Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Archbishop Burke Clarifies Some Lay Roles

An article from the Catholic News Agency posted by EWTN, "Lay Eucharistic Ministers Not Entitles To Position, Archbishop Burke Clarifies" describes a number of clarifications Archbishop Raymond Burke made in the preface of a commentary on Pope Benedict’s moto proprio, “Summorum Pontificum”.

The article writes, “…the archbishop explained in the preface that due to the motu proprio’s papal origins, it is not just an act of liturgical legislation brought about as a ‘favor’ to a specific group for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the Mass in Latin, but one that applies to the entire Church.” The article goes on to say, “[Archbishop Burke] wrote, among the ‘rights’ of the baptized, assistance by ‘persons of the feminine sex’ at the altar is not included. Additionally, serving as a lector or as an extraordinary distribution [sic] of communion is not a right of the laity, he noted.”

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Archbishop Charles Chaput gave related comments about the active participation of the laity in the liturgy when he delivered the Hillenbrand Lecture at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. A portion of my own summary is reprinted below from my blog post of 1 July 2010, “Is modern man capable of the liturgical act?” A link to the full text of Archbishop Chaput’s lecture can be found at the end of that blog post.

“There is one final point which I was thrilled to hear clarified: the Second Vatican Council’s calls for “‘active participation’ of the laity in the liturgy”. This is one of the most misinterpreted phrases of the council. This is used as an excuse for “external activity, commotion and busy-ness” in the Mass when it actually “refers to the inner movement of our souls, our interior participation in Christ’s action of offering of his Body and Blood”. Sacred silence, pause for reflection, is crucial and is a very evident part of Papal Liturgies, even written in red in the Mass booklets. Active participation is not forcing the Congregation to sing against their will because some liturgist or musician has a narrow, selfish, and self-inflated view of their position in the parish. It is orienting our hearts to God in the Mystical and Sacramental Body of Christ.”

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Call to Compassion

The events of September 11, 2001 remain raw nearly nine years later. For Americans and people around the world, those acts of terrorism and hate changed the global atmosphere in uncharted ways. Emotions and suspicion continue to run high.

Perhaps these horrific events are not as raw as they ought to be. Perhaps they are even dull and soft. The immediate days, weeks, and months following September 11th found Americans patriotic, unified, and praying. We joined with our neighbours and shared tears, sorrow, and a newfound hope for peace and love. Our country realized what faith, hope, and charity truly mean. We stumbled underneath the overwhelming compassion from around the world. Global allies flew the American flag in solidarity. At the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II ordered The Star Spangled Banner played. The world unified against a common enemy: those who would do us harm for living freely, justly, and righteously.

Pure evil motivated the acts of September 11th. Evil cannot be tolerated and must not be accepted or excused. In the past nine years a new evil has crept around the world. From local parishes, to national politics, to global consideration, division separates us from our crusade for good and separates us from each other. We look suspiciously at our neighbour. We condemn them for what we know nothing about. We care only for our own point of view and never see through the eyes of another, much less the eyes of God.

One of the strongest examples of this division is the proposed mosque which might be built two blocks from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. We are presented with two options: accept the mosque as a first amendment right or reject the mosque as an attack on America and all the good for which she stands. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I believe in the rights of all Americans especially freedom of religion. (What would life be like if I weren’t permitted to attend Mass openly and receive Holy Communion regularly?) Yet, I cannot just ignore the serious allegations and suspicion against the organization pursuing the Lower Manhattan mosque, questions about funding, practical issues of proximity to the Muslim population in New York, and ties to radicalism.

Any forms of radical religion must be condemned. Radical Islam is in a jihad against everything good and virtuous about Western culture solely because it is not Islamic. Disliking something about a particular culture is one thing but violence and murder for the sake of your belief must end. If Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leader of the proposed mosque, is tied with radical Islam, he cannot be allowed to spread his dangerous and violent work.

That being said: We cannot let this division continue! Division is the work of Lucifier. He has striven to tear apart all the good and virtue that rose from the terror on 9/11. We can, however, easily heal this division with one thing: compassion. Atticus Finch, the Southern lawyer in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird explained it well to his daughter, Scout, when he said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Let us remove ourselves from the Manhattan mosque controversy to a similar yet more distant situation. An interesting, yet anonymous and possibly amateur, article about The 1998 War of the Crosses explains argument and bitter fights over the placement of crosses and Jewish stars at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concencration Camp. All each side wanted to do was honour their own dead and rightfully so. For one reason or another, they argued that the other side should not have that chance and took offence when they did. If only they reached out with compassion, they would realize they were fighting for the same thing. It is worthy to note Carmelite nuns were forced to leave a building they had turned into their convent on the site of the Concentration Camp because it was deemed inappropriate due to the number of Jews who died there. Even the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI could not escape scrutiny. The article explains that even though he attempted to make the necessary concessions while visiting the site, avoiding his native German language and speaking in Italian; avoiding disputed sites of "The War of the Crosses”; and paying due homage to all victims regardless of faith, one statement was interpreted to have an incorrect motivation and accidentally insulted a number of Jewish people: “In a place like this, words fail; in the end there can only be a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?” A statement meant for solidarity was twisted into a statement that deflected blame from the millions of Catholics and Germans who remained silent. A fallible man is expected to be as infallible as his office. When did we begin to demand the impossible of each other?

Back in Manhattan, New Yorkers and all Americans must keep an open mind until their reasonable concerns are confirmed or denied. Muslims must be aware of the pain and suffering the radicals who claim Islam cause. For the love of all you believe in, help each other understand! Have compassion!