DON'T MESS WITH MY RITES!
A Bill of Rights for Orthodox Catholics

June 1998By Mark J. Kelly

Mark J. Kelly teaches theology at St. Hubert High School for Girls in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. His "Fed Up With Being a Rat in a Liturgical Lab" appeared in our May 1997 issue.

Pope John Paul II has said that Catholics have a right to receive authentic Catholic doctrine and the fullness of the Catholic experience. Because so many Catholics, especially lay Catholics, have been deprived of this right, and have consequently endured great spiritual anguish, it's time to draft a Catholic Bill of Rights. Here's my stab at it:

We, the People of God, declare that we are the inheritors of certain inalienable rights. These rights, purchased for us by the blood of our Savior and renewed by every martyr, are fully and solemnly assured to us by the Second Vatican Council, the revised Code of Canon Law (CIC), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

1. We have the right to a Church that both follows the letter and embodies the spirit of Vatican II.

The documents of Vatican II are like a classic book that many talk about but few have read. The true spirit of Vatican II is found in the words of Vatican II. As St. Thomas More would remind us, "A document or oath means what the words say." Pope John XXIII called the Council so the Church could better address the modern world. Nowhere in the documents of the Council is there a call to embrace the modern world. The call to address the modern world contains no imperatives to soften our message or to abandon objective truth.


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