Friday, April 6, 2012

The Pope's Via Crucis (Made in Austria)

...and Pope Benedict faces yet another challenge
Dark clouds are gathering in Austria...

Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. His Holiness took the occasion to criticise last year's call (Appeal to Disobedience) by a group of priests in Austria to oppose a number of traditional Church teachings, including the liturgy. 

Most mainstream media are emphasising the issues of celibacy and women priests, however their first point targets the liturgy - a more than a veiled attack against the Pope's efforts in this area (read Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae). 
Below are key excerpts from Benedict XVI's homily, followed by the text of the rebel Austrian priests:

Benedict XVI: “Recently a group of priests from a European country issued a summons to disobedience, and at the same time gave concrete examples of the forms this disobedience might take.”
“But is disobedience really a way to do this? Do we sense here anything of that configuration to Christ which is the precondition for true renewal, or do we merely sense a desperate push to do something to change the Church in accordance with one’s own preferences and ideas?”

“The saints show us how renewal works and how we can place ourselves at its service. And they help us realize that God is not concerned so much with great numbers and with outward successes, but achieves his victories under the humble sign of the mustard seed.”

“We preach not private theories and opinions, but the faith of the Church, of which we are servants.”

Appeal to Disobedience
The Roman refusal to take up long needed reforms and the inaction of the bishops, not only permits but demands that we follow our conscience and act independently:

We priests want to set a mark for the future:

1. WE WILL include a petition for church reform in every liturgy.

2. WE WILL not deny Communion to faithful of good will, especially remarried people, members of other Christian churches, and in some cases those who have officially left the Catholic Church.*

3. WE WILL avoid as much as possible celebrating multiple times on Sundays and feast days, and avoid scheduling priests travelling around or priests unknown to the community. A locally-planned Liturgy of the Word is preferable to providing guest performances.

4. WE WILL use the term “Priestless Eucharistic Celebration” for a Liturgy of the Word with distribution of Communion. This is how the Sunday Mass obligation is fulfilled when priests are in short supply.

5. WE WILL ignore the prohibition of preaching by competently trained laity, including female religion teachers. In difficult times, the Word of God must be proclaimed.

6. WE WILL advocate that every parish has a presiding leader – man or woman, married or unmarried, full-time or part time. Rather than consolidating parishes, We call for a new image of the priest.

7. WE WILL take every opportunity to speak up publicly for the admission of women and married people to the priesthood. These would be welcome colleagues in ministry.

We express solidarity with colleagues no longer permitted to exercise their ministry because we have married, and also with those in ministry who live in a permanent relationship. Both groups live in accordance with their conscience – as we do with our protest. We see in them as we do in our bishops and the pope our brothers. **

* Here we refer to those who officially leave the Church; some to avoid Church Tax as a means of protest

** This is a reference to the German Word "Mitbruder" instead of "Bruder" (brother) which is sometimes used by clerics and excludes the laity.
Trinity Sunday, 19 June, 2011

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