04 January 2008

Time to grow up

The Holy See has begun work on a document giving further explanation to Pope Benedict's motu proprio, which gave broader permission for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Latin. It appears that some bishops have been ignoring, misinterpreting or purposely disobeying the words of the Holy Father.

Why does it seem as though some of our spiritual leaders are caught in what seems like a permanent state immature adolescence? I remember my own children -- back when they were children -- would go through all sorts of mental gymnastics and parsing of words when it came to obeying the legitimate rules of our household. They knew perfectly well what the plain meaning was, but they would sometimes make it almost their duty to see if they could get around it. Most of us parents have experienced that with our children, and at times it seemed like we were dealing with miniature Jesuits, as the rules would get stretched to the limit. "You said no cookies before supper, but you didn't say no ice cream!" "You said to wash my hands, but you didn't say I had to use soap." "You said to be home by nine o'clock, but you didn't say I had to be in the house." By the time our fifth child came along, I was a whole lot better at explaining exactly what I meant.

Why does it seem like this is what the Holy Father is having to do with some of his bishops? They know perfectly well what the motu proprio says. It's written in pretty plain language. But they insist on injecting their own nuances into it, making their own interpretations, knowing full well that what they're doing isn't what the Pope meant.

What was it that St. Paul wrote? "...when I became a man, I put away childish things..."