18 August 2007

Help for those who might need it...

With the advent of the motu proprio which allows the wider use of the extraordinary form of the Mass, it’s been interesting to follow the responses of our bishops. We’ve heard thoughtful, pastoral words from great numbers of them. However, some seem to have misread the words of our Holy Father, and few appear almost to be obstructionists.

I’m sure most of these misunderstandings will be worked out by the September 14th date. But in case there are those who experience difficulties in taking advantage of the provisions of the motu proprio, there is an organization which might be useful in giving advice and practical guidance. The St. Joseph Foundation has been around for some twenty-five years, and has lots of experience in helping to bring about a “meeting of the minds” when there have been misunderstandings between Catholics. Here’s a brief description of their work, taken from their website:

Catholics have rights in their Church just as they have rights under the federal and state constitutions here in the United States. Some of their rights in the Church, including the right of assembly, the right of petition, the right of free association, the right to privacy and reputation and the right to due process correspond to their civil rights. Other rights, especially the right to know the truth about God and His Church, the right to the spiritual goods of the Church and the right to worship according to the norms established by lawful authority have no counterparts in civil law.

The Saint Joseph Foundation serves Catholics who seek to know and vindicate their rights within the Church - rights that the Church herself recognizes and protects. Whenever individuals or groups believe their rights are threatened or have been violated, the Foundation assists them in using the means established by the Church to obtain remedies.

Certainly, when it comes to such things as the motu proprio, the approach must always be respectful and with the assumption that our bishops and other clergy have a sincere desire to carry out the mind of the Church. But sometimes a little advice can be helpful, and some professional guidance can go a long way.