Dec 31, 2007


Online Edition
Vol. VI, No. 9
Dec 2000 – Jan 2001


Pope: Art and "evangelical contemplation" | Solesmes in Oklahoma | Italian bishops ban "rock" music at Mass | Opus Dei chapel dedicated | Thinking Catholics? | Bishop Lucker resigns | New Archbishop for Washington | Brooklyn priest to head Doctrine Committee office


Pope: Art and "evangelical contemplation"
Pope John Paul II, after a concert given by the Czech Republic in honor of his 25th anniversary as pontiff, expressed the hope that art might lead man "to evangelical contemplation, the only one that can construct a new humanity".

The concert, a performance of Franz Liszt’s Christus Oratorio by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of Brno, was held in the Paul VI Audience Hall on Sunday, October 22. After the concert the Holy Father said, "The singular spiritual experience lived this afternoon leads me to express the hope that the nobility of art might introduce the man of the new millennium to evangelical contemplation, the only one that can construct a new humanity".

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, said he hoped that "every heart will be touched by the great mystery of Christ, who always represents a strong answer to every desire, though hidden, in the heart of man today".

Solesmes in Oklahoma
Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa has great expectations of the new Benedictine monastery in Clear Creek, Oklahoma, Our Lady of the Annunciation, established by the monks of the Congregation of Solesmes in France.

"Our hope is that the monks who travel to Clear Creek will bring with them that same fidelity to tradition and that same desire to seek God through prayer in an oblation of the heart", Bishop Slattery said in an October 25, 1998, column in the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic.

Under the supervision of Very Rev. Dom Antoine Forgeot, Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault (the monks’ mother house in France), the monks devote themselves to contemplative prayer and the singing of the traditional Divine Office in Latin.

According to Bishop Slattery, "each priest-monk says Mass privately according to the Roman Missal of Pope Saint Pius V and the conventual Mass is celebrated, with some variations from the ancient Tridentine Rite, but still in Latin and with a very strong focus on the transcendence of God".

He said that the monks’ emphasis on silence and traditional devotion in their daily lives both cultivates charity and encourages reliance on God.

Italian bishops ban "rock" music at Mass
The Italian bishops’ conference in May issued a new list of music approved for use at Mass, "dropping all music influenced by contemporary styles, often referred to as `rock and roll’ music", according to a Catholic World News report.

Choir directors and music ministers have a list of 360 songs from which to choose, with a heavy emphasis on traditional music. The list is a result of a four-year process by the bishops’ conference to reclaim the Church’s musical heritage, the report said.

Supporters of the new regulations said the list will allow the Church to recover "many traditions such as Gregorian chants, which were eliminated from churches in the 1960s and 1970s and replaced by guitar music".

Noted author Vittorio Messori commented, "Singing banal songs like ‘How Pretty It Is to Love Oneself’, hymns to pacifism, to save the earth, or whatever else is politically correct or afflicting a majority of Christians simply cannot compare with the intensity of feeling inspired by a rendition of Ave Maria de Lourdes".

Opus Dei chapel dedicated
Cardinal James Hickey of Washington blessed and dedicated the first public chapel in the United States honoring Blessed Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, during a Mass in Washington on September 14, feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. The chapel is located in the Catholic Information Center of the Washington archdiocese, two blocks from the White House.

Concelebrating the Mass with Cardinal Hickey were Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Virginia, and Auxiliary Bishop William E. Lori of Washington. Other concelebrants included the Vicar General of the Prelature of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocariz, and the Vicar of Opus Dei for the United States, Monsignor Arne Panula of New York.

Thinking Catholics?
Call to Action, a radical Catholic group, ran a full-page ad in the October 22nd New York Times, called "An Open Letter to Candidates for Office From Roman Catholic Voters". There were more than 1,000 signatories, including many nuns from all states.

The ad made an amusing distinction by listing signers under two categories: 1) "Catholics" and 2) "People of Faith and/or Conscience".

Here are two predictable paragraphs:

Civil Rights – Support full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. Prevent discrimination and crimes against people because of their race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation by adopting hate crimes legislation and broadening laws barring employment discrimination. End racial profiling and police brutality.

Reproductive Health – Support programs that make contraceptives, including emergency contraception, easily available to women and men here and in poor countries. Signers of this ad hold a range of views on the morality and legality of abortion, but we all seek to reduce its frequency. Catholic opinion is not monolithic on this subject.

The full text of Call to Action’s contribution to the recent presidential election was available at

Bishop Lucker resigns
The resignation of Bishop Raymond Lucker, 73, New Ulm (Minnesota) was accepted by the Holy See on November 17, the day following the NCCB November meeting that he attended.

Bishop Lucker, a native of Saint Paul, has headed the New Ulm diocese since 1976. He was the first director of the Department of Education of the United States Catholic Conference. Until his resignation he was a member of the influential Administrative Committee of the NCCB and Administrative Board of the USCC. Outspoken in his "progressive" views, Bishop Lucker has been a regular speaker at conventions of the dissident Call to Action group.

Bishop Lucker reportedly submitted his resignation "for reasons of health". No successor has been named.

New Archbishop for Washington
The appointment of Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, 70, as archbishop of Washington, DC, was announced November 21. He succeeds Cardinal James Hickey, who has served the archdiocese since 1980.

Archbishop McCarrick, a native New Yorker, was ordained in 1958. He served as director of education for the New York archdiocese, and was made auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. He was appointed first bishop of Metuchen in 1981, and has been archbishop of Newark since 1986.

The archbishop is a member of several NCCB committees, including Hispanic Affairs, Migration, World Mission, as well as the USCC committee on International Policy. He is also member of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services.

Brooklyn priest to head Doctrine Committee office
Monsignor John J. Strynkowski, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Assistant Secretary of Education for Catholic Higher Education and Campus Ministry for the bishops’ conference, was named Executive Director of the Secretariat for the bishops’ committees on Doctrine and Pastoral Practices. The appointment was announced December 1.

He succeeds Dominican Father Augustine DiNoia as director, and will take office next April.

Monsignor Strynkowski, 61, was a theology professor of the Immaculate Conception seminary in Huntington, New York from 1979-1995. He has been advisor to the bishops who have been working on the US implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae [From the Heart of the Church], the Holy See’s 1980 constitution on Catholic higher education. Head of this subcommittee was Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, chairman of the Doctrine Committee until after the November bishops’ meeting.

At their November meeting, the bishops discussed the mandatum, or mandate, that a bishop is to give to theologians who teach in Catholic colleges or universities in his diocese and which theologians are to request. (See story and transcription in Voices, Advent 2000.)

Bishop Donald Trautman began his three-year term as chairman of the Doctrine Committee after the November meeting.



The Editors