A few interesting pieces of news, this Friday morning.
As we prepare for the Eucharist Congress next week, a theological symposium has been taking place in Maynooth with a number of excellent speakers. The Papal Legate, Cardinal Ouellet gave an impressive talk on "The Ecclesiology of Communion, 50 Years after the Opening of Vatican II" (see a Zenit report here).
Among the things he spoke about, one concerned devotion to the Eucharist which "must not be belittled as a pious but now outdated custom" but rather, it is "a development of the living tradition, which felt the need to express faith in Christ's real presence in the sacrament in this way". A wonderful reaffirmation of the faith of the Church in the Holy Eucharist. There are some in the Church here in Ireland who should take careful note of these words.
In Ireland there is a growing movement for adoration and many churches now have adoration chapels, and some even have perpetual adoration. Our own bishop here in Meath, Bishop Michael Smith, has made it a priority of his episcopal ministry to promote Eucharistic Adoration within the diocese and he has been very successful. I hope and pray the Eucharistic Congress will revitalise the faith of many in the Holy Eucharist.
The Holy Father addressed similar issues yesterday in his celebration of Corpus Christi in Rome. Here's an interesting article on his homily.
I see the fall out from the CDF's Notification on Sr Margaret Farley's book Just Love is continuing. Now the Catholic Theological Society of America have come out in her defence and are rebuking the Vatican for such a narrow-minded approach to theology. It said in a statement that the Vatican's move "risks giving the impression that there can be no constructive role in the life of the Church for works of theology".
One has to wonder where these people are coming from - can one really say that dissent and rejection of the core moral teachings of the Church, taken from the Gospel, is constructive and building up the life of the Church? In reality it breaks down the life of the Church as it introduces a moral anarchy into the communion of the faithful and makes sinful practices a valid alternative to the life of virtue or even the norm. Theological investigation does have a part to play in the life of the Church, assisting the Magisterium in proclaiming the Gospel and exploring in ever greater depth the faith which Christ has given to us.
Theologians, however, are not the Magisterium. They do not define the faith nor how it is to be lived. And when they propose to validate a manner of life or lifestyle which is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Christ and the Commandments and then promote themselves as a teaching authority in the Church they commit the sin of simulation - posing as authentic teachers of the faith when they are not. One would think that having had so many years of study behind them these theologians would realise that. But then again, ideology is a powerful thing and can blind even the most brilliant of thinkers.
This is where humility comes in. The Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that theology must be studied on one's knees - he was right. The first attitude one must have when it comes to studying theology is humility - not curiosity, not creativity, not the desire for fame, but humility because one must always remember that when it comes to theological investigation we are exploring the mystery of God (read today's Office of Readings - the first reading is from the Book of Job and humility before God: Job 40:1-14; 42:1-6). However it seems some of our contemporary theologians think they are doing theology from their own little cathedras.
And here's an interesting snippet. The bishops of New Zealand have outlawed the use of the iPad for the celebration of Mass (their statement). It seems some of their priests were using their iPads instead of the Missal for the liturgy. I know that there is enthuasiastic discussion among some priests of how the iPad has all the texts you need and is very handy when travelling - no need to bring a Missal or breviary. I would not be keen on it to be honest - call me a Luddite, but I prefer the book - there is something more reverent. Of course I'm hopeless when it comes to Kindle and iPads - some friends are urging me to get one of each, but I am resisting. I admit an iPad would be handy for work and internet when travelling, but the Kindle does not entice me at all: I love the feel of a good book.