Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fragmentation = Oblivion

The intrepid and amazing Father Z. has a report on his blog about an interview wit Cardinal Arinze about the new typical edition of the Roman Missal. In the interview the cardinal makes this comment (Fr. Z's translation):
Effectively, it was preferred that these two Eucharistic prayers not be considered obligatory for the whole Church. Perhaps it is not then so necessary to have Eucharistic prayers just for children. This said, if there are conferences of bishops who want to maintain them, they can do so in national missals.

So this begs the point (as I commented over at Father Z's that if the Bishops' conferences can include prayers on their own, why even bother with a "Typical Edition of the Roman Missal"??? It would be a LOT more efficient to simply let the Bishops' conferences each make up their own missals!! That would eliminate any problems with translation, since these would, naturally, be in the vernacular from the get-go. And it would also eliminate all the ongoing angst over "inculturation". The inculturation would be built right in to the "Local Missal"!!!! If west African worship tradition includes drums and dancing, then so be it! Or Mauri warriors in New Zealand, if they so desire. And of course in northern Europe, they wouldn't need a missal at all, since no one goes to church in the first place - think of all the trees that alone would save!!! Everyone is Happy!!!! We can all revel in our catholic diversity!!!!!

But.... what about differences WITHIN each Bishops' conference? Using the United States as an example, I dare say that the "local mass" in southern California needs to be different than the "local mass" here in North Carolina (proud part of The Bible Belt). Bishop Mahony may want liturgical dance at all Sunday masses, whereas Bishop Jugis (my Bishop here in the Charlotte Diocese) has forbidden it. And what is considered reverent, appropriate speech in SoCal would no doubt be drastically different from that here in The South, where people still address each other as "Sir", and "Ma'am". So in order to be properly incultured, EACH DIOCESE would really need there own re-write of the "local missal" and its rubrics.

But Wait! There's More.... As we all know, WITHIN each Diocese there is often a drastic difference in tradition and praxis. Even now, within my own diocese, the "typical practice" ranges from very "relaxed" to very much by-the-book Novus Ordo often with a little Latin mixed. So essentially each PARISH should have their own Re-Write of their dioscean missal.

Given the above scenario, it would take but a few years before a Catholic church in Los Angeles, California would be unrecognizable to a Catholic from North Carolina. And who could imagine the difference between a Congolese mass and one in New York, NY, USA!!!! God Knows things are bad enough even now, where there is at least the intention of using a universal missal. With that intention no longer present, things will fly apart pretty quickly.

Folks, this is madness. Either we are a universal church, or we are not. If we ARE, then we need to act like it, and eliminate ALL differences between the missals. There should be ONE UNIVERSAL MISSAL for the ONE UNIVERSAL CHURCH. These are trying times, and are going to get far far more trying. We need to have more in common and less diversity because we are going to need the bonding and the internal support and strength that only that universal bonding can provide.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Little Latin

Sunday past, at my "home church" we were treated to a beautiful, reverent mass - as always. But this time, it included a sung Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei - in latin.

Amazing how that can affect the tone of the mass. How I wish there would be more of the same. Perhaps a sung Pater Noster in latin for starters. Who knows, it might discourage hand-holding!

Sadly, it will all probably disappear after Advent and until Lent...

It's the economy, stupid....

That famous line from the 1992 presidential campaign is what made Bill Clinton the 42nd President of the United States. The line consitutes a more modern and sophisticated version of Nixon's old line that "elections are determined by the price of pork bellies in Chicago". The economy is the foundation of every aspect of our power and identity as a nation - and our ability to continue to exist as one. If the economy is good, most everything else will fall into place. If it isn't - nothing else matters.

Today, as I have for the last few weeks (thanks to the weakness in said economy) I had the opportunity to watch as the Dow Jones plummeted even as Treasury Secretary Paulson was offering his rote assurancees that everything was under control and it would all be fine. I believe that it is worthy of note that the markets tank nearly every time he, or any other government official speaks. Perhaps it's because the very fact that they are speaking about the subject means that it is still a problem which is out of control.

There is an old saying that goes "when your only took is a hammer, pretty soon all your problems start to look like nails". Seeing Paulson, Bernanke, et al speak now is a sad and loud and garish real-world expression of that old proverb. They have cut interest rates and pumped billions of dollars into the oconomy, and each time it has had essentially zero affect. So, the answer - to them - is to cut more and pump more. And they will continue to do so until they can pump no more.

That is because the fundamental problem in the market - mark-to-market valuation - is was, and always shall be a lie. For years Wall Street has been operating under the assumption that any asset's value is determined solely on what one can theoretically sell it for. A good principle, but one with limitations. It only works if the buyers are well informed and make good decisions. There really is such a thing as intrinsic value. Just because some idiot somewhere pays $50,000 for a Toyota Corolla DOES NOT MEAN THAT EVERY OTHER COROLLA IS INSTANTLY WORTH $50,000. And now, sadly, the United States Government is in the position of having to pay (figuratively) $50,000 for a lot of Corollas while simultaneously trying to convince everyone else in the market that every other Corolla is a $50,000 car - and people are not that stupid. Not any more. And sooner or later they are going to hit the wall and lose their abnility to buy any more Corollas. People know that, and no amout of bluster on the part of Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, or anyone else is going to change that.

It is sad and frustrating and heartbreaking to watch this happen. To watch a great nation essentialy come unraveled because of the greed and hubris of a handful of elite business and government leaders.