Monday, July 03, 2006

Liturgical Changes in Saginaw

Via White around the Collar:

Those of you who have been following the Saginaw Saga will know that Bishop Carlson is going against the grain by asking the priest of his diocese to follow the rubrics of the Mass, but because he is a man of integrity and courage, he moves forward knowing it is the Lord he serves.

Here is a link to how he is impleminting the GIRM in the Diocese of Saginaw.

And praise be to Jesus, the "Saginaw Blessing" is history. Here is what it was:

Everyone in the congregation raises both arms outstretched while saying/singing the blessing.

May the Lord bless and keep you!
May he make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
And give you his peace.

May the Lord bless and keep you!
May she make her face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
And give you her peace.

Here is what Bishop Carlson has to say about it:

As we seek to pray within the living tradition of the Church, it can happen from time to time that individuals or groups might propose particular forms of prayer (words, melodies, gestures, images) which seem suitable to express publicly our relationship with God. The teaching Church has the important task of discerning the fidelity of these ways of praying to the tradition of the faith which has been handed down to us from the apostles. To say it another way, the language of prayer, for the followers of Jesus Christ, always has been to be seen in relation to Jesus Christ himself.

Although we readily acknowledge that our language cannot ever fully describe the mystery of God and that we must continually purify our language about God so that our image of God is not confused with our human representations, it is important that we look to Jesus and to the tradition of the Church to help us in the purification process.

Jesus reveals the identity of God as a mystery of relationship. He relates to God as his dear Father (Abba) and invites us into that relationship. The Christian tradition has therefore followed the lead of Jesus in praying to "our Father."

Following the prayer of our Jewish ancestors, as well as the prayer of Jesus, the Christian tradition has named God with pronouns such as "he, him," etc., in distinction from other religions of various ages which acknowledge different gods and which have been named as female deities. Though the Christian tradition acknowledges that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes and known expressions for a particular parental tenderness in God which use the image of motherhood, for example, there is no other language which assures our fidelity to the God revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures and revealed by Jesus than that in which Jesus reveals God as his Father and to whom the tradition consistently refers with the use of masculine terminology.

The sung blessing currently in use in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw employs in its first verse a paraphrase of the beautiful and traditional text from the Book of Numbers [*See Solemn Blessings #10, Ordinary Time I]. I encourage the use of this profound scriptural prayer. However, the second verse of the blessing as commonly sung does not maintain the necessary clarity regarding the naming of God which is part of our Jewish and Christian heritage and can therefore unintentionally bring about confusion or misdirection in our prayer. Therfore, the use of this second verse should be discontinued.

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