Thanksgiving was abundant with family, food, and most of all, giving thanks to our God and Father. He has blessed us far beyond our ability to provide thanks or return.
This week we have an early edition. Here is Bulletin_2014-11-30.
Important & Not So: To the extent that I am able to exercise the virtue of prudence, this blog attempts to discern between that which is important and that which is trivial. This week I have an example of each.
Trivial – A Small Flap over Flags: Bulletin 2014-11-30 page 4 – The Papal Flag: “I have moved the Papal flag to the Gospel side of the altar and the American flag to the choir side of the altar. People tell me that it should be the reverse, but I like the idea of having the Papal flag on the Gospel side.”
From the perspective of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), This is a non-issue:
Surprisingly to many, there are no regulations of any kind governing the display of flags in Roman Catholic Churches. Neither the Code of Canon law, nor the liturgical books of the Roman rite comment on this practice. As a result, the question of whether and how to display the American flag in a Catholic Church is left up to the judgment of the diocesan bishop, who in turn often delegates this to the discretion of the pastor.
From the perspective of the people who advised our Pastor that it should be the reverse of his decision, they can cite United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag, §7. Position and manner of display, para k.:
When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag [the Papal flag] so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
From my perspective, I have been a Roman Catholic all my life and I served in the military under U.S. flag for over 21 years; my only concern is that both the Papal flag and the U.S. flag be afforded the respect they deserve. As a side note, St. John the Evangelist appears to conform to the thinking of the The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy “…not to place the flag within the sanctuary itself …”
Important – Spiritual Toxins in the Vestibule: Now let’s consider a topic that is far more important. In this case, it would be worthwhile to do the background research yourself so that you may draw your own conclusions on where our Pastor wants to take his flock. The research assignment is on two items that Father has placed in the vestibule and recommended from the pulpit: Give Us This Day periodicals from Liturgical Press and The Little Blue Book – Advent and Christmas Seasons 2014-2015 from Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw, Inc.
Give Us This Day – Without going into the detail of the research performed by some of our fellow parishioners, here are a couple of points to assist you in your personal research.
- The editorial advisers of “Give Us This Day” include three priests who are dissenters to Church teaching and may even espouse heretical ideas. They are:
- The periodical includes reflections by Lutheran pastors as well as Catholic priests. It has a “Blessed among Us” page which features saints in addition to the editors’ choice of luminaries. One of these is Fr. Thomas Berry, a self-proclaimed “geologian,” who embraces ecological spirituality.
The Little Blue Book – This publication first appeared in the vestibule on Thanksgiving Day. Our Pastor highly recommends it and its deceased author, Bishop Ken Untener as well. A quick look-up in Wikipedia informs us that:
In 1980, Untener was named the fourth Bishop of Saginaw. His consecration to the episcopacy immediately became embroiled in controversy, however, as area Catholics filed complaints with the Vatican about a recent workshop on sexuality Untener authorized at St. John’s Seminary. Detractors of the workshop claimed it promoted lewdness and promiscuity.
Your research on Bishop Untener will show you that controversy is only the beginning, there are also problems with his views on birth control, liturgy, and more. Bishop Untener was a dissenter to Church teaching. A quick reading of The Little Blue Book does not reveal any immediate threat to the soul, but it raises the question: Aren’t there more reputable authors producing Advent and Christmas Season reflections from which to chose?
Is a pattern emerging here? Why is our Pastor selecting materials from an array of dissenters? Where is he leading us? In the words of one our fellow parishioners:
Taking into account the above referenced evidence, what assurance do we have that this publication would be theologically, morally, and ethically consistent with the Magisterium of the Church? Further, what kind of shepherd would offer such tainted food to his sheep?
From this point forward, perhaps we should exercise great caution when we pick up free materials from the vestibule. In high school I wrote this to myself:
I’ll read a book,I’ll stop and look,I’ll give it my perusal.I’ll think its thoughts,Then think them twice,Then accept or give them my refusal.