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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
August 22, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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August 22, 1998

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ARKANSAS CATHOLIC e.eo of August 22, 1998 Page 7 proselytism:out for Catholics, Pentecostals BY jerry Filteau c^ .ouc news SERVXCE I WfiASHINGTON -- In a landmark report on evange- te on, participants in the international Catholic-Pen- costal dialogue agreed that all Christians are called to Wi ess the Gospel to others. While affirming evangelization, they rejected proselytism, which they defined as "a disrespectful, in- 'itive and uncharita/ le effort to transfer theallegiance 0t Christian from one ecclesial body to another." Xpressine sorrow at "the scandal of a divided wit- Ile~. u , they said they hoped thew work together would dUce Catholic-Pentecostal tensions, bring greater mu- . . .respect and understanding, and point "toward pos- ~blllties of cooperation in mission tbr the sake of the %Spel" Irl " an" Working for common ground on evangelization 0~~, proselytism, the dialogue members confronted some most divisive issues causing conflict between Catho- l!.s,and Pentecostals, esDecially in some parts of the world such as I.atin America, where Catholic and Pen- ilcstal leaders have often been harshly critical of one l erl6,000-word report, released this summer and g'h' 97 by the Pontifical Council for Pron ot" g pStian Unity and some classical Pentecostal churches a cl leaders. n issues it addresses are the biblical and svstem- -uc g . - .... 0Undations of evangelization, the relauon of evan- U -ation to culture, and an extended discussion of how ,le.Catholic and Pentecostal churches understand evan- and social justice. M st people I see at Mass ap- ear in the habit of not singing. They do not open the hymnals and make no visible at- tempt to sing. During the closing hymn we need to get out of the way while people exit. What is the purpose of the hymns at Mass? Are they op- tional? Is the whole congrega- tion expected to sing, or just those inspired at the time? CORNER A fuller response to yourFr. John Dietzen questions would require many times more space than I have. A few points may help to clarify, however, that more is involved here than simply the idiosyncrasies of a priest or music direc- tor. From the beginning of Christianity, the voices of the faithful singing their praise and worship of God were normally considered an essential part of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration. Partly because of their inheritance from Jewish wor- ship, which included psalms and other chants, first- generation Christians were told they should join in "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing" to the Lord in their hearts (Eph 5:19). In your gatherings, said Paul, sing "psahns, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts" (Col 4:16). If anything, this attitude grew stronger as time went on. By the fifth century, St. Augustine declares, often and in many ways, that if you pray during the liturgy with genuine love for God, that prayer will express itself in song. "Singing arises from joy ... and from love," he told his congregation. Lovers need to sing and make mu- sic. "We wish to sing about the one we love" (Ser- mons 33 and 34). In our own century, Pope Plus XI wrote of the power music has in Christian tradition. It was in the churches, "where practically the whole city formed a great joint choir, that the workers, builders, artists, sculptors and writers gained from the liturgy that deep knowledge of theology which is now so apparent in the monuments of the Middle Ages" (Constitution on Liturgical Music, 1928). The bishops at Vatican Council II said the same, devoting a whole chapter of the Constitution on the Liturgy to sacred music. The musical tradition of the Church is a treasure of immeasurable value, they taught. Liturgies are "given a more noble form when sacred rites are solemnized in song, with the assistance of the sacred ministers and the active participation of the people" (No. 112). Obviously, singing at Mass is not an innovation or, as some complain, an idea we Catholics picked up from Protestants. In his landmark encyclical on the liturgy, "Media- tor Dei," Pope Plus XII put it quite plainly: "A con- gregation that is devoutly present at the sacrifice ... cannot keep silent." They cannot, he said, keep from joining their voices to the song of the church in heaven (192). Obviously, pastoral and other human realities also need to be addressed. Augustine notwithstanding, not every lover wants to "say it with music," whether it's love for God or anyone else. The idiom of music or some types of music are unfamiliar and uncomfortable for them as an expression of praise, worship, joy or sorrow. Most parishes, it seems, attempt to address that re- ality with varying kinds of choirs, musical groups, can- tors and even some Masses with no music at all. It is good, nevertheless, to keep in mind the an- cient Christian saying, also from Augustine, I believe, "He who sings well prays twice." If music isn't already part of our prayer language, we might profit spiritu- ally from a sincere effort to make it so. ,,i APPY _3 81 DARLA ABRAM TED, LINDA, & MArK [tOLLAND F rttEr DAVmD LIRBANSKi MR. EDWARD ADAMS MARIINN IGNNHUS Miss KATIE VAI, ENTINE ):: MRS. IDA SISTER MARY GRACE DEAN SISTER GEORGIA DONNELLY : MR. & MRS. PATRICK ERI.t?:NME*'ER FATHER CONNER P, FLANNERY EUNICE GAlA.WAY ISTER BArBArA ANN GEORGE TttE JULIUS LONSKE FAMILY CARt. & CHRISTINA Mum Mrs, OLGA OGDEN REBECCA, & JACOB REEl. MRS. VIRGINIA SLATTERY Miss SOPHIA STLIAR'I STEVE & RITA TOBIAS , , .... -) IN MEMORY OF SISTER MARY MARGARET VINE Mr. & MRS. Gus WASHINGTON BROTHER ANDREW ZELDA FATHER FRANK ZIH:EL Name: Address: City: State: Zip: Phone: Name as it should appear: Please enclose a check for $50 made payable to the Diocese of Little Rock for each space requested. orders must be postmarked by Aug. 3 I, 1998. Return this completed form with your payment to: Diocese of Little Rock P.O. Box 7417 Little Rock, AR 72217