Some stats

You know about the two online petitions, one to stall the new English missal and one to keep it moving. Not sure what it means, but as of this morning the movers have 4,676 and the stallers have 16,476. The stallers had been leading at about a 3-1 ratio, but lately they’ve been able to widen the margin.

And this morning we just approved comment # 1,000 at this blog. No prize to the winner – but hearty thanks to all of your for your thoughtful and intelligent and charitable contributions. IOGD.*

*In omnibus glorificetur Deus – In all things may God be glorified, Benedictine motto.


  1. The “Movers” have no incentive to go sign a petition …their position is the status quo. It’s the same dynamic that makes it seem that any opposition is much larger than it really is; Those who oppose something are always more likely to speak up.

    1. Precisely.

      In any event, alert me when a petition crosses a 7 digit threshold (perhaps crossing the 1% mark of the faithful, woo-hoo!); right now, even the larger survey of the 2 wouldn’t qualify as a large parish in many large dioceses. But Internet surveys by and large represent a resort to cheesiness.

  2. Someone signed Fr. Z’s name on the “staller” blog, so there’s a degree of salt with which one must take these polls.

  3. Someone signed Fr. Z’s name on the “staller” blog

    Along with Martin Luther, John Calvin, Annibale Bugnini and others….

    I haven’t checked, but I’m told that this hasn’t happened so much with the “whydon’twejustgetonwithit” or whatever-it’s-called blog, which could imply that those not in favour of waiting are trying to derail the waiting blog by opening it up to ridicule.

    1. Well, his chapel (aka “Sabine Farm”) is outside Wausau, WI, in the diocese of La Crosse, where I assume he is incardinated.

  4. Paul…

    What do you mean by “those not in favor of waiting”? You make it sound as though “waiting” is some kind of option which is being considered. It’s not. I think the more appropriate moniker might be “those not in favor of accepting the translation” for the “let’s wait” population.

    Karl… I’ve often thought along these lines. We have approximately 13000 parishioners….and so I reason that there would have to be about 6500 reliable complaints about any particular issue to justify any action…and then only if it’s an issue for which the opinion of the faithful could possibly matter.

  5. You make it sound as though “waiting” is some kind of option which is being considered.

    Well, it’s being considered by signers to that website. They are rather reasonably suggesting that, given the wide divergence of opinions on the merits or otherwise of the new translations, it would be wise to pilot them in a small number of parishes, while putting the rest on hold for the time being. That way we might avoid the kind of debâcle that happened in South Africa, which is still in a considerable amount of chaos, despite what correspondents in The Tablet and elsewhere are claiming.

    I don’t suppose that piloting is going to happen, but yes, some folk are thinking about it. And yes, in a sane society that’s precisely the sort of thing which would take place.

    Having now experienced more than ten Masses using the new texts in whole or in part, and a number of other ‘dry Masses’ and seminars using them, I am able to say:

    (a) that the impact of the new texts is not as upsetting as one might have thought, provided that you have an intelligent and sensitive presider who is prepared to put in the effort ahead of time to make these texts work (but how many presiders are both intelligent and sensitive and prepared to put in the work necessary?);

    (b) that singing the new texts certainly helps to ease the way to acceptance (it has been well known for many years that good music can carry a mediocre text);

    (c) that only one out of all the celebrations that I have experienced so far, both real and dry, has included the collect, super oblata and postcommunion prayers. That experience was definitely not encouraging, and looking at these texts fills me with great forboding. I think they are the single most problematic element of the whole enterprise, together with Eucharistic Prayers I and IV.

    I am far from being the only person who has experienced the new texts in celebration and seminar settings. This has been going on since last summer, and probably longer. There is now a significant body of experience out there concerning how the texts work in practice, and I think it would be wise for these experiences to be taken into consideration by those who are intent upon rushing the new Missal into implementation.

      1. The most recent was presided over by a Bishop in the presence of delegates of diocesan liturgical commissions at a national meeting. In addition to proposed new texts of the Order of Mass and the proposed proper texts of the day, the forthcoming revised Grail psalter was used, and a selection of the draft chants from the ICEL website. The purpose of using all this material was familiarization and evaluation.

        I think one may assume that it was both valid and licit.

  6. Paul Inwood :

    Well, it’s being considered by signers to that website. They are rather reasonably suggesting that, given the wide divergence of opinions on the merits or otherwise of the new translations, it would be wise to pilot them in a small number of parishes, while putting the rest on hold for the time being.

    The “wait” campaign has puzzled this supporter of the new translations. Why cover discontent with the veneer of “waiting” when many signatories to the “wait” petition actually desire the demise of the new translation? Dissent against Rome or an ordinary only occurs after promulgation. Those who do not want to use the new translation should be honest and have a thorough “no” campaign. Save stalling tactics such as piloting to the run up before promulgation and official dissent.

    I appreciate your perspective on the new translation, and I don’t doubt that many are having difficulties with the text. Still, it must be said that many parishes will happily say Mass according to the new translation. The new books should not be denied to these parishes.

    The new translation of the Canon is the greatest strength of the new translation. The detail and fidelity of the new Canon translation truly highlights what the Sacramentary version glossed over, such as a strong translation of the Te Igitur and the uncompromising sacrificial nature of this prayer. Perhaps the division over translation actually stems from the new translation’s ability to uncover theological truths enshrined in the Latin texts but obscured by the Sacramentary. In that case the “wait” versus “yes” camps part paths over differences much deeper than syntax and semantics.

  7. Well, it’s being considered by signers to that website. They are rather reasonably suggesting that, given the wide divergence of opinions on the merits or otherwise of the new translations, it would be wise to pilot them in a small number of parishes, while putting the rest on hold for the time being.

    There are a great many things reasonably suggested by a great many people that have little or no real merit. Let’s say that the idea of “piloting” the new translation in select parishes was actually decided upon as a course of action. The outcome would have perhaps one or more of the following effects.

    1) The parishes “selected” would have very positive experiences and the “wait” petitioners would again cry foul because the selected parishes were obviously liturgically “conservative” parishes where the clergy were in favor of the new translation to begin with.

    2) The selected parishes would have negative experiences and the “movers” would cry foul because the selected parishes were obviously liturgically progressive parishes where the clergy were opposed to the new translation to begin with.

    3) The reactions and experiences of the selected parishes would be mixed and both the “waiters” and “movers” would point to specific parishes to demonstrate that positive reactions came from parishes where the clergy were in favor of the new translation and negative reactions came from parishes with clergy who were not in favor.

    In other words….we would learn exactly what we already know, namely that the implementation is going to rely heavily on the clergy and their attitude.

    And just what would happen during this “extra time” being proposed that isn’t already happening? More “training”…more “awareness” campaigns? It would seem that the best way to have the faithful learn and accept the new translation would be to use the new translation. That would be the point of waiting….to have the faithful learn the new translation and allow it to draw them deeper and more fully into their faith….wouldn’t it? I just wonder how postponing would achieve this, which leads me to wonder if that is really the goal of those who advocate waiting yet longer.

    In that respect, I have to side with Jordan and his comments. Why take advice on how to successfully implement the new translation from a group whose fundamental proposition has been opposition to it and whose motive would seem to be stopping it from being implemented altogether. One would think that intellectual honesty would demand that position to be made clear, although the result would be the following rather humorous example:

    “This is a horrible translation, and I absolutely oppose it being used in our liturgy, so the best way to get everybody to accept it and come to love it is to adopt my attitude towards it and wait longer to bring it into use”

    I just don’t get how that makes sense.

    1. The main problem with the “what if we just said wait” position is it’s lack of granular specificity about the process of evaluation, what is involved and how feedback itself is to be evaluated, and what timeline, et cet. That’s why it looks more like a posture than a credible solution. I don’t know why anyone would expect it to be taken seriously as a result.

  8. I wouldn’t expect it to be taken seriously even if there were specifics. We know the CDWDS doesn’t even bother with the scholarly expertise of liturgists right under its nose in Rome, so why would they be concerned at all if people across the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, Sahara Desert or Indian Ocean have the slightest objection?

    Suggesting petitioners on either side are lacking something either in votes or context just sidesteps the main issue facing the Church: a lack of competence in leadership, a lack of confidence in leadership. It may all be doomed by human sin in the end, but I don’t buy the fatalism that suggests it’s not worth trying to offer the very best for God.

  9. I looked at the list of those who just want to wait, no real names on many and I suspect duplication of entries by the same person. Are we that childlike that we can’t accept something as simple as a re-translated Mass. I can only imagine how Jesus present in our lives on earth feels about the things of our faith that are so much more difficult than merely accepting a re-translated Mass, like living it every day. Maybe it is a test? Happy season of Repentance.

    1. Well, the value of this polls is nil, whether this one or the many that Fr Z sends his enthusiasts to pump up. It’s all childlike behavior.

  10. Karl;

    It is childish, but that’s the point, particularly in those cases where Fr. Z enthusiasts pump up polls. For years, particular groups have cited just such polls to show that the Catholic faithful support everything from female ordination to same-sex marriage….totally ignoring the false premise such a poll presents, namely that the “position of the Church” can somehow be guided by popular opinion. The ease with which such polls can be manipulated is meant to show that such polls don’t even really represent the views of Catholics as a group, but merely a specific group of poll respondents.

    1. Except that’s not entirely true, insofar as not only many of his enthusiasts appear to take such polls as true, but even Fr Z himself at times reveals a kind of credulity. He expressed surprise recently that so few of the respondents in a poll regarding preference for Latin vs vernacular chose the latter; he seemed unaware of how self-selecting his readership is, especially with his registration and moderation preferences (for example, I can remember how, even before registration, he made sure any discussion of torture would be frozen dead in its tracks even where it was relevant to the discussion at hand – Fr Z cultivates a particular narrow bandwidth of Catholicism but at times seems to envision his readership as more broadly representative than it is in fact).

  11. I’ve actually been to a celebration in my archdiocese for the dedication of a new church where the new proper texts (Collect, Prayer of Dedication and accompanying rites, Super Oblata, Preface, Post Communion and Blessings) were used (whether licitly or not, I don’t know). The texts carried well: poetic and rich in imagery, and accessible and understandable when proclaimed. Sure, the register of the language was different from the usual fare, but nobody complained that they were too hard.

    My archdiocese is located in South East Asia, where, for quite a while, the Good News Bible was the “standard” among Catholics. You could tell the Bishop didn’t really prepare for the new texts, but still managed to pray the new texts quite well.

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