Some, especially among the hierarchy, are questioning the wisdom of passing around the Vatican family questionnaire.  In this context, staying with the theme of uncertainty from last week, Bishop Marcello Semararo, whom Pope Francis has named secretary of his Council of Cardinals, made the following comment.  “The beauty of this moment is that the church feels encouraged to ask questions.  The church doesn’t just have answers; it also needs to ask questions.”[1]


Will asking questions avert lawsuits?  On February 5 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child brought the Vatican to task for covering up sexual abuses.[2]  Since there is no such thing as a “Bill of Rights” in Vatican Canon Law, perhaps asking irrelevant questions looks like a way out.  The pattern at work is (1) suppression, now obviated by the UN, (2) encapsulation, “Three Strikes and You’re Out,” made silly by the convicted criminal, Robert Finn, still the local Ordinary of Kansas City-Saint Joseph Missouri; (3) public relations, like attacking the UN messenger; (4) local fix; (5) global fix; and (6) investigation of root causes.  Personal Notes thinks that until the causes are known, what the problem is cannot be known.  In the meantime . . . 


Secular reorganization proceedings will mean little until the hierarchy admits the problem of covering up felonious acts against children.  In 2010, A. W. Richard Sipe set out the needs of the Church in an article titled, “Scandal vs. crisis; PR vs. raw data.”[3]  So far, the best Faithful are getting is Public Relations (PR), for which the Faithful need more than joyful love and candles at Mass.


The Faithful experience need that is more than a joyous love and more than regulating the celebration of the Mass.  For example, another diocese, Helena, Montana, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday, January 31.  The reason is to resolve more than 350 sexual-abuse claims.  The `just have the answers’ Bishop, George Leo Thomas, declared, “Once the reorganization proceedings conclude, we will be able to plan confidently for future ministry for the people of the Church of the Diocese of Helena.”[4]  Who, besides himself, is he kidding with his public relations?  Such proceedings are not solving any problem.


The “Aspects of Worship” article by Father John David Ramsey, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, seems to be following a `just have the answers approach’ public relations to Faith.  January 26, Father John David wrote, “The only thing needful in life is a joyous love of God that flows over into a deep love of neighbor.”  On February 2, he wrote about “the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, which regulates everything [including candles] having to do with the celebration of the Mass.” 


The risk with claiming everything, is the exception.  Not only does the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) (in the original Latin, Institutio Generalis) offer detailed instructions, but so does Canon Law and the Missal itself.  At the very beginning, at paragraph 1, GIRM makes this reference to the Missal.  A problem is that the Faithful have access to the Missal, which is present at every Mass, but not to GIRM, in either English or Latin.[5]


Despite difficult ecclesiastical circumstances, this is Easter Sunday.  With the Responsorial Antiphon the Faithful will pray, This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad.  Prudence requires the Faithful attend to the fact that Jesus “conquered death” in the prayer following the Gloria.  Jesus conquered not only physical death, but also spiritual death, sin, as found in the current sexual abuse cover-ups causing claims of Chapter 11 diocesan bankruptcies.  






First Reading:                    Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Psalm:                              Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (24)

Second Reading                Colossians 3:1-4

Alleluia Verse                    cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7b-8a

Gospel:                             John 20:1-9


Annotated Bibliography

Musings above the solid line draw from material below.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some interesting details.


Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Acts 10:34

James H. Evans [sic] Jr., We have been Believers:  An African American Systematic Theology[6]

The Lectionary correctly documents using only verse 34a, not the whole verse.  The Lectionary omits In truth I see that God shows no partiality.  On the face of it, this omitted part of the verse is important to African American communities.


Acts 10:40-41

Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary:  Commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament manuscripts and how they relate to the major English translations[7]

There are two early versions of Acts, the Alexandrian text and the Western text.  The Alexandrian African text is probably more secure than the Western text that added details to the original.  The detail added here is that Jesus also journeyed with the disciples.  The main point Peter is making, as proof of the Resurrection, is that Jesus ate and drank with the disciples.  Adding journeying is extraneous to the main point.


Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (24)

          The Church makes Psalm 118 available for funerals.[8]


Psalm 118:22

Stephen J. Lampe, review of Luigi Orlando, La prima lettera di Pietro:  Tradizioni inniche, liturgiche, midraschiche[9]

Orlando argues the first Christians used Psalm 118:22, The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, to help understand suffering.


Psalm 118:22

Karl Allen Kuhn, “Deaf or Defiant?  The Literary, Cultural, and Affective-Rhetorical Keys to the Naming of John (Luke 1:57-80)”[10]

Kuhn reports that the early Christians used this verse to explain why the contemporaneous Jews rejected Jesus.


Colossians 3:1-4


cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7b-8a


John 20:1-9

John 20:4-6

Robyn Whitaker, “Rebuke or Recall?  Rethinking the Role of Peter in Mark’s Gospel”[11]

Whitaker uses John 20:4-6 to point to evidence that Peter was important in the early Church.  John agrees with the Synoptics that Peter entered the Resurrection tomb first.  John adds that John, the Beloved Disciple, ran ahead of Peter, but stepped aside, to let Peter enter first.



John 20:7-9

Mary L. Coloe, review of Nicholas Farelly, The Disciples in the Fourth Gospel:  A Narrative Analysis of Their Faith and Understanding[12]

For they did not yet understand the Scripture is key to the argument that faith does not presuppose understanding.  Farelly successfully argues against Rudolph Bultmann that lack of understanding does not presuppose lack of faith.


For more on sources see the Appendix file.  A complete set of Personal Notes, dating from the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 14, 2002 to the present, is on the web site at 




The Responsorial Antiphon for this Sunday is This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.[13]


In the gobbledygook prayer at Sunday Mass immediately following the forgiveness of sins, the Faithful hearing the 2011 Roman Missal can listen for “conquered death.”[14]


This is a call for grace that some Black Baptists bring to mind with He is not here, but is risen:  remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24:6-78).[15]  The sense of not being here suits not being present in the sexual coverup antics of the current hierarchy.



[3] A. W. Richard Sipe, “Scandal vs. crisis; PR vs. raw data,”  (accessed July 13, 2010).  The six stages in the second paragraph draw from this article.


[4] Tom Corrigan, “Montana:  Diocese Enters Chapter 11 Amid Abuse Claims,”

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, February 1-2, page A 5, column above the fold.


[5] na, General Instruction of the Roman Missal: Liturgy Documentary Series 2 (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2002) ISBN 1-57455-543-X


na, Missale Romanum:  Ex Decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II Instauratum Auctoritate Pauli PP. VI Promulgatum Ioannis Pauli PP. II Cura Recognitum:  Institutio Generalis:  Ex editione typica tertia cura et studio Congregationis de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum excerpta (00120 Città del Vaticano:  Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2000)  ISBN 88-209-7012-0


[6] second edition (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2012) 77.


[7] Carol Stream, Illinois:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008, xvii-xviii, 372-373.


[8] N.a., International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by Authority of Pope Paul IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: Approved for use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 275.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2 (April 2012) 389.


[10] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 3 (July 2013) 496.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 4 (October 2013) 679.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 1 (January 2013) 148.


[13] National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass:  For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America:  Second Typical Edition:  Volume I:  Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and the Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota:  The Liturgical Press, 1988) 346.  Personal Notes refers to this book as the Lectionary.


[14] n.a., The Roman Missal:  Renewed by Decree of the Most Holy Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI and Revised at the Direction of Pope John Paul II:  English Translation According to the Third Typical Edition:  For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America:  Approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (Washington, DC, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011) 387.  Personal Notes refers to this book as the Missal.


[15] UMI Annual Sunday School Lesson Commentary:  Precepts for Living ®: 2013-2014:  International Sunday School Lessons:  Volume 165:  UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), a. Okechuku Ogbonnaya, Ph.D., (ed.) (Chicago, IL  60643: UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), 2013) 381-382.