First Reading:                   Isaiah 62:1-5

Responsorial Psalm:          Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10 (3)

Second Reading:              1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Alleluia:                             Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14

Gospel:                             Gospel: John 2:1-11



Magnificat ® very kindly donated its November issue, without cost, to everyone at the Black Catholic retreat in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.  In gratitude, I have been examining the magazine; especially concerned about the passive approach to spirituality.  I know many fervent Catholics using that magazine.

Monday, November 9 celebrated The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.  Magnificat ® cites Saint Ignatius of Antioch twice.  I suggest that support for papal authority is the very reason why the Faithful saved that writing, by Saint Ignatius.  I worry, nevertheless, about complicity with the papacy covering up its abuse of authority by promoting passive spirituality.

Tuesday, November 10 celebrated the life of a Pope, Leo the Great.  Magnificat ® cites “two duties” for the Faithful, without citing any corresponding rights.[1]  For Wednesday, November 11, Thursday and November 12, Magnificat ® mentions that Bishops Martin, Bertuin, and Josaphat were chosen,[2] but does not say chosen by whom.  I suspect the people, not the papacy, had the right to choose their bishops.  My concern is for a distortion of the spiritual life caused by the papacy centralizing authority over the Faithful.  By exclusively appointing bishops, the papacy seems to be gathering to itself a new authority, unsupported by any except recent history.  I am an historian.

As I study Magnificat ®, I become more aware that both active and passive voices are present.  There is, nonetheless, a difference.  The active voice is more present in Sacred Scripture than in what Magnificat ® adds.  I also have become painfully aware that the Presider at daily Mass has a choice of readings, a primary choice from the front of the Weekday Lectionary, and often a secondary choice from the back of the Weekday Lectionary.  Since Magnificat ® consistently limits itself to the primary reading, both readings require preparation beforehand by the lay reader.

In that way, on the feast of Martin of Tours, I prepared two antiphons:  “Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth”[3] and “For ever [sic] will I proclaim the goodness of the Lord.”[4]  In the first antiphon, the prayer is that God will become active.  In the second antiphon, the prayer is an act of praise.  In my soul, both antiphons are about the bureaucratic arrangement God establishes for human society.  The first antiphon is an objection to bureaucratic abuse.  The second antiphon is an admission of good, even in bureaucracy.  By bureaucracy, I mean the unquestioned power arrangements required to enable a human social entity to function.

There is a proper role for passive spirituality in the sense that a total passive surrender to God is the only alleviation from addiction to sin.  Everyone sins.[5]  Passivity to God is one thing; passivity to a dysfunctional bureaucracy whether family, Church, or State is something else.  Despite pretense to the contrary, the current Catholic hierarchy in the United States is fundamentally dysfunctional. 

In the process of growing up, I developed a psychologically healthy coping that arose from the Catholic Faith, which my parents taught me.  As I was falling asleep the evening of November 11, 2009, Veterans Day and the Memorial of Martin of Tours (patron saint of soldiers)[6] this year, I turned to those antiphons from the dual readings assigned by the liturgy.  From that came the insight about bureaucracies developed here.  Magnificat ® helped develop this insight and for that, my gratitude continues.  In one antiphon, the Faithful ask God for help (dealing with bureaucracy); in the other antiphon, the Faithful praise God (for bureaucracy).

Learning to cope with the fundamental bureaucracy in my family of origin prepared me to work with other bureaucracies, in both Church and State.  In that way, I made a good living as a full professor at Thomas Nelson Community College, teaching Western Civilization, Black History, government, and social science.  I recognize that the basic religious bureaucracy is what God uses to reach out to the Faithful. 

These Notes reflect my participation in that Divine bureaucracy in many ways, including my objections to the bureaucratic methodologies seen in the programming from Raymond Arroyo on EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network.  More and more Arroyo and the Catholic Bishops simply look like part of the current “Just say No” Republican base.  Since prominent lay Catholics, but not the hierarchy, helped get Barack Obama elected, the hierarchy only shows its political arrogance trying to dictate current Democratic public policy. 

The latest gaff is His Excellency, Tobin Thomas of Providence, Rhode Island, refusing Holy Communion to Representative Patrick Kennedy, because Tobin does not like Kennedy’s Democratic politics.[7]  Thomas learned to be a bureaucratic functionary at the Pontifical North American College, Pontifical Gregorian University, and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Saint Anselm in Rome.  This lesson may have been an unintended consequence of his presence in Rome; but real nonetheless.  Tobin is also an alumnus of Saint Francis University.  Reeking of arrogance, he titles his column in his diocesan paper, “Without a Doubt.”[8]

In 2003, these Notes referenced The Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L., D.D. in an attempt to improve scholarly use of the Lectionary.  Like an arrogant effective bureaucrat, Serratelli has not responded.  Like Tobin Thomas, Serratelli also studied at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University.  In addition, Serratelli studied at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.[9]  Also like Thomas, Serratelli apparently learned to be an effective bureaucrat in Rome. 

The statistic that two-thirds of the diocesan leaders in the United States have knowingly and deliberately covered up and enabled abuse scandals for over twenty-five years is public knowledge.  These bureaucratic cover-up scandals by the bishops involved five per cent of their subordinates, subordinates who have been involved in the sexual abuse scandals.  Father Thomas Doyle is the priest who, for over these twenty-five years, has been challenging the Church bureaucracy to correct its ways covering up the sexual abuse scandals. 

Doyle presents the above evidence about the current hierarchy of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church in the United States.[10]  His statistics form the basis for my argument that the current Catholic hierarchy in the United States is dysfunctional.  The Magnificat ® is unabashedly supportive of every aspect of the hierarchy.  Where Magnificat ® is not supportive, it is silent.

On the positive side, Magnificat ® offers all of the prayers from which the Presider chooses for the ”Order of Mass”.[11]  Since Presiders never either explain or prepare the Faithful for their choices, since Vatican II, I have ignored the choices, as best I have been able.  I think that the ministerial priesthood is sadly lacking in real authority, if the only choices over which it has formal priestly control are in the “Order of Mass.” 

In this Year for Priests, proclaimed by Benedict XVI,[12] the Faithful have a lot for which to pray, beginning with the dignity of the priestly office.  The attitude of “one strike and you are out” as the reaction to evidence of hierarchic cover-up of sexual abuses, demeans the priesthood.  Another problem with the way the hierarchy organizes the priestly office is that the Faithful now have “irremovable parishioners” but “removable pastors.”  Congressman Patrick Kennedy and other lay Catholic government officials seem to fit the category of “irremovable parishioner.”  Before the reorganization of Canon Law, priests could look forward to the security associated with being an “irremovable pastor.” 

The antiphon for this Sunday is “Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.”  Magnificat ® does that.  The Faithful also do that.  In the Black experience, God is good all the time; all the time God is good.”  In other words, the bureaucracies are there for the Faithful to align more closely with the love of God.  That is one of the purposes of these Notes.


Annotated Bibliography

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



First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5

The punctuation in the Sinaiticus is interesting.  There is a period after As a young man marries a virgin.  The total punctuation of this verse is unclear to me.[13]


Isaiah 62:1-5

Matthew J. Lynch, "Zion's Warrior and the Nations: Isaiah 59:15 b—63:6 in Isaiah's Zion Traditions"[14]

Lynch argues that Isaiah is prophesying that God is interested in all of humanity, not only Israel, whom he will protect. 


Isaiah 62:1-5

Michael H. Floyd, "Welcome Back, Daughter of Zion!"[15]

Floyd points to a homosexual marriage, when he writes,


It is nevertheless clear that in several instances Jerusalem is personified as the bride of Yhwh (Isa 54:1-10; 62:1-5; cf. Ezekiel 16), and it is also possible that in the preexilic period Yhwh was widely recognized at having a divine feminine consort.  One could therefore plausibly suppose that when Jerusalem is cast as Yhwh’s bride, she may be playing the role of a goddess.  The extent to which such poetic personification amounts to deification is debatable.  In any case, for present purposes it is notable that phrases such as . . . and the bridal personification of Jerusalem are associated in only one instance, Isaiah 62 (see vv. 1-5 and 11-12).  Nowhere else is Yhwh related to . . . as a husband.


In other words, Sacred Scripture related Jerusalem to God as an hermaphrodite,[16] with dual sexuality.



Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10 (3)

On page 2 in the Notes for January 14, 2007, Margaret Barker argues that the LORD reigns from a tree belongs in verse 10.[17]  The Greek word for “tree” does not appear in the Sinaiticus Psalm 96:10.[18]


Psalm 96:1b-13a

William Doan and Terry Giles, "The Song of Asaph: A Performance-Critical Analysis of 1 Chronicles 16:8-36"[19]

This article uses Psalm 96:1b-13-a to argue that 1 Chronicles 16:8-38 developed and changed the original meaning.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

1 Cor 12:1-11

Thomas Hughson, S.J., "Interpreting Vatican II: `A New Pentecost'"[20]

Hughson argues for a horizontal common Pentecostal renewal rather than a vertical hierarchal bureaucratic sharing in Divine power.


1 Cor 12:4-11

James F. Keenan, S.J., "Moral Notes: Crises and Other Developments"[21]

Keenan argues that current ecclesiastical identity is in crisis.  I think that the reason ecclesiastical identity is in crisis is that the ecclesiastical bureaucracy is in crisis.  Keenan traces the cause of the crisis to confusion over identity.  Keenan is concerned with the sensus fidelium and the common priesthood of the Faithful.  The different kinds of spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 are not arranged in hierarchal order.  That would come later.



1 Cor 12: 4-11

Benjamin Fiore, S.J., review of Michelle V. Lee, Paul, the Stoics, and the Body of Christ[22]

Lee posits verses 4-11 as one of three structural divisions of Chapter 12.  Lee argues “. . . the start of social ethics is a people’s recognition of their commonality (oikeiosis) with other humans, such that they see themselves as individual parts of universal humanity.”  In other words, see themselves as willing to participate in a bureaucracy designed to enable people to function together.


1 Cor 12:4, 8, 9, 11

Clint Tibbs, "The Spirit (World) and the (Holy) Spirits among the Earliest Christians: 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 as a Test Case."[23]

Tibbs argues that the earliest Christians believed more readily in spirits than do postmodern Christians.


Alleluia: Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:14


Gospel: John 2:1-11

John 2:1

The Sinaiticus does not use capital letters; but the Nestle-Aland does use capital letters.[24]  This means that the “original Greek” is inconsistent.


John 1:19—12:12

Alice L. Laffey, review of Maurizio Marcheselli, “Avete Qualcosa da mangiare?”  Un pasto, Il Risorto, la comunità[25]

The narration of manifestation occurs in Galilee.  Laffey concludes, “. . . the rapport demonstrated between Peter and the beloved Disciple is representative of a diverse but amicable Christian community capable of honor in both identity and diversity.”  In other words, a benevolent bureaucracy ran that community.



John 2:2-11

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[26]

The Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris has an Eighth Century parchment with these verses.


John 2:1-12

Mary L. Coloe, review of Joan Cecelia Campbell, Kinship Relations in the Gospel of John[27]

Coloe concludes, “Her bibliography includes a wealth of studies on Mediterranean and Arab-Muslim groups, but has very little that is specific to ancient or modern Jewish family life and social values.  This lack casts doubt on her interpretation of the kinship relations depicted in John.”


John 2:1-11

Tom Thatcher, "John's Memory Theater: The Fourth Gospel and Ancient Mnemo-Rhetoric"[28]

Thatcher observes,


Aside from the fact that they generally do not enjoy multiple attestation, John’s narratives of Jesus’ mighty deeds are notable for their remarkable level of detail.  For example, John’s “water to wine” story (2:1-11)—the first of Jesus’ “signs”— . . . in only eleven verses, John names six different characters (counting “the servants” and “the disciples” each as a single character) . . . 


The level of detail commands appreciation.


John 2:1-10

Michael L. Cook, S.J., “The African Experience of Jesus”[29]

Jesus participated in the bureaucratic customs and practices of the people, e.g. marriage rites.



John 2:1

Elizabeth A. Johnson, “Galilee: A critical Matrix for Marian Studies”[30]

Mary lived in Nazareth, an out-of-the-way place in Galilee, out of sight of important bureaucrats.  She and Jesus were at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. 


John 2:4-11

Teresa Okure, S.H.C.J., “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-42) in Africa”[31]

Mary not only gives birth to Jesus, but also launches his missionary endeavors, beginning at Cana.  Okure regards Jesus and Mary as marginalized people, as Africa is a marginalized continent.


John 2:4

Alice L. Laffey, review of Hye Ja (Induk Maria) Lee, Signore, Vogliamo Vedere Gesu”: La conclusione del’attivita pubblica di Gesu secondo Gv. 12:20-36[32]

Lee parallels the “hour” at Cana with the “hour” at the Passion and Death.


John 2:5

Tobias Hagerland, “The Power of Prophecy:  A Septuagintal Echo in John 20:19-23”[33]

Hagerland asks, “Does the advice of Jesus’ mother at the wedding in Cana ([John] 2:5) echo Pharaoh’s endorsement of Joseph to the Egyptians (Gen 41:55)?”  When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food.  Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you."[34]  Perhaps unintentionally, Hagerland is drawing a parallel between the bureaucracy used to run the family of the origin of Jesus and the wider public bureaucracy of ancient Egypt.




John 2:7-10

Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., "`I Am the Door' (John 10:7, 9): Jesus the Broker in the Fourth Gospel"[35]

Neyrey concentrates on negotiations between Jesus and his mother at Cana.  In the broader sense, it seems to me, Neyrey is developing various aspects of the bureaucracies within which Jesus lived.



For more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at

[1] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 139.


[2] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 146, 153, 156.


[3] “Wednesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time,” United States 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 II: Proper of Seasons for Weekdays, Year I: Proper of Saints: Common of Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002), 1055.


[4] “November 11, 673, Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop, Memorial,” United States 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 II: Proper of Seasons for Weekdays, Year I: Proper of Saints: Common of Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002) 1658.


[5] See the Substance Abuse chapter in Mark A. Yarhouse and James Sellers, “Family Therapies:  A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal” (2009 manuscript in press) 515-516.


[6]  accessed November 20, 2009).


[7] Raymond Arroyo, the Encore Presentation on ETWN, “The World Over,” Saturday, November 14, 2009.  I do not own the technology required to record this program, and accept the risk associated therewith.



[9]  accessed November 13, 2009.


[10]  accessed November 13, 2009.


[11] Magnificat ® Monthly Vol. II, No. 9 / November 2009, 188-216.


[14] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 244-263.


[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 495, 503.


[17]  Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy (London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003) 243, 295-296.


[18]  090322 Psalm 98 in the Lectionary is Psalm 97 in the Codex Sinaiticus.


[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (April 2008) 31, 38.


[20] Theological Studies, Vol. 60, No. 1 (March 2008) 17.


[21] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2008) 133.


[22] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2008) 191.


[23] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 313 ff.


[25] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (January 2008) 160.


[26] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 122.


[27] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2009) 360.


[28] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (April 2007) 502.


[29] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2008) 681, 690.


[30] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2008) 329.


[31] Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December 2008) 415.


[32] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 153.


[33] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 85.


[34] New International Version (© 1984),  (accessed November 19, 2009).


[35] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 287.