Veneration of the Saints

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musicus
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by musicus »

Benevenio wrote:No longer does the Church make God as remote as possible and unapproachable except through the services of priest and Mary and the saints.

I am no church historian, but might this not be a matter of popular perception rather than Church teaching? After all, does not the doctrine of the Incarnation, from which the Magisterium has never wavered, put God's 'approachability' beyond doubt? On the other hand, there have always been Catholics (and I have known a few) who have been brought up or taught to believe that God – not only the Father, but the Son too – is so great, perfect, pure (or whatever) that the only approach for us puny, imperfect, dirty (or whatever) mortals is through an intermediary. It does seem harsh to suggest that the Church has taught that God is beyond our reach, "in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes", but, as I said, I am no historian.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by mcb »

musicus wrote:might this not be a matter of popular perception rather than Church teaching?

Well, as the saying goes, lex orandi, lex credendi: we believe things the way we pray them. I don't think it's unfair to characterise the preconciliar liturgy as making God, even the incarnate God, feel remote and inaccessible.

It's complicated, though - in the usus antiquior there's a sense of God being a remote presence relative to the communal, public celebration, compared with - it seems to me - a stronger sense of 'here in our midst the Word of God' in the newer form. But what is the retreat into private devotion for in the old rite, if not for conjuring up a sense of closeness to God? When someone traditionally-minded is alone with their prayer during the Mass, they're alone with God, aren't they, rather than relaying requests through the saints, or his mother? Not sure...

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by organist »

Amused to see that St Barnabus crept in here! I personally see St John the Evangelist as my saint and his gospel is my favourite. On the cruise to Alaska we were fortunate to have a Catholic priest from Philadelphia (organised by Holland America line) to say Mass each day. One morning he forgot to put his clock back so I went to the Front office and he was called by a lady called Angel! It was the feast of the birthday of St John the Baptist! I discovered St Therese of Lisieux on a visit to Ampleforth abbey and she is a great inspiration.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

Benevenio wrote:No longer does the Church make God as remote as possible and unapproachable except through the services of priest and Mary and the saints.


You agree not to post any abusive...... slanderous............ or any other material ..................... Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned.....

I quote from the terms and conditions of posting on this forum. Having been absent for several weeks - still reeling from the deep shock of this posting - and having no real clarification of the intent of Benevenio in what was posted - I would request that the moderator of this forum consider banning him from posting again. In the context of a Catholic discussion forum, this post really is insulting, abusive and slanderous both personally and globally, in that it encompasses every Bishop and Priest in the world - let alone the Communion of Saints. If Benevenio sees no point in the priesthood and in conscience, wishes to embrace some form of extreme Protestantism which denies the need/efficacy of the Sacrament of Holy Orders - well, fair enough. If in conscience, he cannot cope with the profession of belief in the Communion of Saints in the Nicene Creed - well, fair enough. If that's the case, in his conscience, he's not a Catholic - fair enough. But having celebrated the Sacrament of Penance today, prayed the Prayer of the Church on behalf of the people in the parish and celebrated Mass for them - including an enrolment of children for the Sacrament of Confirmation, through which they will receive the Holy Spirit - I am not going to be told that I - or any priest - makes God as "remote as possible and unapproachable" through my ministry.

I politely request that Benevenio clarifies his posting within the context of Roman Catholic belief - and apologises to every priest on the planet - or that if he wishes not to do so, he is, as it were, excommunicated from posting here again.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by mcb »

Hello Presbyter, good to see you back. Don't go away again. I think you're reading much more into Benevenio's words than you need to. I don't think it follows from what he's written that the Church no longer needs the sacramental priesthood. Some Catholics would prescind from the view of Mary as the mediatrix of all graces, but it doesn't follow that they reject a place for her - the place of honour - among the saints. Likewise here: it's a point of view which one might or might not share, to hold that the preconciliar Liturgy made the priest the sole conduit between the people and God. Certainly, the externals of the celebration, it could be argued, made it in some ways look that way. Rightly pointing out that in the renewed Liturgy things look different, in no way adds up to telling you that you are surplus to requirements, or that you still "make God remote".

You could paraphrase the words you take exception to, by saying that the ministerial priesthood sacramentally embodies our connection in the Liturgy with the transcendent. Is that so offensive?

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by alan29 »

I wish people would make appropriate use of emoticons.
It isn't always that simple to detect irony or puckish humour just from text.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

mcb wrote:Don't go away again......


No, I'll slip away again. I'm sorry but I see neither irony nor puckish humour. I'm content knowing that the woman having great difficulty with childbirth, who I anointed the other day, received a personal and intimate contact with our Lord - and that a somewhat sore mother and HUGE baby are now doing fine. (For any mothers reading this - baby nearly 10lbs)
I'm happy with the profound theology of the Sacrosanctum Concilium (see especially para 1 through 14) and on an ecumenical note - gladdened that even the URC seem to be moving some little way towards an understanding and need of priesthood. (I attended a URC "Ordination" a short while ago)


On topic - I'll just lob this in before I go. Members of the forum may be aware of the tour which the Little Flower is making next year - and some might be wondering what on earth is the point? Have we not moved away from the veneration of relics?

But think on.... How do you remember a deceased beloved family member? Photographs? Artifacts? Even visiting their grave? The Saints are beloved members of the family of the Church. So I have no problem visiting their graves - even if the "grave" is temporarily mobile! I'm looking forward to the visit of she who expressed her wish to spend heaven doing good on earth. Perhaps I might even experience her intercession for priests in some way - even if it is simply an assurance that I'm not redundant.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by musicus »

The problem seems to boil down to 'What did Benvenio mean?'. I have read and reread this thread, and I have never taken him to mean anything other than what mcb has just suggested. If nothing else, his words 'No longer does...' make it clear that he thinks this state of affairs no longer obtains. What is less clear is the extent to which he thinks it ever did, whether in reality, in perception, or in intent. Some clarification would be very welcome indeed.

I see that, while I have been composing this, presbyter has posted again. Some might therefore think that further discussion is pointless, but I'll post anyway. And, like mcb (and, dare I say, many others?) I hope that presbyter will do so too, when the time is right.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

musicus wrote: 'No longer does...' make it clear that he thinks this state of affairs no longer obtains.


Thank you for your post musicus.....

In clarification on my part:

It's "Except" that is offensive to me.

For example:

"I am naked except for my underpants" (which I am not, by the way)
The phrase "except for my underpants" negates the statement "I am naked" for manifestly I am not naked. I am wearing my underpants. (Phew! :oops: )

The phrase -

"No longer does the Church make God as remote as possible and unapproachable"

means that now, the Church does not make God as remote as possible. She does not make God unapproachable. (inference - that at one time She might have been perceived as so doing - but that's not the issue - and I don't know what Benevenio means by writing that anyway.)

But now we have "except" - i.e. apart from, not including, other than.....

So for the listed exceptions, we can consider this alternative reading:

The Church does make God as remote as possible and unapproachable through the services of priest and Mary and the saints.

Bless you mcb - I'm not upset by considerations of transcendence and immanence. It's a matter of simple language. Priests and Saints are placed in the exception clause. Somehow (how?) - the Church does not make God remote - apart from priests and the Communion of Saints who do make God remote. What does that mean? It might be ill thought-out nonsense but even so, it is very insulting.

Anyway - enough! I'm off......... byeeeeee

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

A Parthian shot......

Anyone been to Westminster Abbey today to venerate our saintly King on his feast day?

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by musicus »

Surely not. I don't read 'except' in that way at all. I take the phrase to be equivalent to 'No longer does the Church make God as remote as possible and only approachable through the services of priest and Mary and the saints.' That is to say, 'except' qualifies 'unapproachable'.

As in, After they built the new road, no longer was the village remote(,) and unapproachable except via a narrow pass in the mountains.

At last I understand how presbyter has been reading this - and it is the worst possible interpretation. I do not think for one moment that that is what Benvenio meant.

My last word on this.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

Dear me - I think I have been seeing a comma where there is none and if that's what Benevenio means, it's not the insult I have taken it to be. My humble apologies to him if I have caused offence in any way.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by VML »

Thank you mcb for making the sense I have just made of this and was about to put into words.

And welcome back presbyter: I don't know the mother to whom you refer, but for some unaccountable reason late yesterday, I was wondering how you were, said a prayer and was planning to enquire after your health, though till just now I was away from my computer for the last ten days, looking after grandsons while their very large brother, (back on topic, Barnaby, :D at ten pounds ten ounces..) was born rather late and very fast while my husband and I were at Mass on Friday.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by musicus »

presbyter wrote:Members of the forum may be aware of the tour which the Little Flower is making next year - and some might be wondering what on earth is the point? Have we not moved away from the veneration of relics?

I have never been very comfortable with relics, but, visiting Rome for the first time earlier this year, it was an extraordinary experience to visit the tombs of Peter and Paul and, in the catacombs, the graves of countless early Christians. The sense of unbroken continuity with those who have gone before us, both great and small, was very powerful and gave me a whole new perspective on this aspect of the communion of saints.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by Benevenio »

musicus wrote:I have never been very comfortable with relics… The sense of unbroken continuity with those who have gone before us, both great and small, was very powerful and gave me a whole new perspective on this aspect of the communion of saints.
Nor have I ever been comfortable with relics. However, it is in a sense of unbroken continuity with at least a few of the saints that have gone before us that I chose to sing chant, in Latin, occasionally, not for any love of the language, nor just because the documents say so, but because it expresses 'communion of saints' to me.

presbyter wrote:Lots - far too much to quote it all here!

'I there was offence in what I said, point it out...' Well, Presbyter read into what I wrote that which was not there. Nevertheless, I apologise for having caused him offence, over such a long period of time.

To make absolutely clear what I meant: I believe that history tells us the people perceived that they could only come to God through the priest, that they invented pious devotions to fill the void, that the pretty constant renewal called for since say 1150 or so [by the (heretical) Waldensians - but actually not so vary different to the teachings of St Francis of Assisi who might easily too have been considered heretical had the political climate have changed and the inquisition been established] and arguably delivered only by the Second Vatican Council, that call for renewal shows that the powers that be in the Church had not got it right and, as a result, the people invented stuff to do - because that's what happens when there is a vacuum. A bit like rural France "electing" their own 'priests' because there weren't enough to go round, without the knowledge of the Bishops - and that not so long ago.

Of course, Presbyter is right: I am far too Protestant for my own good and, yes, I do question the Church's teaching on many things. That is a sign of an intelligent, scientific mind not wanting to accept at face value the things that my senses present to me. It is healthy to try and understand why! It is not a good argument to hear "because I said so" (though I will admit to saying that to my children :oops:) And at one level, yes, I do even question the need for priests! "Why priests?" asked Hans Küng (and look where that got him). I never read his book but, since I read the title, it has remained with me as a question. And at one level, Presbyter has provided an answer: Sacraments. Apart from Baptism (in extreme circumstances), I, not ordained, may not act in place of a priest - and nor should I want to. However, we are told that a sacramant is an outward sign of inward grace, God's work in/on/for us. Well... if it is God doing the work, it begs the question why he needs a priest in particular (or anyone else) to do the action. Of course he doesn't! [Just for the record, before there are more calls for my excommunication, I currently believe that the Church needs priests, OK? :!: ]

I will just add that I believe that the Church should have more, open discussion about many things. Just as this forum is open to anyone expressing an opinion (even DT :twisted:) - and that "going away" or calling for "excommunication" is not a healthy attitude to have. Yes, I have read St Paul in his letter to Titus (Tit 3:10-11) where he says "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." (but it is interesting to consider the previous half-a-dozen verses too regarding God's saving grace, delivered directly by the Holy Spirit, not through a priest… :wink: ) Indeed, there is a three-strike policy on this forum… When I am, I feely admit to being wrong, but I always want to know where the mistake is so that I can learn. If you do not engage with me either through 'sending me to Coventry' (not so far for me to travel, being in Leamington Spa) or by implying that I am beyond salvation (ie excommunicated), I will always remain ignorant, a lost sheep... which is where I believe the priest comes in as pastor... 8)

[with added emoticons, just for alan29 :D ]
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