"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
Plans are proceeding apace to have
the next bishop of the Diocese of Baker ordained in theAztec handball court
new St. Francis Church in Bend.
The parish bulletin at the Cathedral had the
following announcement this week:
Bishop Liam Cary’s consecration – the date chosen for our Bishop-elect Liam Cary is
Friday May 18th at 2 PM at St. Francis of Assisi church in Bend. Bishop Skylstad
informed us that there will be tickets available for those who would like to
attend. Space is limited in the church there, although the auditorium will be
also used for seating, probably people following the ceremony on a large
screen. Parking is also a problem, and so is lodging, as there is some kind of
a big festivity that weekend in Bend.
Now there’s planning for you: the
ordination is scheduled for the weekend of a secular event that will draw
thousands. Tickets are available, but we are not told where. (Call the chancery, I guess.)
At any rate, the announcement
may notice a few things missing from the Cathedral over the next two
months, as they are taken to Bend to be used during the consecration ceremony.
In particular there is the Bishop’s chair (his cathedra,) candle stands,
processional cross and other paraphernalia they may request over the next few
Odd: a hundred-year-old Cathedral
STILL does not have a cathedra that
is permanently installed, as it should have, according to the 1984 Caeremoniale
The bulletin announcement saves
the “best” thought for last:
parish is being asked to create a Banner to be displayed at the consecration
Mass. Anyone interested in helping in this, please speak to me as soon as
possible. Some materials will be given to us, but it’s up to us to create something
appealing that represents our parish and community.
Oh. My. Goodness. A “banner” for each parish?! What is this – a
football game?! “Go Team Cathedral!” With 30-plus parishes, that’s a lot of
banners. Wow. That church is going to looks soooo
special! NOT. It will look like a carnival, not a Cathedral. Oh, wait…that's right. The church in Bend is NOT a cathedral anyway.
Okay, let’s get to the real point
here: the Cathedral is the
place for the ordination of our next bishop. It’s not difficult to amass quite
a bit of evidence that it is the mind of the Church that an episcopal
ordination should take place in the new bishop’s cathedral – or the cathedral
of the consecrating bishop – but not in
a parish church of the diocese. (We might even add “duh” to that statement.)
To illustrate the point, here are
a few excerpts from the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop in The Roman Pontifical
. First, let’s deal with the mistaken notion that allowing as many as
possible to view the ordination means we should hold the ordination in the
largest space available.
15 …Since the Bishop is constituted for the
sake of the entire local Church, the clergy and other faithful are to be
invited to his Ordination, so that as many as possible may take part in the
This statement seems to be
interpreted by The Powers That Be here in the Diocese of Baker to mean, “the largest place of public assembly is to
be selected as the site for the ordination in order that as many as
possible may take part in the celebration.” In Bishop Vasa’s case, this led to
selecting the Deschutes County Fairgrounds (where rodeos are commonly held) as
the venue for his ordination; in the present case, the choice is the one
Catholic church in the Diocese that (arguably) can seat the most people – a
mere parish church. Unfortunately, the text itself does not support the
interpretation that “as many as possible may take part in the celebration”
means only that they must be physically present in the same room in
which the ordination is taking place. To wit: some large celebrations in St
Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City are broadcast to thousands in overflow crowds
in the nearby Paul VI Audience Hall.
There are a couple of other places
in the Pontifical which seem to make
it clear that the largest space available need not be the choice of venue.
However, let’s move on to consideration of other articles in the document that provide evidence that the Cathedral as preferred location for
an episcopal ordination. For instance:
21 The Bishop who is placed as head of a
particular diocese should be ordained in the cathedral church.
St. Francis de Sales Cathedral
The rubrics underscore the signal
importance of the Cathedral itself as the proper venue for the rite of
episcopal ordination – especially for the ordination of the bishop of that
diocese. While article 21 does actually make explicit provisions in the rite
itself for when the ordination takes place outside the ordinand’s own cathedral,
it seems clear that the Church’s intent is that the man is ordained to the
Order of Bishops in a cathedral
church, even if it is not his own cathedral. Thus, our first three bishops were
ordained in the cathedral churches of their respective home dioceses – Portland
and Seattle. There seems to be no justification for selecting a site that is
not either the bishop-elect’s own cathedral (the preferred site) or the
cathedral of the principal consecrating bishop.
27 Within his own diocese it is most
fitting that the newly ordained Bishop preside at the concelebration of the
Liturgy of the Eucharist. But if the Ordination takes place in some other
diocese, the principal ordaining Bishop presides; in this case the newly
ordained Bishop takes the first place among the concelebrating Bishops.
This is one of the other articles
that points to the possibility of the ordination taking place outside the
ordinand’s own cathedral; but if so, the only alternate scenario envisioned in
the rubrics is in another diocese, not in another church within his own diocese.
Now let’s consider a few words
about the cathedra which indicate
again that the Cathedral is the intended site for the ordination.
for the Liturgy of the Word, the
principal ordaining Bishop sits at the cathedra, with the other
ordaining Bishops near the cathedra, on either side; the Bishop-elect sits
between the priests assisting him, in an appropriate place within the sanctuary
The cathedra, of course, is in the Cathedral, and it’s supposed to be a
permanent structure (the Ceremonial of Bishops states that the cathedra ought to be “a chair that
stands alone and is permanently installed....”[article 47]). If it is
permanent, it cannot be moved from place to place. Duh.
The cathedra of the Diocese of Baker.
Umm...it's the one in the middle.
Nor is the bishop’s cathedra merely functional in nature; it’s
not true that any chair the bishop sits in (regardless of how fancy) becomes
ipso facto his cathedra. The rites certainly
do not envision removing a non-permanent cathedra
from the cathedral church for temporary relocation to some other liturgical
venue. The cathedra of the see is of
critical importance in the rite of installation whereby the new bishop takes
canonical possession of his new diocese: if the man is ordained outside his
diocese, he cannot be installed as
Bishop of his new diocese until he is escorted to and ceremonially seated in
the cathedra of his see – which the
rites envision as a “permanent structure”. The rites of ordination do not
envision the substitution of a faldstool for the cathedra – either for the
principal ordaining bishop or for the rite of installation.
The seating arrangement mentioned
in article 29a (above) will be extremely challenging to accomplish in what I’m told is
the relatively tiny sanctuary of St Francis of Assisi Church in Bend. That
space will have to accommodate the additional presence of a) the Papal Nuncio
and b) one or more cardinals, at least some of whom are likely to not concelebrate: they will merely be
present in choro, which requires the
presence of seats and kneelers not only for themselves but the same for each of
their two (traditionally, non-concelebrating)
assistant clerics (vested in cassock and surplice).
A correspondent reports:
Francis of Assisi Church in Bend was clearly not designed with ordinations in
mind. This became very clear in September 2010 when Bishop Vasa held a priestly
ordination there...and, desirous “that the faithful have a clear view of the
liturgical rites”, caused a faldstool to be placed before the altar. The space
left in front of the altar was so minimal that the prostrate ordinand (during
the Litany of the saints) had his head butting up against the legs of the
faldstool while his feet hung over the front steps, hanging in mid-air,
meanwhile, Bishop Vasa had to kneel alongside, turned diagonally toward the
altar. It looked ridiculous.
There’s more that could be cited
from the Roman Pontifical, but we’ll
leave that document and close with a section from Canon Law:
Bishop takes canonical possession of his diocese when, personally or by proxy,
he shows the apostolic letters to the college of consultors, in the presence of
the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact. This must take
place within the diocese. In dioceses which are newly established he takes possession
when he communicates the same letters to the clergy and the people in the
cathedral church, with the senior of the priests present making a record of the
is strongly recommended that the taking of canonical possession be performed with
a liturgical act in the cathedral church, in the presence of the clergy and the
Come on, folks.
Let’s stop quibbling over
justifications and excuses and “pastoral prudence”, and just do itright for
Oh…and will someone PLEASE ban those
banners? Let’s make this look like a grown-up ceremony.