It seems that Archbishop Timothy Dolan, newly elected president of the US bishops’ national conference, has some unrest to deal with among his clergy about the new missal. The priests of the vicariate in Yonkers in the Archdiocese of New York just passed a resolution (see below) calling for postponement of implementation. The priest who brought forward the idea, Chris Maloney, is former secretary to Cardinal O’Connor. The discussion among priests was heated. The mood shifted decisively when the texts to be proclaimed by priests were distributed. After seeing the new texts, a majority of priests voted in favor of the resolution. The vicariate in west Manhattan passed a similar resolution.

This is only two vicariates in one diocese, so I wouldn’t overestimate the significance of this action. We don’t yet know whether this is an outlier or an indication of widespread sentiment among priests. Time will tell.

Pray Tell hopes for the best possible implementation of the new English missal and, above all, the worthiest possible celebration of the sacred mysteries. We will report a wide variety of perspectives on this issue going forward, including voices both supportive and critical of the new translation. If nothing else, reports such as this one might help bishops and diocesan officials and parish liturgists think through how they will respond constructively when questions and objections such as these arise.

 

RESOLUTION

Whereas,
many priests have not had the opportunity to study and discuss the forthcoming changes in the Roman Missal (especially the celebrant’s parts) with groups of priests; and

Whereas,
there have been serious questions raised about the quality and character of the language used in these changes; as well as the pastoral effectiveness of those changes for the 21st century American Church,

Be It Resolved:
that this area conference of priests requests that the Priests’ Council of the Archdiocese of New York advise the Archbishop to seek a postponement of the implementation of the new Roman Missal in the Archdiocese for at least one year (from Advent 2011), or until such time as priests of the Archdiocese have the opportunity to review all the changes in the new Roman Missal and to offer suggestions to the Archdiocese’s Liturgical Commission as part of a collegial consultative process to be determined by the Archbishop.