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Here's an example of an attitude that makes me shake my head:

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 10:39 AM
Original message
Here's an example of an attitude that makes me shake my head:
Kennedy funeral: GIRM vs. Archdiocese of Boston
Mr. Obama is scheduled to give a five minute eulogy at Mr. Kennedy's funeral tomorrow.

This is a classic example for why it would have been good for the Archdiocese of Boston to follow the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which reads:

382. At the Funeral Mass there should, as a rule, be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind.
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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-30-09 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
1. And what did Christ say in today's gospel?
This guy should've reviewed today's gospel reading from Mark.

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?

He responded, Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.'
You disregard Gods commandment but cling to human tradition." (Mark 7:1-8)

I think the same thing is going on here. The right gets so hung up on these things but it's all lip service.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-30-09 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. I didn't know there was any such rule.
I've been to three Catholic funerals in recent years, and they all had a eulogy, given by the priest, but two also
had addresses by a family member. I think it can quite cathartic to hear an honest eulogy - "warts and all" -
from somebody who knew the deceased.

I've read some criticisms of the choice of Obama to give the eulogy, because of his pro-choice stand, and even
because he's not a Catholic. I think that's being extremely uncharitable. I think it's terrific that someone of
another practice can be welcomed to a service in this way.

And on another note, I was so impressed by the Senator's son, Teddy - he was eloquent and amusing, and was also the
one who had all the Kennedy presence and charisma.

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-31-09 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. It's all about clerical fear that someone somewhere might deliver
a decent oration and people will notice how lousy that average homily is.

It's prettied up with the notion that only a priest or deacon has the training and the sacramental authority to preach on the scripture, but there it is.

I contradict myself to add that some people want to separate God from anything worldly. Even though it's X's funeral, the focus should all be on ***GOD***. I'm having trouble expressing myself, but it's the same attitude that leads some Protestants to bar images of the saints from their churches and fundies of all stripes to frown on dancing and singing.
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Beer Snob-50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-31-09 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. in this case i loved the priest eulogy
i thought he gave a great talk about the catholic view of death and the accomplishments of the man.
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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-31-09 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. In other words - it's about control.
The Church must be dominant, and there can be no competition.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. A priest who served as Lefebvre's personal assistant in some capacity for a few years,
Edited on Tue Sep-01-09 04:41 PM by Joe Chi Minh
said that in all that time he never once heard him mention Christ in conversation.

I remember at a Mass some years ago, before taking Holy Communion, the middle-aged to elderly priest told us rather sourly that we should always bow our heads after receiving the Host - with I was happy to comply, as in my ignorance, I had never heard of this rubric. However, I noticed other members of the congregation ignored his words, and I couldn't help chuckling at the bloody-mindedness of so many ordinary Catholics. They were still Catholics in spite of priests like him, not because of them, and they weren't going to be spoken to disrespectfully.

Later, I thought that it might well be an erroneous rubric. Why nod in the direction of the tabernacle, when at such great cost, Christ had given himself, UNITED himself, to the each Communicant, personally, just as he had been crucified for each one of us, personally, in the form of bread. The throne-room mentality of the right-wing priest. An exact parallel with the Pharisees' insistence on the list of laws of their own contrivance for the people's observance on the Sabbath. They felt it was lese-majeste against their own status.

The irony is that Catholics automatically revere good clergy. Nothing and nobody will stop them doing so, either. Not because of their office as priests - like every other role, there are good and bad priests - but because of the due honour they bring to their office: exemplars, even paragons - not crass martinets. Just as Christ remained a loyal son of the Synagogue he so vehemently excoriated. But ultimately, as Jesus told his Apostles, the "big thing" is not the possession of miraculous charisms, but having one's name inscribed in the book of life; no more guaranteed to ordained priests than to lay people.

This is not a tack I want to continue with, as I believe it will one day be sorted out by the leadership of the Church. I will, however, say that I believe that receiving the Host on the tongue is, frankly, degrading, and not consistent at all with the extraordinary dignity of every Christian, all sincere members of whom are members of the royal priesthood of the order of Melchisedek. The "sheep" symbolism was always intended to be metaphorical, not interpereted carnally. Worse, it reinforces the clericalism in the weaker vessels.

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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Your idea about receiving the Host...
I find that very interesting. I can't understand why receiving the Host on the tounge is degrading - do you mean to Christ, or to us* as Christians? And what would your corrective be? Thanks!

*I say "us" but you should know that I am no longer a Catholic. I mean us as humans.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. editing time passed...
Oh! I think you meant as opposed to receiving in the hand?
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yes. Exactly. Now, after I've written a long screed! Sorry about that.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Hardly a screed!
And thank you for your thoughtful response. I need time to digest before I can reply meaningfully :-)
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I mean that what is miraculously transformative is that God humbled himself
to take on our poor human nature - albeit sinless, in his case - to raise us up to share in his own divine life; ultimately even the Holy Trinity, itself via our adoption into Christ's Mystical Body.

It seems to me that to have someone place food in an adult's mouth can only be understood in these circumstances - inexplicable otherwise, barring severe physical disablement - as representing a shepherd putting food in the mouth of his livestock. But the imagery of the Good Shepherd and the sheep is just that, metaphorical. At least the "sheep" part; just like the "lamb" part in the expression, The Lamb of God.

I referred to "weaker vessels" among the clergy, but I've known priests of truly outstanding sanctity/goodness, but of the old school - brought up in the Tridentine tradition, who are so familiar with the notion of a two-tier priesthood: one, Christ, properly so-called, as the High Priest of the order of Melchisedek and forever (though they too have to repeat the sacrifices), as it were, and the other, the priesthood of the laity. But I'm unaware of any basis for it in scripture.

Of course, as custodians of the sacraments, their ministry can legitimately be described as uniquely priestly in that particular sense. However, I am talking about the specifically sacrificial priesthood of Christ. As our pastors, leaders and mentors, they stand in loco parentis towards us, like Christ the Good Shepherd. But in the New Testament, Peter and the other Apostles were described as elders; described themselves as elders, as well as Apostles. Later, at the time of St Justin, a single celebrant was, I believe first referred to, and that as "the President".

It makes a lot of sense that the Church should assign the elders to preside over the Mass, for both disciplinary and practical reasons. But a stress has been put on the ministry as a priestly caste analogous to the Jewish priesthood in the days of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Nor do I doubt St Thomas Aquinas's statement that a special indelible imprint or character is given to the soul by the sacrament of ordination. But, there are a number of reasons, it seems to me, why this should be understood by the Church hierarchy as the mark of a call, a vocation, a duty - not, in itself, a mark of egregious merit.

As one holy old priest, I believe, once observed, it is only the way we are given in which to save our souls. Of course, the reality is that there are plenty of priests, who are more than happy to take the lowest place at the banquet table, like good parents putting their children before themselves, but, particularly in Catholic countries, there is a tendency for the status to act as a magnet for "mothers' vocations", as I referred to elsewhere, and is well-known. But sometimes, the individual will be attracted for the same wrong reasons. It doesn't mean, of course, that they can't end up as good priests, if there was the right motivation in there as well. But I blench when I see advertisements for priestly vocations advancing status in in their community as an incentive.

It sometimes happens that, in varying degrees, the Mass can end up being all about themselves. Although, the three cases I've noticed this, apart from an extraordinary case I witnessed in NZ, were all spotted by their superiors. In two cases, a bishop and a monsignor, they were unexpectedly passed over, respectively, for the cardinalate and a bishopric. And the other, a young priest, who wouldn't leave you in peace for a few minutes after you'd received Holy Commnion, to commune with the Lord in private, but would deliver a little anecdote about his life, and then lead the congregation in a brief communal prayer. Then you could go back to communing with Christ in a more individually personal way. He was puzzled that he had been given this peripatetic role, assisting temporarily in different parishes, rather than in a particular parish, in a more permanent way. I wondered if that was perhaps the reason.

The interesting thing about the use of the term, "elder", is that it denotes not a separate caste, but seniority. Yes they have been "separated" from us as our leaders, but Christ seemed unwilling for them to dwell on this, but rather to see it as a commission, a duty, rather than an honour, an accolade.

It seems to me that this "special priestly caste" mentality is reinforced during the ordination ceremony by the quotation from Hebrews relating to the eternal priesthood of Melchisedek. But since Judas had been an apostle, and in any case, it would seem irrational to think otherwise, some priests will not have been children of light, so clearly if the imprint on their soul is an eternal honour - and the function of priesthood is to offer praise and sacrifice, it seems unlikely that that stamp could have been anything other than a call, a commission - a neutral concept to be filled by defectible human beings, whether for good or ill.

I think the fact that a priest celebrates the Mass and the sacraments, while leading a good spiritual life, must create wonderful spiritual synergies, and perhaps explains why we find good priests so special. The good shepherd and the flock as a spiritual reality, rather than visualised too carnally. In the end, we all, lay-people, too, are called to be good shepherds, just as we share the "royal priesthood of all Christians". How could there be a higher one? Technically, perhaps, an imperial one, but that's unlikely.

In the Breviary/Prayer of the Church, on one day, in particualr, all three brief scripture readings from I Corinthians 12, between morning and evening a prayers, stress that it is the one Spirit animating all the various charisms and tasks we are all given to do. The Apostle, Paul, can sound a little patronising at times, but as one of God's chosen Apostles, and with what he went through and had to deal with, it would be a reckless man who thought the less of him for it. But, here, he obviously includes himself as an Apostle and an elder: the same Holy Spirit - just different tasks. The Spirit and our common-sense tell us that Mary an Joseph are also especially honoured, more even surely than the Apostles. The scriptures are much less explicit on the subject, so you can understand the misgivings of some Protestants. They "dinnae ken".

Is it likely that the hierarchical priesthood, a ministry designated as such by the Church, probably for reasons of convenience and discipline, should be a distinctively honoured priesthood, not shared by Mary and Joseph, apart from the rest of mankind? Bear in mind, that, just as the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath, the ministry was created by Christ to serve his people, not the other way round - although in earlier centuries one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

In much the same way, I wish the royal priesthood of all Christians in good faith, "other Christs" by adoption, had been emphasised more. As it is, although I love the cult of the saints, and pray to them every day, I wonder if it has not, in some degree been prejudicial to a fuller realisation of the extraordinary dignity conferred on us by baptism.

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. A little off-topic, but I've run into something like that myself. I'm the
Edited on Thu Sep-03-09 06:28 PM by hedgehog
last person to go for the line that the Mass is all about us being offer a glimpse of the inenr sanctum, I think of it as the community coming together to pray. Still, there are times when there can be a pause in the proceedings and a few minutes of silence. For a lot of people, those few minutes have to last them the rest of the week. We had one priest that just couldn't tolerate silence, something had to be happening every moment like a three ring circus. He was the same priest who proudly crammed the entire Easter vigil into an hour and 15 minutes. We left the vigil and walked out into broad day light since he'd started at 4PM!
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-03-09 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Well, you know what I mean then. Indirectly, you raise another point I was making,
I do think of the Mass and liturgy as the sanctum sanctorum, all right, but recall that the laity as kind of outsiders is a development of later times.

Holy Communion used to be a proper meal in common, didn't it. As far as I know there is no record of an elder even having to preside over it, but that may be because a big deal wasn't made of it. It was a calling, not an accolade. The ministry of our elders is of a far higher order than that of the priests and Levites of the Old Law, yet, paradoxically, it is of a much humbler order. They are not lords, as old Eli was referred to by Hanna, but should act as good parents. Is there a higher dignity? A more awesome vocation than that of parents trying to bringing up their children to be good Christians in this dangerous and in some ways poisonous world? Good shepherds? Just to survive with a roof over their heads and food to eat, for many today, is a struggle.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-05-09 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. They interpet this continuity in the wrong way by wishing to revert to
the Old Testament kind of priestly caste, superimposing it on their ministry as elders without a scriptural basis.

AS the late Cardinal Winning of Glasgow pointed out, and while seldom metioned, though surely a truism, the Mass is a commemoration of Christ's once only self-sacrifice for us on the cross, not a sacrifice on our part - other than the sacrifice of praise and faith/commitment we make - liturgical praise, I believe, being considered the highest form of prayer.

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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-04-09 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. What I am driving at is that, as Christ made clear, Christianity is not a separate
religion from Judaism, but its fulfilment, it's full efflorescence; hence, it would seem, the natural adoption of the term, "elder", by the Apostles and other disciples, but with this difference, that the priesthood of the Old Law had been fulfilled and transformed by Christ and his one sacrifice as eternal, High Priest, which was henceforth extended to all Christians in good faith. That was, apparently, the radical, core development.

We have adopted a formal distinction between sacred and profane vocations as Christians, but actually that distinction was abolished by and in Christ. It is arguable that it nevertheless has a practicable use, but we should not confuse the ultimate reality. Christ insisted, "You are all brothers", and the Apostle, Paul, that we are all given the same Spirit. Indeed, that goes for all people in good faith, of all faiths and none. All human beings in good faith have a messianic role as "other Christs", Anointed Ones, and baptism is its primary supernatural font. Some people have extended this to a belief in the sacredness of the whole of Creation, and there are a number of reasons for believing that, too, some scriptural.

When we, as the congregation, were invited by one of the priests at our local cathedral to walk around the altar, etc, I was very puzzled. I hadn't realised how jealously its sanctity had been guarded from the footsteps and close view of the profane. But there you are. A legacy of the Tridentine era. Presumably, the people behind it all thought there was a distinct danger that members of the laity would lack a condign sense of reverence.
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