Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Blessed Holy Day and a Wonderful Anniversary

Today is both the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II.

I will begin by writing about the Holy Day. It is a day which, unfortunately, many people are confused by. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary being conceived without original sin. It is often confused with the Virgin Birth or the Annunciation, both of which are about the birth and conception of Jesus. I think the reason for the confusion is that the readings at Mass tell the story of the Annunciation. The conception of Mary is not recorded in the Bible. That story come to us in the apocryphal Protoevangel or "Infancy Narrative" of James.
While many the Mass obligation has been circumstantially lifted on many Holy Days, the obligation of the Immaculate Conception remains. So, even if the feast falls on a Saturday or Monday it is a day of obligation.

Now, I will turn to the Second Vatican Council. Forty years have passed since the closing Mass of the council. Many Catholics today don't remember a time when the Tridentine Mass was heard and most young Catholics don't realize that there was ever a time when females couldn't be altar servers.
Whether the Church is better off now is debatable. I believe that Vatican II made great improvements in the Church, but the work is still not complete. Some changes were good, others not so good. We still have a lot of work to do. I pray that with the leadership of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that we will make great strides toward perfection.

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