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Online Edition - Vol. IX, No. 4: June 2003

NEWS

Hard Rock, OSB -- Rock-star Sinéad O'Connor wants to teach Religion -- Vatican Revives Latin Study -- Catholic U Showcases Bernstein "Mass" -- Amy Vanderbilt on Liturgy -- Bishops' June Meeting -- Correction

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Hard Rock, OSB

Dom Notker Wolf, abbot primate of the Benedictine Order, is the lead guitarist on a newly released album by German rock band "Feedback".

Abbot Notker, who heads the world-wide Benedictine community of 25,000 monks, is based in Rome but plays with the German band whenever he can, he said. He and his band-mates met as students in Germany many years ago.

The new album, "Rock my Soul", was released May 17. Titles on the album, described as "hard rock" style, include "Rock'n Roll Party", "Without You", "Straight, Clear and Easy". Samples are available for listening on the Feedback web site, www.feedback-rock.de/home.php. (See also album promotional story and pictures at: www.uhren-hieber.de/topnews/20030412115513.shtml)

Last April, Abbot Notker quipped at a conference that the Benedictine Order is more like a disorder, according to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, who said the abbot is "known for his sense of humor" ("Word from Rome", April 4, 2003).

Abbot Notker, 62, had been prior of the German abbey of Saint Ottilien until his elevation to abbot primate in September 2000. He is the ninth primate general of the Benedictine confederation since it was formally established in 1893.

Compiled from various sources

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Rock-star Sinéad O'Connor wants to teach Religion

Irish pop singer Sinéad O'Connor says she plans to teach religion after quitting the music business this summer.

"I am retiring because I want to train to become a religion teacher of primary school children", the 36-year-old Irish singer said in a letter published in Dublin's Evening Herald newspaper.

O'Connor, who has two children, said she also plans to work as a visiting church singer, "and maybe sing with a choir. Hire myself out for services. Not weddings! Don't believe in them!"

O'Connor, who has been married twice, said she hopes to start studying theology in September.

Adoremus readers might remember that O'Connor, who was raised Catholic, tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II in an appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992.

In a statement several weeks after the incident, she explained her actions, accusing the Vatican of using "marriage, divorce and, in particular, birth control and abortion to control us through our children and through fear".

O'Connor stirred up controversy again in 1999 when she became the first woman to become a "priest" in the Latin Tridentine Church, a schismatic group based on Spanish sect Palmar de Troya and led by self-described Bishop Michael Cox. O'Connor subsequently began calling herself "Mother Bernadette Mary", and issued an apology for her actions on Saturday Night Live: "I'm sorry I did that, it was a disrespectful thing to do".

Although she publicly announced in 2000 that she was a lesbian, O'Connor married a man in 2001. That marriage reportedly ended earlier this spring.

(Sources: The Associated Press, CNN.com, Guardian Unlimited, Rolling Stone, Toronto Sun)

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Vatican Revives Latin Study

Several recent news stories to come across our virtual "desks" indicate that the Holy See is encouraging the re-introduction of Latin into the Liturgy -- and beyond.

In the years since the Second Vatican Council, Latin has fallen into disuse in many particular churches -- despite the fact that Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on Sacred Liturgy of 1963) prescribed limits on the use of the vernacular: "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites". (SC 36.1)

This has been widely ignored across the US and around the world. Liturgical innovations have often displaced Latin -- and many who have entered the Church since the Council are completely unaware of its role in the sacred Liturgy.

So it was with great excitement that many Adoremus members e-mailed us links to news stories about the Vatican's recent moves to re-promote Latin.

Catholic World News reported on May 13 that Pope John Paul II has set up a new commission to restore Latin to its proper place in the Church. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, has been given the charge of heading the new commission on Latin.

It was also announced that Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos, who heads the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was preparing to celebrate Mass in the basilica of Saint Mary Major using the Tridentine rite -- the universal form of the Liturgy prior to Vatican II. The Mass, scheduled for May 24, would be the first celebrated by a prelate in the Tridentine rite since 1970. (See story page one.)

In related news, the Holy See's publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, has just issued a combined edition of a Latin-Italian dictionary after two earlier volumes sold out. The dictionary contains 15,000 modernized Latin words, including dishwasher and disco.

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Catholic U Showcases Bernstein "Mass"

Leonard Bernstein's "Mass", a musical use of the Catholic liturgy by an agnostic Jewish composer, was performed at the Catholic University of America in Washington in April, as the first in a series of Presidential Concerts in a new university building. The so-called Mass was first performed at the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1971.

The piece makes use of the some of the basic parts of the Mass and is dramatically focused on a liturgical celebration by a priest who at one point throws off his vestments and announces to the congregation that he cannot proceed.

Murry Sidlin of the CUA faculty, who conducted the concert, said Bernstein intended the "Mass" as a protest against the Vietnam War, racism, and "the once-a-week religious edicts".

When the "Mass" was first performed in 1971, commentators close to Bernstein said he intended it to be a celebration of doubt and that he made use of the Catholic liturgy as an apt target for that doubt.

Vincentian Father David O'Connell, CUA president, said the university received numerous complaints about the performance, but he asked, "If the Catholic University of America, of all places, cannot address crises of faith, who can?"

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Amy Vanderbilt on Liturgy

A priest e-mailed us the following note....

"At the Rappahannock County dumpster exchange, I picked up the Amy Vanderbilt Book of Etiquette. Here is what she has to say about Catholic wedding ceremony protocol: 'There have been so many changes in the Roman Catholic ceremony, and such a variety of options are now available, that it would be impossible to list them' (p. 225, The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, A Guide to Contemporary Living, Revised and expanded by Letitia Baldrige, Doubleday, 1978.)"

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Bishops' June Meeting

A document on the role of deacons and a comprehensive National Directory for Catechesis will be presented to the bishops for vote at their meeting in St. Louis, June 19-21.

The Bishops' Committee on Women (BCOW) will propose a new "pastoral letter" on the collaboration of women and clergy. The proposal follows a series of conferences with women in positions of diocesan leadership sponsored by the BCOW since 1999. Summaries and results of these consultations are on the BCOW section of the USCCB web site.

Also scheduled is an extended "executive session" (closed to press and observers) reportedly to discuss the policies for dealing with clergy sex-abuse problems adopted at their Dallas meeting a year ago, seminary "visitations, and the proposal by about 30 bishops to hold a "plenary council".

(Source: USCCB web www.usccb.org - news releases, Committee on Catechism, Committee on Women)

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Correction

In a news item in AB May 2003 issue we incorrectly identified Erie Bishop Donald Trautman as a member of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (BCL). He has not been a member of that committee since November. Chicago Cardinal Francis George became chairman of the BCL in November, and chairmen appoint the committee members and advisers.

The correct list of current BCL members appeared in the February 2003 AB, page one. We regret our error.

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