The Synod moved quickly from the Andes to Wall Street to provide more reflections on the task of evangelization. Archbishop James Francis Stafford, formerly of Denver and now the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has the task of confronting the challenges facing Catholics in the "other" America, the United States. The archbishop explained how researchers describe the effect of having a "network" society, how it promotes a process of disillusionment in a dubious world of virtual reality where every "make and model," including the Christian faith, is converted into planes, lines, and fields, into just one more option among many. The very nature of the medium, he pointed out, conditions the mass of consumers to come up with their own forms of religion, tailor-made for a personal fit, combining the different "church models" in a world of privately constructed images. "How can the Church proclaim the Gospel to a world of virtual reality?" asked Archbishop Stafford.
Archbishop Edmundo L. Abastoflor Montero of La Paz offered an answer to that question. He recognized that the challenge can only be met when the Church effectively employs the means of mass communication as an instrument for evangelization. "They are a realm of borders, a place of encounter between the Church and the world," he affirmed.
Bishop Manuel Eguiguren Galarraga of El Beni, Bolivia, added that the answers to the big questions facing America can be found in a book written 2000 years ago. As he put it: "I have often wondered why the Holy Father repeatedly finds such a universal response among youth wherever he goes. Could it be simply because he presents them with the Gospel, in a way that is passionate and demanding at the same time?"
The exercise of its respective functions is properly that of the Bishop of each particular Church since he is the moderator of the entire ministry of the Word in his Diocese (61)
2. The non-ordained faithful, according to their proper character, participate in the prophetic function of Christ, are constituted as his witnesses and afforded the "sensus fidei" and the grace of the Word. All are called to grow even more as "heralds of faith in things to be hoped for (cf. Hebrews 11, 1).(64)
Therefore, the faithful, especially members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life can be invited to collaborate, in lawful ways, in the exercise of the ministry of the Word.(65)
3. To ensure the effectiveness of the collaboration mentioned in paragraph 2 above, it is necessary to note some conditions relating to the operation of this same collaboration.
Canon 766 of the Codex Iuris Canonici establishes the conditions under which competent authority may admit the non-ordained faithful to preach in ecclesia vel oratorio. The use of the expression admitti possunt makes clear that in no instance is this a right such as that which is specific and proper to the Bishop (66)
The terms in which these conditions are expressed - "If in certain circumstances it is necessary..., ...if in particular cases it would be useful..." in canon 766, make clear the exceptional nature of such cases as well as the fact that such must always be done iuxta Episcoporum conferentiae praescripta. In this final clause, this Canon establishes the primary source for correct discernment with regard to necessity or useful in specific cases. The prescriptions of the Conference of Bishops in this matter, which must receive the "recognitio" of the Apostolic See, are obliged to lay down those opportune criteria which may assist the diocesan Bishop in making appropriate pastoral decisions, proper to the nature of the same episcopal office.
4. In some areas, circumstances can arise in which a shortage of sacred ministers and permanent, objectively verifiable, situations of need or advantage exist that would recommend the admission of the non-ordained faithful to preaching.
Preaching in churches or oratories by the non-ordained faithful can be permitted only as a supply for sacred ministers or for those particular reasons foreseen by the universal law of the Church or by Conferences of Bishops. It cannot, however, be regarded as an ordinary occurrence nor as an authentic promotion of the laity.
5. Above all in the preparation for the sacraments, catechists take care to instruct those being catechized on the role and figure of the priest as the sole dispenser of the mysteries for which they are preparing.
NEXT ISSUE: PRACTICAL PROVISIONS - Article 3 The Homily
The mind is not to be belittled. As was said, it is a marvelous invention on the part of God. It is only that we must make use of it as God intended. Putting it into somewhat of a parallel; speaking of the automobile, the mind is the steering apparatus, the heart is the motor. Both are needed and helpful. If we choose to live in the heart, we would find time that we would have a different type of life. We would have believing thoughts, trusting thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, loving thoughts, obedient thoughts, forgiving thoughts, grateful thoughts, and praising thoughts. Not a bad kind of of a life to lead. It is the life that Jesus led.
The journey from the head to the heart is not an easy one. Our God never promised us an easy life. This journey is one that our God wishes each one of us to make. He is and will continue to be a constant Helper to each one of us every minute of the day, but He will not force His help upon us. He gives us the Holy Spirit, the Church, Scripture, the Sacraments, the Holy Father to help us along. Once we decide to make use of the helps given to each one of us along the way, we will find it quite easy to live in the heart, and what is so helpful - once living in the heart, we will find it easy enough to pray with the heart, and praying with the heart, we will find a peace and joy within our hearts that the world cannot give.
Next week, as we continue in Advent, I will layout ways to better pray with the heart where that true peace can only be found.
American Catholic Online is run by the Franciscans with their keynote publication St. Anthony Messenger being the main publication they promote. They offer excerpts from past issues on-line but the magazine itself is only available in print...and has been since 1893, making it one of the oldest Catholic publications in America. The editor is Father Norman Perry, O.F.M. and his staff at St. Anthony's and American Catholic Online offer excellent, colorful graphics on a clean, simple white background with oodles of white space that make it quite appealing to the eye. This Franciscan site has such features as a direct link to Assisi that proves invaluable in researching information on the recent earthquake in Umbria. Though the site employs frames, the non-frame effect makes it even cleaner looking. You realize this effect when you go to the links pages and though you are linking to another site you are still at the ACO site which narrows the screen and makes it more difficult navigating around other sites. They also offer capability for audio and video, but, like most sites, it takes a while to download the a/v from Realaudio. Almost 100% of the material on the site is from past magazine articles or books they sell on-line such as "Saint of the Day" and "Minute Meditations." The main reason for the site is to promote these periodicals along with their main flagship Franciscan publication - "St. Anthony Messenger." The site is used as a teaser for these, but it is done in such a subtle and easy manner that it reads quickly and easily...especially with the large Garabond type face and narrow columns. Again, white space is what makes this site unique. Therefore we hereby present the "Golden Chalice Award" to the Franciscans' American Catholic Online site, giving it FOUR Hail Mary's.
No. 1420 and 1421, page 357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery; Chapter Two - The Sacraments of Healing; Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:
Through the sacraments of Christian initian, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life "in earthen vessels," and it remains "hidden with Christ in God." We are still in our "earthly tent," subject to suffering, illness, and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin.
"Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed aginst him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."
From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3; Benziger Brothers, Inc. and Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. Nos. 721, 722, and 723, page 149 and 150.
Q. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.
Q. Has the word Penance any other meaning?
A. The word Penance has other meanings. It means also those punishments we inflict upon ourselves as a means of atoning for our past sins; it means likewise that disposition of the heart in which we detest and bewail our sins because they were offensive to God.
Q. How does the institution of the Sacrament of Penance show the goodness of Our Lord?
A. The institution of the Sacrament of Penance shows the goodness of Our Lord, because having once saved us through Baptism, He might have left us to perish if we again committed sin.
The KKK has been allowed to submit application for the diplay since the late US District Judge Carl Rubin allowed a Jewish group to apply to erect a menorah in 1990. Each year, the city of Cincinnati unsuccessfully fights the Klan's application in federal court, which upholds the constitutionality of the display.
Tony Gamble of Independence, Kentucky, who calls himself the imperial wizard of the Tri-State Knight Riders of the KKK, did not file an application this year because he is awaiting a January trial on charges he raped and sexually abused two girls younger than 12 years old.
Austria thus becomes the third country slated for a papal visit next year. The Vatican has previously announced plans for a trip to Cuba in January and to Nigeria in March. The year will also include two special synods, for the bishops of Asia and of Oceania.
In response to this situation, Archbishop Apaza asked for a Church- wide strategy that would offer both a solution to social injustices that harm the dignity of families, and support for "materially and humanly poor families." He especially stressed that "one of the most important areas of family pastoral work is the education regarding the Catholic teaching on responsible procreation."
Along the same lines, Archbishop Dario Castrillon called all Catholic priests to participate enthusiastically in this educational project. The priest "cannot be afraid of proclaiming the wisdom of God in the area of sexuality. The modern milieu with the means of communications at its disposal, has made sexual matters a new 'taboo,' that is, off- limits, for the Church. Sex without marriage, without commitments, without families, has produced a society of men and women who are frivolous, egoistic, and irresponsible before the demands of life. And this phenomenon, together with other factors, leads to a materialistic society and culture that easily tires of life, and according to important analysts of modern society, leads to frustration and disillusionment."