I. The Meaning of "Reception"
A recent article on the meaning of reception distinguishes between its classical understanding as the acceptance by local churches of the teaching of a Council and, in more contemporary usage, an ecumenical consensus arrived at through dialogue between churches. Ironically, each of the uses of the term has application to the Catechism. Its introduction into the experience of the Church in the United States is illustrative of the first sense of "reception" as the response of a local church to the ordinary papal magisterium of the universal Church. While the direct textual and thematic links between Vatican II, the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the Catechism is apparent, the transmission of these texts (and the realities they describe) is not so apparent. An intense Romanophobic stance on the part of some has diluted, indeed distorted, the meaning of these historic documents and the sensus fidei which they authentically embody.
Current controversies also bring into play considerations that are virtually ecumenical, the more contemporary focus of "reception," for the perspectives of the Catechism and American catechetical presuppositions differ markedly, almost to the point where the respective positions amount to an "ecumenical" dialogue—two visions of church struggling to understand the other. It sometimes appears that theological critiques emanating from Western democracies propose a media-generated consensus fidelium rather than an interiorized sensus fidei in their response to authoritative ecclesial texts. The sociological starting point inevitably places a document in an "ecumenical" context that highlights differences and puts issues into an adversarial rather than integrative light.
This article will argue that the painstaking drafting and promulgation of the Catechism constitute a legitimate, authentic and indispensable "reception" of Vatican II. That is to say, its existence and teaching uniquely fulfill, in a substantive and not merely symbolic way, the magisterial identity of the Second Vatican Council. In proposing this argument, we will examine and critique alternative views which hold that the Catechism is (a) in some way unrelated to Vatican II, (
of minor significance, or © a flawed document in discontinuity with the Council.
Few contemporary theologians have spent as much time as Avery Dulles, S.J. in studying the ground-breaking text of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. In an essay on tradition as a theological source, Dulles points out that Dei Verbum speaks for the most part of "tradition" in the singular, whereas Trent, stressing the importance of objective content, had spoken of "traditions." Demonstrating his awareness of the interaction of history and doctrine, Dulles attaches importance to the historical means or modalities of "traditioning." Dulles, along with scholars such as Aidan Nichols and Jaroslav Pelikan, reminds us of the critical importance of historical deeds and decisions connected with the transmission of doctrinal formulas
The Qualities of a Quality Receptionist
The personality of your receptionist is critical. In a small law office, the receptionist should be warm without being effusive, interested without being intrusive, discrete without being offensive, efficient without being officious, and personable without being a personality.
Your receptionist's voice and manner should convey confidence, interest and warmth. A good receptionist knows how to smile over the phone and how to make calling your office a positive experience.
It may sound old-fashioned in the 1990's, but good grammar and good grooming are still important.
Good receptionists know how to make people feel welcome and comfortable while they wait.
Good receptionists are discrete; they are able to convey all sorts of important information on the phone in a quasi-public waiting room without disclosing inappropriate information to anyone who might overhear. They also take responsibility for ensuring that inappropriate conversations between staff do not occur in the waiting area.
Good receptionists never show inappropriate knowledge of a client's affairs. If a client brings children into the office, the receptionist may ask about the kids the next time the client comes in, but not if the only way the receptionist could know about the children is by being privy to information given only to the lawyer.
Good receptionists get to know the voices and names of clients who call frequently. It flatters clients to be recognized, and sends the message that they matter to the firm.
Good receptionists project integrity. The clients know that if the receptionist says the lawyer is not there, the lawyer is not there. For the receptionist, the rule is simple: Never lie! For the lawyer, it's equally simple: Never ask the receptionist to lie!
Good receptionists maintain a degree of formality with clients that is consistent with the firm's culture and the clients' comfort levels.
Finally, good receptionists intuitively make sure the waiting area is always neat and presentable‹and that the magazines are current!