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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Latin Vespers for Christ the King

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Glorious singing from Westminster Cathedral. Not sure when this will be replaced with the next programme.

A Faithful Rebel :

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Another Shocking Scandal: Minneapolis Priest Openly Preaches Against Church Teaching (Audio File Available for Download)

With the quiet support of the Pope,

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France is seeing an explosion of traditional religious communities, says Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis.

We are often told that the Church has to modernise, because the young, especially, can no longer relate to its teachings. It is sometimes even suggested that we should be grateful for a decline in vocations to priesthood: could this not be a sign from the Holy Spirit that the age of the laity is finally dawning?

This eagerness to make a virtue out of a necessity finds its most radical conclusion in a booklet entitled Church and Ministry published in the Netherlands by a group of Dominican academics. One of them, Fr André Lascaris, recently explained his thesis in the Tablet.
Numbers of vocations to the priesthood in Holland are plummeting, and according to Fr Lascaris there is “no hope of a remedy for this situation”. Apart from his own remedy, of course. His proposal is clear and simple: “In the absence of ordained priests, lay persons should be allowed to celebrate the Eucharist.” He adds: “Whether they be men or women, homo or heterosexual, married or unmarried, is irrelevant.”

The beauty of all this, according to Fr Lascaris, is that it is “based on the statements of the Second Vatican Council, and on publications of professional theologians and pastoral experts”.

Did the Second Vatican Council really say that? Are we really supposed to believe that the Holy Spirit deliberately manufactured a crisis in vocations, just to make way for the establishment of a new age of laity?

Of course, we laity have an essential role in the Church’s evangelisation. We have the awesome responsibility of carrying the message of Jesus Christ to our contemporaries who are searching. If falling vocations force us to acknowledge this, and to act on it, then the Holy Spirit will indeed have brought much fruit from any current crisis.
But perhaps Fr Lascaris’s Brave New Church of feminists concelebrating Mass in rainbow-coloured jilabas is not the only remedy to declining numbers of priests. A beautifully illustrated new book on the religious life in France suggests that there might be another solution. Reading the two books side by side you might be forgiven for assuming that the authors belong to two completely different religions.
If the photographs in Les communautés traditionnelles en France are anything to go by, then just across the Channel there lies a whole rich seam of Catholic religious life that is young, vibrant and growing.