx setting up shop to minister to the poor in London.

They look to be Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, don't they?

Via Holy Weblog, which seems to be back in business...for now!

Peter Nixon gets us started on Catholic Without Qualifiers

In the end, I think we have to understand that arguments about both the cognitive and practical aspects of Christian faith have been with us since the beginning. We need to find ways of having these arguments without tearing our parishes and the wider Church apart. Sticking labels on ourselves or on others usually a means of cutting off the discussion. It suggests that I don’t really have to listen to what someone else is saying because, after all, they are an EWTN-watching reactionary/a National Catholic Reporter reading dissident.

I agree with Peter on this and on his other points, and I will add a few, disconnected thoughts.

I see the growth of the need to qualifiy our Catholic identity as the result of several factors:

Information technology, and no I don't just mean the internet. I mean the printing press and everything since. Time was, your average Catholic living in your average medieval village didn't know much of what he was "supposed" to believe beyond the basics - even as those basics were hotly debated and evolved in expression over time. Arianism wasn't a divisive, destructive heresy because one Alexandrian cleric preached it. It was what it was because it spread and was passionately held onto by large chunks of folks throughout the Empire.

But despite that, it really was a simpler world with fewer "demands" on believers, if you will. Popes issued statements, councils issued edicts, theologians wrote, and there was always a segment of engaged Christians, ordained, vowed and yes, lay, who were aware and engaged in sorting out faith identity in those terms, but I think it's safe to say that in a way, it was simpler to think of oneself as simply a "Catholic" or a "Christian" in a time in which poor communication and a slower life sharply circumscribed the way most people experienced their faith - and the options within it. What I'm saying (I think) is that I have no doubt that Catholics of 12th century Spain were just as varied in their approaches to their faith as 21st century American Catholics. The difference? No means of communicating that variation to others on a broad scale, probably no concern with doing so, and in general, a sense that there was no reason to do so - a sense of one's small spot in the universe, perhaps?

Secondly, the whole notion of heresy. This is interesting and contentious, but, I think, worth talking about. There has been great diversity within Catholicism over the centuries, but there have also been attendant and regular identifications of certain currents of thought, from Arianism to Jansenism to Gallicanism to Modernism as heretical. I think the absence of any sense of "heresy" in the contemporary Church is fascinating, when you think about it and compare it to past eras, and part of the issue here.

Finally, the decline of religious orders. I'm not saying that religious orders throughout history have been loci of "less-than-Catholic" thinking, but an interesting argument can be made that the Catholic Church has handled the stresses and strains of diversity v. unity, in part, through the multiplicity of religious orders with various charisms and emphases and even competing visions.

(Please remember, I'm not making supportable historical arguments here. I'm musing. With Dora the Explorer on the television, no less.)

But that was then, this is now.

As one commentor snidely commented, are we looking for an "I'm okay-you're okay" style of Catholicism? Not at all. I have no answers, but I have concerns. I just don't like the attachment to the qualifiers instead of the attachment to Christ. Complicated, of course, by the conviction of all parties that they are putting Christ at the center - Christ as the authoritative teacher whose authority rests in the Magisterium, Christ the one who dined with sinners, Christ the judge, Christ the reconciler......

There are, indeed, great differences that separate the parishioners of St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis (Mark's favorite parish) and the seminarians at the traditional seminary in Nebraska, and perhaps the former will, at some point, go the way of Spiritus Christi in Rochester and separate themselves from the Church, but I don't know.

But until then, I am not satisfied with a politicized Catholicism, and I am looking for the moment when all of us can put away our pride and our attachment to our positions and look to Christ as our definer.

Venezuelan cardinal dies.

Cardinal Ignacio Velasco, who led Venezuela's Roman Catholic Church through a stormy relationship with President Hugo Chavez, has died. He was 74.

A commentor remarks:

The short answer for a solution is for Catholics to stop referring to themselves as this or that kind of Catholic.

Well, I don't think that's the problem. I think the problem is Catholics referring to other Catholics with qualifiers. Further, when some of us do use qualifiers in reference to ourselves, we do so in order precisely to distinguish ourselves from others....those we deem less than "orthodox" or less than "progressive."

Andrew Sullivan takes on Ann Coulter:

Coulter does not seek to complicate her view of liberals with any serious or lengthy treatment of the many Democrats and liberals who were ferociously anti-Communist. Scoop Jackson? Harry Truman? John F Kennedy? Lyndon Vietnam Johnson? She doesn't substantively deal with those Democrats today - from Senator Joe Lieberman to the New Republic magazine - who were anti-Saddam before many Republicans were. She is absolutely right to insist that many on the Left are in denial about some Americans' complicity in Soviet evil, the guilt of true traitors like Alger Hiss or the Rosenbergs, who helped Stalin and his heirs in their murderous pursuits. And part of the frustration of reading Coulter is that her basic causes are the right ones: the American media truly is biased to the left; some liberals and Democrats were bona fide traitors during the Cold War; many on the far left today are essentially anti-American and hope for the defeat of their country in foreign wars.

But by making huge and sweeping generalizations about all liberals, Coulter undermines her own arguments and comes close to making them meaningless. If you condemn good and bad liberals alike, how can you be trusted to make any moral distinctions of any kind? And by defending the tactics of Joe McCarthy, she actually plays directly into the hands of the left. What she won't concede is that it is possible to be clear-headed about the role that some liberals and Democrats played in supporting the Soviet Union, while reviling the kind of tactics McCarthy used. In fact, when liberals taunt conservatives with being McCarthyites, conservatives now have to concede that some of their allies, namely Coulter, obviously are McCarthyites - and proud of it.

One of the most reputable scholars who has studied the McCarthy era in great detail, Ron Radosh, is appalled at the damage Coulter has done to the work he and many others have painstakingly done over the years. "I am furious and upset about her book," he told me last week. "I am reading it - she uses my stuff, Harvey Klehr and John Haynes, Allen Weinstein etc. to distort what we actually say and to make ludicrous and historically incorrect arguments. You might recall my lengthy and negative review in The New Republic a few years ago of Herman's book on McCarthy; well, she is ten times worse than Herman. At least he tried to use bona fide historical methods of research and argument." Now Radosh has endured ostracism and abuse for insisting that many of McCarthy's victims were indeed Communist spies or agents. But he draws the line at Coulter's crude and inflammatory defense of McCarthy. "I think it is important that those who are considered critics of left/liberalism don't stop using our critical faculties when self-proclaimed conservatives start producing crap."


A very good, warts-and-all profile of Katharine Hepburn, from the New Yorker.

The gay Anglican bishop-to-be has resigned

More links and reactions from Christianity Today.

Pope appoints three auxiliaries for Detroit today:

Msgr. Walter A. Hurley, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington, U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Fredericton, Canada in 1937 and was ordained a priest in 1965. Msgr. John M. Quinn, director of the Department of Education of
the same archdiocese. The bishop-elect was born in 1945 in Detroit and was ordained a priest 1972. Fr. Francis R. Reiss, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1940 in Detroit and was ordained a priest 1966.

That's a lot 'o new bishops for one Archdiocese in one day. What's up?


The LATimes reports in advance of a "Conservative" Catholic conference being held this week.

That sort of uncompromising statement of traditional theology is part of the point of the conference, which organizers hope will draw a record 9,000 participants from across the country to the Anaheim Convention Center next Saturday and Sunday. Last year, 5,800 people attended the event. The event has moved to Anaheim after being held in Long Beach for years.

Hearing speakers like McGuigan and choosing from nearly 50 sessions, those who attend "are going to get what the church teaches in a very convincing way," said Terry Barber, president of the Catholic Resource Center, a lay ministry based in West Covina that sponsors the conference. Conference topics include "How to Keep Your Kids Catholic," "Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus: Outside the Church, There Is No Salvation" and "A Message to Our Separated Brethren: America's in Trouble."

"We're talking about speakers who are on fire," Barber said.

The resource center started 24 years ago, distributing tapes of Fulton J. Sheen, the bishop from Syracuse, N.Y., whose radio and television broadcasts espousing traditional theology made him a prominent figure in the Catholic Church until his death in 1979.

Today, the conferences operate with the permission of the local bishop, who reviews the topics and occasionally asks that a controversial presentation — such as one dealing with apparitions — be stricken from the program.

The ministry's independent nature and conservative theology bother some in the U.S. church.

"It's troubling to me that there's this move to create a parallel culture," said Father Thomas Rausch, a theology professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

"What they are really saying is that they're not getting true teachings of the church" in their home churches. "And that's too bad. It reflects a loss of confidence they have in the leadership of the church."

Barber doesn't disagree.

"People are not getting the teachings of the church" at the local parishes, Barber said. "We'd like to go out of business. We're just trying to respond to a need the church has: giving [parishioners] convincing reasons for their faith and giving them hope."

In Pakistan:

Priest murdered

In the home of the 2008 Summer Olympics:

Priests arrested.

From the UK's Tablet, good stuff from American church historian John Jay Hughes on the liturgy:

As an undergraduate, seminarian, and Anglican priest I often attended Mass in Roman Catholic churches on both sides of the Atlantic. It was not remotely like the “Rolls-Royce Mass” described last week by Elena Curti in her excellent article. Mostly silent, the few Latin parts which could be heard were so gabbled and garbled that they might have as well have been in Mandarin Chinese. The vernacular prayers at the end, “For the conversion of Russia”, were so rushed that the priest was often well into them before one realised he had switched to English.

The Mass itself was often taken at breakneck speed. A local lawyer with six years of Latin in the St Louis secondary school founded by Ampleforth Benedictines recalls being scolded by priests for not saying the Latin responses fast enough. His experience was not unusual. The man at the “Rolls-Royce Mass” who professed himself scandalised (as he should have been) at 10-minute new-rite Masses is too young to recall members of his grandfather’s generation boasting about priests who could get through the considerably longer Tridentine rite in a quarter of an hour or less. And as for the woman interviewed by your reporter who found a new-rite Mass “a shambles”, that is exactly what I witnessed many times over in Catholic parish churches five decades ago. “Such little reverence”, she said, “I was scandalised and distressed.” My sentiments exactly. Only at the conventual Mass in Benedictine and Trappist monasteries did I find the dignity, reverence, and beauty I craved. And such liturgies were available, of course, to few.

I really do think that everything Hughes says in this piece is spot-on. For those of you who are not slavishly devoted to following the intricacies of my own thinking (and I hope that includes everyone), let me just clarify that on this issue, again, I am not an advocate of the Tridentine liturgy except for those who want it. I never went to Mass until after VII, and am an historian with a devotion to reality, and my experiences and studies have taught me that Hughes is correct in his determination not to romanticize the past. My only question on this score that I've raised over the past weeks is the sign-value of language in conveying catholicity and unity, especially in diverse cultures, and I think that is a very valid point that needs to be discussed, and discussed in a way that is shorn of nostalgia and understands that our most fundamental unity is in Christ, through Word and Sacrament. But what I'm saying is that language is not irrelevant in this specific corner of the discussion.



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