“Let’s Just Wait” at NCReporter

Here is the NCReporter on Fr. Ryan’s “Let’s Just Wait” campaign. The online petition to delay the new English missal now has over 17.000 signatories.

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30 comments

  1. “It is ironic, to say the least, that we spend hours of consultation when planning to renovate a church building or parish hall, but little or none when ‘renovating’ the very language of the liturgy,”

    Little or none….LITTLE OR NONE!!! This is what…the 2000 Missal revision? The new translation has been under way for what…10 years now? Nobody consulted with me when the “renovations” of so many historic churches went on in the 70’s and 80’s, did they? It seems to me that all of the people who needed to be consulted on the new translation were consulted.

    And 17,000 signatures? I think you need more than that to get on the ballot for Selectman in a medium sized county. With 68 mil Catholics, that .025% folks…

  2. The cycle here is the same as the Fox News-GOP talking points dynamic. That is, strike a pose, get the fan base whipped up, and then cover that as if it were news. It’s agitprop, not news. One way to tell that the proposal is more pose and posture rather than serious is that it never addresses what the structures that evaluation would really entail to be workable. As a results, it’s more prattle than anything. I don’t doubt that some of the proposers are sincere, but it’s a shallow, hollow proposal.

  3. I guess the petition writers are very grateful that Archbishop Anibale Bugnini has come back to life to sign up. As well as Fr. Z, Joseph Ratzinger….

    1. AND

      Fr Anscar Chupungco OSB, former president and rector of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Rome)
      Dr John R. Page, former executive-director of ICEL
      Fr Brian Pierce OP, general promoter of the nuns, Dominican Curia (Rome)
      Fr Charles Bouchard OP, former president of the Aquinas Institute of Theology (St Louis)
      Richard Proulx, American composer and conductor
      Fr John O’Malley SJ, historian and author of “What Happened at Vatican II”
      Msgr Harry Byrne, canon lawyer, Archdiocese of New York
      Fr Raymond Rafferty, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish (New York)
      Fr Charles Finnegan OFM, theologian, “peritus” for Brazilian bishops at Vatican Council II
      Fr Peter C. Phan, theologian/professor, Georgetown University

    2. AND

      Fr Donald Cozzens, author
      Fr Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ, professor of liturgy, Heythrop College (University of London)
      Sr Joan Chittister OSB, author and lecturer
      Mr Christopher Walker, composer
      Mr Robert Mickens, journalist, Rome correspondent (The Tablet)
      Mr Bryan Cones, editor (U.S. Catholic)
      Ms Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, writer, former editor of Commonweal, co-director of the Center on Religion and Culture (Fordham University)
      Fr John Coleman SJ, sociologist, theologian (Loyola Marymount University)
      Mr Kevin Mayhew, editor and publisher of liturgical books
      Eleanor Sharpston, advocate general at the Court of Justice of the European Communities
      Fr John D. Whitney SJ, immediate past provincial superior of the Oregon SJ

    3. … those whose names I recognise as prominent. No doubt there are many others among the 17,700 other Catholics, including over 2,200 priests. All of these I assume take the petition and its list seriously.

  4. It is beyond me why comments in this column need to be so critical of someone else’s support for greater consultation. I do think it’s possible to believe that over 7500 signatures are meaningless, but why do opponents have to seem so mean-spirited? Disagreement is one thing, but are not everyone’s opinions to be welcomed with respect and a fair hearing?

    1. People deserve respect. Not all opinions deserve equal respect; for example, I don’t respect agitprop from any ideological source (and have a particular gimlet eye towards agitprop coming from my own fellow travelers, because I think it undermines our goals). So I think the respect issue, insofar as opinions rather than persons are concerned, is something of a red herring.

  5. Jan…

    Do you really believe that all opinions deserve equal respect, or even any repect at all? What you call “support for greater consultation” is not really support for anything. There is no “greater consultation” to be had…it’s a charade, an act to get attention for the individual in question. Who is he proposing be consulted… him? I don’t want to appear to rant or beat a dead horse here, but how about we just put everything up for this kind of consultation. We can just agree to “wait” on a variety of things, from communion in the hand to female altar servers. I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who would willingly volunteer to be consulted on those issues when they go up for debate.

  6. Since the word “pastoral” is thrown around a lot regarding the translations, what is the pastoral value of this “movement”? Instead of properly preparing people for the implementation, Ryan and others instead encourage people to falsely believe that if they have enough people sign up, there will be no change. So when the new Missal is implemented, they will not only refuse to go along, but be angry that their petition/movement did not work. Just how pastoral is this movement? How much does it take into account the real situation of the people in the pews?

  7. “We earnestly implore the bishops of the English-speaking world to undertake a pilot program by which the new translations — after a careful program of catechesis — can be introduced into some carefully selected parishes and communities throughout the English-speaking world for a period of one (liturgical) year, after which they can be objectively evaluated.” This is what the petition asks. It is simply proposing an idea to the bishops. It can hardly be interpreted as fooling people into thinking that they can vote in a change, nor does it in any way suggest that if the bishops don’t accept the proposal, priests will than refuse to use the new translations. I fully support any group voicing their opinion in an organized, charitable way.

    1. One problem is that the proposer asserts a conclusion in advance about the results of the proposed process. Moreover, he fails to detail how the process would be structured to avoid confirmation bias: coming up with such structures and standards for evaluation (here’s one chestnut: how do you weigh feedback, and how earnestly do you seek out the feedback of those who might not care too much to give it, to balance the overweighted input of people who are enthusiasts of one pole or the other?) merely shifts debate another layer of process. It’s more of a pose than substantively serious.

  8. So, there are some clunky words in the new translation. But I understand it removes what even Cardinal Mahony saw as ‘theological problems’ with the current translation. Going by Dom Anthony’s reference to “hierarchy of truths” shouldn’t the latter take precedence? I do wish some of the changes, especially in the laity’s responses, could have been minimised further, but this is nothing like the shift from the Mass of John XXIII to that of Paul VI. So, why are Fr McBrien and others so exercised? They do not tackle at all the issue of actual mistranslations. I do not like to think that they may want to keep the “theological problems”? I would respectfully like to hear their case that there are no theological differences between the Latin and the current translation.

    1. It’s a lot more than “clunky words”: it’s an entire approach to creating a new “sacral language” so clunky that it reminds me of Esperanto, a manufactured artificial language, than it does idiomatic English.

      The Book of Common Prayer was English educated idiom when it first came out. This is most certainly not.

  9. One point in Fr. Ryan’s premise is that people will be upset the beaurocrats in Rome will be imposing values on their liturgy. This would be a good time to remind Roman-rite faithful that their rite is part of the heritage of the see of Rome, something about which to be proud, something which untold hundreds of martyrs have met their death celebrating. It seems completely reasonable that deputies of the Bishop of Rome oversee and maintain the Roman rite.

  10. I would assume that every person you mentioned, especially the priests, will do their proper part to see that the new translations are implemented fully and correctly if and when they are approved.

  11. When faithful Catholics see a disaster looming, it’s not just their right, it’s their obligation to speak up.

    I disagree with those who consider 17,500 names on a petition of this nature “trifling.” The number is impressive in itself. And anyone who measures public opinion knows that for every person who signs, there are far more who agree but won’t go to the trouble!

    Besides, as Graham Wilson has pointed out, there are many signers who are prominent people in the church. It won’t do to dismiss them as cranks, or make patronizing comments about how they don’t appreciate the Roman Rite.

  12. I really don’t consider this new translation a disaster. It’s a change, yes. It’s going to shake things up, yes; it’s not perfect. It’s an opportunity to re-examine our conceptions about the liturgy. It’s a reason to re-invigorate liturgical catechesis. That’s what I’ve been doing, or trying to do. I just don’t have the same credentials as, say, Msgr. Bruce Harbert or Fr. Paul Turner.

    It’s very easy to get 20,000 people to sign a petition about “waiting” on this new translation, because – no offense – it’s much easier to be ignorant about something than to be educated about it: education takes time and effort.

    People need the new translation explained to them, pastorally and mystagogically.

    1. I wonder how many prominent people complained about the 1970 translation of the Mass before we got it and after? Did it do a bit of good? Yes, some 40 years later. Now we have a new translation, like it or not, won’t be changed for another 45 to 50 years, maybe not before the Second Coming. So, like the humble people of 1970 who did accept that translation, we will have to be humble and accept this one.

  13. Rita;

    I’m not “asserting” that 17,500 signatures is a trifling number. It simply is, statistically speaking.

    17500 /65000000 = .00269 or roughly 1/3000th of the Catholic population. Even if the number of estimated Catholics is grossly overestimated, say by 3x, this would still only represent 1/1000th, or the rough equivalent of a half dozen parishioners in a very large suburban parish of 6000 regular attendees. Even if these were very knowledgeable and prominent parishioners, would they, or even more so, SHOULD they have the ability to dictate parish policy?

    I find the fact that so many are priests and theologians to be more troubling than indicative of substance. Along with the commenter above, I have to wonder if these individuals will put their whole being into proper implementation when the time comes. If not, why should their views now have any force?

  14. Jeffrey, hi. The relevant ratio is to be found in the number of people who protest as compared to the number of people who know what is going on. I know we can’t have that latter number, but again I look at the experience in South Africa and when it broke upon the awareness of many, the reaction was huge and extremely negative.

    You are completely right. This is nowhere near a “large number of Catholics” in absolute terms. But the Church isn’t a democracy so that doesn’t matter anyway. The question is, are they right? And I do think the collective “weight” of the signatories should make the bishops look at this matter again. It’s the same in the parish. You know when somebody complains who is just cranky, and you know when it’s somebody you’ve trusted and who is working with you–it’s the latter that you listen to, and sometimes you do moderate your plans. The church is not a democracy, but neither is it a dictatorship. Thanks for your comments.

    1. “you know when it’s somebody you’ve trusted and who is working with you”

      How many of the priests who’ve signed the petition are the ones who regularly fiddle with the liturgy (for “pastoral” reasons) and resist implementing the GIRM, Redemptionis Sacramentum, etc.? Is that trustworthiness? Is that working-well?

      How many priests who have signed the petition think that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was a “compromise document” that we must go beyond? Or that guidebooks like “Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite” are silly?

      South Africa’s accidental (?) implementation of the new translation was a terrible mistake. Changing things without preparing the people is terribly unpastoral. (I’m perplexed that the Holy See permits them to continue using the new and INCOMPLETE translation!)

      1. The other issue is simply the very common cognitive error of confirmation bias. That is, people who are anxious about the change will scour for data points validating that anxiety, and will connect nearby but not necessarily causally related dots in ways to affirm that. The NY Times, TIME, and Newsweek will report in earnest.

        Meanwhile, the likes of Fr Z will pump polls to demonstrate the rapturous reception of the new translation. The Washington Times, EWTN and First Things will report in earnest.

        No translation change goes off without a hitch (I remember well journeys in the Lands of Inclusive Usages), but after a few years, people get used to it. It’s in the nature of things.

        My main concern is that sharpening the axes of resentment under the guise of pastoral solicitude involves an insidious kind of enslavement, not liberating at all. Hence why I pour cold water on the sharpening stones all the time.

  15. This is a genuine, and not rhetorical, question: if priests can (for what they consider “pastoral” reasons or not) alter the liturgical texts prescribed for them to pray at Mass, why shouldn’t I be allowed to do the same for the responses I make?

    Why shouldn’t I be allowed to modify the words of the Creed, for example, or use my own private translation of the responses?

  16. So, to avoid “risking validity” do you want a new De Defectibus for the forthcoming missal translation and perhaps a list of how many mortal sins a priest can commit by omission or commission in the celebration, I mean, saying of Mass?

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