Thoughts in Solitude - Thomas Merton

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” † † †
-Thoughts in Solitude
© Abbey of Gethsemani
"Your way of acting should be different from the world's way"...Rule of St. Benedict.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Egan: Pelosi Positions "Utterly Incredible"

Earlier today, the pile of episcopal statements taking on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent comments on the "history and nature" of the church's teaching on abortion was added to with one from the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan:
Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
For the record, the statement from 1011 is the fifth from a top US prelate within the last 24 hours. On a related note, ostensibly reflecting the delicacy of the church-state dance in a presidential campaign's home stretch, recent buzz has foreseen the 76 year-old cardinal's succession most likely being delayed until after the November elections.

Of course, the Gotham archbishop hosts the annual Al Smith Dinner each mid-October to benefit New York's Catholic Charities. While no announcement has yet come on who's sitting atop the dais, both presidential candidates appeared and spoke at the Waldorf-Astoria soiree in 1960 and 2000, but not in 2004.

And from the Democratic speaker's home diocese, Whispers has learned that Archbishop George Niederauer will publish a "lengthy commentary" on Pelosi's comments in a column for the next edition of the archdiocesan weekly, Catholic San Francisco. A bit of patience is advised, however: due to the paper's fortnightly summer schedule, it won't hit the streets 'til September 5th.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Prayerful Elvis - well sort of


By RAY HENRY, Associated Press WriterThu Aug 21, 10:30 AM ET

Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop is calling on U.S. authorities to halt mass immigration raids and says agents who refuse to participate in such raids on moral grounds deserve to be treated as conscientious objectors.

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin asked for a blanket moratorium on immigration raids in Rhode Island until the nation adopts comprehensive immigration reform. Tobin made the requests in a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston.

The letter was released Thursday to The Associated Press.

Tobin's action comes during a heated debate over illegal immigration in heavily Catholic Rhode Island. Authorities recently raided six courthouses looking for illegal immigrant maintenance workers and Gov. Don Carcieri, himself a Catholic, signed an order requiring state police and prison officials to identify illegal immigrants for possible deportation.

"We believe that raids on the immigrant community are unjust, unnecessary, and counterproductive," the bishop's letter says. It urges individual federal agents to consider the morality of their actions and refuse to participate if their conscience dictates.

In such cases, he said, "we urge the Federal Government to fully respect the well-founded principles of conscientious objection."

ICE spokeswoman Paula Grenier said the agency would not comment on Tobin's requests. She did not know if any ICE agents have asked to be excused from participating in raids on moral grounds.

"As an agency, ICE is responsible for enforcing the immigration and customs laws enacted by Congress," she said. "That's our job. We're fulfilling that mandate."

Roman Catholic and other religious leaders have repeatedly criticized immigration raids that target migrant workers, rather than illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

Tobin's request is unusual because it suggests the raids are forcing immigration agents to choose between their jobs and their religious faith.

Tobin is bishop of the Diocese of Providence, which covers the entire state. Some 60 percent of Rhode Island residents call themselves Roman Catholic, a higher percentage than any other state.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called U.S. immigration policies "morally unacceptable," saying they keep families divided and encourage the exploitation of migrants.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rome: Ixnay on the "Yahweh"

Last Friday, the US bishops received their second summer communique from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, this one dated 29 June.

Bottom line: the Tetragrammaton -- the Hebrew notation for the name of God -- is now forbidden to be "used or pronounced" in worship.

From CNS:
Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, announced the new Vatican "directives on the use of 'the name of God' in the sacred liturgy" in an Aug. 8 letter to his fellow bishops.

He said the directives would not "force any changes to official liturgical texts" or to the bishops' current missal translation project but would likely have "some impact on the use of particular pieces of liturgical music in our country as well as in the composition of variable texts such as the general intercessions for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments."

John Limb, publisher of OCP in Portland, Ore., said the most popular hymn in the OCP repertoire that would be affected was Dan Schutte's "You Are Near," which begins, "Yahweh, I know you are near."

He estimated that only "a handful" of other OCP hymns use the word "Yahweh," although a search of the OCP Web site turned up about a dozen examples of songs that included the word.

OCP is a nonprofit publisher of liturgical music and worship resources.

Limb said the company would be contacting composers to "ask them to try to come up with alternate language" for their hymns. But he said hymnals for 2009 had already been printed, so the affected hymns would not include the new wording for at least another year.

Even when the new hymnals are out, "it may take time for people to get used to singing something different," he added in an Aug. 11 telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

At Chicago-based GIA Publications, another major Catholic publisher of hymnals, no major revisions will be necessary, because of the company's longtime editorial policy against use of the word "Yahweh."...

Bishop Serratelli said the Vatican decision also would provide "an opportunity to offer catechesis for the faithful as an encouragement to show reverence for the name of God in daily life, emphasizing the power of language as an act of devotion and worship."

His letter to bishops came with a two-page letter from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, dated June 29 and addressed to episcopal conferences around the world.

"By directive of the Holy Father, in accord with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this congregation ... deems it convenient to communicate to the bishops' conferences ... as regards the translation and the pronunciation, in a liturgical setting, of the divine name signified in the sacred Tetragrammaton," said the letter signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, congregation prefect and secretary, respectively.

The Tetragrammaton is YHWH, the four consonants of the ancient Hebrew name for God.

"As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: 'Adonai,' which means 'Lord,'" the Vatican letter said. Similarly, Greek translations of the Bible used the word "Kyrios" and Latin scholars translated it to "Dominus"; both also mean Lord.

"Avoiding pronouncing the Tetragrammaton of the name of God on the part of the church has therefore its own grounds," the letter said. "Apart from a motive of a purely philological order, there is also that of remaining faithful to the church's tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred Tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated."

The two Vatican officials noted that "Liturgiam Authenticam," the congregation's 2001 document on liturgical translations, stated that "the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew Tetragrammaton and rendered in Latin by the word 'Dominus,' is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning.