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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Comments

Justin Walters

Wow, I'm not sure what I said to deserve such a thorough response, but thank you! I appreciate your resonance with this issue, and can already see our common ground.

I agree with these observed shortcomings of the parish. I think a closer look at why these symptoms have appeared would be in order, but expect that your upcoming posts will look at that. Thanks again for such a complete analysis of this, Jack. I can assure you that this content will feed many discussions!

Fred K.

Well done. I was involved in parishes for many years before my involvement in CL including serving on the altar, adult education classes, Eucharistic Minister training and service, choir, cantor, and lector, church cleaning, baptism classes, marriage prep, Boy Scouts, etc.

Recently, I went to an adult education class at my parish for Advent. The topic was Scriptures related to Christmas. The pastor gave an excellent talk that was insightful and orthodox. I was struck by the intense hunger people had to learn about the faith. I also felt that something was missing from the presentation. Instead of a merely intellectual presentation, I would have liked some guidance in applying the material to my daily experience or as having some relation to my daily life.

I find that CL is intensifying my desire for more from my parish. For example, I have started taking notes during the homily so I can better remember and understand what has been given.


JACK

Justin,

The question of what has led to our parishes being the way they are is a good one. For now, I don't plan a post on that per se, although I'd encourage discussion in the comments section on that topic. My instinct in many respects, frankly, is that the true nature of the laity's vocation has been misunderstood by clergy and laity alike.

Justin Walters

How systemic is the misunderstanding? Is it something inherent in the definition of a parish, or is it a present-day sickness that can maybe one day be healed? What is the extent of the misunderstanding - is it something propogated through the magisterium, how mutable/fixable is this misunderstanding? Sorry for all the questions, maybe you see where I'm going: why can't the misunderstanding be dealt with within the parish?

JACK

Justin,

I'm not sure that I would argue that the misunderstandings couldn't be dealt with within the parish. I think in fact they can be. I'm biased, I suppose, but I see much of the problem stemming from the universal lack of practical appreciation for the vocation of the laity. Oh, it's there in our theology, but not always in our praxis. That this is visible in our parishes is just one expression of the problem, in one of the more universal locales where Catholics encounter Catholics. I think it has particular nuances in terms of its expression that are driven by the fact of it being a parish, but I don't think it is inherently a parish problem at its root. Take a look at my "Why Movements At All" post. I hope that gives you a sense that I'm not seeing movements as a "fix" for our parishes, in as much as they are a place where a dimension of our authentic Catholic identity is visibly on display, a dimension that our parishes need to restore. That said, I do think on a practical level the movements could be a vehicle for that restoration.

Stephen

I wonder if the parish itself isn't a movement. It's institutionalized now, but it wasn't always. In fact, in the early church, the parish didn't exist. Is it necessary?

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