Catholic Bill of Rights
#1
I am sure this has been posted before, but I ran across it and thought it was a good read. Note number five addresses some thnigs which were current at that time.

A Bill of Rights for Orthodox Catholics
New Oxford Review, June 1998
By Mark J. Kelly

Pope John Paul II has said that Catholics have a right to receive authentic Catholic doctrine and the fullness of the Catholic experience. Because so many Catholics, especially lay Catholics, have been deprived of this right, and have consequently endured great spiritual anguish, it's time to draft a Catholic Bill of Rights. Here's my stab at it:

We, the People of God, declare that we are the inheritors of certain inalienable rights. These rights, purchased for us by the blood of our Savior and renewed by every martyr, are fully and solemnly assured to us by the Second Vatican Council, the revised Code of Canon Law (CIC), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

1. We have the right to a Church that both follows the letter and embodies the spirit of Vatican II.

The documents of Vatican II are like a classic book that many talk about but few have read. The true spirit of Vatican II is found in the words of Vatican II. As St. Thomas More would remind us, "A document or oath means what the words say." Pope John XXIII called the Council so the Church could better address the modern world. Nowhere in the documents of the Council is there a call to embrace the modern world. The call to address the modern world contains no imperatives to soften our message or to abandon objective truth.

Nowhere does the Council give permission for the exercise of radical individualism, the flouting of authority, or the intentional ignoring of the Holy See and the directives of the universal Church. While recognizing cultural variations in different societies and the need to be sensitive to these organic idiosyncrasies, Vatican II did not establish an autonomous American Church or American Rite. The true reforms of the Council called for a sacred liturgy and a sacred people to address a changing world. It is not the Council that needs to be called into question; it is our faithfulness to its teachings and to the Church of all ages.

2. We have the right to be treated always as the People of God.

When the People of God plead for liturgical sanity or doctrinal orthodoxy in catechesis, they must be heard, especially when they call attention to those who are ignoring the Council and encouraging innovations outside the scope of the universal Church and the parameters of established Church law. Are the laity treated as "holy" and as "sharing in the prophetic office of Christ" (Lumen Gentium [LG] 12) when they are repeatedly ignored and have their liturgy and their catechetical literature changed uncanonically? We have the right to be answered directly, in a timely manner, about the restoration of fidelity in such matters.

3. We have the right to a Sacred Liturgy.

The Council's document on liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), is the "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy," not the worldly liturgy, the trivial liturgy, or the liturgy of choice. The liturgy is primarily addressed to God the Father through the priestly office of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Innovations that make a point of focusing on the congregation result in a loss of transcendence and in a worship of immediacy. The perceived needs and wants of the congregation become the aim of the Mass, in lieu of the one voice of a priestly people addressing their God. The Mass should be clearly Catholic. Each Mass should bear a resemblance to other Masses celebrated in the same rite. No one has the right to add, change, or remove any portion of the Mass (SC 22). We have a right to a true "missal Mass." Those outside the binding guidelines of the rubrics or competent authority are not following Vatican II and are not Catholic (SC 37-40).

4. We have the right to a homily and authentic Scripture readings.

The homily is to be an exposition of the Word of God read at Mass (SC 52, CCC 1349). The presentation of the Holy Scriptures and its organically connected explication, the homily, are basic parts of the Mass and essential to the people of God (CIC 767). The Scripture readings should be proclaimed as printed in the Lectionary. Those who omit, alter, or otherwise transform Scripture readings on their own should carefully review Rev. 22:18-19, Deut. 4:2, 12:32, and Prov. 30:6. No priest or layman has permission to administer or authorize such transformation (SC 22).

5. We have the right to competent liturgical translations.

Since the Sacred Liturgy is one of the primary teaching tools of the Church, an accurate and honest translation of the Mass and Divine Office is essential to the life of the Church (SC 33). The Roman Rite of the Mass still opens with the greeting Dominus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tuo. Why is the current translation "and also with you" rather than "and with your spirit"? And why is mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa left out? The current ICEL (International Committee for English in the Liturgy) translation of the Mass is full of such unfortunate translations and deprivations. The current ICEL translation of the Credo is particularly questionable:

1962 St. Andrew's Missal translation

    I believe
    · all that is visible and invisible
    · the only-begotten son of God
    · being of one substance (co-substantial) with the father
    · and was Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary



ICEL translation

    We believe
    · all that is seen and unseen
    · the only son of God
    · one in Being with the Father
    · by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary



These differences are significant. "I believe" is what the Latin text of the Creed says. Historically, the Church as one corporate body, one bride speaking to her husband, has said with one voice "I believe" in a unifying act of communion. Is the current "We believe" creed a statement of modern congregationalism?

"Things visible and invisible" are so from an objective point of view. A thing is essentially visible or invisible. Yet it's quite possible for a visible object to be subjectively unseen. Is the subjective more important than the objective view of God? Is the current translation conveying relativism and the subjectivity of truth?

"Only-begotten" and "one in substance" are the very heart of the Creed. St. Athanasius and the Council of Nicaea established the terms to combat the popular religion of the day, Arianism. If you did not use those specific words, the Council considered you heretical. Is ICEL soft on Arianism? Why has ICEL expunged these all-important words?

"He was Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary." The words of the true Creed are most specific. The ICEL use of "by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born…" could be construed as a denial of the Virgin Birth and of the integrity of the unborn baby. According to Scripture, all life (plants, beasts, man) is brought forth by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ps. 33:6, 104:30; Job 33:4). What in this translation makes Christ unique? Christ, furthermore, did not begin to live when He was "born" of Mary but when He was conceived. The Incarnation of God begins with the Annunciation, not the Nativity. Hence the importance of the proper translation, "Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary."

6. We have the right to a truly reformed liturgy.

The Council promises the reform of the Sacred Liturgy without changing essentials. We have a right to true reform, which means renewing the past and making it live afresh, not inventing novelties that smack of worldly wisdom (Jer. 6:16). The People of God must be guided and informed by faithful liturgists, not innovators in the grip of current opinion. We live in an increasingly secular society that appears bent on the removal from our common life of all reverence, all objective morality, and even the holy name of God the Father. We must not become like this culture in the vain hope of thus being better able to address it.

7. We have the right to faithful teaching.

With the publication of the Catechism, the years of catechetical flux are over and the mind of the Second Vatican Council is made most clear. Those who produce and approve materials contrary to sound doctrine as expressed in the Catechism are opposing Vatican II. The Council firmly declares that such people are "not being saved"; they are in the Church in a bodily manner only and are "more severely judged" (LG 14). There has arisen the errant idea that one may be opposed to essential Catholic dogmas and still be a Catholic. Such a belief is contrary to Vatican II (LG 14). The gift of conscience is not the privilege of teaching as one wishes and contradicting the doctrine of the Church.

8. We have the right to proper use of sacred symbols.

Symbols, by their nature, point to and touch what they represent. They give us direct connection to greater invisible realities. Depictions of our Lord, His Blessed Mother, and the saints should bear some resemblance to human beings. Disordered montages of shapes that can be taken for any old thing are not sacred symbols. Churches are to be in their entirety symbols of the Kingdom of God. Our eternal symbols must not be prey to mere fashion or convenience. Fake candles are a small item that points to the greater problem. A burning candle represents our prayers ascending, our self-immolation in humility, God's light in our lives, and our yearning for God. A little electric lamp in place of such a candle is false, a mere symbol of a symbol. Direct, timeless symbols are essential to culture and cult. Do our modern sanctuaries strive to symbolize community centers or to depict the Kingdom of Heaven?

9. We have the right to music about God.

Music that sounds intended to amuse children and lyrics that constantly affirm us in our "humanity" are not true reforms of the liturgy. We need to sing solemn hymns to God (SC 113-114). Where are the boy choirs, Gregorian chant, pipe organs, and polyphonic music urged and promised by the Council (SC 115, 116, 120)?

10. We have the right to standard English.

So-called inclusive language should more accurately be called "exclusive language," for the use of such excludes the user from the meaning of the original text, and from the understanding of non-English-speaking members of the universal Church. Neutered language does not promote multi-cultural understanding, as it imposes a meaning upon the translated text that separates us from translations in other languages. Most languages are naturally gendered, and a reference to a plurality of people is generally in the masculine. God is always in the masculine. Simply reading "God" in Greek, Latin, French, or Spanish leads one to know Him as Father, just as Jesus knew Him and taught His followers to know Him.

We are the People of God, secure in our covenant with Him. Our God-given rights as proclaimed in this Bill of Rights may not be denied by any of His representatives on earth.
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