Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power

Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power” by Angela Hanley, reprinted with permission from Doctrine & Life, Vol. 61 No.4 (April 2011) at the website of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, is a scathing critique of the forthcoming translation as a betrayal of the fundamental teachings of the Second Vatican Council.



  1. Every word of this might be true, as far as I can tell. I urge others to make and save copies for reference and as an outline for determined arguers for VC2010.

    On the other hand, scolding bishops is not the most likely way to get them to take desired actions.

    Could we brainstorm here?
    I don’t think petitions, published or not, have much effect within the USCCB, nor do demonstrations.
    Almost none of what is written in professional liturgy spaces is ever seen by most bishops.

    What actions can those well educated in liturgy take to get our bishops to seriously study liturgical issues and fight for their jurisdiction?

    Should we make appeals through retired bishops?

    My seminary years include time with about seven present bishops. Should I write them personal letters? Will such letters get through their bureaucracies? How much or how little should be said to be effective?

    HOw many bishops can you contact and what is the best means you have to make that contact>

    What other options do you suggest.

    1. There is only one thing that they will understand.

      Stop giving money. Not to the parish, not to the diocese, not to the Vatican (Peter’s Pence or whatever it’s called these days). Nothing. Put it in escrow until the problem is fixed.

      That is the only thing that will get their attention.

  2. If we regard the Church as a political system, it is close to the feudal monarchies that prevailed in Europe up to 1789. The bourgeois of that time had a lot of trouble realizing how their freedoms had been suppressed, for they were conditioned to revere the King and the Nobles. Catholics have drunk deep of the ultramontanist ideology reinforced in the 19th century in reaction to the rise of democracy. They have identified subservience to papal absolutism with Gospel obedience. Now they are paying the price, in (1) the abolition of Vatican II; (2) the corruption that has dogged the Church in recent decades because of monopolization of power and authority by the Roman Curia; (3) the imposition of an unprayable translation of the liturgy.

      1. And it got rather dicey for those feudal monarchies AFTER 1789, as I recall. The populi voxed their displeasure, they did.

  3. I am very happy to be a priest and most of what that entails, but I have also become dependent upon the church for room and board and health insurance….Not to mention a retirement income should I live beyond 75. I guess I could pray for the courage to be a martyr and immolate myself at the pulpit after proclaiming the truth that sets us free. If the members of the lowerarchy are understandably disinclined to take that course, who can lead God’s people out of bondage to their compliant passivity. The clericalists, meanwhile, are ever ready to attack us for being disloyal, faithless, and dissidents. Lord, please come and save us.

    1. The standard historical response to overweening monarchs was group action at the next level down. This often leads to either constitutional monarchy or parliamentarianism.

      I would think that the national conferences of bishops would have sufficient leverage, especially if several national conferences acted in cooperation. It takes a bit a courage and a sense of shared interest among those organizing, hence my earlier questions.

      Given the priest shortage and the usual level of empathy for the pastor among parishioners in most places, I would think that priests would find that a majority would so threaten staffing and that retaliation would so outrage parishioners that there would be sufficient pressure. If the bishop cleans house on a massive scale, what is left of a functioning diocese?

      What can we do is answered by organize, unionize. Secrecy is usually required at the beginning.

      Can enough priests go on vacation or retreat, suddenly, at the same time, to get the attention of the bishop?

      The standard ruler response is divide and conquer, buy off loyalties one at a time, refuse to deal with the group.

      Just a review of political history. We can see it being acted out these days still in union busting.

  4. I agree with the other members here. Stop giving money to the church until they agree not to impose a new translation.

    1. So far the bishops seem to be employing a strategy of offsetting financial losses from existing and former members by raising more money from remaining donors. It works to some extent, although it tends to come up short. It looks like it will be getting into greater and greater difficulty in the future.

      For the first time the 2010 General Social Survey weekly Mass attendance rate (including those who say they “mostly” attend weekly) dropped to 29.2%, the first time below thirty percent. From my analysis of the data, we can safety assume that it will continue to drop to at least 20.0%. In other words, only two thirds the number of the regular Mass goers will continue to be there. So the financial challenge for parishes and the bishops is coming.

      The bishops are vulnerable to the general charge that they are not managing the church very well. Philadelphia has reopened the question of the sex abuse scandal. The sociological data on the high number and percent of former Catholics appears to have made at least a little dent on the partying NY Archbishop. Rome is beginning to question parish church closings. We have the Vibrant Parish Life data where people give liturgy and community (their top priorities) mediocre marks.

      An articulate public strategy of demanding a more collaborative style from the bishops and more of a willingess to face together our growing problems, not so much for the sake of American democracy but for the sake of the American Church, with a great awareness of speaking indirectly to Rome since the bishops ad limina visits are coming up, might produce some results.

      Remember Rome is dependent upon our money, too and will likely become more dependent as church tax receipts fall in Europe.

  5. How many people on this thread who are recommending withholding money actually work on a parish staff or serve on a parish finance committee? Are you really ready to sacrifice your already underpaid DRE or maintenance supervisor for the sake of your cause?

    By all means withhold money. But only if you don’t give a s–t about your local parish community.

    1. I didn’t realise, Fritz, that American English had gone so far as to spell cent with an s. What next? Will it be pneumatology with n?

    2. Deacon Fritz,

      Your point is a very valid one, but we pew potatoes don’t have too many other ways to make the power structure uncomfortable enough to really hear what’s being said.

      As for my parish school, I honestly wouldn’t mind if it closed. Having seen more than one child bullied out of it, it’s not something I’m in love with. It’s not all bad, of course, but it doesn’t inspire any great loyalty in me either.

      1. we pew potatoes don’t have too many other ways to make the power structure uncomfortable enough to really hear what’s being said.

        They hear you, they just don’t agree with you.

      2. Sam,

        You’re probably right, but then we’re back to holding on to the money to make them listen, and, perhaps, respond. Enough discomfort will prompt some sort of response, eventually.

      3. Proposition:
        US RC parish schools are an unnecessary holdover from the immigrant church era and their fundraisng and administration divert time, money, and energy from liturgical, social justice, devotional, spiritual, and charitable activities of parishes.

        Please discuss.

    3. As the one who raised the idea first, let me say that I am chair of my parish’s finance committee. So I know at first hand, money speaks the only language of dissatisfaction that the hierarchs can understand.

    4. The first thing one can do is make gifts in kind (sheet music, candles, flowers, a delivery of heating oil, etc.) rather than in dollars. The diocese taxes parishes on the dollars they bring in, not on the rest.

    5. We give them food and rent money and help them find other jobs. Then we give them direct donations for the religious education they give us outside of an institution. Many protestant denominations already do this as their pastors or other “staff” have outside secular jobs as their major support. Our money goes directly into the hands of the person providing the service-Because we care about them and are grateful for their gifts to us. To say that we don’t give a shit is pretty outrageous and irrelevant as I’ve just cited a model for supporting them.

  6. The other option is simple – just don’t use the new translation. I do hope that at least some of the bishops read this blog and realize the mess that is coming…but, they don’t care. I’m embarrassed for them.

  7. Tom P. – are you speaking about parish schools in particular, or Catholic schools (elementary and high schools) altogether? I can see the value in decoupling schools from parishes.

    1. Definitely the proposition means to decouple schools from parishes. That question could be de-coupled from having Catholic schools at all.

      We have many private RC high schools here, proportionately more so here in St. Louis than anywhere else in the US, I understand. These are in addition to the diocesan sponsored high schools which replaced parish high schools several decades ago.

      The elementary schools could be run by parents or be independent and free to relocate when the population changes. They could be built on separate grounds from any parish and use architecture that could easily be re-purposed later.

      Come to think of it, those schools could sponsor the athletic associations rather than the parishes.

      The two questions now are:
      Is it better for RC parishes and schools to be separate?
      Is it better not to have RC schools?

  8. Tom P.—-Proposition:
    US RC parish schools are an unnecessary holdover from the immigrant church era and their fundraisng and administration divert time, money, and energy from liturgical, social justice, devotional, spiritual, and charitable activities of parishes.

    Please discuss.—–

    I would be against that proposal, Tom. Thankfully you did not say which side you come down on or I might be tempted to jump on the other side!

    I think parish schools and Catholic schools in general are a blessing. They have many faults of which I naturally have to remind them. ntl I have 3 young’ns currently enrolled. My youngest said she had to wait 4 hours last week to get her Confession heard. That says alot.

    And hey, where else are you going to find members of a state champion baseball team running bleachers because they forgot one of their sorrowful mysteries?

  9. The question, George, is whether the schools are good for the parishes or not?

    As Jeffrey’s comment brought to mind, there is a separate question of the value of Catholic schools at all in this time in the US, but that is hardly relevant to this list.

    Here, the question is the relationship of the school to the
    “time, money, and energy from liturgical, social justice, devotional, spiritual, and charitable activities of parishes.”


    Feel free to use my name as your interior alert system, if that is the way your head works, but deal in the issues at hand, please, rather than labeling people or even their positions.

    I do not think it humorous that you personalize arguments rather than discussing the points raised.

    If you can not sustain an position without name calling, it is a pretty weak position.

    1. I think the schools have a value as schools, but the resources they divert from individual parishes often constitute a significant drain on the community. De-coupling can work fine, from what I see in my city. We have consolidated a number of parish schools into Catholic ‘academies’ for financial reasons, mostly. Unsurprisingly, these are schools attached to parishes whose parishoners are now mostly older and don’t have schoolchildren. The schools wind up serving a mostly poor, non-Catholic student body, and require significant subsidies from the diocese even after consolidation. There are no parish high schools here, and I think there haven’t been for decades.

      So, yes, I think that at least in urban areas the parish school can often be disposed of, with no loss to Catholic education and a general improvement in efficiency. Smaller towns, maybe not.

      1. I am delighted to hear that some Catholic schools are remaining true to their mission of teaching the poor. Those are the schools that should survive!

        Schools teaching Catholics how to be Catholic are worse than a waste. They divert resources and attention from the 60+% of Catholic children who go to other schools. We need something better than the current catholic religious education program, but no one will create it or support it as long as Catholic schools divert attention to the small percentage of Catholics who attend them.

    2. Tom, Tom – what happened to your Vincentian roots; what would Vinnie say about this?

      These schools can play a dynamic role in the church’s social justice mission; it can be a stablizing anchor for some neighborhoods; it should be a key factor in the overall mission and evangelization of any diocese.

      Parish schools – that structure probably should be reformed. They should be diocesan schools supported by all catholics with active, current fundraisers and foundations. They should be known for diversity; community service; welcoming all; bridges to the community; with direct involvement in each child’s parish – sacraments, liturgy (serving, choirs, lectors, etc.).

      Schools, neighborhoods do change – families with children may leave or be significantly decreased. So, you have area or regional schools.

      Every study from CARA on down give evidence that catholic schools are the bedrock of our catholic parishes. That is not to say that adult education, liturgy, sacramental life should be short-changed. There should be a balance.

  10. Exemplum gratia on abuse of power from NCR.

    In a statement dated March 24 and released March 30, the bishops’ doctrine committee said that the book, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God by Fordham University theology professor St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, is marred by “misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors” and “completely undermines the Gospel and the faith of those who believe in the Gospel.”

    The public finding, the committee determined, was necessary because the popular book is directed to a broad audience and is being used as a textbook for the study of God.

    According to guidelines approved by the U.S. bishops in 1989, doctrinal disputes with theologians are to be kept as local as possible and are to follow carefully delineated steps involving dialogue with the theologian to clarify data, meaning and the relationship with Catholic tradition while identifying the implications for the life of the church.

    The committee, however, chose not to notify Johnson — viewed as one of the nation’s leading systematic theologians — that it had undertaken a study of her book. It did not engage her in conversation before issuing its findings.

  11. Tom – this is a current double post at dotcommonweal with many interesting comments.

    Fr. Coerver would be proud of you.

  12. Ms. Hanley (from posted article): As people finished their terms of office and retired, ICEL more and more became an extension of CDW. Matters were complete in 2009 when a ‘well-known celebrant of the Tridentine Rite’[6] Fr Andrew Wadsworth, was appointed as the executive secretary, the post formerly held by Dr Page. (my bold)

    Why must EF adherents automatically be identified as enemies of progressives? Judging a translation board member solely on his love of the EF is really a cheap shot. If there’s any way to fast-forward the balkanization between the traditional and progressive communities, this is it.

    Articles such as Ms. Hanley’s demonstrate that there really is no end and no truce in sight. So long as epithets such as “progressive”, “traditional”, OF, and EF are used as summary judgments of another person’s nuanced perspectives, there will never be any harmony but only the will for one side to triumph over another.

    Since the progressive/traditional divorce is all but in name, let us traditional Catholics have the new translation through compliance and progressives the 1973 translation through disobedience. Eventually Rome will capitulate to the use of the 1973 translation. How many times has experimentation advanced to indult and finally to permission (i.e. communion in the hand)? Persistent disobedience will likely triumph in the end.

    The forced act of uniformity in 1970 did not bring about a hoped-for unity but rather informal schism. It’s time for Rome to realize that there are many “churches” in the Roman rite, not unlike Anglicanism. The only way for for the fractured Roman rite to survive is to maintain ecclesiastical unity in radically different liturgical persuasions. Reconciliation has failed and will likely never work so long as both sides demand another act of uniformity on their terms alone.

    1. Jordan – well expressed and you may have named the “rub”…the forced act of uniformity in 1970…..understand your emotion in saying this and you are making a statement 40 years later. Your examples of 1973, communion in the hand is rewriting history. Those were the outgrowth of SC, conferences, liturgical research, etc. It was truly organic liturgical development (you may disagree years later). Rome did not just “allow”; negatively permit; and eventually give permission for actions that were “illegal”. Conferences developed; presented; and wisely implemented. Your characterization is completely inaccurate. BUT:

      – VII bishops did not look upon this as a “forced act” much less uniformity. In fact, they were “reforming” latin, Tridentine uniformity and allowing for diversity but in terms of vernaculars, ritual that inculturated in more and better ways, etc.
      – would suggest that Paul VI tried to allow those who could not or would not accept the “reformed” liturgy an indult or permission (we can argue about whether this was universally successful). Also, history tells us that VII laid out principles that the bishops went home and acted on. This quickly led to even more and quicker use of vernaculars, etc. (40 years later you make it sound as if the two forms are equal – probably less than 10% of all catholics have any desire to do EF much less TLM).
      – you are proposing two forms of one rite (not sure this has ever happened.) You are conflating rites with the latin rite being expressed two or more ways.
      – thus, some of us are looking at the history of “abrogation” – did or did it not happen? What has been the consequence of this “gray” area?
      – finally, we do need to pay attention to ecclesiology – latin rite with two or more forms will change ecclesiology and we are already seeing “unintended consequences”.
      – for some reconciliation has failed – but would posit that this is much more than just a ritual form – deeper than that is how folks see the church, themselves, Vatican II, etc.
      – if nothing else, the reform of the reform or whatever hermeneutic you take has created polarization.

      Not sure what the solution is but the continued two forms movement is not the answer.

      1. Angela Hanley’s opinion on the current liturgical impasse perhaps reflects a positivist interpretation of Missale Romanum 1969. I, and many others, do not share the notion that MR 1969 is an unquestionable ecclesiological or liturgical mandate for the Roman Rite. I sometimes wonder if the magisterial force of Quo Primum can be applied to MR 1969. I also wonder if it is wise to interpret MR 1969 through Quo Primum given the current strain in the Roman Rite. The very issuance of Summorum Pontificum suggests that successive Popes can weaken the magisterial force of previous apostolic constitutions on the liturgy.

        I suggest that progressive Catholics should not see SP or the translation wars as a sign to redouble absolute liturgical uniformity to MR 1969. The progressive liturgical movement has made great gains that have been gratefully received by many but not shared by all. What I cannot comprehend about Roman liturgical progressivism is the progressive inability to share the ecclesia with the traditional perspective. “Liturgical renewal” is here to stay as a force in Roman Catholicism. Roman progressivism can maintain this force without the absolute compliance of every Roman adherent.

        Is liturgical diversity through Summorum Pontificum and the possibility of multiple English translations a “defeat” for progressive Roman Catholicism? Only those who consider themselves committed to the progressive renewal can answer.

  13. The key issue is the unprayable nature of the new translation. That an explanation of how this came about must take note of the rearguard action of a certain cabal is surely inevitable? Or is there to be no accountablility for the debacle? Angela Hanley’s views are only a faint reflection of what Bp Maurice Taylor, who was directly involved in dealing the villains of the piece, has written.

    I am amazed that my classmate Bp John McAreavey defends the scriptural richness of the new translation by highlighting the phrase “like the dewfall” — even Msgr Bruce Harbert has said he dislikes that phrase.

  14. What is the “liturgical and theological divorce” you are talking about? Angela Hanley’s article breathes the spirit of fidelity to Vatican II, even as she denounces an abuse of power. She says colluding with an abuse of power is wrong. Is that really just disobedience and a divorce-mentality?

    1. The above post was not written well and perhaps deceptive. The “divorce” comments were mine and mine alone, not Angela Hanley’s. My apologies for careless writing.

  15. Also it is very unfair to dismiss her well researched article as “snap dismissals of people according to facile categories” — if that is all it were it would not be published by Doctrine and Life.

    1. Again, my comment was not well written. My criticism applies only to her characterization of Fr. Wadsworth.

      Hanley’s article is well researched. I only take issue with her characterization of Fr. Wadsworth as a “well-known celebrant of the Tridentine Rite”. While I am not as certain as Hanley, it may well be true that Fr. Wadsworth’s devotion to the EF suggests a high level of cooperation with abusive power, or at the very least an active dislike of previous translation policies.

      My contention is this: if we descend to the level of characterizing people based on their liturgical preferences, then any dialogue on liturgical unity is sunk. I’ve long feared that we are well past this point, and that any further dialogue will only lead to characterizations of people based solely on their devotion to one type of liturgy or another.

      I am just as guilty of this as some others. All of us, on both sides of this issue, need to evaluate whether this method of categorization is wise.

      I also would not mind some controlled evolution of the translation crisis into a dual circulation of the new and old translations. This is certainly not Hanley’s position but mine. That is an unpopular option on both sides of the debate, given that the policy on vernacular liturgy to this point has (perhaps unsuccessfully) enforced an uneasy and sometimes hostile uniformity. Precedence in other Christian communions suggest that at least two different vernacular liturgies can live side-by-side even in the same church. Diversity in unity might be the last, and only, resort to maintain a semblance of peace and perhaps more local autonomy over liturgy.

  16. I think it is fair to say that eyebrows were raised at the news of Andrew Wadsworth’s appointment to ICEL, not because of the EF but because henceforth the executive secretary of the body producing all English translated liturgical texts would somewhat bizarrely be a person who never celebrated in that language himself. In fact he has proved to be a charming and amenable person in that role, regardless of his private devotional life.

    Angela Hanley’s language could therefore be said to be painted a little too broadly in this instance. It is quite possible that she was using ‘Tridentine Rite’ as a loose shorthand descriptor for non-English-celebrating.

    1. henceforth the executive secretary of the body producing all English translated liturgical texts would somewhat bizarrely be a person who never celebrated in that language himself.

      But as Fr. Ruff pointed out in this comment, it’s not true that he never celebrated in that language.

      1. Correct – He celebrates Paul VI in English for the ICEL staff in the new chapel of the ICEL offices.


      2. Just to clarify, I did not say that he never celebrated in that language, simply that the perception of many on his appointment was that he never did. I imagine that this is what Ms Hanley picked up on.

        I knew that he was a chaplain at Harrow School, so I was one of those who did not share that perception.

  17. Greetings,

    People often claim: Abuse of Power! NOT because of the abuse of power, but rather because they are not the one in power. I have a seen a lot of intolerance over they years from people who’s battle Cry is: tolerance!!!

    1. Dear Thomas Pomeroy,

      Let me attempt to explain why I think this particular comment is not a very helpful contribution to the discussion.

      You’re attributing motives to people (in this case, critics of the abuse of power) in a way which denies their good faith. This ends up diverting the discussion from any serious treatment of their criticism. You seem to claim that every critic of abuse of power is intolerant, based on your past experience of such people. You seem to claim that their critique is based on nothing but the fact that they’re not in power. This is dismissive of the substance of their critique.

      I think it would be better to discuss the issue on the table, namely: is there abuse of power in our Church? Ever? To any extent? Is there anything to the case for this made by the critics? Show us why you think the exercise of power is good, not abusive, in the case at hand. Maybe their critique is off-base. Show us why.

      Otherwise, if your real point is, as I suspect, “No one may criticize Catholic Church authorities because they are always right,” I wish you’d just say that.

      As an aside: I’m amused that you’re so exercised about such people’s intolerance – if they’re not in power, why would they have any significant effect on you?


  18. In follow up to Jordan’s last post today – here is an article by Sandro Magister. You may or may not believe what some of this says but it gets at the depth of what some want via SP, etc.


    Low lights:

    “The criticisms of some traditionalists are focused in particular on how Benedict XVI interprets Vatican Council II and the postconciliar period.

    The pope errs – in their view – when he limits his criticism to the deterioration of the postcouncil. Vatican II, in fact – again, in their view – was not only poorly interpreted and applied: it was itself a source of errors, the first of which was the renunciation of the Church’s authority to exercise, when necessary, a magisterium of definition and condemnation; the renunciation, that is, of the anathema, in exchange for dialogue.

    On the historical level, this idea tends to be supported by the volume recently published by Professor Roberto de Mattei: “Il Concilio Vaticano II. Una storia mai scritta [Vatican Council II. A history never written].” According to de Mattei, the conciliar documents cannot be viewed in isolation from the men and events that produced them: from those men and those maneuvers whose deliberate intention – abundantly successful – was to break with the traditional doctrine of the Catholic Church, on several essential points.”

    This is why I think that your reinterpretation and various forms of one Latin Rite is playing with fire.

  19. Bill: This is why I think that your reinterpretation and various forms of one Latin Rite is playing with fire.

    Thank you for this article. Yes, I am playing with fire. Fire can cleanse, enlighten (in a pentecostal sense), and destroy. I am vainly trying to harness a cleansing fire to purify the traditional liturgy with the spectacular eccesiological, moral, and ethical advancements of the post-conciliar Church. My Catholic convictions are admittedly contradictory. Sometimes I feel as if I’m a double agent for holding both progressive and traditional ideas. Still, I am committed to saving the EF liturgy that has profoundly changed me.

    A union of progressive and traditional Catholics under the Conciliar pronouncements can include disagreements over the post-conciliar liturgical course. My disagreement with Angela Hanley’s article rests with her liturgy-centric view of post-Conciliar power struggles. Instead, I see the current liturgical struggle as a troubling brake on the great advances of the Council. The EF and OF can either be fellow-travelers in the unfolding of post-conciliarism, or the two forms can descend into internectine warfare that obscures the implementation of other conciliar gains. Roundabout arguments about liturgy often obscure the non-liturgical imperatives all Catholics must witness through Vatican II.

    Traditional Catholicism’s greatest peril is “tiara traditionalism”. The aforementioned article’s citations from Enrico Maria Radaelli’s new book epitomize triumphalism. Today, more than ever, we need a mitered Pope — a pastoral Pope committed to dialogue. The ultimate abuse of power would be the return of the hubris of a temporal crown. I am convinced that the EF can advance beyond its entanglement with its triumphalist past. We can be old and new liturgically while moving forward in justice.

    1. Thanks, Jordan – understand now. We will have to agree to disagree but respect what you hold and cherish. Yes, you do appear to have “contradictory” positions but your passion is there – good for you.

  20. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Tom Poelker :

    US RC parish schools are an unnecessary holdover from the immigrant church era and their fundraising and administration divert time, money, and energy from liturgical, social justice, devotional, spiritual, and charitable activities of parishes.
    Please discuss.

    If this description of parochial schools is true, why have the bishops designed a comprehensive catechesis just to “introduce” the new translation of the Roman missal? Do they not consider the PIP’s understanding of church doctrine to be lacking, i.e., the laity to be under-educated? Among the other “activities of parishes” you list, which one(s) seem to you to need the efforts of Catholic-educated laity?

    1. please present your own position
      This is like a formal debate resolution, make statements for or against
      laity can be Catholic-educated
      by means other than parish schools.

      1. Renewal of the church will not happen without a Catholic school system that trains the laity to engage with theological questions and to bring moral reasoning to bear on social and political issues (including the role of religion and clergy in the state). Nor is it likely that a recognizably Catholic life of the mind will re-emerge in political discourse without re-vitalization of Catholic school education.

        The Vatican II document “Declaration on Christian Education” “Gravissimum Educationis” (HHP John Paul VI, 1965) emphasizes the responsibility of Catholic educators to “not merely advance the internal renewal of the Church but preserve and enhance its beneficent influence upon today’s world, especially the intellectual world.” According to this document, Catholic education’s goal is to shape graduates for secular as well as religious responsibilities: “So indeed the Catholic school, while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community.” Thus the church has a responsibility to continue the tradition of Catholic schooling that, in the US, emerged in an era of immigration: “The Church is bound as a mother to give to these children of hers an education by which their whole life can be imbued with the spirit of Christ and at the same time do all she can to promote for all peoples the complete perfection of the human person, the good of earthly society and the building of a world that is more human.”

  21. 1. I read the reference to Andrew Wadsworth as indicating how ideology was replacing expertise at ICEL. To put into power someone who favored using Latin did not bode well for a committee intended to promote good English translations.

    2. Note the important distinction between parish schools and Catholic schools. I think it was McKay above who pointed out that the majority of Catholic youth, who attend other schools, might be under served because of the great resources put into parish schools. Schools for those abandoned in inner cities are quite different in mission from those perpetuating a Catholic culture. My proposition dealt with the foci of parish ministry with or without a school.

    3. Jordan, am I in agreement with you to say again that the liturgy is a battlefield in a war of ecclesiologies?

    4. JZ: “Today, more than ever, we need a mitered Pope — a pastoral Pope committed to dialogue. The ultimate abuse of power would be the return of the hubris of a temporal crown. I am convinced that the EF can advance beyond its entanglement with its triumphalist past. We can be old and new liturgically while moving forward in justice.”

    Maybe it is just because my view is caught in the mentioned entanglement, but I am having trouble following this.
    What is meant by “need a mitered Pope”? Is this meant to be in contrast with the triple tiara? No secular jurisdiction?

    5. “Vatican II .. was itself a source of errors, … the renunciation of the Church’s authority … a magisterium of definition and condemnation; … in exchange for dialogue.”

    This seems to me to have a lot to do with what I perceive as abuses of authority, the omission of dialog or consultation with experts, applying jurisdiction where expertise is needed. In liturgy, the surprises of LA and RT and of the revised IGMR [in particular] by the curia, the making of subjective judgments binding on all without consultation or even public knowledge of rule making in process.

    1. Tom – agree that there is and has been a wide divergence between the total resources, financial support, etc. of a parish elementary school versus CCD or whatever it is called.

      Have seen many different ways to blend the CCD and parish school – joint sacramental preparation; avoiding separate CCD and parish sacrament celebrations; efforts to make sure that CCD kids have the same access, invitation, and inclusion in parish outreach, liturgical ministries, etc.

      But, to throw the baby out with the bathwater is not the solution.

      Where public education is as good or better than catholic alternatives, have seen parishes in these situations not build catholic elementary or even catholic high schools. Rather, each parish or region has put together a strong CCD program.

      This is an issue across the US and gets even more complicated in bilingual or multi-ethnic parishes.

      Again, a simple solution to avoid catholic schools – evidence, experience, feedback indicates that this is a poor choice.

      1. Bill, would you be comfortable with strong PSR/CCD schooling in most parishes and full time Catholic schools only in educationally deprived neighborhoods regardless of % RC population?

  22. An excerpt of material quoted in the Chiesa link by BdH
    ON CONTINUITY by Francesco Arzillo
    The ecclesial uproar connected to the conflict between traditionalists and progressives shows no sign of calming down, .. Nor can one lament … popes have made the proper implementation of Vatican II a point of reference for their ministry (and what else should they have done?).

    The hermeneutic of continuity should be verified and practiced with concrete exercises, which – if carried out properly – would show that it is always possible.

    To simplify, let’s say that I have a classic dogmatic assertion A and a conciliar doctrine B, which is subject to two interpretations: B1, or an interpretation compatible with A; and B2, or an interpretation not compatible with A (this ambivalence is not rare, because of the “pastoral” language used by the last Council and by part of the recent magisterium).

    The hermeneutic of continuity, then, requires that I select interpretation B1. This is not, however, a voluntaristic and positivistic imposition. On the contrary, it presupposes the logical principle of non-contradiction, the non-irrationality of the thing revealed, and the theological and ecclesiological principles distinctive of Catholicism, which are aimed at safeguarding the unity-continuity of the Church in time.

    For example, if I read the text of Vatican II in which it says that “by his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every man” (“Gaudium et Spes” 22), I must interpret this in a way that is compatible with the ancient Christological councils, taking into account the implications of the statement “in some fashion.”
    Tom: The author is supposedly very conservative, but this sounds like basic logic in reading V2 documents to me, despite many classifying me as “liberal” or “progressive”. Am I missing something?

    It seems that Magister identifies traditionalists as insisting on B2 and then condemning Vat II.

      1. My read only – Magister is quoting various authors who have laid the groundwork to justify their interpretation of VII or even pre-VII as a moral right and even an obligation. Thus, if one rejects various VII documents – by taking the stance that there are two ways of interpreting (acceptance or rejection based on prior councils, “continuity”, etc.) the act of rejection is permissible based on the person’s view of the church.

        Thus, they lay the groundwork for a total rejection of VII because it was NOT a dogmatic council; thus, it made no dogmatic statements and is open to interpretation. So, one can reject with a clear mind any directions set by VII.

        Example – using their approach, SSPX is right and justified; the rest of us are lost.

  23. #53 by Tom Poelker on April 9, 2011 – 2:27 pm

    What is meant by “need a mitered Pope”? Is this meant to be in contrast with the triple tiara? No secular jurisdiction?

    Yes, the call for a “mitred Pope” is in contrast to a Pope with a tiara and the illusion of temporal power.

    #55 by Tom Poelker on April 9, 2011 – 4:48 pm

    The hermeneutic of continuity should be verified and practiced with concrete exercises, […] This is not, however, a voluntaristic and positivistic imposition. […] It seems that Magister identifies traditionalists as insisting on B2 and then condemning Vat II. (passim)

    I see your point Tom. The peril of Second Vatican Council hermeneutics lies with not only with the possibility of alternate interpretation
    but also with the gravity of the doctrine discussed. While liturgy is a very important hermeneutical frontier, ethical and moral doctrines are also subject to multiple interpretation. While you and I might think otherwise, some in the traditional Catholic community hold Nostra Aetate and
    Dignitatis Humanae, among other conciliar constitutions, to be at variance with consistent Church teaching. Some traditional Catholics’ call for a parallel interpretation of Vatican II surpasses liturgical preference. The true stakes now lie beyond the EF itself and in its moral and ethical import. I, for one, would not want to see the EF become a beacon for hatred and triumphalism. This is why a right-winged Syllabus for Vatican II could create immense negative consequences for all Catholics.

    1. Can’t speak for JZ, but most people I know who prefer the EF like the prayers, calendar, and overall structure of the EF – things that you wouldn’t get from the OF in Latin.

      1. What is it which you like in particular? I do not see much difference in the material of EF and the Latin text of the Paul VI missal.

        In particular, I do not see the advantage of the old calendar.

      2. I can’t really compare the EF to a Latin OF since I have never seen a Latin OF celebrated in a way that approximates the EF High Mass- they’re far harder to come by than the EF is. However, in most of the instances where the prayers were either changed, shortened, or replaced between the EF and OF, I like the EF versions better. A lot of the changes come off as almost arbitrary – like shortening the Confiteor, or cutting down the triple Domine non sum dignus.

        I like the structure and musicality of the EF High Mass – it has a beautiful flow to it that doesn’t seem to exist in the OF – which tends to be more start-and-stop, or “jerky,” for lack of a better word. I love the overlap that occurs when the prayers at the foot of the altar are recited by the priest and servers while the introit is sung, and how that flows into the Kyrie, Gloria, and Epistle.

        I like the seasons of the EF better – again, it has a better flow to it and a real feeling of progression that the new calendar doesn’t have. I really dislike “Ordinary Time,” and haven’t seen a decent reason for why it’s better than “Sundays after Epiphany/Pentecost,” which at least have a connection to the rest of the liturgical year and don’t feel like “time off” or an interruption to the “important” seasons. The Latin name, “Tempus per Annum,” is better, but only because the Latin sounds mysterious.

        To be honest, I don’t care about the language the Mass is in. If presented with OF Masses that were identical aside for one being English and the other being Latin, I would likely choose the English one. I also know traditionalists who attended English Byzantine liturgies for years when the EF wasn’t available around here, so I imagine language isn’t their main reason for liking the EF either.

      3. Tom, I have to agree with Jack with regard to EF textual content. The Latin literary quality and profundity of the old Offertory and Prefaces, for example, have been lost both through deletion and the reshuffling of the propers. Also, I agree with Jack that the abbreviation of certain prayers (such as the Confiteor) have weakened not only the emotional “sense” of contrition, but also the recognition of Our Lady and the communion of saints in the intercessors for sinful humanity. The OF deletion of scriptural allusions in the silent sacerdotal prayers is also lamentable.

        In my view, the liturgical praxis of the EF is more reverent. True, this reverence can be imported to the OF to some degree. Still, ad orientem worship, the reservation of silent prayer for the priest, and the emphasis on distinct prayers and gestures for the clergy and laity present a liturgical economy that more prayerful and decorous than the sometimes loud and raucous, consistently amplified, OF. The progressive liturgical reinterpretation of celebrant as presider not only blurs the distinction between clerical and lay roles, but sometimes presents liturgy as a undifferentiated mass of clergy and laypeople moving about the sanctuary without purposeful distinction.

        There should be an alignment of the two sanctoral calendars. The EF sanctoral calendar is woefully out of date. I’d say that the deletion of Septuagesimatide in the OF has and will hamper the reconciliation of the two temporal calendars.

      4. The OF calendar highlights Christmas and Easter by inserting each into the broader structure of Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time allows for a continuous reading of a gospel, interrupted by the Lent/Easter seasons. This gives the Lectionary less of an ad hoc feel to it, for those who worship regularly. That in turn provides for a more in depth examination of scripture, with linking of Sundays.

        Personally I prefer Epiphany and Pentecost designations to Ordinary Time, but that makes it harder to recognize continuous readings. I wish they would at least make clear that Epiphany celebrates the beginnings of gospels (Mt=3 kings, Mk=Baptism of the Lord, Jn= Cana miracle).

        -gesima Sundays are a way to extend Lent, and so they weaken Lent’s significance. I can understand not using them.

        I do not see why the sanctoral cycles of the two calendars are or should be different. Extra elements may need to be written for the EF, but there should be one Roman Calendar, even if there are two forms of liturgy.

        And bring back rogation days at least for people in agricultural environments. (or are they still options?)

        just my thoughts on calendar reform.

    2. Because a Latin OF following the rubrics has been almost impossible to come by. It is about as rare as a tiger roaming the streets of NY. We simply couldn’t get it and were marginalized for asking. What would have been so awful about the Pauline Mass to have remained in Latin fully following the rubrics right from the very beginning after the close of Council for at least one Mass per Sundays? There is simply an overall mentality that the NO should not look or resemble the EF Mass. If not, we would not be in much of the crisis today? When in the history of the Catholic Church have its’ own members been treated with such disdain and intolerance? There has been something terrible attached to the implementation of the Pauline Mass that will not be easily overcome, if ever. And this problem and division was created by the many who implemented diversity. There are many questioned to be answered and more questions to be asked.

  24. It seems to me that much of the above preferences stated in terms of EF and OF are about two basic matters, however, those who wrote may need to correct me.
    Much of it seems to be not about the differences between the two missals but the differences between the manner [raucous, amplified] in which they are performed. In this, I think we have some agreement in that I feel that the vernacular liturgy seems usually to be under-rehearsed and, by nature lacking the uniformity of the TLM, shows much more hesitancy in practice of HOW to perform various ministries. I think American casualness is more responsible for what others perceive as lack of reverence than any differences in the missals.

    Much of this is because so little training in performance craft is given to ministers from bishops down to offertory processers (?). It is related to the defect of not reading directions far enough to set VCR timers. It is also related to pride among priests who think that mere repetition means mastery. [How often has anyone with performance expertise on this list been asked, much less paid, to coach a priest wanting to preside better?]
    The other major preference seems to be related to the different desires for a wondrous or communal liturgy. Personally, I would like to see a wondrous liturgy in my parish for Christmas, the Triduum, and Pentecost. Otherwise, I think that a communal liturgy is more beneficial.

    I think it unfortunate that anyone should think that a wondrous liturgy requires rigorous a strong distinction between clergy and laity.

    I will pursue a tangent in the next comment.

    It is my interpretation that much disagreement over the EF/OF and other areas is due to a confusion over the role of public prayer versus private devotion.

    It seems to me that many who want a more wondrous or more reverent liturgy also want to spend their time at the liturgy in personal response to the nature of God or other mysteries of faith. As I read SC, it seems to teach that we should expect something, not more but different, when we come together for communal prayer.

    It makes little sense to me to ask or require people to assemble in order to do in a group what they could do as well in private. Adoration of the reserved or exposed sacrament, meditation on beautiful expressions of faith in performed or static art, reading through prayers, any sort of silent prayer, all are done well or even best in private.

    Coming together for Mass seems to me to be taught by SC as much more about the communal experience of sharing than the personal experience of awe or the public display of allegiance.

    This sharing of the Scriptures and the Eucharist is clearly also a sharing in the sacrifice of the cross, but so was the last supper without ceasing to be a supper.

    I think there is a legitimate need for additional solemn and wondrous devotions such as exposition and Benediction, Forty Hours devotions. There is also need for appropriate and constantly open spaces for private prayer and quiet meditation. I do not think that these values are congruent with the public, communal, sharing of Scripture and Communion that is the Mass.

    To me, it is a matter of clarifying purposes. It is unfortunate that for several centuries Catholic laity had a poor sense of the nature of communal prayer as other than private prayer writ large, but that should not inhibit us from enriching our faith experiences by returning to something closer to the earliest Christians coming together, not in awe but in community seeking mutual support.

  26. More on abused power
    From http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/unevolved

    by John F. Haught

    Even so, my main objection is not that a particular theologian takes a firm stance on the never fully settled topic of God and suffering. Much more problematic is that the USCCB seems to want to make one debatable, scientifically uninformed interpretation of an ancient theological paradox a test of orthodoxy in the work of a widely respected Catholic theologian who also happens to take science seriously. As a Catholic, I want the Committee on Doctrine to teach authoritatively. However, given the problematic process that went into shaping the statement, as well as its failure to take evolution seriously, just how much authority can scientifically educated Catholics attribute to it?
    Finally, what seems most obviously unjust is the nondialogical character of the process that led to the statement’s harsh accusations. One might assume, of course, that the bishops on the committee were continually involved in the process. If so, why did they not point out the distortions in the statement’s understanding of panentheism? Why did they not ask if there might be more nuanced theological ways of understanding the relationship of God to the world and to suffering? Were other theologians invited to participate in this process? If so, on what points did they perhaps differ from Weinandy’s opinions? Above all, of course, why did the committee not consult Elizabeth Johnson herself, just to make sure the bishops fully understood what they were rejecting. Why was she not invited to clarify her understanding of God before, rather than after, the release of the statement?

    John F. Haught, author of God after Evolution and many other books, is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University.

  27. Don’t you understand Hegel? That’s all this is, a compromise between the ‘radical’ Novus Ordo and the ‘conservative’ Latin Mass. There’s no real consideration given to the good, the truth and the beautiful. Chuck it all and let’s go back to the pre-1963 missal. As far as I’m concerned, the Latin Rite has been virtually dead since 1969 anyway. None of you really profess the same faith as Pius X or any of the other saints.

    1. So do you reject all the teachings of an ecumenical council in union with the pope? What would Pius X think of that?

      On what basis do you rate yourself as one who can determine what is the good, the true, and the beautiful?

      Who do you define as the you of whom none profess your subjectively defined faith? On what basis do you divide yourself from the “none of you”?

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