Liturgical “Crimes”

Over at America, Father Raymond Schroth, S.J., caught my attention with this.

Share:

10 comments

  1. I don’t believe Fr. Rowe was merely changing “chalice” to “cup” and “many” to “all.” From what I have read his style of celebration bore little resemblance to the Roman Rite and included presidential prayers (including EP’s) that were wholly improvised. There was often no vesture. Sacraments were at times celebrated invalidly (yes, invalid in addition to illicit) and no effort was made to correct such procedures. While I am very sympathetic to those who criticize with good reason the recently imposed Vox Clara 2010 product there really is no comparison between Fr. Rowe and the priests mention who have made very judicious corrections to the text yet stayed well within the parameters of the Roman Rite.

    1. @Jim Blue – comment #2:
      “From what I have read his style of celebration bore little resemblance to the Roman Rite and included presidential prayers (including EP’s) that were wholly improvised. There was often no vesture. Sacraments were at times celebrated invalidly.”

      I don’t know the specifics of what and when the priest in question allegedly did what he is being accused of doing, but if what I’ve quoted here an accurate summary of what he is accused of, then I would wonder if this is even a new-translation-related issue. The sorts of things described here, such as improvised Eucharistic prayers, could be as apt to happen under the previous translation as the new one. Is this a case of forcing a separate issue through the new-translation news reportage template?

  2. My attitude here has a larger pastoral vision. When priests go “rogue” on a chronic basis on behalf of their congregations, a couple of conditions precedent apply:

    1. They need to be reflecting a deep and broad consensus of the congregation. A pastoral council or liturgical commission will tend to become echo chambers of the pastor of the time (with some disagreements for show, but the real disagreements will tend to be repelled). “Democracy” (actually, I am much more in favor of collegiality than democracy as such; much more active listening and patient discernment than voting) in the Church begins from below, not from above. A pastor’s good intentions and gut are woefully insufficient; there’s way too much risk of cognitive blindspots.

    2. Any consent by the parish has to be informed. That is, it must be made with full awareness that the pastor might be removed and replaced with someone with a very different agenda. All pastors should follow the example of our Lord in preparing their flocks for their eventual (or even imminent) absence.

    The fulfillment of these conditions won’t render rogue actions licit. But without them, special pleading will come across more as self-serving than as credible.

    This is where what I would call process-progressives and results-progressives in the Church have major divide, one that conservatives in the Church are typically blind to (at least those who have blogs). PT blog tends to be viewed as uniformly progressive, but its frequent contributors work on either side of this divide. (If you can’t tell, I am a process progressive; I am content with conservative results that are arrived at in what might be called a progressive process. Indeed, I think progressive processes will often produce conservative results, but results with much deeper authority and credibility than results produced on a models of power of the early modern nation state, which is what the Church has come to ape in the past few centuries.)

    1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #3:

      Amen. Amen Amen.

      Especially to than results produced on a models of power of the early modern nation state, which is what the Church has come to ape in the past few centuries .

      So much of what conservatives think of as desirable traditional authority and progressives criticize as outdated traditional is relatively recent and of secular origin.

    2. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #3:
      #1 is impossible to achieve in my opinion – parish boundaries are territorial. Whenever there is a majority consensus there is also a minority left aside. We are part of a liturgical rite and no parish is an island apart from the diocesan whole. That is why the pastoral pastor should know that he is the servant of the liturgy, not its master. Vatican II’s SC calls on celebrants to always keep to the approved text.

  3. As I am very familiar and enthusiastic about Fr David Knight and his work (check out his “His Way” program and website), his comments carry alot of weight with me. He is sincere and true about fidelity to the Gospel (he’s an expert on Matthew’s Gospel) and the Church’s service of the Gospel. I’m happy he wrote his article; as he has done so often before, he clarified and focused my thinking.

  4. It would be interesting to take up a survey in the local congregations/assemblies gathered for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary as to the mention in the ‘Prayer over the Offerings’ of that day of the phrase “prevenient grace”.

    What does the average ‘ordinary folk’ (and even perhaps the clergy) imagine as the meaning of that phrase which does sum up the reason for the Solemnity itself? It does seem to me that the translators (even using LA) could have found a ‘turn of phrase’ which would avoid the ‘theological jargon’. I know the translation of 1998 did just that: “We profess in faith that your grace preserved the Virgin Mary from every stain of sin. . . “

  5. The Virgin Mary may indeed have been preserved from sin, but the new collect for the feast confuses the issue by asking that (like Mary) “we too may be cleansed” from sin. This careless translation is easily corrected by skipping the adverb “too.”

  6. I never experienced mass with Fr. Rowe, but I have always found it disconcerting and distracting when a priest deviates from the sacred texts, feels the need to be catechist as well as presider during the liturgy. A crucial part of our ongoing catechesis is our experience of the power and beauty of our common prayer, and, IMO, no one should mess with that. As the ordained person at the celebration, the priest alone has the power of the pulpit, an appointed time and place within the mass where he can expound further in his own words. If he gives full attention to presiding and preaching well, he has done his part in catechesis of the faithful, as well. If he wants to provide more explicit catechesis, he should set up classes to be held outside of the celebration of the Eucharist.

    This article juxtaposes what Fr. Rowe was doing with what the Vatican has done to the liturgy. The title suggests that the changes imposed on us a year ago – to which there was and remains widespread and even strident objection – should also be considered “crimes.” The story of Fr. Rowe points to the larger story of institutional wrongdoing that has caused untold hurt.

    25% of priests polled say they know of someone who has gone to another church to worship because of the changes. I suspect that many who leave don’t bother to tell a priest about it … and some may just drop church-going from what they do, not knowing where else to go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *