Friday, January 26, 2024

Curious. . .

We all know that Francis did not quite bless same sex couples nor did he grant them the status of marriage.  Of course, all of that is kind of lost in the mix of things.  These are part of that grand category of distinctions without a difference.  This is especially true of how it will appear to those outside and inside the Roman Catholic Church.  Oddly enough, the blessing itself is not to include any of the typical words or forms of prayer common to marriage.  The Vatican document is pretty clear on this.  The blessings cannot “be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.”  Okay, except for one thing.  Most folks will have trouble remembering what is common or proper to a wedding  sanctioned by Rome and a blessing made up on the spot.  Yes, that is it.  The blessing should be made up, creative, not following the form or phrases common to the marriage rite.  Does that mean they should also be spontaneous?  But, wait.  Isn't that part of what has gotten Rome into trouble before?  Priests not following the forms or rites but making it up as they went along?  But now that is what they are supposed to do?

Ex corde  prayer, prayer from the heart, sounds like it is just the answer but in reality it is often the problem.  The works we make up on the spot may fail to square with what is public teaching.  Indeed, I find myself sometimes hesitant to say "Amen" to such prayers because I am not quite sure what I am giving my assent to and begging the Lord to do.  Surely by skipping the ritual forms of prayer that accord with the rites and doctrines of the faith the pope's call will end up with confusion at best and heresy at worst.  But that has hardly stopped him in the past.  

Think about this.  The pope is fearful of the ordered prayers of the ancient liturgy, the Vetus Ordo as some call it.  He is so fearful of it that he has greatly restricted not only its use but who can consent to its use.  Yet he seems to be somewhat unafraid of what priests might make up while speaking off the cuff to the same sex couple.  Except, of course, that they need to be careful NOT to sound like the rites or the liturgy or anything, well, official.  Yeah, that is something that will not end up coming back to bite you in the end.  

Dare I say the obvious?  Those same pastors will undoubtedly be approached by same sex couples who neither want nor will be satisfied by an ad hoc blessing.  They want something official -- so official, perhaps, that it is hard to distinguish from the wedding rite itself.  And how will they be content with an off the cuff prayer that does not sound churchly in a setting far removed from altar and rail.  Do they not want from Francis the real thing and not a fake imitation -- something in the church, in front of family and friends, with music, with everyone dressed up (including the priest) and a sumptuous reception to follow?  Yeah, this is going to go a long ways to satisfy every one, right?

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

"The Vatican document is pretty clear on this. The blessings cannot “be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.”

The Missouri Synod was also pretty clear in the past about the Galesburg Rule. Then came the notion of "selective fellowship" and the hairsplitting distinction of "partaking" vs "taking part" in the Lord's Supper, and the acknowledged "Once in a lifetime" exception, which now has occurred several times within my lifetime.