The Diocese of St. Petersberg is having a conference on the “Living Eucharist” this month. People will fondly remember Bishop Lynch of this diocese , the protector of Terri Schiavo – well in a multiverse this was bound to have happened somewhere. Also this is the Bishop who restricted perpetual Eucharistic Adoration saying that it was not a “normal pattern” of the Church and would require his permission for a dispensation. Though it appears at least now that a couple of parishes did receive that dispensation.
So you know a conference on the Eucharist in this diocese should be something special. To be fair the Bishop’s previous Pastoral letter “Living Eucharist: Gathered, Nourished, Sent” is a fairly decent letter on the Eucharist. Though the title of it annoys me with the tone of the Eucharist being about the congregation more than about Jesus. But I usually quibble too much.
So for a congregation on the Eucharist who would you pick for keynote speakers? Well I am sure your short list would include:
- Reverend Timothy Radcliffe, OP Best known for known for writing in favor of gay priests, saying Masses for dissident homosexual groups, and for encouraging people to read gay novels and watch gay-themed movies such as Brokeback Mountain.
Cardinal Mahony was once asked about Fr. Radcliffe and what he was teaching at the L.A. Religious Conference. The Cardinals first reply was “Well, why are you asking me? Ask him.” and followed up with “Do you know how many speakers we have here” and complained that there was no way to know in advance what a speaker would say. Of course this is only a real concern when you have dissident speakers. Plus of course Fr. Radcliffe was invited back again to the conference even after the Cardinal was made aware of this. Strangely I get the feeling we would get the same type of answer from Archbishop Lynch.
- Fr. J Glenn Murray as director of the diocesan Office for Pastoral Liturgy for Cleveland implemented changes to the Liturgy and Communion Rite that went against both what the U.S. Bishops and the Vatican had rejected. For example standing after Communion. Not surprisingly, also a fan of liturgical dance
- Fr. J. Bryan Hehir One of the early dissidents opposing Humanae Vitae saying the Church should be silent on contraception. When it comes to questions of sexual morality he is also known to hold views outside of the Church. A supporter of the idea of seeing Vatican II as a rupture from the past along with supporting homosexual adoption in connection with Catholic Charities. His influence was certainly felt in Boston where Catholic Charities was indeed adopting Children to homosexuals until ironically the State said they had to do this.
Well they are only the keynote speakers. Surely the presenters at the conference will be just fine. For example Rev. Lawrence Mick whose book on the sacraments was reviewed by blog friend Rich Leornardi. Oddly Rich only gave it one star for teaching a “horizontalized, incomplete picture of the sacraments at odds with what the Church teaches.”
In two days full of conferences in a conference dedicated to the Eucharist you will certainly find a lot of classes on the topic. That is if you went to a different conference on the Eucharist than this one. I could not find one class actually on the Eucharist and the theology of the Eucharist. Pretty much every other subject though especially in the social justice arena including the pro-life movement.
There I am quibbling again and being downright petty thinking a conference on the Eucharist be about Jesus in the Eucharist. One of the goals of the conference is:
- Develop a greater consciousness of ourselves as the Body of Christ
Because when it comes down to it, worship is all about us. So lets sing Here I am Lord until God realizes how lucky he us to have us.
<a href=”http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/jesterHat.png”><img title=”jesterHat” src=”http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/jesterHat.png” alt=”” width=”26″ height=”16″ />Thanks to the reader who sent this in.</a>
I went to the event last year. The keynote speaker was completely offensive. His keynote address was flashy and kitschy and yes “horizontal”. The smaller break-out group which he gave was horrendous: an attack on the historical practice of Eucharistic Adoration.
For what it’s worth, this year’s conference is the last in a series of three, on the themes of “Gathered – Nourished – Sent.” This year, apparently, is on the theme of being sent into the world; hence that’s the ‘flavor’ of the workshops. To me, this doesn’t look that bad… (even though the keynoters don’t look too exciting.)
It sounds like a one-derful conference on the “me”-charist!
What Bishop Lynch restricted was not perpetual adoration (which would be rather impossible), but perpetual exposition, which is the Sacrament exposed 24/7 in a monstrance. This is a privilege which requires a bishop’s permission, and is normally not accorded to a parish.
What the problem was, was that he didn’t have to be a jerk about it.
Well folks, if we are going to become the Body of Christ, we have to know what it is about, and until catholics get into the gospels to really find out what our Lord teaches, we will simply continue on our nostalgic ways of trying to return to the past with exposition, Latin, maniples, etc. after all the Lord said “take and eat, take and drink” not ‘take and gawk”; how many have the cup (or should it be chalice ) made available at Mass?…..the Eucharist is given for us to become Christ’s Body…..
I moved into the Cleveland Diocese about 10 years ago while Fr. J Glenn Murray was still in charge of liturgical standards for the diocese. The first thing about parish Masses in the diocese that I noticed is that resident priests who were not the celebrant would NEVER help with distributing communion. Apparently they were catechized by Fr. Murray that only priests present during the Mass (e.g. concelebrating) should assist with communion. This approach always maximizes the need for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and minimizes the number of ordinary ministers (e.g. priests and deacons). Most other dioceses that I have lived in or visited (e.g. Philly, New York, Newark) at least one of the other resident priests would arrive in the sacristy a few minutes before communion so they could assist in distribution.
2696 The most appropriate places for prayer are personal or family oratories, monasteries, places of pilgrimage, and above all the church, which is the proper place for liturgical prayer for the parish community and the privileged place for Eucharistic adoration.
Oh those backward-thinking Vatican II types!
Fr. Hehir is certainly not popular! Here is a website called “bryan hehir exposed.”
Bishop Lynch also settled out of court ($100,000) with a *male* diocesan employee for sexual harassment charges.
He was also in Bp. Trautperson’s back pocket on the new translations for the ordinary form of Holy Mass (IOW – he was/is against them).
Thanks for that link Therese. I especially enjoyed this link: http://eraofpeace.tripod.com/expositionended.html which dismantles the usual hamfisted objections to adoration.
J Glenn Murray is the best presider I have ever encountered. His way of leading prayer just draws you into the mass. He knows both how to lead the assembly into a great crescendo of joyous song to the Lord and how to lead the assembly into deep, sustained and reverent silence. Almost every time I heard him give a homily I would think afterwards, “That was the best homily I ever heard.” His homilies are vibrant, rooted in the scriptural readings, and unfailingly challenging to people of all theological persuasions. (I once heard him pointedly chastise a liberal leaning congregation that likes to stand during the Eucharistic prayer- which, as you note, is his own preference- for being judgmental and intolerant towards those would kneel.)
This man is a great priest and was instrumental in the conversion of one my close friends to Catholicism. Please don’t judge him just because he doesn’t agree 100% with traditionalist liturgical standards.
Regarding J Glenn Murray, it sounds like your experience with him is positive–he’s a good preacher, can get people to sing and to also maintain silence, and helped convert your good friend to Catholicism. I’m sure would still agree that doesn’t make it make it right to unilaterally order changes to the liturgy that were rejected by the Vatican and U.S. Bishops. If you know him well, maybe you could drop him an email and ask him under what basis and whose authority he did that. Why not honey or corn flakes in the Eucharistic bread next? The liturgy is intended to bring people close to Jesus and the Eucharist, so I’d also be curious as to how he reconciles his passion for liturgical dance with that fact that it’s not supposed to be used in the liturgy because it takes peoples focus where it should not be.
Here dancing is tied with love, with diversion, with profaneness, with unbridling of the senses: such dancing, in general, is not pure. For that reason it cannot be introduced into liturgical celebrations of any kind whatever.
Introducing dance into the liturgy in the United States would be to add “one of the most desacralized and desacralizing elements” leading to “an atmosphere of profanity, which would easily suggest to those present worldly places and profane situations. Nor is it acceptable to introduce into the liturgy the so-called artistic ballet because it would reduce the liturgy to mere entertainment” (Notitiae 11  202–205
Lastly, I am curious as to how feel regarding the Eucharistic conference that features a gay-priests and gay culture proponent.
I am unfortunately not in regular contact with Fr. Murray anymore, but here’s my two cents. I think there are two issues which ought to be separated here;
1) the approporiateness of liturgical dance
2) the appropriateness of promoting liturgical dance when the church has established clear norms to the contrary
On the first point I am inclined to see a prohibition on liturgical dance (especially in a culture as diverse as the United States) as a kind of aesthetic and cultural imperialism. There are many cultures in which there is no diffrence between the verb “to sing” and the verb “to dance”. Try telling a congregation in west Africa to praise God without dancing. Ha! We shouldn’t elevate one person’s, group’s, or culture’s aesthetic distaste for dance to a universal norm for the Church. Also, the reasoning against liturgical dance you cite smacks of Docetism. It sounds as if people are just generally uncomfortable with the body and see it as somehow inherently impure. Scripture itself testifies that dance is an appropriate way to praise God. But seems that some today are scandlized by it much as David’s wife Michal was.
On the second point, I think where the Church has issued clear norms, authority structures within the Church ought to be respected. We owe our spiritual leaders our allegiance unless we believe a grave wrong is being committed and our conscience cannot permit us to cooperate. I don’t quite see a wrong-headed prohibition on liturgical dance rising to that level, so I think the norms ought to be followed. Sure, keep pushing on the inside to have the norms change, but follow them until they are.
Hmm… I just read Notitaie 11. That document actually does not place an outright ban on liturgical dance. In fact, it states that liturgical dance can be acceptable in certain cultural contexts. However the document maintains that liturgical dance could not be appropriate in “Western Culture” given the lack of any deep cultural tradition of dance as worship.
The question though is how this works in a multicultural society such as the United States. Just for starters, liturgical dance is an integral part of Catholic worship among the American Indian missions. Beyond that, many congregations have significant numbers of members (in some cases majorities) from cultures such as Nigeria where dance is an essential element of worship. [For both of these examples, a similar and related question arises regarding the appropriateness of using drums in worship.] Are we simply to assert the priority of Western European cultural traditions and sensibilities over those of other cultures? That hardly seems Christian. (And which European cultural traditions would have priority? After all European culture is hardly homogenious.)
The solutions to these questions are not easy. We don’t simply want to reduce liturgical expression to the least common denominators. That would strip it of much of its richness and beauty. Our faith is incarnational (and thus inherently inculturated), so our worship should be too. But how do we accomodate (or prohibit) drums or dancing for one group without stepping on the traditions of another group. Simply retreating to worship in our own culturally segregated enclave doesn’t seem to be the answer either.
Clearly, as St. Paul reminds us in a passage (1 Cor 13) that is actually primarily about working out these sorts of differences in the liturgical assembly, the only solution is love. We must first love our brothers and sisters of other cultures and aestheitic sensibilities, and only then will we be in a position to begin figuring out how to pray together.
I gingerly submit the proposition that an outright ban (accompanied by endless blogoshpere diatribes) on a practice that is in fact central to worship for many members of our diverse American Church is not loving.
Just a note: My priest says the more appropriate terminology is “Jesus as Eucharist” instead of “Jesus in the Eucharist” because he’s not in it, he is it! I think that one change in terminology goes a long way to put the focus back on Jesus. Eucharist is then not something where you can parcel out this or that and leave Jesus behind. Because if he’s in it, then he can be taken out of it, and then there is something left behind? Maybe they could shift their conference focus to this point alone!