Vol. XXI, No.5
“All the fun’s in how you say a thing” – Useful Repetition in the Roman Missal by Christopher Carstens – page 4
Marriage Law Revisited: Addressing Common Misunderstandings of the Sacrament of Matrimony by Benedict Nguyen – page 6
The Holy Way of Beauty: A review of David Clayton’s new book By Joseph O’Brien– page 8
Preparing for Lent and the Paschal Mystery by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – page 9
Departments News and Views — page 2 Donors and Memorials — page 11
The Year of Mercy Begins. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis opens the Holy Door at the Lateran Basilica on December 13.
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
NEWS & VIEWS
Canonization of Blessed Theresa of Calcutta Announced According to a Dec. 18 report by Zenit news service, in a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis gave the go-ahead for the Congregation to issue a decree “regarding a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa, known as Mother Teresa around the world.” Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on Aug. 26, 1910, Mother Teresa founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity and the Missionaries of Charity. “The order, which started in Calcutta and spread to more than 130 coun-
Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Wikipedia Commons.
tries,” Zenit reported, “ran hospices for those suffering from HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis. Known for her charitable works with the poor and sick, the soon to be canonized saint died on Sept. 5, 1997.” Soon after her death, the Church initiated her beatification process. In 2002, St. John Paul II beatified her after the required first miracle – the healing of an Indian woman suffering from an abdominal tumor – was confirmed. On Dec. 17, Pope Francis confirmed the second miracle – the 2008 cure of a Brazilian man afflicted with brain abscesses.
Final Synod Report “On the Family” Released The XIV Ordinary Synod “On the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World” concluded on October 25. Like each synod before it, a “final report” from the bishopparticipants was sent to the Holy Father; its official English translation was published mid-December. From this report, it is expected—as the Synod Fathers themselves request—that the Holy Father will pen his own exhortation on the matter, based on the Synod’s final report. The report is divided into three principal parts: “The Church Listening to the Family,” in which the current social, economic, and cultural circumstances are examined; “The Family in God’s Plan,” which outlines, according to Scripture and traditional teaching, the Church’s teaching on the family; and “The Mission of the Family,” which provides guidance on how the family can and ought to live its full life in today’s world. In this latter section, the document gives attention to the liturgical celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. “The marriage liturgy is a unique event,” the
document states. “An engaged couple devotes a great deal of time preparing for the wedding ceremony. These cherished moments ought to be for them, their families and friends a truly spiritual and ecclesial celebration. The wedding celebration is an auspicious opportunity to invite many people to the celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. The Christian community, through its heartfelt and joyous participation, is to welcome the new family in its midst so that the new family as a domestic Church might feel a part of the larger ecclesial family. The wedding liturgy ought to be prepared through a mystagogical catechesis which may make a couple understand that the celebration of their covenant takes place ‘in the Lord.’ Frequently, the celebrant has the opportunity to address an assembly made up of people who seldom participate in the life of the Church or belong to other Christian denominations or religious communities. The occasion provides a valuable opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, which can lead the families who attend to a redis-
covery of faith and love which come from God” (59). Following the marriage celebration, the Synod report continues, prayer and the liturgical life are to be a central aspect of the married couple’s new life together. “[F]amily spirituality, prayer and participation in Sunday Mass can also be stressed and couples can be encouraged to meet regularly to promote growth in their spiritual life and solidarity in the practical needs of life. A personal encounter with Christ through the reading of the Word of God, in the community and in homes, especially in the form of lectio divina, is a source of inspiration in the family’s daily activities. Liturgies, devotional practices and Eucharistic celebrations for families, especially on the anniversary of marriage, sustain the family’s spiritual life and its missionary witness” (60). In light of the present report and also by way of preparation for the Second edition of the Rite of Marriage, the “mystagogical catechesis” on the sacrament of Marriage will continue to be featured in upcoming issues of Adoremus.
In a separate Zenit article, CEO of Canada’s Salt + Light Catholic network and columnist Father Thomas Rosica reflected on Mother Teresa’s life. “I commentated her funeral for several national television networks in Canada, which marked my first time ever doing commentary on television!” he writes. “The pomp, precision and somber majesty of Princess Diana’s London farewell one week earlier were hardly visible in the chaotic scenes of Mother Teresa’s simple wooden casket riding on a gun carriage through the mobbed and chaotic streets of Calcutta for her State funeral. “Mother Teresa’s life was not a sound byte, but rather a metaphor for selfless devotion and holiness. Her most famous work began in 1950 with the opening of the first Nirmal Hriday (Tender Heart) home for the dying and destitute in Calcutta. Mother’s words remain inscribed on the walls of that home: ‘Nowadays the most horrible disease is not leprosy or tuberculosis. It is the feeling to be undesirable, rejected, abandoned by all.’”
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Archbishop Wilton Gregory to lead USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship Paterson, NJ, for a three-year term. Archbishop Gregory, originally a priest of Chicago, has served as Archbishop of Atlanta since 2004. From 2001-2004 he served as President of the USCCB. In addition to its regular work, the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Wor-
ship is expected to oversee the publication of various liturgical texts for the United States over the next few years, including the Second Editions of the Rite for the Dedication of a Church and Altar, Exorcisms, the Rite of Baptism for Children, and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
“24 Hours for the Lord” to be celebrated March 4-5
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has selected Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory as (pictured above) the next Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship. Chosen at the annual November meeting in Baltimore by a vote of 124-114 over Bishop John Barres of Allentown, PA, Archbishop Gregory will serve for one year as chairmanelect before replacing current committee chair Bishop Arthur Serratelli of page 2
As a part of the present “Year of Mercy,” Pope Francis has called upon local churches around the world to celebrate “24 Hours for the Lord,” a time of Eucharistic adoration and reception of the Sacrament of Penance. While the “24 Hours” celebrations have been held on the Fourth Sunday of Lent since 2014, this year’s observance has received special emphasis by the Holy Father in his Bull “Misericordiae Vultus”, the “Face of Mercy.” “The initiative of 24 Hours for the Lord,” writes Pope Francis, “to be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent, should be implemented in every diocese. So
many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace” (17). The Holy Father himself will preside at a penance service at St. Peter Basilica on Friday, March 4. It is for local dioceses to make particular arrangements for similar celebrations.
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Website: www.adoremus.org Adoremus Executive Committee: The Rev. Jerry Pokorsky ✝ Helen Hull Hitchcock The Rev. Joseph Fessio, SJ Contents copyright © 2016 by ADOREMUS. All rights reserved. Adoremus Bulletin (ISSN 1088-8233) is published six times a year by ADOREMUS—SOCIETY FOR THE RENEWAL OF THE SACRED LITURGY, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. ADOREMUS is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation of the State of California. Non-profit periodicals postage paid at various US mailing offices. Change service requested. ADOREMUS—SOCIETY FOR THE RENEWAL OF THE SACRED LITURGY was established in June 1995 to promote authentic reform of the Liturgy of the Roman Rite in accordance with the Second Vatican Council’s decree on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. Adoremus Bulletin is sent on request to members of ADOREMUS. Suggested donation: $40 per year, US; $45 foreign.
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
The Merciful Vision of Jesus By Christopher Carstens Editor
ebraska, my home state, has many farmers who grow lots of corn. A friend of mine, many years my senior, once made an interesting observation about our fellow Corn Huskers as we drove into the state’s capital of Lincoln. “When a Nebraska corn farmer drives into the city and sees the tall buildings,” my friend said, “his first thought is ‘I wonder how many bushels that building could hold.’” He didn’t say this to disparage farmers, but only to make the point that each of us sees the world according to our own upbringing, culture, and formation. My own formation, at least in part, is that of a liturgist. (OK, keep those liturgist jokes to yourself!) I have been trained to see things through liturgical lenses, or with a sacramental sight. What does this mean? A very basic definition of a sacrament is “an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.” Or, put another way, a sacrament or sacramental thing has one dimension that can be sensed and another hidden dimension that, ultimately, is the divine life of God. One thing is seen; another is made present. An earthly symbol is encountered, a heavenly reality made manifest. The natural sign bears a supernatural truth. It was with these eyes that I first read Pope Francis’ “Prayer for the Year of Mercy,” and I found it also to be rather sacramental in nature. The Holy Father prays, “Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees him. Show us your face and we will be saved.” Like this verse from John 14:9, St. Paul says that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). Based upon these texts, the tradition will even call Jesus the supreme sacrament. St. Augustine claims that ultimately “there is no other sacrament of God except Christ” (see CCC 774). Today’s Catechism of the Catholic Church says that Christ’s “humanity appeared as ‘sacrament,’ that is, the sign and instrument, of his divinity and of the salvation he brings: what was visible in his earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of his divine sonship and redemptive mission” (CCC 515). Later, after calling Christ “the visible face of the invisible Father,” the Holy Father asks him that the “Church be your visible face in the world.” This, too, is a sacramental relationship between Christ and his Church. In our present place in salvation history, Christ still works—as he always has— but he does so now through the Church and her sacraments. Again, from the Catechism: “Christ’s work in the liturgy is sacramental…because his Body, which is the Church, is like a sacrament (sign and instrument) in which the Holy Spirit dispenses the mystery of salvation…” (CCC 1111). The Council’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” relying on St. Augustine, likewise refers to the sacramental nature of the Church when it says that “it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth ‘the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church’” (SC 5).
Head of Christ (Rembrandt)
Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year of Mercy Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!” You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
The Holy Father’s prayer, of course, is not meant to be looked at principally in an academic manner; and these present reflections are not meant to be those of a liturgy professor. To see devotional prayers—and, indeed, the entire world—as connected to the liturgy and sacraments is not some quirk of “professional” liturgists. Rather, to view the life of faith through liturgical lenses brings clarity, enlightenment, and insight. It lets us begin to see Jesus who comes to us in a privileged way in the Church and her sacraments. And it’s the type of vision that belongs to all Catholics.
This same sacramental perspective sets the course for our present issue. I’ll take a look at the use of “repetition” in the texts of the Roman Missal and show how the many poetic styles of repeating texts help the words of the Mass resound, reflect, and reveal the Word of the Trinity (to “sacramentalize” it, in other words). Benedict Nguyen will address some of the more frequently misunderstood aspects of Marriage, especially from the canonical and liturgical vantage points. The “rules” and “laws” governing marriage are not simply a litany of ecclesial disciplines but are meant in the end to help the mar-
riage between man and woman manifest (read: sacramentalize) that ultimate marriage of Jesus to his own Bride, the Church. Adoremus’s managing editor Joseph O’Brien will show us in his review and excerpting of David Clayton’s book The Way of Beauty how beauty is a constituent element of faith, evangelization, culture, and liturgy, and that beauty—like Christ—has the power to attract and save. May the Year of Mercy—through the Holy Father’s prayer, the approaching Lenten season, the Church and our liturgies—give to us and to the world, the vision of Jesus, face of the Father. page 3
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
“All the fun’s in how you say a thing” – Repetition in the Roman Missal By Christopher Carstens Editor Liturgical language speaks many things. It is meant to edify, instruct, inspire, praise, console, and much besides. In the end, though, liturgical language (like every liturgical element) facilitates a meeting between Christ and his people. The words of the liturgy “sound like” the Word of the Trinity, and to sing or say or pray or hear liturgical language is to encounter the Word made flesh. What does such a language sound like? A single human language—twenty-first century English, for example—is used in a variety of ways, mostly depending on the discipline. Newspapers read in a particular way; talk over the water cooler sounds more casual than an academic discussion in the classroom; Monday Night Football has its own lexicon; and so on. But what characterizes liturgical language? The General Instruction of the Roman Missal speaks of the language of the Mass as “noble” and “marked by literary quality” (GIRM 392). The first post-Vatican II translations, according to Pope John Paul II, while in many ways suitable initial translations, often lacked the qualities necessary for sacramental language. Writing in 1988, 25 years after the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (“Sacrosanctum Concilium”), he acknowledged that the “adaptation of languages has been rapidly accomplished, even if on occasion with some difficulties…. But now the time has come to reflect upon a certain difficulties that have subsequently emerged, to remedy certain defects or inaccuracies, to complete partial translations, to compose or approve chants to be used in the Liturgy, to ensure respect for the texts approved and lastly to publish liturgical books in a form that both testifies to the stability achieved and is worthy of the mysteries being celebrated” (“Vicesimus quintus annus” 16, 20). Many of the correctives envisioned by the Holy Father came to fruition in the 2001 document “Liturgiam authenticam,” on the use of vernacular languages. Among other things, “Liturgiam authenticam” said the following about the nature of liturgical language: “Since liturgical texts by their very nature are intended to be proclaimed orally and to be heard in the liturgical celebration, they are characterized by a certain manner of expression that differs from that found in everyday speech or in texts intended to be read silently. Examples of this include recurring and recognizable patterns of syntax and style, a solemn or exalted tone, alliteration and assonance, concrete and vivid images, repetition, parallelism and contrast, a certain rhythm, and at times, the lyric of poetic compositions”(LA 59). It is on the topic of the just-named “repetition” that the present entry is concerned. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (of which “Liturgiam authenticam” is the fifth instruction for its correct implementation) described the rites (and, by extension, ritual language) as being “short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions” (SC 34). But what distinguishes a “useless” repetition from a “useful” one? The translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal into English includes a great deal of poetic repetition, especially when compared to its immediate predecessor. Far from “useless,” these repetitions render the translation a more beautiful and authentic expression of that which they signify-Christ, who is none other than the eternal Word himself. Notice, too, in the examples that follow, the types of repetition. It surprised me when I discovered how many different ways there are to say a thing. These examples are drawn not from ecclesial or theological sources, but from the best that human speech and writing have given to humanity through the years. In each example, I give the name of the repetition, followed by an explanation of the passage from secular sources which illustrates the type of repetition, and then an example of the repetition in the 3rd edition’s Latin typical edition and its translation into English. I then compare the 3rd edition translation to the translation into English in the 1985 Sacramentary. There are many ways to say a thing. In the liturgy, the “thing” (or, in Latin, res) is the Word. To say this “Word” with the Church is good, true, and beautiful (and maybe even fun).
Anaphora, a Greek term meaning “to carry back to the start,” is the repetition of beginnings: • “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’.” (Martin Luther King, “Normalcy, Never Again,” in which he repeats “I have a dream” at the start of eight consecutive sentences) • Roman Missal, Latin typical edition: Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex celestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. • Roman Missal in English (2011): We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. • Sacramentary (1985): Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Martin Luther King’s August 1963 speech, “Normalcy – Never Again,” which he famously delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., employed anaphora, the repetition of beginnings, by starting eight successive lines of his speech with the phrase “I have a dream.”
Symploce is a repetition of both beginnings and endings: • “I’ll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.” (Shakespeare, As You Like It, 3.2.309) • Roman Missal, Latin typical edition: Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta…, efferimus praeclarae maistati tuae de tuis donis ac datis hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctum vitae aeternae et Calicem salutis perpetuae. • Roman Missal: Therefore, O Lord…, Photo: Wikimedia Commons we, your servants and your holy people, Symploce, the repetition of beginnings and offer to your glorious majesty endings, in Shakespeare: ““I’ll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, from the gifts that you have given us, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands this pure victim, still withal.” (As You Like It, 3.2.309). this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation. (Unde et memores of the Roman Canon) • Sacramentary (1985): We, your people and your ministers…, offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation. Diacope, from the Greek “to cut in two,” makes an insertion between two repeated parts. Thus, diacope is the repetition with only a word or two between: • “Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.” (Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, 5.3.109) “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!” (Shakespeare, Richard III, 5.4.7) “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3.1) • Roman Missal, Latin typical edition: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. • Roman Missal: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; • Sacramentary (1985): I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sister, that I have sinned through my own fault….
Continued on Page 5
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016 Continued from Page 4
Anadiplosis, meaning “to double up,” is the repetition by which words at the end of a phrase are repeated at the beginning of the next syntactical unit: • “When I give, I give myself.” (Whitman) “All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities.” (Burke) • Roman Missal, Latin typical edition: Priest: Habemus ad Dominum. People: Dignum et iustum est. Priest: Vere dignum et iustum est… • Roman Missal: Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. People: It is right and just. Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation… • Sacramentary (1985): Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. People: It is right to give him thanks and praise. Priest: Father, it is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks….” A palindrome is a type of repetition where one set of letters or words is reflected in the reverse or opposite order. “Eye” is a short palindrome; “racecar” a longer one. A longer palindrome still is “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama,” where the “c” in “canal” is the middle point and the letters read on either side as a mirror image. A palindrome of entire words and phrases is called an epanados, while a palindrome of an entire passage is called a chiasmus, from the Greek letter chi (written as “X”). Epanados, repetition of words in the opposite, or inverse order: • “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address) “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” (Shakespeare, Macbeth 1.1.12) • Roman Missal, Latin typical edition: Vota, quaesumus, Domine, supplicantis populi caelesti pietate prosequere, ut et quae agenda sunt videant, et ad implenda quae viderint convalescent. Per Christum… • Roman Missal: Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care, O Lord, we pray, that they may see what must be done and gain strength to do what they have seen. Through our Lord… (Collect, 1st Sunday in Ordinary Time) • Sacramentary (1985): Father of love, hear our prayers. Help us to know your will and to do it with courage and faith. Grant this… Chiasmus is an epanados at the level of a larger unit or passage. As mentioned above, the chiasmus takes its name from the Greek letter chi, written as an “X,” the very shape of which visualizes the nature of a palindrome. Also, since it is the first letter of Christ’s name in Greek, Χριστός, it appears a suitable device in the Roman Canon: The Roman Canon: 1. Initial praise (Preface dialogue, preface text, Sanctus): “The Lord be with you….” “It is truly right and just….” “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus” 2. Initial prayer through Christ: “To you, therefore [Te igitur], most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.” 3A. First intercessions (for the Church, the Pope, Bishop, the living): “…which we offer firstly [In primis] for your Church.” “Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here [Memento, Domine]….” 3B. First list of saints: “In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph….” 4A. First formula of offering: “Therefore, Lord, we pray [Hanc igitur]: graciously accept this oblation or our service…” 4B. First (consecratory) epiclesis: “Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering [Quam oblationem] in every respect…” 5A. Double consecration: “On the day before [Qui pridie] he was to suffer, he took bread…” “In a similar way [Simili modo], when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice…” 5B. Anamnesis: “Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial [Unde et memores] of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven…” 4A. Second formula of offering: “Be pleased to look upon these offerings [Supra quae] with a serene and kindly countenance…” 4B. Second (communion) epiclesis: “In humble prayer we ask you [Supplices te rogamus], almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high…so that all of us…may be filled with every grace and blessing.” 3A. Second intercessions (for the deceased and for the participants): “Remember also [Memento etiam], Lord, your servants N. and N., who have gone before us…” “To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners [Nobis quoque peccatoribus], hope in your abundant mercies…” 3B. Second list of saints: “…graciously grant some share and fellowship [et societatem donare digneris] with your holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John the Baptist, Stephen….” 2. Concluding prayer through Christ: “Through whom [Per quem] you continue to make all these good things, O Lord, you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them, and bestow them upon us.” 1. Concluding praise (doxology): “Through him, and with him, and in him...all glory is yours forever and ever.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons T.S. Eliot, among the greatest 20th century poets, began his 1930 poem “Ash Wednesday” with a series of useful repetitions: “Because I do not hope to turn again / Because I do not hope / Because I do not hope to turn…”.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons In Pope St. John Paull II’s “The Roman Tryptic: Meditations,” he uses the repetition called epandaos, where a particular phrase is repeated or reflected in inverse order: “The Word, the marvelous eternal Word, as an invisible threshold / of all that has come into being, exists or will exist. As if the Word were the threshold. / The threshold of the Word, containing the invisible form of everything, divine and eternal —beyond this threshold everything begins to happen?”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons The second letter from St. Peter uses anadiplosis, the repetition of the last word or a phrase at the beginning of the next phrase: “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with selfcontrol, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). St. Peter, by Paolo Emilio Besenzi (d.1656).
As Robert Frost put it a century ago in his narrative poem “The Mountain,” “All the fun’s in how you say a thing.” The Church agrees. The Mass—which reflects beauty itself, Jesus—requires such beauty in its language — indeed, in the poetry and art of the entire liturgy. The “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” called for “useless repetitions” to be omitted, yet time and pastoral discretion, particularly under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, came to realize the usefulness, appropriateness, and even necessity of some repetition. Anaphora, symploce, diacope, anadiplosis, epanados, and chiasmus are types of “useful” repetition, used by mankind’s best authors in our most timeless poetry and literature, and these same figures are heard in the Church’s most privileged words, those of the Mass. What fun!
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
Marriage Law Revisited — Part I By Benedict Nguyen, M.T.S., J.D./J.C.L., D.Min (ABD) Recently, several events in the Catholic Church have triggered a renewed interest in her teachings and laws concerning marriage. The XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family along with the revisions to the procedure for the declaration of marriage nullity process (popularly so-called “annulment”) promulgated by Pope Francis in two apostolic letters issued motu proprio entitled “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus” and “Mitis et misericors Iesus” for the Latin and Eastern Churches, respectively, have caused a plethora of articles, reports, and opinion pieces to be published. The upcoming promulgation of the 2nd edition of the Rite of Marriage will no doubt add to this interest. A quick survey of recent commentaries on marriage in both popular and academic Catholic publications – not to mention the secular media – display dramatically varying levels of accuracy. These in turn reveal some alarming misunderstandings among many regarding the Church’s doctrines and regulations on marriage and the reasons for them. Such confusion shows that there remains a great need to recover a clarity of understanding when it comes to the Church’s teachings and laws on marriage, even and especially among Catholics, if the various marital situations that are encountered in pastoral ministry are to be addressed effectively. While not intending to be comprehensive, the following represent a number of aspects concerning the reality of marriage in Catholic theology, canon law, and liturgy that bear revisiting so that the beauty of the Church’s teachings and laws on marriage can be better understood not as obstacles to marriage but rather as reflections and guarantors of it. Why does the Church regulate marriage with canon law? Unfortunately, many both inside and outside the Church misunderstand the role of canon law – and for that matter liturgical law – in the life of the Church and concerning marriage. They view law simply as regulations determined by the authority of the lawgiver – whether a collective group or an individual authority – that can be changed or manipulated at will. Often called “legal positivism,” this is not how the Church views the role of law in her life. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) explicitly reminds us that even the supreme authority in the Church cannot, for example, change liturgical laws arbitrarily (CCC 1125). Pope St. John Paul II in promulgating the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC) clarifies that the Code, i.e. Church law, is not a substitute for faith, grace, charisms, and charity but rather its purpose is to create an order in the Church where these elements can flourish. Thus, concerning marriage, the purpose of Church law is not to obstruct it or make things more difficult; rather, its purpose is to put into practice and safeguard what we believe about marriage. Whether canonical or liturgical law, the Church’s regulations on marriage seek to reflect faithfully her teachings on marriage, safeguard them, and put them into practice. At times, they are sober reminders that marriage is not just something that is a personal matpage 6
ter between the will of the parties, as pop culture would have us believe, but rather a profound reality with social, ecclesial, and even sacramental effects. What is the definition of marriage? Surprisingly, it is in the CIC that the Church gives what is arguably the most beautiful and profound definition of marriage. In fact, the CCC at the beginning of its section on matrimony (CCC 1601) simply quotes this definition from canon law. In canon 1055, the Church teaches that “(§1) the matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized. (§2) For this reason, a valid matrimonial contract cannot exist between the baptized without it being by that fact a sacrament.” In this profound definition, we find in summary form the main aspects of what constitutes marriage naturally and what constitutes it sacramentally. Natural Marriage and Sacramental Marriage – What’s the Difference? This is perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood distinctions regarding the Church’s teachings on marriage. Failing to understand this distinction has caused serious confusion in many of the discussions regarding especially the declaration of nullity process and its reform. In a nutshell, “natural marriage” is a marriage that a man and a woman have when they enter into a marital relationship containing all the natural elements that God has put into what marriage is. Thus, even if they are not baptized Christians, they are truly a husband and a wife. A “sacramental marriage” (i.e. “Christian marriage”) is when two baptized persons have a valid natural marriage and, because they are baptized, that marriage is now also a sacrament of the Church with all that it means to be a true sacrament. It is important to remember that marriage is first a “natural institution,” that is, it is established by God as a good in creation, endowing it with its own proper laws (cf. CCC 1603-1605 and “Gaudium et spes” 48).” Written by God into the nature of man and woman, the common and permanent characteristics of marriage can be seen and understood by all. However, like other aspects of the natural moral law, it is not always transparent everywhere and with the same clarity due to ignorance, cultural biases, sin, etc. Nonetheless, where these natural law elements of marriage are followed, a human person, whether baptized or not, is able to enter into a true, valid marital relationship as God designed it to be. Contrarily, where any one of these natural aspects is missing, the relationship cannot be considered a valid marriage because it would lack an essential element that would have established it as a true act of marrying. Canon 1055 lists these natural law elements – that is, elements that are essential to the nature of any marriage – to include being between one man and one woman, established by and between themselves (through consent), as a partnership for the whole of life, for the good of the spouses and the pro-
The Wedding Feast at Cana Wikipedia Commons
creation and education of offspring, i.e. with the proper “ends” and “essential properties” of marriage (discussed below.) Thus, whether a person is Catholic or not, baptized or not, to have a valid marriage, these natural law elements must be present. If they are, the marriage is a valid natural marriage. If they are not, the marriage cannot be considered valid. Through Original Sin, the world, including the natural institution of marriage, is affected by disorder (cf. CCC 1606-1608). Into this fallen world, Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah whose relationship with his People is seen as a nuptial covenant (cf. CCC 1612), raises the natural institution of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament
(cf. CCC 1613). Thus, the marriage of two baptized persons, in addition to being a valid natural marriage, is now one of the seven sacraments of the Church with all that being a sacrament entails, including being an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence, a channel of the grace of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, etc. (cf. CCC 1641-1642). Since baptism is the gateway to the sacraments and is necessary for the valid reception of the other sacraments (cf. canon 849), it is necessary that both parties in a marriage be baptized in order for their valid natural marriage Continued on Page 7
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016 communication and instruction so that the Christian faithful are formed in the true meaning of Christian marriage (including the theological, canonical, and pastoral elements) and what it means to be a Christian spouse and parent. One could say that canon law envisions a sort of “family catechesis,” that is, formation in vocation from early on and continuing into adulthood. Only then does canon 1063, 2° focus on immediate preparation for the engaged, calling for them to be formed in personal preparation that disposes them to the holiness and duties of the new state of the order of spouses to which they are being called (cf. CCC 1631). Along with this, the CIC calls for a preparation that disposes the soon-to-be spouses in a fruitful liturgical celebration, forming them in the understanding that they as spouses signify and share in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love between Christ and the Church (canon 1603, 3°). Finally, and surprisingly, the CIC does not stop there but rather in the same canon also calls for the all the faithful to offer help to those who are married so that they can preserve and protect their conjugal covenant, growing daily in holier and fuller family life (cf. canon 1603, 4°). All those involved in designing and implementing marriage preparation programs would do well to consult, reflect, and creatively seek to develop
Pope John Paul II emphasized the great complementarity between the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
Continued from Page 6
to be also a sacrament of the Church. In fact, canon 1055 §2 reminds us that a valid matrimonial contract (i.e. a valid natural marriage) cannot exist between baptized persons without it also being a sacrament, thus becoming “Christian marriage” or “sacramental marriage.” When this is the case, the essential properties of marriage, namely unity and indissolubility, obtain a special firmness by reason of the sacramental graces involved (cf. canon 1056). Valid and Invalid, Licit and Illicit Marriage – What’s the Difference? A valid marriage is a marriage in which the act of marrying had with it all the necessary essential aspects to establish the parties as husband and wife, resulting in all the juridic effects (i.e. the rights and duties) that go with being a married person. For those who are not Catholic, this means that all the natural law elements necessary for a valid natural marriage must be present. For Catholics and those marrying Catholics (cf. canon 11 and 1059), aside from the natural law marriage requirements, the Church asks that these follow some additional laws designed for the valid, licit, and fruitful celebration of marriage, which between the baptized, is also a sacrament of the Church (cf. canon 1066). Some of these are so important that the Church has made them requirements for validity – that is, if not followed, the man and woman walk down the aisle as single persons. Other requirements are for liceity – that is, if not followed, though the man and woman walk down the aisle as husband and wife, the fruitfulness of the celebration and good order in the Church’s life have not been well served. Not to be taken lightly, the effects of illiceity exist to varying degrees of detriment to the life of the parties and the Church depending on the seriousness of the illiceity. So that there is no question, elements that are required for validity are either expressly established in Church law (cf. canon 10) or are constitutive elements, such as the requirement of having a man and a woman for marriage.
What are the “ends” and the “essential properties” of marriage? Without getting into a technical discussion of the traditional formulation of the “ends of marriage” versus
the current expression of it, the updated CIC as well the CCC, following “Gaudium et spes” 48, express the “ends of marriage” – that is, what marriage is “for” – as being “ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and (atque) the procreation and education of offspring” (canon 1055 and CCC 1601). What this means is that the nature of marriage is designed by God for these purposes. Aside from the “ends of marriage,” the nature of marriage also reveals that there are “essential properties” built into it by God. These properties the CIC lists explicitly as “unity and indissolubility” which obtain a “special firmness” when the marriage is also a sacramental one (canon 1056) by reason of the sacramental graces involved. From both the “ends” and the “properties” of marriage, St. Augustine and others after him famously summarized that there are certain “goods” essential to the nature of marriage, namely the bonum prolis (the “good of offspring”), the bonum fidei (the “good of exclusivity”), and the bonum sacramenti (the “good of indissolubility”), and the bonum coniugum (the “good of the spouse”). Because the act of exchanging consent is what establishes marriage (canon 1057), where a party intentionally and actively excludes the essential ends of marriage or any one of the essential properties of marriage, in other words intentionally excluding from one’s consent the “goods” of marriage, a valid act of marrying cannot be said to have happened to have happened. Does the Church have norms for marriage preparation? One of the more notable topics that arose from the discussions at the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family was the call for an improvement regarding how marriage preparation is done. What many do not realize is that the Code of Canon Law already has a beautiful vision of pastoral care and those things that must precede the cel-
Matrimony, The Seven Sacraments, Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1445. Wikipedia Commons
ebration of marriage. According to the poignant canon 1063, pastors of souls and the ecclesiastical community – i.e., all of us – are called to offer assistance to those preparing for marriage and those who are in the matrimonial state. It is interesting to note that canon law views marriage preparation as beginning much earlier than has been popularly envisioned. Currently, marriage preparation is seen as beginning when a couple becomes engaged. Canon 1063, 1°, however, envisions a much more remote preparation for marriage with proper preaching and catechesis adapted to minors, youth, and adults using all forms of social
what the CIC envisions as pastoral care for marriage both in the preparation for and the living out of this sacrament. Benedict Nguyen is a canon and civil lawyer and serves as the Canonical Counsel & Theological Adviser for the Diocese of Corpus Christi (Texas). He also serves as an adjunct professor for the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Editor’s note: The second part of Benedict Nguyen’s article will be appearing in the March 2016 issue of Adoremus. page 7
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
Sacred Tradition and the individual artist: a review of The Way of Beauty The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College by David Clayton. Angelico Press (Kettering, Ohio 2015), 282 pp., $17.95 By Joseph O’Brien Managing Editor
he Catholic artist has had a rough time of it lately. From Hollywood’s shallow low-brow entertainment to the abject rejection of Christian thought and belief among today’s higher brows, Catholic painters, poets, novelists and other workers in beauty have found little access to the secular portals of creativity which presume to define the present state of the arts. When it comes to participating in the arts and letters of the current day, the working assumption seems to be Christian artists need not apply. But in denying this Christ-centered creative perspective, today’s culture is impoverished and isolated from the only source that can give it new life. Throughout Church history, the Catholic arts have been a bridge to the transcendent truths which fulfill our understanding of who we are as humans and orient us to our ultimate destiny with God in heavenly glory. While the causes for this abridgement of Catholic arts are manifold, Anglo-Catholic poet T.S. Eliot rightly points out that the root of these cultural problems is that modern culture doesn’t understand its own Christian foundations. Seeking to address the concept of tradition as a necessary mainstay for maintaining culture, Eliot wrote his influential essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” as a way to reassert the proper relationship between the artist and the culture. Published almost a century ago in 1919, at a time when Western culture was looking more like a wasteland than a watershed, Eliot’s essay provided a trustworthy compass by which the Catholic artist could safely take his bearings. It serves a similar purpose today. “No poet, no artist of any art,” Eliot writes, “has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism” (Selected Essays, T.S. Eliot 4-5). A welcome elaboration on Eliot’s aesthetic criticism, David Clayton’s The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School and College, seeks to restore this same relationship between artist and tradition – and thereby renew the culture – in an explicitly Catholic way. Expanding on Eliot’s notion of the artist’s individual contribution to tradition, The Way of Beauty seeks to reconnect the Catholic artist’s individual talent with the Western artistic tradition by fostering a greater understanding and love for the Church’s Tradition, especially as it touches on sacred art. In this way, The Way of Beauty calls for something even bolder than what Eliot prescribes – an integration not only of the individual talent with the tradition, but of the artistic tradition itself with the Catholic liturgy. For Clayton, such a call includes a complete educational program based on the Liberal Arts and an aesthetic formation which includes a strong focus on ancient classical and
Catholic models of harmony and proportion. Relying on his own knowledge and training as an artist and art historian to make his case for beauty, Clayton also enlists the help of some contemporary thinkers who, on the face of it, aren’t usually associated with aesthetic theory. Many of the popes make an appearance in The Way of Beauty, and Clayton has special regard for Benedict XVI’s liturgical writings and John Paul II’s 1999 Letter to Artists. Examining case studies among the masterpieces of art and architecture, The Way of Beauty is a spiritual, intellectual and creative curriculum for integrating what Clayton calls the Church’s “culture of faith” and contemporary culture, “such that each reinforces and reflects the other”(The Way of Beauty, David Clayton 30). “The liturgy and the culture of faith preserve the faith of those who already possess it,” Clayton writes. “However, this is not enough. It is particularly important that contemporary culture be a Catholic culture of beauty too, because this may be the only aspect of Christian culture that non-Christians see…. Contemporary culture, therefore, is at the forefront of our work of evangelization” (Clayton 30). Today’s artists and critics might cringe at the idea of creativity serving as a means of evangelization, but Clayton proposes no simplistic Bible- or Catechism-thumping didacticism presenting cheap allegorical overlays as vehicles for imparting moral or spiritual lessons. Rather, The Way of Beauty relies on the power of beauty itself as the primary path to individual and cultural conversion. “This is the Way of Beauty,” Clayton writes, “a joyful path to God by which our work shines with the light of Christ and draws people in so that they might share in it” (Clayton 2). In opposition to what Benedict XVI has called “the tyranny of relativism,” Clayton defines beauty along objective classical lines – that what is beautiful can be objectively known and that objects of beauty can be objectively judged. Noting that the Greek word for beauty, “kosmos,” is also the word for order as applied both to the natural world and to the arts, Clayton shows how the Church – from Boethius through Augustine and Thomas Aquinas to the contemporary popes – adopted this notion because it was a “self-evident” truth. “Just like the ancients, I appeal to consensus, the fact that most people see [beauty] that way, as a basis of its
truth…. Once this consensus is accepted, it seems a small step to assert also that there is some property in the object of our attention which makes it beautiful; or to put it another way, that beauty is an objective property. And, in turn, once we have accepted that [beauty is objective], then it seems natural to try to analyze that beauty and describe it numerically” (Clayton 139). Holding that as a fundamental principle of aesthetics number is a quantitative measure and a qualitative symbol, Clayton argues, beauty itself participates in that which is timeless – as eternal as number itself. Consequently, he asserts, beauty will draw men to it in a way that philosophical or theological arguments alone can’t. “When a work of art or music expresses well the timeless principles that appeal to all men, but in a way that also characterizes the time and place of those who experience it, the result is irresistible,” he writes. “The need for the creation of these modern expressions of the traditional are at the forefront of culture. This is the challenge we are placing before the gifted and creative today” (Clayton 45). Because of beauty’s “irresistible” power, the liturgy too is an important part of Clayton’s plan. In the Catholic artistic tradition, there has never been a separation of the here-and-now from the eternal hereafter – and so it makes sense, according to the author, that the artist should aspire to lead souls to the liturgy. As Clayton notes, “if we participate in the liturgy fully, it becomes an ordering principle for the whole of our lives; that is, by participating in an earthly liturgy that is in harmony with heaven, we receive grace that flows through our lives and overflows into the world. The liturgy is the portal that ushers the presence of God into our lives and (through our participation) into the lives of others around us” (Clayton 102). Like art, Clayton says, the liturgy is “the focal point for the meeting of the material and the spiritual…. The earthly liturgy should evoke a sense of the non-sensible aspect of the liturgy through its dignity and beauty. All our activities within it – kneeling, praying, standing – should be in accordance with the heavenly standard. Likewise, the architecture of the church building, as well as the art and music used, should point us to what lies beyond it and give us a real sense that we are praising God with all his creation and with the saints and angels in heaven” (Clayton 100-102).
Despite placing a premium on beauty in its pages, The Way of Beauty is not without its own flaws – at least in the presentation of Clayton’s ideas. The work is marred by a want of editing in parts – to the detriment of clarity, concision and occasionally cohesion. But overall, the work is a refreshing return to “what works” in art as an anodyne to the warped and thwarted aesthetics of modernity. At the same time, Clayton makes haste to note early on in the book that he is not seeking to return our present culture to some Golden Age of sacred art. “In focusing strongly on the past traditions of the Church, there is no suggestion that I am looking for a future that is an unthinking replication of the past,” he writes. “Rather, I hope that this analysis might lead us to a re-application of the same principles, but in a way that is appropriate to our age. To this end, my intention is to demonstrate how the form of these past traditions reflects the worldview of the artist as much as its content” (Clayton 6). To the extent that it has elaborated on T.S. Eliot’s concern for tradition and the individual artist, The Way of Beauty is also important because it contributes an important statement to the ongoing conversation about the place of beauty in modern culture. Catholic writer and critic Gregory Wolfe’s 2011 book Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age is steeped in this same conversation about beauty and Catholic art in the modern world. As founder of Image, a Christian journal of arts and letters, Wolfe’s entire lifework has been to bring this conversation to the fore – not only among Catholic and other Christian artists – but also among the modern makers of mystery and manners in the mainstream culture as well. “At the heart of Christian humanism,” Wolfe writes, “is the effort to achieve a new synthesis between the condition of the world around us and the unique ways in which grace can speak to that condition. That is how art created by Christians will touch the lives of those who encounter it” (The Way of Beauty, Gregory Wolfe 23-24). The Way of Beauty provides a blueprint for such an effort. The title of Wolfe’s book is taken from Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous aphorism; and both Wolfe and Clayton see this saving beauty as an essential means of accessing the transcendent in modern culture. Continued on Page 9
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016 Continued from Page 8
“What does the famous and mysterious phrase… (quoted by John Paul II in his Letter [to Artists]) mean?” Clayton asks in his own book. “Does it mean that the beauty that is in the world will save it? Or must we look for a beauty from beyond the world? The answer is both. The beauty that is in the world comes from beyond it. It directs us to where it comes from. The Christian religion, especially, is all about this saving beauty” (Clayton 18). And today’s Catholic artist, Wolfe and Clayton would agree, is all about drawing others to the source of this saving beauty through inspiration, prayer and love at each step along the way. Beauty and the Liturgy: An Excerpt from The Way of Beauty, by David Clayton This connection between the beauty of creation and our worship has long been understood. Writing in the 5th century, Pope St. Leo the Great, for example, says, “For every one of us nature is full of instruction that we should worship God. The heavens and the earth, the sea and all within them, proclaim the goodness and the almighty power of their maker. The wonderful beauty of these inferior elements of nature demands that we, intelligent beings, should give thanks to God.”1 Christian cosmology is the study of the patterns and rhythms of the planets and the stars with the intention of ordering our work and praise to the work
Lent and the Paschal Mystery Editors
sh Wednesday in 2016 falls on February 10. During Mass for Ash Wednesday, at the Blessing of the Ashes, the priest prays to God that Father that as we, the faithful, “follow the Lenten observances, they may be worthy to come with minds made pure to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of your Son.” Near Lent’s end, on Palm Sunday, prior to the procession with psalms, the priest offers a brief introduction and admonition to celebrate prayerfully. He says, in part: “Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church the beginning of the celebration of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery, that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection.” On Good Friday’s celebration of the Lord’s Passion, the priest asks God at the beginning of liturgy to “Remember your mercies, O Lord, and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants, for who Christ your Son, by the shedding of his Blood, established the Paschal Mystery.” It appears—according to prayers (and therefore the mind) of the Church—that the “Paschal Mystery” is of central importance. But what, precisely, is this mystery? There are a number of reliable sources to look at, including the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The pages of Adoremus will continue to be filled with such references in the future. For the moment, let’s look to Pope Benedict’s 2001 lecture on “The Theology of the Liturgy,” here reprinted with permission from Joseph Ratzinger’s Collected Works: The Theology of the Liturgy from Ignatius Press. May the Paschal Mystery of Christ,
and praise of heaven – that is, to the heavenly liturgy. The liturgical year of the Church is based upon these natural cycles. The date on which Easter falls, for example, is calculated according to the phases of the moon. The purpose of earthly liturgy and, for that matter, all Christian prayer cannot be understood without grasping its harmony with the heavenly dynamic and the cosmos. The earthly liturgy should evoke a sense of the non-sensible aspect of the liturgy through its dignity and beauty. All our activities within it—kneeling, praying, standing—should be in accordance with the heavenly standard. Likewise, the architecture of the church building, as well as the art and music used in that building, should all point us to what lies beyond the earthly realm, and give us a real sense that we are praising God with all of his creation and with the saints and angels in heaven. Pope Benedict XVI is sensitive to this dimension of Christian life, and his little book The Spirit of the Liturgy seems devoted to awakening us to this understanding. In the book, Benedict discusses the importance of orienting church buildings and the Mass to the East, to face the rising sun, the symbol of the Risen One: “The cosmic symbol of the rising sun expresses the universality of God above all particular places.... But… this turning toward the east also signifies that cosmos and saving history belong together. The cosmos is praying with us. It, too, is waiting for redemption. It is precisely this cosmic dimension that is essential
to Christian liturgy. It is never performed solely in the self-made world of man. It is always a cosmic liturgy. The theme of creation is embedded in Christian prayer. It loses its grandeur when it forgets this connection.”2 But why would we want to have a liturgical life at all? One reason, as Leo the Great pointed out, is the desire of believers to worship Him well by giving Him thanks and praise, as an end in itself simply because we love God. Another reason is that if we participate in the liturgy fully, it becomes an ordering principle for the whole of our lives; that is, by participating in an earthly liturgy that is in harmony with heaven, we receive grace that flows through our lives and overflows into the world. The liturgy is a portal that ushers the presence of God into our lives and (through our participation) the lives of others around us. If we want to increase our collective ability to conform to grace, we should strive to make our liturgy conform to the liturgy in heaven. Canon law and the rubrics of the Mass are gifts from God that can guide us so that we can love him more, and open us, and so the world, to the grace of God. And number is an essential part of this, through the rhythmical repetitions of prayers and words, through posture, and in the production of beautiful music, art, and architecture that are “liturgical” even when they have a secular use. The patterns observed in the cosmos are described using number. The beauty of number is that once its signifi-
which is made present to us in the liturgies of the Triduum, lead us to the merciful face of God the Father. The Theology of the Liturgy (excerpts) Joseph Ratzinger 2001 The Second Vatican Council defined the liturgy as “an action of Christ the Priest and of his Body, which is the Church.”1 The work of Jesus Christ is referred to in the same text as the work of the redemption that Christ accomplished especially by the Paschal Mystery of his Passion, of his Resurrection from the dead, and his glorious Ascension. By this Paschal Mystery, by “dying he destroyed our death, and rising, restored our life.”2 At first sight, in these two sentences, the phrase “the action/work of Christ” seems to have been used in two different senses. “The work of Christ” refers first of all to the historical, redemptive actions of Jesus, his death and his Resurrection; on the other hand, the celebration of the liturgy is called “the work of Christ.” In reality, the two meanings are inseparably linked: the death and Resurrection of Christ, the Paschal Mystery, are not just exterior, historical events. In the case of the Resurrection, this is quite obvious. It extends into history yet transcends it in two ways: it is not the action of a man but an action of God, and hence it carries the risen Jesus beyond history, to that place where he sits at the right hand of the Father. But the Cross is not a merely human action, either. The purely human aspect is present in the people who led Jesus to the Cross. For Jesus himself, the Cross is not primarily an action, but a passion, and a passion that signifies his oneness with the divine will – a union, the dramatic character of which is shown to us in the Garden of Gethsemane.3 Thus the passive dimension of being put to death is transformed
Photo: Sergey Kozhukhov. Creative Commons
into the active dimension of love; death becomes the abandonment of himself to the Father for men. In this way, the horizon again extends, as it does in the Resurrection, far beyond the purely human aspect and far beyond the one-
“The ‘Paschal Mystery’ constitutes the core of ‘the work of Jesus’” and is “the real content of the liturgy.” time fact of being nailed to a cross and dying. This surplus with respect to the mere historical event is what the language of faith calls a “mystery,” and in the term “Paschal Mystery” it has summarized the real core of the redemptive event. If we can say accordingly that the “Paschal Mystery” constitutes the core of “the work of Jesus,” then the connection with the liturgy is immediately evident: precisely this “work of Jesus” is the real content of the liturgy. In it, the “work of Jesus,” through the faith and the prayer of the Church, continually penetrates history. Thus, in the liturgy, the present historical moment is transcended, leading into the permanent divine-human act of redemption. In it, Christ is really the responsible
cance has been discerned, that symbolism can be transferred, so to speak, and applied to any aspect of our lives through the ordering of time, space, art, and music in accordance with it. This is number’s special mystery. When we apply the liturgical numbers of the cosmos to the rhythms and actions of our lives, extending beyond that part lived in the church building, the whole of life becomes infused with a liturgical rhythm. We can imbue all our activities and work with a heavenly grace and beauty if the application of this symbolism is appropriate to that to which it is applied. In the sixth century, St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine Order, underlined an aspect of “liturgical number” in chapter 16 of his Rule by looking to the Old Testament: “the prophet says: ‘Seven times daily I have sung your praises’ [Psalm 119:164]. We will cleave to this sacred number if we perform our monastic duties at Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline.” Man cannot address his attention to prayer constantly, but must attend to the needs of life. Yet, these seven occasions of prayer during the day are seven portals through which grace pours into daily life and, to the degree we cooperate, sanctifies the times between prayer by integrating them with the cosmic rhythm of the liturgy. 1) Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon 6 on Lent, 1; from Office of Readings, Thursday after Ash Wednesday. 2) Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000), pp. 70, 76.
subject: it is the work of Christ; but in it he draws history to himself, into this permanent act which is the locus of our salvation. If we go back to Vatican II, we find these connections described as follows: “In the liturgy, through which, especially in the divine Sacrifice of the Eucharist, ‘the work of our Redemption is carried on,’ the faithful are most fully led to express and show to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.”4 […] [T]he expression “Paschal Mystery” unambiguously refers to what happened in the days from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday: the Last Supper as an anticipation of the Cross, the event on Golgotha, and the Lord’s Resurrection. In the expression “Paschal Mystery,” these happenings are seen synthetically as a single, coherent event, as “the action of Christ,” as we heard the Council say in the introduction to this lecture – an action that takes place historically and at the same time transcends the moment. Because this event is interiorly an act of worship rendered to God, it could become divine worship and so be present to all times. The paschal theology of the New Testament… means precisely this: that the seemingly profane event of Christ’s crucifixion is an atoning sacrifice, a healing act of reconciling love by the incarnate God. Paschal theology is theology of redemption, liturgy of the atoning sacrifice. The Shepherd has become Lamb. The vision of the lamb that appears in the story of Luke – the lamb that gets entangled in the undergrowth and ransoms the son – has come true: the Lord becomes Lamb; he allows himself to be bound and sacrificed in order to set us free. 1) SC 7, cf. CCC 1070. 2) SC 5; cf. CCC 1067. 3) Cf. Francois-Marie Léthel, Théologie de l’agonie du Christ (Paris, 1979). 4) SC 2; XXX 1068.
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
Questions of Faith
What is the Year of Mercy Indulgence?
ot everything Catholic is easily understandable. The meaning and use of “indulgences” is one such element. Their apparent abuse at the time of Martin Luther and the Protestant rupture to which indulgences are irrevocably tied have made a complex practice even more difficult to comprehend. The resulting ignorance has hampered Catholics from taking full advantage of the spiritual goods which indulgences offer as occasions of grace, holiness, and solidarity with others—particularly in this Year of Mercy. Indulgences rest on three premises: 1) sin, even after it is forgiven, has long-standing consequences; 2) all men and women, especially the baptized, are able—in fact, bound—to assist one another; and 3) the prayers, sacraments, and actions of the Church are a “salve” (not unrelated to “salvation”) to injuries and imperfections. First, sinful, evil actions have many ill effects, what the Church calls a “double consequence.” A sin breaks our communion with God (in the case of serious sin) or at least weakens it (as in the case of a lesser or venial sin). This rupture is called by the Church the “eternal punishment” of sin, and it is remitted principally in the Sacrament of Confession or, as may be more aptly called in this discussion, of “Reconciliation,” since it reconciles us with God. In addition to the breaking or weakening of the relationship with God, sin also entails a “temporal punishment,” which is an unhealthy attachment to something other than God, a disordered way of thinking and acting. Consider it this way: I may tell a lie about a coworker and, after coming clean, receive her forgiveness – but her reputation may be sullied and my propensity to lie remain, and for these I must make reparation. These are the “double consequences” of sin: the broken communion with the one offended and from which I seek reconciliation and forgiveness and, even after forgiveness is received, the consequences that remain – the her shattered reputation and my disordered deception– to be repaired. The practice of “indulgences” deals not with performing an action in order to obtain forgiveness but with these “temporal punishments” of sin. To “be perfect, as my heavenly Father is perfect” (see Matthew 5:48), these disorders need to be purged in the world to come in Purgatory, or in this life via prayer, charity, virtue, sacraments – and with the help of indulgences. The second key to understanding indulgences is found in the bonds we share, not only naturally but especially supernaturally. A human being shares natural bonds with others, whether his family, city, or nation. In these relationships, we are required to show a certain solicitude toward others, and others in turn are bound to show us a degree of care. Justice, friendship, generosity, piety and other virtues help define the nature of relationships even before such relationships are considered Christian. Natural bonds are only strengthened with faith and the supernatural life. St. Paul’s analogy of the Church as the Mystical Body presumes the natural integrity and unity of a biological, human body. Not only do men and women care for one another from naturally altruistic motives, but all in the Church work for the good and salvation of others. Because I have sinned, page 10
“I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.” Thus, I pray the Confiteor in Mass for others; and others in turn pray for me. This supernatural ability we have to assist one another is likened to the “Church’s treasury,” provided by the merits of Christ’s saving death and resurrection, and available to all through the bonds of charity and love. While the bad news is that the consequence of sin is disorder, a punishment not necessarily inflicted by God but brought upon ourselves from not living rightly, the good news is that we can help one another—even the dead “whose lives have changed, not ended”—to overcome temporal punishment. How we do help one another? One way is through indulgences. But we must understand one more thing about indulgences. These gifts of Christ for his Church are not magic; they are not automatic and mechanical incantations that force God’s forgiveness; they are not commodities that buy grace or heaven or happiness—any more than sacraments, rites, or prayers are. Rather, an indulgence is the elimination, in full or in part, of temporal punishment due to sin when we sincerely and devoutly perform some approved prayer or action as a sign of our desire to see to the reparation of the damage caused by sin. Take, for example, this Year of Mercy’s various Holy Doors, found in every cathedral throughout the world, and in other significant shrines and places of pilgrimage. To pass through the Holy Door is not some superstitious segue from point A to point B that somehow equates with entering heaven (so don’t say “Open Sesame!” when approaching). Rightly understood and practiced, passing through the Holy Door is an encounter with Jesus, who is himself “the Door,” and through whom those who pass “will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (John 10:9). To pass through the Holy Door as if it were a talisman is superstition and yields nothing; instead, we ought to pass through the Holy Door seeing Jesus, praying to Jesus, and loving Jesus as a source of grace for oneself and others. As Pope Francis has put it, “To gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ’s redemption, so that God’s love and forgiveness may extend everywhere” (“Misericordiae Vultus” 22). Today indulgences are classified as either “plenary” or “partial.” The distinction is based first of all on the significance of the action: reciting the prayer “Angel of God” is considered a partial indulgence, while reciting the Rosary may be a plenary one – the latter deemed more important in the spiritual life. But we are also asked to carry out an indulgenced act with purity of heart; with such purity we receive the Christ-life, or grace, offered to us. When we carry out those most important indulgenced activities without sin, the “plenary” or full indulgence is granted, for these acts are performed with the purest intention and love. Insofar as we fail to meet this level of spiritual perfection, the indulgence is called “partial,” since the grace is not received by us in its full measure and, likewise, the “temporal punishment” of our sin is not fully repaired. In addition to the indulgenced act, the
Church provides us other prayers meant for our own spiritual good and that of others. The usual conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence, in addition to the act itself and being “free form all attachment to sin,” are 1) sacramental confession, 2) the reception of Holy Communion, and 3) prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. The sacrament of confession may take place “several days” before or after the indulgenced act, but the reception of Holy Communion and the prayers for the Pope “fittingly” happen on the same day as the action. Also, while the customary prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions are an Our Father and a Hail Mary, any prayer said for his intentions may suffice. (Other details on indulgences are outlined in the Manual of Indulgences (“Enchiridion Indulgentiarum”). Like the graced-encounter with Christ in his Holy Door, receiving the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist and praying for the pope are traditionally good things to do, serving to make the individual soul, the Church, and the world more Christlike. The Church “spurs us on” to do such good works of devotion, prayer, and charity (see CCC 1478), and this encouragement to the good is the first principle of each indulgence. The good that comes from the acts and prayers that make up the indulgence can be applied to the individual doing and praying, or to one who is deceased and purging his or her attachments to temporal goods. Again, this idea of sharing the spiritual benefits of indulgences with our neighbors, living and dead, should not be a challenge our belief: even the good on the natural plane—a father’s good job, or a city’s good police force, or a country’s good economic news—is felt by others and benefits them. We should now be in a place to understand, appreciate, and celebrate the indulgences associated with the Year of Mercy. During the year, the plenary indulgence is obtained by: 1. making a pilgrimage to and through a Holy Door or other place designated by the diocesan Bishop; 2. for those unable to make pilgrim-
age to such a place—such as the sick, elderly, and homebound— the indulgenced act consists of living “their sickness and suffering as an experience of closeness to the Lord who in the mystery of his Passion, death and Resurrection indicates the royal road which gives meaning to pain and loneliness. Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial, receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication” (“September 1 Letter from Pope Francis to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization”); 3. for those who are incarcerated and unable to cross a Cathedral’s or Shrine’s Holy Door, they are to direct “their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell [to] signify for them their passage through the Holy Door” (ibid.); 4. for all, performing one of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy. In addition to one of these four acts above, the usual conditions for benefiting from an indulgence also apply: 1. Being free from all sin, 2. receiving sacramental confession, 3. receiving Holy Communion, 4. and praying for the Holy Father’s intentions. In the words of the Holy Father, an “indulgence” is precisely an “indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, his Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue left by the consequences of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather than to fall back into sin” (“Misericordiae Vultus” 22). With clarity of mind and purity of heart, may the Year of Mercy’s indulgence lead to our salvation and that of the whole world.
Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
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Adoremus Bulletin • Vol. XXI, No. 5 — January 2016
who desired to gather the whole human race into one people, unshackled from the chains of slavery; a time of mercy and forgiveness; grant that your Church, ever expanding in freedom and peace, may brilliantly shine out to all as a sacrament of salvation; and make known and active in the world the mystery of your love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Homily of Pope Francis on the Occasion of Opening the Holy Door at St. Peter Basilica, December 8, 2015 (excerpt)
his Extraordinary Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. It is he who seeks us! It is he who comes to encounter us! This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy (cf. Saint Augustine, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, 12, 24)! But that is the truth. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love, of tenderness. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things. Today, here in Rome and in all the dioceses of the world, as we pass through the Holy Door, we also want to remember another door, which fifty years ago the Fathers of the Second Vatican Counpage 12
cil opened to the world. This anniversary cannot be remembered only for the legacy of the Council’s documents, which testify to a great advance in faith. Before all else, the Council was an encounter. A genuine encounter between the Church and the men and women of our time. An encounter marked by the power of the Spirit, who impelled the Church to emerge from the shoals which for years had kept her self-enclosed so as to set out once again, with enthusiasm, on her missionary journey. It was the resumption of a journey of encountering people where they live: in their cities and homes, in their workplaces. Wherever there are people, the Church is called to reach out to them and to bring the joy of the Gospel, and the mercy and forgiveness of God. After these decades, we again take up this missionary drive with the same power and enthusiasm. The Jubilee challenges us to this openness, and demands that we not neglect the spirit which emerged from Vatican II, the spirit of the Samaritan, as Blessed Paul VI expressed it at the conclusion of the Council. May our passing through the Holy Door today commit us to making our own the mercy of the Good Samaritan.
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Prayer at the Opening of the Holy Doors for the Year of Mercy in Cathedrals Around the World:
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