Friday, September 17, 2010

Changes to the Sacred Heart Litany - in response to Clerical Sexual Abuse?

At the Papal Vigil for John Henry Newman's Beatification, the Litany of the Sacred Heart will be recited before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  However, leaving aside the particular translation used, I was intrigued to note that half a dozen or so of the traditional invocations have been omitted, and likewise new ones inserted.  Herewith, the changes:

1.  After "Heart of Jesus, well-spring of all virtue" (in the Latin original, Cor Jesu, virtutum omnium abyssus), the next seven invocations are left out – so no "most worthy of all praise... king and centre of all hearts... in which are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge... in which dwelleth all the fulness of the divinity... in which the Father is well pleased... of whose fulness we have all received... desire of the eternal hills";

2.  After "Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness" (Cor Jesu, fons vitæ et sanctitatis), nine new invocations are inserted:
  • Heart of Jesus, source of healing,
  • Heart of Jesus, sharer in our sorrow,
  • Heart of Jesus, safe-guarder of the vulnerable,
  • Heart of Jesus, friend of the betrayed,
  • Heart of Jesus, companion of the ignored,
  • Heart of Jesus, face of the misjudged,
  • Heart of Jesus, wounded by our failings,
  • Heart of Jesus, bearer of our sufferings,
  • Heart of Jesus, acquainted with grief,
(then the expected invocation, "Heart of Jesus, atonement for our sins", in Latin, Cor Jesu, propitiatio pro peccatis nostris, and so through to the end).

These inserted phrases sound to me awfully like allusions to the sufferings of those members of Christ subjected to clerical sexual abuse, and therefore as implicit supplications to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord to grant healing to those poor victims so shamefully and evilly mistreated, then rejected and ignored for too long...


cheryl said... sounds that way, doesn't it?! I think it's wonderful that they've been added. There needs to be more things like this done. But I do have a problem with taking out the older wording (esp. since they're based on actual Scripture). Why can't we have both?

Joshua said...

I suppose they were omitted in the interests of brevity: and, let's face it, "desire of the everlasting hills", while poetic, is a little harder to comprehend than "acquainted with grief".

I think, though, that it is significant, and unfortunate, that the omitted invocations seem to be ones most firmly focussed on the glories of Our Lord: "most worthy of all praise...", etc.