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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
March 22, 1996     The Message
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March 22, 1996

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......  The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 " Bishop's Forum -- We are deep into our desert As the signs of and more evi- of Easter. In yearn for Holy Week and its COnclusion, the solemn an- Resurrection Meanwhile nature spring with glorious Scents, the renewal of anticipation of the sacred Holy Week it is good urselves that this journey, it Our trek in the Exodus story of the Is- from Egypt We too are looking to of eternity and we travel toward le difference for us is that instead of Jesus has shown us the way us; it is he who leads us through life, , reminiscent of the shepherd leading celebrates the special moments the central church of a diocese, the It is there members of the faithful diocese gather with him to cel- as one community of as yet not named one of our as a cathedral, I will be going to six Ones for the respective celebrations. for us Jesus' entry a glorious entry for his followers; palm branches. He, of course, was Was to happen. We remind ourselves selfless love for us that made it to be obedient to the Father, even Holy week planning ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER to the awful crucifixion that awaited him. It is on this Sunday that we hear the account of Jesus' arrest, condemnation, crucifixion, and death -- the price of our sins. Holy Rosary, Evansville On Tuesday of Holy Week, the Sacred Liturgy during which the bishop blesses the Holy Oils for use throughout the year is of particular significance. It is at the "Chrism Mass" that the bishop, priests, dea- cons and the faithful gather in one place to demonstrate the unity of the local church which we call the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. Uniquely, Sacred Chrism is the oil by which we have all been anointed, signifying our personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Each was anointed with Sacred Chrism following the Sacrament of Baptism and again in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Be with us at this celebration of our unity of faith. St. Joseph, Evansville On Holy Thursday we commemorate the insti- tution of the Sacrament of Jesus' Body and Blood. When we make reference to Holy Eucharist, we re- flect Jesus' "Act of Thanksgiving ("Eucharist" in Greek) to the Father by offering himself. When we speak of Holy Communion, there is a dual meaning. Each of us is united with Jesus in "eating his Body and drinking his Blood." We are also united with each other as we do this in a com- mon celebration around the table of the Lord. We are just like a family, whose members gather in one home, to celebrate thanksgiving around the dining room table. The "Blessed Sacrament" is yet another way to refer to the Sacrament of Jesus' Body and Blood, for it is the most blessed of all the sacraments for it contains the author of all sacraments, Jesus. St. John Chrysostom, New Boston We will gather at St. John for the Good Friday Service. Notice that it is not the celebration of"Eu- charist" even though we "communicate" (we receive Holy Communion) the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament made present to us at the commemoration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Good Friday also has a dual theme, that of Jesus' passion and death on the cross and the prayers of the people at the foot of the cross. We take time to celebrate the "victorious cross," and to venerate the cross as a sign of our redemption. St. Benedict, Evansville The Easter Vigil will take place at St. Benedict Church in Evansville. The blessing of fire begins the service followed by the blessing of the "Christ" can- dle which is lighted. It is the only light in the dark- ened Church and it is amazing what one candle can do to dispel darkness. Then there is the "story telling  of our history from the beginning (the Hebrew Testament) to Jesus' resurrection. Baptismal water is blessed, new members are baptized and others complete rites of initiation by professing their faith and receivingthe Sacrament of Confirmation. We celebrate this most joyous moment of Chris- tian faith around the table of the Lord, Jesus' infi- nite act of thanksgiving, the Holy Eucharist. St. Bernard, Rockport Easter Sunday! We celebrate the central mys- tery of our faith, the greatest feast of Catholic Christian tradition, the Resurrection of the Lord! Be with us. history of clergy compensation in the Catholic Church g article is the of the Church. Emperor Con- Many times the nobility would loners were also used for the sation. Ordained clergy are adapted from by the which be made The in over beginning the teach- laborer is re" (Matthew commu- days rec- Ponsibility to Who worked pel. The fi- lead- Others in the Provided from (Acts 2:44- were an equal dig- How of a "COmmon remains un- ne major event Would have on the life PCWe 4 It's Cardi- the Plus one. the se- announces in St. is And the know, be- DOminici from explicit per- pope. stantine granted religious free- dom to Christians. To be Chris- tian was no longer punishable by death. Persecution waned. Christianity grew in popularity and so did the number of Christians. Many of the pagan temples were given to the Church to be used as places of worship. The Church became a major property holder while the clergy became a privileged class within Christianity itself. Church property such as tem- ples and farm lands became known as a "benefice." In place of the "common purse," the rev- enue from these properties was used to compensate the clergy for their work. Council of Chalcedon The Church continued to provide financially for its clergy, but the method contin- ued to change. The clergy were elevated to a higher status both within the Church and so- ciety, becoming lords of their land, managers of estates, while serving as pastors. In 45!, the Council of Chalcedon officially mandated that clergy were to receive their income from the Christian community itself. In the early Church, St. Paul had supported himself through tent making. In the sixth cen- tury, no man was to be or- dained a priest without a "title" to a benefice m that is, the Church had to guarantee a regular income for the priest. The Middle Ages In Europe, during the next 1,000 years (450 to 1500 A.D.), there were constant struggles between Church leaders and the nobility regarding owner- ship of the land and the farms. confiscate Church property and expel the clergy. The clergy werq thus left unpaid and sometimes in poverty. Eventually, various compro- mises were reached; for exam- ple, the nobility retained own- ership of theland while paying the clergy for their ministry. The Reformation In the early 16th century, the Protestant Reformation oc- curred. It was another event which would bring many changes to the practices of the Catholic community. Some Protestant reformers confis- cated church buildings and land holdings for their use. Without a source of revenue from which to provide compen- sation for the clergy, the Catholic Church began to levy tithes upon the laity to help support the clergy. At the same time, the Catholic Church con- tinued the practice of the ear- lier period -- no priest could be ordained without a "title" to a "benefice." The New World The practice of supporting a priest from the income of a benefice presented unique problems to the Church in de- veloping mission countries be- cause they owned no land, whose produce could be used to compensate the clergy. Such was true in the early history of the United States. Yet the practice remained -- without title to a benefice, no man could be ordained a priest: his income had to be assured. The European Mission Soci- eties helped provide money to pay for the clergy and to estab- lish parishes in America. Of- fertory gifts from local parish- upkeep of the parish and its priest. Each local diocesan bishop was responsible to provide for the financial needs of his priests -- housing, food and a small amount of money for per- sonal items. Many priests lived in the homes of parishioners. Compensating the clergy pri- marily from the offertory gifts became the custom in the poor immigrant Church in the United States, while in Europe the vast land holdings contin- ued to provide a source of in- come for the clergy. The Second Vatican Council Another event in the life of the Catholic Church which continues to bring changes to the customs and practices of our Church was the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Vatican II recognized once again that the whole church is "the People of God." The priest is not above the people, but is called to serve them. He is "a disciple among disciples.  Through baptism, all Chris- tians share a common dignity. Ordination calls an individual to service within the commu- nity, not to a higher class. As such, priests are no longer to be "provided for  or aken care of." They are to receive com- pensation for their work just as every lay person does. With the awareness that the Church is also a sacrament or sign of the inbreaking of God's kingdom, the Church is called to be a sign and instrument of justice, both within and out- side its walls. With these new awaronesses comes a change in the practice of clergy compen- now to receive a "just compen- sation for their ministry" as stated by the U.S. bishops: "No one should be deprived of his ordinary rights because he is associated with the Church in one way or another. Those who serve the Church by their labor, including priests and re- ligious, should receive suffi- cient livelihood and enjoy the social security which is cus- tomary in their region." Simplicity, not poverty Some have the notion that diocesan clergy have taken a "vow of poverty." They have not. Many members of reli- gious orders have forfeited their right to ownership of property because of the vow of poverty they have taken. Diocesan priests, like laity, are permitted to own property such as cars, personal belong- ings, etc. Diocesan priests, like laity, must also provide for their re- tirement. Retired priests cur- rently receive pensions from Social Security, the Diocese of Evansville, and any personal investments they may have ac- quired. (Retirement of priests did not become "popular  until the late 1960s and early 1970s. When they did retire, they usu- ally remained in the rec'-ory of the parish from which they re- tired.) Like all Christians, priests are called to be stewards of God's gifts, to live the simplic- ity of the Gospel, and to share their gifts with the poor. Next week: Rationale for changes in priests' compensa. tion.