The Church and the Darnel

When one gets a little down in the dumps about the state of the Church today’s gospel (well one part of this long and crowded gospel reading) is both consoling and perturbing. To really apprehend the full significance of this parable we must pay attention from the very first phrase: Continue reading “The Church and the Darnel”

The Tablet’s New Editor and Fr Baldovin’s Doctrinaire Assertion

The Tablet is not my favourite read. For me to read it is to experience something similar to those who listen to “shock jocks” on radio, listening precisely in order to be whipped up to a frenzy of outrage at this or that inadequate representation of the topic of the day. The problem for me is that I am of an age where one is getting sick of outrage; and sick also of having to fight for things one holds dear against those who should also be holding them dear. In the words of Browning’s bishop, “Peace, peace seems all.”

Things at The Tablet took a potentially irenic turn with the recent appointment of Brendan Walsh as editor. Continue reading “The Tablet’s New Editor and Fr Baldovin’s Doctrinaire Assertion”

Corpus Christi—Following Liturgical Change in Hand Missals

Today is traditionally the feast of Corpus Christi, and in many countries the Church keeps to the traditional reckoning of the feast. In England it is transferred to Sunday, unless one attends an Extraordinary Form parish or chapel.

The post-conciliar decline in the liturgy, especially the liturgy of the Mass, is attended by a decline in the general understanding of the Eucharist and the Sacrifice at the heart of the Mass. Catechesis has been inextricably bound to liturgical reform as it has happened on the ground (as opposed to the lofty ideals of the reformers who seemed often to have little idea of real parishes and the faithful’s needs). The decline of one at the grassroots has been attended by a congruent decline in the other. One of the reformers’ great mantras, that rubber-stamps all sorts of distortions of the Mass, is active participation. Put bluntly, for many parochial reformers this means getting as many people to do things and make noise as possible, a concept wholly novel to the liturgy and reflecting late 20th-century obsession with uniform egalitarianism.

It seemed an interesting idea to look back through the old hand missals—missals intended for the laity and to foster their intelligent participation in the Mass—to see if we can catch glimpses of what we have lost, what avenues we might have more fruitfully walked, and whether the decline can be discerned in the production of these missals over the years. What follows is graphic-heavy and probably should be viewed via a broadband or wifi connection! The covers and descriptions of almost all the missals can be found in recent posts. Continue reading “Corpus Christi—Following Liturgical Change in Hand Missals”

Scraps from a Scrapbook

Recently someone left us a scrapbook. It is an amazing collection of religious trivia, and some of its not so trivial in some respects. Herewith, in keeping with the recent archival theme, some samples (which, when clicked, will show the full size photo).

First is a photograph of Maurus Caruana (†1943), monk of Fort Augustus and Archbishop-Bishop of Malta. I suspect this photo is of him back at Fort Augustus, wearing a very monastic mitre.

Bishop of Malta

Continue reading “Scraps from a Scrapbook”

A Reading from the Prophet Sheed…and a Mystery, and a Musing—All on Sex

I think the title counts as what is called in the cyber world, clickbait. Anyway…

Frank Sheed (1897–1981), the great Australian Catholic publisher, apologist and missionary to England and America, manages the feat of being orthodox without being pious, and of being comprehensive without being complex. He was also, and often, remarkably prescient.

His ecclesial autobiography, The Church and I (Sheed and Ward, 1974), charts his life in relation to the Church, its heroes and villains, its triumphs, and its crises. So what he writes about “The Church and Sex” (chapter 16) still reads as fresh and relevant as it must have back in 1974. I will cobble together some sections below, much as the lectionary often does with its scripture. But whereas the lectionary often does that to pull some punches, my purpose here will be to allow no breathing time between each punch: Continue reading “A Reading from the Prophet Sheed…and a Mystery, and a Musing—All on Sex”

Further Thoughts on Papal Silence

Recently I made use of Frank Sheed to suggest that the cloud of papal silence over the Amoris Laetitia crisis, and in particular the dubia of i quattro cardinali, might perhaps carry with it a silver lining. In a nutshell, Sheed explained that papal infallibility can be secured by the Holy Spirit in a positive way, definitive teaching for example such as that on Our Lady’s assumption, or in a negative way, in that even the most scandalous of popes were preserved from teaching error ex cathedra. In that case, their silence was at least silver, if not golden. So too now, papal silence might not be as bad as we think.

For we do well to remember that the papacy does not exhaust the teaching authority of the Church. Historically popes have not been doctrinally very active, save as courts of final appeal. The dubia were presented to Pope Francis precisely in his capacity as the final and magisterial arbiter of doctrinal contention. It would be wonderful if he answered them by reaffirming the teaching of Christ.

However his silence is not the end of the world, nor grounds for his deposition as a heretic as some commenters have suggested. Continue reading “Further Thoughts on Papal Silence”

Christian Pacifism May Have a Point

This post will upset some people, most of them from a particular socio-cultural-ecclesial context. However, before they give vent to the full fury of their outrage it is asked that they read this post carefully, and then read it again. Disagreement is expected and constructive argument encouraged. Abuse or vitriol will get short shrift. There is an issue to engage with here, and it is not to be camouflage for arguments ad hominem.

You will recall the atrocities committed against the Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday in Egypt. What may not be so clear in our memory is the Copts’ response. Continue reading “Christian Pacifism May Have a Point”