Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Shrinking Catholic Tent

~thanks to Peter Canisius for sending this link. After the NCR article earlier and now this, I have absolutely no need of caffeine this morning.
When I first came to Minnesota from Australia in January of 1994, I found myself impressed by the diversity of the local Catholic community. This diversity was most evident in the range of worship styles within the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.

From the traditionalist practices of the Church of St. Agnes to the "liberal" practices of parishes such as St. Joan of Arc, there seemed to be a place for everyone. Such a spectrum suggested that the Catholic Church was like a great sheltering tent - broad and welcoming of all. I thought at the time, and continue to think so now, that this "big tent" understanding and expression of Catholicism is a sign of spiritual health and vitality.

Yet now the tent seems to be shrinking.

Rubrics versus Spirit

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the parish I attend was recently ordered by the archdiocese to conform its various liturgies to the rubrics of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

As I noted in my previous post, I'm sure that for many Catholic parishes, these rubrics serve well to express and reflect their faith and community life. Yet for the past 40 years, the Catholic parish that I consider my spiritual home, St. Stephen's in South Minneapolis, has developed its liturgy in ways that reflect the presence of the Spirit as discerned in the unique gifts and needs of its members and in our shared life together.

This development has been a very intentional and faith-filled embodiment of the Second Vatican Council's call for "full and active participation" of the laity in "liturgical celebrations" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1963). Yet many now feel that, in one fell swoop, this embodiment – along with the Spirit that nurtured and inspired it – has been discounted by the archdiocese in its demand that it be abandoned for the rubrics of GIRM.

I can't help but think that in this situation, the "form," which Jesus said "profits nothing," has been elevated above the "Spirit," which gives life.
Oh, that evil GIRM.


David O'Rourke said...

So this guy who favours the "large tent" approach goes to a parish which makes up it's own rules. Why am I not surprised?

Of course when one can find no basis, (either rubrical, canonical or scriptural) to justify what one wants one usually attributes it to the Holy Spirit since the Holy Spirit rarely speaks out to defend himself.

Now, no doubt the writer of this article will disagree with me but I am most certainly right. After all, I am being guided in this comment by the Holy Spirit. I make this claim with the same authority that the writer does.

DimBulb said...

When are these clowns going to realize that "full and active participation" does not mean doing your own thing?

Speaking about real, rather than alleged gifts, St Paul insists that: "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or a spiritual person, he should recognize that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. If anyone does not acknowledge this, he is not acknowledged. So, brothers, strive eagerly to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues, BUT EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE PROPERLY AND IN ORDER" (! Cor 14:37-40)

CPT Tom said...

Big Tents can be very unstable with out supports. Knock out the supports, they tend to collapse. Rubrics and tradition are those supports to a Big Tent, ie. Universal Church, such as Holy Mother Church.