So Much Internet: So Much Catholic Stuff! edition

With the Extraordinary Synod on the Family happening last week and this week in Rome, there has been so much stuff circulating that I’ve wanted to write about, but either haven’t had time or felt writing on Ferguson was more important or both. So before I lose all those links, and recognizing that this is by no means a “hot off the presses” edition, here is a roundup:

Footage of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, not only pictures of the grand procession, which I’d seen before, but also including the first words of John XXIII as he opened the council: Gaudet Mater EcclesiaMother Church Rejoices (PDF containing the whole speech in an inclusive English translation, courtesy of Fr. J. A. Komonchak – well worth reading).

A call by Bishop Lynch of Florida for Francis to step in and end the “feud” between the CDF and the LCWR and the CDF. I was particularly interested by this comment:

I think clearly that the sisters in LCWR have conducted themselves quite admirably in avoiding the same heated rhetoric which came a couple of weeks ago from CDF. They are facing a mandate that they find very hard to swallow which is at its base, “Shape up or ship out.” In the late eighties the USCCB had a similar mandate come down from another Roman office and we politely ignored it and it went away.

They did what huh?? Similar mandate that they ignored? Does anybody know what he’s referring to here? (Of course, it’s a lot easier for the US Catholic Congregation of Bishops to ignore a Vatican mandate than for the Leadership Council of Women Religious to do the same, given the difference in gender and clerical status.)

And speaking of the good sisters, there are a number of public screenings of the movie Band of Sisters coming up, with introductions and Q&A afterwards. Check to see if there’s one in your area!

An interesting blog on how following doctrine can have harmful side effects by Kyle Cupp. He takes the hypothetical case of Fred and Wilma:

Imagine a couple. We’ll call them Fred and Wilma. Neither one of them has practiced their faith in their adult lives, but they’d now like to return to the Church. Wilma was somewhat raised in the Catholic faith. Fred was baptized in a non-denominational Christian church, but now he wants to become Catholic. They are married civilly and have a four-year-old son. When they go to their local Catholic parish, they learn from the priest that they need to be married in the Church before Fred can make his conversion. They’re accepting, but surprised. Neither of them knew the Catholic Church considered their marriage invalid.

As the hypothetical unfolds, the church determines that their marriage cannot be convalidated, and therefore that they may not licitly have a sexual relationship, but that they should stay together for the sake of their child, and thus should live together “as brother and sister.” Obediently, they try to do so. Unsurprisingly, human misery ensues.

The point of his article is that we should pay attention to such outcomes and perhaps rethink “what the Gospel requires and how we apply it to real people’s lives in this messy, complicated world.” I would add that the scriptural and theological principle that we may judge the tree by its fruits should certainly give us a hearty shove in the direction of rethinking. Just as importantly, I think we need to move away from a model of faithfulness which emphasizes obedience in a way that infantilizes the laity, and towards a model that not only permits, but encourages, responsible discernment of what the gospel requires of us in our messy complicated lives.

This last link connects with my FergusonOctober roundup – it turned up in an internet search while I was looking for a good intro to black theology that would be accessible to the typical white Catholic. (Any suggestions?) It is a homily by Cardinal Keeler in December, 2000, for a prayer service on poverty and racism that was held in the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, of which he was then archbishop. He closes the homily with something that John Paul II had said in St. Louis the previous year:

[T]here remains another great challenge facing this community . . . and not St. Louis alone, but the whole country: to put an end to every form of racism, a plague which your bishops have called one of the most persistent and destructive evils of the nation.”

As Cardinal Keeler said then, “May God bless our renewed commitment to this holy task. Amen.”

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