Tomorrow members of the LCWR leadership council meet in Rome with Cardinal Levada and Archbishop Sartain and the Vatican hopes to seek 'reciprocal understanding'. I guess that's a start, but I just don't see how this is going to come about when the two sides have such different understanding of what is real in Catholicism and how Christ should be presented to the world. Or, to use the Vatican buzz word, 'evangelized. Here are two articles which for me underscore this difference in world view. The first is from Vatican Insider and recounts Pope Benedict's thoughts on the recent Italian earthquakes plus his views on Eucharistic Adoration. The second is from the Oxford University Press blog and is the work of an Oxford scholar, Carole Garibaldi Rogers, who chronicles the lives of LCWR nuns. A kudo to TheraP for bringing this link to my attention.
Pope feels moved at today’s Angelus: “Jesus is also under the rubble”
Vatican Insider - 6/10/2012
During the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke about the recent earthquake in northern Italy and recalled how “the Eucharistic Body of Christ, in the tabernacles, has also remained in certain cases under the rubble”
Today, Benedict XVI recalled “with emotion" the population of northern Italy hit by the “recent earthquake”, sparing a special thought for “the numerous churches which have been severely damaged.” He also stressed the fact that “the Eucharistic Body of Christ, in the tabernacles, has also remained in certain cases under the rubble.”
The Pope remembered the people and communities affected by the earthquake in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, “with affection.” He “thanked” Christians “for all that they are doing for the benefit of the entire population” and invited faithful to be “more and more united in the name of the Lord”: from the sharing of the Eucharist “comes the ability to share life and assets, and to bear each other’s burdens.”
During the Angelus, Benedict XVI proposed again a reflection on the Eucharistic mystery for Christians and the value of “adoration”, drawing on what he had said last Thursday when he celebrated a mass for the Corpus Domini, on the steps of Rome's Cathedral Basilica of St. John Lateran.
“Today, Italy and many other countries celebrate the Corpus Domini, that is, the solemn feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the Eucharist,” the Pope said. On this day, it is a lively tradition to hold solemn processions through streets and squares with the Holy Sacrament. In Rome, this procession already took place on a diocesan level last Thursday, the day of the feast’s anniversary. Every year, the Corpus Domini renews Christian joy and gratitude for the Jesus’ Eucharistic presence among them.”
“The solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord - he explained – reminds us of the value of Eucharistic adoration. The Servant of God, Paul VI recalled that the Catholic Church professes the worship of the Eucharist, “both during Mass and outside of it, by taking the greatest possible care of consecrated Hosts, by exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and by carrying them about in processions to the joy of great numbers of the people.”
Here's the second article which I've edited, skipping the introduction to the LCWR investigation since readers of this blog are quite familiar with the investigation itself. This story represents a very different view of Church. It's the Church of the People of God, not the clerical Church of Jesus in the Tabernacle.
So who are these women who stand in the eye of the storm?
“It was my first time in a war zone. And I’m with a peace team, whose goal is to get in the way of the violence with nonviolent methods. That was very new for me. The first thing I saw were the United Nations tanks and huge, huge truckloads of armed soldiers. The weapon of war there is rape, definitely the weapon is rape. There’s a whole lot of shooting and killing but wherever we went, women told a story of rape. Every place we went, we talked to the people. The women can’t go fetch firewood. They can’t go to fetch water. They are in danger whenever they leave.
“We worked with Synergie in Eastern Congo, which is a women’s group that works with rape victims. They were finally able to convince one woman to go to court to tell what happened to her. She needed a place to stay because she lived way out in the village, and two women said, ‘We have room in our house. You can stay with us.’ Shortly after that, the two women were killed.
“I can’t just be a stranger doing a job in a place. In Congo, I got to know my neighbors very well. I found myself going to visit families. [The militia groups] started to target university students, and so at one of our neighbors, a young man was home studying, and he was shot in front of his family. It was a terrible time. I got there, and I looked at this child on the floor, and I thought, ‘What is this that our children can’t grow up?’ Well, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I could not say one word to those people. And then I left. A few days later they came to get me, and they said, ‘Come here, come here. We want to tell these people who you are.’ And I said, ‘For what?’ And they said, ‘This is the one who cried with us.’
“That’s the cost of relationships. You’re into their lives. They’re into your life. We enter into the pain of people, and I guess for me it’s become more the pain of the world. It’s so deep. There are so many trouble spots and there are so many people who don’t get a share at the table. I hope my prayers are deeper. I hope my walking on this earth is gentler and more caring and more compassionate. I also feel that I have met the people and they’ve told me their story. So what is now my responsibility?”
I am curious to see how Archbishop Sartain and Cardinal Levada are going to understand the view of Church and the People of God the LCWR understands. These are men whose Pope is as concerned about Hosts in tabernacles under earthquake rubble than the people under rubble. I can't imagine for the life of me that someone who has lost a loved one in an earthquake is going to be comforted by the Pope's statement on 'Jesus in the rubble'. For me Jesus is more incarnate in the people in the rubble, which is something Sister Milazzo has experienced first hand in all it's devastation. "What is this that our children can't grow up?" And I said, 'For what?" And they said, "This is the one who cried with us."
How does one bridge the gap between abstract triumphal clericalism and Christ centered practical compassion? I guess it's going to be up to the LCWR to figure that out, because I don't think the clerical mindset is capable of even seeing the need to bridge the gap. Good luck ladies.