Got Company Man on Kindle?

Get it now at Amazon, Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968.

The priest celebrant as distraction at mass

In a story about pastor’s removal of icons at a Park Avenue church because they are “distractions” from the Eucharist, Nicholas Frankovich found another distraction as expressed by a parishioner.

The art never bothered her. She said that what now impedes her concentration is the priest himself.

The previous pastor had established the “Benedictine arrangement,” the placement of a crucifix at the center of the altar, and the new pastor discontinued that practice shortly after his installation in the summer of 2013.

He may have wanted only to clear the sight lines between the priest and the people, but for Durkan [the parishioner] the obstruction was the point. She felt it rather as a kind of veiling.

With the Benedictine arrangement at Mass, “you could connect with Our Lord and not the celebrant,” she explained.

The celebrant was “diminished”—appropriately, in her view. She welcomed the relief from “new-fashioned” liturgical clericalism, as M. Francis Mannion describes it: “the ‘talk show’ style of priestly presidency of the Eucharist,” “very much a product of the post–Vatican II era, . . . found today mostly among an older generation of priests.”

Benedict XVI observes that “the priest himself was not regarded as so important” when Mass was routinely celebrated ad orientem.

Indeed, in general there’s too much priest at mass, as if he were the main attraction.

Company Man, start and finish

From the book, first page:

Five of us took the New York Central from Chicago to Cincinnati in August, 1950, arriving with hours to spare before our 6 p.m. novitiate-arrival deadline. Our destination was suburban Milford, 15 miles east of the city. Killing time, we cabbed it at one point. One of us wanted to buy a fielder’s glove. We asked the cabbie where we could find a sporting goods place. He picked up on the sporting part and was about to suggest a brothel. We cut him short smilingly. Athletic goods, yes. Sexual athletics, no.

From the book, last page:

On my last night, Brichetto and I and two or three others had a good hour or so chatting in the kitchen over a beer.  As we broke up, he commented that this is how we Jesuits should get together with each other, referring to our relaxed camaraderie.

Next morning after breakfast, five or six gathered at the loading dock to say goodbye to me.  My rental car was waiting, compliments of the Xavier U. minister, who also gave me $400 for the pocket.  I was good to go, as people say.  As we stood there, joshing briefly, Brichetto, who was not one I’d told of my leaving, passed the area and looked out at me from some 75 feet away, me in civvies and obviously on my way.  We caught each other’s eye.  He had a slightly bewildered look I had never seen on him—like Jesus being led away by Roman soldiers, looking at Peter, who had denied him.

Way in the back of my head, it was occurring to me that I was betraying him.  I wondered momentarily, how many others? The feeling disappeared and did not return.  I was off to my new life, simultaneously apprehensive and exhilarated.

Jesus welcomed the non-repentant, right?

Not quite, as the priest son of a Supreme Court justice explains:

Very much in Catholic news of late has been the issue of welcome. The interim report from October’s Extraordinary Synod posed questions, for example, about the Church’s capacity to welcome homosexuals. Shortly after, Father Timothy Lannon, SJ, president of Creighton University explained his curious decision to provide benefits to same-sex “spouses” of employees with the even more curious line, “I asked myself, what would Jesus do in this case? And I can only imagine Jesus being so welcoming of all people.”

A slam-dunk, you might say. However . . .

The Welcoming Jesus line serves as a good trump card. Not to welcome – or not to appear welcoming – would therefore mean to disagree with Jesus. Of course, Jesus as “welcoming of all people” is not just a just a figment of Father’s imagination. Indeed, it is a profound reality. More real than many would like to consider. But providing benefits to those in a sinful lifestyle stretches the meaning of Christian welcome beyond the breaking point. All of which raises the question of what a Christian welcome means.

Read on for an interesting discussion.

Praise from the Koch brothers from praiser of Pope Francis

Elevated to the red, these cardinals go purple prose

As this fellow sights and cites.

In addition to the outright abominations put forth in the Synod’s already infamous Midterm Report, there are numerous flowery, and ultimately meaningless, musings such as the following:

The Gospel of the family, while it shines in the witness of many families who live coherently their fidelity to the sacrament, with their mature fruits of authentic daily sanctity must also nurture those seeds that are yet to mature, and must care for those trees that have dried up and wish not to be neglected.

The only way I can think to classify this particular style of writing, knowing that it emanated from an all-male committee of clerics, is to say that it is nothing more than pseudosacral homopoetic prose; an especially annoying symptom of the undeniable feminization of the Church Militant that began at Vatican II.

It’s the cardinals’ clerks that done it, but the cards signed off on it. Oh boy.

Twenty-seventh Sunday, pep talk from our favorite apostle to the gentiles

Buck up, says Paul:

Reading 2 phil 4:6-9

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Your strategy:

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.

Think happy thoughts? Not quite. No one ever accused him of pollyannish behavior. But look. It makes sense to accentuate the positive, especially when you’re on the brink of feeling sorry for yourself and losing heart:

Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

That’s it. The God of peace be with you, and with your spirit too.

About Company Man

It's available as Kindle.
And it has two excellent endorsements::
“I couldn’t stop reading. Spent a whole afternoon and then some
racing thru it, putting aside another writing deadline. Loved
reading about some Chicagoans I have known and admired,
including Jack Egan and Frank Bonnike.”
    – Robert Blair Kaiser, author, Inside the Jesuits: How Pope Francis Is Changing the Church and the World
And
“Jim Bowman’s vivid account of his eighteen years in the
Society of Jesus during the 1950s and 1960s is also a picture of
the American Jesuits in transition. Readers who lament what
happened to the Jesuits will find Bowman’s memoir moving
and ultimately sad. In the end, he found his way as writer,
journalist, and family man; the Jesuits, God love them, remain
in transit to a destination yet unknown.”

Let’s hear it for the new Chicago archbishop, the good and (for now) the merely not so good . . .

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

A Spokane supporter of Chicago’s incoming archbishop:

“This guy is not lukewarm about anything,” said Rob McCann, executive director of the local Catholic Charities, the diocese’s social ministry arm. “He’s a guy that doesn’t shy from a fight, and that’s exactly what the Catholic Church needs.”

He treads lightly where gummint is concerned, however, endorsing ObamaCare no matter what and shying away from at least one major social problem:

He launched an effort to enroll thousands of eastern Washington’s poor in health care under the Affordable Care Act, despite the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ opposition to the law’s contraception mandate.

And, shortly after arriving in Spokane, he would not endorse curbside vigils outside abortion clinics, which drew the ire of local opponents of abortion rights.

On the other hand, he knows how to run things:

From the beginning, Cupich focused on untangling the legal mess [remaining from
bankruptcy and…

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Pope’s advisers start to overhaul the Vatican bureaucracy | Crux

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

This could be the signature achievement of his papacy.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals has begun creating the first draft of a new apostolic constitution that would implement a major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy.

The so-called C9, a papally appointed group of nine cardinal members, held its sixth meeting Sept 15-17 with Pope Francis at the Vatican to help advise him on the reform of the Vatican’s organization and church governance.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Sept. 17 that the series of discussions have now begun a more “concrete” phase with “putting ink on paper” in the form of a draft for the introduction to a new constitution.

Stay tuned.

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