Saturday, November 24, 2007

Live the Black, Get the Red

(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

Well, church, it's time.

Set within the context of the Liturgy of the Word, the public consistory begins at 10.30 Rome time (0930GMT; 4.30 Eastern).

In the minutes prior, the bareheaded cardinals-designate -- each clad in the scarlet choir dress for the first time -- provide the prelude with a triumphant walk from the back of St Peter's Basilica (where the ceremony will be held due to the expected rain). Thanks to EWTN, live feeds of the 90-minute rite are available.

In the run-up to the festivities, the "Cardinal of the South" -- Galveston-Houston's Daniel DiNardo -- has made for a highly-sought interviewee around town. After his arrival on Tuesday, a request for a sit-down even came from the Vatican's official daily L'Osservatore Romano.

In an extended chat with Zenit, the first Texan to be called to the papal senate talks up diversity, unity and -- in deference to his background in the patristics -- the "piety of the church fathers":
Q: As a patristic scholar, you have a deep appreciation for the Church’s sacred Tradition. Benedict XVI has in his pontificate underlined the importance of not rupturing with the Church's past, and to provide continuity with its rich liturgical and theological traditions. In what ways can bishops implement the Holy Father’s program in their dioceses?

Cardinal-designate DiNardo: When I arrived in the archdiocese, I really didn’t find a lot of instances of discontinuity or rupture. There are always complaints with the way Mass is celebrated in some places, but my predecessor bishops were great moderating forces. Thus, the diocese avoided some of the problems found elsewhere associated with a rupture from the past.

With regard to the liturgy, I think we can take a cue from the liturgical piety of the Church Fathers. In the Fathers, you see an emphasis not only on the words said at Mass, but also the importance of the gestures of the liturgy. In other words, say the black, do the red.

I also always emphasize unity in faith, meaning unity in the Creed. The Creed allows the Church to unite around a common set of beliefs. And knowing the Creed and what it means helps root the faithful in the great Tradition of the Church.

As I tell my seminarians, it is not enough to have the right sentiments about God; you actually have to know something. You have to know what the Church teaches and what theologians such as St. Augustine or St. Thomas said about particular doctrines.

The great challenge in handing on the faith is training the volunteer catechists who serve in our churches. Although we have revamped the catechetical programs as well as the guidelines for confirmation in our archdiocese, we need to find ways to encourage these volunteers to receive the necessary formation to be effective in their work, as well as deal with the problem of catechizing people from different cultures. Here, the Catechism of the Catholic Church can serve as a great resource.

As far as "Summorum Pontificum," we have four parishes in the diocese where the extraordinary form of the Roman rite is said regularly, including one downtown parish where it is said daily. I don’t see much of an increase in the number of parishes using the extraordinary form because there hasn’t been much of a demand thus far.

On the other hand, we have had discussions with a particular religious community about the possibility of establishing a personal parish that would allow for the full presence of the liturgical and devotional life associated with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. But due to the explosive growth in the archdiocese, I have no parish to give them. This group would have to raise the funds to establish such a parish. But those discussions are at a very preliminary stage at this point.

Q: There are a number of ecclesial movements active in your archdiocese. In what ways do these new movements serve the mission of the Church in Galveston-Houston?

Cardinal-designate DiNardo: In a historical moment where there are parishes with thousands of families, the ecclesial communities really help foster a common Christian life and a sense of belonging. Here in the archdiocese we seem to have just about every movement imaginable.
The challenge is helping the movements foster an ecclesial sensibility -- which some already have -- without being controlling.

There are, of course, well-known movements such as Opus Dei, Communion and Liberation, and Regnum Christi, but we are regularly learning about new movements from places like South America appearing in our diocese.

It is helpful for these groups make to themselves known to their local bishop so the bishop and movement can each assist the other’s particular charism and ecclesial vocation.

Q: Practically speaking, how does this change your relationship to your archdiocese and the universal Church? What responsibilities does your appointment entail?

Cardinal-designate DiNardo: Well, I’ve noticed a big decrease in the open slots on my schedule. As far as particular responsibilities within the Roman Curia, the Holy See does not give those out prior to the consistory, so it’s anybody’s guess as to what congregations I’ll be appointed.
Per the usual custom, the assignments each new cardinal gets to the memberships of four to seven Vatican offices are released

Given the large number of institutional memory lost over the last two years due to deaths and cardinals' mandatory retirement at age 80, the demand for "working cardinals" -- those experienced Vatican hands able to devote significant time to their dicastery dockets -- is running very high these days... very high.

PHOTO: Smiley N. Pool/(Removed by order of the) Houston Chronicle