During the Eucharistic Congress of Quebec in 2008 I wrote a post about a bishop from the Philippines who set the congress on fire with his speech. That was Bishop Luis Tagle. The post was called: Meet the Future Pope. Well today, in what I think is a remarkable move, Pope Benedict has appointed the young bishop as Archbishop of Manila. This is huge! He will now surely become a cardinal and who knows… pope one day. You heard it here first
So, I haven’t really fallen off the face of the earth, no worries. It’s just been kind of busy with the transition saying goodbye to my friars, friends, co-workers and parishioners in Toronto and then saying hello to my new home and ministry in Syracuse, New York. There’s lots to say for sure.
At the moment I’m in Costa Rica with our new volunteers who will begin their volunteer work on Monday. I return home tomorrow. I promise to write more. In the meantime I want to share a video that was sent to me by Carolyn, one of the Costa Rica volunteers. We were at the Cathedral in San José today and looking a beautiful window of the story of the woman at the well, mentioned that it was one of my favourite Gospel passages. Carolyn then mentioned this rap that I’ve attached. This “spoken word” captures everything that I like about that passage in the scripture.
If I can live this in my ministry I will be a very happy man, and blessed friar and a good priest.
While working on my homily for Pentecost Sunday I came across this video. Don’t ask. It’s a take on Lady Gaga’s Born this way, which I happen to like as a song. Anyways… this is really a fun video… and I’m posting it half seriously… ’cause it is the truth,… but also with a grain a salt. Just enjoy it for what it is
My nephew’s wife recently responded to my last post that included a section about the ExtraOrdinary Form of the Mass. I think she makes some valid and interesting points, and since I don’t allow for comments on my blog I’ve decided to repost her post. Visit her blog.
double standards in the churchAs you may or may not know, there was a document recently released by the Vatican which clarifies certain points of the Motu Proprio Pope Benedict XVI wrote a few years ago – the letter which liberated the celebration of the Latin Mass from the clutches of bishops, basically.
So yesterday I read a blog entry by a priest which comments, in part, on this new document. This priest happens to be my husband’s uncle, but expresses what I’ve heard elsewhere as well. It upset me. The priest doesn’t take comments on his entries, so I ranted to Tony, who encouraged me to blog about it.
So first let me say that I am replying simply to this way of thinking. I am discussing how it made me feel. I do not claim to know how this priest would actually deal with these situations in real life.
But getting right to it – the problems I have are the double-standard and the dismissive tone.
By double-standard I mean that the pro-NO crowd tend to be extremely nitpicky when it comes to “letting” people hear a TLM. In his own words: “It seems that basically anyone, anywhere can walk into any church with any priest and expect to be allowed to celebrate this form of the mass. The only condition is that they can’t be associated with any persons or groups that challenge the legitimacy or validity of the normative or ‘ordinary’ form of the Mass as most of us know it. In my mind, that would exclude a lot of people, including some cantankerous cantors, who I know are all about mocking the Mass and the way we celebrate the Eucharist in our parishes.”
In other words, if you think the NO is objectively inferior – less clear, less beautiful, less edifying, less correctly Catholic in its approach and spirituality, than is the TLM, not only are you wrong, but you lose the right to hear a TLM. You may only hear a TLM, in effect, if your preference is purely, professedly aesthetic. You might believe wholeheartedly in the Creed, the Catechism, you might tithe to the penny, pray, have a generous and prudent number of kids, lead Bible study, fast twice a week, and love God and neighbour, but if you fail on this point, too bad; you’re not Catholic enough to be accepted.
So, a thought experiment: A group of 30 Filipinos, mostly in their 20s through 40s, approaches a pastor to request a separate Mass in Tegalog. All of them either fornicate or contracept, save two of them. Do you think the pastor will object on these grounds? No. Will they be questioned in detail about their beliefs and practices in the hopes of finding something off, on the grounds of which the pastor can deny them their preference? No.
So why are trads being persecuted? Article 19 says “The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church” – not quite the same as this blogger’s paraphrase.
I guess I’m an outlaw to his mind. Gosh, I even has SSPX wedding missalettes! I financially supported the SSPX! The scandal! What a bad Catholic I obviously am!
Sarcasm aside – what bothers me is that I think those of us who have reservations about the NO, and who prefer the TLM, act in good faith – for love of the Catholic Faith. What we do, we do for love of our Faith. Can the same be said of the hypothetical fornicating Filopinos? Do they fornicate out of love for the Faith? Well, I’d have trouble buying that, personally. Does that mean they ought to be denied a Mass in their language? No. We’re all on the same road together, all sinners, all wrong and blind in some way, probably.
I know this priest can be incredibly gentle and inclusive with people who are not quite full-on in their practice of the faith – in this entry, for example – so really – why the double-standard? Where is the gentleness and inclusivity for Trads?
The other thing that bothered me was, as I mentioned, the dismissive tone. “Much ado about nothing”? Are the concerns of every minority so unimportant to you? This issue is very, VERY important to a particular group of people, minority though it may be.
St. Piux X, pray for us.
Well, it’s a rainy, rainy Saturday afternoon. When I say rain, I mean RAIN. It’s all part of winter here in Costa Rica. It seems you have to be ready at any moment for the rain. I’m pretty well equipped with water-resistant hiking boots, waterproof jacket and of course a decent umbrella… or paraaguas as it’s called here. On the recommendation of one of the FrancisCorps volunteers (Tom) I got a shoe-dryer that keeps your shows from getting moldy in the wet weather. I’m sure some of the volunteers are going to think I’m a woose! Jordan!
As if the rain isn’t enough, yesterday we had an earthquake. That’s not that unusual in Costa Rica, but this one was stronger than most. Reports state that it was either a 5.9 or 6.0 grade. The saving feature was that it was relatively deep in the ground, some 70km, so it had less of an effect. I was on the second floor of the friary in the tv room when the earthquake hit. It’s kind of an open concept loft kind of space that is open to the living and dining room below. Well, it took me a few moments to figure out what was going on and then quickly got out of the building. Fortunately there are no reports of serious damage or injury. All of our FrancisCorps volunteers are fine (well, as fine as they were before the earthquake!)
The honeymoon about being here is also pretty much over. I’m more than half-way through my time learning Spanish and I realize how little I know. It’s kind of frustrating. One of my good friends, Tony, a Marist Brother living and ministering in East Timor told me that when you first learn a new language there’s a natural high at the start when you start learning new words and verbs. It is quite liberating. But then, you get to the point where it becomes hard again as you try to speak correctly. On the other hand, I was in chapel the other day and starting laughing because as I was praying the psalms I realized I knew what they meant and I recognized the tenses being used. That was kind of cool.
The walking to school is also proving to be tedious at times. I had pictured in my mind a nice urban saunter through San José when in fact the journey is through a few pretty grimy areas. And most of the 35 minutes it takes, I’m rushing to get to school on time or back to the friary for lunch (our main meal). Thankfully last week I was able to eat later and took the time to get a haircut and stop into some stores and talk to people. The other thing that really had me down for a while is that although I’m walking about 7km a day… I don’t seem to be losing any weight! I don’t know. I’m not eating that much! A very kind visiting friar, Jimmy McCurry said: “Just make it your goal not to gain any weight.” I can live with that.
The other interesting thing I have noticed is how Catholic this place is. At church there are so many young people. I don’t know if it’s because of the friars or what. The same is true of the Order’s vocations… the guys are young and very enthusiastic. It’s quite impressive. Speaking of churches.. I’m helping out this weekend (and last weekend) at a small chapel near the airport that offers the areas only English mass. Last week there were about 50 people. It was kind of cool.
Church wise… well the things that really have my attention are three:
First of all, most Canadians would probably not have heard this, but there’s a big problem with the Church in Philadelphia… USA! The civil authorities are going after some 30 priests who they consider to be abusers after the Archdiocese apparently ignored the problems. There’s a lot of confusion. However the woman who was the head of the Church’s review board for such cases wrote a powerful and important article. It’s a little long… but really, really worth reading to understand what went wrong in Philadelphia and also the problem that exists in the whole church! Here is a powerful excerpt:
The solution to the sexual-abuse scandal rests on being honest, acting promptly and transparently, being open to constructive criticism, and being committed to protecting minors. If Philadelphia’s bishops had authentically followed their call to live the gospel, they would have acted differently. Instead, they succumbed to a culture of clericalism
Another interesting development is about Liturgy. The Holy See has issued an instruction on how the permission to use the Tridentine Form of the mass, aka “The Extraordinary Form”. It makes clear a lot of questions people had. It seems that basically anyone, anywhere can walk into any church with any priest and expect to be allowed to celebrate this form of the mass. The only condition is that they can’t be associated with any persons or groups that challenge the legitimacy or validity of the normative or “ordinary” form of the Mass as most of us know it. In my mind, that would exclude a lot of people, including some cantankerous cantors, who I know are all about mocking the Mass and the way we celebrate the Eucharist in our parishes.
Anyways.. here’s a video report about. In my mind it is much ado about nothing. This is not something people want or are interested in. People want good music, preaching that connects to their lives and a community that cares about their kids, is inclusive and reaches out to the marginalized.
In contrast to all the hype about the ExtraOrdinary form of the Mass, we in Canada are supposed to be preparing for the Revised Roman Missal (which isn’t really a missal but a sacramentary, because it doesn’t contain the readings… but hey, why get technical about these things. It’s like saying the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated. Ok, whatever).
We are supposed to be implementing the Revised Missal in November. The National Liturgy Office in Ottawa was supposed to start putting out resources in the first week of April. We are halfway through May and nothing has appeared. Strange? Recently I’ve discovered that our National Liturgy Office employs only about 3 people. I know money is tight, but you think our bishops would give Liturgy some priority and some resources. The other thing I noticed in preparing resources for our parish is that the Bishops have commissioned some music to go with the Revised Missal. Interesting thing about these 4 new Mass Settings is that 2 of them are by members of the National Council for Liturgical Music, who presumably would have chosen the Mass Settings. I don’t know, but to me, it doesn’t really pass the “smell test” of transparency and accountability. Refer back to the “Philadelphia” issue!
Nothing has come out of the Archdiocese of Toronto either to assist with this major event in the life of the Church. There is a musicians workshop for which I have mandated all of our parish musicians… but nothing more. It seems that after the Priests’ Seminar workshops the Archdiocese lost its steam. Who’s on top of this issue? When will we have time to review material, prepare ourselves and then offer it to our parishioners? In the summer? Nothing much new happens in parishes in the summer. My plan, at this point, is to offer a workshop for parish ministers and other interested persons in June with contraband resources from an undisclosed country that has great liturgy training publications. ;P
Well, it’s still raining cats, dogs, parrots and cockroaches here in Costa Rica! (Don’t get me started on cockroaches. They are big and sometimes they fly! I had 7 of them in my shower one night. Not pretty. And I REALLY don’t like bugs.] Better get back to my studies. I have to review the irregular verbs. They’re causing me trouble. Hasta luego.
God our Father, our Mother:
We thank you today for the gift of all our mothers and grandmothers.
We give thanks for our mothers and grandmothers who have died. We ask that you keep them in your care until the time comes for us to join them in your Kingdom.
We ask your blessing upon the mothers and grandmothers who are far from us. May they know how much we love and care for them.
We pray for birth mothers who have loved their children so much they have shared the gift of their child with those who could better care for them and their needs, and give them a secure home.
And we pray for adoptive mothers, that they may always know their special role of being a true mother; a revelation of God’s love for their children.
We ask your blessing upon mothers who have lost children that, with your grace, they may have continued strength and courage.
We ask your blessing too, upon those who would very much like to be mothers but who are called to mother others in different ways.
Lord, we ask your blessing upon all the mothers in our lives. Amen.*I have to confess I got the start of this prayer off the internet and I adapted it to be more inclusive. I’m sorry but I don’t remember the original source.
This morning, Pope Benedict XVI beatified the late Pope John Paul II. Beatification means that a person’s life has displayed certain qualities that are worthy of imitation by other Christians. It also means that the “Blessed” person’s memory is celebrated liturgically in his or her own diocese.
Those of use who lived through the entire papacy of Blessed Pope John Paul II will remember the vigour of a young pontiff who stormed with the world with his charisma, his presence among and solidarity with people are over the planet and his unceasing and challenging advocacy for the poor. I remember his visit to Montréal and his passionate call to North American society to be attentive to the issues of the southern hemisphere.
He is also remembered as a powerful advocate on interfaith dialogue (especially with Jews and Muslims) and was heavily criticised by what might be described as the “Catholic Taliban” for inviting world faith leaders to Assisi. He has also been criticised by some for his promotion of the role of women in society. To many in North America, that would sound rather puzzling, but in fact, by global standards Pope John Paul moved the Church forward in its appreciation of and respect for women.
We cannot speak of the Pope without remembering the horrible attempt on his life and even more important his very public forgiveness of the man who tried to kill him. This great respect for the human person was manifested in his fight against both abortion and capital punishment and the defense of all human life from conception to natural death.
Many of us cherish the memory of John Paul as the Pope of the Youth. He made World Youth Day an ecclesial event of unparalleled significance and witnessed to young people by his constant and bold declaration: Do not be afraid! One of my favourite memories of WYD 2002 in Toronto is when after being drenched by the rain, 800,000 of us began with mass with JP2 and he looked up at us at the point when he was supposed to do the “Sprinkling Rite” and laughing said that the Lord had already taken care of that and skipped the rite. It spoke to the great sense of humour and ability to connect with the moment.
In the end all of who he was and what he believed in was made manifest before our eyes in his broken, frail body which nonetheless remained faithful, courageous and inspiring.
Blessed Pope John Paul, pray for us.
The Holy Week marathon begins. I’m writing this, still in Costa Rica and packing, well sort of, for the trip home to begin Holy Week. It is by far the my most favourite time of the liturgical year and why I couldn’t miss it, even with this intensive language course. Besides the school, and pretty much everything else comes to a stop here in Costa Rica for the Holy Days… although for many people here it’s more about holidays!
The preparations for Holy Week, if you want it done well, can be rather intense and the actual Triduum like running a marathon. But to tell you the truth, I have never minded it at all. You go to bed exhausted but it is also exhilarating. Of course there’s always the unexpected in the midst of it all… a parishioner dies, the boiler fails (yes, in Canada we still need heat at this time of the year), that makes things a bit more stressful at times, but with the right combination that comes from prayer, preparation and a peaceful attitude it all works out. It has to… these days tell the heart of our story… our salvation through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like with Christmas, this is not a nostalgic recounting of an ancient story, but allowing the sacred events to unpack their power in our lives and help us find meaning in life.
I had better get packing… the car leaves at 11:00 am (Costa Rica time) for the airport.
Have a great Holy Week. Perhaps I’ll find time to blog. Speaking of blogging. The Holy See (aka: Vatican) is holding a summit for bloggers on May 2nd. Tempting as it was, I didn’t apply for one of the 150 available invitations. (Some 700 did, from around the world). Being in Costa Rica learning Spanish and still leading the parish back in Toronto and transitioning into FrancisCorps… I figured I had enough on my plate. But how exciting is that, about that bloggers’ summit. Some really good bloggers have been invited and I’m sure there will be more opportunities for these kinds of meetings
Anyways… before I go… from one of the wonderful friars here in Costa Rica, Toño, a little video to help prepare for the Holy Week maratón. The Franciscan aerobics!
Rocco Palma the blogger of Whispers in the Loggia just tweeted about this hysterically funny bit of reporting from Fox News. The article claims that the Catholic Church is moving away from using Latin at mass in parishes. Imagine that. Wow, they’ve just discovered Vatican II at Fox News. Actually they are reporting on the new revision of the English translation of the mass. What poor reporting. Check it out yourself or read the plain text below. Unbelievable. Remember, these reporters are believed by millions of Americans when they “report” about health-care, defense, and politics in general! They make Sarah Palin look informed.
Catholic churches to abandon latin for english translations
8:45 PM CDT, April 13, 2011
The sound of catholic mass is changing this fall, and will take some getting used to. The church is moving away from using Latin in church, and moving toward using literal translations from the original Latin.
For example perishioners reply “and also with you” to the phrase “the lord be with you”. After November 27th, perishioners will reply by saying, “And with your spirit”.
Most of the burden will fall on the priests, who will have to make changes to their dialogue as well.
Some have already began criticizing the changes for being too confusing. Most Catholics are openminded, and don’t fear the misunderstandings.