Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—May 28, 2006
Everything Up To Date in Kansas City, Part II
The controversy that Bishop Robert Finn, the new bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has stirred up by his radical remaking of that diocese [see the last newsletter and the National Catholic Reporter of May 12th] highlights an extremely important aspect of the current state of the Church (at least here in the United States). Here is an illustrative quote from Bishop Finn:
“Forty years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, we are in a time of a more mature self-understanding in the Church, than the period immediately following the Council. More than ever, the Council documents deserve careful reading and study. They have been used at times to justify experimentation that was interpolated on what has been sometimes called the ‘spirit of the Council.’ Now we must allow ourselves to see how they are an incentive for renewal in continuity with the Church's tradition.”
This is “hierarchy-speak” for the thesis that Vatican II, as implemented by the bishops who were there and who wrote and approved the documents, was a mistake. This thesis purports that the plain words of the Council and the enthusiastic embracing of its spirit (no quotes necessary!) by the overwhelming majority of the bishops and faithful at the time are not to be accepted. Instead we are to engage in picayune parsing of isolated texts while ignoring the obvious overall vision that permeates the writings of the Council Fathers and, more importantly, characterized the efforts they took when they got back home to implement that vision. What nonsense! Such a position denies the well-established teaching of the Church that the most authentic voice of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church is heard in the gathering of an Ecumenical Council. This talk of “mature self-understanding” and “post Vatican II Church” is nothing but an attempt to deny what the Council taught and to return us to a vision of the Church in which the narrow holders of power can continue to exercise that power unfettered by this burdensome business about the Church being the “people of God.”
“Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are ‘subject’ to authority.
..“The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose ‘subjects’ we are willing to be.
..“It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.” thanks to Anne Southwood, VOTF Boston, for this Henri Nouwen find on “The Authority of Compassion”
The Sunday Bulletin of April 9th did not have a report of the collections for the weekend of April 1st and 2nd. Using the average of the collections from 10/16/05 for that weekend and the reported amounts for the other weekends, we can estimate that since 10/16/05 parishioners have donated $39,405.87 less than the $464,000 the parish budget called for during that period. If the spending patterns of the last fiscal year have continued (13.4% over budget), then this gives a total of $101,558.19 of red ink (versus budget) for the period 10/16/05 to 5/21/06. Stretching that pattern for an entire year, the Parish would fall short by $165,032.05.
Hope is an Action
I have been reading a book called Hope’s Edge, The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe. Even if you are not a “foodie”, the book is interesting because of its focus on people and communities from all over the world dealing with the reality that in a world of plenty, there is no reason for so many to have so little. The book tells the stories of hope and what can happen when we refuse to accept that what is, is not what has to be. Most are stories of small acts—pebbles thrown into the pond that have generated ripples that continue to grow and grow bigger. All of the people profiled are humble and draw their energy from the knowing that in order to really live, we have to give. When asked why they started, or what keeps them going, the answer is usually a simple “How could I not?”
After a visit to Bangladesh, the authors reflected on hope. Here is their reflection:
“When I left home, I thought I could use Bangladesh to prove somehow that hope is justified even in one of the world’s poorest societies. But instead, Bangladesh used me to teach a deeper truth. It taught me that no one can ‘justify’ hope by proving something good and positive. Hope is more verb than noun—an action, not a stance. It is movement. It is jumping into the messiness of it all. It is listening, learning, trying, stumbling; it is false starts and contradictory evidence. Bangladesh taught me a kind of disturbing hope—hope I can’t let go of but that leaves me restless. A hope that doesn’t satisfy but gnaws at me to keep pushing.”
From fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña
So don’t be afraid to let them show—Your true colors - Cyndi Lauper
It is not surprising that the newspaper clipping montage in the gathering space last Sunday that purported to be a history of the parish did not contain the headlines from the summer of 2003. In fact, based on the montage, you would think the significant moments in the history of Holy Spirit were “brick and mortar” moments.
Where is the record of a community that took to heart the challenge to become a “model Vatican II parish”? Where is the record of a community that not only survived but strengthened itself in the years without a resident pastor? Where is the record of the community that developed traditions of liturgical celebration, religious education, and community outreach that remain the envy of many in the diocese? Where is the record of the community that spoke and acted strongly for the Gospel message of peace and justice, not only in our Valley but in our nation and the world?
All of these are recorded in the hearts and minds of those people who created and lived in that community and will not be forgotten, even if not recognized in the upcoming anniversary celebration.
Don’t wear red on June 4th as a protest; wear red as the color of the Spirit, our Holy Spirit—it is our color.
Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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