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July 17, 2005


Spirit of Vatican II

An NCR letter:

The majority of bishops are calling for “the mainstream liturgical community in the United States” to be the cheerleader and catalyst for implementing the new Order of the Mass (NCR, June 30). I am both chagrined and confused by such a request. Most of the bishops have never requested the comments of the mainstream liturgical community on the final draft voted on this past June, let alone sought input from clergy and laity alike who would proclaim, respond, and listen to the new texts. Thankfully, the bishop of my diocese did make such a request, inviting comments from the laity and the ordained, from those with degrees in liturgical studies to others without formal training in liturgy. The overwhelming majority found that the texts were unproclaimable, unremarkable, and by-and-large unredeemable.

I hope the 173 bishops who approved the new Order will personally go out and teach their priests, religious and faithful its merits as well as how to implement it on the local level. Since most bishops wanted to “go it alone” in approving the text, perhaps they should do the same in explaining to their parishioners how the prayers and responses will help the faithful to worship better as well as better understand the theology they intend to convey. Furthermore, many of those bishops will be at a loss when seeking help to implement these changes since offices of worship have been eliminated in a host of dioceses. I will assist Bishop Robert Lynch in implementing this new text, though I will be at a loss when it comes to explaining why this text is better.

If a certain sector of the church can petition to “celebrate” the Mass of Pius V because of its intimate connection to the sustenance of their faith life, perhaps our generation can make a similar request to use the Mass of Paul VI on a regular basis. This is the Mass I cut my teeth on, was ordained in, and have used in serving the church for the past 22 years.

St. Petersburg, Fla.


"What I hope will be the outcome is a retraction of the arrogance of evangelical and pentecostal converts to Catholicism, who assume that they are bringing something into Catholicism, rather than receiving the fullness of the mystery of Christ. They usually assume that evangelicalism or pentecostalism is a valid fragment (“a partial truth”) of Christianity that should be subsumed into Catholicism. The CDF document should spell out to these converts once and for all that they are bringing nothing but themselves into the Church."

## As a convert, I find that - indescribable. I owe an unpayable debt (which I am delighted to owe BTW) to my background and friendships & upbringing in Anglicanism, and words like those quoted fill me with despair.

The implication, that converts to Catholicism have had no religious life whatever before becoming Catholic, implies that the God of Catholics is a tribal god, and not the God Who bestows His Grace & Love when, on whom, where, & as He Wills. What has become of "Spiritus Domini replevit orbem", "The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole earth" ?

No. Converts enrich the Church immensely, because God has worked in them already, without any involvement of the CC. He is not the CC's poodle, but its Lord; He, & no Church, is the Lord.

Are we supposed to believe that all truth is within the CC ? That implies that God is utterly absent from all bodies other than the CC. That He shows no grace whatever to anyone not in union with Rome. This is in accord neither with the NT, nor with Catholic teaching - it sounds like Jansenism.

ISTM that the faithfulness of God to the CC is being misunderstood - as though God could not be merciful to all mankind, & have a people of His own; not because of any good in them apart from Him (no such thing is possible), but because He is Good. God was well able to show mercy to others than Israel (see Amos) - He is quite capable of choosing a NT people, while not withdrawing mercy from the rest.

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