I was curious about what’s going on in the Church this Ash Wednesday, so I did some pure internet searching and found some intriguing posts.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis is holding all-day free confidential consultations with its Tribunal Canon lawyers for anyone wishing to discuss his or her current marital status and reconciliation with the Church.
Here is the official chancery posting.
If you go to confession on Ash Wednesday, and you are not sure what to confess, the Diocese of San Diego certainly spells it out with the precision of an IRS form. Have you pirated materials: videos, music, software? Have you plagiarized or been academically dishonest? Have you had any involvement with the occult, witchcraft, Wicca, Ouija boards, séances, tarot cards, new age crystals, fortune telling, or the like? (Consulted my portfolio advisor?) Have you put faith in horoscopes? Anyway, here they are for you to cut out and bring to the box. Something tells me that this isn’t exactly what Pope Francis had in mind when he addressed the confessors of the world a few days ago on how to reach out during this Year of Mercy, but there’s always someone who doesn’t get the email. Or, the webmaster hasn’t updated the site yet. I can understand that.
If you are looking for an examination of conscience for your parish or diocese, the Archbishop of Atlanta is evaluating its parishes with a questionnaire based upon “benchmarks.” I was the 225th person to download the Adobe document, which has been available on-line since May, 2015. My main objection to such surveys is that the results are never posted online. Historically, such polling is a precursor to parish realignments and closings, and the final determinations are financially driven at the end of the day.
The Holy Year page of the Diocese of Pensacola/Tallahassee is the only one I have seen to reference Pope Boniface VIII as the first pontiff to declare a Jubilee year or Holy Year. This is historically accurate but a bit less inspiring than our present year. Boniface VIII’s mandate included the condition that participants must actually visit the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul for fifteen successive days to gain the cherished indulgence. Some historians believe that the expected financial gifts proffered by pilgrims (including Dante, by some accounts, who put Boniface in the Eighth Circle of Hell in the Divine Comedy) were solicited to strengthen the pope’s hand in his dealings with Phillip IV of France.
For certain, Boniface is remembered for his Encyclical Unam Sanctam (1302), famous for the line “It is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” Although unenforceable even during his reign, the claim lingered on until it was formally put to rest at Vatican II in its declaration of freedom of conscience.
I need to cut out early today for the noon Ash Wednesday service here in town, so I will be back tomorrow with our Thursday reflection on the Catechism. Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.