Thursday, November 09, 2006

Come, Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, breathe down upon our troubled world,
Shake the tired foundations of our crumbling institutions,
Break the rules that keep you out of all our sacred spaces.
And from the dust and rubble, gather up the seedlings of a new creation.

Come Holy Spirit, inflame once more the dying embers of our weariness,
Shake us out of our complacency,
Whisper our names once more,
And scatter your gifts of grace with wild abandon.

Break open the prisons of our inner being
And let your raging justice be our sign of liberty.

Come Holy Spirit, and lead us to places we would rather not go;
Expand the horizons of our limited imaginations.
Awaken in our souls dangerous dreams for a new tomorrow,
And rekindle in our hearts the fire of prophetic enthusiasm.

Come Holy Spirit, whose justice outwits international conspiracy;
Whose light outshines spiritual bigotry,
Whose peace can overcome the destructive potential of warfare,
Whose promise invigorates our every effort
To create a new heaven and a new earth,
Now and forever. Amen.

- Diarmuid O'Murchu


Michael Hallman said...

Hi, I had thought that I left a comment in an earlier post, but I don't see it, so I'm probably confused. I was wondering if you could tell me whether or not you inform couples that their marriages will not be recognized by the Church? My sister's friend was recently married, I don't know if it was one of your priests or not, but her new husband is divorced but has not received an annulment, and so the priest who did the ceremony just said that he was a liberal priest who would marry them. But they are under the impression that the Church recognizes their marriage, which is of course wrong, because he has not had his first marriage annulled. I was just wondering if you could tell me what your procedure is, as far as informing your "clients" goes. If you don't want to publish my comment, could you at least e-mail me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

Fr. Rich Hasselbach said...

Hi Michael -
Thanks for your thoughtful note - I did post it on the blog, not sure why the last one didn't make it up there - it may have just got lost in a lot of email.

For the most part, I believe CITI priests DO tell couples that their marriages will not be recognized by the corporate church. While the Corporate (Institutional) Church considers these marriages illegal, I think it's fair to say that CITI represents the broader Church - the People of God. And that people recognizes these weddings, so there is an ecclesial endorsement, though not by church officialdom.

In a way, we do within the institutional church what the Lord himself did within the institutional Judaism of his day - challenge a power structure that has often lost its way by doing the inclusive and welcoming thing.

Jesus welcomed all to his table - the poor, the disenfranchised, sinners, tax collectors, outcasts... How dare an institution formed in his name turn people away from His table simply because they are in a second marriage. How dare it reject gay people seeking a path of integrity and wholeness, while allowing a furtive, dysfunctional gay lifestyle to become dominant within the 'celibate' clergy. CITI priests provide a non-judgmental, caring ministry to folks who feel abandoned or betrayed by corporate Catholicism. At least some priests and bishops recognize this - and have sent people to us who they couldn't (for legal reasons) help themselves.

No institution can control the Love of God poured out upon us. The institutional church can deny the sacramentality of a marriage for one legal reason or another - but God will not be bottled up and controlled, even by a church. I have seen too much grace occurring in these 'non-sacramental' illegal marriages for me to believe that they are anything but earthly signs of God's love - sacraments. Paul taught that, in Christ, we are free of the law. He was speaking of the Mosaic law, but could equally have been referring to the far more soul-numbing Code of Canon Law.

If you approach what we do from a legal, institutional paradigm, one can conclude (as you may have) that what we do is wrong. If one approach our ministry from a more spiritual and relational paradigm, I think you'd value what we do.