September 26, 2016

Rant Follow Up

I received a couple of bits of salutary feedback on yesterday's post; I won't say 'fraternal correction,' just fraternal thoughts.

Though we can't always agree with or support certain choices of our brothers and sisters in religious life--or in the faith, for that matter--we can try to understand them and of course we are commanded by the Lord to love them. Probably just as many us around my age find some of the choices of our fathers and mothers in religious life hard to understand, so probably they found their spiritual forebears difficult as well. And probably when I get even older there will be younger friars who think I'm crazy and that my priorities are out of order.

To one degree or another, we are all conditioned by our experience and our historical moment in the world and in the Church as she exists in time (the Church Militant, if the traditional term is still retrievable), and this can have a great effect on the particular things we care about as well as our blind spots. I know well enough that there are aspects of the religious life at which I don't excel because of my deficits and the injuries of my own story.

I am proud of my resistance to the abuse of the liturgy and my unwillingness to participate in it. Once or twice I have had the happy occasion to suffer humiliation for it. But this doesn't mean I don't love or perhaps very much respect my brother. I understand that our choices arise in part from the complex places we come from. And I am grateful for all the ways I am sure that the brothers make similar allowances for me in the areas where my religious life is deficient and less than coherent.

September 25, 2016

(Franciscan) Liturgical Abuse Rant

Recently I've had some occasions to think about liturgical abuse.

Some of it, I think, is just pride and vainglory on the part of clergy. I need to do things my way. I need to get my theological or, horribile dictu, political tagline or slogan into the Mass, etc. But like most expressions of clerical vainglory and pride, these are often more laughable than dangerous.

But there's another form of liturgical abuse I've encountered in my Catholic life, in certain religious houses, schools, and parishes. It's the liturgical abuse that derives from the intuition that the liturgy as the Church presents it does not properly express who we are as a community, and therefore has to be adjusted or changed to fit our needs and identity.

Perhaps my experience of life as a Franciscan friar provides an example.

September 1, 2016

All Seraphic Saints Friary

Religious houses are usually named for some heavenly patronage, either a saint or some mystery of the faith. For example, the first friary I ever lived in was the former Holy Cross Friary on Soundview Ave. in the Bronx. Right now I'm taking some vacation while staying at St. Francis of Assisi Friary, the second house to bear that title during my time in my Province of the Capuchins.

Somewhat strangely, the house where I am assigned now, in which resides the fraternity of the Capuchin General Curia, did not seem to have such a patron. It was just 'the General Curia' or, in the habit of religious to call places by their earthly location rather than by their heavenly patron, 'Via Piemonte.'

Well today we have received a letter from the General Minister in which he decrees a remedy for this situation. The house is to be dedicated to All Seraphic Saints, with the corresponding titular feast day of November 29.