Tuesday 5 June 2012

Preparing for the Year of Faith...

I am often taken aback at how little Catholics know about their Faith. For example, in one discussion it was said, “Well, Vatican II said all bishops are now Vicar of Christ in their own Diocese, so that means the Pope has no say over them. He is Bishop of Rome, not Bishop of the world”. Wow. I have also had a sixth former say that he agreed adultery was wrong, so was going to ‘sow his oats’ before he got married... While I have tried to inform our people of what constitutes the Faith during my homilies, comments overheard after Mass are “Oh, the Faith according to Father Dickson again”. Sadly, one has no power over how one is heard. In a homily given earlier this year when I explained that mixed marriages are recognised as carrying obstacles that are not to be underestimated (cf. Catechism #1634), a complaint actually went to our Bishop. Apparently, we are expected to welcome mixed marriages as we welcome Catholic marriages.

It seems to me that some folk have difficulty in letting go of the hermeneutic of rupture and in grasping the hermeneutic of continuity. This is true not only in Doctrinal matters but in liturgy: I celebrate every Mass ad orientem as per rubrics 157/158, and use a smattering of Latin at our vigil Mass (as per Sacrosanctum Concilium 36, 54, 116 and GIRM 41) but these are so uncommon that they are seen as a backwards step by some. After all, they rarely see them elsewhere. So I wondered how to foster growth in the parish’s understanding of the Church’s teaching in a way that was accessible and could be referred back to time and again.

The answer arrived through the door one morning...the latest catalogue from the CTS. Since I spend the peoples generous offerings on church heating, lighting, votive candles, cleaning materials, insurances, building repairs etc, I had the idea of spending some a little more directly on the folk themselves. To this end I perused the CTS catalogue and purchased for each Mass-going family a copy of the booklets ‘Credo’ and ‘Lumen’, both by Fathers Marcus Holden and Andrew Pinsent.  So far the response from the folk has been very good, and they have been over the moon to receive them. Perhaps it is easier for some people to hear the Faith from someone other than their own parish priest, and indeed, the printed word often seems to carry a power the spoken word from the pulpit does not: “But Father, I read this in a book!”

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