07 December 2008

..and don't you forget it...

When temptation attacks. . .the walls of the convent are the sieves of freedom; the bars of the monastery the gates of liberty!


  1. Anonymous1:48 PM

    multiple beads on my rosary this evening for you.....

  2. good place to be!!

    May God Bless you richly.

  3. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Amen! This reminds me of a story from the Life of St. Benedict (from St. Gregory's Dialogues):

    Book Two of the Dialogues: Life of Saint Benedict:

    A certain monk there was so inconstant and fickle of mind, that he desired to leave the Abbey. For this fault of his, the man of God daily rebuked him, and often times gave him good admonitions. But yet, for all this, he would by no means tarry among them, and therefore continually begged that he might be discharged.

    The venerable man, wearied with his importunity, in anger bid him depart. He was no sooner out of the Abbey gate, when he found a dragon in the way waiting for him with open mouth. About to be devoured, he began in great fear and trembling to cry out aloud, saying, "Help, help! for this dragon will eat me up."

    At the noise the monks ran out, but they saw no dragon, only the reluctant monk, shaking and trembling. They brought him back again to the Abbey. He forthwith promised that he would never more forsake the monastery, and so ever after he continued in his profession. By the prayers of the holy man, he saw the dragon coming against him, whom before, when he did not see him, he had willingly followed. (Chapter 25)

  4. Father, I need your opinion. Can a bishop or the USCCB change the norms on liturgical music or does any document pertaining to changes to the music (eg STTL 118) have to be approved by the holy see. this is kinda making miss phllips mad at me, she kinds freaked.

  5. Anonymous6:35 PM

    There is a story of one of the early Franciscan friars, who was tormented by a spirit who appeared in the form of Christ, telling him he might as well give up the pursuit of holiness, because he was damned already.

    The advice given him was to address the spirit directly, and tell it, "Open your mouth and I will empty my bowels into it!"

    There is a certain je ne sais quois missing from the modern two word equivalent :)

    Prayers going up for you!

  6. Daniel,

    The word "norms" gives it away...

    Generally speaking, a bishop is the liturgical master of his diocese. Within very broad limits (universal law, etc) he has a lot of leeway. E.g., a bishop may ask his people to stand during the consecration. He may not tell his priests to use taco shells instead of unleavened bread. He may give permission to use mariachi bands at Mass. He may not give permission for alternative institution narratives at the consecration.

    The USCCB is a voluntary organization that has no legislative power. It's power is strictly advisory...designed to give the bishops' conference a single voice. There is no canonical obligation for a bishop to accept anything that the USCCB does in his name.

    As far as I can remember, the only documents that need Papal approval are those that intend to exempt a conference from universal law (indult) or those that offer translations of official texts into the vernacular. I don't think an individual bishop or national conference would need papal approval on a sacred music document unless the document was making some rather radical changes in liturgical practice.

    Fr. Philip

  7. The Reason I asked was because I found This on their own website:

    May the Diocesan Bishop change liturgical laws for his Diocese?
    In regard to the celebration of the Eucharist, the Diocesan Bishop is given a particular role in the publication of norms for the regulation of the liturgy in his particular diocese. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal [GIRM] assigns to the Diocesan Bishop the publication of norms on concelebration (GIRM, no. 202), service at the altar (GIRM, no. 107), Holy Communion under both kinds (GIRM, nos. 282-283), the construction and renovation of church Buildings (GIRM, no. 291 and 315), posture [GIRM no. 43.3, liturgical music (GIRM, nos. 48, 87), and the establishment of days of prayer (GIRM, no. 373). (see "The Diocesan Bishop and the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, in The BCL Newsletter: July, 2002, page 82. Also available at http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/072002.shtml

    ). Other rights of the Diocesan Bishop to regulate the liturgy are described by documents other than the GIRM, including the regulation of Masses on radio, television and via the internet, and his responsibility to establish a diocesan calendar. With the exception of these and other modifications of the law explicitly assigned to the Diocesan Bishop, no additional changes to liturgical law may be introduced to Diocesan liturgical practice without the specific prior of the Holy See.

    So I was wondering if liturgical music outside of what is specified here can include say, the Agnus dei?

  8. I have been reading this blog for a week now and posted a bit last week regarding Sr. Marie DeMandat-Grancey. I must report that I hope to continue as a new daily reader and occasional shy poster, God willing. In these posts I feel a particular commeraderie in my faith and my daily struggle to practice our one, true, holy, catholic faith. This struggle (both from persistent negative influences coming from the world but mostly from my own very weak human nature) is one that Father and many have shared here. I am edified and feel a new hope to keep up the good fight. God bless you each and all. Let's keep each other in prayer...Amen. I am an simple mom here, married 27 years with six children, praying every moment I am recollected, for my husband and children, the souls of my parents and brother, the world, and especially for priests...and of course for my own pitiful soul. Lord, have mercy. Lorraine

  9. Lorraine,

    You are most welcomed here! Please keep posting comments...


    The difficulty here, I think, is that you might be wanting this to be a highly specified legal definition of the limits of the bishop's authority in the liturgy. Outside the clear requirements for sacramental validity and a few universal laws, the waters get murky...and this is done on purpose. The longer I live in Rome, the more I understand how canon law/liturgical norms actually work. American Catholics want canon law and liturgical law to work like US civil law...clear definitions, procedures, opposing counsel in a dispute, impartial judge, firm rulings, and penalties for the Bad Guys. Doesn't happen in canon law or in liturgical law. Some of those elements are present, of course, but the mood or the flavor of these laws is more like how a family might rule its common life and less like how a nation might run its civil life. Before all else in the canonical and liturgical law is charity.

    Now, what about the Agnus Dei is bugging you?

  10. As a matter of fact, what bugs me is the change to the central verse.

    Lamb of god
    Prince of peace/hope for all/king of kings/etc...
    Lamb of god

    Thats whats bugging me. Yes, clear definitions are nice. but I confused as to why where there is a rare clear definition it's meaning is diffused.

    I understand the point about the family v the country but again, at what point do the actions of priests and bishops cease being normal variation and become abuses? where is that line drawn?

  11. Daniel,

    If I could answer all of those questions, I would win some sort of Catholic Nobel Prize! The Church is both universal and local, so that tension has to be maintained...one way to do this is to have universal norms and local adaptation. There will always be those who prefer one extreme or the other. But too much universal gives us tyranny and problems with enforcement and too much local gives us chaos and local tyranny. So, we get norms and permission to adapt. You grew up in a time when the adaptationists were in charge. Now the tide is turning a bit.

    The tropes of the A.D. should not be altered to include the phrases you mentioned. In fact, I asked the choir at the Church of the Incarnation to stop using tropes other than "Lamb of God." There were no problems. What often happens in these adaptations is that there is some overarching principle applied to justify the adaptation that is not really theological but rather political or sociological or merely literary. IOW, "Lamb of God" in the A.G. expresses an important theological point. We do not change that language unless there is a better theological point to be made. Changing it for sociological reasons (e.g. who know anything about lambs these days?), or for political reason (e.g. Lambs are white and this offends our Hispanic brothers and sisters...), etc. is simply backwards.