John Lilburne's journal about the resignation of Wayne Carey and the juridical method in Saying Amen by Kathleen Hughes.



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1355 L Thu 14 Mar 2002

The captain of the North Melbourne Football Club, Wayne Carey, resigned yesterday with the following statement:

The matters leading to the statement I'm about to make are of a personal nature and I will not discuss them.

For the wellbeing of all concerned I have taken the decision to cease my playing career with the Kangaroos.

I regret the circumstances of my actions, which has led to the decision and the pain it has caused my wife and family.

I apologise to all my team-mates and the Kangaroos supporters, however, I believe this is the only proper and responsible course of action.

Virtue is important for players in the Australian Football League. Their on field performance receives enormous attention and to a lesser extent so does their off field behaviour. If there is a problem among the players people recognise the importance of addressing it for the good of the club. People realise that the consequences of failing to do so will be immediate and severe.

I have been reading the Introduction to Saying Amen: A Mystagogy of Sacrament by Kathleen Hughes (LTP, 1999):

... Ah, but we had hoped ...

Those words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus may capture for many a deep sadness at the present climate surrounding the celebration of the liturgy. Especially for those who have invested their time and talent in one or other aspect of the reform -- bishops and worship office personnel, pastors and administrators, musicians and artists, writers and teachers -- there is deeply disheartening suspicion that something is very wrong. There are nagging, generally unspoken questions, too: In the process of the reform have we lost touch with the heart of the liturgy? Has the reform lost its soul? ... (page xii)

Steps must be taken, leaders feel, to halt the steady stream of defections of the disillusioned and to attempt to stabilize the community's life and worship. But leadership cannot provide an appropriate remedy until their has been a correct diagnosis of the disease, and diagnoses abound. Some believe that the whole liturgical reform was misguided and and that it is time for a reform of the reform. Some think language is the issue, especially as linguistic changes are attributed to feminist pressures for inclusion. Some believe priesthood has been demythologized and demoted and that introducing so many new ministries has obscured the sacerdotal role. ... (page xiv)

My diagnosis is that there has been an undervaluing of what she calls the "Juridical Method". Among the various methods to liturgical studies she discusses it in Chapter 1:

The juridical or rubrical approach to worship was employed in a modified way in introducing the new liturgy. This method had predominated in the teaching of liturgy and sacraments before Vatican II. It was a way of talking about liturgy that concentrated almost exclusively on how a particular ceremony ought to be conducted according to the rubrics of the rite, canonical prescriptions and other legislation available to the student of liturgy, most often the presbyter. A juridical approach is characterised by proper execution. Unaccompanied by other methods, a juridical approach simply exposes what should be done and how it should be accomplished, not where it came from or why we are doing it. Perhaps some of us experienced this kind of approach if over-zealous teachers prepared us to serve the community in one of the liturgical ministries simply by quoting the documents as the final authority, stating the letter of the law while ignoring its spirit, or conveying a type of pragmatic approach to liturgy without any attention to the deeper meaning of the rites or the appropriate spirituality one must nurture in assuming a ministry in the name of the community. (page 5).

In football it is obvious that proper execution is vitally important. Somehow for ceremonies in the Catholic Church people think they can ignore instructions, such as in the Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 68a:

a bow of the head is made at the name of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saint in whose honor the Mass or the liturgy of the hours is being celebrated;

If this is not followed then there can hardly be any education in liturgy. The liturgical books get hidden away and anyone who discusses them gets ostracized. Such an approach is not sustainable.

1114 L Fri 15 Mar 2002

I found a bit more about the standards that apply in a football club. The coach of Richmond, Danny Frawley, talks about the vice-captain Darren Gaspar:

... Frawley recounts a discussion with the playing group in which a proposal was put forward to water down the tough player code that had resulted in a couple of highly publicised suspensions being imposed during the 2000 season.

While he believe the punishments were fair and appropriate, the coach wanted to be sure of the players' opinion, after some outside the Club argued that the tough decisions impacted unfairly on the rest of the team.

"I put it back on the players and asked them to decide and, within 20 seconds, they came back with their decision to keep it. I think one player asked what would happen in a final if a player was suspended and it was Darren who stood up and said if a player was going to go out and muck up before a final, they didn't deserve to be playing. After that, it sort of ended the discussion, because everyone agreed." ...

This was from an article "For Darren its a case of unfinished business" by Michael Gleeson, in the Official Richmond Football Club Season Preview 2002, pages 12-13.


Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 14 March 2002.


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Carey quits on