Vol 40 No 1
REMEMBERING FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE
MISSION: Mother of the Church and of Theology
A SYMPHONY OF VOICES: The Legacy of Vatican II
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF GOD’S WORD: Bible Study Since Vatican II
THE EMERGING ROLE OF LAITY: Tensions And Opportunities
THE NEW AGE OF HOLINESS: Vatican II: Today and Tomorrow
MORALITY AND ETHICS FOR A NEW WORLD
AUDACITY TO THE POINT OF FOLLY: Celebrating the Centenary of the Australian
Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
Sir Gerard Brennan, AC
CENTENARY KEYNOTE ADDRESS
BARRY BRUNDELL MSC
Julian Filochowski and Peter Stanford (eds.), Opening Up. Speaking
Out in the Church, Darton, Longman and Todd, London 2005, ISBN 0232 52624
The title reads like a warning and a promise: all who take up this book
to read it are in for an airing of the tough issues in the present-day
Church. The title does not disappoint.
This is a collection of essays to mark the sixtieth birthday of Martin
Prendergast, described as one who has given most of his life to
cherishing those who are on the margins, whether of society or the Church.
In earlier days Martin Prendergast was an English Carmelite priest. He
left the Order and has been involved ever since in a variety of social
roles. He co-founded Catholic AIDS Link and worked in various capacities
in support groups for HIV/AIDS sufferers, and he has been an occasional
irritant to other Catholic groups. He is currently Chair of Christians
for Human Rights. In the year 2000 he was appointed to a government independent
advisory group on teenage pregnancy. He describes the Catholic Church,
for all his experiences, as a sign of the Spirit still moving, breathing,
fluttering across the face of the earth.
Julian Filochowski, co-editor of this collection, was director of CAFOD,
the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, from 1982 to 2003. Peter
Stanford, the other co-editor, is the former editor of The Catholic Herald.
A great strength of this collection is that the various conversations
start with real issues and move on into theory and doctrine. The readers
interest is aroused because we recognise the importance of discussions
around these subjects, especially when someone as credible as Enda McDonough
writes on Love and Justice: In God and Church, in Sexuality and
Society. I also appreciated Kevin Kellys Do We Need
a Vatican III? which opens with the statement:
The older I get and the more I listen to the gospel texts, the clearer
it becomes to me that why the religious authorities of his day rejected
Jesus was because he opposed their subordination of the human person to
their interpretation of the law
Then, he takes a tour of lay participation, general
absolution, intercommunion divorced and remarried,
birth control, and concludes:
I am not advocating that every exercise of authority should be rejected
and disobeyed unless it can be proved to be manifestly for the good of
all the persons concerned. Far from it. What I am suggesting is closer
to the view of Aquinas. He presents obedience as the virtue of cooperation
for the common good. Cooperation does not mean unquestioning obedience.
Rather it may demand questioning obedience and occasionally even
The authors conclusion is that we do not need a Vatican III at the
outset of the papacy of Benedict XVIwe are not yet ready for
the glorious grace and life-giving inspiration that Vatican III could
be. We have yet to succeed as a Church to live out Vatican II. He
concludes with Pope Benedicts call in his inauguration homily:
Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you
everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in
return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christand you will find
true life. Amen.
Another essay that especially caught my attention was Can a Catholic
Be a Good Democrat? by Aiden ONeill QC, a specialist in constitutional
and human rights law. He writes:
The question I wish to address is whether Catholics can indeed fully,
unreservedly, and conscientiously carry out the duties of their various
public offices in accordance with the laws and constitution of the democratic
and pluralist State in which they live. Or does the fact of being a Catholic
mean that their ultimate loyalty, even in the performance of their public
office, lies elsewhere? Put crudely, are Catholics committed by their
religion to being the Popes Fifth Columnists, supporting
the structures and laws of the State only in so far as permitted to do
so by the institutional Church. Or can one instead be both a faithful
Catholic and a loyal citizen and servant of the State?
This is a very topical essay in the light of experiences of Catholic politicians
in Australia and the United States.
This is not a tidy collection: it is sometimes contrary, as
we are warned in the introduction. But it provokes, and that is a good
thing. With some authors I find myself in strong disagreement. I am reminded
of those noisy discussions that build in relaxed social gatherings of
people who really love the Church.
Terry Wade (ed.), The Parish Companion to the Rite of Christian Initiation
of Adults, James Goold House Publications, Melbourne, 2nd Edition 2005,
ISBN 0646 12532 5. $40.00 + $6.00 postage.
Orders can be directed to: Margaret Russell, Worship Resources and Formation,
Archbishops Office for Evangelisation, PO Box 146, East Melbourne
VIC 8002, ph: (03) 9412 3328 or fax: (03) 9412 3330.
This is a valuable resource for all who are engaged in conducting RCIA
programs: priests, pastoral associates, members of RCIA teams, lecturers
in sacraments and liturgy.
As a Companion it explains and comments on the contents of
the Churchs document, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
promulgated in January 1972 as an interim text, then revised and published
in its final form in 1987. It presents its commentary for each of the
rites/periods along the RCIA journey in the following order: documentation;
focus and elements of the rite/period; pastoral comment; questions for
reflection. It provides models for adapting the rites, e.g to include
both Catechumens and baptised Candidates in the same ceremony.
The latter part of the book provides a series of reflections: the RCIA
as challenge to the local church; discernment and the RCIA; the Eucharist
as culmination of the process; the Easter Triduum; marriage questions;
music for the rites; the place of the Word of God; the RCIA and the ministry
of justice; Christian leadership and the RCIA.
For participants and congregations the rite, with all its language and
rituals, can seem a little overwhelming if followed as if it were a book
of rubrics. The commentary in this Companion emphasises the desirability
to adapt the rites and the language to make them suitable to the persons
and the circumstances. The ideal is that they will be celebrated with
imagination and in a way that will enhance the essential meaning of the
rites and periods, bearing in mind that the journey is all about preparing
and welcoming people into the local church community through baptism,
confirmation and eucharist. Rubrics must not get in the way of that very
human/divine action. This book gives many helps to enable that to happen.
It gives similar assistance for the process of welcoming baptised candidates
into full communion in the Catholic Church.