– Vol. X, No. 6: September 2004
News & Views
Pope Confers Knighthood on UN General Assembly President Hunte| Life Teen’s Liturgical Reform | Music Congress Observes 14th Centenary of Pope Saint Gregory the Great | Beauty Not "user -friendly"? | Women Religious Sponsor Eucharistic Congress | Pope to New Bishops:"Defend the hope of the faithful"
The Vatican is conferring a papal knighthood on Julian Hunte, president of the United Nations’ 58th General Assembly, a senator from Santa Lucia who in December 2003 cast the deciding vote to legalize abortion in the tiny Caribbean nation.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, will go to New York to make Mr. Hunte a Knight of the Grand Cross Pian Order at a ceremony on September 19. The award was made in recognition of Mr. Hunte’s "major role" in upgrading the Vatican’s status at the UN. The award was announced July 28.
Mr. Hunte, a former opposition leader from the Labor party in Santa Lucia, assumed presidency of the UN General Assembly September 16, 2003. Santa Lucia is the smallest nation-state ever to preside over the General Assembly.
At a meeting with Mr. Hunte at the Vatican in February, Pope John Paul II said that the Vatican considers the United Nations a key institution in promoting international peace and development.
"You have undertaken a restructuring aimed at making the organization function more efficiently. This will not only ensure an effective superior instance for the just resolution of international problems, but also enable the United Nations to become an ever more highly respected moral authority for the international community", the pope told Mr. Hunte.
Sources: NCR-Online, St. Thomas Univ. School of Law "Diplomacy Monitor", Catholic News Service (various dates)
Life Teen, the Phoenix-based Catholic youth organization, announced in July that it will cease its idiosyncratic liturgical practices. Monsignor Dale Fushek, Life Teen’s founder and former Vicar General under Bishop Thomas O’Brien, sent a letter July 2, saying that he confirms "our adherence to the new GIRM, and as always, our obedience to our own local Bishops".
The letter asked that "all parishes that implement the LIFE TEEN model" make these changes. The teens will no longer surround the altar during the Eucharistic prayer; they will cease saying, "The Mass never ends, it must be lived", at the end of Mass; the rock-party atmosphere before Mass will be toned down to "make sure there is a period of silence to begin the liturgical celebration"; and they will "make sure the music does not in any way detract from the action at the altar, ambo or chair".
"I am sure these issues will be hard on some parishes and teens", Monsignor Fushek wrote. His letter said that Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted met in Rome with Cardinal Francis Arinze, of the Congregation for Divine Worship, about Life Teen.
A recent congress organized by the Italian Saint Cecilia Association highlighted Gregorian chant as a manifestation of faith of modern men and women. The congress was held in Rome, September 3-5.Pope John Paul II received 130 of the participants at Castel Gandolfo, where he thanked them for their effort "in the field of sacred music, always attentive to the teachings of the Magisterium. In this way, you offer a valid contribution to the application of the Second Vatican Council’s liturgical reform".
Monsignor Tarcisio Cola, president of the Saint Cecilia Association, said that the congress evoked the 14th centenary of the death of Saint Gregory the Great, from whom chant takes its name. Gregorian chant is important for the Roman Liturgy, he said, and stressed that the "aesthetic beauty, and evangelical and biblical fidelity of the singing in our Masses … too often are neglected. In all these dimensions, the Gregorian tradition is teacher".
"One point about Orthodox liturgy came home to me, both from Friday night and Saturday morning’s experience", wrote John Allen, Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, after having attended the Liturgy for the Feast of the Dormition in the Kremlin’s Cathedral of the Dormition.
"In the Orthodox conception, it is up to the believer to imaginatively and spiritually enter into worship", he wrote. "The celebrant’s responsibility is the faithful execution of ritual, in tandem with the choir and the proto-deacon and so on.
"Done properly, the sounds and sights can be incredibly beautiful", Mr. Allen continued. "The experience is not, however, ‘user-friendly’. There is little concern for comfort, or lines of sight, or participation by the lay faithful. This is not about consumer satisfaction, although obviously millions of Orthodox believers find it satisfying".
Mr. Allen was in Moscow for the presentation of the Madonna of Kazan, and his account of this visit was in his weekly "Word from Rome" column September 3.
We are fully persuaded by his observations; but we wonder if it occurred to him that it is possible that "incredible beauty" and "user-friendliness" are essentially incompatible. Not everything that is uncomfortable is beautiful, of course. But producing something beautiful — whether it is music, or sculpture, painting, or writing — always involves discomfort: besides imagination, it requires difficult, taxing labor, deep commitment, dogged persistence and, yes, sacrifice, in order to create something truly beautiful.
(Now, what would sacrifice ever have to do with worship?)
Source: NCR "Word from Rome"
The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious is sponsoring a Eucharistic Congress on September 24-25, in Washington, DC, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The CMSWR represents more than 100 religious communities of women.
The theme of the congress, "Heaven Unites with Earth", highlights the profound mystery of God dwelling among us in the Blessed Sacrament and the unity of the Body of Christ, the group’s news release said.
The two-day event will consist of celebration of the Liturgy, catechesis, prayer, Eucharistic adoration, and other activities focusing on the Eucharist.
Speakers include Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; Cardinal James Francis Stafford; Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia; Bishop Daniel DiNardo, Bishop William Lori, Sister Nirmala of the Missionaries of Charity, and others.
Those who cannot attend the Congress can "participate at a distance", along with more than 300 contemplative communities in the United States. EWTN plans a live broadcast of the Congress.
The Congress is free of charge and open to everyone. For more information, go to www.cmswr.org, or write: CMSWR, P.O. Box 4467, Washington, DC 20017.
Pope John Paul II addressed 130 recently-appointed bishops at Castel Gandolfo on September 17, and stressed "special care of the celebration of the Sacraments and worship in general".
The bishops had participated in a meeting organized by the Congregations for Bishops and for the Oriental Churches.
The Holy Father said to the bishops of the "two traditions of the universal Church, East and West" that "with consecration, a bishop turns into teacher, priest and guide of the Christian community. Therefore, Christ, the divine Master, present in the Word of Scripture as well as in the sacrament of the Eucharist, must always be at the center of his ministry".
The Holy Father mentioned the Year of the Eucharist, October 2004-2005:
"My strong desire is that the Year of the Eucharist, that will begin on October 10 with the opening of the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be a providential occasion to better explore the central importance of the sacrament of the Eucharist in the life and activity of every particular Church.
"The bonds of fraternal charity are strengthened around the altar and the awareness is enlivened in all believers of belonging to the one People of God, whom the bishops guide", he said. Bishops have the duty "to take special care of the celebration of the Sacraments and worship in general", the pope told the new bishops.
"Defend the hope of the faithful to have a dignified celebration in which nothing is left to improvisation or chance.
"You are aware" he concluded, "that the ministry of sanctification requires the witness of a holy life. The Spirit of God, which has sanctified you through episcopal consecration, awaits your generous response daily…. In order to confirm what we teach, the witness of our life is necessary".
Source: Vatican Information Service