There is a lot of comment on the papal exhortation. It is a little overwhelming. But some you may want to read are listed here. A reader here, sentenil, suggests the following from very reputable writers:
It is accomplished. Amoris Laetitia (hereafter AL) has been read from go to whoa. It was a bit of a slog at times. There are moments of golden lucidity and crystal clarity, with flashes of insight and inspiration. There are moments of ambiguity and the avoidance of plain speaking. There a stretches where the subject seems laboured, over-worked and even, at times, uneccessary. There are moments when one thinks when is reading the words of an earthy parish priest rather than the magisterial teaching of a sovereign pontiff to the Church and the world.
Well, it has been hard to get a lot of clear space to read the apostolic exhortation, but I am over a third the way through it. As yet, I’ve suffered no paroxysms or cataclysms. It is rather good in parts. There are a couple of parts pregnant with ambiguity, and I have not yet got to the controversial stuff. There is at least one missed opportunity.
As the Holy Father himself suggested, I am reading this with care and attention, and without rushing. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I will be in a position to offer comment on it. Many commentators will already have put their oars in the choppy waters, but I shall refrain from reading them for now. Dr Stephen Bullivant’s generously-sized news bite is all I have allowed to intrude so far, other glancing at the secular media headlines proclaiming Francis is saying yes to everyone but homosexuals. But we all know they have their own agenda to pursue. Please do not let the secular media provide your commentary on this document. The Tablet‘s headline is just as mischievous, having a different, though related, agenda.
If I offer anything tomorrow, it will not be a systematic commentary but some reactions and observations, especially on points that some may likely have glossed over. However, so far no foundations have been rocked.
If you have, or have seen, any strong reactions from the Catholic world please do let me know of them. I won’t read them till I have finished the document, but they might serve as good measures for my/our own reactions.
Oh, yes. I have changed the design of this blog. The near collision of post titles with their dates in the headings in the previous theme was beyond my control and driving me potty (-er). It was time to move on. Best to minimise annoyances!
The day that we have been expecting with either excitement or dread has arrived. The pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been published and released. It is the fruit of the Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family. It will require some reading as it is quite long, so there goes the afternoon.
You can get your free copy from the Vatican website.
Watch out for the tsunami of reaction.
OK. So last night I was tired, still a little festal after the keeping of the Solemnity of St Benedict, and feeling a little mischievous. For some reason I was almost looking forward to a stream of hate mail, or at least a stream of opprobrium. It’s one of the areas in which I am touchiest when it comes to the blogosphere.
So it is time to come clean.
One tendency in our day that I find difficult is the transferring of solemnities to more convenient days. It is especially offensive to pious hearts when the days transferred have weighty historical and/or biblical reasons for being kept when they are set to be kept. Thus the Ascension belongs on the proper Thursday and not on the nearest convenient Sunday, to suit those who could not be bothered to make the extra effort to get to Mass on the proper day itself (and if they have a real reason for not getting to Mass they are excused – it is not a merciless system). Likewise with Epiphany, and even the Immaculate Conception. You get the idea.
So I am of the camp that says we should keep solemnities on their proper days, come hell or high water. It is the luck of the calendrical draw. Saving, of course, if they fall in the Triduum. That was my position.
However the discovery that the East keeps the Annunciation even when it falls on Good Friday—and with a Mass no less—has arrested my attention. The Annunciation, too, has serious claim to be kept on its proper date, 9 months before the Nativity. What a profoundly unsettling yet fruitful conjunction when they coincide.
So to put my cards on the table and to play no more games: keep Easter as it is reckoned and has been for centuries in the Church; keep all solemnities on their proper days except if they fall in the Triduum; and even then, should the Annunciation coincide with Good Friday, maybe there is something to be said for keeping the Annunciation even then, as it is the feast of our Lord’s Incarnation, the enabler of the central mystery of the Passion and Resurrection of the God-man by which we are saved.
That is one radical change I would like to hear more about…
Yesterday I had the rare privilege of celebrating conventual Mass in the abbey church for the Annunciation (transferred from 25 March, of course, since it fell in Holy Week this year). It is normally the prior’s day, but the prior is ill, so muggins was on deck in loco prioris.
In thinking about what to say I was struck by the fact that this year the Annunciation fell on Good Friday. This last happened in 2005, but will not happen again for another 141 years. So we will never live to see this liturgical collision again. Or will we?
It’s been so long I almost forget how to do this blogging thing. But it’s coming back…
It has been busy here at Douai; that’s one excuse for the silence. Another is that it has been hard to find anything really good to write about, so it was best to say nothing, or so it seemed.
Another reason, if not an excuse, for the silence is that I found the whole blogosphere had become overwhelming. Just going through my Digg blogroll took longer and longer, even with skim reading, and it was getting more and more depressing in content. So I went cold turkey, and I have not opened Digg or looked at blogs (except through the odd single link on Facebook or Twitter) since January.
So here am I writing a blog post. The irony is not lost on me.