Monday, October 19, 2015

The SYNOD... here...

One of the things that just doesn't make sense is the idea that an - actually rather arbitrary - national grouping of bishops can announce new "rules" about the Holy Eucharist. The Church's teaching on the Eucharist isn't essentially about rules but about the nature and essence of the Sacrament. National boundaries don't apply here. In  the British Isles we have three national conferences of Bishops. It is a matter of national feeling and the convenience of administrative decision-making...and from the Church's point of view that has nothing to do with deciding doctrine.

And the discussion that is taking place about the Eucharist and Matrimony is most definitely about doctrine. It's not about "rules" in the sense that rules are generally understood., eg the rules of a cricket club or ice-skating championship. The link between the Eucharist and faithfulness to God's commandments is central to Catholic doctrine. It can't be regarded as an administrative matter that operates under one set of "rules" in Glasgow and another in Newcastle.

Cardinal Kasper seems to be the person chiefly promoting the idea that local bishops can, in effect, make decisions on doctrine, based on national boundaries. But God's message is the same in Nairobi and in Wimbledon, in Chicago and Buenos Aires and Calcutta and Frankfurt and the Isle of Wight. His Church is a Catholic Church.  Local variations in liturgy, hymnology,custons, traditions, architecture  make up a rich Christian culture and are to be cherished. Doctrine has no variations and is the truth at the core - literally the  heart -  of all.


Anonymous said...

You are right on target. I converted to the Catholic church in 2010 in part to get away from non-denominational churches each making up rules (i.e. doctrine) as it suited the 51 percent of board members, which were usually all family members, that voted in the change. They would interpret scripture to fit the "new rule" they voted in. I am very disappointed to see the Catholic church contemplating going down the same road, but I still believe God will not let His church go astray.

Malcolm said...

Rules aren't the same as doctrine, however.
You might have a rule that you can only be in the choir if you attend three out of four practices in every month. That's not the same as a doctrine that members of the choir must represent for rehearsals.