Part 9 Conclusions

Chapter v91 Conclusions

Preliminary Questions

Final Thoughts

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

What are your conclusions now that we have spent the semester (Fall 2011) together reading and discussing:

1)  Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline for the Sacraments:  The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines
2)  Peter Phan (editor). 
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:   A Commentary
3)  James O'Toole (editor).  Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth-Century America

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Final Thoughts

1.  What is the relationship between culture and piety (Popular Devotions / Popular Religion / etc)?

1a.  We always have on our "cultural glasses."  We can not view or critique liturgy, devotions, or anything from a purely "neutral" stance. 

2.  Does the Directory acknowledge that everything is inculturated?

2a.  The very fact of the incarnation inculturated everything!  God choose to take human flesh, male flesh, in a particular culture, at a particular historical period, with all that that entails (language, thought patterns, cultural prejudices, etc.) 

2b.  The use of bread and wine at Eucharist is culturally conditioned.  Should wheat bread and grape wine be used in cultures where these are not the "normal" food and drink?

2c.  Roman dress at Mass; Latin and Greek terminology; Roman bathing customs (oil) and Confirmation after Baptism -- Incorporation of Devotion to the true Cross into the Roman Good Friday liturgy, etc. 

3.  Relation of number of priests and Popular Devotion

3a.  It would be interesting to study the numerical ration of priests to "merely-baptized" -- Do "lay" devotions fill in when leadership is not available for preferred devotions? 

3b.  E.g. "Home Masses" and devotion to the Eucharist in the Paris Parish at Marymount Community.

e.g. centrality of the eucharist

4.  Relation of consumer culture and popular religion e.g. devotion to eucharist as a commodity.

4a.  Vincent J. Miller Consuming Religion:  Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture.  A Continuum Book  ISBN 0-8264-1531-85a. 

4b.  E.g. buying a steak at Wal-Mart..  A culture of commodies enables and encourages us to "disassociate" and objectify truths, ideas, and even persons. 

4c.  Contrast with interpersonal encounter.  People -- we have to accept "the whole package" (Marriage as sacrament).   Eucharist and Benediction:  Eucharist as commodity or interpersonal encounter.  What do we receive from the Eucharist; BUT what does the Eucharist demand of us?

4d.  Stopping short at the first epiclesis: 

Stopping Short at the First Epiclesis

Today, each time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist our petition (epiclesis) at the Eucharistic Prayer asks the Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body of Christ and to change us into the Body of Christ.  The words change depending on the prayer, but the point of the request is always the same:  that we who feast on the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ!   We must not limit our reverence and our concern so that they are directed only to the first part of the epiclesis (the change in the gifts, and the resulting presence of Christ in the Eucharist); we must follow through to the second part of the epiclesis (the change in us and the resulting concern for Christ in our neighbor).

One day when Saint John Chrysostom (347-407 C.E.) was preaching on the parable of the sheep and the goats (“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink ...” Mt 25:31-46) he told his congregation:  “You want to honor Christ's body?  Then do not neglect him when he is naked.  Do not honor him here [at Mass] with silk garments while you leave him outside perishing from cold and nakedness.  For he who said, ‘This is my body,' and by his word confirmed the fact, also said, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me no food,' and, ‘Just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me'.  Here, [at the Eucharist] the body of Christ needs no clothing but pure souls; there, it needs great solicitude.” 

As Catholics we believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body of Christ.  As Catholics we struggle to integrate our love for the Body of Christ present in the Eucharist and our love for the Body of Christ which we encounter day by day in the people with whom we live and work, pray and play.

5.  Who critiques piety from the viewpoint of theology?

5a.  Surely critique is possible and necessary.

5b.  Even with our "cultural glasses" on.

5c.  The question might be asked:  When the priests at the Congregation wrote the "Directory..." were they aware of their "cultural glasses"?  Did they simply critique other pieties from the standpoint of identifying their own Roman curial piety with the Roman Liturgy.  (e.g. regarding dance, movement, spontaneity, joy, etc.)  How do these directives "translate"?

6.  Diversity and uniformity and power.

6a.  Acknowledging the positive function of "piety" (and "culture') demands an acceptance / appreciation of diversity. 

6b.  Is this diversity possible in the current ecclesial context? 

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Reflections on Pham Commentary

Preface by Peter C. Phan

James Empereur, "Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines" in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Mark R. Francis, “Liturgy and Popular Piety in a Historical Perspective,”in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Peter Fink; “Liturgy and Popular Piety in the Church's Magisterium,”in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Nathan Mitchell, “Theological Principles for an Evaluation and Renewal of Popular Piety,” in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Keith F. Pecklers, “The Liturgical Year and Popular Piety,” in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Joyce Ann Zimmerman, “Veneration of the Holy Mother of God,” in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Raúl Gómez, “Veneration of the Saints and Beati,” in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Peter C. Phan, “Suffrage for the Dead,” in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Ana Maria Pineda. “Shrines and Pilgrimages,” in Phan, pp xx - xx.

Concludes with a bibliography that presents the most significant recent writings on popular piety and liturgy, by Robert Brancatelli

James M. O'Toole “Introduction” in Habits, pp 1-9

Joseph P. Chinnici, O.F.M. “The Catholic Community at Prayer, 1926-1976" in Habits, pp 9-88

Paula M. Kane “Marian Devotion Since 1940: Continuitey or Casualty?” in Habits, pp 89-130

James O'Toole “In the Court of Conscience: American Catholics and Confession, 1900-1975" in Habits, pp 131-187

Margaret M. McGuinness “Let us Go to the Altar: American Catholics and the Eucharist, 1926-1976" in Habits, pp 187-236

Chapters in Roman Directory

Chapter 1. Liturgy and Popular Piety in a Historical Perspective, pp 22-59

Chapter 2. Liturgy and Popular Piety in the Church's Magisterium, pp 60-75

Chapter 3. Theological Principles for An Evaluation and Renewal or Popular Piety, pp 76-92

Chapter 4. The Liturgical Year and Popular Piety, pp 94-118

Chapter 5. Veneration of the Blessed Mother of Our Lord, pp 183-207

Chapter 6. Veneration of the Saints and the Beatified, pp 208-247

Chapter 7. Suffrage for the Dead, pp 248-260

Chapter 8. Shrines and Pilgrimages 261-287


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To Think About



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