An editorial on Catholic law enforcement, Bishop Bruskewitz and approaches to corrections regarding liturgy and popular piety.


About John Lilburne



1615 K Wed 3 Jul 2002

I found this an interesting conclusion to an editorial in the Homilitic and Pastoral Review:

... Right now we do not need any more documents from Rome or Washington. What we need is enforcement of the laws we already have on the books. When valid legislation is not enforced, one can easily think that the bishops lack either sincerity or courage. For, either they are not convinced of the truth of what they say or they are afraid to enforce it.

In the Gospels Jesus did more than just preach; he also acted. He drove the merchants and money-changers out of the temple. We need and deserve more of that.

Kenneth Baker, S.J., Editor

As a good example of law enforcement he refers to Bishop Bruskewitz, of Lincoln, Nebraska. I have seen several references to him on the internet recently, including that he institutes lay men as acolytes and lectors.

Yesterday I read the Directory for Popular Piety and the Liturgy. Its an impressive educational document, covering a wide range of the liturgical books. It also has practical suggestions and an encouraging approach.

In terms of liturgical laws, these two sentences from n.165 seem particularly important:

... Gradually, the faithful should be encouraged not to do other devotional exercises during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Footnote 180: Cf. Reply ad dubium on n. 62 of the Instruction Eucharisticum mysterium, in Notitiae 34 (1998) 133-134; concerning the Rosary, see the following note.) Given the close relationship between Christ and Our Lady, the rosary can always be of assistance in giving prayer a Christological orientation, since it contains meditation of the Incarnation and the Redemption (Footnote 181: Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 46; Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline pf the Sacraments (15.1.1997), in Notitiae 34 (1998) 506-510; see also the rescript of the Apostolic Penitentiary of 8 March 1996, in Notitiae 34 (1998) 511.). ...

The Pope's address (of 21 September 2001) also discussed approaches to corrections, in n. 5:

... Forms of popular religiosity can sometimes appear to be corrupted by factors that are inconsistent with Catholic doctrine. In such cases, they must be patiently and prudently purified through contacts with those responsible and through careful and respectful catechesis - unless radical inconsistencies call for immediate and decisive measures. ...

Judgements need to be made about how corrections should be done. Gradually and patiently versus immediately and decisively. In the Catholic Church I think more people would now favour "immediate and decisive meansures" than would have in September 2001.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 3 July 2002.

Other sites:

Editorial of June Homilitic and Pastoral Review

Bishop Bruskewitz's CV answer on acolytes, re Bishop Bruskewitz

Directory for Popular Piety and the Liturgy (