jan 212015
 

På sin tur til Sri Lanka og Filippinene sa pave Frans enkelte ting som ikke var ganske upresise, og som ble slått stort opp i media. Men under dagens onsdagsaudiens i Vatikanet, sa han bl.a. dette:

The meetings with families and young people at Manila, were salient moments of the visit to the Philippines. Healthy families are essential to the life of society. It gave us consolation and hope to see so many large families that welcome children as a true gift of God. They know that every child is a gift of God. I heard it said that families with many children and the birth of so many children are among the causes of poverty. It seems to me to be a simplistic opinion. I can say that the main cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from the center and put the god of money there; an economic system that excludes, that always excludes, children, the elderly, the youth, without work…- and that creates the throwaway culture that we live in. Recalling the figure of Saint Joseph, who protected the life of the “Holy Child,” so venerated in that country, I reminded that it is necessary to protect the families that face different threats, so that they can witness the beauty of the family in God’s plan. It is also necessary to defend them from the new ideological colonizations, which attempts threatens their identity and their mission.

Les alt han sa under denne audiensen – om turen til om Sri Lanka og Filippinene

jan 192015
 

Søndag 25. januar kl 08.00 feires den tradisjonelle latinske messen i St Hallvard kirkes kapell.

Det er 3. søndag etter åpenbaringen som feires, og alle messens tekster og bønner kan leses her.

I evangeliet på denne søndagen hører vi bl.a.:

Og da Jesus var gått inn i Kapernaum, kom en høvedsmann til ham og ba ham og sa: «Herre, gutten min ligger lam hjemme og lider meget.» Jesus sa til ham: «Jeg skal komme og gjøre ham frisk.» Og høvedsmannen svarte og sa: «Herre, jeg er ikke verdig til at du går inn under mitt tak. Men si bare ett ord, så blir gutten min frisk. …. Og Jesus sa til høvedsmannen: «Gå, og det skal gå som du har trodd.» Og gutten ble frisk i den samme timen.

Mer informasjon om disse messene her.

jan 172015
 

Nokså overraskende leste jeg hos Sandro Magister at det kjente dokumentet Dominus Jesus fra år 2000 (LES DET HER), om Jesus som eneste vei til frelse, og et tillegg om hva som kreves for å virkelig kunne kalles en Kirke. Jesuitten Jacques Dupuis kritiserer dokumentet i en bok som kom ute etter hans død, skriver Magister, og:

The Bolognese historian (Professor Alberto Melloni) dismisses “Dominus Iesus” as “the most fragile document of the Wojtylian pontificate,” portrays it as “not accepted by Catholic theologians” and attributes its composition – on a par with the notification that Dupuis was made to sign at that time – to the “incompetence” of unspecified “collaborators of the congregation,” which Ratzinger “in direct conversations demonstrated he did not value and did not know,” and to which John Paul II “did not react,” in spite of the fact that the “maneuver” had as its “target” – again in Melloni’s view – precisely “the papacy of Wojtyla and his peculiar fidelity to Vatican II, the prayer of Assisi on the on hand and the ‘mea culpa’ of the Jubilee, his ecumenical attitude, his ideas about the God of the Quran and about the permanence of Israel’s covenant.”

Men kardinal Ratzinger skriver selv om hvordan pave Johannes Paul tydelig støttet utgivelsen av dette dokumentet, og forstod hva det handlet om:

In refutation of the timidity and indolence of Ratzinger and John Paul II, who according to Melloni permitted rather than intended the composition and publication of “Dominus Iesus,” letting it be done by anyone whatsoever, there is no mistaking what the pope emeritus wrote a year ago in a book on pope Wojtyla:

“Among the documents on various aspects of ecumenism, the one that prompted the greatest reaction was the declaration ‘Dominus Iesus’ of 2000, which summarizes the indispensable elements of the Catholic faith. […]

“In the face of the firestorm that had developed around ‘Dominus Iesus,’ John Paul II told me that he intended to defend the document unequivocally at the Angelus. He invited me to write a text for the Angelus that would be, so to speak, airtight and not subject to any different interpretation whatsoever. It had to be completely unmistakable that he approved the document unconditionally.

“So I prepared a brief address: I did not intend, however, to be too brusque, and so I tried to express myself clearly but without harshness. After reading it, the pope asked me once again: ‘Is it really clear enough?’ I replied that it was.

“Those who know theologians will not be surprised that in spite of this there were afterward some who maintained that the pope had prudently distanced himself from that text.”

jan 102015
 

15jan_resurgent I går mottok jeg – fra amazon.co.uk – flere bøker (mest om liturgi, som vanlig), bl.a. den helt nye Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis av dr. Peter Kwasniewski. Boka har følgende informasjon og lovprisninger på omslaget:

“I heartily recommend Peter Kwasniewski’s new book for those struggling to come to terms not only with what happened to the liturgy of the Catholic Church, but with why those changes have had such disastrous consequences. As he shows in one aspect after another of the Mass, the changes have taken us further away from that inner transformation of the worshipper which is a secondary purpose of the liturgy, after the worship of God.”
— JOSEPH SHAW, President of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

“To come out of the present crisis we need to restore the liturgy in all its sacredness. Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis is a very important work that leads us to meditate in depth on the permanent value, theological centrality, and beauty of the traditional liturgy of the Church.”
— MSGR. IGNACIO BARREIRO, Executive Director of HLI’s Rome Office

“Peter Kwasniewski is one of a handful of 21st-century Catholic authors really in touch with our tradition who can, at the same time, carefully explain what is at stake in both the Catholic intellectual world and the culture as a whole. He is devastating in delivering his points, which he makes without wasting a word.”
— ROGER A. MCCAFFREY, President of Roman Catholic Books

“Combining deeply human insight with supernatural faith, Prof. Kwasniewski presents a compelling case for the continuing necessity of the traditional Latin Mass for the Church’s life and mission. Without questioning the validity of the modern rite, he illuminates in many ways how the older liturgy more clearly expresses the Faith and more richly nourishes the faithful.”
— FR. THOMAS KOCIK, author of Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate: Reform or Return

“The topics of these essays are all of vital importance to our appre­ciation of the Church’s liturgy. With an abundance of wit and learning, Dr. Kwasniewski offers invaluable encouragement towards a greater love and greater understanding of our liturgical tradition.”
— GREGORY DIPIPPO, managing editor of New Liturgical Movement

“The author presents a well-argued, documented case that the present crisis in the Church will not be overcome until there is a return to the traditional Latin liturgy, a revival of the true social teaching of the Church, and a restoration of the study of St. Thomas Aquinas in our seminaries and colleges.”
— FR. KENNETH BAKER, Editor Emeritus, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

About the Author

PETER KWASNIEWSKI has taught and written on a wide variety of subjects, especially the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the Church. After teaching at the International Theological Institute in Austria, he joined the founding team of Wyoming Catholic College, where he currently serves as Professor of Theology and Choirmaster. For twenty-five years Dr. Kwasniewski has also been a director of choirs and scholas, a cantor, and a composer. He writes regularly for The Latin Mass and several popular Catholic weblogs.

jan 092015
 

priest_mass Mens dyp taushet lå over alle ting og natten var rukket midtveis i sitt løp. kom ditt allmektige Ord, Herre, ned fra den himmelske kongsstol. (Introitus til messen søndag i juleoktaven – se hele messen her.)

På nettsidene til The New Liturgical Movement skriver Peter Kwasniewski enda en interessant artikkel om messen. Messen handler først og fremst om å møte Gud, å kunne be til Ham på best mulig måte -da er det interessant å lese hva Kwasniewski skriver:

… I wish to reflect on the peculiar beauty of the very ancient custom of the silent canon and how it confirms the intuition that the Word comes to us in the liturgy in a personal mode that transcends the notional presence of the Word obtained by reading individual words from a book. The Introit quoted above strikingly brings together both of these points: the coming of the Word Himself in the midst of total silence.

As I staunchly maintained in my lectio divina series last Lent, the Lord unquestionably speaks to us in and through Sacred Scripture, and we must constantly go to this source to hear Him; but He comes to us more intimately still in Holy Communion. The traditional practice of the priest praying the Canon silently emphasizes that Christ does not come to us in words, but in the one unique Word which HE IS, and which—immanent, transcendent, and infinite as it is—no human tongue can ever express. Once we have absorbed this fact in our life of prayer, the words of Sacred Scripture can, paradoxically, penetrate our hearts more effectively and have a more-than-Protestant effect on our minds.

What I mean by a “Protestant effect” is the way that Protestants can listen to or look at Scripture again and again – e.g., John 6 or Matthew 16 or 1 Corinthians on the Eucharist – and yet their minds remain closed to its obvious Catholic significance. They are like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, who are thoroughly steeped in Scripture but have failed to grasp the central point, viz., the victory of the Messiah over sin and death. Jesus in person has to explain to them what they already “know” but have never internalized—and Jesus comes to us in person in the Real Presence and is internalized in the most radical way when we are permitted a share in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. …

Les hele denne artikkelen her.

jan 032015
 

Da jeg i 2007 lærte om (og lærte å feire) den tradisjonelle katolske messen, var det en del ting som overrasket meg – siden jeg aldri hadde hørt om den katolske, liturgiske tradisjon før 1965. Peter Kwasniewski skriver nå om en så pass liten ting som hva man kaller de ulike delene av messen. Hoveddelene hadde blitt kalt Katekumenenes messe og de troendes messe, men dette ble forandret til Ordets liturgi og nattverdens liturgi. OM denne forandringen skriver han:

It is well known that the Novus Ordo Missae divides the Mass into four parts: the Introductory Rites; the Liturgy of the Word; the Liturgy of the Eucharist; and the Concluding Rite. It is perhaps less known among Catholics today that this is a modern schematic and that the much more ancient distinction—still found in the traditional Latin Mass—is between the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. As we bask in the effulgence of the Incarnate Word, it would be well to reflect on why this ancient way of speaking is superior to the modern way.

The central and definitive “word” is Jesus Christ, the Logos or Verbum of the Father, made flesh for us men and for our salvation. It follows that the liturgy of the Word par excellence is the Holy Eucharist itself. To go further, the liturgy of the Word, in the fullest sense, must be the Eucharistic sacrifice, because in this sacrifice the Word which is “spoken” by the Father is offered back to Him, thanks to His human nature, in a perfect self-offering—and this oblation of Christ on the cross is the sole reason we ourselves can receive, can be made “hearers of,” the word of God in nature and in divine revelation. If, instead, one appropriates “word” to the Bible, then this portion of public worship, in terms of the phenomenology of the Mass, risks becoming an equal to the Eucharist, if not its superior. …

Les resten av artikkelen her.

des 282014
 

Jeg viser her til tre tekster som forklarer min vei fra Den Lutherske til Den katolsk Kirke. Første et foredrag i Arendal Evangelisk Lutherske Frikirke i februar 1994, rett etter at jeg hadde sagt opp min stilling der. (Jeg vokste opp i Den norske kirke, men var fra 1983 til 1994 medlem av denne lutherske frikirken.) Her er avslutningen av mitt innlegg:

Jeg har vært opptatt av to ting – de siste åra og i denne innledningen.

For det første: Hvordan kan jeg / vi som kristne leve nær Gud og vokse i kunnskap og kjennskap til ham? Sagt med litt andre ord; hvordan ser en bærekraftig spiritualitet ut?

For det andre: Hvordan kan jeg som pastor og vi som menighet føre videre den lutherske tradisjon på rett måte?

Mitt svar har blitt at det er helt nødvendig å vektlegge nådens midler og spesielt nattverden sterkere enn før. Men ei slik vektlegging ønsker ikke menighetens ledelse å være med på. …..

Det neste er et brev jeg skrev til teolog-/pastor-/prestevenner i september 1994, da min overgang til Den katolske kirke begynte å bli nokså klar. Dette brevet avslutter jeg slik:

For meg har det alvorligste spørsmål blitt om Gud virker med hele sin fylde i den lutherske kirke; når ordinasjonen er mangelfull og sakramentforståelsen så mye svakere enn i den «gamle kirken» … Mitt spørsmål har til slutt blitt om lutherske prester er rett ordinert, om nattverden der blir feiret på en rett og virkningsfull måte.

I tillegg kom så det økumeniske imperativ; om det var rett å være adskilt når Kristus innstendig ber oss om å være ett. Når det da på ingen måte kan sies å være umulig å forkynne evangeliet rett i den katolske kirke.

Historisk sett kom vel det siste spørsmålet først til meg, men i den avgjørende fasen var det første det mest avgjørende.

Flere år senere (i oktober 2006) holdt jeg så et foredrag i St Svithun menighet i Stavanger om Min vei til Moderkirken. Dette foredraget avsluttet jeg slik:

Først må jeg si at jeg aldri har tvilt på eller angret på jeg valget jeg gjorde, da jeg forlot den lutherske kirke og ble katolikk. Vel har jeg mange gode minner og mange gode venner fra min protestantiske fortid, men det er likevel en kontinuitet, en helhet, en universalitet i Den katolske kirke, som jeg aldri kan tenke meg å stå utenfor.

Jeg har i disse årene ikke opplevd noen vesensforskjeller i Gudsforholdet eller forståelsen av den kristne tro, jeg står fullt og fast i den tradisjon jeg ble opplært i som barn og ungdom. Dåpen og fundamentene i troen står lutheranere (og andre protestanter) og katolikker sammen om. Felleserklæringen om rettferdiggjørelsen fra 1999 bekrefter også at det egentlig bare er små forskjeller mellom kirkene, også på dette punktet som skapte så store problemer på 1500-tallet.

Jeg har likevel opplevd mer og mer at forståelsen av messeofferet farger hele det katolske fromhetslivet, og gjør at jeg i dag opplever protestantiske gudstjenester som nokså fattige. Ordet lyder like tydelig i de ulike protestantiske kirkene, trosbekjennelsen og bønnene likeså, men i nattverdfeiring har protestantene stengt ute halvparten av det som skjer. I nattverden kommer Kristus midt iblant oss og gir seg selv til oss i kommunionen, så langt er katolikker og lutheranere (men ikke alle protestanter) enige. Men katolikker lærer videre at presten og alle de troende sammen med ham løfter dette fullkomne Kristi offer opp til Faderen i bønn og tilbedelse. Det tok noen år før dette gikk opp for meg, men denne mangelen opplever jeg nå ganske akutt i det protestantiske fromhets- og liturgiske liv.

Jeg har dessuten, litt til min overraskelse, lagt merke til at katolikker leser vel så mye i Bibelen som protestanter – i alle fall de som går regelmessig i kirken. Søndagstekstene er valgt ut på en god måte og gir en god variasjon av sentrale bibelsteder. Hvis min i tillegg går i hverdagsmessen, og også leser tidebønnene, får man en veldig mengde tekster fra Bibelen med seg hver dag.

Det har også vært en sjokkerende utvikling teologisk i de protestantiske kirkene de siste årene. Det illustrerer tydeligere enn jeg (og andre) hadde regnet med for 15 år siden, at Kirken trenger et læreembede som kan sørge for at vi holder fast på den sanne, den overleverte kristne tro. Den katolske kirke står fast på tradisjonelle felleskristne standpunkter både i tro og moral, og etter noen vanskelige år fra slutten av 60-tallet frem til kanskje 1990, har Kirken befestet sin stilling i de fleste land.

Mange protestantisk kirker, derimot, har gått fra vondt til verre de siste 30 år, og jeg har svært vanskelig for å se hva som kan snu denne negative utviklingen for de tradisjonelle protestantiske kirkesamfunnene – noen av de nyere, friere kristne gruppene har derimot fremgang.

Helt til slutt: Jeg har nok etter hvert opplevd at mitt kall, eller min legning/interesse, er vanlig pastoralt menighetsarbeid. Muligens er det fordi jeg kjente gode prester i min oppvekst som hadde en slik «vanlig» menighetstjeneste. Det er flott å kunne møte mennesker i alle livsfaser, fra dåp til begravelse, å følge barnas vekst og utvikling, møte mennesker i både glede og sorg, og alle steder kunne gi den veiledning og trøst som Gud har gitt oss gjennom sin enbårne Sønn, Jesus Kristus.

Og her må jeg si at jeg ikke finner store forskjeller mellom en luthersk og en katolsk prests arbeid. På noen områder – og spesielt mht hvordan kirkene er organisert og ledes – er det ganske store forskjeller, men når det gjelder det liv vi mennesker lever, og formidlingen av den rettledning og frelse som Herren gir oss, står katolikker og protestanter sammen.

des 282014
 

I desember og januar har jeg hvert år flere jubileer; bryllupsdag 14/12 (i år 29 år), fødselsdag 18/12 (59 år), opptagelse i Det katolske Kirke (20 år) og presteordinasjon 8/1 (15 år siden).

Her kan man se bilder fra vår bryllupsdag i 1987 og i 2014:

1987bryldag

2014bryllupsdag

Her er et bilde fra min opptagelse i Den katolske Kirke i 1994:

1994des_oppt_katkirk

Og her fra min presteordinasjon 8/1 2000 (med biskop Schwenzer):

2000jan_presteord

des 272014
 

I morgen, 28. desember, er det 20 år siden jeg ble tatt opp i Den katolske Kirke, og jeg kommer til å markere dette aller mest i min første søndagsmesse; den tradisjonelle latinske messen i kapellet i St Hallvard kirke kl 08.00.

I den tradisjonelle liturgien er det nemlig slik at de store festene i juleoktaven skal huskes på selv om man feirer en søndagsmesse. De tre bønnene under legges til som andre kollektbønn etc. i morgendagens messe (men i den nye liturgien er dette prinsippet forsvunnet). Følgende tre bønner legges altså til i morgendagens messe – når søndag i juleoktaven feires:

KOLLEKTBØNN:
Deus, cujus hodierna die præconium Innocentes Martyres non loquendo, sed moriendo confessi sunt : omnia in nobis vitiorum mala mortifica : ut fidem tuam, quam lingua nostra loquitur, etiam moribus vita fateatur. Per Dominum …
Gud, i dag har de uskyldige barn forkynt din lov, ikke med ord, men med sin død; la all syndens ondskap dø i oss, så vi også ved vårt levevis kan bekjenne den troen på deg som vår tunge forkynner. Ved vår Herre …

SECTRETA (Offertoriebønn):
Sanctorum tuorum, Domine, nobis pia non desit oratio, quæ et munera nostra conciliet, et tuam nobis indulgentiam semper obtineat. Per Dominum …
Herre, la oss aldri mangle disse helliges fromme forbønn: måtte den virke til at våre gaver tekkes deg, og alltid oppnå din tilgivelse for oss. Ved vår Herre …

BØNN ETTER KOMMUNION:
Votiva, Domine, dona percepimus: quæ Sanctorum nobis precibus, et præsentis, quæsumus, vitæ, pariter et æternæ, tribue conferre subsidium. Per Dominum …
Herre, vi har mottatt de vigslede gaver; vi ber deg om at de helliges forbønn må bringe oss hjelp bade for dette og det evige liv. Ved vår Herre …

Programmet for hele denne messen søndag 28/12 kl 08.00 KAN LESES HER.

des 252014
 

Søndag 28. desember kl 08.00 feires den tradisjonelle latinske messen i St Hallvard kirkes kapell.

Det er søndag i juleoktaven som feires, og alle messens tekster og bønner kan leses her.

I evangeliet på denne søndagen hører vi bl.a.:

In illo témpore: Erat Joseph, et Maria mater Jesu, mirántes super his quæ dicebántur de illo. Et dixit (Simeon) ad Maríam matrem ejus: Ecce pósitus est hic in ruínam et in resurrectiónem multórum in Israël: et in signum cui contradicétur: et tuam ipsíus ánimam pertransíbit gládius ut reveléntur ex multis córdibus cogitatiónes. …

På den tid undret Josef og Maria, Jesu mor, seg over det som ble sagt om ham. Og Simeon velsignet dem og sa til Maria, hans mor: «Se, dette barn er satt til fall og oppreisning for mange i Israel og til et tegn som skal motsies, – og gjennom din sjel skal også et sverd trenge – så mange hjerters tanker skal komme fram.» …..

des 252014
 

I årets jule-midnattsmesse fra Peterskirken var setningen der man kneler under trosbekjennelsen ganske kraftig bygget ut ( 8:15 min) med dette leddet fra Mozarts messe i C-moll. Under kan man høre hele Credo III, inkl innskuddet fra Mozart.

des 242014
 

I julens vigiliemesse fra Peterskirken ble julens Kalenda som vanlig sunget ved starten av messen – fremførelsen under er fra 2012.

I programmet for messen (som man finner her) står hele den latinske teksten:

Octavo Kalendas ianuarii. Luna vicesima secunda.
Innumeris transactis sæculis a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit cælum et terram et hominem formavit ad imaginem suam;
permultis etiam sæculis, ex quo post diluvium Altissimus in nubibus arcum posuerat, signum fæderis et pacis;
a migratione Abrahæ, patris nostri in fide, de Ur Chaldæorum sæculo vigesimo primo;
ab egressu populi Israel de Ægypto, Moyse duce, sæculo decimo tertio;
ab unctione David in regem, anno circiter millesimo;
hebdomada sexagesima quinta, iuxta Danielis prophetiam;
Olympiade centesima nonagesima quarta;
ab Urbe condita anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo;
anno imperii Cæsaris Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo;
toto Orbe in pace composito, Iesus Christus, æternus Deus æternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piissimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus, in Bethlehem Iudæ nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus homo:

Nativitas Domini nostri Iesu Christi secundum carnem.

En engelsk oversettelse ser slik ut:

Today, the twenty-fifth day of December,
unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth
and then formed man and woman in his own image.
Several thousand years after the flood,
when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.
Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah;
thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.
One thousand years from the anointing of David as king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.
In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome.
The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary.
Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Tidsregningen fra skapelsen av er forandret i denne utgaven; opprinnelig begynte visst tidsregningen slik:

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world …
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David’s being anointed king … …

des 242014
 

I VG leser vi i dag (julaften) Hanne Skartveits interessante tanker om julen. (Hun skriver korrekt om nesten alle ting, bortsett fra at Josef og Maria ble gift etter at erkeengelen Gabriel hadde besøkt Maria, men før Jesus ble født – ifølge Matteus.):

En fattig, ugift ungjente fødte et barn. Men kjæresten ble hos henne, selv om han visste at barnet ikke var hans. En skandale – og en usedvanlig vakker kjærlighetshistorie.

Fortellingen om Jesu fødsel endret vår verden. En fjern, ofte uhåndterlig gud kom til jorden, som et nyfødt guttebarn. Ut fra dette sprang fortellingene som danner grunnlaget for hele vår kulturkrets. For vårt syn på mennesket, og på livet.

Det er ikke viktig i denne sammenheng om vi selv har en gudstro. Fortellingene fra Bibelen, fra Jesu liv, former vår tenkemåte mer enn vi tenker på i det daglige.

Noen tror på Gud, men ikke på kirken. For egen del vil jeg si at jeg har et sterkt forhold til bibelfortellingene, selv om jeg ikke har et forhold til noe kirkesamfunn. Mange av fortellingene bærer i seg raushet, toleranse og kjærlighet, verdier som jeg ønsker å strekke meg etter i mitt eget liv.

Den som er uten synd, kan kaste den første sten. Vi ser ofte splinten i vår brors øye, men ikke bjelken i vårt eget. Den barmhjertige samaritan. Nestekjærlighet. Den bortkomne sønnen. Tilgivelse og forsoning.

Og så julefortellingen, da. Den treffer meg like dypt hvert år, når vi har satt oss til bords, og faren min leser juleevangeliet. «Det skjedde i de dager..»

Helten Josef
Det er så stusslig, det hele, og likevel så vakkert. Høygravide Maria på vei til Betlehem, sammen med troloveden Josef. Han har stått hos henne gjennom alle disse månedene, mens magen har vokst og blitt mer synlig for hver dag. Vi kan tenke oss hvordan naboer og folk i bygda har snakket bak ryggen til det unge paret.

Josef kunne ha gått. Men han ble hos kjæresten sin, på tross av skammen. Josef er en helt i juleevangeliet. Vi hører ikke mye om ham. Men vi kan ane hans styrke, og hans fortvilelse. ….

Les resten av artikkelen her – VG opplyser at dette først ble publisert i 2012.

des 212014
 

Hvert år er fokus 4. søndag i advent veldig mye på jomfru Maria. I årets tekster (se her) hører vi i første lesning om byggingen av tempelet, og blir minnet om et bilde der Maria lignes med tabernakelet, som bærer av den aller helligste. I år (år B) hører vi i evenageliet selve teksten om engelen Gabriels besøk hos Maria, som avsluttes med at Maria svarer slik på den sjokkerende utfordringen om å bli frelserens mor: «Jeg er Herrens tjenerinne. Det skje meg som du har sagt.»

Pave Frans tok selvsagt opp dagens tema i sitt Angelus-budskap i dag (les det her) og sa:

Today, the fourth and last Sunday of Advent, the liturgy wants to prepare us for Christmas, which is «already at the gates,» inviting us to meditate on the passage of the Annunciation of the angel to Mary. The Archangel Gabriel reveals to the Virgin the will of God that she become the mother of his only begotten Son. «You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.»

We fix our gaze upon this simple young woman of Nazareth in the moment in which she makes herself available to the divine message with her «yes.» We take in two essential aspects of her attitude, which is for us a model of how to prepare for Christmas.

Above all, her faith, her attitude of faith, which consists in listening to the Word of God to abandon herself to this Word with complete availability of mind and heart. Responding to the Angel, Mary said, «I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.»

In her «here I am» full of faith, Mary does not know which paths she will have to trod, which sorrows she will have to suffer, which risks she will face. But she knows that it is the Lord who is asking, and she trusts totally in Him and abandons herself to His love. This is Mary’s faith.

The other aspect is the capacity of the Mother of Christ to recognize the time of God. Mary is the one who has made possible the incarnation of the Son of God, the «revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages.»

She has made possible the incarnation of the Word, thanks to her humble and courageous «yes.» Mary teaches us to welcome the favorable moment in which Jesus comes into our lives and asks for a generous and prepared response. And Jesus comes.

In fact, the mystery of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, which occurred historically more than 2,000 years ago, is implemented as a spiritual event in the «today of the liturgy.» The Word, who dwelled in the virginal womb of Mary, in the celebration of Christmas, comes to call anew the heart of each Christian. He comes by and calls. Each one of us is called to respond, as Mary did, with a personal and sincere «yes,» placing ourselves fully at the disposal of God and his mercy. How many times Jesus comes in our lives and how many times he sends us an angel. And how many times we don’t realize it because we are very busy, submerged in our thoughts, in our activities, and in these days, in the preparation for Christmas, and we don’t realize the one who is passing by and knocking at the door of our hearts asking to be welcomed, asking for a «yes» like that of Mary. A saint said, «I fear that the Lord will pass by.» Do you know why he was afraid? It was fear of not realizing, of allowing him to pass by.

When we feel in our hearts, «I would like to be better. I repent of this thing I’ve done,» there is the Lord who calls, who makes us feel this, the desire to be better, the desire to be closer to others, to God. If you feel this, stop. The Lord is there. Go to pray, and maybe go to confession to clean up the dwelling a bit. This is good. But remember well, if you feel this desire to improve, it is He who is calling. Do not let him pass by.

In the mystery of Christmas, beside Mary, in silence, is the presence of St. Joseph, as is represented in all the nativity scenes, also in this one that you can admire here in St. Peter’s Square. The example of Mary and of Joseph is for all of us an invitation to welcome Jesus with an entirely open soul, Jesus who out of love has made himself our brother. He comes to bring to the world the gift of peace. «Peace to those on whom his favor rests,» as the choir of angels announced to the shepherds. The precious gift of Christmas is peace and Christ is our true peace. And Christ calls to our hearts to give us peace. Peace of the soul. Let us open the gates to Christ.

We entrust ourselves to the intercession of our Mother and of St. Joseph, to live a Christmas that is truly Christian, free of all worldliness, prepared to welcome the Savior, the God-with-us.

des 142014
 

14des_brann_nordstrand2

Avisa Dagen skriver mer om brannen hos Elisabethsøstrene på Nordstrand. Bl.a.:

Søster Katarina Hodyr er priorinne ved klosteret på Munkerud på Nordstrand i Oslo. Hun har bare vært leder for virksomheten et par måneder og hadde knapt rukket å bli kjent med sin nye arbeidsplass da St. Elisabethhjemmet lørdag formiddag ble rammet av brann.

Hennes eget rom på toppen av bygningen er blant dem som ble totalskadet i brannen – men hun er mest opptatt av de andre som bodde i boligdelen av klosteret.

Søster Katarina hadde ikke klare forestillinger om hva som ville møte henne da hun gikk for å se nøyere på skadene da slukkingen var over.

– Jeg visste ikke noe, men brannmannskapene forberedte meg på hva jeg ville få se. Likevel er det én ting å høre hva som har skjedd, men noe annet å møte virkeligheten og se hvordan den ser ut. Jeg opplevde det som et sjokk. Rommene er berørt i forskjellig grad, men det ser dramatisk ut enkelte steder der inne. Men jeg kunne ikke forestille meg omfanget av skadene før jeg så dem, sier priorinnen med tårer i øynene. … …

Også søster Natanaela Hess, priorinnens nestkommanderende, eller såkalt provinsvikar for Elisabethsøstrene i Norge, er sterkt berørt. Hun var bortreist da brannen oppsto, men sier at også hun fikk sjokk da hun ankom klosteret mandag.

– Det var mer enn dramatisk. Det er jo totalskadet, sier hun til Dagen onsdag. …..

… Boligdelen ble bygget i 1974, mens tilbygget kom i 1996. Det er boligdelen som totalskadet i brannen, mens tilbygget er uskadd. …..

Konstruksjonen i den skadde delen er i betong og murstein, men det er også brukt materialer av tre, og en del skader er lette å se utenfra. De største skadene er imidlertid innvendig, og omfanget av brann-, røyk-, sot- og vannskader er stort.

Arbeidet er godt i gang med å sikre det som kan berges ut. Siden prosessen med skadebegrensning akkurat er kommet i gang, er det for tidlig å si hvor store skadene er. Bygningen er imidlertid fullverdiforsikret og vil bli renovert.

– Har dere rukket å tenke på hvordan dette skal repareres, og når kan det skje?

– Det er vanskelig å forutsi hvor fort det kan gå, men våre første vurderinger er at vi ikke kan flytte inn igjen før tidlig i 2016. …

des 132014
 

hotel_lanzarote

Vi er nå to uker på Lanzarote og Fuerteventura på Kanariøyene, slapper av, går lange turer, svømmer og soler oss – men er tilbake i Oslo før jul. (Bildet viser det første hotellet vi bor på; Timanfaya Palace på Playa Blanca.)

des 052014
 

Da Norge for noen få år siden vedtok i Stortinget at også mennesker av samme kjønn kunne gifte seg med hverandre, var det (med rette) etter motstand fra Den katolske Kirke og andre kirkesamfunn. Men da noen (heldigvis ikke mange) deretter sa at dette også ødela ekteskapene mellom en mann og en kvinne, var det en misforståelse. (I Norge skjer det nå noe fra motsatt side; noen begynner å argumentere for at kirkene må miste vigselsretten fordi de ikke vil vie homofile par – se her i Aftenposten. Det er vel også en helt unødvendig konklusjon, som vel likevel ikke vil få så stor betydning for Den katolske Kirke; det vil bare bety at den kirkelige og den statlige bekreftelsen av ekteskapet vil måtte skje i to seremonier (noe som allerede er tilfelle i flere land i Europa), isteden for begge deler i én seremoni.)

I USA er det nå kristne i noen stater der homofile ekteskap nylig har blitt godtatt, som ønsker å nekte å samarbeide med myndighetene om ekteskapsinngåelsen. Dette mener kirkerettseksperten Edward Peters er en svært dårlig idé og bygger på en misforståelse av hva som konstituerer et ekteskap. Se HER og her en samling av artikler. Han skriver:

The gist of a recent poll is that one in three Americans do not want religious ministers to “sign marriage licenses as representatives of the state” so as to avoid, I guess, a connection between “civil marriage” and “religious marriage”, as if, you know, those are two fundamentally different things. Let me rephrase the poll findings: one in three Americans don’t understand what clergy signing marriage certificates are doing (and aren’t doing!) and so don’t know a good thing when they see it.

The call for ministers to boycott civil wedding certificates proposed under the wrongly-named “Marriage Pledge” (it is actually a Pledge Not to Acknowledge Real Marriages) probably would have gone nowhere except that it found an ally in the journal First Things. Well, that’s their responsibility. Mine is to make sure that as many people as possible see that the Radner-Seitz “Marriage Pledge” rests on a faulty understanding of what makes marriage and, in turn, of what ministers of religion do in certifying that a given marriage took place before them. I am not going to review all of the problems inherent in Radner-Seitz’s proposal, though they are many. Here I address just two points.

In the West (yes, I know Eastern Christianity thinks differently, but that problem is for another day), it has been settled matter among all Christians (though secular elements of the West do not realize that Christian thought has permeated their consciousness, too), it has been, as I say, settled matter in the West that the consent of the parties establishes marriage. If you think that the State made up marriage and confers it on a couple, or if you think that the Church created and bestows marriage on believers, or that God, or Zeus, or the Big Cosmic Other sends this thing called marriage on two people who want it, or if you hold any other theory of marriage whatsoever, besides that the consent of the parties makes marriage—then you need to stop reading this blog post and start studying solid treatises on marriage going back to the ancient Romans in some cases, and virtually everything since the 13th century, secular and religious alike.

I’m serious. If you do not really see that the couple’s consent makes marriage then you don’t understand what’s at stake.

Now, for those who do know that the consent of the parties makes marriage, the fundamental supposition of the Radner-Seitz Pledge—namely, that the State has changed the definition of marriage (which it can’t do and, even by its own count, has not succeeded in doing yet!) and, as a result, ministers who care about real marriage should not confer or cooperate in conferring marriage (as understood by at least some States), that supposition, I say, collapses: The State does not confer marriage on couples, couples confer marriage on each other! All the State does, and for that matter all the Church does, (and, for that matter, all that God does between baptized persons, but that discussion is more complex and is not immediately relevant to a discussion of Church-State cooperation in the matter of marriage), is to recognize what the couple did, namely, they married. …

Jeg leser FirstThings som Peters her kritiserer – de skriver om the Marriage Pledge bl.a. her.

des 052014
 

14des_p_benedikt Tidligere i år brukte kardinal Kasper en artikkel av en 40-år gammel teolog i 1972 (p. Ratzinger), til å argumentere for at gjengifte katolikker likevel kan motta kommunion – det har vært mye skrevet om dette både under kardinalmøtet i februar og under bispesynoden i oktober. Nå viser det seg at Ratzinger/Benedikt har skrevet om hele konklusjonen på sin artikkel fra 1972. Slik leser vi hos Sandro Magister:

In the Opera Omnia, Ratzinger is republishing – with the help of the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Gerhard Ludwig Müller – all of his theological writings, grouped according to theme. In the latest of the nine volumes published so far in German by Herder, numbering almost 1,000 pages and entitled “Introduction to Christianity. Profession, baptism, discipleship,” there is a 1972 article on the question of the indissolubility of marriage, published that year in Germany in a multi-author book on marriage and divorce.

That 1972 article by Ratzinger was dusted off last February by Cardinal Walter Kasper in the talk with which he introduced the consistory of cardinals convened by Pope Francis to discuss the issue of the family, in view of the synod of bishops scheduled for October.

In cheering for the admission of the divorced and remarried to Eucharistic communion, Kasper said: “The early Church gives us a guideline that can serve as a means of escape from the dilemma, to which Professor Joseph Ratzinger referred in 1972. [. . .] Ratzinger suggested that Basil’s position should be taken up again in a new way. It would seem to be an appropriate solution, one that is also at the basis of these reflections of mine.”

… That 1972 article was the first and last time in which Ratzinger «opened up” to communion for the divorced and remarried. Afterward, in fact, he not only fully adhered to the rigorist position of the ban on communion, reaffirmed by the magisterium of the Church during the pontificate of John Paul II, but he also contributed in a decisive way to the argumentation on behalf of this ban as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. …

Ratzinger/Benedikt konkluderer den nye avslutningen av artikkelen fra 1972 slik:

From what has been said so far it emerges that the Western Church – the Catholic Church – under the leadership of the successor of Peter, on the one hand knows that it is strictly bound to the word of the Lord on the indissolubility of marriage, but on the other has also sought to recognize the limits of this guideline in order not to impose on persons more than is necessary.

So on the basis of the suggestion of the apostle Paul and basing itself at the same time on the authority of the Petrine ministry, for non-sacramental marriages it has further elaborated the possibility of divorce in favor of the faith. At the same time it has examined the nullity of a marriage under every aspect.

The 1981 apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” of John Paul II went one step further. At number 84 it states: “Together with the Synod, I earnestly call upon pastors and the whole community of the faithful to help the divorced, and with solicitous care to make sure that they do not consider themselves as separated from the Church […] Let the Church pray for them, encourage them and show herself a merciful mother, and thus sustain them in faith and hope.”

This gives pastoral care an important task, which perhaps has not yet been sufficiently incorporated into the Church’s everyday life. Some details are indicated in the exhortation itself. There it is said that these persons, insofar as they are baptized, may participate in the Church’s life, which in fact they must do. The Christian activities that are possible and necessary for them are listed. Perhaps, however, it should be emphasized with greater clarity what the pastors and brethren in the faith can do so that they may truly feel the love of the Church. I think that they should be granted the possibility of participating in ecclesial associations and even of becoming godfathers or godmothers, something that the law does not provide for as of now.

There is another point of view that imposes itself on me. The impossibility of receiving the holy Eucharist is perceived as so painful not last of all because, currently, almost all who participate in the Mass also approach the table of the Lord. In this way the persons affected also appear publicly disqualified as Christians.

I maintain that Saint Paul’s warning about examining oneself and reflecting on the fact that what is at issue is the Body of the Lord should be taken seriously once again: “A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor 11:28 f.). A serious self-examination, which might even lead to forgoing communion, would also help us to feel in a new way the greatness of the gift of the Eucharist and would furthermore represent a form of solidarity with divorced and remarried persons.

I would like to add another practical suggestion. In many countries it has become customary for persons who are not able to receive communion (for example, the members of other confessions) to approach the altar with their hands folded over their chests, making it clear that they are not receiving the sacrament but are asking for a blessing, which is given to them as a sign of the love of Christ and of the Church. This form could certainly be chosen also by persons who are living in a second marriage and therefore are not admitted to the Lord’s table. The fact that this would make possible an intense spiritual communion with the Lord, with his whole Body, with the Church, could be a spiritual experience that would strengthen and help them.

des 042014
 

bilde_sjk-l Jeg leste nyheten på nettsidene til Nettverk for katolsk teologi, der de sier:

Fredag 12. desember disputerer Ståle Johannes Kristiansen ved Universitetet i Bergen. Avhandlingens tittel er Avdekning og tilsløring: Dionysius Areopagitens symboltekning og Jean-Luc Marions ettermoderne kunstfilosofi.

Dessverre kan jeg ikke reise til Bergen for å være med, men jeg gratulerer Ståle allerede nå på forhånd.

des 032014
 

Det er kardinal Angelo Scola, Milanos erkebiskop, som sier dette; at han ikke tror paven vil komme til å tillate at gjengifte kan motta kommunion. Han sa dette i et intervju med “Corriere della Sera” 2. desember, og i engelsk oversettelse sa han bl.a.:

Q: On the point of communion for the divorced and remarried, what is your position?

A: I have discussed this intensely, in particular with cardinals Marx, Danneels, Schönborn, who were in my “smaller circle,” but I am unable to see adequate reasons for a positon that on the one hand affirms the indissolubility of marriage as beyond question, but on the other seems to deny it in fact, almost effecting a separation between doctrine, pastoral practice, and discipline. This way of maintaining reduces it to a sort of Platonic idea, which lies in the Empyrean and does not enter into the concreteness of life. And it raises an educational problem: how can we tell young people who are marrying today, for whom the “forever” is very difficult, that marriage is indissoluble, if they know that in any case there will always be a way out? It is a question that is hardly raised, and this astonishes me.

….

Q: And if instead at the end of the synod the pope should take a position that you do not share?

A: I believe he will do no such thing.

Min kilde er Sandro Magister – nederst denne artikkelen.

nov 282014
 

Sist søndag var det et arrangement i Akersveien i Oslo (kalt «Lille Vatikanet»), som jeg dessverre ikke kunne delta på pga en messe jeg skulle feire her i St Hallvard kirke. Der skulle bl.a. Ulf og Birgitta Ekman intervjues om sin vei til Den katolske Kirke. Nå er heldisvis dette interessante intervjuet (med sr Anne Bente Hadlan) lagt ut på Youtube – se under.

nov 232014
 

På liturgi-bloggen PrayTell kan man lese et intervju med en nytt medlem av Vatikanets Internasjonale teologiske kommisjon, Karl-Heinz Menke, professor i dogmatisk teologi ved universitetet i Bonn. Han sier bl.a.:

One must admit that the Church is polarized. That applies also to the Germans. There is tension between those who wish to adapt to modernity and those who have more conservative tendencies. It is found in the bishops’ conference. This internecine battle has made its way right into the Vatican.

On the question of the day, communion for the divorced and remarried, Menke spoke honestly about the state of affairs in Germany: I have the impression that there are only a few divorced and remarried people in our communities who wish to live a church life. And those who want this have found a path for themselves. I have never heard of a pastor who turns someone away at the communion rail.

And this: I’ll name another topic for you: we keep acting as if we’re still a church of the whole population [Volkskirche]. At Confirmation, for example, the bishop receives the promises of the youth that they will be models of faith. But certainly 90 percent of them have utterly no intention of keeping this promise – one sees that they do not observe the law to go to church on Sundays. The official teaching and reality have spun free of each other.

Menke hopes that the International Theological Commission will take up such issues. Speaking of topics such as sexual ethics he remarked: Long term, it can’t continue that we teach something that is ignored by 90% and more of the grass-roots.

He hopes for a middle path: It’s not an “either/or.” It is just as false to adapt to the zeitgeist as it is to work toward a ghetto Catholicism in which those remaining think of themselves as the elite believers. A healthy middle way would be important.

nov 182014
 

Søndag 23. november kl 08.00 feires den tradisjonelle latinske messen i St Hallvard kirkes kapell.

Det er 24. og siste søndag etter pinse som skal feires, og alle messens tekster og bønner kan leses her.

I evangeliet på denne domssøndagen hører vi bl.a.:

… Et tunc parébit signum Fílii hóminis in cælo: et tunc plangent omnes tribus terræ: et vidébunt Fílium hóminis veniéntem in núbibus cæli cum virtúte multa et majestáte. Et mittet angelos suos cum tuba, et voce magna: et congregábunt eléctos ejus a quátuor ventis, a summis cælórum usque ad términos eórum. …

… Og da skal Menneskesønnens tegn komme til syne på himmelen, og da skal alle jordens slekter jamre seg, og de skal se Menneskesønnen komme i himmelens skyer med stor kraft og herlighet. Og han skal sende ut sine engler med basuner og mektig klang; og de skal samle hans utvalgte fra de fire verdenshjørner, fra den ene ende av himmelen til den andre. …

nov 172014
 

sandro_magister Etter bispesynoden for noen uker siden har flere viktige biskoper/ kardinaler rundt om i verden begynt å undere seg over hva pave Frans egentlig ønsker. I et intervju med den svært kjente «vatikanisten» Sandro Magister – som bl.a. står bak nettsiden WWW.CHIESA – sier leser vi bl.a.:

Q: And so the Americans?
R: They are somewhat uneasy. The Cardinals and Archbishops, like Timothy Dolan from New York, Patrick O’ Malley from Boston, José Gomez from Los Angeles or Charles Chaput from Philadelphia, are all uneasy. This is the episcopate that Burke himself comes from and is certainly not restricted to the marginal traditional circuits, but continues to be part of one of the most solid national Churches.

Q: And also the Italian Episcopal Conference as you said before, appears to be a bit in difficulty.
R: Yes, there are many difficulties in trying to keep up with this Pope. The President, Angelo Bagnasco seems to be the one in most difficulty.

Q: Also since his successor Archbishop of Perugia, Gualtiero Bassetti has already been indicated. He was made a Cardinal by Bergoglio.
R: But, as far I know also Bassetti is among the Italian bishops who are uneasy.

Q: Among the Italians, the most explicit were perhaps the Milanese, Angelo Scola and the Bolognese, Carlo Caffarra.
R: Yes, they were with their interventions before and during the Synod. But it was all inevitable considering the Pope’s decision to assign the opening of the discussions to Cardinal Walter Kasper, and so this basically was the start of the hostilities.
Q: Why?
R: Because Kasper is proposing again today exactly the same theses defeated in 1993 by John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger, the latter being the Prefect of the Holy Office at the time.

Les mer på gloria.tv.

nov 172014
 

Kardinal Francis George i Chicago er 77 år gammel, alvorlig kreftsyk, og skal tre av fra sitt embede i morgen. For et par dager siden ga han et langt intervju til John Allen, der han bl.a. nevner noen spørsmål han gjerne skulle ha stilt pave Frans:

… I’ve described George before as the “American Ratzinger” for his blend of intellectual chops and tenacious commitment to Catholic tradition, in the spirit of the former Joseph Ratzinger, the man who became Pope Benedict XVI. (For the record, George shuns the label, insisting he’s not of Benedict’s intellectual caliber. He is, in any event, the closest thing to it on these shores.) …

… To begin, George said he’d like to ask Francis if he fully grasps that in some quarters, he’s created the impression Catholic doctrine is up for grabs. Does Francis realize, for example, “what has happened just by that phrase, ‘Who am I to judge?’ ”

Francis’ signature sound-bite, George said, “has been very misused … because he was talking about someone who has already asked for mercy and been given absolution, whom he knows well,” George said.

“That’s entirely different than talking to somebody who demands acceptance rather than asking for forgiveness,” George said. “Does he not realize the repercussions? Perhaps he doesn’t,” George said. “I don’t know whether he’s conscious of all the consequences of some of the things he’s said and done that raise doubts in people’s minds.”

“The question is why he doesn’t he clarify” these ambiguous statements, George said. “Why is it necessary that apologists have to bear the burden of trying to put the best possible face on it?”

He said he also wonders if Francis realizes how his rhetoric has created expectations “he can’t possibly meet.” …

… Second, George said he’d like to ask Francis who is providing him advice — which, he said, has become the “big question” about this pope. “Obviously he’s getting input from somewhere,” George said. “Much of it he collects himself, but I’d love to know who’s truly shaping his thinking.”

Third, George noted that Francis often makes references to the Devil and the biblical notion of the end-times, but said it’s not clear how that shapes his vision and agenda. …

nov 162014
 

Forrige uke valgte den amerikanske bispekonferansen hvilke biskoper som skal delta i neste års bispesynode i Roma – og de valgte ikke biskoper som vil ønske å støtte den radikale linjen. Dette referatet har jeg hentet fra den nokså progressive nettstedet Catholic News Agency:

… More than a year and a half into the papacy of Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops still appear like deer in headlights, not knowing which way to jump. There are no leaders in the tradition of Joseph Bernardin, John Roach, John Quinn, or James Malone who can articulate a vision for the conference in light of the new papacy.

There are no liberals among the bishops, and the moderates are a minority. The conservative majority is divided into two groups: the ideologues and the pastors.

The ideological conservatives make up 10 to 20 percent of the conference, and they are convinced that Francis is sowing confusion in the church where certitude and stability should be the marks of the church. Francis’ statement that «facts are more important than ideas» is incomprehensible to them; they believe reality must bend to their theological ideas.

The pastoral conservatives, on the other hand, are simply confused. They were raised in conservative families, went to conservative seminaries, don’t pretend to be intellectuals but are loyal churchmen who never questioned anything under the last two papacies. They like Francis, but they are not sure what he is doing. They are in need of a leader who can reassure them and point them in the right direction.

The election of delegates to next year’s synod of bishops reflected the makeup of the USCCB.

Archbishops Joseph Kurtz and Daniel Dinardo, the USCCB president and vice president, were elected as expected. Also elected were Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. Chaput had been critical of the confusion surrounding the synod. He will also host next year’s international conference on the family. Elected alternates were Blaise Cupich, newly appointed by Pope Francis to Chicago, and Salvatore Cordilone of San Francisco, the bishops’ point man on gay marriage.

If the bishops were totally behind Pope Francis they would have elected as delegates his best friend in the American hierarchy, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and Archbishop-designate Cupich, his first major appointee.

A big part of the trouble with the American hierarchy is that the bishops have no one to consult. The conservative theologians, who have been advising them during the last two papacies, are as upset as the ideologically conservative bishops. Since progressive theologians were labeled heretics, kicked out of seminaries, and shunned like Ebola patients, bishops have no one to explain to them how to thrive with the discussion and debate being encouraged by Francis.

Sadly, few bishops would feel comfortable inviting theologians from the local Catholic college over for dinner and conversation, yet that is exactly what is needed. …