“If you want peace, work for justice” Pope Paul VI
The commentary on the Blog about the Texas Pax Christi Conference emphasizes again that there is a lot of misunderstanding floating out there in the Catholic pews (and pulpits) about what peace really is (you know, the true meaning) and about the important relationship between peace and justice that has been part of the Judeo-Christian tradition for many thousands of years.
Some people seem to believe that the “peace movement” is some fringe activity that began in the misguided and drug-addled 60’s—idealistic and naïve at best, destructive and subversive at worst—and that there is nothing authentically Catholic about all that “adolescent” stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Thomas Aquinas taught all those years ago, peace is not simply the absence of conflict, it is not simply tranquility, docility, and passivity—it is “the fruit of a just society” (Isaiah 32:17). As Catholics, we cannot withdraw into an isolated cocoon of false tranquility, replete with incense and fake solemnity, ignoring the disordered and unjust society outside. Such a withdrawal is not the teaching of the ancient prophets, it is not the teaching of the Church through the ages, and it is not the teaching of Christ in the Gospel.
The liturgy this past Sunday, our very special Parish feast, was even more appalling than usual. Aside from the Prayers of the Faithful foolishness (see below), we were subjected to an inane homily that contained a presentation on the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” that had the form of something from the Baltimore Catechism (you know, dull and didactic) but even got the substance wrong. “Fear of the Lord” has nothing to do with being afraid; “Piety” has nothing to do with the everyday meaning of the word “pious”; “Wisdom,” “Understanding” and “Knowledge” are all different from each other and are related in subtle ways to the virtues that are classically considered the goals in living a moral life. Please, do a serious job when talking on this topic, or just don’t bother!
The Holy Spirit continues to descend on all of us, individually, not just on the official Church.–it is the way in which the Spirit works in the world and guides the Church in the right direction. Maybe those folks speaking in ways that are not easily understood (in tongues, maybe) are just speaking the truth in a different and important way and shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.
We prayed for John Wayne during the Prayers of the Faithful—I kid you not. Right along with praying for the soldiers, we were called to pray for a man who pretended to be a soldier in the movies but carefully avoided serving in WWII himself. Instead of praying for an end to the war in Iraq, praying for a just resolution of the immigration problem, praying for an end to the death penalty (issues supported by the American Bishops), we are praying for actors—is Bruce Willis next?
Faith, Hope, and Weapons
Late last night I read a commentary on the recent document released by the Vatican’s International Theological Commission about limbo that gave me great hope. Not so much because of what the ITC said about limbo, but because the ITC was willing to acknowledge that the magisterium can’t know everything—that there is Mystery and to try and have a black & white answer for every matter of our faith would in effect place limits on God, make God less. There are times when we have no solid answer and simply have faith and hope in God’s infinite love. It is refreshing to once again feel hope from something released by the Vatican.
However, there is nothing refreshing about one of the slides being shown before mass with the quote: “The rosary is the weapon.” According to Webster’s, a weapon is defined as “something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy.” We address Mary as Hand Maid of the Lord, Gentle Woman, Quiet Light, Peaceful Dove, Queen of Peace, and Mother. How can we possibly be continuing to characterize her prayer as something used to injure, defeat or destroy?
from fellow parishioner, Michelle Pena
Total below budget: $39,068.85 (last year same date: $39,501.16)
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $62,152.32
Projected yearly shortfall: $164,484.40
Thoughts on the Current State of the Laity in the Church
“Young adult Catholics want to be connected, but it is a fragile bond, easily disrupted by some sudden Vatican or episcopal statement. They believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the sacraments, but Church structures affront them. They will ‘stay at a distance’ until these structures show greater inclusion of the laity and women. They will go to other churches in the meantime or they will more likely find a Catholic parish they like while ignoring the diocesan and global church in a form of ‘creeping congregationalism.’ For some, the recent scandals are ‘the last nail in the coffin.’ For most, they are simply another warning against investing time or effort in the institution. …
“One of the standard theological treatments of the laity’s place in the Church’s mission makes a sharp distinction between role and mission within the Church—the sphere, it is explained, of the ordained—and role and mission in the world—the world. I will only signal the many theological questions and problems created by drawing this distinction so sharply. My point, again, is simply descriptive: through years and years of many efforts to address the laity’s role in the Church’s mission in the world, inevitably and almost immediately the effort confronts the reality—the practical reality—stated by the 1967 Synod of Bishops on Justice in the World:
“‘While the Church is bound to give witness to justice, it recognizes that everyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes [emphasis added]. Hence we must undertake an examination of the modes of acting and of the possessions and lifestyle found within the Church herself.’” Peter Steinfels, former editor of Commonweal and former religion editor of the New York Times
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 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org