Sunday, July 28, 2002

New Link

I just discovered (via Tim Drake's blog) that Stuart, a friend and classmate of mine from HLS, has a blog: The Buck Stops Here.

The Laity And The Re-Evangelization

Reflections on CFL: Paragraph 33

I think it is fitting that we are reflecting on paragraph 33 of CFL during the close of World Youth Day 2002. The theme of WYD this year is: "You are the salt of the Earth ... You are the light of the world ..." This is a call not just to the young, but to the whole of the laity. As the Pope comments here in CFL, we all must proclaim the Gospel.

It is a point that we have hit on many times before here at Integrity, but it is worth repeating:

"The lay faithful, precisely because they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel: they are prepared for this work by the sacraments of Christian initiation and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit."
On some levels, I think we all know this. At least, intellectually, we do. It is the manner in which we embrace it and live it out that deserves some reflection. Before we do that, we should pause for a moment and take note of one aspect of this mission: it is done in connection with the rest of the Church. Many of us are struggling with that right now. The scandals of recent months has put greater tension between the clergy and the laity. But we need each other and must understand that together we are to cooperate in carrying out the saving mission of the Church. (See the reflection on paragraph 32 of CFL and the others.) Some today have lost sight of this and do not realize that to divide the Body of Christ against itself impedes the mission of the Church. Mark Shea alerted my attention to this recent article of Fr. Sweeney of the St. Catherine of Sienna Institute. He rightly points out that we need reconciliation between the members of Christ's body and those hurt by the abuses to be able to overcome this division. Alternative funding controls and congregationalist voting structures presume that reconciliation will never be achieved and that authority must be transferred to others. To paraphrase Fr. Sweeney, what the mission of Christ needs instead is a laity that respects the ordination of the clergy and the role in the Body of Christ they have been given, and a clergy that respects the dignity of the lay faithful and their apostolate and role in the mission of the Church.

Like the Pope here in CFL, Fr. Sweeney doesn't let us forget that we are all called personally by name. "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel", says the Pope. Fr. Sweeney puts it this way:
"You must remember that you are members of the one Body that is Christ's Church; you may never speak of the Church as if you were not fully a member and fully responsible for her mission. ... You must remember that you have been empowerd by Christ himself for the sake of your mission, and that your spiritual gifts are no more merited than the graces bestowed in Holy Orders. The efficacy of your work on behalf of others does not, in the first instance, depend upon your holiness of life, but uopn the power of Christ communicated to the Church through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. You must, therefore, also remember that you are as capable of betraying Christ as are members of the hierarchy."
With that mindset, we are all asked by the pope to recognize the urgent need of our current world to hear again the message of the gospel and to rededicate itself to Christ. The form in which the laity carry out that evangelization likely will -- and probably should -- differ greatly from the way in which the clergy evangelizes. By our status as laity and our living in the midst of the world, we:
"lead to the Church people who are perhaps far removed from it; [the laity] earnestly cooperate in presenting the Word of God, especially by means of catechetical instruction; and offer their special skills to make the care of souls and the administration of the temporal goods of the Church more efficient."
Once again, the Pope wants us to open our eyes to the broad scope of evangelization: the entire expanse of society. Applications are not limited to lecturers at Mass.

One final point regarding the current scandal. All of us now are struggling with how to move on. What should be the appropriate response of the Church and the laity? How can we heal these wounds? The pope may have presented us the answer here in CFL:
"Through evangelization the Church is built up into a community of faith: more precisely, into a community that confesses the faith in full adherence to the Word of God which is celebrated in the Sacraments and lived in charity, the principle of Christian moral existence."
It is through our evangelization that we may overcome the current scandals as we re-dedicate ourselves to Christ's mission. For I believe the pope doesn't mean to suggest merely that the Church will be built up through evangelization because new members will join the fold. I think he firmly believes that an authentic commitment to evangelization will help to purify the Body and strengthen the unity of its current members. Our re-evangelization isn't purely outward focused, but includes ourselves within its scope.

Coming soon: Reflections on Paragraphs 34 and 35 of CFL

Bzz! Wrong Answer, Nihil Obstat!

Once again, it appears N.O. has tired of limiting his posts to comments on the spelling and grammar errors of St. Blog's members. Now, apparently N.O. is in charge of defining the proper use of the blogging medium. Sorry, N.O., but dozens of posts every day is not the defining characteristic of blogs. If you knew some of the pre-history to the Blogger era of the phenomenon, you would realize that there is nothing wrong with long gaps in between posts.

But N.O. doesn't stop there. In another post, we are treated to this bit of silly reasoning: "Your arguments cannot be taken seriously if your writing is constantly marred by errors." I would buy that if N.O. was talking about errors in logic or reasoning. But to suggest that one can reject an argument because the person didn't correctly spell all of the words or made the incorrect use of an apostrophe is elitist and wrong. It strikes me as akin to those who reject the arguments of a Republican because they come from a Republican. That an argument may be more persuasive when presented properly is understandable; that it cannot be taken seriously unless it passes N.O.'s review is laughable. N.O., there is a big difference between being smart and being wise. You seem to side with those who favor being smart.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Whoa! Is That A New Post?!

Yes, loyal reader, it is. I checked the stats counter just before signing into Blogger. I was amazed. Despite my not posting anything of substance for over a month, a good number of you still drop by each day to see if there is anything new on Integrity.

Thanks for your patience. Over the past month, I've been out of pocket due to vacations, weddings and commitments at work. (And your general desire to spend the summer somewhere other than in front of a computer.) But now I'm back and ready to continue our reflections on CFL. I will be posting a new one tomorrow. And more later this week. If you are another blogger in St. Blog's, I would appreciate it if you would post on your site letting people know Integrity is back in business. That said, I have decided that I'm returning to to a "no frills" concept for the site. As much as I like the Daily Lay Saint and other features, the primary purpose of all this always has been to discuss CFL. Until I can figure out a way to maintain the site that is less time consuming, we will just stick to the basics.

Update: Yeah, I know. I said I would have another reflection up sometime on Tuesday. Yet no reflection. What can I say? I ended up working through much of the night on Tuesday, fell dead asleep after getting home from work yesterday, and it looks like I will be working straight through the night again today. So, despite my best intentions, no reflection yet. You will forgive me if I just wait until the weekend (which I am going to have to work a good portion of) as I am probably going to be crashing by the end of tomorrow.

Monday, July 08, 2002

It's Official!

Yes, Nihil Obstat finally has a post pointing out an error found on Integrity. Some three weeks ago, I used the word "wet" instead of "whet" in the phrase "whet your appetite". ( I mentioned long ago that I type what I hear.) Of course, I noticed the error several weeks ago, but I have been too busy to post to Integrity and felt it unnecessary to correct it. Nihil Obstat must be struggling for material these days! Not only is Nihil Obstat St. Blog's self-appointed proofreader, apparently N.O. is also in charge of determining the minimum posting frequency required for membership in St. Blog's. Thank goodness this isn't a real parish forced to comply with that rule! It's a shame that N.O. doesn't post any real content or we could have fun commenting on N.O.'s errors, which are currently limited to capitalization, punctuation and poor layout. Seriously, N.O., send a resume to the National Catholic Register. They can use the help of your talents far more than St. Blog's. As for the rest of you, my apologies on the lack of posts. Quite simply, I've been busy with work and keeping up with personal correspondence. Although I will continue to post, Integrity naturally receives a lower priority.