Thursday, 18 April 2013

The risk of a "baby-sitter church"

I really like what John Thavis has posted today about the Holy Father's surprising sermon to the Bankers at the Vatican. Very interesting that he didn't give a sermon about the morality of money, but about evangelisation and our baptismal call:

From the Blog: John Thavis:
When Pope Francis said Mass this morning for Vatican bank employees, some might have expected a homily on financial ethics.
Instead, he delivered a brief and insightful reflection on the strength of baptism. Essentially, the pope argued that unless lay Catholics are willing to courageously live and proclaim their faith, the church risks turning into a “babysitter” for sleeping children.
Pope Francis was speaking to the mostly lay employees of the Vatican bank in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where his morning Masses have become daily teaching moments.
He referred to the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles on the evangelizing efforts of the earliest Christians, who traveled from place to place proclaiming the Gospel.
“They were a simple faithful, baptized just a year or so before – but they had the courage to go and proclaim,” he said.
“I think of us, the baptized: do we really have this strength – and I wonder – do we really believe in this? Is baptism enough? Is it sufficient for evangelization? Or do we rather ‘hope’ that the priest should speak, that the bishop might speak ... and what of us? Then, the grace of baptism is somewhat closed, and we are locked in our thoughts, in our concerns. Or sometimes think: ‘No, we are Christians, I was baptized, I made Confirmation, First Communion ... I have my identity card all right. And now, go to sleep quietly, you are a Christian.’ But where is this power of the Spirit that carries us forward?”
The pope said Christians today need to “be faithful to the Spirit, to proclaim Jesus with our lives, through our witness and our words.”
“When we do this, the church becomes a mother church that produces children…. But when we do not, the church is not the mother, but the babysitter, that takes care of the baby – to put the baby to sleep. It is a church dormant. Let us reflect on our baptism, on the responsibility of our baptism.”
This was a favorite theme of Pope Francis when he was an archbishop in Buenos Aires, and I think we can expect to hear more on the topic in coming weeks and months.
In a revealing interview in 2011 with the news agency AICA, then-Cardinal Bergoglio was asked about the Catholic laity in Argentina, and he answered with these words:
“We priests tend to clericalize the laity.We do not realize it, but it is as if we infect them with our own disease.And the laity — not all, but many — ask us on their knees to clericalize them, because it is more comfortable to be an altar server than the protagonist of a lay path. We cannot fall into that trap —it is a sinful complicity.”
This is something for us all to reflect upon. Is our church a mother producing children? Or indeed have we become babysitters? Do we hope we can put the baby to bed soon so we can have an easy life?

Ordinariate Guidelines for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist

Today, our Ordinary has provided the Ordinariate with Guidelines on how we are to celebrate the Mass.The full guidelines can be found here.

As far as Buckfast Ordinariate Mission is concerned many of the recommendations have been implemented by us already. Here are a few comments (numbers refer to original document above) :

4. Calendar - Most noteable are "Sundays after Trinity".
5. Ad orientum - When possible we have been facing liturgical east for Mass.
9. We use incense every Sunday, and have gradually sung more and more of the mass, even the priests who are not musically trained (like me).
15. With help we have sung more and more plainchant.
20. We are confident singing the simple mass of the Missal.
21. We are currently singing Mass VIII: Gloria, Sanctus & Agnus in Latin. We haven't as yet sung the Creed or Our Father.
22. We have used the Advent Prose and Lent Prose for the last two years (from the English Hymnal). We only sing the Marian antiphons (Angelus & Regina Caeli) in English as yet.
23. We have used the RSV 2nd Ed exclusively since our first Sunday.
25. We now use the RSV psalter at mass. Considering singing it to plainsong instead of responsorially.
26. We have not yet used the mass of the Book of Divine Worship.
36. Up until just recently we have been celebrating mass in a chapel with communion rails and used them. We are currently in another chapel which does not have a rail (so we are receiving standing but several of us don't like it).
37. NOTE I still do not think this gives enough detail. I.e. is it dignified to lift the sacred body with finger and thumb, or should one lift palm to mouth?
38. This is very helpful guidance.

Generally I much prefer to be told what to do liturgically, than have to work it out from first principles, not least because it is less time consuming, less individualist, and more likely to result in consistency between groups. I welcome these guidelines.

Fr Ian Hellyer
Pastor of the Buckfast Ordinariate Mission

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)