3/28 Press Statement from the Association of Catholic Priests

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) regrets the recent decision of the Irish Catholic Bishops, in response to a submission from the ACP, to press ahead with the implementation of the introduction of the new Mass texts as planned next November.

At a meeting in Maynooth on Monday, February 28th  a delegation from the ACP met the Episcopal Commission of Worship, Pastoral Renewal and Faith Development.  There were five members of the Bishop’s Conference and a number of others, including three women, present. The delegation from the ACP voiced the following concerns:

1. That the proposed texts are unsuitable and unacceptable in a number of respects:

(i) we believe that, as literal translations of the Latin, they are too complex and too cumbersome. The guidelines state that they should be ‘comprehensible even to the faithful who have received no special intellectual formation.” This is clearly not the case.

(ii) we have reservations as to their theological veracity, for example at the very heart of the Eucharistic prayers, the new text states that Christ died ‘for many’ rather than ’for all.’

(iii) we fear that their introduction will damage the present fabric of worship in our parishes, dissuade people from active participation and introduce annoyance, discontent, resentment and possibly anger into the unifying ritual of the Mass

(iv) we fear that the continued use of sexist language with its use of ‘man,’ ‘men,’ and ‘brothers’ as generic terms will alienate some women and men, and is a very unfortunate reversal in an area where some progress had been made.

2.  We believe that the process by which the texts have been drawn up is seriously flawed.  There was no consultation with either priests or people and this is contrary to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the Church. An instructive lesson the Church has learned in recent times is that decisions made by small groups and then visited on the Church as a whole without adequate consultation tend not to serve the good of the Church.

While the Association of Catholic Priests recognizes the need for a new and improved translation of the liturgical texts, we believe that the proposed new texts are unsuitable and inadequate. Many priests will struggle with them and many people will regard them as unnecessary and unusable.  Consequently we believe it is unwise to proceed with them.

While the bishops listened to our concerns, we regret to say that, judging by their response, they failed to take on board what we said and did not furnish any reasons for not accepting the concerns that we raised with them. We do not regard this as an appropriate form of listening or dialogue.

We remain convinced that introducing the new texts next November will have serious repercussions for parishes. While some priests may welcome them, it is clear that others will resist them, while many, maybe the majority, will accept them with a sense of resignation and without enthusiasm. In such circumstances it is, we believe, unwise to introduce them.

We will convene a meeting of our members on Thursday, June 2nd , at 2.30pm, in the parish centre in Portlaoise to consider our response.  In the meantime we encourage our members to continue to discuss this matter with their pastoral councils, and indeed their parishioners generally.

Brendan Hoban  086  6065055                        Leadership Team
Sean McDonagh   087 2367612
P.J. Madden   087 2208882
Tony Flannery   087 6814699

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7 comments

  1. Sadly, this is what happens when the bishops are not held accountable to the people whom they serve but to the bureaucrats in Rome. Until this situation is changed, there is nothing to do but to wait until the house burns down.

  2. Some Irish priests think it is absurd that the new association are so het up about the translations and think there are much more pressing issues to deal with. I think it shows that the new association have a good sense of pastoral priorities.

  3. Here is the link to the official response of the Irish (RC) Episcopal Conference to the concerns expressed by the Association of Catholic Priests about the new translation of the missal.

    Ironically it expresse a desire to move towards healing in the Irish church. The wounds that require healing came about in large part as a result of the decision of religious authorities in Ireland to ignore their gut instinct and their responsibility to the flock entrusted to their care and instead to defer to Rome’s way of dealing with the issue. The disastrous and far-reaching consequences are there for all to see.

    They have repeated their mistake in the way they have handled the issue of the 2010 translation.

    Their exhortation falls on deaf ears.

    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2011/03/bishops-letter-to-the-acp/

    The first two verses of Psalm 58 should be used as the response to the psalm at mass every Sunday for the rest of Lent.

    “Do you truly speak justice, you who hold divine power?
    Do you mete out fair judgment to the children of humanity?”

    Is it any wonder the church in her wisdom has decreed that this psalm is never to be recited in the public liturgy of the church?

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