In First Things…A young Catholic’s plea for clear teaching
Archbishop Charles Chaput shared a letter from a young Catholic man ahead of October’s synod on youth. Society, the 26-year-old wrote, is “roiled in confusion concerning the basic tenets of human nature”, for instance on gender, the unborn child and the family. Young people “urgently need the Church’s clarity and authoritative guidance” – yet instead, “under the cloak of pastoral sensitivity”, there has been a “shift away from clarity” and towards “appeasement of modern culture”.
The young Catholic wrote: “Peers of mine who are converts or reverts have specifically cited teachings like Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor as beacons that set the Church and her wisdom apart. Now they’re hearing from some in the highest levels of the Church that these liberating teachings are unrealistic ideals.”
In an era of “beige Catholicism” and “modern soulless vulgarity”, he wrote, the young also “crave the beauty that guided and inspired previous generations for nearly two millennia”.
He said he hoped this perspective could be conveyed at the synod. “Though deeply troubled by the current state of affairs, we [faithful young Catholics] remain hopeful; and rooted in that confidence, we’re raising large families who will inherit the future of the Church.”
In L’Espresso…Paul VI, the anxious reformer of the liturgy
Paul VI was the pope of liturgical reform. But according to a new book, he had mixed feelings about the process, said Sandro Magister. A new selection from the diaries of Mgr (later Cardinal) Virgilio Noè, Pope Paul’s master of ceremonies, reveals that Paul lamented several changes his staff made to the liturgy.
After a Mass commemorating the anniversary of John XXIII’s death, the pope said: “How on earth in the liturgy for the dead should there be no more mention of sin and expiation? There is a complete absence of imploring the Lord’s mercy.”
Paul also asked if the Easter Vigil liturgy could be changed, remarking: “Of course, the new liturgy has greatly streamlined the symbology. But the exaggerated simplification has removed elements that used to have quite a hold on the mindset of the faithful.”
And seeing the Eucharist being passed from hand to hand in St Peter’s, the pontiff said: “The Eucharistic bread cannot be treated with such liberty! The faithful, in these cases, are behaving like … infidels!”
Paul VI, said Magister, believed the liturgical reform had accelerated much too fast.
In the Atlantic…What’s missing from some disputed diaries
Some well knowndiaries may not be all they seem, said David Kertzer. Edgardo Mortara, a Jewish boy, was taken from his parents by Pope Pius IX in 1858. This was because he had been secretly baptised by his nanny. He became a priest and always spoke very admiringly of Pius.
But a new edition of his diaries includes some changes made after Mortara’s death. These sanitise the story. For instance, Mortara used the words “violent” and “kidnapping”, which were later erased.
✣ The new Bishop of Lancaster has said his episcopal duties won’t stop him conquering Scotland’s Munros. Bishop Paul Swarbrick, 59, a keen cyclist and hiker, told BBC Radio Lancashire that he had 121 out of 282 left to climb. A Munro in Scotland is a mountain higher than 3,000ft. “What’s happened to me recently has interrupted that programme a little bit,” he said. “I might have to tweak it. But I’m still set on completing the Scottish Munros before I pop my clogs.”
✣ A priest in Austria calling himself a “poor man’s Bishop Barron” is recording a 2,500-mile pilgrimage across the Alps. Fr Johannes Maria Schwarz, who will stop at 200 churches along the way, is documenting his journey on Instagram and YouTube. “Think of it as a poor man’s Bishop Barron,” he said in a video posted at 4kmh.com. “An ‘Alpine Catholicism’ series with a priest worse looking … sharing less deep thoughts, possibly complaining of a sheepdog attack.”
✣ A priest in Ireland was applauded at Mass on Sunday after performing on Britain’s Got Talent. Fr Ray Kelly sang REM’s Everybody Hurts. Judge Simon Cowell said it was one of his “favourite ever auditions”, adding: “This is everything we’ve been waiting for.”
✣The week in quotations
I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard Pope Francis on Alfie Evans Twitter
I represent the thousands of women helped by these vigils Alina Dugheriu, a mother taking Ealing council to court over ‘buffer zones’ Press statement
I’m watching my physique Ruggiero, a diner at a Sant’Egidio soup kitchen who turned down the Pope’s gift of ice cream Catholic News Service
Look up to the kind face of God [and] lay down your weapons Mexican bishops’ conference to those who take away life Press statement
✣Statistic of the week
1.58 Number of live births per woman in the EU in 2015; 2.1 is needed to replace existing population Source: EU figures