Friday, April 18, 2008

What part of 'extraordinary' don't you get?

~from the AP. Don't you love the headline? Papal Mass Raises Questions About Role of Laity
For 46,000 Catholics, it was a Mass like no other, with the altar standing on centerfield at a ballpark and the presiding clergyman arriving in a bulletproof vehicle.

But Pope Benedict XVI's Mass in the nation's capital Thursday was also different from a typical service in another way: Lay people were not asked to distribute Communion, which was administered exclusively by 300 priests and deacons.

Organizers of the Mass at Nationals Park were only following the letter of church law. But to some Roman Catholics, the ceremony was symbolic of what they see as Benedict's desire to erect clear boundaries between clergy and lay people. [And this is bad because why?]

"What he wants to do really is to reinforce the old categories and classifications — different roles for different people," said David Gibson, author of books on Benedict and the future of the U.S. church.

"Men and women, priests and lay people. Each one has their role according to their talents, their ordained status in the church."

The clear division of roles doesn't sit well with all American Catholics, who are used to living in a democracy. Some would like a greater say in church affairs, including choosing their parish priests. Others cherish the distinct roles held by clergy and point to several examples of the two working together in harmony.

The pope has signaled his position through some relatively small gestures, Gibson said.

For example, the Vatican has issued a document reaffirming that only priests and deacons can touch and clean the chalice after Mass, something many lay people have done.

The Rev. John Wauck, a professor of literature at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, warned against measuring appreciation for the laity by what they can and can't do in church.

"The life of the church doesn't take place in sacristies and parish meeting halls alone," Wauck said. "It takes place in homes, shops, sports fields, businesses, hospitals ... wherever there are Catholics."

He added: "The relationship between the clergy and the laity can't be seen in terms of a power struggle. Both are serving the church in their own way."
Here we go with the disappointment, the heartbreak, boo-hoo!
Patty Olszewski, 51, of Potomoc, Md., was disappointed about the lack of lay Eucharistic ministers — she is one.

She describes herself as an anti-abortion Catholic who wishes the church would at least consider women priests and disagrees with church teaching against homosexuality. Even so, she said she's happy with her role and feels like she's contributing.

"In everyday life, you don't feel oppressed by any sort of hierarchy because it's so heavily populated by the laity," Olswewski said. "That's 'We the People.' The church is all of us."
Dear Associated Press and Ms. Olszewski, there are NO LAY Eucharistic ministers.

Yay! Not all are clueless...
Erin Johnson, 24, a parish youth minister from Gaithersburg, Md., believes "you either follow the traditions of the church, or you don't."

"I feel like I have plenty of opportunities to serve," said Johnson, who brought 30 teens to the Mass. "Each individual, every single one of us, has a place."
Notice the age gap?


DimBulb said...

"In everyday life, you don't feel oppressed by any sort of hierarchy because it's so heavily populated by the laity," Olswewski said. "That's 'We the People.' The church is all of us."

I don't recall any Church document beginning with "We the people." Apparently, this woman has confused James Madison with James, the son of Zebedee.

And what does this say about those who feel "oppressed" by the hierarchy:
4:11 He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; 4:12 for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 4:14 that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 4:15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; 4:16 from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians)

Trad Tom said...

When, oh when will people(reporters, laity, etc.) STOP using that incorrect term of "Eucharistic Minister?" As far as I can tell, in most parishes there are only two ministers of the Eucharist: the ORDAINED priest(s) and the ORDAINED deacon(s). Those who are commissioned to help are EXTRA-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion.