Just Obey?

Wilfred Cardinal Napier of the Archdiocese of Durban, South Africa, seems to be finding it hard to accept the fact that there are some Catholics who are critical of the new translation of the Roman Missal and haven’t just kept their thoughts to themselves.

In a letter to the editor of the Tablet that appeared last week, his Eminence raised objections to the Tablet’s coverage of the Missal. Interestingly, he didn’t dispute the contentions raised in the articles, some of which have been critical of the translation and its background. Instead, he questioned the faith of European Catholics.

Robert Mickens’ articles on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (Icel), the Holy See and the new English translation of the Mass (18 June-2 July) as well as what one reads in The Tablet week after week, lead me to wonder, whatever happened to religious faith and obedience in Europe? Have Catholics in Europe gone totally cerebral and rational? Is there nothing of the heart or the imagination? Is there no room for humble submission to the highest authority in the Church, the Holy Father and those he chooses to work with him?

Mickens is an American, but never mind. The point seems to be that when the hierarchy produces a translation, it’s a betrayal of religious faith (and puts the evangelization of future generations in jeopardy, he goes on to suggest) to criticize those texts or point out flaws in the process by which they were produced. It’s not that the criticisms are unjust, but that criticism per se is faithless.

As you probably have guessed, the Cardinal’s broadside (he goes on to invoke the Acts of the Apostles and Peter at Caesarea Philippi, too) seems to me to take matters too far. Are religious faith, imagination, the heart, humility and obedience really only on one side of the Missal controversy? I don’t think so. I would say, rather, that there are sincere and thoughtful—and faith-filled—people on all sides of the Missal controversy, from the sharply critical to the moderately concerned,  from the generally optimistic to the wildly enthusiastic, from those who have taken a “wait and see” attitude to those who have signed and circulated petitions.

Indeed, perhaps the conclusion one ought to draw from the persistent recurrence of criticism is very different from the one proposed by Cardinal Napier in this letter. Evidently, heart and imagination, faith and loyalty are compelling some faithful Catholics—in Europe and elsewhere—to question the wisdom of the coming translation.

If this is the case, and problems and issues continue to grate, is shutting down criticism (and labeling the people with concerns as lacking in faith) really the best way to proceed under the circumstances? Cardinal Napier points to an example of docility to the apostles’ leadership in the Acts of the Apostles, but there are other episodes in Acts in which disagreements become occasions for prayerful consultation, discernment of the Spirit, and changes of policy.

You’ll recall that the translation of the Order of Mass was released prematurely in South Africa in 2009, and occasioned so much hullaballoo that the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship asked them to withdraw it. Cardinal Napier took a hard line at that time, and perhaps it is galling to him that two years later, despite his chastisements, example, and catechesis, people are still not in line. I realize the frustration he must feel.

What I think is problematic, however, is the idea that church leaders can resolve controversies simply by calling for religious submission or by branding those who disagree as lacking in faith.

(H/T Graham Wilson)

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99 comments

  1. Unfortunately for the cardinals and the pope, the world now has a new model of an appropriate attitude of lay leaders to the Vatican:

    “the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism … the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.”

    Evidently the Taoiseach has gotten a lot of support not only from laity but also from priests. I suspect there are some sympathetic bishops out there too.

    1. Speaking of “narcissism”, it appears to have spread far
      beyond the Vatican.”Quiet submission to authority”? Is that the best the archbishop of Durban can do to quell the voices
      of Catholics who won’t be still and swallow this bitter pill? I expected better from him.

    2. Cardinal Napier used this language to quell the revolt of the laity in his own country. We need to study the psychology of clerical masochism, possible a greater force than clerical pedophilia or clerical homosexuality. The craving to obey is a passport to success in the Church.

      Irish priests have not been vocal in support of the Taoiseach’s sloppy speech. But they have not stood up to defend themselves either. Cloyne replied: http://www.cloynediocese.ie/2011/07/present-status-of-clerics-mentioned-in-the-cloyne-report/

  2. I always worry when I hear faith and obedience treated as virtual synomyms. The implication never fails to strike me as an instruction for us lay people to turn our brains off because someone in a collar will tell us what to think. Obedience, properly placed is a virtue of course, but it can never become an alternative to the search for truth. Thank you Rita.

    1. Mr. Walsh – good point but would argue that you are comparing apples to oranges. Refer to john francis roberts post below.

      Some differences – VII (2600 bishops) and SC were overwhelmingly positive in reforming the liturgy including the vernacular. Per VII, conferences organized and approved their own liturgies. The translation method followed expert advice – linguistics, translators, biblical scholars, etc. Paul VI did agree to an indult for age, psychology, etc.

      Since 1998, this process has changed the rules (tiny group vs. 2600 bishops in council). LA was passively approved by JPII – again, no approval by bishops.

      JFR makes excellent points that are factual.

      On the surface, you can make all dissent equal but under a microscope, some dissent is based on honest and truthful facts…..some dissent is ideological, personal, and driven by the need for power.

      Taken to its extreme – you get the excellent comment below from Nicholas Mitchell. It appears that we are not improving but taking steps to “get even”.

    2. Thanks, Dave. Yes, drilling down would give us even a better context but my argument remains that bishops who did not like what they saw in 1967 Synod were able to lodge complaints that were considered (not sure that this is even a part of the process today). Also, a longer picture would be that from a few years past 1973, ICEL began to work on revisions; listened and empowered conferences.

      What we have left out of this example, is the fact that english is first in this VC/MR3 translation and it appears that other language conferences are delaying as much as they can….not exactly dissent but speaks volumes.

    3. Dave – can you expand on your “faculties curtailed” comment. Ask because more and more I see off hand comments become historical footnotes and fact – examples: did you know that most people had trouble with the ’73 order of mass (who would have known?); most people miss the pre-VII latin liturgy (who would have known?).

      There may have been isolated instances in which a bishop threatened a priest/pastor if he did not use the ’73 Order of Mass but it was not policy, nor a norm; much less widespread.

      If you are including SPPX – well, now you are mixing apples and oranges – their starting point was to reject VII even if they initially masked this using the liturgy.

    4. “Paul VI did agree to an indult for age, psychology, etc.”

      It seems there was also an effort to preserve the older missal because of its own cultural merits. The “English Indult” (or Agatha Christie/Heenan Indult, or whatever you choose to call it) looks to have been requested and granted to preserve the Tridentine Missal because of its cultural importance and doesn’t seem to foresee the old missal dying out within a few years as the elderly priests and laity themselves died out.

  3. Cardinal Napier must not have bothered comparing the translation he and the other bishops approved with what has finally come out from Vox Clara.

    Otherwise he would know that Vox Clara disobeyed the Liturgiam Authenticam that answered all his questions. Wait till the priests start trying to recite the Collects and Prefaces. The Cardinal will see that Vox Clara also disobeyed or didn’t even know the rules of English grammar.

    Isn’t Durban the Archdiocese that the great Archbishop Hurley who helped organize ICEL was once Archbishop? Talk about a let down!

    1. Yes, Jeremy. All Napier got of Hurley’s was an empty cathedra. And Napier’s letter to the Tablet tells you a lot more about Napier than it does about anything else.

  4. If the model for obedience is the life of Jesus, we have to recognise that his openness to the Father expressed itself through a highly contentious relationship with religious authority.

  5. Rita, I completely agree with you that Cardinal Napier’s call for obedience is misplaced, and there needs to be respect for both sides in these discussions.

    But if his remarks were appropriate, where are his condemnations of the critics of the 1970 translation? Wasn’t it done with the approval of “the Holy Father and those he chooses to work with him”? Are the criticisms of the new translation any worse than than the criticisms of the old that have flourished for the last 40 years?

    In 1998, criticism resulted in the withdrawal of ICEL’s second translation. Should those who criticized it have kept silent?

    Perhaps Cardinal Napier has been strong in the past in attacking those who criticized the 1970 translation. Maybe he has a history of censuring the organizations devoted to overturning Comme le Prevoit, blogs that daily pick apart the earlier translation, etc. If so, I apologize for questioning his current remarks. If not, they seem to be distorted by his partisanship.

    1. Jim, this is an excellent comment. Now some days have passed, and many other comments posted but no one has risen to your challenge. I do not know the answer myself, but the silence suggests that he did not do so. Thank you for writing.

  6. Thanks, Rita. A few comments:

    – from Enda Kenny: ““This Roman clericalism must be devastating for good priests, some of them old, others struggling to keep their humanity, even their sanity, as they work so hard to be the keepers of the church’s light and goodness within their parishes, communities and the human heart.”

    – from Irish priest, Hoban: “The first is the mistaken belief that a diocese is run by the bishop and the priests together. The fact is we are totally excluded from any say . . . Priests are effectively disenfranchised.”

    The other difficulty is loyalty. Priests live isolated lives.

    “The dynamic of our ministry is that friends are very few and far between, but there is extraordinarily strong loyalty among the clergy,” Hoban says. As well as that, “we were not people who would challenge the status quo. Those who would were weeded out in the seminary.”

    – He ends with a statement about the new translation: “To illustrate this, he describes how a bishop and liturgists have been traversing the Irish dioceses, giving seminars to priests on the controversial new missal translations. Despite the huge unease there was little or no reaction from audiences.

    Then the bishop came to Knock, where he overran his speaking time, leaving no time for the pre-lunch question-and-answer session. After lunch he launched straight into speaking mode again, whereupon one brave soul stood up and stated that a discussion was needed. Slowly, amazingly, the courageous priest was followed by several more.

    “The liturgists were amazed because they presumed there was no opposition, as they hadn’t seen it before,” says Hoban. Or maybe they hadn’t been reading the papers. It demonstrates what a cold place the church can be for a dissident, says Hoban. “And we have reaped the whirlwind . . . … ‘

    1. A cold place not just for dissidents. The casualties of this Missal have shown what a cold place the Church can be for the loyal, scholarly, hard-working cleric who simply tells the truth.

    2. Bill, the article from which you quote in the later part of your comments, the one from the Irish Times, is excellent. I hope to post again on some of the issues it raises concerning clerical culture and some of its unhappy effects with respect to how authority is exercised. Thank you for posting.

  7. I am interested in this, because as a cantor this will change my life considerably. I am also old enough to have received all the sacraments but marriage in the pre-Vatican II Latin rite. I fact, I still have my St. Joseph Missal with the English translation along with the Latin. It is a little amusing to read that the justification for needing a new translation was that the last one got thrown together too quickly and t lost some of the majesty. To me, that is simply a matter of perception. The editors of that old missal had no problem with translating to English, and their work got an Imprimatur.

    What will actually happen remains to be seen. I doubt very much that my pastor is going to sing anything, let alone an entrance from the new missal. Different parishes are going to approach this slightly different ways depending upon their talents and experiences. My sense is that apart from the changes in language to to Gloria, and the Sanctus, most of my life is going to remain unchanged.

    I do agree that labeling people who are concerned as being unfaithful is wrong. I think it is wrong from a spiritual point of view, but it is certainly a poor tactic for getting people to accept change. It has a poor track record tnroughhout

  8. I apologize, I am typing on an iPad and can’t figure out how to edit what I was saying above. Picking up from ” ….poor track record throughout history.” …particularly where literacy is widespread. As it happens, I have been recently reading from the church fathers, and they do not get very dictatorial; they are for more interested in reasoned persuasion in my limited experience. So, I think it is wrong to label questioners as unfaithful, but it is also wrong for me to develop too much bile over the whole thing. I have been happy with what we have been doing, but I can live with what we will do as long as the basic substance of the Mass is the same.

  9. Of course, controversies can’t be resolved “simply by calling for religious submission.”

    And, of course, unity and fidelity in the Church can’t be achieved by mere calls to obedience.

    Nonetheless, “religious submission” is a virtue, and obedience is an evangelical counsel. They are an indispensable starting point for ecclesial life.

    It’s not about what I think, or you think, but what the Church thinks, the mens Ecclesiae.

    Ego non serviam is the antithesis of a Christian attitude towards faith and life.

    1. I’d be very worried about describing a submissive attitude, whether accompanied by a religious dimension or not, as virtuous. Arrested psychosexual development can take many forms. The complement of submit is dominate, after all.

      The obedience which is an evangelical counsel is a robust determination to listen, as ob-audire, hupakuo or shema beqol all indicate. This is as far removed from adopting a submissive approach to the issues of the day, including, as Philip has suggested, to religious authority, as illustrated in the case of Jesus of Nazareth, as it is possible to be.

      To serve ,can take many forms. Refusing to lie down to the powers that be, when they have refused to enquire about the sensus fidelium, is a form of service. In fact, to refuse to challenge systemic deficiencies, in the church, or in society, can be one form which a ‘non serviam’ mentality can take.

      The call to submit to ecclesial or any other form of authority is frequently an indication of the bankruptcy of one’s argument. W. Napier could do worse than look to the north of the continent on which he lives to see what happens when leaders tell people to submit to authority.

    2. So, Rob, if the “Church thinks” it’s ok to keep slaves, it’d be a holy thing for us to keep slaves.

      And if the “Church thinks” it’d be ok to do what, say, Blessed John Paul II did with Bernard Cardinal Law, then we all just need to get on board with that – victims of the Boston priests Law moved around included – “religious submission” and all that.

      And if the “Church thinks” it’s ok NOT to do what Blessed John Paul II DIDN’T do with Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, we’d all have a “Christian attitude” by our acquiescence. (Like, I suppose, this man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qvgdS0s56Q )

      What an interesting view of these things you have!

      Let’s just hope the Church never thinks ill of good cigars, fine wines and rich food, Rob.

  10. This seems to me another example of people in power wanting to abuse that power by citing obedience. The power dynamic is similar to people in secular government. Politicians build their own rituals to draw attention to themselves, then find ways to bring more control to more people. When the US declares war, military strikes, the building of military bases, the taking away of civil liberties, the forcing of democratic systems in foreign countries, those are examples of politicians forcing obedience on other people. However, to distract people from how the government grows in power, politicians build rituals such as election campaigns, taped congressional sessions, debates, etc to distract people from how government is harming the common good. These rituals are an attempt to draw people into how politicians are helping the common good, when in reality a good percentage of the time, they harm the common good. This becomes clear in looking at subtle points during the debate where politicians don’t seem to address hard questions like what happens if we default on our debt, or why do we feel the need to have an aggressive response to any real or perceived threat?
    The Catholic Church is similar. Through liturgy, people in power try to represent an image of God and existence and show how people should care about others. However, subtle ritual details, such as the homily, settings, music choices, etc, can all show potential distortions or things people overvalue in working for the common good. Liturgy can quickly become a source which overly affirms episcopal power if ritual elements aren’t accounted for. If our ritual symbol is one where obedience like Cardinal Napier suggests is incorporated, then it presents a great danger for the future of the Church as it is an attempt to blind people from potential dangers and ways where the Church is harming the common good. I hope we can do something about a growing mentality of obedience at all costs.

  11. Religious submission is appropriate for accepting the articles of the creed, or belief in the real presence, and a host of other teachings that comprise the faith that has been handed on to us by the apostles. But in terms of how the apostles and those who succeed them exercise leadership, Jesus couldn’t have been any clearer. We heard it in Matthews gospel on the feast of St. James: Those who aspire to be “in charge” must be willing to be a servant to all and refrain from lording it over those they serve. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life to those of us who place our faith in him but Jesus did not and does not impose faith on anyone. Why can’t our leaders be satisfied to make their best case for their ideas and disciplines and realize that inner acceptance by the church is a necessary part of the process of recognizing the truth. Why can’t they be like the one they call Lord and be ready to submit to suffering and death, rejection and persecution rather than insist that the completely powerless offer blind submission on issues that clearly admit of legitimate differences of conviction. It doesn’t make sense.

  12. The movie “Of God and Men” has an interesting side story about the exercise of authority. When the prior takes a big decision without consulting with the monks, they tell him that that’s not how decisions are supposed to be made. He listens to them, and the decision is suspended for an extensive period of reflection, discussions and prayer. He has learnt something from his brother monks. At a later meeting, he consults with them before taking the decision, and at that point it is unanimous.

    The cardinal complains: “Whatever happened to religious faith and obedience in Europe? […] Is there no room for humble submission to the highest authority in the Church?” – My own complaint is: “Whatever happened to the proper exercise of religious authority? Is there nothing of the heart? Is there no room for humble leadership in the Church?”

    The problem is not just with obedience but also with authority.

  13. I can understand the objections to the warts and sometimes clumsy English of the new translation; but will continue to assert that this work is far superior to that which we have, and I am grateful for that. I think that most of the rancour over the new translation comes from those who prefer the artlessly pedestrian and unimaginative non-translation with its eighth grade vocabulary which we now use. If they had gotten the sort of pretentiously familiar every-day-American-lingoish mush, similar to what we now have, the dissidents of the new translation would be in a rapturous and joyful clamour – whether they had been ‘consulted’ or not. (And, being in complete agreement with the above comments about the limits of obedience to those who would like for us to park our brains outside the church, my preference for this new translation is not borne of obedience, but gratitude that we are delivered from the empty, gutted one which we now have – which was also imposed without consultation with anyone save the chic modernists of 40 years ago who thought we needed a streamlined language which no one could mistake for an heiratic one.)

    1. But that’s NOT true of every one of us who are unhappy with the Vox Clara demolition of 2008, as witnessed by dozens of articles and hundreds of comments on this blog which, thanks to the courage of Father Ruff, has compared the Latin, 2008 and the Vox Clara revisions and pointed out the Vox Clara flaws. Feel free to settle for Vox Clara’s mistranslations from Latin, violations of LA’s directives, and sometimes ludicrous violations of English grammar and syntax. That is, feel free to cheer your “at least” Vox Clara Missal. Some of us will still say “If only” we’d gotten something decent.

    2. I regard this as a complete calumny. I do not look down upon the countless people for whom an “8th grade” vocabulary is the best they can muster. All I know is that the language with which I have been praying with those people not only accurately reflects the faith of the church but has provided most of us with a way to pray communally that has become second nature. To have disrupted that in favor of a “more sacral” manner of praying is risky business, the kind one should not expect from the pastors of souls.

      I happen to have a sixteenth grade plus vocabulary but I don’t regard that as something to be boasted about. You would think that with an advanced vocabulary and articulation, I would readily notice the superiority of the new translation. That is not the case and I have eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear.

      1. Statements about the 1973 liturgy as “8th grade” reveal both their ignorance of the process & decisions used in terms of clear and concise language that could be easily, quickly learned so as to best fulfill SC’s goal for a full and active participation. It also reveals a bias about “sacral” language that is not supported by most translators, linguists, or biblical scholars. (It only sounds good and is a justifying soundbite for the MR3 cohort – when you take it apart and drill down you find that the statement means little.)

  14. For Cardinal Napier, Archbishop Denis Hurley’s successor (mentioned above), Liturgiam authenticam (2001) is simply a new moment in the Holy See’s reflection on what it means for the Roman Church to pray in the vernacular languages. The Cardinal appears to see LA as no more than a successor to The 1969 Instruction on the Translation of Liturgical Texts for Celebrations with a Congregation. (Also frequently styled Comme le prevoit, as though the French is the only authentic version. But, in fact, the English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Portuguese versions all have equal standing, as approved by ecclesiastical authority.)

    But there is more than one critical difference between the two documents. The 1969 Instruction does not make a claim for the right of the Apostolic See, contrary to the Council, to override and supplant the canonical decisions of the worldwide episcopates with respect to the vernacular liturgical texts for their territories (as secured in SC 22, 36 (4), 54, 63, and 101).

    The Cardinal says further that he was opposed to Rome’s attitude towards ICEL until Pope John Paul II approved LA. (Notably in forma communi, not forma specifica.) With the publication of LA under the signature of the Prefect of CDWDS, Cardinal Medina Estevez, and the Secretary, Archbishop Tamburrino, on 28 March 2001, Cardinal Napier’s reservations ceased. Authority had replaced one document with another. This decision appears to have ended Cardinal Napier’s concerns about the treatment by the Apostolic See of the English-speaking bishops’ mixed commission, ICEL, founded by the Anglophone conferences’ episcopal representatives at Rome during the second session of the Council.

    With respect, Cardinal Napier seems very confused regarding the fundamental ecclesiological differences between Liturgiam authenticam and the 1969 Instruction on Translation of Liturgical Texts.

  15. Jeremy Stevens – you speak rationally and with charity and moderation – methinks I shall both, as you say, ‘cheer my “at least” vox clara missal’, and simultaneously will definitely join you in ‘saying “if only we had got something better”‘.
    I DO wish we had gotten something better!
    But simultaneously I DO rejoice that we are getting rid of something worse.
    Further – I believe the predictions of the doom-sayers are going to have a very limited impact in most places.
    There will, of course be those sorts of presentations delivered by those determined to be detrimental to a fair a rational assessment based on the merits which DO exist.

  16. Never fear – perhaps the Holy Father will grant a permission for priests who “by reason of their advanced age and poor health are having difficulty in adapting to the new Misal” to use the older Missal, but only for Masses without the people, and with their bishop’s permission. I am sure a good Cardinal will obtain an indult for his hierarchy to allow the older translation on special occasions.
    Then, about 13 or 14 years from now, a Indult will be granted for use of the old translation – groups may be authorised by their bishop to use same, provided they reject neither the “lawfulness or doctrinal rectitude” of the new. Sure, they will have to beg and grovel and be content with 4pm Mass in a cemtery chapel or in the Parish of Our Lady of Lock Up Your Valuables on the 5th Sunday of the month…bu 4 years down the line, the Pope will ask bishops to be generous in granting permission. Then a further 19 years later, we wil hear th old translation had, in fact, never been abrogated, and people can find a priest brave enough to defy his bishop’s wishes and offer this Mass.
    In the meantime, form the Society of Paul VI and just do your on thing anyway on pretext of custom and necessity. If the churches are shut to you, house Masses and hired halls and Holiday Inns are a possibility. When you get excomunicatd for ordaininng bishops to keep it all alive, never fear – in 21 years the penalties will be lifted. You may also have to put up with being bullied and brown beaten and patronised and labelled “rebellious” and”nostalgic”, but it’s all in a good cause…
    *tongue planted firmly in cheek*

    1. You REALLY think people will bother applying?

      The makers of the Pell-Ward-Moroney Missal (even long before those three got in on the act and took over) have always been most concerned about its “reception” by priests and people in parishes – they knew all along, and they know now (but now they aren’t so worried because if it fails now, they’ve got Vox Clara to blame, as if “elevated language” is not, after all, at fault!) that there is not an army of unquestioning “yes sir, no sir” people on the ground out there who will ignore the awful rubbish in the new translation.

      And the people who will not receive it, well, let’s just say they won’t bother with applying for any indults.

      And who will “police” it? The bishops, whose (2008) version got over-ruled (and 10,000 changes made to it) by Vox Clara? If you think that, think again.

      What a fun ride we’re in for!

  17. As to violations of English grammer and syntax: we are often reminded by the literarily chic that ‘language changes’! Too bad! And, numerous have been celebrated writers of the past century who played havoc with English usage. So, why are we complaining about this horrible imposition of Latin syntax onto the hapless English maiden. It just might do her good, and it is certainly nothing new in literary or sacred writing. The BCP is full of Latinisms – and they are beautiful, elegant, rich and powerful —- and heiratic and sacral. I, too, wish we had gotten something better. And if we had, the street language brigade would be even more upset.

    1. There is a problem with importing the syntax of one language into another. Have a look at the work of J.M. Synge, where many of his characters, first-generation Irish speakers of English, speak English with the syntax of Irish. It has a certain dramatic, tragic appeal on stage, but is most definitely unsuited to contemporary communication.

      The current interlinear translation may serve a purpose, that is, it may give people with little or no competence in Latin, a better sense of the rhythm of the Latin version of the texts. But no one would dream of proclaiming the scriptures from an interlinear version of the bible.

      1. Ah sure wouldn’t it be a grand thing entirely if we could be praying to God and his Blessed Mother in the words nearest to our poor old Gaelic. And if they make no sense aself, isn’t it a grand thing to burn your brains like a candle for the love of God?

      2. As for that hapless lassie, musha, didn’t her people impose their lean unlovely English on Irish maidens for centuries? Thanks be to our blessed Pope for destroying the tongue of the Sassenach!

    2. Vox Clara: rich and powerful? After giving all those workshops and writing all those “how to use our new translation” guides, some of them are.

      Beautiful and elegant? Not so much.

      What you’re missing is, the “revisers” didn’t even get the translations right, let alone the English grammar. Check out the First Sunday of Advent, Prayer over the Offerings, where 2008’s “temporal/eternal” contrast becomes the “here below”/eternal” (elegant in Worcester maybe) and the Prayer after Communion, where Vox Clara ends up with the opposite of what the Latin and 2008 are saying: as if the “passing things” (rather than the sacred mysteries) are teaching us about the heavenly things that endure.

      The Preface of Christ the King is amusing as well, as Jesus offers his kingdom not “to your infinite majesty” or perhaps “unbounded majesty,” but the comical (and incorrect) “to the immensity of your majesty.”

      While you’re at it, check out Preface VIII for Sundays in Ordinary Time, truly elegant in the 2008 version, but butchered in Vox Clara’s rendering to sound as if God’s people had been scattered afar through the Blood of God’s Son and the power of the Spirit, and “might be manifested as your Church, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Spirit, to the praise of your manifold wisdom” becomes “might – to the praise of your manifold wisdom – be manifested as your Church.”

      Even the rubrics do not escape: “when the Prayer after Communion is completed” becomes “when the Prayer after Communion is over.” Really?

      Just a few examples lifted from this blog.

      Elegant and beautiful?

    3. why are we complaining about this horrible imposition of Latin syntax onto the hapless English maiden. It just might do her good,

      OK, I may well be over-reading here, but am I the only one disturbed by the rape imagery and the counsel to “lie back and enjoy it.”

    4. Fritz, you are not the only one. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. That, for the author, supposedly “beneficial” violence against women should provide the metaphor for the behavior of church leaders toward the English language is disturbing.

    5. Chris, you can denounce the Prophets of Doom all you wish, but you are too late. Our plan to destroy the Novus Ordo and restore the Mass of All Time is already well under way and running right on schedule.

      Dissenters such as yourself will be enslaved and forced to work in the lace factory.

      I’m so glad I have a mustache to twirl while writing this.

  18. If the model for obedience is the life of Jesus, we have to recognise that his openness to the Father expressed itself through a highly contentious relationship with religious authority.
    I very much like Philip Endean’s remark.
    The authoritarian sections of the hierarchy are also unfortunately linked to the least admirable moments of our Church: coverup of the sex scandal to mention only one. They seem to assume that authority trumps the Spirit. ¡Pobrecitos!

    1. Jesus had a highly contentious relationship not only to the Jewish religious establishment but also to the leaders of his own religious movement: Peter (satan!), disciples (become children! become servants!), and his own family (those who do the will of my Father are my family!). Hardly Jesus meek and mild.

      The descriptions of the NT Church in Acts and Paul’s letters are also full of contention. The appeals for love and unity to win the day are against this constant backdrop. These scriptures were not preserved because we expected to no longer have conflict and contention in our communities but because conflict and contention need to bear good rather than evil fruit.

      Unfortunately the desire to eliminate conflict and contention by “humble submission to the highest authority in the Church, the Holy Father and those he chooses to work with him?” of the Cardinal are simply the “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism … the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day” identified in the Taoiseach’s speech.

    2. Jack,

      I agree. One thing that leaps out of the pages of the New Testament is how contentious the disciples were, not only after Jesus’s ascension, but during his earthly ministry. They were united on many important things, but disputation was in the milk of alma mater Church….

      The process by which an adept Benedictine abbot or abbess works through divisions in a community is rather different from the imposition of docility from above one sees now as a dysfunctional crutch.

  19. “whatever happened to religious faith and obedience in Europe?……. Is there no room for humble submission to the highest authority in the Church, the Holy Father and those he chooses to work with him?”

    Obedience to authority brought Europe to Auschwitz and the Magdelene laundries and a thousand other crimes. I’d be upset if Europeans hadn’t learned to think for themselves!

  20. An obvious cause to the dis-junction between obedience and faith that Rita highlights is based in the formation of clergy. Seminary training goes a long way in instilling obedient and submissive behavior in future clergy by spiritualizing the value – the whole Roman Pater Familias model. The episcopal college and cardinals function almost completely out of “obedience” and few priest are encouraged by these bishops to develop a mature understanding and relationships to their bishop’s own authority. When laity who live in a completely different and authentic realm of responsibility, who are educated and competent, even in ares of ecclesial concern, fail to be obedient or submissive the clergy are simply incapable of understanding since the later were formed in an almost polar opposite view of reality. More importantly, the formation of clergy makes a different constructive response, other than obedience and brow beating, impossible since they were never given real life tools to assess and address conflictual situations: They condemn rather than cajole, demand rather than guide. It’s why they repeatedly appear tone deaf and out of control of their own message.

    1. When laity who live in a completely different and authentic realm of responsibility, who are educated and competent, even in areas of ecclesial concern, fail to be obedient or submissive the clergy are simply incapable of understanding

      This is why the Taoiseach’s speech is so fascinating.
      .
      The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture. At the beginning it is clear that he is speaking both as a Government official and as a Catholic, using both his professional and religious experience.

      The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’ Here and elsewhere he uses general moral values shared by most to condemn the Vatican and the bishops.

      Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s ‘ear of the heart’……the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded. Here and elsewhere, he interprets the Catholic heritage to critique the Vatican.

      A Republic of laws ….. of rights and responsibilities …. of proper civic order ….. where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version ….. of a particular kind of ‘morality’ ….. will no longer be tolerated or ignored. As a practising Catholic, I don’t say any of this easily. Growing up, many of us in here learned we were part of a pilgrim Church. Today, that Church needs to be a penitent Church. A church, truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied. Here the Taoiseach weaves together a strong argument based on universal moral values espoused by citizens and supported by the State with a strong Catholic critique.

  21. I, for one, prefer the current translation to either the 2008 or the Vox Clara version. The 1998 is another question, but that was suppressed.

    At least the current translation isn’t based on the dreadfully flawed Liturgiam Authenticam. I completely disagree with the overblown assertions that it is “pedestrian” or “eighth grade” (for those outside the USA, I guess this means “13 years old”) or “empty” or “gutted”.

    Critiquing a bad job — in this case, a flawed process and a flawed result — is neither disobedience nor dissent. I personally dissent from Liturgiam Authenticam — guilty as charged — but the Vox Clara translation doesn’t even follow the guidelines of that bit of church teaching.

    You can agree with the content of a homily that is overly wordy and is delivered in garbled English. You can also assert, without either disobedience or dissent, that the preacher has done his work badly. There is no virtue in meekly praising bad work as a matter of deference to hierarchical authority.

    1. Wonderful!

      Except your assertion “1998 . . . was suppressed” might not be technically correct (it was approved by several thousand English-speaking bishops and then failed to get recognitio from one other non-English speaking bishop) – and it’s all immaterial, especially given the enormous number of places it’s used (and they will grow!).

      1. The point, Dave, is that I don’t think “suppressed” is the right word by a long shot.

        What’s YOUR point about 1965 (which, I think you’ll find, was NOT “approved by the US bishops” in any process which at all resembles the ICEL processes which gave us 1973, 1998 and 2008 – it was, at least according to legend, the “Maryknoll Missal” translation) Dave?

        Your opinion about 1998 is noted, but at least it obeyed the rules of translation in force at the time: the Pell-Moroney-Ward Missal disobeys Liturgiam Authenticam in thousands of places, Dave.

      2. So, if the new missal obeyed Liturgiam Authenticam in every aspect, you would have no issue with it?

  22. Fundamentally, bishops and Rome have abused the docility of the faithful. To reassert the need for docility in the absence of a enduring and pervasive track record of change is not being “received” by the faithful, shall we say.

  23. I speak not with any particular ecclesiological interest, but from the viewpoint of a simply but seriously worshiping pew Catholic who is interested enough to download liturgical texts when available. Almost every day now, I am inspired and enriched spiritually by their beauty when I check the new English translations of the proper prayers for Mass. For Saints Joachim and Anne today:

    Collect
    O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people.

    Prayer over the Offerings
    Receive, we pray, O Lord, these offerings of our homage, and grant that we may merit a share in the same blessing which you promised to Abraham and his descendants.

    Prayer after Communion
    O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should be born from among humanity so that by a wonderful mystery humanity might be born again from you, we pray that, in your kindness, you may sanctify by the spirit of adoption those you have fed with the Bread you give your children.

    These seem to me to be faithful translations of the Latin originals, not slavishly word-for-word literal, but capturing clause-by-clause their full meanings in English that flows reasonably well.

    My pastor (ordained before Vatican II) has remarked on his gratitude for having been able to hold out long enough to witness personally this outpouring of grace on the people of God. Of a similar age, I myself thank God for having lived long enough to see the wonderful renewal of the Church under Pope Benedict XVI.

    1. That’s great, Henry. Thousand of people worked on the new translation pretty solidly from the mid 1970s until now, and they appear to have got a few orations right. I think the point is they should have got them ALL right.

    2. « that of them should be born the mother of your incarnate Son » « born from among humanity to that by a wonderful mystery humanity might be born again from you » « sanctify by the spirit of adoption those you have fed with the Bread you give your children » « these offerings of our homage » — is this your idea of good English? I wonder what my Filipino and Nigerian congregations will make of it.

      1. Thank you!

        This communion prayer is so addled, it obscures the main point, the parental love expressed in the Eucharist.

        I thought it was just a quirk in my own thinking that saw such awkwardness.

      2. Mr. Nolan, if your comment is directed to Fr. O’Leary (above), you have badly missed the mark. He is one of the most literate, indeed erudite, commenters on Pray Tell.

        If it is aimed at someone else, it is still uncharitable and does nothing to advance the discussion.

        I would ask you, if you have something to say, say it. If your impulse is merely to insult other commenters, please refrain.

  24. F/U to jfroberts and Fr. Flynn – here is an “old” article from America by Richard Clifford, SJ entitled The Bishops, The Bible, and Liturgical language, May 27, 1995 – so predates the 1998 votes, process, and translation. It focuses on NRSV and the psalter of the NAB. It speaks to how authority can be abused.

    He challenges three “authority” figures in the 1998 church who condemned the 1998 translation and the earlier NRSV and NAB Psalter:

    – M. Angelica (EWTN) argued against inclusive language
    – Fessio, SJ (Ave Maria, USF, Maciel defender) confused language in the psalms to make his point
    – Mankowski, SJ (Pontifical Biblical Institute) stated that inclusiveness was political and equated these translations to the use of language in the Communist and French Revolutions

    Unfortunately, these folks created obstacles that might have led to better translations based upon their own inaccurate ideologies and beliefs.

    Mother confused vertical and horizontal inclusive language
    Patristics did not support Fessio’s contentions – patristic writers are all over the place and can not determine liturgical use
    Language is more cultural and linguistic than it is political – Mankowski’s reductions made no logical sense

    He ends: “the legitimate authority of the U.S. bishops to decide on translations for the liturgy has been called into question. The committees of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops dealing with language in the liturgy are largely staffed by bishops with terminal degrees in biblical studies and long experience in teaching. Bishops celebrate the liturgy in diverse settings and are well able to gauge the effectiveness of biblical texts to communicate to American congregations. Why, people ask, is their judgment on liturgical translations not accepted?”

  25. Fritz (no.32) and Rita (no. 33) – Yes, you are over-reading quite a lot! The intimations you thought you had spotted had never entered my mind, and – you either missed, dismissed, or were not interested in the point.

    And, I will say again: the use of Latin syntax in the English language is not ipso facto reprehensible. It has a long historical pedigree in literature and the BCP. One could even argue that it is a recurrent feature of much English literary and heiratic usage. It is often, to repeat myself, beautiful, elegant, rich and powerful.

    The faults within our new translation are due not to Latin syntax, but to a rather faulty grasp of style and vocabulary, and an imperfect poetic instinct.

    1. The faults within our new translation are due not to Latin syntax, but to a rather faulty grasp of style and vocabulary, and an imperfect poetic instinct.

      Though sometimes this faulty grasp of style takes the form of an infelicitous imposition of Latin syntax.

    2. Naturally they never entered your conscious mind, which, a Freudian might say, makes them all the more revealing of your unconscious. Had you been conscious of them you would not have expressed them so embarrassingly.

    3. The intimations may not have entered your conscious mind. Have you ever heard of the power of the subconscious?

      Latin syntax is sublime in Horace, Virgil or Cicero. Not in an English interlinear translation of the Roman Missal.

    4. “The faults within our new translation are due not to Latin syntax, but to a rather faulty grasp of style and vocabulary, and an imperfect poetic instinct.”

      Close.

      To be precise: The faults within Vox Clara’s Pell-Moroney-Ward-Johnson Missal are due to the Congregation’s handing over the final revision to (a) person(s) with little or no knowledge of Latin syntax and vocabulary and a similar lack of knowledge of English grammar and syntax (style and poetic instinct being light years distant from this person/s), and then ordering the sacking of the two clerics who DID possess such a knowledge of Latin, English and Gregorian Chant, and who committed the unpardonable offense of calling public attention to the Congregation’s incompetence, laziness and arrogance in dealing with the detailed critique submitted by a group of scholars with similar knowledge.

      That’s where the new translation with its flaws comes from: not from Sinai, carved in stone, not from the Mount of the Beatitudes garlanded in beauty, but from an office in Rome hosting committees composed of individuals tripping over each other trying to advance their careers, aided and abetted by footsoldiers in the field doing PR spin using one of two strategies: gallantly attempting to extract the blood of poetry from the stone of Vox Clara’s revision, or reminding the clergy that they promised to be obedient.

      Kudos to those national hierarchies who mandated a hybrid interim Missal to soften the priests up by getting everyone used to the less problematic Ordinary before dropping the sometimes incomprehensible Collects and Prefaces on the clergy. The whole operation, of course, is about insuring reception by the priests. Their reactions to the Proper of Time (I guess Vox Clara has banned the use of “Season/s”) and the Proper of Saints will be interesting, I think.

  26. When I was in the 4th grade, a nun, Sr. Catherine Anne yelled at a classmate for asking why we could not eat meat on Fridays. I remember her screaming at us sayin PPO we are to pray, pay, and obey and dont you ever question anything. She never explained why we could not ea meat. But sadly, that is one of the few things I remeber about 4th grade.

  27. Fritz – Well, perhaps we can agree that it is undesirable if it is, as you say, ‘infelicitous’, but not, as I would say, ‘sui generis’.

  28. We should think about the psychology of masochism. Priests are now being commanded to utter words that in many cases make no sense, something like zombie slaves in a masochistic scenario. « Say the black, do the red » barks the Master, and the priests suppress all the pastoral imagination they had been encouraged to develop up to now. The « just obey » mantra is a regressive call to the deepest masochistic urges in the priestly bosom. It could mark the final abandonment of the effort at dynamic ministry that Vatican II called for. It is so nice to obey, to surrender one’s mind, to become a zombie piece of putty in the hands of a Master!

  29. To no. 66 – There is nothing about which to be embarrassed: quod non scripsit non scripsit!
    It is all in the intent, of which there was none.
    As for Freudian implications? I am not responsible for those: But, a dirty mind will find what it wishes.
    This is just more scolding from the gender police with great chips on their narcissistic shoulders and a wish to circumscribe and castigate he (less likely she) who makes any unwary and innocent turn of phrase.

    While on the unconscious: I have read that if its contents ever entered the consious mind that one would go mad. I may not have expressed this accurately, but the consequences remain. If you are a Freudian, is this correct?

    How passing strange that in a conversation about liturgy and obedience we have gotten off onto the Freudian implications of a mere and innocuous turn of phrase and the impossibly oblique reasoning employed to arrive at an unconceived of meaning by which the reader could exercise a need to feel offended.

    1. “But, a dirty mind will find what it wishes.”

      A sentence like this is even more worrying. What is dirty about human sexuality?

    2. I was going to let it drop, content with Mr. Osborn’s assurance that he meant nothing offensive, but now the charge is that anyone who was disturbed by the turn of phrase is a member of the “gender police” and possessed of a “dirty mind.” Please. What is most likely to be imposed on a hapless maiden? Brushing her teeth? Going to bed early? Maybe you had capture by a dragon in mind, though it is hard to imagine how that “might do her good.”

      Language has both denotation and connotation and, at least with regard to meaning, “it is all in the intent” only if you are Humpty Dumpty.

    3. Maybe I’m too naive, but I immediately thought of “My Fair Lady” more than anything else when originally reading M. Jackson Osborn’s post.

      Perhaps if he had said “the violent imposition of Latin syntax onto the hapless English maiden. It just might do her good,” or if he had actually said “lie back and enjoy it,” I would have thought more readily of rape. I was surprised when people reacted the way they did – it really seemed to be grasping.

      However, I don’t think the “rape” interpretation has to do with a dirty mind, but probably more to do with what some people really think about the upcoming missal. Perhaps they consider it a “rape” of the English language and read that into a post that referred to the English language as being like a woman.

  30. When the unconscious becomes conscious the result is not madness but sanity. Wo Es war, soll Ich werden.

    Yes, the Church, hapless maiden, is being raped.

    1. Give me a break. The only time I would equate “rape” to what occurred in the Church would be in the 70s when the churches were “stripped” of beautiful art and music.

      1. Just to be a little historically factual except in few exceptional instances what was stripped out of churches was poor mass produced catalog art from the mid 19th cent. to mid 20th. A review of ecclesiastical manufacturing magazines of the time illustrate the typical ware for sale that was installed in most churches. One may consider that the style was more pious or some such personal characterization but beautiful it was not. Frei, Zetler, Royal Bavarian made some truly fine windows – most of which were never removed. But plaster altars and statues had very little artistic merit in and of themselves – and reflected saccharine art inspired by a victorian Sulpician spirituality. Nor was ecclesial music inherently more accomplished. Either there was no music or it was the typical hymn sung just as poorly then as today. The imagined panacea of artistic value, worth and merit of a bygone era is a projection of fictive desire derived from the non acceptance of the present I’m afraid. Of course I’m not saying that currently the ecclesial arts do not exhibit the same artistic weakness at times. I am saying we shouldn’t imagine the past to be something photographs, trade catalogs, artifacts and recordings prove to be otherwise.

      2. I can think of many more than “a few exceptional cases” in which quality art was destroyed needlessly.

        The liturgical renewal came at a bad time for early 20th century and especially Victorian architecture in general since people were only really beginning to appreciate it at that time. The 40s, 50s, and 60s saw a massive purge of those buildings from the American landscape, with many more being updated to reflect a more contemporary aesthetic. A lot of masterpieces were destroyed while a lot of average and bad examples were allowed to survive in the secular realm – I have no doubt that the same is true for Catholic churches.

        Also, one can argue whether or not the art that replaced the mass-produced 19th century catalogue pieces was an improvement. Most of it was mass-produced catalogue art too (I can think of a half a dozen churches I’ve been to which have the same cheap wooden altar or the same cheap banners with the same semi-abstract doves, grapes, or flames on them). Personally, I’ve never seen a reordered church that looked to be an improvement over the original interior (I’ll grant that I can only experience the original through pictures), though I’m sure a handful must exist. The best reordering are the ones where they did the least amount of changes – just move the altar forward, or build a new one in front of the old high altar. Even better when the new altar matches the old one in style, materials, and visual weight so that it looks important and not like an afterthought.

        There’s one local example where they destroyed the fine art deco side altars, but now have three main altars. There’s the original stone high altar, a beautiful matching freestanding altar, and now a wood altar that sits in the middle of the church – what I just described isn’t even the worst local reordering I’ve seen, but is probably the most liturgically awkward. A lot of reordered churches look bad because the new furnishings don’t relate to the original building – the sight lines of the church now lead to a vast blank wall behind the freestanding altar.

      3. Brad – what’s sad is I wouldn’t even consider your example particularly bad or extreme. At least they left the original reredos and pulpit – a restoration could occur someday that could move it much closer to its original design.

        The churches where everything got scrapped were worse. There’s one around here where the neo-Gothic interior was replaced with bare cinder block. There’s another where a pretty amazing art deco reredos made of intricately arranged bricks was totally destroyed because the high altar was too close to the congregation – more space was needed to build a freestanding altar with a presider’s chair behind it. IMO, the notion that the majority of destroyed churches were filled with really bad art or were not of any artistic merit completely falls apart once you do a little research.

  31. I am grateful for all the above comments on the background (the ‘pedigree’) of our new translation. If these tales are true, it is truly sad, even sinful, that we, again, should have been the recipients of an amateurish and botched piece of work. My positive judgements have been based on the ordinary, which I have seen, and not the collects, which were the most in need of redemption, and which I have not seen. For those who feel, though, that this is an ocassion of rape, I, who was reared on the BCP and who am now happily Anglican Use Catholic, am the one who has felt raped every time I go to a parish other than my own for mass and wonder by what inept, callously artless, slight of hand the current translation was foisted off on several generations of unsuspecting Catholics, many of whom, knowing nothing better, have actually come to like it. Great numbers of them are unaware that ‘that is not what the Latin says’, or that the collect is not all there, because the Latin has been foolishly denigrated in their sight for decades. In this light, the new translation is a God-send – until many of the comments here reveal the unfortunately clumsy language of the collects. I had hoped that the collects would reflect the richness, imagery and poetic power of their Latin (and BCP) counterparts and replace the almost comical pale reflections of them which we now have. So pitiful are the minimalist utterances of the current collects that I do think that even a botched new translation is better if it even hints at the richness of the Latin and BCP. It is sad, though, that from so great a promise and such eager anticipation we should have been, again, given a work which is unworthy – while yet we can bid a well deserved ‘good-bye’ to the current unworthy. Will the Church ever get it right?

    1. Um, bishops can and DO err in their teaching, they are sometimes just plain wrong. Even the Pope is infallible only in certain very strict, well-defined conditions.
      After all, it was the Bishops who approved the current translation you find so distasteful — with Roman approval.

      1. There are people here who prefer the current collects to be proclaimed in the church’s public worship, to those of the interlinear translation.

  32. For an example, could we reproduce here, side by side, the collect for the day and the post-communion collect for Ascension (or some other Solemnity) in its Latin version, your highly touted 1998 version, the BCP or Anglican Use’s BDW version, the current Roman Sacramentary version, and the new translation version. Let us look at them gathered together and compare vices and virtues. There may be what some would consider wholly inappropriate pastage of syntax from one language to another that others would think stylish and potent; there may be vocabulary which would seem less than skillful; etc.; what others would think is rich or poetic or grand may be thought utterly inept and barbaric by another. But we could see these gems side by side and share our opinions in a charitable spirit and perhaps arrive at our own ideal translation. It may be a pointless exercise but one more positive than some of the flarred emotions above.

    Of one thing I am certain: that he and she who are bent out of shape over this new language because ‘I don’t talk like that’ are getting a taste of what some of us have been through for 40 years – ‘we don’t talk like THAT’.

  33. Many months ago, I had hoped that posting comparisons would stimulate in me an interest in the Latin of the collects, especially since I pray the Latin text of the psalms and scripture readings of the Divine Office but never the Latin text of the hymns or collects (despite about six years of Latin decades ago).

    So far the comparisons have been boring. I find I don’t care much how the texts are translated. Unlike most others on this blog, I am content with the “anemic” simplicity of the current text, which I suspect might actually be the majority opinion in the pews if people made the comparisons.

    Indeed if there were any changes, I would like even simpler texts more scriptural in thought and tone. Actually I would like the Latin experts to redo the selection of RM chant psalms and canticles, their antiphons, and all the collects in a very scriptural style to integrate them well with the three year lectionary cycle. Then we should do a very chant-able translation of all these and the lectionary, too.

  34. Remember that the Bishops cannot err in their teaching:
    “25. Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place.(39*) For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old,(164) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.(165) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.”
    So we are obligated to give our religious assent even if we disagree. This isn’t Pre-Vatican II thought, but Vatican II thought. Remember, the Roman Catholic Tradition is one of an unbroken tradition.

  35. I warmly second Graham Wilson’s invitation to view the TABLET letters.

    During these past three days my parish priest who intensely dislikes the English of the OF has used the new “translation” of the canon on the unsuspecting and unprepared weekday handful. Very disconcerting to hear the word “cup” eliminated in the “Words of Consecration” and replaced by “chalice.”

    “Father, if this cup . . . ” – but scriptural accounts in context are “excommunicated” by this so-called translation. A translation that requires endless hours of explanation and teaching and practice in order to be understood is hardly a communication in the language of choice.

    1. Blurting out spontaneous reactions may give you some relief. It does nothing to advance the discussion.

      If you judge something not to make sense, it would be more helpful if you were to show how you reached that conclusion.

    2. Mary, I totally agree. The letters were excellent.

      There is more to what you are saying about the chalice than meets the eye, too. Thank you for bringing this up. In a future post, I hope to address this.

    3. What a curious question! Unfortunately as a mere laywoman, one of the riff-raff who “Know not the Law,” I don’t see its relevance.

      However, for Mr Nolan’s information, I was professed and living in an enclosed monastery where we had top-rank Dominican priests as Confessors and Conférenciers. Since they were in charge of their province’s noviciate, they made sure that we nuns also had access to the current documentation and discussion concerning the Conciliar debates and decisions.

      But of course, I’m still learning!

  36. Cardinal Napier: “By the way, I too contested what the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) and Discipline of the Sacraments was doing to Icel until Liturgiam Authenticam came out under the signature of Pope John Paul II. Thereafter there was nothing to argue about. Comme le prevoit had been superseded and replaced by the same authority that had given it the force of law.”

    Indeed, nothing left for faithful Catholics to argue about, now that the Church has spoken. Or, as Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter wrote on August 1:

    “In short, regarding the new Missal, the time for complaints is over and the time for instruction, and for self-instruction, has begun.”

    How could it be more obvious? And, thankfully, that’s just what’s happening in the parishes I know personally, whether they be “liberal” or “conservative”. Only in blogdom do I know of people carrying on like the Japanese soldier on an isolated Pacific island, unknowing that the war has long since ended.

  37. Sorry, Henry. It’s not as simple as you think. Life is a great deal messier.
    “It’s over” “The train has left the station” and similar sayings express a wish, not a fact. Just as suggesting that discontent shows a lack of faith, so does dismissing discontent as delusion miss the mark … by a mile.

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