I was going to write a post about “Feet Washing” and then I realized why I haven’t blogged in a while and what I do want to write about if I start up again.
So in that direction, I will instead wish you all a Blessed Triduum and Happy Easter!
Embrace not what divides us and separates us from Christ but instead draw near and embrace the Crucifix of Mercy and Salvation as Jesus did when he washed the feet of the Apostles. (See what I did there?)
Deacon Greg Kandra’s most recent blog post, has kicked up some hornets in the Catholic blogging world. I think that in the ever striving quest for politeness, sometimes people lose sight of what is really important. In the effort to be as charitable as possible, I dont want to insinuate that this is the case with Deacon Kandra, but suffice it to say his post struck me a little bit odd.
His post was a little troublesome to me because he said:
I find the idea of a verbal warning off-putting—but again, I don’t think I’ve ever heard something like this. In my experience of weddings and funerals, most non-Catholics are sophisticated enough to know there are restrictions on Catholic Communion; it’s not uncommon to see a sizable number of people in the pews stay put when others come up to receive.
Dr. Peters offered a better announcement that could be given at Mass:
A much better announcement would be something simple like “At this time, Catholics prepared to receive holy Communion may do so in the usual way.”
In the end, I think it is the duty of the Church to protect and preserve the TRUE PRESENCE – the Holy Eucharist, and that politeness needs to be a concern that comes after that.
Also, Dr. Peters’ 2nd point is one that is important to remember:
Second, one should NOT encourage, as an alternative to reception of Communion, “coming forward with arms crossed for blessing”. Receiving a blessing is not an “alternative” to receiving holy Communion (any more than being handed a raincoat in a hurricane is an ‘alternative’ to be admitted to a storm shelter) and, moreover, such a rite is an intrusion into the liturgy forbidden by Canon 846 § 1. I’ve addressed that liturgical abusehere.
By now, many of you have probably heard about the “Pope Francis Exorcism“ that was caught on tape. The media is in such a frenzy over this that everyone from the Sun.uk.co to local Michigan news sites have ran the story.
I am surprised that more Catholic blogs haven’t covered it, but my thoughts on the subject center less around did he or didn’t he perform an exorcism and more about why the media is so focused on this.
Here is the account from the Sun:
The Pontiff then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheelchair.
As this is happening Francis recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth drops wide open and he exhales sharply.
Francis’s usual smile then returns and he continues with the traditional and more gentle Sunday greetings for sick or disabled visitors to St Peter’s.
He is a bishop, he can do exorcisms. Was this an exorcism? I don’t know, but what the media is saying, without saying it directly, is: “The Pope, this Pope1actually believes in things like the devil and demons. So the media is starting to panic and freak out a bit.
As I have detailed in the past, the world the devil does not want us to believe in him, not in a real sense. He wants to fly just under the radar, maybe be blamed in a non-literal way for “evil” but mostly that we chalk up the “bad things” people do to a force that is somewhat outside of him. In many situations though, he gets a full on win when we blame “bad things” on the fact that there are just “purely evil/bad people” in the world.
It helps him operate. It gives him free reign over the world, and all its souls. Those in the media pushing secularism, tolerance, and relativism can’t have a devil running around. Why? Well, mostly because it would be proof of God, but second it would put a hitch into the entire idea of relativism. You can’t have a wishy-washy undefinable idea of good and evil, when you have the master of evil and lies spreading true evil.
The devil is real folks. He is the master of lies, the deceiver of truths, and the genius behind the fall of man. The sooner that we accept that he is real, the sooner that we can begin to defend against him. We can’t do it alone, so to battle intellectually over his powers and how it is exactly that he attacks is a fools errand. It is better to accept the reality of the matter, move on, and seek God’s help as well as all the angels’ and saints’ as well.
We are at war. The devil is our enemy. God is our Savior.
God Bless Pope Francis for showing this to us. It would be great if it was an exorcism, only so that it would continue to draw catechesis to the matter.
The one the media/secular world is still crossing its fingers over hoping he is “Liberal” [↩]
So the good Archbishop Vigneron continues to face opposition to his clear explanation of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Today, protestors marched outside of the Archdiocese of Detroit carrying banners and flags in support of “Gay-Marriage.” From HuffPost-Detroit:
Most of the people carrying signs and rainbow flags while marching slowly along the sidewalk in front of the Archdiocese of Detroit on Thursday afternoon didn’t fit the typical profile a church protester. A majority of the group of 30 or so sign-holders were in their 50s and much older — and they all called themselves Catholics.
Aside from the misstatement of what Archbishop Vigneron said, there is quite a bit of interesting tid-bits in this article.
The problem is not that these folks are protesting but that we have created a situation within the Church where the faithful believe their opinion is paramount. Or even, that the Archbishop’s opinion is the matter at hand.
The Church isn’t about opinion. It is about the ultimate Truth that is Jesus Christ.
Does the Church need to do a better job of communicating the Doctrine of the Church? Yes.
But this is true about marriage, contraception, co-habitation, social justice, abortion, families, education, and a lot of other things. The Church is pure truth in that it rests upon God. The people of the Church have faults as we all do. Reconciliation is a Sacrament because we all need to be forgiven for our faults. But what we can’t do, or expect, is that the Church will one day say, Sins are ok as long as you do most everything else we say.
Doctrine is a holistic inter-connected system of belief. It exists as a perfect puzzle of truth. Like a mathematical equation, we can’t simply pick and choose what parts we like and don’t and expect the answer to come out correct. Jesus certainly said that the greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor. But it doesn’t end there, he finishes by saying that all the rest rely upon those. Meaning: yes, we must love and accept one another but acceptance doesn’t mean that we stop striving for truth.
Earlier this month, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron took the stance that Catholics who support gay marriage should not take Communion, sparking an uproar on both sides of the issue.
They freshened the story up by finding some new folks to quote. On the Catholic side of things, they have a statement from Jay McNally, former editor of the Michigan Catholic, now radio and political pundit, who said:
The Church can never, never change its stance on the man/woman relationship being the only kind of marriage there can be,” said Jay McNally, former Michigan Catholic editor. “What we need is good, sound teaching from the bishops, and that is what Vigneron was trying to do.
He is 100% right about the fact that we need good sound teaching from the bishops. The biggest problem in this overall equation is that the pewsitters have been left to fend for themselves amongst the wolves of the world and develop their own understanding of what the Church’s teaching on marriage is.
Many people have been left to their own devices to balance the scant theology they are taught, with the sometimes-obtuse social doctrine that many priests, so-called Catholic groups, and others preach when it comes to social justice, love, and acceptance.
That is not to say that these latter things are wrong, or that every priest, bishop, and Church program is problematic, but that systemically there are problems and holes.
These weak-spots if you will are the areas where people then take it upon themselves to blend social understand and doctrine.
Case-in-point, a quote from the same story from David Garcia, executive director of Affirmations, Michigan’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization:
The Archbishop is on the wrong side of history, which, in the context of the Vatican, should surprise no one.
I would suggest to Archbishop Vigneron that he concentrate on feeding and clothing the poor and nursing the sick and stay out of our bedrooms.
This statement isn’t a big shock when you see the group he represents, but the kicker comes when you see that the story informs that David was “raised Catholic.” The “feeding the poor, clothing the sick” rhetoric might not be a complete reference to Pope Francis, but instead is symbolic of a larger notion.
This sentiment, that the Church is antiquated socially, and off-track in its mission is not an uncommon one – unfortunately. The biggest perpetrator of this seems to be: former Catholics.
To lend support to my point a few more paragraphs from the article:
Same-sex marriage also holds majority support among Catholics, according to a March poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. The poll shows 54 percent of Catholic voters support it, while 38 percent oppose it. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Retired Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who plans to lead an LBGT-friendly service May 5 at Marygrove Chapel in Detroit, says Catholics have received some conflicting messages lately, citing a statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York.
‘When the people come, they are acknowledged as gay and lesbian people. But as Cardinal Dolan said, we want them to come to church. There are some priests who don’t agree with that. So either we do want them to come or we don’t,’ said Gumbleton.
As for LGBT individuals and supporters being told they can’t take communion, Gumbleton said, ‘Many are hurt that way.’
Now, Bishop Gumbleton is no stranger to this debate, or to controversy. In fact, he is the same Bishop that Archbishop Sample, then Bishop of Marquette, refused to allow to speak in the Diocese of Marquette due to Gumbleton’s failure to follow protocol and decision to speak on things which were highly-questionable.
Unfortunately, Bishop Gumbleton makes a comment like the one above, and people take that to be the Church’s stance – that some how Archbishop Vigneron and Bishop Gumbleton are on two opposite sides of a coin, when in fact they aren’t, nor should they be.
For Archbishop Vigneron this was never, and will never, be about accepting homosexuals to Church, or even to Communion. Yet, when Bishop Gumbleton says that practicing homosexuals are “hurt” by being told not to take Communion, he is teaching contrary to the faith. As the Archdiocese has pointed out, if a person were to sin gravely, and then take Communion without contrite heart and confession – they too would would be committing the same wrong.
This isn’t solely about homosexual marriage, but about the teachings of the Church. It is about sin, doctrine, and the “Source and Summit” of Christian life – The Holy Eucharist.
We must have priests and bishops willing to be bold and courageous and stand up for all the teachings of the faith. To instruct the faithful in not only the position of the Church on things, but why it has that stance.
We must present the faith in a holistic way. That through all the teachings there is a continuity of Christ born unto the world, crucified, died, and resurrected. That there is ultimate truth which is the fabric of life, a truth that transcends politics, social structure, and even death.
But the Church can’t be about “issues.” It can’t speak to “Gay-Marriage” in a vacuum anymore than it should speak about “contraception” in a vacuum. Just as we can’t understand the Immaculate Conception aside from the true understanding of Jesus as both man and God.
The Church must be about faith, hope, and love. But with those things there must be continuity, truth, and honesty. We must be taught to understand things in entirety and not just the bits and pieces that are easiest, or least controversial. As a faith we can’t pick and choose what parishes ascribe to certain beliefs so as to create islands of he faith that are comfortable.
The Cross is not comfortable. It is hard, painful, and all consuming. As Jesus walked towards that Cross he fell and got back up again so as to ascend it for us and our failings. We do ourselves a disservice, but we insult his ascent on Calvary when we make the Cross about fitting our needs to His truth.
There have been quite a few news reports and blog posts since Archbishop Vigneron made statements earlier in the week about the reception of Communion by supporters of “Gay-marriage.” I wanted to create a list for some that are hoping to get caught up on the matter.
I think that answers my questions from earlier. I will continue to monitor this, and add more later.
The Free Press this morning had a front web-page story about Archbishop Vigneron. It was about the Holy Eucharist and people who publically support things like “Gay-marriage.”
The article is written by their religion beat writer, whom I am somewhat familiar with from Twitter. In terms of Catholic coverage, they are fairly straight forwardin their approach but hardly ever crack even the surface of basic understanding of the faith. I don’t expect much from a paper on such matters because it isn’t their expertise, so I read everything with a grain of salt hoping they don’t trash Catholicism.
This had to be some sort of stretch-of-truth or maybe it was a contortion of various statements, added to this or that, and an insinuation stretched into a statement. This is a pretty profound thing, especially in our state where we have quite a few public Catholic’s that support many things from Abortion to ‘Same-sex marriage.’
So I read the article quickly, and then tried to corroborate it with… anything. I couldn’t. So that is my caveat. This is one article, I don’t know when and where the Archbishop said the following, but hopefully the reporter did their job. If this turns out to be something that it is not… I will let you know:
Last month, Vigneron said at a news conference that maintaining views that oppose abortion and support traditional marriage are important for Catholics.
“Were we to abandon them, we would be like physicians who didn’t tell their patients that certain forms of behavior are not really in their best interest,” said Vigneron, who oversees 1.3 million Catholics in southeastern Michigan.
On Sunday, Vigneron said about supporting gay marriage and receiving Communion: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”
Vigneron said the church wants to help Catholics “avoid this personal disaster.”
This is a strong statement from an Archbishop. He has always been very careful, and tactful in his statements and so I am not surprised to see that he has been careful to speak strongly and yet at the same time carefully wrap those words in spiritual truth and care. This clearly isn’t about politics to him, but the truth of the teachings of the Church. He uses words such as integrity, logically, personal disaster, and contradict.
To Vigneron, this is a factual analysis of truth and Church teaching. This isn’t about opinion or desire, but about what is and isn’t allow in the faith. But that analysis, or its theological underpinnings aren’t arbitrary. This is about a cohesive and logical construction of truths and beliefs that must fit together in continuity.
I am going to work on getting more information about when and where this was said, and to see if there are more comments that accompany it. This is a huge statement for Michigan, and for other Bishops around the country. I pray that this statement is presented in proper context and that this isn’t some stretch to create controversy. I also pray that it unifies the Church.
The Catholic world is in an uproar right now. In fact, the AP posted a story: “Pope’s foot-wash a final straw for traditionalists.” The problem is focused on the Mandatum Mass, where there is an optional “foot washing” that can be done during the Mass by the priest. The Rubrics, which are supposed to be followed – because they exist, call for men’s feet to be washed.
Many Catholic blogs through the years have focused on this, again option, portion of the Mandatum and have written extensively, myself included. As I, and others, have said – the Rubrics are clear and priests should follow the Rubrics.
This isn’t to say that the Rubrics must say this, or that priests even elect to do this ceremony during the Mass.1 Some have gone so far as to argue that the foot-washing should remain men only because of its symbolic link to the priestly ministry. Yet, some others have argued that it isn’t that women’s feet shouldn’t be washed ever, but that the Rubrics say what they say, and therefore should be followed.
The issue is rather complex actually, because it touches upon several areas, and layers, of Church law. No one better than Dr. Ed Peters can break down a complex issue, and speak about it in a way that educates, analyzes, and charitably explains it in the simplest of ways. So when I was his post on this issue I was reminded of just how well he does exactly that.
A part I found to be the most well said, really affects both traditionally minded Catholics that are full of anxiety due to the Pope’s actions, and those that are attempting to argue that it means more than it probably does. Peters says:
A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot. For the sake of good order, then, the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.
I get the feeling everyone is so busy pigeonholing the Pope, scrutinizing everything he does or says, measuring him according to their preconceived notions on what and how he is supposed to be doing things, that they are hardening their hearts and not listening to what the Holy Spirit is doing or saying.
Unfortunately, that is probably true. Although, I do agree with Peters, that the best thing to do is keep with the Rubrics, or to change them and provide Catechesis.
Not to compare the brother Popes, but what Benedict always did well, was to provide Catechesis for any changes or reforms. We knew exactly what and why.
Lex orandi, lex credendi.
In fact, I have pondered whether the ceremony might be done prior to the Mass, for many reasons, as are other various rites for certain occasions. [↩]
This is a very insightful first glimpse into both the Conclave and the way in which the Cardinals view Pope Francis:
(Reuters) – Shortly after his election on Wednesday night, Pope Francis shunned the papal limousine and rode on the last shuttle bus with other cardinals to go back to a residence inside the Vatican for a meal.
That showed his humble side, according to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who gave an insider’s look into the hours immediately after Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected.
Dolan said most of the cardinals had taken buses back to their residence in the Vatican and had lined up to greet the new pope as he arrived for their last meal as a group.
They were expecting him to arrive in the limousine that they had seen waiting for him at the base of the Apostolic Palace.
“And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off? It’s Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver ‘That’s OK, I’ll just go with the boys,'” Dolan told reporters at the American seminary in Rome, the North American College.
Inside the residence, during the dinner, Dolan said the new pope showed his humorous side.
“We toasted him and when he toasted us he said: ‘May God forgive you,’ which brought the house down,” he said.
He made them laugh again when he told the cardinals, who held seven days of pre-conclave meetings and two days in the conclave: “I am going to sleep well tonight and something tells me you are too.”
The new pope told the cardinals that on Thursday he would visit Pope Emeritus Benedict at the papal summer retreat south of Rome, visit a Rome basilica and, joking again, Francis said: “I also have to stop by the residence to pick up my luggage and pay the bill.”
Dolan described the emotion inside the Sistine Chapel as Bergoglio reached 77 votes, the two-thirds majority needed to elect him.
“We broke into applause but then we had to wait until the rest of the votes were counted and applauded again at the end and still again when he said he accepted the election,” Dolan said.
Minutes after his election, the new pope went into the Sistine Chapel’s sacristy to change into the white papal vestments.
The sacristy is known as the “room of tears,” because it is there where a new pope first feels the weight of the papacy.
When he came out, a throne-like chair had been set on a platform but Francis preferred to greet the cardinals from a chair at their own level, Dolan said.
The new pope told the 114 cardinals who elected him that he had chosen the name Francis in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, who is known in Catholicism as “the little poor one” because he renounced earthly goods.
There had been some speculation that since Bergoglio is a member of the Jesuit religious order, he may have chosen the name in honour of St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits.
“He quickly clarified that,” Dolan said.
Dolan said the election of Francis will be “a booster shot to the Church in the Americas, a real blessing.”
“There is a sense of relief in all of us because we now have a good new shepherd,” Dolan said. “He is an extraordinarily down-to-earth man … a man of confidence and poise, a beautiful sincerity and simplicity.” (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
The Conclave will begin on Tuesday, March 12. Based on the schedule I have seen on Twitter, most of the early votes1 all happen at a time that is fairly convenient for American Catholics. Meaning, that if the white smoke comes billowing out, we can glue ourselves to some sort of technologically capable device to find out who will be the next Pope.
Yet, I awoke in a startle this morning with one thought: “What if they announce the Pope at 3:30am and I dont even find out for 3 or 4 hours!?!?”2
I thought it would be great if there could be some sort of warning system — AND THERE IS!
PopeAlarm.com is a very simply website. They will email or text you, or both, when the white smoke flies out the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. Sign up, because all the cool Catholics are doing it.
We are attending a funeral today, but I will try and get an update later of how and when the Conclave will convene as well as some of the very interesting stories coming out of the Vatican. The Americans are starting to garner lots of interest for various reasons, not excluding some starting to talk heavily about Burke and Dolan.