I haven’t been blogging very much the last year. A few sermons is mostly all I’ve been able to manage with the new tri-point parish – and not even as many of those as I would like. We’re finally moving from vacancy to permanent status for the tri-point, thanks be to God! I am prayerfully considering the call while I wait for the official documents to arrive, and (DV) will soon be installed.
And, as with anything in this world, there have been a few hiccups and challenges along the way. Today, I’ll mention only one – most people would think it’s so minor (given the gravity of the occasion) as to not even merit noticing. But how we behave at solemn moments says a lot about who we are and what we confess. A visit to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier this summer makes clear to even the hardest of hearts why we jealously guard our ceremonies – especially at solemn moments.
In today’s case, the COP has attempted to institute a new liturgical custom – already that’s bad – with no discussion, no input from the church, and no authority to do so. It’s not the only time in the process that I have gotten the impression that the COP views its authority as papal, but it is the most obvious, and among the most stupid (although that’s a pretty tough competition).
It did not used to have the note at the bottom. Having been in my current parish for 15 years, I don’t know when it was added. It must have been after 2007, because it was not in the new Agenda. It is not in any of the synod’s three approved Agendas. It has never been in an agenda. The synod has not approved such a change to any of her Agendas. Which means: There is no liturgical warrant for such a thing. No liturgical history that would allow it. No synodical dispensation for it.
It is, by every reasonable definition, disorderly. We do not have a God of disorder, so where does that put this? The only authority for including such a stupid and distracting ceremony in the rite is the raw power of the COP to do as they please. It is papalism, and not even wise or well considered papalism.
To be clear: I don’t expect my own District President to demand or even encourage such a thing. And he has been helpful and easy to work with through the entire process – a true Christian servant. It was when we arrived at the “call documents” portion that things became strange. And these few strokes of a pen are, if not the strangest of all, then the strangest to be set before the people. And that makes this worthy of comment.