Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 18, 2002
WCR Letters to the Editor
Standing expresses solidarity with body of Christ
Although I have not seen Father Len Gartner's message to which Anthony Lorenc refers (Letters, March 11), several points are in order to respond to Mr. Lorenc's complaint.
First, I wonder if Mr. Lorenc had the simple courtesy of addressing his concerns to Father Gartner before he brought them into a public forum. That would enable Father Gartner to respond to his questions more fully.
Second, the posture for Communion is indicated in number 21 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), 1974. The same posture is indicated in number 43 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 2000. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal provides liturgical law for the Church, and as such is part of Church law. It thus embodies and upholds the official teaching of the Church.
Third, what does this standing posture express?
According to Mr. Lorenc, Father Gartner rightly pointed out that the standing posture during the Communion rite is a sign of respect and solidarity.
But this respect and solidarity are not simply signs of respect for and solidarity with each other as human beings. They are signs of respect for and solidarity with the body of Christ ecclesial and sacramental, and our way of recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in the communion rite.
In all the Eucharistic prayers except Eucharistic Prayer I, the priest prays twice for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The technical name for this prayer is the epiclesis.
In the first epiclesis, the priest prays for the Spirit to come upon our gifts that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. After the institution narrative, the priest again invokes the Holy Spirit. Eucharistic Prayer IV, for instance, prays: "By your Holy Spirit, gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise."
So, as we share in the sacramental body and blood of Christ, something else is happening: the Spirit is forming us ever more deeply in the body of Christ, the Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes this transformation thus: "In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his body. . . .
"The Spirit, who is the Spirit of communion, abides indefectibly in the Church. For this reason the Church is the great sacrament of divine communion which gathers God's scattered children together. Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy" (n. 1108).
How do we perceive this action of the Spirit? In the same way that we recognize the consecrated bread and wine as the sacramental body and blood of the Lord: by faith. By faith we recognize and affirm the consecrated elements as the sacramental body and blood of Christ; similarly, by faith we recognize and affirm the assembly as the ecclesial body of Christ.
Still, this faith needs expression. When each person responds "Amen" to the Communion minister's proclamation, "The body of Christ," we individually express our faith in both the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the movement of the Spirit which transforms us into the body of Christ ecclesial as we receive the body of Christ sacramental.
Both the standing posture and the Communion song, as actions we do together, clearly express our common faith in and reverence for the body of Christ sacramental and communal.
The commentary on the communion song provided by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal takes up this same point. It describes the song's role in this way: "Its function is to express outwardly the communicants' union in spirit by means of the unity of their voices, to give evidence of joy of heart, and to make the procession to receive Christ's body more fully an act of community" (n. 56I GIRM 1974; 86 GIRM 2000).
Note the emphasis on "union in spirit" and "an act of community." By eating and drinking the body and blood of the Lord, the Spirit draws us more deeply into communion-union with-both Christ and each other.
And once we have shared in the body and blood of Christ and recognized our communion with him, and through him, with the Trinity and with each other as members of Christ's body, our time of silent individual prayer after Communion can only be richer and more intimate, as we ponder these awesome mysteries.
It is as this body of Christ ecclesial that we are sent forth - "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord" - to bring the life of this communion with our God to our world.
Archdiocesan Liturgy Commission
Abortion creates 'lifetime of regret'
Thank you for the "Break Abortion Debate Taboo" article (WCR, March 4).
I know that our best hope to have laws restricting abortion passed in Canada may have to come from women who have had abortions.
I want to unite my voice with Denise Mountenay and Erin Beck to proclaim to the world that abortion is wrong and has devasting consequences.
I've personally paid a terrible price for the abortion I had 12 years ago.
At the time I believed all the pro-choice lies. I believed I had a right to choose to terminate my pregnancy. I believed it was a "quick fix" to my crisis. I believed that I would suffer no ill effects after my abortion.
I was wrong.
My life has not been and will never be the same. My right to choose meant that I chose murder.
My "quick fix" left me with a lifetime of regret and ill effects included everything from depression to alcoholism.
I know abortion is evil, is immoral and is murder. I know because I have lived with the consequences of this horrific sin ever since my own abortion.
Now, with every fibre of my body I want to proclaim this truth to the world.....the same world that believes shop lifting is immoral and that believes that abortion is not.
Now is the time for the thousands of women who have had abortions and who know first hand about the deadly consequences to speak out and tell your stories.
We must seek God's forgiveness, his healing and his strength and together we can convince this generation that abortion is a foul evil and laws restricting or ending all abortions must be placed.
WCR survey results 'not bad'
The 602 responses to your survey is not bad, particularly if that is more than four times as many as responded to the last WCR survey.
All the same, you had better hope that 602 is still a tiny fraction of your total readership. It certainly is a tiny fraction of your total distribution, which does not necessarily coincide with total readership. It raises questions about the significance of the survey results.
I certainly was pleased that you quoted my criticism first. I still think that your paper is "skewed in favour of fundamentalism," but I optimistically think that I detect a slight shift to basic Gospel values in recent issues.
If Hank Zyp's column Just Desserts was the "most controversial," that is reason for celebration. Anyone who stands for truth and justice is bound to be controversial. Why do you think Christ was crucified?
I don't expect Hank to be crucified, but I don't expect the Pharisees to love him either.
May God bless your efforts.
Religious desire equality be both practised and preached
To equate the Vatican to the Taliban, as stated by Fr. M. Joly in his letter "Vatican learns from Taliban" (WCR, Feb. 11) maybe a little exaggerated at first reading, but is it? The comment "There is no religion in the world that reveres women more than the Catholic Church," (see "Holy Church honours and respects women," WCR, Feb 25), however, is exaggerated and untrue in my estimation.
It is true that the Vatican does not directly advocate physical violence against women, but the psychological treatment women receive from the Vatican can turn into sexual assault and physical battering in and outside the home.
Joly is absolutely correct by stating "They (meaning girls) have a right to be there (at the Lord's table), equally with the boys"(emphasis added). By not being there, girls will feel that they are somehow less worthy than boys.
His view is echoed by the majority of priests and bishops who want nothing more than a Church that preaches and practises equality.
This fact is born out by a remarkable intervention that took place in 1983 when Archbishop Vachon of Quebec, the most senior bishop of Canada, defined the relationship between men and women not only in terms of "equality of origin and destiny" but also of "equality in mission and involvement."
Pope John Paul quickly corrected such "misguided" ideas and wrote Mulieris Dignitatem, in which he explains the separate natures of men and women, meaning that men and women are "equal, but biologically different."
In this biological difference, a natural law of God imprinted on every woman since time of creation, lies her destiny. Sigmund Freud calls it "Biology is destiny."
John Paul cultivates this idea to suit his personal diplomacy by stating that: men's attributes are not conditioned by biology while women's always are; men can learn to be nurturing and compassionate simply by being raised by good women, while women do not have that same capacity to learn from men, that is, how to become a priest.
He sees only men formed in God's image, and sees women as second class citizens and fundamentally flawed.
How difficult it must be for women to remain faithful to their Church when this kind of rhetoric and outdated ideology comes from the pope, the highest authority in the Roman Catholic Church.
Rocky Mountain House
Pray to stop violence in war-torn Middle East
The escalation of violence between the Palestinian people and Israel is the result of trying to solve the problem through violence on both sides. We need to pray that cooler heads will emerge on both sides and serious peace talks will commence.
A minority of Palestinian hate groups were able to control the events before the present Israel government was elected. Whenever there were plans for peace negotiations they would commit an act of terrorism to stop the process.
Instead of using this act to be more determined to proceed the Israel government kept backing off. Now they have a hawkish government that believes in solving problems with force.
Their policy is that there will be no peace talks until the violence ends. That is like a person going to a doctor with a pain and the doctor saying that he will not proceed with a treatment until after the pain is gone. Unfortunately the American administration has bought into this kind of thinking.
At one time, only a small minority of Palestinians hated the Israeli people, but with the escalation of violence, this percentage is rapidly increasing. I hope both sides soon realize peace cannot be achieved through violence.
Twisted morality risks our eternal salvation
Re: "Abortion less immoral than shop-lifting - a survey" (WCR, Feb. 25).
After all the years of gross desensitization, the evil one has finally achieved his goal. People have now twisted the priorities of morality and it seems that the concern is more towards actions which touch our material well-being (shop-lifting, tax evasion, etc.), rather than those which could directly effect our eternal salvation.
While not intending to minimize the former, there is an order of things and some actions are objectively more serious than others.
Abortion, being murder, should rank high in my estimation. But now we simply shrug our shoulders; it has become so common that it is more and more treated as a normal event.
Pre-marital sex -- same scenario. Divorce, homosexuality, which in their respective ways more directly contribute to the downfall of society, well not to worry - we just change our way of thinking and assume that all will be fine.
How odd that in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 warnings, we still carry on in our somnolent ways. What on earth will it take to make an impact on us?
And to claim in the same breath that we still have a strong sense of morals goes beyond the bounds of reason.
Bible does not need to be revised
Regarding patriarchal language behind NRSV controversy.
In the issue of Feb. 25, a gentleman correctly identified the "patriarchal" versus "inclusive" language as being the source of the controversy over the "approval" (or lack thereof) of the New Revised Standard Version.
After all, we are not talking about an improved translation for the purpose of better understanding the word of God in our own language, but rather the modification of the word of God to suit a politically correct, albeit morally corrupt, new world.
I own several different English translations of the Bible, an electronic Latin version and a transliterated Greek version (including appropriate dictionaries) so as to better get a "feel" for the "word."
Having also served as a reader, I have an NRSV Lectionary - however, I will not pay good money to actually own an NRSV Bible as I find the modifications in parts to be hilarious, but not useful.
It has not improved on the word of God, it has done nothing more than suggest that women are too stupid to figure out that we are not a separate species from "man."
The Bible is an extraordinary body of work and, as a woman, I have found nothing offensive in it, and I have never felt excluded or inferior when reading it.
I feel that this has carried through with the long history and traditions of the Catholic Church - we have great women saints who are recognized as doctors of the Church, we have extraordinary models of strength and character through both the Bible and the saints that lived since that time, including Mother Teresa.
As a woman, I am very proud of being Roman Catholic and I thank God that we can look to Rome and the pope to guide us through very difficult times.
Each grain of sand is equal in God's eyes
The world would be an infinitely better place if people could understand and accept this basic concept.
Suppose you were standing on a sandy beach stretching for miles, and on the tip of your finger was one tiny speck of beach-sand, almost microscopic, sparkling in the sun.
That speck represents our time on this earth compared to eternal time represented by all the grains of sand on the beach and all the beaches of the earth. That's how long our life is, these few years, like a blink of an eye compared to the infinite stretches of eternity.
Why have we been given this moment of life by God?
So that we can do our best to love God and love others during this moment and to spend eternity, which is our real life, with him?
For the sake of each of us, for the sake of others, and for the sake of the world, we must understand our reason for being here and what we're supposed to be doing here.
Choosing to give up our future with God by not living as we're meant to is to believe that that one grain of sand is more important then all the vast and uncountable sands of eternity. How could anyone make that choice?
North Providence, R.I.
Mary's Veil celebrates Holy Spirit
It was time to visit my roots in Alberta to meet family and friends. I was told a group from Villeneuve were putting on a musical production, Mary's Veil - the proceeds to be donated to build an Aging in Place Facility in West Sturgeon.
As I watched Mary's life unfold on stage, I could relate to the parallels of every woman as she is called to God's service to share with her husband the responsibility of guiding and teaching their children to keep the Holy Spirt in their lives.
The performance was one of total giving - no paid performers, just people donating their talents to the community they love. The feeling of love and caring was in the air at all times.
The powerful emotion of commitment to Jesus and Mary was never lost; we cried, laughed and loved with the performers. Obviously Sandra Brenneis was inspired by the Holy Spirit to put into words and song an inspirational message to all people.
They had the choice to be introduced to Mary and her son, Jesus on a very personal level.
I am sure everyone left the theatre uplifted by the knowledge Mary and Jesus can be called upon at any time
Campbell River, B.C.
More audiences must see musical
On March 3, my wife Bernice and I attended the musical Mary's Veil at St. Albert's Arden Theatre (WCR, Jan. 28).
It was written by Sandra Brenneis and performed by St. Peter's choir of Villeneuve.
I enjoyed this musical even more than the passion play we saw in Oberammegau, Germany in 2000 that takes place every 10 years. The whole production was superb.
This play is too good to be kept under wraps. I think they must broaden their horizons.