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Lex Orandi in Louisville

Lex orandi lex credendi—The way we pray is the way we believe. Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville gets it.

But he's also drawn mixed reviews from his flock by requiring all churches to begin adhering to liturgical reforms approved by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

Currently, parishes have different practices on such things as when -- and if -- they stand, sit or kneel. As a result of Kurtz's directive, some churches that haven't practiced kneeling will have to purchase kneelers, and Kurtz acknowledged some parishioners have been reluctant to change

But, he said, "The way in which we pray affects the way in which we believe, which in turn affects the way in which we act in the faith."

Asked whether some parishioners have said money would be better spent on charity than kneelers, Kurtz cited humanitarian workers such as Mother Teresa as representing "the connectedness between the care with which we pray and reaching out in service to others."


Arbishop Kurtz has been in Louisville for a year. Two years ago there were four seminarians in the diocese. There are now fourteen. He has set a goal of having 25 to 30 men in formation. Part of reaching that goal is showing young men that what we believe merits the total self-giving of the priesthood. This begins in Mass. If our prayer at Mass is no big deal, then why should young men be inspired to serve this “no big deal”. On the other hand, if the Mass shows young men the most awesome truth of our faith-- The Incarnation of Christ, his True Presence in the Eucharist, his Death and Resurrection for our redemption—well, that is a faith worth serving. Those who are called to the priesthood are then prepared to hear that call. And those called to other vocations within the Church—marriage, consecrated single life, consecrated religious—will also be better able to hear their calls. The Mass is not about fellowship. Save that for the coffee and donuts after Mass. During Mass our focus is on the Divine. Let us worship God during Mass, not each other.

Comments

phbrown said…
This "forced to purchase kneelers" thing is a red herring. I'm 45, and I've never needed a kneeler to kneel. You just *kneel*—it's really not that hard! This is, after all, the Lord who gave himself up to agonizing and undeserved death for our sake; is five minutes' discomfort once a week too much to show our gratitude?

Granted, there are plenty of folks (older folks, people with bad joints, people with weight problems, etc.) who might well rate a pastoral exemption here—it's not clear to me that there's any sense in kneeling if it's going to take three people to get you back up. But most of us really can kneel perfectly well, kneelers or no kneelers. We just haven't figured out whose Presence we're in.

Peace,
--Peter
Anonymous said…
This is so cool. I love hearing about Bishops who get it right for a change.
Adrienne said…
I wish I had a Bishop like that...

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