I remember reading a bunch of threads last year about how the Diocese of Saginaw’s new bishop, Robert Carlson, was going to “clean up” and “reform” that diocese, much like many people expected Pope Benedict would do for the broader Church when he was elected.
Saginaw is known far and wide as a posterchild of liberalism within the Church in America. So what has happened under the new bishop? What actual, tangible, concrete reforms (not just pronouncements) in practice or diocesan structure have been made under Carlson?
Has Bishop Carlson turned out to be a real reformer, or has he turned out to be just a paper tiger? (As some believe Benedict XVI has turned out to be.)
I make no judgements – I do not even belong to the Diocese of Saginaw – but I am just curious to see how things panned out.
I had a look at the website saginaw.org. The first page has “13 weekly GIRM bulletins”. This leads to saginaw.org/liturgy/handouts . The plan is to have the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal implemented by the first Sunday of Advent. All sounds good.
I looked at one handout “What changes will there be for Extraordinary Ministers?” of 12 November 2006. Not so good.
It uses the term “Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist”, which the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum made clear was not appropriate:
“The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
[154.] As has already been recalled, “the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest”. Hence the name “minister of the Eucharist” belongs properly to the Priest alone. …
[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.”
It has incorrectly: “… extraordinary ministers … if needed, may assist in cleansing the vessels …”. It was reported on 24 October by CNS that the only extraordinary ministers who may do this are instituted acolytes (at catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0606058.htm ). So nothing handed out on 12 November should have this. A downloadable document with it should not be on the site today. The document is dated 2002 by Dennis Smolarski, but it is no longer correct.
In the monthly newsletter there is nothing on the issue. But it does have for 1 November 2006, in the Bishop’s schedule: “Mass, SS. Cyril & Methodius, Orchard Lake - Lector & Acolyte”. I think this is the seminary and it is good that the seminarians are being instituted as lectors and acolytes. But it would be better if there were more publicity about it and explanations of the particular duties instituted lectors and acolytes have.
I am not informed about the Diocese of Saginaw, but I do have to comment on the idea that Bishop Carlson and Pope Benedict are paper tigers. God knows those of us who want to see reforms want them right this second. But governing the Church has got to be a lot like leading a huge fleet of supertankers. They maneuver slowly, and take time to reach their destinations, and they don’t all arrive at the same time.
I have observed changes in many parishes, all positive.
Most notably, the Cathedral parish, which had been, in my opinion, operating about as far away from the GIRM as any in the area, seems to have cleaned up it’s act considerably. I attended Mass there the last few weekends and was amazed at the new-found conformity with Bishop Carlson’s directives. Other parishes in the area have also been making changes.
This weekend will be the test, all the directives related to the implementation of the GIRM, with a few exceptions, are to be in full swing. Let us all pray for humble obedience at the parish level.
and speaking of what’s up in Saginaw, one thing that hasn’t changed, at least at my parish, is the return of the season of blue to Saginaw.
Our church is decorated in blue for the Advent season. Blue vestments, blue clothes on the altar and ambo, an advent wreath with three blue candles, two dead trees strung with blue lights on either side of the altar.
I’m not sure what shade of purple they think this is, but even the most liberal box of catholic crayolas would have to say this church (and the priest) is all decked out in a lovely shade of “protestant blue.”
The rubrics in the Missale Romanum list the five liturgical colors: “albo [white], rubro , viridi [green], violaceo [violet] et nigro [black].” The color violaceo [violet] is prescribed for the seasons of Advent and Lent, though the text notes that “coloris rosacei [the color rose]” may replace violet on the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) and the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare). Note well that there is absolutely no official distinction made between the color for Advent and the color for Lent.
Further, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (1985) says, “Violet is used in Lent and Advent.” Again, no official delineation separating Advent color from Lent color. The GIRM goes on to state, “The conference of bishops may choose and propose to the Apostolic See adaptations suited to the needs and culture of people.” It is important to note that this request for cultural adaptation comes from the national bishops’ conference. It is not the prerogative of a priest. The bishops of the United States have made no such petition to Rome.
Where has the notion of blue come from then? Blue is prescribed in some dioceses of Spain, Mexico and South America for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Not in the United States, though.
While I believe that Netmilsmom is essentially correct, I have to believe that there is some section that allows for some additional exceptions as per the following that I’ve personally observed.
Example 1: We had an associate from the Congo who was in our diocese on assignment from his bishop to learn Canon Law. He wore vestments that had a definite African flavor and although I don’t recall exactly but I seem to remember that he wore yellow alot. Is there a dispensation for visiting Priests to wear their particular colors in other dioceses?
Example 2: We have a parish that caters to teh Hispanic community and the parish is named after the Marian title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I also recall seeing blue when attending Mass there. I suspect it was a Holy Day and probably one of the Marian Solemnities as I seldom go there for Sunday Mass but do sometimes go on Holy Days. Can Bishop’s make accommodations when the parish has different cultural roots? I don’t know if this makes a difference but the Priest who started the parish was from Guatemala. FYI: I live in the former diocese of Bishop Carlson and I know nothing he ever tolerated that was inappropriate.
Example 3: We have in our western diocese a number of Native American parishes. When I’ve gone to Mass in one of their parishes, like the Congo, the vestments have a definite Native American flavor. This diocese was once run by Bishop Chaput who is well-known for his orthodoxy.
Frankly, in all cases, I don’t know if the proper Liturgical color was incorporated subtly but I am pretty sure they weren’t dominant. And, I don’t recall if the colors on the altar were the appropriate Liturgical color.
I’m mostly asking if there is another section that might allow some accommodation.