Online Edition – November 2005
Vol. XI, No. 8
News & Views
Cardinal Arinze’s 40th Anniversary as Bishop | CBA 2005: “Fundamentalistic” Bible Studies in Schools; Revised NAB Old Testament Awaits Approval | CBA Task Force Struggles to Extract Meaning | USCCB to Certify “Directors of Music Ministries”, says NPM | “Co-workers in the Vineyard” on USCCB Docket
Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, celebrated the 40th anniversary of his consecration as bishop with a Mass on October 30. He was consecrated bishop on August 29, 1965, in Onitsha, Nigeria.
Cardinal Arinze has served the Church with courage, strength and zeal. Along with his hosts of friends and admirers throughout the world, Adoremus expresses gratitude to him, and we offer prayers for his intentions.
Comments on use of the Bible in schools, and a brief report on the status of the revised Old Testament of the New American Bible were presented at the sixty-eighth international meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, held August 6-9, 2005, at Saint John’s University and Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota.
Benedictine Father Joseph Jensen, CBA executive secretary, reported that the board “took cognizance of reports that the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools promotes a sectarian and fundamentalistic program that it claims to be in wide use” and appointed Bishop Richard J. Sklba to form a committee “to learn more about it and suggest a position we might take”.
The report said that “the Bible Literacy Project in schools, founded by the Templeton Foundation (http://bibleliteracy.org), is, of course, to be encouraged, and useful textbooks that have been reviewed by Bishop Sklba and Bishop Emil A. Wcela are due to appear soon”.
In response to a question, Father Jensen repeated information given last year that the Revised New American Bible (RNAB) Old Testament was completed in May 2002, and is still undergoing a process of review by censors, which has to be completed before it can be presented to the bishops for approval. (The Lectionary for the United States is based on the New American Bible, and has been undergoing revision for several years.)
Father Aelred Cody, OSB is president of the association. Bishop Richard Sklba, auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee and member of the US Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, is chairman of the CBA Board of Trustees.
The CBA sharply criticized Liturgiam authenticam in August 2001. In his letter introducing the CBA critique, Father Jensen wrote, “Having studied this document in detail and having discussed our reactions to it, we conclude that although it contains much that is positive and beneficial to true liturgy, some of its provisions are sufficiently ill-advised as to be the likely occasion of embarrassment to the Church. And it is our considered opinion that the document can have a seriously detrimental impact on the reverence and love for as well as study and knowledge of the Bible in the Church”.
Source: CBA web site: http://cba.cua.edu
“Biblical Hermeneutics: Modernity and Beyond”, is a Task Force of the Catholic Biblical Association formed to “research centers on biblical hermeneutics, especially biblical interpretations that are affected by postmodernity”, according to its web page linked from the CBA site. More than half of the Task Force’s 17 members are Catholic or teach at Catholic institutions. It meets annually at the national CBA meeting.
Task Force’s “logo” (pictured here) is explained: “depicting a slave struggling to emerge from a block of marble under the invitation of a sculptor’s chisel symbolizes the efforts of Task Force members attempting to extricate modern and postmodern meaning from ancient biblical texts”. (The “logo” is a detail of a Michelangelo sculpture of a slave at the Accademia in Florence.)
The scholars do not explain, however, just why it is important to extract “postmodern meaning” from the Bible.
Approval for certification of “Directors of Music Ministries” has been granted, as reported by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM). The approval was reported in the September 2005 Newsletter for US bishops sponsored by the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry of the USCCB. The report appears on the USCCB Committee on the Laity web section.
The Newsletter report lists the organizations that devised the certification. “The Director of Music Ministries Division of NPM adopted the common competences for lay ecclesial ministry developed by the National Association for Lay Ministry, the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership, and the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry”.
Dr. Michael McMahon, NPM president, announced the approval of the new standards, and wrote:
“While pastoral music ministers need well-developed musical skills and thorough grounding in liturgy, they also need personal maturity, a healthy life of faith and prayer, and a theological background appropriate for pastoral ministry. Preparation for pastoral ministry in the Church requires far more than classroom instruction, calling for formation in all of a ministry’s dimensions personal, spiritual, theological, pastoral, professional, liturgical and musical.”
Source: Newsletter for Bishops, Sept. 05
The purpose of “certification” of church musicians, and the “ministries” title may seem less than apparent to most Catholics; however it is related to the continuing project of the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry, which is part of the Committee on Laity, all coordinated by the USCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth. This Subcommittee has been working for several years with the same “lay ministry” organizations mentioned above to produce guidelines concerning lay people who work professionally for the Church.
This document, now in its seventh draft, is based on information and research produced by the National Pastoral Life Center organization, directed by the late Monsignor Philip Murnion.
The new draft, now titled “Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry”, was revised in consultation with several other USCCB committees (Diaconate, Doctrine, Pastoral Practices, Priestly Formation, Priestly Life and Ministry, and Vocations). The document also received canonical and legal review, according to the report in the Newsletter for Bishops on the USCCB web site.
The lengthy document intends to provide a comprehensive system for lay leaders, including preparation, formation and certification of professional lay people “to act in the name of the local Church”. It establishes policies for employment and compensation. It stresses “mutual collaboration with the pastoral ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons”, and it contains a lengthy rationale for calling professional Church workers “Lay Ecclesial Ministers”.
The most recent draft of the “Co-workers” document was approved by the USCCB administrative committee in September, and will be presented to the body of bishops for debate and vote at their November 14-16 semi-annual meeting. Approval is expected.
The “Lay Ecclesial Ministry” document will not require approval by the Holy See, as it only provides a “resource” for the bishops.
Source: Newsletter for Bishops, Sept. 05