Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ring Kissing....

There used to be a time when you were only expected to kiss a bishop’s ring. Now, with renewed emphasis on “obedience” above and beyond all else, one wonders….

Several years back, in implementing Pope John Paul II’s document “Ex Corde”, many US bishops championed the idea of a “mandatum” for theology professors in Catholic Universities. It was seen as a chance for the local bishop to control the teachings, if not the thoughts, of theologians in Catholic institutions. Not all universities toed the line on this one, though apparently it has been accepted by most. This promise of fidelity starts with the Nicene Creed (traditional enough) and then is followed by three statements.

With firm faith I also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

Locally, Cardinal George has been a stickler about obedience from his clergy. Dick Westley, a Chicago area theologian, recently asked:

“Would it surprise you to know that currently in the Archdiocese of Chicago at the installation of new pastors, the new pastor recites the Creed at the proper place at the Mass, and then standing at the altar in front of the whole congregation is required to profess the final three paragraphs - and then sign the “Profession of Faith” right there at the altar?

In the past, such things were done in the privacy of the rectory before the installation.

Would it surprise you to know that in the Joliet Diocese ALL THE PASTORS were recently required to sign the Profession of Faith anew?

To be consistent, soon they will be requiring ALL THE PRIESTS (be they pastors or not) to profess anew. I suppose that eventually, on the Sunday each year when the laity renew their baptismal vow, they will be asked to employ the new ‘Profession of Faith’.”

Now you might ask, why stop there? Perhaps the promises of fealty will soon be required of Sunday school catechists, lectors, choir members, sacristans and altar servers… maybe even parishioners at large to prove they are worthy Catholics? Maybe they should oaths of obedience to their pastors?

To think that at one time we only had to kiss a bishop’s ring…..


  1. kiss the ring then.. and now they want other extremities kissed as well!

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