Jul 15, 2002


Online Edition – Vol. VIII, No. 5: July-August 2002


Tabernacle "too visible", liturgist saysCatechism turns tenHoly Father promotes Eucharistic CongressesYoung Writers Award ContestDrenched texts unquenched

Tabernacle "too visible", liturgist says

The diocese of San Diego’s Office of Liturgy and Spirituality has ordered that a parish make the tabernacle of their newly renovated church less visible, arguing that the parish’s placement of the tabernacle behind the middle of the altar was "clearly in violation of diocesan policy".

In a September letter, Mary Ann Fallon, director of the Office of Liturgy and Spirituality, accused Father Peter Navarra of "serious misrepresentation" of what the renovated church would look like. Father Navarra is pastor of Saint Mary’s in Escondido. The parish agreed to compromise with the diocese by surrounding the tabernacle with a reredos in order to hide it.

"There was no misrepresentation. The drawings and models were accurate and honest", said Father Stephanos Pedrano, who acted as liturgical consultant for the renovation project, in response to Fallon’s accusation.

In her letter, Fallon quoted a 1999 letter from Bishop Robert Brom stating that that "The priority of the Eucharist celebrated is recognized over the Eucharist reserved" and that "Eucharistic devotion should be seen as flowing from and back to the Mass, while never in competition with it".

Fallon offered three options to Father Navarra: "1) Install wooden slats in the middle of the reredos…. 2) Install an opaque or semi-transparent screen to soften the visibility of the tabernacle. 3) Completely enclose the reredos so that the crucifix alone is seen against it".

Parishioners, who apparently will have to foot the bill for the required changes, donated to the initial renovation largely because the central position of the tabernacle was assured.

"The money for the renovation was raised on the premise that we would put the tabernacle back in the center of the church. The fundraising slogan was ‘Let’s Put Jesus Back In The Center of Our Parish and The Center of Our Church’. That’s the line they used to raise approximately a million dollars from parishioners", said Mark Wheeler, a parishioner at Saint Mary’s.

Source: San Diego News Notes, "Bait and Switch", March 2002


Catechism turns ten

The Catechism of the Catholic Church turned ten on June 25. A formal commemoration of the tenth anniversary of its publication, sponsored in part by the Holy See, will take place in Rome next October.

Discussing the Catechism on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, called the Catechism "an instrument to transmit the authentic patrimony of Catholic doctrine".

"It was approved by the Holy Father to be an instrument of the unity of the faith and the common doctrine of the Church on the most major problems referring to God, the mission of the Church as universal sacrament of salvation, the moral and Christian plan, so that it would be an instrument to proclaim to men the truths that are the way to heaven", Archbishop Bertone said.

Mentioning that "we ourselves, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, always consult the doctrine expressed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church when we are called to watch over the authenticity and orthodoxy of the Catholic faith", Archbishop Bertone reaffirmed the Catechism’s important role in articulating authentic Catholic doctrine:

"From this perspective, the Catechism is an essential and rigorous point reference to verify the compatibility, correspondence of theological opinions, of catechesis, of the presentation of the Christian doctrine in the different local Churches with the authentic patrimony that has been transmitted to us by the apostles, by the Tradition of the Church, which is valid for all times and for all Christian communities", he said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has been published in two editions. (The second edition, in 1997, contained several corrections and clarifications to the first edition). It has sold millions of copies.

The first English version was delayed two years because of translation controversies. The Catechism has yet to appear in Japanese, for the same reason.

[Catechism of the Catholic Church On the webstie of the Congregation of the Clergy, "www.clerus.org", go to the documents section under Catechesis. Other useful documents also on this site. OR: Catechism of the Catholic Church Online on the Vatican Website.]


Holy Father promotes Eucharistic Congresses

During an audience with the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses last March, Pope John Paul II reemphasized the importance of Eucharistic devotion to the spiritual life of Catholics.

"Eucharistic congresses are important experiences of faith and intense prayer, because they offer many believers the opportunity to contemplate the face of Christ, mysteriously veiled in the sacrament of the Eucharist", the Holy Father said. "The Eucharist contains the most precious spiritual good of the Christian community: Christ, who gave himself up on the Cross for the salvation of mankind".

Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president, said the Committee "resolves to make Our Lord Jesus Christ ever better known, loved and served in his Eucharistic Mystery" by promoting Eucharistic congresses and "initiatives which, in harmony with the current measures of the Church, aim at increasing devotion to all aspects of the Eucharistic mystery, from the celebration of the Eucharist to its devotion outside Mass".

An international Eucharistic congress is scheduled in Guadalajara, Mexico for October 2004.

Source: L’Osservatore Romano
April 10, 2002


Young Writers Award Contest

Elizabeth Cheffers, a sixteen-year-old senior at Trivium School in Worcester, Massachusetts, was the first recipient of Women for Faith & Family’s Voices Young Writers Award. Her essay was published in Voices, Pentecost 2002, and appears on the WFF web site.

The award is given to the best essay written by any Catholic student ages 12-18 as part of a regular class assignment. The essay, to be submitted by the instructor, school official, or parent, is to be between 1,000 and 2,500 words long, and may be on any aspect of the Catholic faith and morals. It must be faithful to Catholic teachings. Each entry will include a description of the school or home-school, the class for which it was written; and the name, age, and photograph of the student.

The essays will be judged by members of the Voices editorial board. Winning entries will be published in Voices and on the WFF web site. The author of the winning essay will receive an award of $100.

Send entries to
Voices Young Writers Award
PO Box 300411
St. Louis, MO 63130
submissions may also be e-mailed.

Women for Faith & Family is an organization of Catholic women faithful to the teachings of the Church.


Drenched texts unquenched

The Sacred Liturgy requires sacred terminology, the Holy See stressed in its March 16 Observations rejecting ICEL’s revision of the 1975 "Sacramentary" (see AB June 2002).

"The translators avoid the use of specifically sacral terminology, and use words commonly employed in the vernacular for kitchenware", the Observation said, criticizing ICEL translators for avoiding "assiduously" the English words paten and chalice for the Latin patena, and calix: (ICEL chose plate and cup.)

"In an already secularized culture, it is difficult to see what legitimate purpose could be served by a deliberate desacralization of religious terminology", the Observations continued.

These comments might have been inspired by Basket, Basin, Plate and Cup: Vessels in the Liturgy, by David Phillipart, published in 1998 by Liturgy Training Publications of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The web site of the Diocese of Albany’s Office of Prayer and Worship lists this Basket book among current offerings in its library.

Mr. Phillipart is the editor of Rite, a liturgical newsletter published by LTP. He previously spent ten years in "parish pastoral ministry".

A sample of Phillipart’s approach to sacral language is in his article in the April 2002 issue of Rite. He suggests introducing a "water rite" before Morning Prayer, and includes a water-blessing of his own composition.

We give you thanks, O God,
for the gift of water:
boundless seas and mothers’ wombs
morning bath and sink of warm suds
cool drink and misted gardens
snow drifts and icicles frozen sharp!…

As we have been washed in baptism’s bath,
unseal for us the Spirit-fountain
the Wisdom-geyser that streams and sprays
trickles and truckles
flashes and floods…
Drench us with love, yet make us thirst for justice
when we see you suffer in the poor and oppressed…

While this "blessing" is drenched with colorful language and dripping with metaphors, it more closely resembles a greeting-card than a sacred text for Catholic prayer.

Liturgiam authenticam protects the Church’s worship from such "original texts" and "creative" rituals. But so far that hasn’t dampened the production of doggerel.



The Editors