James H. Evans, Jr., puts it well, when he writes, “Whatever Black theologians say about God must affirm the transformation of the religious consciousness in the believer, as well as the transformation of her or his social existence.”[1]  In the same way, whatever any Roman Catholic theologians say about God must affirm the transformation of the religious consciousness in the believer, especially concerning the scandalous behavior of the current Papacy.  The Papacy and the Faithful also need to transform Catholic clerical culture, or social existence.  The prayer is to empower the new Papacy to deal with the following mess covering up sexual abuses.


The inner politics of the Roman Catholic Church involve Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI covering up the scandalous life of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado.  Most worrisome is that the Cardinals are looking for someone in the new Pope with charisma, which Father Maciel had.  The Cardinals would do better to look for someone with integrity, which Maciel lacked.[2]  Dating back decades, Maciel sexually abused seminarians and fathered children by at least two women.[3]


Maciel had a way to obtain money, especially from wealthy widows, with which he purportedly plied favor from the Papacy.  Maciel had a reputation as the greatest fund-raiser of all time.[4]  Pope John Paul II defended and protected Maciel until he died in 2005.  


In 1998, Jose Barba, a Mexico City college professor filed allegations that Maciel had abused him and others.  Barba filed the charges with the then Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI.  Ratzinger changed the statute of limitations in Canon Law, thereby protecting Maciel.  Eventually, after he became Pope, Benedict relegated Maciel to a life of prayer and penance.  Maciel died in Jacksonville, Florida in 2008, without facing charges. 


On February 15, 2013, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein released incriminating documents about the internal workings of the Legion of Christ, which Maciel headed.  These documents incriminate both John Paul II and Benedict XVI in the sexual cover-up.  The release came days after the resignation of Benedict, February 11, who must have known the release was about to occur.  The documents offer some transparency to recent Church administration, especially the effort to fast-track the canonization of Pope John Paul II, before the sordid details of the sexual cover-up were widely known.[5]


To get away from the scandalous sordid politics of the Roman Catholic Church, the responsorial Antiphon is Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.  In modern times, that ancient Antiphon reverberates with the need to elect a Pope with honesty and intellectual integrity.  Charisma has nothing to do with leadership that does not respect the truth.  This sentiment also seems appropriate for 1 Peter 4:10, As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.[6]  Personal Notes invites the Faithful to pray that the Cardinals will be good stewards as they elect the ultimate steward, the next Pontiff.  The Faithful can listen for the priest to pray the words across the face of the earth, just before the Liturgy of the Word.




First Reading                               Acts 2:1-11

Responsorial Psalm:                    Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 (cf. 30)

Second Reading, choice A:          1 Corinthians 13:3b-7, 12-13

Second Reading, choice B:          Romans 8:8-17

Gospel, Choice A:                       John 20:19-23

Gospel, Choice B:                        John 14:15-16, 23b-26

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 2:1-11

Acts 2:4

Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament[7]

Wallace comments,


It is to be noted that neither the verb nor the case following the verb are the same as in Eph 5:18 [Reading 119B and do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit]  . . . The command there to be filled by the Spirit has nothing to do with the tongues-speaking.  The Spirit-filling . . . in Acts is never commanded, nor is it related particularly to sanctification.  Rather, it is a special imbueing [sic] of the Spirit for a particular task (similar to the Spirit’s ministry in the OT). 


Acts 2:8

Gerald O’Collins, S.J., “Peter as Witness to Easter”[8]

Collins comments, “Today the television cameras catch the faces of those who have come to Rome from all over the world so that they can stand in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday and hear from Peter’s successor the great news that has forever changed human history.”  That helps to account for why media appeal is one of the attributes for which the Cardinals were looking in the new Pope.[9]


Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 (cf. 30)

The Church makes this reading available for funerals.[10]


Psalm 104:30

Joseph Blenkinsopp, “The Cosmological and Protological Language of Deutero-Isaiah”[11]

Blenkinsopp notes that Psalm 104 cannot be dated with assurance.


Second Reading, choice A:  1 Corinthians 13:3b-7, 12-13

1 Cor 12:3

Russell Morton, review of Pierre-Marie Beaude, Saint Paul:  L’ouevre de metamorphose[12]

Morton reports that Beaude argues “transformation occurs only when language communicates meaning in the context of the community affirming `Jesus is Lord’ (1 Cor 12:3).”  Beaude explains why Paul has been misunderstood, as reported by Morton.  The early Church located metamorphosis, (the sudden transformation of a body from one state to another) in the functions of the offices of the institutional church.  “Paul, on the other hand, understood it [metamorphosis or personal transformation] as an apocalyptic event summed up in Christ’s working in the believer through the Holy Spirit . . . ”  Morton thinks Beaude overstates the case.  Morton thinks, “metamorphosis is less the center of Paul’s thought than a component of it.”


1 Corinthians 12:13

William R. G. Loader, review of Bruce Hassen, “All of You Are One”:  The Social Vision of Galatians 3:28, 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Colossians 3:11[13]

Loader is unimpressed.  “One might have expected more on slave and free and male and female.  The role played by claims to biblical authority which inform the issues of Jewish identity, might have been further explored.”


Second Reading, choice B:  Romans 8:8-17



Romans 8:1-39

John David Ramsey, A Precarious Faith:  The Tri-une Dynamic of the Christian Life[14]

Because the Roman Catholic Church of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI has lost credibility in sexual matters, Personal Notes doubts there will be much preaching on Romans 8:8-17.  Personal Notes settles for the following quotation from Father John David, my Pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, in Newport News, Virginia.


Paul in no way denies the importance of the human body or the embodied nature of the life of faith.  The Flesh becomes problematic only when people turn to the things of the flesh—that is, turn toward themselves, their own abilities and capacities—and away from God as the only source of human wholeness.


Rom 8:1-17

Brendan Byrne, S.J., review of Craig S. Keener, Romans:  A New Covenant Commentary[15]

Byrne reports that Keener is a scholar sharing his evangelical erudition with “ministers and students who require a commentary that interacts with the text and context of the NT documents and pays attention to tie impact of the text on the faith and praxis of contemporary faith communities (p. i).”  Keener regards Romans 8:1-17 as a reference “to the moral capacity created by the gift of the Spirit” in contrast to “Paul’s depiction of the struggle with flesh and sin under the law in 7:14-25 to be related to the present life of believers.”


Rom 8:9-11

Daniel A. Smith, “Seeing a Pneuma(tic Body):  The Apologetic Interests of Luke 24:36-43”[16]

Smith argues, “Paul’s tendency to see the risen Christ active as Spirit in and among believers (e.g. Rom 8:9-11 . . . ) or indeed as indwelling believers (e.g. Rom 8:9 . . . ), probably would have seemed problematic to Luke.”



Rom 8:9

Nijay K. Gupta, “Which `Body’ Is a Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19)?  Paul beyond the Individual/Communal Divide”[17]

Gupta prefers to translate the Lectionary the Spirit of God dwells in you as the Spirit of God dwells among you.  Gupta goes on, “Paul is fond of a dialectic interplay that transfers christological import to the individual and the community (as in Rom 8:9; see above.).”  Gupta seems to think along the same lines as Father John David.  Wallace is silent on the matter.


Rom 8:12-29

Edith M. Humphrey, “On Probabilities, Possibilities, and pretexts:  Fostering a Hermeneutics of Sobriety, Sympathy, and Imagination in an Impressionistic and Suspicious Age”[18]

Humphrey wonders,


Could it be that, in the light of God’s new calling to theosis—our participation in the inheritance (8:17), glory  . . . , and even form [sic] (summorphos, 8:29) of the Son—the corollary of our transformation might be the “humanization” of (at least some of) the created order?  Though such speculation is admittedly fanciful, an opening is provided in the text through Paul’s personification of ktisis [creation], which sparks an intriguing centrifugal musing.


Humphries seems to find in Paul a startling call for doing something about things such as climate change.



Rom 8:12-29

Elsa Tamez, “A Latin American Rereading of Romans 7”[19]

Tamez argues,


The chiastic structure shows the importance of considering the whole section so as not to see in the apostle a profound anthropological pessimism.  The rhetorical strategy here is to carry the antithesis to the climax, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  (C), to immediately develop the good news of the Spirit who raises mortal bodies (8:11).


Rom 8:12-25

Michael Peppard, “Adopted and Begotten Sons of God:  Paul and John on Divine Sonship”[20]

For Paul adoption is the master metaphor for Christian divine sonship.


Rom 8:15-25

John D. Dadosky, “Woman without Envy:  Toward Reconceiving the Immaculate Conception”[21]

When Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception in 1854 he “was relying on a tradition that pieced together many scriptural interpretations.  These included the Pauline teaching on sin (Rom 8:15-25) . . . ”  Personal Notes doubts anyone will preach along that direction.



Rom 8:15

Reid B. Locklin, review of Francis X. Clooney, S.J., The Truth, The Way, The L:ife:  Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus[22]

Locklin reports and explains,


Thus summarized, there seems little to prevent a Christian from affirming these verses and even using them in prayer.  Indeed, C. affirms this point by scattering occasional, insightful Christian reflections somewhat haphazardly throughout the exposition, as well as by his postulation of parallel Christian “mantras,” such as “Abba, Father,” (Rom 8:15) or “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46).  It is only—albeit very importantly—the unavoidable specificity of addressing God as “Krishna” and “Narayana with Sri,” along with the tradition’s radical theology of grace and its ambivalence towards orthodox social order, that raise major difficulties for the Christian interpreter (see esp. 180-181).


Perhaps Christians are getting closer to getting along with Hindus.


Rom 8:15

John Calvin (1509-1564), “Commentaries on Daniel”[23]

Calvin uses, For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” to argue “Christ has already reconciled us to the Father by his blood.”  I do not see where Calvin finds blood in this verse.  For Calvin, blood must be implied.  Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) was a contemporary of Calvin.


Rom 8:16

Martin Luther (1483-1546), “Second Lectures on Galatians”[24]

With the Lectionary, Luther points out, The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.  Luther goes on, “when we are weak and tempted that the Spirit begins to cry in our hearts.”  Henry VIII (1491-1547) was another contemporary of Luther.



Rom 8:15

John Calvin (1509-1564), “Commentary on Galatians”[25]

Calvin asserts, “The use of the word crying is a sign of unwavering confidence and boldness . . . ”


Gospel, Choice A: John 20:19-23


Gospel, Choice B:         John 14:15-16, 23b-26

John 14:15-17, 19-29

John David Ramsey, A Precarious Faith:  The Tri-une Dynamic of the Christian Life[26]

Father John David offers a glimpse into his own vocation, which he then elaborates with a comment on the vocation of Saint Paul.


The harmonic articulation of the Word of God is the responsibility of the whole symphonic community; the role of the theologian may be a particular role, but that role makes sense only in the context of the whole.  Thus, the teacher too—“not least”—is always fully participant in the community, taking part in the communal way of the God who dwells in the midst of the community and who reveals himself through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Within the context of this way of life, enlivened by the presence of the Holy Spirit, the theologian is given the responsibility of aiding in the articulation of the community’s understanding and living out of that way.  The theology which arises from this dynamic way of life is always itself woven into the life, both shaping it and shaped by it, through the guidance of that Spirit who “will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.”


His comment on the vocation of Saint Paul:  “Paul’s theological freedom comes from his recognition that God in Christ through the Spirit guides the church in all its complexity and contradiction to its ultimate end—Christ speaking in and through the life and conversation of the church.”  As part of the New Evangelization, Personal Notes reaches out to that conversation.


John 14:16-17, 26

Gilbert Ostdiek, “The ICEL2010 Translation”[27]

Eucharistic Prayer IV references John 14:16-17, 26, with And that we might live no longer for ourselves.


John 14:16-17

Fr. Yozefu – B. Ssemakula, The Healing of Families:  How To Pray Effectively for Those Stubborn Personal and Familial Problems[28]

Ssemakula writes, “fill up that place vacated by satan [sic] with the Holy Spirit—the Consoler and Protector (Lk 11:13, Jn 14:16-17, 26).”


John 20:19-29

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, Priests for the Third Millennium:  The Year for Priests[29]

Dolan uses John 20:19-29 to head Chapter 18, “Sacrament of Penance.”  First Dolan tells about what he heard in the first confession of a little boy.  Dolan then insists, “A good confessor doesn’t even speak of what he has heard, even generically, in the confessional.”  So much, for that much.

Dolan goes on to slam modern psychiatry.


A prominent Jewish psychiatrist in St. Louis lived in the neighborhood of my first parish, and he would often walk on the parish grounds.  One night the pastor and I were taking an after-dinner stroll, and we met up with him.  He asked us about an article he had recently read documenting the sharp decline in the use of the sacrament of penance, and the two of us regrettably had to agree, sharing with him some observations as to why people were no longer frequenting the sacrament.  As he got to the end of the parking lot and turned to go home, he said with a chuckle.  “Well, a decline in confession is good for my business.  If that sacrament ever really caught on, I’d be out of a job.  People pay me well to do what you guys do in confession, and I can’t even forgive their sins, all I can do is help them live with the results!”


Personal Notes gave up systematically examining the illiterate 2011 Missal on November 25, 2012.  On April 7, 2013, with Reading 045C 2nd Sunday of Easter_A Catholic Bible Study 130407, Personal Notes began to incorporate material from A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011).  The intention is to call attention to what is taken from the Commentary to incorporate in Reading 1610 Missal:  The Last Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The hope is that this systematic approach will help the Faithful pray with the new Missal, despite itself.


Anscar J. Chupungco commiserates,[30]


Of grammatical interest is ICEL2010’s introduction of a new English orthography presumable for a more sacral effect.  It frequently uses capital letters, even when the Latin uses the lowercase:  Priest, Sign of the cross, Entrance Chant; Penitential Act, and so on.  The overall effect is distracting for those who are not familiar with the orthography of the German language.”



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 www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes



[1] James H. Evans Jr., We have been Believers:  An African American Systematic Theology, second edition (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2012) 77.


[2] Stacy Meichtry, Vatican City, “Charisma, Management Skills Sought in New Pope,” The Wall Street Journal, Friday, February 15, 2013, page A 11, col. 2-6, below the fold.


[3] Jason Berry, February 15, 2013, “Rhode Island judge releases documents revealing inner workings of Legion of Christ,” http://ncronline.org/node/45366 (assessed February 17, 2013).


[4] Jason Berry, February 18, 2013, “Legion of Christ’s deception, unearthed in neew documents, indicates wide cover-up,”  http://ncronline.org/node/45511 (accessed February 18 and 19, 2013).


[5] The court case is about a suit by Mary Dauray, a niece of Gabrielle Mee, accusing the Legion of Christ of defrauding Mee of tens of millions of dollars.  Before releasing the documents, the judge ruled that Dauray lacked standing to file the suit. 


[6] UMI Annual Commentary 2012-2013:  Precepts for Living: Based on the International Uniform Lessons, Vincent E. Bacote, Ph.D., (ed.) (Chicago, IL  60643: UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc., 2012), .


[7] Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996, 94 (source of the quote), 440, 599.


[8] Theological Studies, Vol. 73, No. 2 (June 2012) 285.


[9] Stacy Meichtry, Vatican City, “Charisma, Management Skills Sought in New Pope,” The Wall Street Journal, Friday, February 15, 2013, page A 11, col. 2-6, below the fold.


[10] 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) 215.


[11] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly Vol. 73, No. 3 (September 2011) #3 495.


[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4 (October 2012) 807-808.


[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3 (September 2011) 619.


[14] (Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 2002) 220, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 229 (source of the quote), 231, 240, 242, 329, 357.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (September 2011) 396.


[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (September 2010) 770.


[17] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 3, (September 2010)  530, 535.


[18] in Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009) 255, 257, 258 (source of the quote).


[19] in Translating the New Testament:  Text, Translation, Theology, Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (eds.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009) 294.


[20] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1, (September 2011) 95, 96, 102.


[21] Theological Studies, Vol. 72, No. 1 (March 2011) 22.


[22] Theological Studies, Vol. 71, No. 3 (September 2010) 726.


[23] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  Old Testament XII: Ezekiel, Daniel, (ed.) Carl L. Beckwith (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2012) 373.


[24] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  New Testament X: Galatians, Ephesians, (ed.) Gerald L. Bray (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2011) 137.


[25] in Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  New Testament X: Galatians, Ephesians, (ed.) Gerald L. Bray (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2011) 138.


[26] (Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 2002) 77, 79, 83, 116-117 (source of the first quote), 125, 130, 137, 153 (source of the second quote).


[27] in A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011) 420.


[28] [no publisher or place of publication is listed] www.healingoffamilies.com, 2012, 335-336.


[29] (Huntington, IN 46750:  Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division:  Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 2000) 17, 239-253.  The quotes are from pages 242, 247, and 252.


[30] Anscar J. Chupungco, “The ICEL2010 Translation,” in A Commentary on the Order of Mass of The Roman Missal:  A New English Translation:  Developed under the Auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Edward Foley (ed.) (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 2011) 137.