Travels Amy and I have been on the road all thi…


Amy and I have been on the road all this week. Tuesday I met with one of our authors in downtown Chicago then we headed off to Milwaukee, WI for an evening baseball game at the relatively new Miller Park. There were few in attendance (I think they announced a crowd of 11,000 but there were hardly more than 5,000 there). The mighty Florida Marlins won handily 12-4. Before going to the game we stopped in at the Cathedral in Milwaukee which underwent a renovation a few years ago. Amy has commented that I don’t particularly care for the “Mother of the Church” statue, so let me clarify why.

First it has long been a tradition in the Church that any statue of Mary is always linked to Christ (Our Lady of Fatima is one exception that comes to mind though)–Mary is either holding the child Jesus or is pregnant with Him. This Madona seems to be just, well liberated–not encumbered with child either in her arms or womb. Her hair flies freely giving the notion of fleeing (repression, patriarchy?) and of course historically hair exposed would connote Mary Magdalene not Mary the Mother of Christ. My main problem with the image is that it strikes me to be linked to an idealogy not true devotion to the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. The other statue to the right of the sanctuary is of Blessed John XXIII, again I have no problem with this image except that it clearly is trying to send a message of reform etc. (reform that I am all for by the way but not necessarily in the way that Archbishop Weakland would have conceived of it). The focus of the chuch is organ pipes something that shows the triumpth of musicians as liturgists in the post Vatican II church. Another interesting note about this cathedral is the centrality of the altar and ambo but the relatively obscurity of the “cathedra”–the bishop’s chair.

One reflection that I had after this visit was how the ambry has become such a featured focus of new church’s. In old church’s you would have had a hard time locating the receptical for the holy oils, now adays it is a featured site, often lit with big glass jugs holding more oil than could ever be used in a year for annointings. The other is the centrality of the Baptismal font, usually done in the name of reclaiming our liturgical roots but the church’s that I have visited from the fourth century did not have a baptismal font in the entrance of the church but rather in a hidden separate room where they could be done away from the congregation. The novelty of putting one in the entrance is purely a creation of modern liturgists. So we have the exaltation of music, oil and water and exile of the Lord Jesus Christ present in the reserved Blessed Sacrament–I wonder what that says about reform?

On Friday, we visited an Eastern Catholic church in our search for a Catholic Carmelite monastery in Munster, IN. More on this when we get back from our book signing in Lansing, Michigan today. We’ll be at the Rosary Book Store in Lansing today from 1-3 signing all those great Catholic books we’ve written! If you are in the area stop by and say hi!

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