National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Faith & Parish

Clericalism and the Liturgy

 | 

For the three years preceding the Second Vatican Council, and all during that council, Roman Catholics added to the prayers after Mass (does anyone remember those?) Pope John XXIII’ s “Prayer to the Holy Spirit” for the council’s success. Day after day the church prayed, “O Holy Spirit, renew thy wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost.”

Pope John dreamed that through the council the Holy Spirit’s gifts would flow abundantly upon the whole church for the benefit of the entire world, because the Spirit alone has the capacity to change hearts from within, not by external force but by interior persuasion.

Today, however, the church is divided over just how much of a Pentecost Vatican II actually turned out to be. It is likewise divided over what kind of church we are. This article will explore some of the consequences of this ambiguity.

The church’s focus

Life of a parish, the real jewels of the church

 | 

Our parish was “restored,” “remodeled,” “renewed” or “ruined” a few years ago. The verb choice varies according to the liturgical politics of the speaker. If the visitor decries the lack of a tabernacle above the high altar, I know what’s coming as surely as I do if another visitor approves the front three ranks of moveable wooden chairs.

The wooden chairs, like the pews behind them, have attached kneelers, which should please everyone. It doesn’t. Enthusiasm for curved seating is canceled out be dismay for the kneelers. Enthusiasm for kneelers is canceled out by dismay for the curved seating.

Boulder parents: Adult child of gay parents speaks from experience

 | 

The pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boulder, Colo., earlier this month informed a lesbian couple, active in the parish for three years and with two young girls in preschool that their children would not be able to attend the elementary school beginning in one year. The decision, leaked to the media apparently by a teacher at the school, has caused uproar in the community, and divide the parish.

The women shared their story with NCR editor Tom Fox. The pastor, Fr. William Breslin, explained his decision.

Fox interviewed a number of parents with children at the school to see how the decision is affecting their families. Following is the fourth of these interviews, edited for length and clarity.

Boulder parent: 'This will alienate people from the church'

 | 

The pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boulder, Colo., earlier this month informed a lesbian couple, active in the parish for three years and with two young girls in preschool that their children would not be able to attend the elementary school beginning in one year. The decision, leaked to the media apparently by a teacher at the school, has caused uproar in the community, and divide the parish.

The women shared their story with NCR editor Tom Fox. The pastor, Fr. William Breslin, explained his decision.

Fox interviewed a number of parents with children at the school to see how the decision is affecting their families. Following is the third of these interviews, edited for length and clarity.

Joan Munson has three children at the Sacred Heart of Jesus School.

Boulder parents: 'They told us in church to love everyone'

 | 

The pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boulder, Colo., earlier this month informed a lesbian couple, active in the parish for three years and with two young girls in preschool that their children would not be able to attend the elementary school beginning in one year. The decision, leaked to the media apparently by a teacher at the school, has caused uproar in the community, and divide the parish.

The women shared their story with NCR editor Tom Fox. The pastor, Fr. William Breslin, explained his decision.

Fox interviewed a number of parents with children at the school to see how the decision is affecting their families. Following is the second of these interviews, edited for length and clarity.

Chris and Cathy Clark are married with three children, two in the Sacred Heart of Jesus elementary school.

NCR: Chris, what is your family connection to Sacred Heart?

Boulder parent: 'Our children could be the next to go'

 | 

The pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boulder, Colo., earlier this month informed a lesbian couple, active in the parish for three years and with two young girls in pre-school that their children would not be able to attend the elementary school beginning in one year. The decision, leaked to the media apparently by a teacher at the school, has caused uproar in the community, and divide the parish.

The women shared their story with NCR editor Tom Fox. The pastor, Fr. William Breslin, explained his decision.

Fox interviewed a number of parents with children at the school to see how the decision is affecting their families. Following is the first of these interviews, edited for length and clarity.

Andy Bush and his wife, Anna, have three children at Sacred Heart School.

NCR:tHow has the decision affected your family?

Boulder pastor says Jesus turned some away

 | 

Boulder, Colorado

Father William Breslin, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish, seemed to be a tired soldier of Christ as he sat outside his parish church March 13 greeting parishioners as they left the five o’clock Saturday Mass.

For more than a week, since word broke he had forbidden two young girls, five and three, to further their education in another year in the parish school because their moms are a lesbian couple, the parish -- and Breslin -- have been under attack, the parish has polarized, and even the school might be threatened with decreased enrollments.

“Let’s pray that we find ways to come together, that we find the means for reconciliation,” he said during the prayers of the faithful only minutes earlier. Already, it was said, long time parishioners had, at least for now, decided to worship elsewhere.

Reconciliation had been the theme of the mass readings and they seemed particularly appropriate. Sacred Heart parishioners are now passionately divided seemingly, though not exclusively, on generational lines, those over fifty likely to support the mindset of their priest more than others.

Pages

50-and-forward.jpg

NCR Email Alerts