Miracle birds

Via Father Z and Anecdotal Evidence: a piece of poetry, just to get the mind of less enjoyable things.

Bird Watching
by John Ciardi

“Every time we put crumbs out and sunflower
seeds something comes. Most often sparrows.
Frequently a jay. Now and then a junco or
a cardinal. And once – immediately and never
again, but as commonly as any miracle while
it is happening, and then instantly incredible for-
ever – the tiniest (was it?) yellow warbler
as nearly as I could thumb through the bird
book for it, or was it an escaped canary? Or
simply the one impossible bright bird that is
always there during a miracle, and then never?

“I, certainly, do not know all that comes to us
at times. A bird is a bird as long as it is
there. Then it is a miracle our crumbs and
sunflower seeds caught and let go. Is there
a book to look through for the identity
of a miracle? No bird that is there is
miracle enough. Every bird that has been is
entirely one. And if some miracles are rarer
than others, every incredible bird has crumbs
and seeds in common with every other. Let there
be bread and seeds in time: all else will follow.”


Via Lucis, introduction to a devotion

In the final days of Lent, and especially on Good Friday, we walked and prayed the Via Crucis, the Stations of the Cross. I have written about that earlier. Today I came across an interesting counterpoint to that: the Via Lucis, the Way of the Light. It is a devotion recognised by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and consist, like the Via Crucis, of fourteen stations. These stations focus on fourteen specific events in the time between the Resurrection of the Lord and His Ascension into Heaven. 

The aforementioned Congregation has this to say about it: 

For centuries the Via Crucis involved the faithful in the first moment of the Easter event, namely the Passion, and helped to fixed its most important aspects in their consciousness. Analogously, the Via Lucis, when celebrated in fidelity to the Gospel text, can effectively convey a living understanding to the faithful of the second moment of the Pascal event, namely the Lord’s Resurrection. 

The Via Lucis  is potentially an excellent pedagogy of the faith, since “per crucem ad lucem.” Using the metaphor of a journey, the Via Lucis moves from the experience of suffering, which in God’s plan is part of life, to the hope of arriving at man’s true end: liberation, joy, and peace, which are essentially paschal values. 

The Via Lucis is a potential stimulus for the restoration of a “culture of life” which is open to the hope and certitude offered by faith, in a society often characterized by a “culture of death”, despair, and nihilism. 

I came across the Via Lucis in the blog of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa. He discusses one or two stations every day, starting with his blog post of 5 April. The entire Via Lucis can be found here in English. 

'The Incredulity of Saint Thomas' by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1601-02), depicting the eighth station of the Via Lucis

Bishop de Korte’s response

A small update on the bishops front. Bishop de Korte has responded to the concerns raised by Archbishop Eijk, which would validate the claims made by bloggers and Trouw. In a press release from the diocese, Bishop de Korte called the current situation “a difference of opinion between the archbishop and the bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden”. He gives good mutual cooperation “the highest priority” and said that the issue should be resolved “through consultation”.

I have to wonder how such a sensitive letter got leaked anyway. Either certain people have impressive means to get their hands on such correspondence, or people around the bishops’ conference or the office of the archbishop are just clumsy.

This certainly doesn’t help the public image of the Church, which is already seriously damaged. But I’m happy to agree with Bishop de Korte when he says that this is something that he and the archbishop need to resolve together.

But do keep an eye on those communication channels, bishops. There’s something still not working properly there.


Bishop versus bishop, the ugly side of social media

Archbishop Wim Eijk

What to do with the reports that a letter from Archbishop Eijk to the bishops’ conference and the nuncio has been leaked, a letter in which the archbishop is said to express his disillusionment with Bishop de Korte’s critique about the former’s handling of the communication around the closing of the Ariënskonvikt seminary?  

Newspaper Trouw claims to have a copy of that letter, and yesterday a number of bloggers were almost falling over each other to see the letter and write about it. The official spokesman of the archbishop has refrained from making any comments, so all we have to go on are rumours.  

Bishop Gerard de Korte

If true, it is certainly an interesting development. Very rarely do fellow bishops so openly criticise each other, and even more rarely does that get leaked to the media. But the problem is if it is true. One of the ‘experts’ quoted by Trouw is Peter Nissen, a man with the nasty habit of attacking the bishops whenever he gets the chance. One of the bloggers who was first with the news is of a very similar mold. That does not make the news any more credible.  

Trouw also reports that the letter was co-signed by the auxiliary bishops of Utrecht, Msgr. Hoogenboom and Msgr. Woorts, which is said to be unlikely, since they studied at the Ariënskonvikt when Msgr. de Korte was the rector there. Then again, it is Peter Nissen claiming that this is unlikely, so take that with several grains of salt.  

For now, I will not draw any conclusions. The whole situation is far too rife with speculation and hype, and it sometimes gives the distasteful impression of paparazzi clamouring for news. Either bishop or their spokespeople will make a statement in the future, and if they don’t (which is just as likely) it is a matter to be resolved between them anyway. The paparazzian clamour and speculations are pointless without any sense of certainty.