Worship and power

“Worship and Power” by Fr. Philip Endean SJ in today’s Tablet.


  1. “Prudential decisions of this kind are, of course, the role of legitimate authority. But many people at the moment do not trust the hierarchy enough to accept a decision different from their own preferences . . . .”

    This is a significant thought, and could even benefit from further teasing out.

    Also, I think it’s important to identify that the Roman fear of the brutta figura has become pathological. A desire to avoid unnecessary humiliation of, or conflict with/among, others can be a charitable and prudent impulse, but it can and I think it has become toxic.

    1. Being Italian myself (half breed,but better half) we also like the bella figura, but of course when we say it, it is said sarcastically, meaning really brutta figura! But on the topic of the article, in those places not directly affected by the abuse scandal, people are not flipping out over the exercise of authority in the Church. It is only coming from those places where grievous mismanagement of clergy occurred and amongst more “progressive” Catholics using the scandal for their own agenda that what the article refers to may be correct.

      1. A bit of balance, please. It is not “progressives” alone who use events or even people to promote their own agenda. It happens no less with the self-professed “orthodoxy” Catholics.

        People are willing to listen to, accept, and follow authority, if said authority is loving, persuasive, and self-sacrificing. Like Jesus, for example. Or like many parents who manage leadership in their families in healthy and productive ways even when their children are doubters.

        Rome seems to think it can strengthen its leadership charism with less persuasion and more autocracy. It will not work. We need more imitation of Christ, less imitation of Caesar.

      2. In my own parish, people have commented that Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict comes across as very humane and caring if not loving. They truly appreciated his encyclical on love and understand his liturgical perspective as well as appreciate it. They think he is doing the best he can with the abuse scandal as complex as it is. They recognize that much of the thinking of the bishops all over the world prior to 2002 was one of secrecy for the sake of not giving scandal to the faithful, but also of the therapeutic, forgiveness model of placing abusive priests back into ministry. Most Catholics of good will also recognize the liberal media bias against Pope Benedict and the antipathy that so many in the so-called more progressive branch of academia feel towards him when he was Cardinal Ratzinger calling them to accountability. But no doubt those who are ultra-conservative can use negative rhetoric against Pope Paul VI and his allowance of a more progressive liturgy to secure their agenda. We’re all human after all, cut from the same cloth.

  2. Father Endean’s comments about catechesis are well-taken. It can, and has already, in some cases, become “mere spin.” It will be that only if we let it.

    I am looking to the wisdom of Fr. Richard Fragomeni, who will be giving keynotes at the Diocese of Springfield’s Adult Enrichment Conference in November, and is coming here to Joliet in December. He, and Father Paul Turner as well, are focusing on the period of implementation of the Roman Missal as a catechetical moment to unpack not only the what’s and why’s of the new translation, but to delve into the realm of renewing the understanding of the mystery of the Liturgy. If we only use approaches and resources that skim the surface, we will run the risk of missing the opportunity the new Missal presents.

  3. This is an excellent article. While supporting efforts to promote the new translation, I will also acknowledge that I find the translation a disappointment, and that I am deeply discouraged that our most important prayer texts were not the work of our best and brightest. Each time I lead the assembly I will see an additional layer of symbol in the liturgy: the layer that includes the secrecy, abuse of authority, the power-grabbing, and the seriously flawed Liturgiam authentiam that produced this awful translation.

  4. Fr Philip points to at least two fundamental contemporary ecclesiastical crises that the new translation and its development since 1998 show:

    1. The collegiality crisis, where the bishops’ collegial authority has been appropriated and centralised by the curia, which has effectively relegated bishops to the level of local “papal vicars” in their own dioceses. Vox Clara, the expropriation of ICEL by the CDW, and the recent major reworking of the episcopally-approved texts are broad evidence of this unfortunate trend. Many bishops also often appear to lack the theological confidence and courage to withstand the sometimes quite brutal and rude curial onslaughts.

    2. The credibility crisis, where ecclesiastical moral authority has crumbled to the point where many Catholics live their spiritual lives despite the guidance of the hierarchical Church. The problem is brought into fine focus in spectacular fashion for priests in the new translation where they are expected to live with a (liturgical) cognitive dissonance and proclaim in English, in public, in the heart of the Mass, what we all know to be untrue: that Jesus died “for many” (not for all).

      1. Doesn’t dying “for all” logically entail dying “for many?”

        Joshua, you are correct. However, I meant “dying for many does not logically entail dying for all”.

        The new missal has the exclusionary: “this is my blood… which will be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. We know Jesus died for everyone, and “many” is not “everyone”. Hence the cognitive dissonance in which we must publically pray something we don’t believe.

      2. Graham, thanks for your response. While I see how the “for many” translation can be confusing for some people, I don’t see as strong a contrast in the translations as you apparently do.

        In particular, I don’t see how praying that Jesus died “for many” is contrary to what you (we) believe, since He died both for many and for all.

        I don’t mean to be difficult, but if A necessarily implies B, and you believe A, then how is praying the content of B problematic?

      3. The impression created is that there are some people for whom Jesus did not lay down his life. That, for me, is the problem.

        Words are important. Not only should we pray and proclaim what we believe, but Vatican II’s constitution on the liturgy is very sensible in keeping us away from hoity-toity, coded language:

        The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.SC 34.

        “Many” requires much explanation, IMO. Have a look at Bishop Donald Trautman’s reviews of the translation of “for many”:

        “Many” in English is an accurate translation of the Latin “multis”, which is an inaccurate translation of the original “Aramaic word which in Latin is translated ‘pro multis’ means ‘pro omnibus’: the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded, which is the same as saying: Christ died for all. St Augustine will help recall this: ‘You see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations?’ ”

        Hence our problem, which is easily corrected in English by translating “multis” as “all”. We proclaim what we believe, in words that do not require much explanation.

      4. What hasn’t been mentioned yet, is that this is straight from Scripture– Matthew 26:27…

        It doesn’t say “for all”– so in translating it wrong, they put words in Jesus’s mouth. Lame.

      5. Well yes, Chris, but neither does the Bible translation approved by our bishops say “chalice.” And of course the Institution Narrative in the eucharistic prayers is not taken verbatim from any one Gospel. So it’s a bit dismissive to call others’ views “lame.”

      6. “The impression created is that there are some people for whom Jesus did not lay down his life. That, for me, is the problem.”

        Graham, given that this is your concern, wouldn’t it be better to say something like, “The new translation does a bad job of conveying this doctrine?”

        To me, that seems more reasonable than saying that the new translation means “praying something we don’t believe.” Especially since you’ve already said that you do believe it.

        Does that make sense?

  5. The print version of this article includes a reference to my website, http://www.philipendean.com/littrans.htm, where there are various resources for further reading that may be useful to folks. I’m very grateful to the circle round this blog for the help I’ve received in formulating just what the central issues are, as the links on that page will testify. I will try to maintain that page up-to-date as the saga continues.

  6. Of course, many are those who find any “change” problematic that they didn’t think of first themselves. Even though change seems always necessary for continued growth and revitalization.

    But now that this is a settled matter, instead of whining and griping, or even pointing out ad nauseam how this inarguably needed new English translation might have been done better, wouldn’t it behoove all of us to get on board and work with a positive attitude to make this change the best for Church and Faithful that it can be.

    1. It’s a nice thought, but it hasn’t been the practice of internet Catholics for the past decade-plus. How would Father Zuhlsdorf, for example, have received the comment that MR1 was a settled matter, and wouldn’t it behoove him and his followers to get on board with the Roman Missal and pray the Mass as best he could for the sake of the Church and the Faithful?

      I was critical of MR1 long before Father Z was making his internet schtick about WDTPRS. At first I was amused by his slavish translations. Every liturgy student, I thought, knows these weren’t translated literally.

      So when I hear the meme about how it’s time to suck it up for the good of the team, I can’t help but hear a little bit of triumphalism: “Okay, our side kicked your a** so now you can shut up about it already!”

      1. Todd, not triumphalism, but realism. If the conclusion to all of this had been, let’s just keep it the way it is and not rock the boat, I’d say and many others would say, yes indeed, let’s suck it up and do it. There’s a difference between triumphalism and realism.

  7. I was so glad to hear Fr. Endean speak to the issue
    of not defending in public that of which one cannot
    The Pastor, the deacon and I (music director) will be
    the ones responsible for presenting these changes,
    both spoken and sung. I feel that I have to be honest
    with the assemblies with whom I worship and tell them, as we begin, my reservations and objections. Then we will enter into
    the work of liturgical catechesis and implementation.
    i.e. These are the new translations that we have been given from Rome; let’s learn them.

    1. And how does this help the situation? If the translation is as bad as you make it out to be, don’t you think the people in the pews will learn this on their own…without having been influenced by a music director, pastor, or deacon? I just wonder what the benefit is in voicing objections to something that cannot be changed? Is it to get more people to agree with you? I would only find this to create more drama and reluctance among the congregations instead of fostering excitement and enthusiasm for the changes…since they are inevitable anyways. Why make your job harder than it has to be?

      1. Though I obviously share Linda’s general reaction, I also think that Brad is right in pointing up the snag with pastoral leaders publicly sharing their reservations. I’m more concerned that good people will fall in and obey, even when their heart is not in it. The phoniness here will communicate itself unconsciously, in ways that will be quite insidious and undermining.

      2. This isn’t as settled as one might think. Every conference has to approve this missal yet. What if 1 or 2 or 3 don’t – how will Rome react if the new missal isn’t universal in the English-speaking world? The German-speakers got a new Funeral translation and it lasted exactly 3 months before the bishops withdrew it this Spring and gave permission to use the previous translation – there were that many objections to the awful, stilted, unnatural vernacular.

        I think each Catholic Christian has to discern how best to handle this, and there will be varied answers.

        Some will feel that the best way to serve the Church is simply to accept it – I can see merit in that view.

        Others will think that we should do everything we can to prevent this disaster, including agitation to get it rejected, right up until the day it goes into effect. The rationale here is, better to get it rejected now than, like the German-language book, a few months after it’s in use.

        Others will believe that this new translation won’t last that long – even Msgr. Sherman at the BCDW said, “Some things will be found that the next generation will maybe want to take a look at,” which isn’t exactly a ringing affirmation. In this view, the time to start thinking about a better translation – more accurate, more beautiful – is now, so that a healthy, constructive discussion can be stimulated.

        Don’t expect everyone to share your view. It’s not gonna happen.


      3. I don’t disagree with Fr. Anthony, other than to say that we need to give this translation about five years, which certainly it will be given, if not longer. Then start discussing ways to improve it, once we’ve all actually used it for about five years. So I say again, let’s just wait five years and then start agitating for something better. Then when I’m in the grave, my parishioners who are in first grade now will be approaching retirement and will have a nice reformed translation. The Church thinks in centuries, not years.

      4. It seems that you are making quite a few assumptions about the ultimate failure of the translation in order to support publicly objecting to it. I think there is a distinct difference between pulling a German funeral translation after a few months of use vs. discontinuing an entire missal translation after a year of catechesis and preparation. I just don’t buy into it.

        I agree that everyone will have an individual idea of how best to handle the situation. But I also think that those in leadership positions within the parishes who have the power to formulate people’s opinions should strive to make the transition as easy as possible. What happens if this translation really is here to stay? What have you lost by maintaining a positive outlook on the situation? And how much harder will it be to get the people to change their hearts once you’ve influenced them to think Rome and the translation is bad?

        In the end, all we care about is maintaining a prayerful liturgy with whatever text we have. I don’t know if we can accomplish that to its fullest extent if we turn the people off of the text from the beginning.

      5. Perhaps an indult will be granted to allow unique groups to use the old (present-day) missal in select parishes or for special occasions. Certainly, aged or otherwise infirm priests will be allowed to use the older version of the missal in their private Masses.

      6. JF – I’ve heard this suggested tongue in cheek – a Society of Paul VI etc. But Cardinal George’s announcement last week makes it clear that there will be absolutely no exceptions. He has said in his diocese that any priest who disobeys will be suspended.


    2. I was so glad to hear Fr. Endean speak to the issue of not defending in public that of which one cannot approve! … I feel that I have to be honest with the assemblies with whom I worship and tell them, as we begin, my reservations and objections.

      From not defending in public that of which one cannot approve it doesn’t follow that one should publicly air your reservations. One can carryout a policy without agreeing with it and without airing your reservations publicly at the same time.

  8. Yes, Todd, every time the Church speaks on a newly settled matter with a “change” for better or for worse, I’ll say the same thing. …. In down home southern, let’s suck ‘er up and git ‘er done.

    Just as I said back in the 1960s when, despite some personal misgivings about the role, I was one of our parish’s first lay “liturgy facilitators” — as I recall we were called who stood up front and acted like “presiders”; for a while at first, a Protestant we wandered in the door would have thought that the priest was my assistant in whatever we were doing.

    Tried to do my best to make it work out then, and several times since with each great leap forward. Only way to get it done. Only thing for any sincere laborer in the vineyard to do now. Make it work, and make it work good.

  9. Would suggest that some of you are missing Fr. Endjean’s points and his moral dilemma/question.

    He makes a strong point that what is happening here is a question about ecclesiology. We have experienced a pattern over the last 20 years of centralization and questionnable papal personalities that have impacted the worldwide church and, at least for some, has called into question an ecumenical council, its decisions, and its directions (yes, there were council compromises and folks interpret and highlight what they want but there was also a consensus that some feel has now been jeopardized). In addition, Fr. Endjean couples these liturgical decisions to the abuse scandal – both represent a style of leadership which raises serious questions about transparency, secrecy, leadership, collegiality, subsidiarity. For some, this pattern raises significant internal moral questions about complicity, obedience, dissent, etc.

    Let’s at least name it for what it is.

    1. Maybe I’m missing something, but wasn’t the abuse scandal basically brought on by subsidiarity? Each bishop his own king; Rome unwilling to make a centralized policy? We couldn’t even get a national policy until 2002! We only had about 12 years of experimentation with subsidiarity beginning about 1966 and more re-centralization re-emerging in 1978 with Pope John Paul II’s election. That’s only 12 years. I would not call those 12 years the panacea of Church life. In fact, John Jay statistics show that we had the highest number of priests abusing in those 12 years. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways subsidiarity works very well, especially as it concerns the poor, but it doesn’t work well in other areas. I think we’ve learned our lesson.

  10. You obviously know very little about pedophilia – you trot out the same discredited mantras as others. Some of the highest numbers of reported abuse were in both the 1960s and 1970s – please keep in mind that this is based on what we currently know (John Jay is a diocesan self report and all reports are if victims come forward – we know that only about 50% do come forward). Most abusers started after ordination and, in fact, after 5 years of ordination – so, many, if not most of the highest years of reported abuse were by priests who were trained and/or started seminary training prior to the council or during the council.

    If you read anything in the last two years, you would know that the CDF and JPII were instrumental in denying abuse or ignoring what was happening. In fact, individual bishops repeatedly went to Rome for remedies and were stalled.

    “I think we’ve learned our lesson” – sorry, this is both a condescending and totally discredited comment that only reveals your lack of interest, knowledge, or care for victims.

    Just love the way you parse and cut things. Also, subsidiarity has been around for years – it was finally expressed by VII – again, you reveal a dearth of historical church knowledge.

    1. Bill I don’t disagree about denial, but lets face the facts, the majority of abuse was towards teenagers, not small children, pedophilia is truly an anomaly that doesn’t need much time to develop after ordination. It’s a pathology that evidently can’t be cured. It’s already there and has little or nothing to do with seminary formation. In terms of inappropriate sexual behavior with teenagers, yes, what you say is correct and it has to do with maturity issues and impulse control. Those who were/are immature prior to Vatican II and then entered a more liberated experience after Vatican II certainly did abuse when given the opportunity with little or no supervision or consequences to their behavior other than transfers and treatment. And without going into too many details, I do think I do know something about victims and meeting with them and acknowledging the terrible crimes and sins committed against them and superiors, either bishops or religious superiors who ignored or shuffled these priests around.

      1. Fr Allan,

        I have to agree with Fr. Anthony that you are repeating some of the cliches which the defenders of church management have continued to repeat.

        Like the notion that somehow early teen sexual behavior is less damaging that childhood sexual behavior. They are different. Children have a difficulty making sense of the behavior.

        However the early teen years are great formative years, our brains and bodies continue to develop. Relationship with the opposite sex are formed at this time. Also this is a time when a great deal of religious growth occurs, especially about notions of God and relationships to God.

        So sexual abuse in the early teen years may be just as damaging, though in different ways, than childhood sexual abuse. In the religious area, it may possibility be worse since we have not studied religious development very much.

        Finally, this “adolescent sex” isn’t as bad approach seems to me part of the continuing unwillingness of the clergy to admit that sex with any one of any age who is in a ministerial relationship is inappropriate.

        The American Psychological Association defines sexual relationships with anyone with whom one has a dual relationship (as teacher, therapist) as unethical. Hopefully our clergy also regard them as immoral!

        Besides the terrible mismanagement of the bishops, many of us suspect widespread unethical and immoral behavior among our clergy.

      2. Jack,I think you need to read my last sentence, that these actions against teenagers are a crime and a sin. I know what it does to the victim. In terms of teenagers, it is correct that it is under reported, because teenage boys usually don’t want people to know that this happened to them. I’m siding with the victims and I know many victims and have been pastor to them, several of whom were unsuspecting victims of a prominent Jesuit. Yes, you are correct about unethical and immoral behavior that went unchecked by religious superiors and bishops. Hopefully a well trained laity able to recognize this as well as universal policies to deal appropriately with it will help curb this phenomenon in the future. I think Virtus training in parishes and for as many parishioners as possible is a step in the right direction.

    2. Bill, don’t despair about centralization now unless you want to return to the status quo before Pius XII reformed Holy Week.

  11. Thank you for that, Bill. Fr. McDonald was so wrong about so many things, I didn’t know where to begin. You said it for me.

    1. Fr. McDonald made perfect sense to me. I fail to see where any of his facts were shown to be wrong. I also fail to see how the abuse crisis is relevant to a discussion about implementing the new translation. A more relevant comparison would be the way authority was used to reform the liturgy on prior occasions especially since Pius XII through the post V2 reforms. Anyone who thinks there was no pressure from Rome to implement the earlier post V2 liturgical reform is making up their own facts, IMHO.

  12. Perhaps Bible translations may provide some models about how to approach studying the New Missal.

    Recently I helped facilitate a Little Rock (Collegeville ) Introduction to the Bible program in a parish setting.

    People seem to easily understand the differences among more literal and freer translations and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Although some were converts and some had a lot of experience in reading and studying the Bible, people had very little interest in which was the correct or best translation, most saw that as a matter of personal preference.

    However they were very interested in comparing translations since each person brought their own Bible. They were also fascinated that there are websites where you can see how a verse is translated differently. They used all this to help them talk about their own impressions about what a particular text was saying.

    We have a lot of faith sharing programs in parishes (such as Little Rock) were the basic rule is respect for other people’s experience. These keep facilitators out of the role of being the answer people.

    Very few people in our parishes know the Latin text of the Missal any more than they know the Greek text of the Bible. Don’t make study of the Missal an academic exercise of right and wrong translations.

    Treat the Old and New Missals as two different views of the same text. Encourage people to use both to talk about and enhance their understanding and experience of the liturgy.

  13. Well, I’m the new boy on the block here, but for me this has been a most enlightening discussion, showing pretty starkly just what kind of attitude and perspective has in recent decades brought the Church to where it is in the liturgy, and now opposes all change and progress into the future with the Benedictine reform that (as I understand it) is intended to reestablish our sense of liturgy and thereby of Catholic identity.

    Of course, it is entirely natural that Church professionals — lay and clerical — would see the new translation in terms of winners and losers. Whereas I, as a simple pew sitter, see it as hardly perfect but a great improvement in the way a large majority of my fellows in the pews will understand the Mass. Very few will dislike it, many will love it, though perhaps many others will initially remain (as always) indifferent to the finer points of liturgy, only gradually warming to a fuller and better translation than they have known.

  14. Jack – good points. Here is a very well written aricle at America by John Martens.


    What is pertinent to this blog and this thread is the constant reference by many to the “original latin”. Mr. Martens does an excellent job of shedding light on this term – “original latin”. Sorry, but it only adds to the contradictions and confusion around this 2010 attempt.

    Highlights: “After we decide answers to these many questions, do we even have the original autographs of any biblical book? The Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts have taken us closer to the origin of many Hebrew (and some of the Greek Septuagintal texts, including previously unknown Hebrew and Aramaic fragments), but we have no autograph for any biblical book in the New or Old Testament. When we talk about the Bible, then, we have to consider that translations occur from critical editions of ancient Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic based upon the witness of many manuscript traditions. None of us, to the best of our knowledge, hold in our hands the “original” Bible.

    But is there an English translation that is “best” or “most authoritative”? The NAB is used in the Lectionary in the USA, but in Canada they use the NRSV. Should not English speaking Catholics be able to decide on the best English translation? Why are there so many English translations? And what about other translations in other modern languages? How do we compare modern translations? Are they all working from the same critical texts? Probably, but are the translators all making the same choices and decisions as to what are the best ancient readings?”

    1. Perhaps I missed something, but the few times I’ve seen references to the “original latin” around here, I thought it was in reference to the Roman Missal rather than the biblical texts. Given that, I’m not sure what the relevance of the article is. Please correct me if I’m overlooking something. 🙂

    2. Bill,

      One of my favorite books is D.C. Parker, The Living Text of the Gospels.

      Parker points out that for Christianity the Word of God has always been living, first Jesus himself, then the witness of Apostles. The text has always been secondary. People always knew that there were copy errors.

      As Parker details the scholarly Greek texts are committee decisions, in some cases a Greek scholarly sentence exists in no extant manuscript. The first half of the sentence and the second half of the sentence each separately is the best of the manuscripts, but they never come together in one manuscript!

      Parker makes the point that printing reshaped how we thought about the Bible, and predicts that the electronic age will equally reshape our way of thinking. I totally agree.

      I use BibleWorks a computer program with many texts and scholarly tools. I primarily use the Greek scholarly text for the OT as well as the NT because I had two years of Greek and it has a great morphological search engine that allows me to go across both OT/NT. But I also use the Vulgate, and some very literal translations based on it and the Greek text as well as a range of modern translations.

      The whole notion that there is only one literal sacred text is hopeless outdated in this electronic age

      Quite frankly it is also close to idolatry. Could the God who gave us Four Gospels, several versions of the creation story and so many other stories every possibility be contained in just one text!

    3. The question for the Roman Missal is “what is the original?”

      The Living Word is the basis for prayer. An encounter with Christ on the night before he died is the original that we remember. Every text is an attempt to facilitate participation in that encounter, but it is the encounter that is the original.

      Particular texts achieve a preferred status for a variety of reasons. The Roman Missal embodies western dependence on the Pope. It is a sign of unity among those in communion with Rome. But that makes “original latin” even more problematic. The papacy is a living authority, an interpreter that is more important than the text itself. The latin text should be handled as a guide to the interpreter (who is more than just the pope), as a means to foster the encounter with Christ, and not as a set in stone that must be slavishly followed.

      Those who concentrate on the text, whether conservatives who want to adhere to it as literally as possible or progressives who want to get away from it, are making a big mistake. Thankfully, most are concerned with what is truly the original, even when they are discussing the implementation of a text. But it is easy to drift into preserving the text rather than trying to encounter Christ.

      That is my untutored response to “the original Latin.”

  15. Mr. Michael – my points still apply whether you want to start with some Roman Missal or something. Where did that translation come from? That is the whole point. It is as if a small group suddenly “canonized” the missal of 1962 or the Trentan missal – where do you think the translations came from? Also, the lectionary translation project is proceeding – in secret as usual.

    1. Actually, it’s not clear at all what your points are.

      There is an original Latin text of the ordinary form missal, the third edition issued by Rome. This is the original Latin text. It doesn’t have a difficult manuscript history like the Bible does.

      1. And where do you think that original Latin text of the ordinary form missal, third edition, came from – magically appeared? Not sure that I would agree that the manuscript history is easy?

      2. +JMJ+

        Fr. John Zuhlsdorf does a pretty decent job showing where some of the propers in the Pauline Missal come from; i.e. the various ancient sacramentaries, some cut-and-paste jobs across various texts, and some new compositions. It’s pretty interesting, at least to someone without formal liturgical education.

  16. Fr. McDonald – you continue to repeat the matras and continue to dig yourself deeper in terms of your lack of knowledge about the sex abuse crisis. Even the John Jay study shows numbers over 30 years that indicate that more than 50% of all confirmed victims were under the age of 14…..defined as pedophilia. Yes, will agree that the numbers become murky from a psychological point of view from 15 or older…….yes, there were lots of undeveloped priests who acted out because their emotional development had stopped during minor seminary; there continues to be issues around gay priests who act out with older teenage boys, etc. So, what? At least in the US, the age of criminality is 18 or younger and as others said – you seem to completely ignore the biggest issue – not abusing priests but bishops who ignored, abetted, and lied about abuse to their own people of God….that pattern continues today.

    One other point, good psychological screening and tests can identify some pedophiles; good formation programs can identify even more. Unfortunately, our current diocesan seminaries do not have the trained formation staffs or screenings that are needed despite what many say.

    Virtus – aren’t you troubled by the fact that this program focuses almost completely on paid and lay staffs/volunteers; there is not incorporation of the history of clerical abuse in these programs; there is almost total avoidance of the issues of episcopal cover-up; etc. As if good volunteer training will fix the problem?

    1. Bill, you didn’t read my comment properly and thus misrepresent me. Be that as it may, my point about Virtus is that it teaches the laity, to recognize inappropriate situations that are developing or have already happened with priests or others and to be pro-active about addressing it with someone in authority. The more we’re all educated about this the safer our environments for children. I think most people are aware of the cover-ups that occur in this regard in most institutions, the church included, as well as the family. Hopefully we’ve turned a page in this but I suspect there will always be pockets that work against safe environments and justice.

  17. The relation between the two lies in the words of Pope Benedict to the bishops of Ireland: “Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church to which we have consecrated our lives.”

    Now that credibility is gone, to start rebuilding it, honesty and transparency are necessary in everything; and that includes the new missal.

  18. Graham Wilson:
    ***Doesn’t dying “for all” logically entail dying “for many?”***
    The new missal has the exclusionary: “this is my blood… which will be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. We know Jesus died for everyone, and “many” is not “everyone”. Hence the cognitive dissonance in which we must publically pray something we don’t believe.

    I too have had problems with the new translation of pro multis. The phrase does has its basis in Scripture (Mk 14:24 and Mt 26:28). Fr. Paul Turner points out that in context of The Last Supper, Jesus is saying that his blood will be shed not only for the twelve, but “for many.” Thus, it’s an expansion, not a contraction—even though our familiarity with “for all” will sound like a contraction by comparison.

    Also, Fr. Turner says that Jesus is quoting Isaiah and identifying himself as the Suffering Servant (Is 53:11-12).

    As with everything regarding the new translation, catechesis and explaining the context helps.

    A priest in my parish believes that most people won’t even notice unless they have both texts in front of them, side-by-side.

  19. Bill deHaas :And where do you think that original Latin text of the ordinary form missal, third edition, came from – magically appeared? Not sure that I would agree that the manuscript history is easy?

    OK, you don’t agree, but I ask again, what is the point you are trying to make? There are different sources and authors for the prayers in the Missal, but there’s zero doubt about what the text is, the original Latin text of the missal from which translations are to be made. There’s no manuscript tradition, there are no ancient readings, there’s a Latin text that we are sure of, you can buy a hardbound copy from the Vatican press if you want and that is what is being translated. (The lectionary obviously has other potential issues, but in terms of the ordinary and non-lectionary propers of the Mass, there is no confusion.)

  20. One YES and one NO, in my opinion.

    YES: I agree with CH Edwards that it is the 2002 Latin missal being translated.
    NO: Some people see a connection between abuse of authority on two issues, sex abuse and missal translation. You can hardly disallow them from making the connection.


  21. What is being translated is the existing Latin 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum, not any biblibical texts nor even any underlying missal texts from previous editions or their original source documents.

    It seems to me that anyone claiming, either to not understand this or to digress to discussion of the clerical abuse scandal, must be deliberately obfuscatory. However, if they insist, it might be more constructive to discuss the link between liturgical abuse and clerical sex abuse.

    1. How do you translate “pro multis”?

      That is the existing text from the 3rd ed. of the Roman Missal issued after V2. Do you treat it as if it has no history? Do a machine translation?
      Do you match it to the scriptural source? Matthew? Mark? Isaiah?
      Evaluate its theological meaning? Its cultural setting?
      Provide a context that makes it clearer? (“not just for you, but for many more”)

      Pretending the 3rd ed. of the current Roman Missal is the original, with no history or textual discrepancies, is to misunderstand translation entirely.

  22. “Fourthly, only say in public what you actually believe”

    Let me say explicitly how a Biblical study model similar to that used in the Little Rock program could allow catechesis of the Old and New Missals without spending much time on all the divisive issues enumerated in this article.

    Extremely few people are competent to deal with the Latin text of the Missal just as few people are competent to deal with the Greek text of the Gospels.

    People easily understand the different ways of translating and the relative values of each. In my experience of scripture study, people are more interested in using different translations for deeper understanding and prayer rather than in choosing among them.

    Use both the Old and New Missals to deepen people’s understanding of the underlying Latin text (without using the Latin) just as we use different translations to deepen people’s understanding of the underlying Greek text of the Gospels (without using it).

    Adult catechesis models such as Little Rock emphasize deepening personal understanding of Scripture rather than scholarly debates, translation problems, and historical facts. Facilitators are there keep the process focused rather than as answer people.

    I would hope many people could support such a catechesis model publicly regardless of their private views of the translations or the processes leading to the translations.

  23. Use both the Old and New Missals to deepen people’s understanding of the underlying Latin text (without using the Latin) just as we use different translations to deepen people’s understanding of the underlying Greek text of the Gospels (without using it).

    The Latin isn’t that hard, it makes sense to use it if you have any ability to do so at all. This is what Protestants (and good Catholic expository preachers) do with the Greek all the time.

    1. During my youth I had four years of Latin, and today I still pray some of the more common hours of the Divine Office especially on feasts using the Latin text of EF or Monastic office.

      Nevertheless, I have found it tedious to follow the discussions of the translations on this blog, and would not spend my time brushing up on Latin to facilitate any discussions of these at the parish level. Very honestly, how “accurate” they are does not matter to me just as it does not matter to me how “accurate” various Greek translations are.

      Very few pastors, pastoral staff, or parish members are interested in dealing with the Latin text of the Mass or the Greek text of the Gospels.

      I had two years of Greek. Again, I would not spend my time trying to remember my Greek tenses, etc. to decide who had the best translation.

      What I do use my Greek and my Bibleworks computer program is to check how the same Greek word was used elsewhere in a given book and elsewhere in the Bible particularly in the Greek OT. That is always fascinating.

      I often worship at a parish with a scripture scholar who teaches at the seminary and local colleges. He is terrific at communicating very difficult scriptural issues in very simple none technical, non academic language. He is a great preacher without getting into textual issues.

      People are interested in the Mass and the Bible in relationship to their lives. These are religious and spiritual people not college students.

      1. Jack, I tend to agree with you. In my pastoral enthusiasm to try out the first version of this last year, at the beginning of the Masses, I only said than the prayers were more literal to the Latin and more of an “elevated” English than the current translation, in order not to prejudice with negativity any of what I was praying. I asked parishioners for their feedback after the Masses. The ones my age remembered the first English translation of the Mass in 1965, many of whom still have their personal missal from that period and liked that we were going back to that. Others said some of the prayers sounded wordy or long, two people didn’t like “for many.” Others loved the tone of the prayers and its sacral quality. Overall, though, there was no outrage, protests or I’m not going to Mass when this comes about. Our people indeed are “religious and spiritual people” not college students, a good number of whom read this blog for information and try to go about living their Catholicism in the world.

  24. Comparing translations of the Latin text of the Missale Romanum for study is a fine idea for graduate students in Liturgy, but it completely misses the point in catechesis for USING this new translation.

    As the article pointed out, this translation is being imposed by authority. Once again we are being asked to submit to authority of jurisdiction when the authority of expertise has been abused by those with the jurisdiction.

    There is no good catechesis for this Latinate, archaic English translation. All we can do is either mouth the shallow excuses for this imposition or shut up and soldier on and see if congregations adjust to it or not.

    I do not like those choices, but I think that is the real world situation.

    I have no way of predicting what the general response will be. I suspect the translation will be found to be more awkward English than now in use, but do not know how much protest that will produce.

  25. In the final analysis, the verdict on the Missal will come from its use by us the laity. If it feeds us in a way that makes us feel closer to God, following int the steps of the One who died for us, and more loving of God’s creation and creatures, the Missal will become part of our lives.

    If it does not do any of the above, if it does not respond to the signs of the times, the Missal will be found on the book table at garage sales. Sensus fidelium…

    We still have the Old and New Testaments 🙂

  26. Well said, Tom and agree with your comments. Fr. McDonald – you continue to amaze me by your lack of pastoral sense; your assumptions which violate any current liturgical laws; your inability to see the harm done to your own parish, etc.

    Would never use you or your very limited parish folks experience to draw any conclusions going forward. Their bias and unfortunate unwillingness to understand the past 40 years strikes me as a huge catechetical void.

    1. It may be that they understand the past 40 years all too wellll. It is just that their conclusion may not be yours.

  27. Samual Howard and friends — you say that Latin isn’t that hard.

    Neither is English.

    Unless you are a member of Vox Clara, the Roman Curia or the US bishops’s conference.

  28. The clerical sexual abuse scandal is one of the abuse of power, both in the act itself and its subsequent cover up. A love of control and the power to exercise it are not unique to any one ecclesiastical party – it is endemic in the Church. The simplistic, partisan analyses of it that we see in the wake of the abuse crisis, in which the pain of those who have suffered is used without conscience as a stick to beat ideological opponents, is simply another symptom of the underlying problem, and we shouldn’t be surprised to observe it across opposing parties. Its resolution will require those involved to look for deeper causes, and to be prepared repent their sin.

  29. Here is what concerns me:
    – an another thread, Fr. MacDonald, you stated that you do not have access nor have you studied the complete 1998 ICEL proposed Roman Missal v.3
    – on a number of these threads, a link to the 1998 MR3 proposal has been shared
    – on a number of threads you have underlined what you feel is less than elevated language in ICEL, etc. and yet by your own admission, it appears that you have only taken bits and pieces – not a very professional approach
    – you have not been involved in your own diocesan liturgy board for 20 years and you make criticisms of the 1988 initial suggestions that resulted in the 1998 ICEL – suggest that you are making sweeping generalizaations based on very little knowledge
    – last year you “practiced” with this new MR3 even tho the translation has changed again – by what authority? you seemed to have “played” with the liturgy using “play’ in a negative sense
    – one of the biggest issues in the church currently is the clerical culture – father is the decider. Your description of your “play” mass last year fits this perfectly

    Look at the second line of this post by Fr. Anthony – it posits that authority is at times abusing its power. What would anyone call your attempts at using the “new liturgy”?

    1. These will be my last comments to you Bill; in fact I have been on the Diocesan Liturgy Committee having ended that run only last year. I was trained in the school of liturgy, that Fr. Endean also was trained in, to adapt the language of the current ICEL translation to the needs of the people as it is perceived by the priest and yes, this is clericalism, it was taught to us in the 1970’s as perfectly acceptable and I’ll make my mea culpas again. Experimenting with the new translation is a part of my seminary training and consulting with those I did experiment with, i.e. pastoral council, parishioners in educational or catechetical sessions and the like was also a part of the decision so that we might also experience some mystygogy afterward. Again, mea culpa. But you know what? I have a great parish and your denigrating remarks concerning my parish in an earlier post were most unfortunate.
      In terms of any of the translations, current, 1998, or 2010, I have no power over these or who developed them or who had political control at the time. I have no power over God’s grace either at worship or in my personal life or the life of my parish community. I am powerless and somehow by God’s grace I find strength in that. If we kept the current translation, went to the 1998 translation or returned to Latin, even if I didn’t personally like some aspects of it, I would help my parish to accept it. Unity is better than division.

  30. Change is always difficult or uncomfortable to accept especially when it relates to ‘something’ in which we participate probably one once a week. (yes, there are many who attend Mass more often,) “Change for Changes sake” is often a retro effect and we should be open minded, look at what it is and then come to a view. Our Hierarchies are the leaders. They have the spiritual knowledge – as do many doctrinal lecturers – but they have all been slow to communicate with the laity, to keep us informed and ‘on their side.’ ‘Fait a complet’ seems to be the order of today and providing that it is spiritually and liturgically correct we will be happy.
    There is a great deal to be learnt from our earlier liturgies and their wording. Changing it and using modern, colloquial language brings us and the liturgy to a poor level of spirituality. We need change as we also need a resurgance of actions within our liturgies which have, in many cases, dropped almost to a hypnotic state – many people just looking blank, staring into space, not responding, not using any actions involving the head, hands etc. – spiritually absent.
    Let us look at these changes with a calm, keen and open heart, ready to question but not blame, ready to receive the Holy Spirit We need instruction on the reasons and the possible solutions. We have a living faith which need ‘rebirth’ Lets get on with it.

  31. “Ready to question but not blame” — but in South Africa the questions of the laity were roundly dismissed by Cardinal Napier. I see no bishops (apart from Trautman and Dowling) welcoming any criticism of the new translation — they don’t want to be bothered. Also it is part of their careerism — voicing doubts about the new translation has become a test of loyalty like Humanae Vitae. And yes, the word ‘abuse’ springs to mind.

  32. Joan m. lenardon
    I am most interested in whether inclusive language is being tossed off the raft. Is the new lectionary going to use “man” to include women ? Please reply. Need help~

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