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BS: Sacristan Duties

Nigel Parsons 01 Feb 13 - 03:48 AM
Joe Offer 01 Feb 13 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Eliza 31 Jan 13 - 05:19 PM
Peter the Squeezer 31 Jan 13 - 04:31 PM
wysiwyg 31 Jan 13 - 06:39 AM
Roger the Skiffler 31 Jan 13 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Eliza 31 Jan 13 - 05:44 AM
mg 31 Jan 13 - 01:08 AM
Joe Offer 31 Jan 13 - 12:31 AM
JennieG 31 Jan 13 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,mg 30 Jan 13 - 06:47 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 13 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Jan 13 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,mg 30 Jan 13 - 03:45 PM
Charmion 30 Jan 13 - 02:30 PM
Peter the Squeezer 30 Jan 13 - 01:56 PM
Peter the Squeezer 30 Jan 13 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Eliza 30 Jan 13 - 05:06 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 13 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Eliza 30 Jan 13 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,mg 29 Jan 13 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Eliza 29 Jan 13 - 05:37 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 13 - 04:24 PM
BrendanB 29 Jan 13 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Eliza 29 Jan 13 - 09:51 AM
BrendanB 29 Jan 13 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Eliza 29 Jan 13 - 06:21 AM
Nigel Parsons 29 Jan 13 - 04:52 AM
ChanteyLass 28 Jan 13 - 09:30 PM
akenaton 28 Jan 13 - 07:02 PM
Penny S. 28 Jan 13 - 06:56 PM
Keith A of Hertford 28 Jan 13 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,Eliza 28 Jan 13 - 04:29 AM
Joe Offer 27 Jan 13 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,Eliza 27 Jan 13 - 04:54 AM
Will Fly 27 Jan 13 - 04:49 AM
Doug Chadwick 27 Jan 13 - 04:33 AM
DMcG 27 Jan 13 - 04:07 AM
Joe Offer 27 Jan 13 - 03:53 AM
DMcG 27 Jan 13 - 02:39 AM
akenaton 26 Jan 13 - 08:12 PM
Janie 26 Jan 13 - 06:41 PM
Wolfhound person 26 Jan 13 - 05:29 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 26 Jan 13 - 05:14 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 13 - 04:47 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 26 Jan 13 - 04:35 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 13 - 03:59 PM
Amos 26 Jan 13 - 12:06 PM
DMcG 26 Jan 13 - 11:54 AM
Keith A of Hertford 26 Jan 13 - 11:20 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Feb 13 - 03:48 AM

He certainly wouldn't be in favour of Holy Hankies.
Maybe not.
But remember his reaction at finding those buying & selling blood-sacrifices, and charging for changing money into a form 'acceptable' in the Temple. (Matt 21, Mark 11 & Luke 19).

"What would Jesus do?" seems a pointless question. I don't think I could answer it. Even 'Papal Infallability' only covers certain matters.
Anyone who believes they know what Jesus would do in any given situation should either be a World leader, - or they're fooling themselves!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Feb 13 - 03:18 AM

I dunno about golden objects and beautiful buildings and vestments. Part of me says it's a waste of money. Another part of me likes the pageantry and the ecclesiastical bling. Yeah, I suppose all that stuff could be sold to rich people so they could lock it away, but the pageantry is open for everyone to see. Even poor church members can see that stuff and say, "That's MINE!" That was certainly the case with immigrant churches in the U.S., especially the Polish Cathedrals - people built them as a form of community pride and self-expression.
I dare you to tell poor Catholics that they have to sell St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 05:19 PM

I reckon He'd not be best pleased that what He aimed to teach us has gone so badly wrong. He certainly wouldn't be in favour of Holy Hankies. And great wealth, rich robes and golden objects would not meet with His approval either. Far from winking, I think he'd be waving His fist at us all!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 04:31 PM

All this (very eminent) discussion prompts the question -



WWJD?


or

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?


He might just wink at us from His stained glass window!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: wysiwyg
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 06:39 AM

There are Anglican nuns, too, and they are pretty cool as a rule. :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 05:52 AM

As a lapsed Methodist, non-attending Quaker,married to a CofE Licenced Lay Minister, I find all High Church rituals a nonsense, but if it floats your boat...
However, the original problem could have been solved it there were clear operating procedures. I know in my wife's church when there was a gap between fulltime sacristans, those helping out had a clear checklist of things to do and how to do them. If Eliza's church hasn't, or if Eliza wasn't given them, it wasn't her fault and the vicar should have had more Christian charity- it was no way to encourage helpers from the congregation.

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 05:44 AM

I must say, I rather like the idea of the old Celtic Christianity prevalent in Wales and other far regions of our Isles. A single 'saint' would live the life of a hermit in total simplicity and humility, and have several adherents who came to worship at his tiny 'church'. This was a very early form of Christianity, and to my mind, closer to the teachings of Jesus. There were absolutely no robes, finery, golden bits and bobs, simply because nobody had anything like that, nor wanted them. It seems to me a sincere, gentle and pure form of faith, but was swept away by the Roman forms of Christianity. I must say, if all the 'priceless' artefacts in RC and C of E possession were to be sold, imagine the good that could be done with the dosh! Norwich Anglican Cathedral, for example, has many golden chalices and other 'precious' things displayed in a secure stronghold behind reinforced glass. I cannot bear to look at them. Often, outside their massive West Door, an old derelict woman with carrier bags used to sit. We bought her a coffee and something to eat, but I was very, very bitter. What sort of church has cases of golden chalices while a poor old thing sits outside in the cold, friendless and destitute? Answers on a postcard please...


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: mg
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 01:08 AM

I don't know if he was murdered..odd that his best friend died of a hit and run the next day...all sorts of other cardinals died around the same time. I think there were a couple of deaths from gargoyles or something falloing on people in separate places. How coincidentanl. One thing is very wierd..he apparently was found by a nun who was bringing saym coffee. THey could not say a female had found. Magee..the same Magee I believe mentionede in the Coyne Report of Ireland.
.was said to have found him. This connection is very odd. Read and read all you can a bout the pope, what he had to say..it is hard to separate fact from fiction..I can't..just everyone sort it out for themselves...he was an awesome man...they say in poor health..doctors did not agree. he was a champion moun tain climber. Worked to get orp0hans adopted, including by homosexuals. In his poor alpine hometown, apparentlyh a cart went around every morning to pick up orpnha s who had frozen to death..and they locked church doors to keep orphans out..as a child, according to what I read, he didn't go to mass one day, went home and cooked chicken soup for the orphans...lots of interesting tidb its. He was taking on the vatican mafia...said to have had a brilliant mind for finances and could spot irregularities..gee..think there could be some?


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 12:31 AM

Yeah, I thought the Pope looked pretty normal, just a white cassock with little ornamentation - traditional without being garish. I kinda like Benedict XVI. He's conservative, but appears to be open to discussion.

John Paul I was Pope for just a month in 1978. He was found dead sitting up in his bed shortly before dawn on 29 September 1978. He reportedly had a heart attack, but there are many conspiracy theories that suspect that he was murdered. He had been expected to be a liberal Pope, perhaps even more progressive than John XXIII. Instead, we went back into the Middle Ages with John Paul II.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: JennieG
Date: 31 Jan 13 - 12:28 AM

Speaking as one who has an interest in textiles and who is not of the Roman Catholic persuasion, where does all that beautiful lace come from? Is it hand-spun by nuns working their fingers to the bone somewhere in a dark convent, or there a factory somewhere churning it out by the yard?

The Presbyterian church in which I was raised (and from which I have since collapsed) was quite austere by comparison, although there was a lace edging - not a wide one - on the otherwise plain white altar cloth.

Eliza, thank you for starting this thread - it's been very thought-provoking, and interesting.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 06:47 PM

that is not bad..dignified, looks normal to me.

And the one we have to watch is in New York and apparently thought he had a good chance for pope..I think he could not swing it now because there would be such an outcry about not only his financial dishonesty but his being on Donahue's coattails in terms of further abusing victims.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 05:18 PM

I think it's kind of fitting that Cardinal Burke wears such finery. To my mind, he's one of the most contemptible clerics the American Catholic Church has produced, worse even than Bernie Law. The adage says that clothes make the man, so it seems fitting that ridiculous people should wear ridiculous clothes.

These guys far out-dress the pope, I think.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 03:56 PM

Google cardinal burke vestments

or here are some nice ones to see

http://thewoundedbird.blogspot.com/search/label/Cardinal%20Raymond%20Burke


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 03:45 PM

Could any researchers try to find the place where Pope John Paul I talks about what he called paraphelia I believe. I bookmarked it and can't find it..I don't think it was a direct quote..I think it was in one of the main biographies of him.

He was about to start selling some church finery to fund poor people. He also was made pope wearing fewer doodads than his predecessors. I have held off talking about the vestment fetish, because it is so creepy, but if a pope who was Cardinal of Venice, I believe, talked about it, it must be a possibility. Google Cardinal Burke..somewhere it gives a list of how much some of the vestments he is wearing are...look at some of the pictures. It is creepy.

I have no problem with them getting polyester at $4/yard and making some simple, colorful robes or whatever. It does not have to be silk, gold embroidered, etc. And I think there is some link between the over the top dressing and thinking you are close enough to God therefore to break some of the most universal taboos if not commandments. And just recently there was the cross-dressing priest, which is fine with me if they all do..but he also sold meth...which is not fine..another in bondage..there is something going on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Charmion
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 02:30 PM

My mother complained bitterly about removing lipstick stains from purificators. Back then, laundry detergent was not what it is today, and the only effective bleach was Javel water (Javex).


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:56 PM

In the days when I was a server (in an Anglican Church) the most annoying part of the duties was cleaning lipstick stains off the Chalice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 01:49 PM

I agree with Eliza's comment in her first post - it's a bit of cloth, and we don't worship bits of cloth!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 05:06 AM

I had a lot of contact with the IBVMs when Prison Visiting. A group of sisters used to go into the prison each week to do cooking with the (male) inmates. They thoroughly enjoyed it and so did the lads. I got to know their 'boss' Sister Patricia and was invited several times to visit them at home. They lived in a semi-detached house (not a convent) called Mary Ward House. They attracted me for their practical Christianity and lack of fussiness. They ran a Catholic Boarding School, St Mary's in Ascot, and several of the sisters had taught there. I was, though, very attracted also to the Franciscans for their poverty and simplicity. Sister Margaret was a pattern of humility and charity, and of course St Francis was very close to the natural world, which I love. The Anglican nuns (there are dozens of Anglican Orders) were actually more ritual-minded. I made several retreats with the All Hallows bunch. I so wanted to be a nurse and a nun, but God seemed to have Africa in mind for me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 04:52 AM

The National Catholic Reporter has an entertaining article on the ecclesiastical finery worn by cardinals and such.

Eliza, my boss, Sister Judy, is a member if the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) sisters, and I've worked with several other IBVMs. They're good folks. My boss started as a math teacher in a girls' high school. Then she worked for 14 years at a homeless shelter, taking two years off to work with refugees in Rwanda. She has been director of the women's center where I work for six or seven years. She's a wonderful person to work with - she serves as my go-fer when I'm doing maintenance work.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 30 Jan 13 - 04:26 AM

I have a few completely atheist friends, and they all say that in their opinion 'church' people (meaning priests, nuns, clergy, congregation, anyone who goes to church) are all strange/weird in some way. I imagine they include me in in this condemnation. We have many things in common and enjoy our friendship, so their comments don't disturb me. But it seems this view is quite prevalent, that you find many weird, odd, abnormal, bizarre etc folk connected to the church. One friend, Ronda, reckons that weird people are lonely and they find a welcome of sorts in the church. It's one of the few organisations that is (supposedly) accepting and non-judgmental. Looking back over decades, I can't say I've noticed any wonky or weird clergy particularly. But I've always been a bit naive, so maybe my views aren't worth much!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 06:25 PM

What I am trying to figure out is why the upper clergy are dressed in such expensive and frivolous clothing and nuns are usually modest and frankly drab. Oh..sort of like me. Why do we see such male frippery? Are they not uncomfortable dressing up like peacocks? I also can see you want to keep younger nuns as modest as possible, but wouldn't the same frippery also apply at least to older women a bit? On various discussion groups etc. it always comes up the men dressing up in brocade..they always comment on the Prada shoes..why does a man need Prada shoes? Someone has calculated the cost of one of Cardinal Burke's go to outfits.

Something concerns me..I have not heard it mentioned other than in when I was searching for the only sensible pope in my lifetime had to say..John Paul I...he was apparently concerned that many priests were transvestites and were somewhat fetish-like about the vestments..boy, that could explain a lot. I want to find the exact place he said it.
Could this be so? I think you would have to drag most men kicking and screaming into those outfits, but if they were attracted to them..it also could explain why sermons go on so long etc...


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 05:37 PM

Very interesting Joe, and food for thought. What a shame that HQ feels the need to 'investigate' modern communities of nuns, when it's obvious they work so well. I got to know nuns from Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary(IBVM, a Catholic order) a Franciscan nun I met in Liverpool with whom I corresponded for many years until her death, and the Community of All Hallows (Anglican) with whom I made many retreats. The IBVMs did a lot of prison work. I always found the sisters practical sensible and not obsessed with ritual or unnecessary details where real Christian work was needed. I would've liked to have been a nursing nun in West Africa, but you can't decide these things, God does that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 04:24 PM

You'd be surprised by the majority of nuns in the United States, Eliza. "Obedience" has an entirely different meaning for them. The have taken Vatican II seriously, and they govern their communities through the principles of collegiality. Decisions are made by consensus - and for modern nuns, obedience means obedience to the consensus and common good of the community. My boss the nun submits an annual budget to the finance director of the province (who is a dear friend or hers), and then they work things out according to what the order can afford. Some nuns work in good-paying jobs, and some in jobs that pay nothing - and they pool their resources for the common good.
Obedience for nuns is no longer the burden that it once was, although there must be some give-and-take in community living. So, my boss has a budget, but it's a very loose one. To my mind, modern nuns are some of the happiest people on the face of the earth. They live with people they love and do the work they choose to do. And they do marvelous things.
Which is why the Vatican is investigating them....

Outside the U.S., the only nuns I've had close contact with, are Sisters of Mercy in Ireland and England. They're very similar in philosophy to the Americans. Strong, independent, wonderful women.

-Joe-

P.S. Oh, and speaking of "holy hankies" - when a priest blows his nose on a purificator, I throw it out. It doesn't happen often, but I HAVE seen it happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: BrendanB
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 10:51 AM

Eliza, I agree entirely with what you say about charity. 'There are faith, hope and charity and the greatest of these is charity'. That should be the focus of what churches do and, to be fair, is the focus of many.
I am not sure however that we can question the sincerity of all those whose focus is structures and processes rather than spirit. While we can readily see what is wrong with their approach, and indeed the harm they can do, we cannot be certain that they are not as sincere in their practice as we are in ours. I don't know if I'm right but when we look back into history we see people whose behaviour appals us but who seemed to act out of belief rather than malice. The iconoclasts during the English reformation and civil war spring to mind. Joe's comments about John Paul II in an earlier post also illustrated this.
Thank you for starting such a thought-provoking (and civilised) thread!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 09:51 AM

I think it all boils down to sincerity Brendan. One can be a hypocrite and just pay lipservice and go through the motions. Or one can do things with conviction because one truly subscribes to the practice. I just feel that Jesus and His world are billions of miles away from today's 'Christian' churches. That's why at one point many many years ago I felt I should become a nun and give up absolutely everything to follow Christ. That way I would have embraced true poverty, and followed Him much more closely. Chastity wouldn't have been a problem for me, but I think I'd have stumbled over Obedience, being a 'liberated' woman. I got to know many nuns well, both Anglican and Catholic. To me, Charity is the most necessary thing especially for Western Christians. How we can 'look real poverty in the eye' without feeling horribly guilty and mean, I don't know. I'm doing my best in the field God seems to have plonked me - helping an African family and giving my husband a chance to get on a bit in life. I despise the Holy Hanky Obsession. Far more important to offer a helping hand to those who struggle, both at home and abroad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: BrendanB
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 07:57 AM

Like Joe I spent some years in a seminary. Unlike Joe I have contributed far too little to the church since then. He not only expresses what is good and valuable in Catholicism he also lives it, I am going to have to look very critically at my own practice.
The business of how to wash altar cloths highlights the problem of people placing too much emphasis on the letter of the law and not enough on its spirit. It has been said that any fool can write a law but it takes a wise person to interpret it. I suspect that there are those who shrink from any real intellectual engagement with their faith and focussing on structures makes them feel that they are doing what they should without having to think or question their involvement with the really important aspects of their faith.
I don't mean to sound judgemental, I am often quick to take the easy way out. Let's be grateful for those who really do examine and live their beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 06:21 AM

Yes, Nigel, and a very good way to remove stains. But it's the rigmarole afterwards with the soaking water poured reverently onto bare earth that makes me cross.
Ah, the Oxford Movement! Very High Church Anglicans, and good luck to them, but I don't subscribe to it. 'Cranky Hanky' is a good way of putting it, ChanteyLass.
Our church collects non-perishable food for the Food Bank at a nearby town. Some of us put tins etc in a big box which is taken there every week. Now instead of getting one's knickers in a twist about a holy hanky, it might be a better idea to concentrate on what are obviously poor folk with no food at all, who need emergency boxes ( a three-days' supply) I do my best, but there is obviously a great need out there for a more practical Christian effort in helping and relieving need. I imagine Jesus would agree.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 Jan 13 - 04:52 AM

In answer to an earlier query, the church linen is soaked in cold salt water to remove winestains.

Cheers
Nigel


100


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 09:30 PM

I see that this thread started out as Holy Hanky. I am beginning to think it should be renamed again, this time as Cranky Hanky.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 07:02 PM

Hair raisingly funny Keith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Penny S.
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 06:56 PM

I found a Victorian book called "The Truth about the Oxford Movement" by a very Protestant CofE cleric which went into this sort of thing with some horror as introducing something inappropriate to the Anglican church, so I expect your church has been influenced since the time of Newman et al into those practices. (There was some complex procedure to be followed if any of the consecrated host fell on the floor whoch reduced the author to apoplexy. He did not hold with transubstantiation, which is what lies behind the care with which the sine is treated.)

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 04:37 AM

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen.
Timothy Winters says, "Amen."

http://web.cs.dal.ca/~johnston/poetry/timothy.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 Jan 13 - 04:29 AM

Thank you Joe. I actually love doing laundry and truly believe the church and the various vestments and linen should be nice and clean. I'd gladly 'do the laundry' for the whole shebang, but I would not be soaking hankies in bowls and treating the rinsing water as anything special. Do you know, I'm very surprised (and gratified) at the amount of interest this thread has provoked. I expected two or three responses at most. I'm so grateful for all the feedback and the interesting comments and advice. I still feel close to God, so I'll trust Him to show me where I stand in the choice of church and how my faith should develop. As Tiny Tim said, "God bless us, every one!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 09:15 PM

I have to admit that I'm a little taken aback by the Altar Society ladies and their fierce devotion to their task of keeping those white cloths clean. There was an altar society lady in the sacristy today, collecting the dirty laundry. Because of this discussion, I took a chance and introduced myself to her. She was delightful. She takes great pride in her work, but she's very practical. She gave me all sorts of great laundry tips. She advises Oxiclean, without detergent.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 04:54 AM

I understand your point Doug, but I'm rather a direct and straight-to-the-point old lady. I wouldn't bother to lie to someone, I'd just say what I did with the wretched thing and, after they'd recoiled in horror, add that I wouldn't be doing it any more.
The Lakota Prayer was fascinating and moving. It actually expresses much of what I in my heart feel and believe. Not for nothing am I a Celt on both sides, Scots and Irish. I always have felt a great affinity with the natural world and recognise my place within it and how much I owe to the Creator who ordered it all. In fact, the greatest peace I ever feel is being alone deep in the countryside near to huge oaks, observing the wildlife around me and being 'at one' with it. Thank you so much Lizzie for taking the trouble to type it out for me, as I do not, as you say, have a Facebook page. But my early experiences of Christianity in the C of E were very good. I had gentle and exemplary vicars and Sunday school teachers, and never felt it to be repressive or condemnatory. However I had a foot in both camps so to speak as I also went to mass with my Catholic cousin. This was long before Vat 2, and I adored the elaborate ritual, Latin and incense etc. I even had a little mantilla to wear. My father used to have a fit, as he was raised a Presbyterian, but my mother wisely let me go with Anne. She believed in letting me find my own way. So I'm a bit ecumenical to say the least.
Have to say though, that Lakota Prayer touches me the most and puts into words things I've felt all my life. Hmmmm... what now I wonder?


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 04:49 AM

Eliza - pop along one day and give your vicar a packet of paper hankies. That should do for a bit...

You know, to complete atheists, all this rigmarole must seem hilarious if not utterly contemptible!

Actually, not "contemptible", just irrelevant - to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 04:33 AM

My suggestion:
    Wash it how you like, providing you don't damage it;
    Smile sweetly as you lie about what you did with the water.

What the eye doesn't see, the heart won't grieve over. If you don't get struck by lightning then you know you've got away with it.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: DMcG
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 04:07 AM

I don't have a problem with things being done for aesthetic reasons either, Joe. Not so much because they 'look nice' as because they can make it very difficult for some people to concentrate if what they see appears haphazard and untidy. But that falls into a different category than saying do-this-because-I-say-so, in my mind. The example I gave on the folding the cloth was not to imbue it with a specific meaning, but as an attempt to illustrate how some people can use a ritual to feed their understanding, and there is no requirement for that idea to come from the authorities. On other occasions, though, the authorities may say 'we do it this way to help understand such and such', which may work for you, or it may not.

Maybe examining the cloth handling discussed above was not a good example, but I hope the gist is clear enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 03:53 AM

Well, DMcG, the square corporal is folded into nine squares for a very good reason: it looks good that way, with a crease pattern of nine squares when it's unfolded - and it's a nice, portable size.

The oblong purificator is folded into six oblong rectangles for the same reason - it looks good that way.

To add some mystical meaning to it, probably isn't necessary. From an aesthetic point of view, it looks nice.

Ake, why would I, as a free person, want to submit to an authoritarian church, or to an authoritarian God? I go to church because it makes my life richer and more meaningful. I'm an intelligent, well-behaved person - why do I need somebody else to impose a set of rules on me?

To my mind, Benedict XVI isn't all that bad, but I think he gets bad press because reporters don't understand him. Benedict tends toward conservatism, but at least he seems to be open to the discussion and to enjoy the discussion. John Paul II was nowhere near that open-minded.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: DMcG
Date: 27 Jan 13 - 02:39 AM

I just dont understand why you provide ammunition to those who would destroy all the good things in a belief system.

I guess he simply says what he believes to be the case. If others regard that as ammunition, it can't be helped.

For my part, I am ambivalent about ritual. It has lots of positive aspects as Janie said: they can be comforting and inspiring. Perhaps more importantly, they can provide a framework to assist with a deeper understanding of what your particular religion is about. On the other hand, they can be completely empty spaces, with no real significance, which are either an attempt to manipulate god ("you need to sacrifice a black chicken to appease the River-god") or - very commonly in Catholicism - an attempt by the hierarchy to exercise a worldly control over the organisation, exactly as any big business CEO and board might do.

Go back to to the original opening post. The ritual says the cloth should be folded into nine squares. Really? Do we believe God will regard us differently if we fold it into four rather than nine? Now, if the folding into thirds is connected with some meditative thoughts about the nature of the Trinity, that's a good thing. If its a rule from on high, its just a rule.

And it is this reason why some people like me regard Vatican II as so important. Like the sort of audits and reviews that might take place in any business these days, it started out by asking very fundamental questions - what is the relationships between the people, priest and God, for example - and seriously questioned all the rituals that had grown up over the centuries, jettisoning a lot of them as pointless superstition with no theological basis. Since then, as Joe pointed out, we have tended to behave in the typical human fashion and introduce a whole new bunch of rules and regulations, and currently have a centre, in the form of the Pope and his cardinals, that seem very keen on reasserting the centralised control that existed before Vatican II.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: akenaton
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 08:12 PM

Thanks for taking the time Joe.
But why do you feel that you should address your god on equal terms....the Pope is not "god"

When I get into a "spiritual" mood I know that to my "god" (the life force), i am nothing, less than a grain of sand, a "god" that does not care whether I am liberal or conservative, rich or poor, stupid or intelligent, proud or humble.
My god demands respect, obedience and care from humanity.
If it is not forthcoming my "god" will wipe us from the face of the earth, like straws in the wind.

The cult of self has no place in spiritual matters.

I liked your post Janie......and Joe I dont mean to belittle what you have written I'm sure you are a genuinely good person, I just dont understand why you provide ammunition to those who would destroy all the good things in a belief system.
You must see them on these pages.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Janie
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 06:41 PM

I'm atheist, but really value the focus the rituals of the communal service of the Episcopal church to which I belong provide.

I'm sure if I attended a congregation where dogma reigned I might be very uncomfortable and the rituals might seem dogmatic to me. As it is, I find the shared rituals of the service provide a focal point and a shared experience that are reminders that while we are individuals, we also are dependent on community and exist within the context of community. Also, that the function of institutions, ultimately, is to sustain social community which is essential for the survival of our species. (I know, lots of tensions involved, some of which are very tricky to resolve or balance.) Maybe because I was not "raised in a church" I do not generally have strong emotional reactions against "religion" or particular spiritual beliefs.

I do find ritual useful in my life, and once I became familar with the communal rituals of the service at my particular church, I found them comforting and inspiring, although perhaps not in the same way Christian believers experience them.

Some rituals have shifted over the years in my particular congregation. More people stand than kneel during particular parts of the service, although most people still kneel at the communion rail and those who don't are generally people who find it difficult to do so.

I genuflect when I enter the pew and kneel with head bowed for a moment or two before settling myself in the pew. I kneel during the parts of the service that indicate one should stand or kneel, and, when my knees allow, which is most of the time, I kneel at the alter rail for communion. Yes, I take communion. The rules of the church say all those baptized may do so, I was baptized earlier in my life, so it is "legal" and it is a rite of great meaning to me, only not quite the meaning perhaps it has to others.

To me, the kneeling and the genuflecting, and the bowing when the cross proceeds up the aisle are not bowing before a god I don't happen to think exists, it is an honoring of and a recognition that there is a power greater than myself on which ultimately my sustenance depends. Community. Other human beings in organized association and mindful living. Nature. The universe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 05:29 PM

Joe - you are obviously in a very fortunate position where you are. Don't ever let anyone in your parish let on to the powers that be in Rome at the moment how you see things - cos they'll be down on you like a ton of bricks.

I think you would be very surprised if you ever spent time in European / UK parishes: to the point of wondering if you were in the same church.

Does the name Hubert Richards mean anything to you - he was a prof in theology in Rome in the early 60s? I knew him in the early 70s when he was living in the parish I was in at the time. He was a lay person and married by then. He warned us liberals about the attitudes and ambitions of a certain Ratzinger then - and he was right.

I and mine collapsed (like lapsed, only more so) as the UK church slowly slid away from VAT 2, and started lurching into old ways of thinking.

Eliza - perhaps you will look back on this episode, and see how working through aspects of it clarify your own thinking and belief for the future. I wish you luck in your search.

Paws


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 05:14 PM

Hello, Joe! Big hug! xx

I'll keep quiet on this one, for a change..other than to say 'All My Relations' does it for me....

:0) xx


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 04:47 PM

Hi, Lizzie -
I would submit that one can take a more positive, nurturing view of the Lord's Prayer. If your perspective of the Christian God is of a loving, nurturing, supporting, forgiving Being of nonspecific gender, then the Lord's Prayer can be quite positive.

If you see God as the One who forgives when no one else will forgive, that's a pretty big thing. If you see God as the Source of all Goodness, that's pretty big, too. Remember that St. John said God is Love. That puts a different spin on it, too.

The authoritarian view of God is not the only valid Christian perspective - and I don't think it's the view of God that Jesus had.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 04:35 PM

Eliza, I'm putting this below as I don't think you have a Facebook page, so a link to this won't be any good for you...It's from a FB friend of mine, James, over in America, who is a Quaker. I thought you might like to see it. And I'm with Bruce, no need for 'churches' to bring you close to The Spirit In The Sky... :0) xxx




>>>"All my Relations" vs. "Our Father"
        
        
My Friend Lizzie Cornish recently posted the Lakota prayer "Mitakuye Oyasin" ("All My Relations") on her Facebook page, with the comment that it beats the hell out of the Lord's Prayer. I have to confess that the Native American prayer is more universal in its message than the one Jesus is said to have recommended to his followers I think they serve different purposes.


Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer.

To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.

To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.

To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.

To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.

To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.

To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.

To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.

You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.

Thank you for this Life.


The prayer is said by one person to a multiplicity of beings. It acknowledges that the Spirit infuses all living things, and all parts of planet Earth, not just human beings, and expresses gratitude for the cooperation and coexistence of all these beings, which sustains the person speaking the prayer as well as all the rest.

In contrast, the Lord's Prayer is said by a group of humans ("us") to a unitary male deity, begging him to remain sacred and in charge, to keep on feeding us so we stay alive, and to make it easy for us to continue behaving morally. It calls for a bargain in which we forgive the bad things others do to us and God in turn forgives us for all the bad things we have been doing (and continue to do) to others. It implies that perfection ("heaven") exists and that God can and should make our earthly life more like that perfection.

    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our debts (trespasses, sins),
    as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who trespass against us).
    And lead us not into temptation (trials),
    but deliver us from evil (the evil one)
    for the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours for ever


About that bargain, with the background of Jesus' other teachings in mind, we must assume that we are supposed to stop doing evil right now, so that the bargain can be final, but what if we keep doing bad things to other people? It doesn't ask that victims of our bad acts be made whole, but just that God forgive us on behalf of them; what happens to "them" is of no concern. The prayer is human-centered, in-group-centered and selfish. It also implies that the whim of God could kill us all off in an instant.

Both prayers express a passive attitude toward life and the workings of the Spirit. In the Lord's prayer, God is to remain sacred, all-powerful, and in charge, insuring that the world continues toward perfection. In the Lakota prayer, the relationship of all beings and all "nations" is eternal and dynamic, with no single part being in charge.

Thankfulness and cooperation are at the heart of the Lakota prayer. Fear and shame seem to underlie the Christian prayer.

The reality is that those who repeatedly say the Lord's Prayer have been among those who perpetrate many large-scale wrongs on each other and upon the other peoples and "nations" of the Earth. Those who recite the Lakota prayer have, to be fair, never been numerous enough to demonstrate the positive or negative outward effects of saying their prayer on a world scale.

I know that the mental and physical effects of reading or saying the Lakota prayer feel positive and helpful. Having grown up with the Lord's prayer, I feel anxious when I listen to the words, but peaceful if I just let it wash over me as an ancient formula, like singing or hearing an old ballad. We used to say in unison, along with the 23rd Psalm and the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school; I wonder whether my life would have been different if we had recited "All My Relations" each morning instead."<<<<


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 03:59 PM

Ake, I really appreciate your questions. Remember that I have eight years of training in a Catholic seminary, so it's not like I'm inventing my own religion or something (although I know at least a couple former seminarians who did invent their own).

I have studied (and taught) the Scriptures and Catholic teachings and tradition all my life - from a middle-of-the road to progressive standpoint, mind you. None of that literalist, fundamentalist stuff for me. I know and love Catholic tradition and ritual. I respect the "rules," but I see the function of the rules as preserving authenticity, not exerting authority. And I abhor the idea of slavish adherence to the rules.

For me, the primary element of my religious faith is joy. I go to church to celebrate, not out of submission or obligation. And when I go, I have a wonderful time. The word "authority" has no place in my religious faith - and neither do shame or guilt. For me, "sin" is causing harm, not breaking rules. Religious faith is supposed to help us overcome sin, not wallow in guilt over it. I take Jesus at his word when he says, "The kingdom of God is at hand," and I don't wait for it to come after I die. There is so much to do and so much to celebrate in this life. I see my role in life as participating in God's creation, of bringing all things to good. I feel an obligation to serve God's creation, especially the poor and oppressed. I'm expecting something good will come after death, but I'm not waiting around for it because my life is so full that I'm really busy savoring its richness.

I don't deny suffering and sorrow, but I don't look on them as punishment. In fact, I don't think God punishes us - we are punished by the consequences of our own actions. Faith gives us what we need to overcome suffering and sorrow, or at least to make it meaningful.

I don't see my perspective as the only valid perspective - I see mine as a work in progress, and I think that everyone has at least an amount of validity in his or her own perspective. The whole picture is somewhere in the mix of all those perspectives, the perspectives of the whole spectrum of believers and nonbelievers. I don't think my perspective is on the 'liberal fringe." It's well within the mainstream of Catholic and Christian tradition - although a more somber perspective is also part of the mainstream.

That being said, I feel obligated to accept and explore the aspects of validity in the perspectives of those who take a more somber and authoritarian view of religious faith. But that's not for me. For me, kneeling is a medievalism, a sign of submission to authority. Standing is a sign of celebration, so standing for communion is far more meaningful for me. And sitting at ease is, the best posture for reflection, study, and prayer.

I'm not alone in my perspective. It's widespread in the Catholic Church, especially in the older, more authentically traditional religious orders - most Franciscans and Jesuits are good examples. A couple of years ago, I became an associate member of the Sisters of Mercy, because I have much in common with those wise, wonderful nuns. This perspective has been alive in the Christian church throughout its history. Much of it got lost amidst the politics of intrigue of medieval times, but it survived among the mystics and was quite healthy in religious orders and some local churches. The Second Vatican Council brought a rebirth of this perspective in the Catholic Church, and then the contemptible but popular John Paul II did his best to suppress it during his 25-year reign.

I've been quite successful in fostering this perspective in the parishes I have belonged to in my lifetime, although it has often been a struggle to get the overly pietistic ones to at least tolerate us who have a more joyful and positive point of view. When the struggle gets to me and I feel myself getting angry, I spend some time with the nuns and they bring me back to a more gentle perspective.

So, Ake, there you have it. That's as honest a presentation as I can make. I practive my faith from a position of freedom, not obligation. I see the Catholic Church as MY church - it's mine every bit as much as it's the Pope's church. I pay attention to what he has to say and I have at least some level of respect for his authority, but I feel no obligation to obey him.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 12:06 PM

Ake, I think if you go back to the original source materials (the actual teachings of Christ as recorded by his Disciples) you will find that forgiveness and tolerance carry a lot more importance than constraints and moral strictures. The line about who gets to cast the first stone comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: DMcG
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 11:54 AM

There were a lot of changes to the Catholic rituals in the sixties under a series of reforms Catholics refer to as Vatican II. One of several physical changes was the removal of communion rails. One effect of this is that there is nothing to rest against if you are kneeling, making the act quite a bit more physically demanding. So standing is both easier and quite a lot quicker than having each person kneel in turn. Before Vatican II and in Church of England (as similar) the use of rails with the minister moving along the entire width makes both ways of receiving almost equally practical.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sacristan Duties
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 11:20 AM

The only Catholic Mass I have attended was at my son's wedding, and of course could not participate.
I never noticed they were standing.


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