The Roman Missal Crisis: Away with the critics!

Pray Tell has learned that some experts have been eliminated from the preparation of liturgical books because of their criticism of the missal translation project. The Congregation for Divine Worship has been alarmed at the public coverage of the Roman Missal Crisis and the leaking of important documents on the web, and it seems likely that pressure from Rome is behind these recent personnel decisions. Pray Tell has confirmed the termination of two individuals, both of whom must remain anonymous, one of whom has shared the following details of his situation.

A musician involved in preparing the English language missal chants was informed in November that he was being cut from the final stages of the music revision process. He had been involved last summer and fall in musical revisions made necessary by the various successive versions of the final text of the missal. (Pray Tell reported on November 20 on this person’s email to officials about the dire musical problems with the then-final text.)

Of course any organization, including the Catholic Church, has the right to hire and retain employees on its own terms. Let us hope that the officials in our Church seek to retain the very best experts in the service of our common worship. It would be tragic if obedience were understood so restrictively that it narrowed the field of available collaborators, or prevented collaborators from expressing their much needed suggestions and criticisms to authorities. It would be tragic if the Roman Missal Crisis caused the most qualified individuals, seeing their careful work undone by the CDW (on which, see Peter Jeffery), to decline to participate in future translation projects.

awr

125 comments

  1. If I were qualified to participate in a future translation project, and I had any significant self esteem, I’d sure be wary of signing on! My quick review of the 2008 translation of the Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent (just to pick a current example) shows that about 10% of the words were changed on the way to 2010. Those modifications go way beyond “approval” of the translation, and it seems to me they do not clarify the syntax, or theology, or make proclamation of the prayer easier. For instance “look upon” became “see”, “birth” became “Nativity”, “strengthen” became “enable”, and “reach” became “attain”. These strike me as word selections that reasonable translators could have a difference of opinion on, but given that the body charged with translation has made a selection, is nothing that the body charged with “approval” should muck with. My reaction as I cataloged these changes is “why bother submitting a translation at all?” It would be disheartening to say the least to have one’s fine work gratuitously modified to this extent.

  2. It looks like a no-brainer to me.

    Musicians and liturgists make the most difference on the local level, far away from the anti-gospel preached by the institution. For a plane ticket to Rome two or three times a year, I’d have to sell my soul.

    God can write straight with crooked lines as long as people of integrity are doing ministry where it really makes an impact. My sense is that Rome is in a deep spiritual hibernation, and getting involved there makes as much sense as St Patrick going to first millennium Antarctica.

    1. Third millennium Antarctica isn’t much more sensible, Todd. Better boats, but the penguins are about as receptive now as they were then. . .

      At least it wasn’t literally “Off with their heads!”.

    2. True enough, Todd.

      And musicians and liturgists that attempt to inflict their influence on the liturgy at the local level apart from Rome – or “the institution” as you disparagingly put it – either don’t understand the true nature of the liturgy or are too arrogant to embrace it.

      Haven’t we had enough of that?

      1. Jeez, Louie Verrecchio, do you see no good will or satisfactory efforts in what musicians and liturgists do? It’s kind of hard to see how anyone could do music without having an influence on the liturgy at the local level. And it is, at some level, done “apart from Rome” since the Holy See doesn’t send out a music plan to every parish for every liturgy, along with a rehearsal schedule and performance notes. Your criticism is way too sweeping in my view. The “true nature of the liturgy” in the Roman rite was quite decentralized for a millennium and more – I hope you think the Church was Catholic back then!
        awr

      2. Of course, Father, there is much that is satisfactory to be found in the the local efforts in the liturgy, but given the tenor of the post to which I replied (in which Todd is clearly espousing some form of subversiveness by liturgists and musicians in order to shed the shackles of the “anti-gospel” shenanigans of Rome) I think you understand where I’m coming from better than your comments indicate.

        Sure, it’s difficult to see how anyone could do music without having an influence on the liturgy at the local level, but that doesn’t say much about the value of that influence, does it?

        I would submit that those who view Rome’s role in regulating the liturgy as anti-gospel have done the Church and their local communities a great disservice.

        Surely you will acknowledge that much damage has been done to the liturgy by those who harbor this mindset, treating the liturgy as if it is a primarily local construct while “anti-gospel” Rome
        is but a thorn in the side of gospel loving communities everywhere.

        Lastly – while it’s true that Rome doesn’t distribute music plans, surely you don’t mean to suggest that one cannot discern the Church’s understanding of what constitutes music that is “sacred” and therefore has a place in liturgy, do you?

      3. One might argue that “the Church’s understanding of what constitutes music that is ‘sacred’ and therefore has a place in liturgy” must be discerned by the Church — the local Church, which is no less Church than the central authority.

      4. Well then, Rev. Unterseher, feel free to make that argument, but I think you’re going to find it very difficult to do so by citing the sacred Magisterium to make the case that the local Church is no less authoritative than the Holy See in matters liturgical..

      5. Only the magisterium in Rome issues documents for the universal (RC) church. But only people in local churches apply them in their situation. I’m not sure what the problem is. Or are you one of those magisterium-fundamentalists who favors as much centralism as possible and thinks Rome never makes a mistake?? I mean it as a serious question – any undertones of polemic come from my frustration that magisterium-fundamentalism seems to be on the rise, alas.
        awr

      6. the local Church, which is no less Church than the central authority.

        Cody, does that work on the diocesan level also? Can you “be Church” without reference to the bishop?

        What about without reference to the parish? Can you “be Church” without reference to other believers at all? Just how atomized can we be and still call ourselves Church?

      7. RBR, I must interject, why do you ask? Nothing Cody has written has ever suggested you can be a Church without bishops, so where is your question coming from? I recall nothing written by anyone on this blog suggesting you can Christian without reference to other believers. Have you? It sounds like you’re setting up straw men, or (mis)reading others’ views by putting them in the worst possible light.
        awr

      8. Father, if I’m misreading Cody I apologize. But my sense is that he’s just written that the fullness of the Church is present in the local Church.

        Our need to be in communion with the Church in Rome is certainly no less than our need to “be Church” locally. I don’t understand how Cody’s acknowledgment of a central authority can be reconciled with the notion that the local community can be fully Church w/o reference to that authority.

      9. Just to be clear, I understand the fullness of the church to subsist in each local assembly. In that, I presume the local assembly to be in communion with other local assemblies, with the ministry of the bishop being represented through the deacons and the presbyters.

        In other words, yes, the diocese is the local church; but the fullness of that is realized in each local assembly where the bishop’s ministry is extended.

        Rome is one diocese among any, if first in honor. The present arrangements of central authority need not obtain for the church to survive, nor must its present accrued and appropriated authority be understood as the principle of its central import within the communio of local churches.

        In short, I do believe communion among the local churches to be necessary, but that doesn’t create a supersubstantial “universal church” that exists outside its realization in the local eucharistic assembly.

        I don’t want to de-church any Christian body that doesn’t have threefold ministry; at the same time, I find it hard to discourse about Church where the ministry of bishops is missing (among other things).

      10. If “magisterium-fundamentalism” was ever on the rise it must have been most evident in 1969 when the consilium gave the whole Latin Church a new form of the Roman liturgy. Nothing we’ve seen since has come close. Ironically, the person who sees this most clearly seems to be the present Roman pontiff. Those who appear to miss it all together are the same one’s who complain about Roman intefearance in our liturgical lives the most. Don’t tell me that an ecumenical council mandated the Pauline liturgy-we know the consilium went further than the council’s text required, we have the 1965 ordo, and we have the thumbs down from the Synod of Bishops in 1967.

      11. Helena Martin,

        It sounds like you’re building a whole case on about three pieces of data. Now look at the other 300+ pieces. Consilium followed the Council mandate in my view, and the charge that they didn’t is uninformed and slanderous. I posted on the topic here:
        http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/12/04/sacrosanctum-concilium-at-47-the-second-spirit-of-the-council/

        When the people wanting the real Council to be followed all stand up to reject the coming translation as illegitimate because SC 22 gives translation authority to territorial bodies of bishops and not Rome, then I will take seriously their claim to follow what the Council really meant.

        awr

      12. Cody, we can agree that the Church can survive without a Petrine ministry, as understood by the Catholic Church. (It does so still whenever Rome is sede vacante.) Where we cannot agree is whether this is God’s will for his Church. In your ecclesiology, no bishop is promised protection from error. Authority quickly becomes problematical. We read every day about how this is playing out in the Anglican communion. Before that communion even existed, the Catholic world knew and acknowledged a magisterial primacy vested in the Apostolic See. It still does.

      13. Shared authority in Communion need not be problematical, though certainly it can become that. The present difficulties in the Anglican Communion stem from the different autonomous churches having different polities, different means of exercising authority, some synodical, some parliamentarian, some more hierarchical than others.

        In the East, where the model is more uniform, the problems are fewer, and there is more tolerance for diversity.

        As for the present arrangements of the Roman Catholic Church being de jure divino, I cannot agree for biblical and historical reasons.

      14. Not to repeat the same point too many times but Fr. Stephen Somerville was a musician/composoer as well as a former member of ICEL. It turns out that he was also a prophet but I don’t think many here would share hs views.
        People here bemone papal centralization but It was the centralization of papal authority that made the Pauline ordo possible. If it were not backed by a centralized Papal authority, the consilium could never have given us the existing Pauline ordo & we would not have all adopted it. Remember that the 1967 Synod of Bishops were not persuaded that the consilium’s work reflected the council’s mandate, their reaction to it in 1967 was negative.

      15. Helena, what I’m still not clear on is whether you favor centralism (which give us the 1969 missal and will give us the upcoming translation) or whether you decry centralism in both cases. I honestly can’t tell what you’re trying to say. Please help me.
        awr

      16. “Consilium followed the Council mandate in my view, and the charge that they didn’t is uninformed and slanderous.”

        That some people disagree with your view about the consilum does not equate to slander nor being uninformed. It may mean just the opposite because there is more than one point of view on this issue among comitted & thinking Catholics.
        I looked over your post on SC and find its premise unpersuasive. To be frank, most of your interpretations seem to be imposing an already established point-of view into statements a highly traditional Catholic could read very differently than you have. In fact, at least one did, ++Lefebvre signed SC. We must remember also that the 1885 Synod of Bishops clearly states that we cannot separate the “letter & spirit” of the council, something your interpretations seem to do.

      17. I didn’t offer my interpretation of SC, and I explicitly stated why I didn’t do so. You missed the point of the post, apparently. My point was that it is possible for many people – for example “first spiriters” and “second spiriters” to interpret the Council very differently, and on all sides people are (inevitably) importing concerns from their cultural setting, apart from what the text of SC says. Nothing in there was my interpretation of SC. I put forth some hypothetical interpretations, to show that these too would fall well within the wide scope offered by SC. The point is, there isn’t just one way to implement SC faithfully, despite the claims of some people now to have recovered the one real meaning of SC.

        I’d like to think that my post was clear on all these points. With all due respect, I’m wondering whether it’s useful to continue trying to discuss the post if you’ve misread it that thoroughly.

        awr

      18. The implication is that there is no “real” meaning to SC which all are bound. The 1985 Synod clearly said that we cannot separate the so called spirit from the text of the council’s documents. I think this is precisely what many want to do and it is what I saw in your hypothetical interpretations. I also note that the more traditional references were direct and pointed. It was only the broad, more generalized statements that can be said to permit, albeit only in a strained way, the sort of interpretations sought by those you call the 1st spiriters. That is a significant difference indicating that 1st spiriters are required to depart from the actual texts to sustain their vision of the liturgy while more traditional believers find their religious instincts validated in the highly specific texts.

    3. My sense is that Rome is in a deep spiritual hibernation,

      Huh. Maybe you are overdue for a trip to Rome.

      1. That’s right Roberto and Louie everythings just fine in Rome where anonymous advisers whose revisions of the 2008 text which had been prepared in accordance with the Church’s directives on translation are passed on by Vox Clara to the Congregation in spite of many mistranslations, poor English syntax and grammar and violations of the Vatican’s own directives and then sent out as officially approved. Seems to me those officially appointed people have betrayed the trust of the Pope and you’re supporting their betrayal just because they have the authority. It’s going to be interesting to see Pope Benedict’s reaction to all this once somebody of integrity without ambition comes forward and tells him the truth. But it’s really weird to see people on here and other blogs either by word or by their silence support the work of people who have actually betrayed the trust the Holy Father placed in them.

      2. RBR – “….trip to Rome”…. “spiritual hibernation” Well, how is that working so far – let’s see: handling sexual abuse (ask the church of Holland, Germany, Ireland); finally trying to address Maciel’s mess; its current re-evangelization efforts in Europe; the Vatican Bank; the curia; etc. etc.

  3. Louie, I’ll have to ask you prove your insinuation or publicly withdraw it.

    For the record, I’ll simply state there are much bigger challenges than fruitless labor with Roman bureaucracies: improving the quality of music and preaching, attracting the unchurched to Mass, developing liturgical ministry with young people, developing a Lectio Divina approach to liturgy, composers working in liturgical drama rather than the new texts, and so on. If the institution can’t or won’t utilize the gifts of Alan Griffiths, there are always texts of spiritual importance for the laity that could use a fresh translation. And similar is true for anyone else frustrated by the anti-gospel witness of the bureaucracy. There is no honor in rising to the top.

    When I was a grad student, I participated in a small way in the ICEL consultations on the Psalter. Back then, it seemed cool to be assisting with important work. The only way I could possibly foresee an involvement with the institution today would be if my bishop (a man I admire deeply) urged me to do so. And even then, it would require a serious discernment on my part. At some point, you shake the dust from your sandals and move on.

    The Church might do well to consider why so many of their efforts breed resentment, ridicule, misunderstanding, bitterness, frustration, and a hemorrhaging of believers. That latter point is the opposite of the Gospel, is it not? Chasing away people who believe in Christ.

    The antigospel is being effectively and unfortunately preached in many places today. Or would you deny it?

    1. Todd,

      Keep in mind that the environment in which we’ve experienced the “resentment, ridicule, misunderstanding, bitterness, frustration, and a hemorrhaging of believers” that you cite is the one in which the local church has played fast and loose with the liturgy over the last 40 years. No coincidence. If you don’t recognize as much from experience alone then you’re either remarkably sheltered or exceedingly fortunate.

      People have run from the Catholic Church in many cases because they experienced no practical difference between the Sunday liturgy in their parish and the praise and worship hoedown at their local Protestant congregation.

      And why? Because renegade liturgists have thumbed their nose at the idea that the the sacred signs at Holy Mass come from Christ and the Church – not the community and certainly not from any one of the creative players in it.

      Does that mean that Rome will always and everywhere regulate the liturgy impeccably and beyond discussion? No, of course not, but it takes a large dose of hubris to irreverently point “antigospel” fingers at the “institutional Church” simply because one believes criticism is warranted.

      This may answer your question, Fr. Ruff. No, I am not a starry eyed “magisterialist” if you will, but I do recognize the value of Rome’s liturgical regulation especially in light of the experiences of the last 40 years. I also recognize the value of addressing our concerns in the matter “with reverence and charity toward those who by reason of their sacred office represent the person of Christ.” LG 37

      1. Louie, again, I would have to insist you prove it. Your attempt to tie me and the modern critics of the CDWDS to liturgist-pretenders of the past forty (or more!) years just doesn’t hold water. It would be like people attempting to discredit Fr McDonald for his brother priests who have been sex abusers. There is simply no logical connection.

        If you want to have an insightful discussion, you’re going to have to bring more than your personal or second-hand resentments to the table.

    2. With all due respect Rev. Unterseher, I accept that your clarification reflects your own beliefs well, but it is not the Catholic view.

      The primacy of Rome extends well beyond simple honor and directly to authority.

      1. I’ll admit that my position stems from the clearly Anglican ideals that I hold.

        But note that the idea of Communion Eccleisology has its foundations in the work of Roman Catholic systematicians; it is a Catholic view that can be substantiated from the Vatican II documents on the Church. The more pyramidal and “universalizing” view, which is admittedly preferred by the current papacy, is not the only Roman Catholic view. As with so many systematic issues (e.g., eschatological finality, soteriology) the Catholic Church has been careful not to limit itself to one articulation of a given doctrine.

        And let’s not forget the position of the Eastern Orthodox in all of this — primacy of honor for Rome, a fully equal pentarcy (or hexarchy, considering Moscow) in matters touching on authority, operating from the bottom up through the Synod.

  4. I work in a very fine Catholic school as a teacher. I work under a dept. chair, a principal, academic dean and headmaster, and I sometimes disagree with the way they go about things. But when they chastise me or discipline me or tell me I am doing something wrong, I think it would be extreme indeed to call them “anti-gospel”. I do admit that the decisions they make that affect me sometimes feel like they are “breeding resentment” or “bitterness” in me, but I could just as easily say that I am harboring resentment or bitterness. If I allow myself to be “chased away” from the gospel because I don’t like how they are doing their job, aren’t I partly to blame?

    Using a term like “anti-gospel” seems to me to smack of a certain lack of faith in God to redeem people from human sin and error. Of course we should all try to do our best at our appointed post. This level of criticism seems tantamount to a final judgement. An “anti-gospel” would be preached by an “anti-Christ,” right?

  5. Isn’t it true that God allows Satan and others to chastise his people to test their fidelity? Wasn’t Job a case in point? Might I suggest that the season of Advent is one of patience, waiting for the Lord, not only to celebrate His birth, but His return to judge the living and the dead, to separate the goats from the sheep and to smite those God awful goats which is God’s job alone? And isn’t the season of Advent also about God’s patience with “us poor miserable sinners?” Let me once again suggest that we just say wait. Let’s say we wait five years, take a deep breath and then evaluate the liturgy that we will certainly implement next Advent. I bet that God will have calmed the jittery souls of many by then.

    1. Fr. McDonald,

      Let’s say we wait 5 years and souls are still jittery, then what? Another straw poll?

      That’s not the Church that Jesus gave us. Holy Mother Church has decided that the time is opportune. That should be enough for all of us.

      1. Within the context of eternity, five years seems to be rather brief and the Holy Spirit might surprise us and what Vatican II actually heralded, a new spring time for the Church might be occurring, or maybe not. Time will tell, if not here, in eternity.

    2. Advent is also as much a time for the Forerunner, who criticized those who abused institutional religion, who called out bullies, who proclaimed a time for making the crooked ways straight. Are you overlooking John, when you deem patience politically correct?

  6. Funny you should mention Vatican II, Fr. McDonald… I wonder if you were, or would have been, as sympathetic to the jittery souls that wanted Blessed Pope John XXIII to wait to convene the Council. I’ll go out on a limb here and guess not. : )

    Yes, the Holy Spirit is full of surprises, but are we really to postpone them until the people are good and ready? In other words, consensus is what we need? If not, what percentage of the people need to let go of their jitters before the Spirit is allowed to lead us?

    Surely you have considered that the new translation is a giant step toward what the Council heralded; i.e., what it actually encouraged, haven’t you?

    1. Louie, I’m having a hard time following you. In five years I doubt there will be any major issues with the new missal. People will have prayed it for five years and grown accustomed to it. Some people will return to the Church others will leave in a huff, the same cycle we’ve seen since Vatican II and the first efforts at liturgical renewal. I’m excited about the new missal and very optimistic about it and the impact it will have even if the English might have been better, but there are a lot of things that might have been in life and we carry on.

      1. Hmmm… on closer read, I think I know why I appear so hard to follow, Father. Forgive me, but I think I misread your original comments.

        You said, “Let me once again suggest that we just say wait.

        I think I now understand that you mean wait for five years to comment on the value of the new translation; i.e. welcome it, use it for 5 years, then weigh in after actually praying it and experiencing it. If this is correct, count me as an ally. : )

        Did you know that there is a “movement” afoot to garner signatures on a petition to forestall the implementation of the new translation until something akin to focus groups and small market testing and can be conducted to address concerns? The movement / petition goes by the name “What if we just said wait?”

        When you suggested “we just say wait” I thought you were on that page too…

        Am I now reading you correctly? I hope so. : )

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

    Todd Flowerday :

    Advent is also as much a time for the Forerunner, who criticized those who abused institutional religion, who called out bullies, who proclaimed a time for making the crooked ways straight. Are you overlooking John, when you deem patience politically correct?

    Forget what I deem, Todd. You shouldn’t care about that one iota, but you should care an awful about what Holy Mother Church deems, and last I checked, she deemed the time ripe for correcting the mistakes of the past 40 years over which many have been very patiently waiting.

    Heck, even the Jews didn’t have to wander as long as we have if you’re looking for Scriptural precedent!

  8. Recourse to appropriate expertise in the service of the Church and its worship is a neuralgic issue right now because Rome feels very insecure about its own expertise and place in the modern world generally.

    A fortress mentality ensues whenever people feel threatened by the possibility that any new information might shake their confidence in their own ability to appear authoritative.

    Since making with total assurance absolute pronouncements on all aspects of human life seems to be how Rome sees its job, the problem is especially acute.

    Now most people don’t imagine that all the answers are available to anyone without recourse to other people’s wisdom, understanding, gifts, and expertise. Common sense tells us this.

    When we go to a doctor, we want the best clinician. When we need representation in court, we want a good lawyer. When we buy a house, we want it to be built by skilled artisans. When we want our car fixed, we look for a really good mechanic. It’s still our health, our court case, our home, and our car. These people are not supplanting us, they are helping us. That’s the attitude that makes sense.

    But common sense seems to be taking a backseat to the need to assert authority in an unchallenged way. So if the doctor says “Stop smoking” or the mechanic says “You need a new timing belt” you fire him. You’re in charge!

    The sad fact is, however, that by not listening to appropriate expertise you put whatever it is you care about — your health, your car, your worship — at risk.

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

    Cody C. Unterseher :

    I’ll admit that my position stems from the clearly Anglican ideals that I hold.
    But note that the idea of Communion Eccleisology has its foundations in the work of Roman Catholic systematicians; it is a Catholic view that can be substantiated from the Vatican II documents on the Church.

    It seems you are misreading the conciliar teaching, Reverend.

    Lumen Gentium, which said among many things, “The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact,” admits of little ambiguity in the matter of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the necessity of union with him as a condition of full communion.

    Sure, varying degrees of communion are recognized among the Orthodox churches and other ecclesial communities, but full communion with the one Church of Christ does not exist apart from willing submission to the pope’s authority. This is the conciliar teaching.

    1. I have to agree with Fr. Anthony on this one; the conversation is becomming unfruitful. I would urge, though, that you read the comment from LG III.22 in its context, which has to do with the relation between the pontiff and the college of bishops, rather than lifting it out of context to prove a point. Further, I would encourage you to read all of LG III in relation to the rest of the document, in which the communio and conciliar natures of the Church are highlighted, not as opposed to hierarchy, but in a contextual relation in which the latter is quite clearly understood within the framework of the former.

      1. Thanks for the suggestion, Rev., but actually I think it is incumbent upon you to demonstrate that VII taught that anything other than varying degrees of imperfect communion with the Church of Christ can exist apart from the Bishop of Rome.

        I think we both know that VII – nor any other magisterial pronouncement – taught anything other than this. If it did, make the case.

        And why limit oneself to VII? The Church has clarified the Council’s understanding of the relationship between other churches and ecclesial communities to the Church of Christ a number of times. In fact, these clarifications have even gone so far as to make clear that “church” does not properly apply to any other than the separated oriental churches due to apostolic succession.

        Nowhere does Catholic doctrine – at VII or elsewhere – hint at some kind of autonomy apart from Rome such that “the fullness of the church subsists in each local assembly.” You can assert that from without all you want, but you cannot lay claim, much less demonstrate, that this is authentic Catholic teaching. Why not just say that you disagree with Catholic doctrine in the matter? That would be more accurate.

      2. Although I have made reference to, and cited as examples — particularly the Orthodox — those Christian bodies that exist apart from the Communion of the Roman Catholic Church, I have not had them in mind. I have been speaking of the communion of the Catholic Church.

        I have not, moreover, suggested that it is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that such a reality as “church” exists apart from communion with the Bishop of Rome. I do not fully agree with that personally, true, but neither do I wholly disagree with it. My personal beliefs and theological commitments aren’t at stake here, however — unless they are made the object of conversation in order to avoid the issue at hand.

        Regarding, then, as to whether or not “the fullness of the church subsists in each local assembly” — by which I mean each eucharistic assembly, under the presidency of a bishop or legitimate delegate of the same — I would refer you, in addition to Joe O’Leary’s helpful comment below, LG III.26:

        “This Church of Christ is truly present in all legitimate local congregations of the faithful which, united with their pastors, are themselves called churches in the New Testament. For in their locality these are the new People called by God, in the Holy Spirit and in much fullness. In them the faithful are gathered together by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, that by the food and blood of the Lord’s body the whole brotherhood may be joined together. In any community of the altar, under the sacred ministry of the bishop, there is exhibited a symbol of that charity and ‘unity of the mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation.’ In these communities, though frequently small and poor, or living in the Diaspora, Christ is present, and in virtue of His presence there is brought together one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. For ‘the partaking of the body and blood of Christ does nothing other than make us be transformed into that which we consume’.”

        Just as I have not suggested that each assembly can exist apart from the others, including Rome, neither does the Council. But it is quite clear that the Council understands Eucharistic communio to fully realize the church locally.

        That same paragraph, by the way, makes it clear that the regulation of the liturgy in the local church belongs to the diocesan bishop, not the Holy See.

  10. I think we’re getting off topic. Let’s leave this fruitless discussion about just how much power and authority Rome has – it’s not getting us anywhere.
    awr

  11. Thank you, Rita, for saying it more sensibly than I. Personally, I lose patience with folks who know what they want to hear, then go in search of it, all under the guise of wisdom. For some, they might as well speak to a stone and say, “If you disagree with me, speak up!”

    To clarify Ben’s query, it’s not about me. I haven’t left the Church yet. Far from it. But I note others have, and I feel a deep sense of loss and grief over it. It’s easy enough to attribute their motives to selfishness and the motives of new believers to God’s grace, as if our critics have nothing to say to us.

    I attribute the antigospel to those who have chased away believers, and put obstacles of their own making in the way. Jesus has something to say about such folks, things he didn’t express to those who were the loyal opposition.

  12. Louie, you are quite wrong; John Paul II taught that the Church of Christ is “present and operative” in the other Christian churches and ecclesial communions. That is a very strong statement.

  13. “the fullness of the church subsists in each local assembly.”

    Ratzinger says this in his Theologische Prinzipienlehre (1982). It is actually basic ecclesiology.

  14. L Verrecchio insists on addressing Cody Unterseher as “Reverend” but Anthony Ruff & Allan McDonald as “Father”

    As a Catholic, I find this offensive:

    Cody, in my books you’re a “Reverend Father”

    1. Mr. Nasser, why, as a Catholic, do you find it offensive? A few etiquette sites I just consulted indicate the use of “Reverend” is an appropriate way to address Episcopalian clergy.

      Certainly, it is preferable to the overly familiar first name address which some on this blog seem to prefer. Even if they have known each other for decades.

      1. I’m “Father” in the parish, “Father” in the Diocese, and “Father” to all the Catholic clergy I know. “The Reverend” is a formal title used in writing, as it is also for Catholic clergy. Anglican/Episcopal customs vary from one country to another. . . I don’t take offense when I’m called “Reverend” or “Parson” or “Pastor” — even when I suspect that a slight is involved.

        All that being said, I hang my hat on my baptismal identity, so I don’t mind being called by my baptismal name without title.

  15. While we are wondering about the 1-2 experts who have been dismissed from the case, what about the rest of them?

    More than a few people worked on this project. Are we to assume (A) that they support the work that has come forth as BETTER than the work they produced? Or that (B) they too have seen serious critical problems but have chosen not to speak?

    Let’s follow this out to its logical conclusion(s).

    If A is the case (and we’ve seen the comparison of texts here, with the issues laid out), then they are not such competent scholars. This hypothesis is one that I think we can reject out of hand. There is plenty of evidence that they know the difference, and I can’t really imagine they think that 2010 is better than 2008.

    So, it seems we are looking at some species of hypothesis B. They know this is a train wreck and have chosen not to speak. Why?

    I can think of several reasons (again, purely hypothetical) why they might choose not to speak.

    1. Xavier Rindfleisch suggested the word “spineless” on another thread. “Spineless” = weak. This is possible. They may even have been picked because they are “company men” and only a few with spines got through the mesh.

    2. Self-interest. Let’s face it, people in ecclesiastical circles get promoted for waving the pom-poms and making the boss look good. They get passed over if they point out that the emperor’s new clothes are thin. Self-interest seems somewhat likely.

    3. The Pontius Pilate syndrome. They’ve washed their hands. “I did my best. It’s not my translation, I’m only responsible for my own part in this.” Moral evasion is very common. Wouldn’t be surprising.

    4. The team-player. “I know it’s a mess, but we’re in it together, and if I speak up and say anything critical, I’ll let the team down.” Misplaced sense of allegiance goes with clerical culture; the “team” isn’t the whole church, it’s the guys in your squadron.

    1. cont’d.

      5. Fear of reprisals. This very unappetizing hypothesis comes to mind because of David Berger’s recent book. If you’ve got something in your closet that you don’t want to come out, when conflict arises you keep your head down. I prefer to believe this isn’t a factor, but it can’t be totally ruled out.

      6. Spiritual virtue. This comes about when you really, really think that the trashing of your work will be a mortification that God will use for your good, and a bum translation visited on the church is the will of the Holy Spirit because authorities approved it. Possible.

      7. Brainwashed by your own rhetoric. We’ve heard so many times that “the train has left the station” and “time to get on board” and “obedience is the only way to be loyal” — from anyone and everyone who is a spokesperson for the project — that these same folks have convinced themselves that there is nothing to be done but accept the inevitable. Very possible, I’d say.

      My own feeling after considering such possibilities is that I am so glad there are people who have been thrown out. It means somebody hasn’t given in to options 1-7, and that gives me hope.

      Other possibilities, anyone?

  16. Rita (as usual) asks all the right questions. I can vouch that there is plenty of #2 and #4 among some of the key players.

    Someone in the thick of the ICEL translation process, not in the ICEL office but right at the committee table doing the translation work, told me about 3 years ago, “My sense is that this won’t work, but the only way the Church can learn that is to put in into practice. Let’s hope we can then learn from the reactions to these texts and see what needs changing in LA.” Note, he was speaking about the much better texts at that point, when we were on the way to the 2008 ICEL translation.

    Another person working with ICEL and heading up the implementation in his home country told me he thinks the translation could fail within its first year; in any case he hopes we have a new text within 10 years, something closer to the 1997 text.

    One of the musicians composing the chants, a man of very refined tastes, told me recently that he doesn’t think these texts are very good on artistic grounds; he then admitted that he didn’t ever think the new ICEL texts were that good, even before Vox Clara mangled them.

    Lots of those heavily involved don’t believe in the project and don’t like the results.

    awr

    1. The predictions about the existing translation were even more dire than these and the existing translation lasted for two generations. This gives us room for optimism.

  17. Mr. Verrecchio:

    Sometime you’re chatting with Cardinal Pell (as I suppose you must, being “a regular columnist for The Catholic Weekly, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Sydney” and since he has personally endorsed your “Harvesting the Fruits of Vatican II” series of conciliar study materials”), could you ask him if the story is true that he intervened with Vox Clara to change the translation of this phrase in Eucharistic Prayer II: “grátias agéntes quia nos dignos habuísti astáre coram te et tibi ministráre”?

    The story making the rounds here in Rome is that when he saw that the new translation, following Liturgiam authenticam and the Ratio translationis, rendered this text: “giving thanks that you have held us worthy to stand (adstare) in your presence and minister to you,” Cardinal Pell told the Committee that he wanted “stand” removed and “be” put in its place, though this is NOT what the Latin says, because “I don’t want people using that text as an excuse not to kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer.”

    We’re constantly being told how the more literal translation of the liturgical texts can be made comprehensible to our not-so-dumb-anymore people by means of a little catechesis (e.g., consubstantial; we profess your Resurrection). It would seem to me that if we can deal with the relationship of Christ to the Father and the mystery of the Lord’s resurrection, we ought to be able to do the same with the posture referenced in that Eucharistic Prayer.

    Remember, I am the Liturgiam authenticam and Ratio translationis advocate on this blog, as a reference to my several articles and comments will make quite clear. I heartily concur with Father Griffiths’ critique of what the revisers (tinkers and tamperers) who have left us with 2010 did to 2008: “they drove a carriage and horses through Liturgiam authenticam,” leaving people like you, again just my opinion, stuck with the mantra: “Well, at least it’s not as bad as the old…

    1. “. . . the old ICEL.”

      The other two stories (you know what they say about Rome: there are thousands of churches and thousands more stories) are that since Cardinal Pell is held in such high favor at court just now, no one (and this includes people very high up at CDWDS, mentioned by name) wants to be seen as going against his pet project (Vox Clara); and that some of the underlings who did the hatchet job on the text (and eventually the hatchet job on the critics of their hatchet job) had presumed he was on his way to Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops.

      Dear Rita and Dom Ruff: how sad it would be if, even though they didn’t get THEIR Christmas presents, we got their “handiwork” as ours!

      1. The story making the rounds here in Rome is that when he saw that the new translation, following Liturgiam authenticam and the Ratio translationis, rendered this text: “giving thanks that you have held us worthy to stand (adstare) in your presence and minister to you,” Cardinal Pell told the Committee that he wanted “stand” removed and “be” put in its place, though this is NOT what the Latin says, because “I don’t want people using that text as an excuse not to kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer.”

        I’ve heard a priest here in New York City edit the current “stand in your presence” to alternate wording (presumably because the congregation was kneeling).

  18. [“the fullness of the church subsists in each local assembly.”

    Ratzinger says this in his Theologische Prinzipienlehre (1982). It is actually basic ecclesiology.]

    You are dreadfully wrong, Joe, if you mean imply that Catholic doctrine recognizes the Church of Christ in all its fullness in Christian communities that are not in full communion with Rome.

    Cd. Ratzinger is most certainly not referring to the local gathering of say, Methodists, but rather I suspect to those local assemblies that are in full communion with the Church of Christ under the headship of the pope; e.g., the diocese, the parish.

  19. “Regarding, then, as to whether or not “the fullness of the church subsists in each local assembly” — by which I mean each eucharistic assembly, under the presidency of a bishop or legitimate delegate of the same — I would refer you, in addition to Joe O’Leary’s helpful comment below…”

    Not to be curt, Reverend (A title of respect, BTW) but to cut to the chase, the premise in this statement hinges entirely upon whether or not the “eucharistic assembly” to which you refer can validly lay claim to “the Eucharist” in the judgment of the Church, and likewise if the “bishop’s” ordination is one that the Catholic Church recognizes as valid via apostolic succession.

    In short, if you’re insisting that the “fullness of the Church of Christ” subsists in an assembly in which the Church does not recognize their orders and their “eucharist” as valid – fine, but such is not Catholic doctrine.

    Do I understand you correctly? Perhaps I have misread your thoughts and you really mean to refer to the Catholic dioceses…

    1. To Mr. Verrecchio, as I said in the post to which you refferred, “I have been speaking of the communion of the Catholic Church,” i.e., the Roman Catholic Church. I know full well that in the opinion of Rome such fullness cannot be recognized in ecclesial communities that share an impaired or imperfect communion.

      I appreciate Fr. Anthony’s moderation and am quite content to let it go at that.

  20. This is your moderator speaking.

    We’re not debating ecclesiology any more on this thread. I welcome any comments about the translation process and the exercise of authority in relationship to it. Any comments on other topics will be deleted.

    awr

    1. Don’t you need a different kind of photo for this kind of comment? Maybe switch to a grim looking, finger-shaking picture.

    2. Oh good! Maybe Louie will get around to letting us know (or finding out for us if he doesn’t) whether or not the story of Cardinal Pell’s heavy-handed instructions to Vox Clara to disregard Liturgiam authenticam and the Ratio translationis is true. The gang at Da Roberto’s wants to know!

    3. Claire, I for one welcome Anthony’s moderation of the discussion, and do not think it is finger-wagging to call a halt to this line of argument.

      What began as Anglican-baiting and/or heresy-hunting, and has now moved into throwing down the gauntlet over the validity of Eucharist in the Anglican communion, seems to me to be not only far off topic but also ill-natured, hostile, and far from a genuine exchange of ideas about the topic at hand. To continue in this vein would be to allow Louise to cross-examine Cody on his orthodoxy — to reveal what?

      Of course, maybe you meant this humorously. 🙂

    4. Yes, sorry about that. Somehow it didn’t come across the way I meant it. (Humorous was the intent). Now I can’t delete it. I wish a moderator would help with that!

  21. “The story making the rounds here in Rome is that when he saw that the new translation, following Liturgiam authenticam and the Ratio translationis, rendered this text: “giving thanks that you have held us worthy to stand (adstare) in your presence and minister to you,” Cardinal Pell told the Committee that he wanted “stand” removed and “be” put in its place, though this is NOT what the Latin says, because “I don’t want people using that text as an excuse not to kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer.”

    I am sorry to say, XR, that I’m unable to shed any light whatsoever on this. I live here in God’s Country (USA) and do not (unfortunately) have the opportunity to knock down Fosters with His Eminence. (Although if I did, I’d most certainly find something better than Fosters!)

    As for the content of the rumor (it is just a rumor, right?) I would share the opinion (presumably yours) that changing “stand” to “be” for the reasons stated is ill advised. The simple fact of the matter is apart from substantial liturgical instruction and catechesis (which hasn’t occurred in any serious measure over the last 40+ years) much of the new translation will only further baffle the faithful anyway. Surely we can explain how one “stands” in the Lord’s presence while on bended knee…

    I think tinkering in general is a slippery slope regardless of who does it and I’m all for criticizing it when one knows it is happening.

    I do not consider my disdain for tinkering a license for irreverence, however – like hurling “antigospel” insults at the “institutional church” or whining about how the Church dares to make with “total assurance absolute pronouncements on all aspects of human life” (like homosexuality, marriage, abortion I suppose?).

    The stench of a broader agenda of dissent is evident in these kinds of comments, and frankly I’m not entirely sure why our moderator doesn’t see fit to call them out. At any rate, this is what drew me…

  22. “When the people wanting the real Council to be followed all stand up to reject the coming translation as illegitimate because SC 22 gives translation authority to territorial bodies of bishops and not Rome, then I will take seriously their claim to follow what the Council really meant.”

    This is the crux of the matter, Fr. Ruff.

    I think you may be referring to SC 36.4, but since you mention SC 22… it precedes the article you intended plainly stating in 22.1, “Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop… ”

    22.2 continues, “In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.”

    SC 36.4 – the key article you offer in support of your claim – refers back to what has been “mentioned above” regarding territorial bodies and their authority, and 36.2 goes further still by plainly referencing article 22 by name.

    Clearly, the Council did not summarily grant absolute authority to the territorial bodies of bishops in translation or anything else; rather, every utterance on the topic of their authority is either tempered with qualifiers such as “conceded by law” and “within certain defined limits” or it refers back to same.

    As it relates to the Holy See we find but one qualifier, “solely.”

    It seems very clear that the territorial bodies’ authority is not nearly as absolute as you imply.

    1. Louie – J. Peter Nixon wrote his dissertation on this subject – specifically, how to interpret these sections in terms of “confirmation” and/or “approval”. His dissertation was posted on PrayTell about 2-3 months ago.

      The link to that post is the upper right hand box which has special articles, etc. It should be one of the first ones and close to the bishop of Leeds book about the first ICEL group and 1996-1998 events.

  23. Thank you, Bill. There’s a great deal there to read and I would be lying if I said I had ample time to do so! In the Introduction, however, he states:

    “The authors of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy clearly intended to give substantial deference to the judgments of the national episcopal conferences regarding the details of translation.”

    I agree. The key questions that presumably he answers going forward is, “How much deference (i.e. what constitutes “substantial”) and more importantly, who exactly decides?”

    Mr. Nixon’s statement implies that he, like I, recognize that the deference afforded is tempered in some way; i.e. is not absolute.

    Therefore, as to the question of who apportions the degree of deference or authority, logically speaking, there are only two possible answers – the territorial bodies themselves or the Holy See.

    If it is the former, then the authority is in fact absolute, but that is not Nixon’s premise at all. That leaves the only logical answer to our question – it is the latter that decides – it is the Holy See that determines how much deference is given in the matter of vernacular translation to the territorial bodies.

    Obviously, Fr. Ruff and others do not feel that enough deference has been granted, but at the end of the day this is for the Holy See to determine.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that Rome will have done so impeccably always and everywhere, just that Rome has acted within its authority in making that call. After all, that IMO is what the Constitution plainly states as I cited it.

    1. I read much of J. Peter Nixon’s dissertation and I don’t find in it a compelling argument in support of Fr. Ruff’s call to “stand up to reject the coming translation as illegitimate because SC 22 [sic] gives translation authority to territorial bodies of bishops and not Rome.”

      Even Nixon maintains that it is clear that the Holy See’s “confirmation” of texts cannot be reduced to the merely symbolic. His overall point seems to be little more than to say “Rome wields legitimate authority in the confirmation process, but I say they’ve exercised it poorly!”

      Nixon gives considerable attention to the precedent of Pope Paul VI’s laissez faire approach to imply that the Holy See has overstepped its bounds under JPII and Benedict XVI, as though we’re discussing the American judiciary. I don’t find this line of argument compelling in the least.

      He also appeals to the Council Fathers’ intent, theorizing that they would not be in favor of the Holy See’s heavy handedness. While some may find the question of whether they would or would not intriguing, the fact is, it is irrelevant. Yes, harsh to American ears used to a judiciary that discerns the intent of legislators, but again, that’s not what we’re talking about.

      The documents of an ecumenical council are not authentically interpreted by polling the bishops who took part in drafting them. The bishops have no authority to promulgate conciliar documents apart from the pope’s confirmation in the first place. To imply that they somehow have the upper hand in interpreting them going forward is hard to take seriously. And BTW, tortured treatments of collegiality that seek to diminish the role of the Roman Pontiff are neither convincing, nor supported in the conciliar text itself.

      If Nixon is the best defense of Fr. Ruff’s position (re: translation authority not resting with Rome), count me unconvinced.

      That does not mean, however, that I am not dismayed by the idea of a translation that is less than faithful to LA and that anything Rome approves must be de facto outstanding.

      1. Here’s the principled and practical crack within the ultramontanist understanding of Rome’s legislative/executive/juridical power & authority:

        Authority and accountability are correlated.

        That is, those who claim ultimate authority bear ultimate accountability. And not only to God but also the faithful (whether you believe this is true in principle or not, it’s increasingly true in reality on the ground – the Internet and social media have shown in this translation episode how this can work). Those who claim dispositive power and do not use it wisely and well must accept the consequences that come from that – in such a situation, appeals to the doc docility of the faithful are unfounded. (This has troubling implications for Rome’s liability, btw, in the abuse situations (among many other things), and is likely why the Potemkin villages of collegiality will be readjusted in perhaps a couple of generations time to something that looks less like what has obtained in the post-Napoleonic era of Church governance.)

        Rome will reap what it sows. No less than we do.

        Right now, Rome is engaged in a game of pretending this not the case. It deserves zero enablement in that delusion, and enablement would be sinful in that situation. That does not, however, justify an antinomian reaction in return. My argument is narrower than that. We should acknowledge the emperor as emperor. We should not praise the clothing he lacks.

      2. I think the point of Roman Catholic unity is the see of Peter and the authority of Rome. Cut off from that, your opinion is just as good as my opinion and we become a Church of opinions. In our Southern Baptist culture here in the south, this has led to hundreds of small congregations scattered all about, each split based upon a disagreement with the pastor and those in power in a particular congregation. Of course, Southern Baptists are congregational and they are successful in their splits and multiple churches, but it does dilute their corporate power for good. The only major group to go into schism after Vatican II was the ultra conservative Lefebre group which opposed not just the liturgical changes but all of Vatican II preferring a Church of the pre-French Revolution. But many in that movement had the skill to pull off the schism. I don’t think liberals in the Church have the same skill or strength of focus, but in decrying aspects of papal authority on the liturgy and not looking to papal teachings especially since Vatican II in this area one is moving in a schismatic direction, but opposite of Lefebrev, the other way. Neither direction is good.

      3. Roman centralists seem to be a product of rational modernism. By this I mean the reliance on the written rule of law, and even the indulgence for changing the rules to suit those in power. It happens with parents, in schools, on the job, and in politics. One has power. One uses power. But as Karl reminds us, there is always a price. The flip side is responsibility, often overlooked in our rights-conscious culture.

        Fr McDonald’s appeal to Rome misses a vital piece, namely its basis in God’s grace and the Gospel witness. Rome’s witness of faith in the face of persecution and martyrdom earned it a regard among ancient Christians. We’ve already seen an erosion in this witness in history, as well as in recent years. The See of Rome, as distinct from the Catholic Church, is in grave danger of losing its distinctive witness. 60% of Christendom and counting.

        The point of Roman Catholic unity is the grace of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Without the Head, the Body is a corpse.

  24. “We should acknowledge the emperor as emperor. We should not praise the clothing he lacks.”

    I can go along with that, provided we recognize the duty of the the faithful to voice their opinions on matters of importance in the Church with the requisite amount of reverence and charity. This isn’t an ultramontanist view of authority, it’s a Catholic view.

    We all have our roles to play in the Church based upon our particular state and vocation, and all of us are accountable, that goes without say. But I get the sense that you imagine Rome to be accountable to the faithful like local government is to the electorate. Not exactly so.

    It’s more accurate to say that the hierarchy of the Church, individually and collectively, has a duty to uphold in service to the Church, and that necessarily involves the good of the faithful. Prudential judgment must be exercised in this effort, and like it or not, accountability in this case is more Divinely rendered than it is from the bottom up.

    E.g., those who use their positions of authority to thrust all manner of liturgical experimentation on the faithful with little regard for the damage they are doing are far more accountable to God than to me, and I’m OK with that even as I’m eager to engage the perpetrators of this kind of injustice.

    “Rome will reap what it sows. No less than we do. Right now, Rome is engaged in a game of pretending this not the case.”

    To imply that the Holy See is behaving as a loose cannon with no sense of obligation toward the good of the faithful is just nonsense. Is there any good will operative in Rome?

    There seems to be a tendency here at Pray Tell to view those who aren’t vitriolic in their approach to the topic of Rome’s role in the translation as either mindless sheep or “magisterial fundamentalists” to use Fr. Ruff’s label, and it strikes me as simplistic and frankly, childish.

    1. Actually, I don’t think accountability in the Church works like local government.

      It’s both less *and* more. It’s different. But it is still accountability. The faithful move to pastors who are more credible. Their time, talent and treasure move. Their docility will follow credible authority, and tread water (at best) with less credible authority. “Yes men” (which is a different category from men who follow authority while not white-washing its problems via a Potemkin village approach) will be viewed as careerists, not shepherds willing to put their lives on their line for the flock. The flock has a good sense of smell. That’s the foundation of accountability.

      I see shepherds in the USA who look at their authority on paper and very obviously act in ways that show they expect reality is highly congruent with what is on paper: these men possess varying mixtures of naivete, narcissism or a lack of social intelligence. Shepherds are given 100% authority on paper, but don’t realize they have to earn interest on it to spend much that is not about an obvious community crisis. So they spend down their capital for a few years before they realize how reality is not congruent with paper.

      Italians have a better cultural feel for this than Americans (and perhaps other Northern European-dominated cultures); Italians don’t expect high congruence between paper and reality, but Americans do. This is a problem for shepherds who ignore this.

      And I don’t there’s a whiff of schism in this (reminding the reader that I have expressly said none of this justifies an antinomian attitude, something I’ve critiqued in another thread). It’s the dominant experience in Church history. One might even call it traditional.

      1. Fr Allan

        You are hauling out the S word imprudently and without justification here. At least with respect to me, to whom you responded earlier and here. I have on many occasions on this blog made clear – as those who felt my barbs can attest – that I cast a gimlet eye on those who take the obvious problems with the current translation woes to be an excuse for non-implementation, et cet. My critique here is devoted to addressing express or implied appeals to docility of the faithful in ways that disserve the truth (and, therefore, God).

        Please either clarify and narrow your reference to schism or retract, please. It’s especially unseemly for someone in your position.

      2. I pull out the “S” word in a very guarded way and not attached to your theology. It took quite a while for the Lefebre group to actually go into schism, but the rhetoric concerning the popes at the time, Vatican II, authority all sound familiar to me. It sows the seeds into the minds of those who would like to throw Rome into the fire. Some of the rhetoric against papal authority and Rome, and I don’t mean yours, is coming from Catholics, but if it came from Protestants on this blog they would be sharply criticized at least I hope. Of course, I don’t know the religious affiliation of many who comment, so they could in fact be anti-Catholic Protestants. As one who grew up in the south and can attest to anti-Catholicism and the rhetoric used, it would be easy to assume that it is anti-Catholic. It’s just sad when it comes from our own if that in fact is the case.

  25. “The faithful move to pastors who are more credible. Their time, talent and treasure move. Their docility will follow credible authority, and tread water (at best) with less credible authority.”

    Yes. This kind of “ground up” accountability does exist. How this plays out Nov. 27, 2011 going forward will be interesting indeed! Here too Divine accountability will have its say for pastors and faithful alike.

    Some laity will deem pastors “credible” because they too reject the new translation, others will flee such pastors in search of one more inclined to treat the Church as Holy Mother… All will be judged.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but if Fr. Ruff’s call for “all to reject” (along with comments I’ve heard from other priests) is any indication, it seems as though a time of choosing lies ahead, and perhaps no small amount of upheaval as well.

    It would be cavalier to say “Bring it on!” but on some level I welcome this as a necessary part of a call to return to faithfulness.

    1. Mr. Verrechio,

      Ahem – where did I ever issue a call for “all to reject” anything? I’m giving workshops all over the country at the invitation of bishops and dioceses and organizations, and in all cases I hold up what’s positive in the new missal and especially help priests and parish musicians make use of the new chants. Chant, Latin or English, is my specialty. If Mother Church gives us this missal, I will do everything I can to help us celebrate the mysteries as well as we can with it.

      I think the translation is not high quality and I wouldn’t try to defend it, and I think the exercise of authority which brought it about is bordering on scandalous. I’m doing my best to serve the Church by being as truthful as I can about all this.

      Please don’t accuse me of things I never said. Either offer proof that I issued a call for all to reject, or retract it and apologize. This is a condition for your continued participation in this blog.

      awr

  26. “Fr McDonald’s appeal to Rome misses a vital piece, namely its basis in God’s grace and the Gospel witness.”

    No one would diminish these things (God’s grace and the Gospel witness) but the Lord’s will for the governance of His Church isn’t devoid of the structure and order of which Fr. McDonald writes.

    “Without the Head, the Body is a corpse.”

    Indeed, Todd, and Christ willed that the Roman Pontiff serve as the head of His body on earth, not simply in figure but in authority. The See of Peter therefore is as Fr. McDonald wrote, the point of Roman Catholic unity. This isn’t the lunatic ramblings of some “Roman centralist” fringe; it’s Catholic doctrine.

    It would be refreshing if dissenters were plainspoken enough to just say, “You have heard it said that Catholic doctrine says, but I tell you…”

    1. It would be refreshing if dissenters were plainspoken enough to just say, “You have heard it said that Catholic doctrine says, but I tell you…”

      Are we still talking about the new translation? If so, then I’ll be plainspoken and say, “You have heard it said by highly placed hierarchs that the new English translation is a theologically rich and aesthetically edifying product, but I tell you that it is in many places very poor and unedifying and it is crushingly disappointing that this is what we’ve been given after waiting so long.”

      Does this make me a dissenter, by your definition?

      1. Helena, read my post to you on the other thread. It was not four decades ago, and Stephen was a sick man, not a hero.

    2. It could be, Louie, that we haven’t spoken plainly in the way you have suggested because we are neither dissenters nor schismatics. More likely you have misunderstood or have misinterpreted.

    3. Louie, why do you feel the need to be so aggressive in you posts, I have tried reading them but have found them so angry. I don’t know as much as you about the liturgy and other Church issues but your approach here is very off putting.

  27. F C Bauerschmidt :

    It would be refreshing if dissenters were plainspoken enough to just say, “You have heard it said that Catholic doctrine says, but I tell you…”
    Are we still talking about the new translation? If so, then I’ll be plainspoken and say, “You have heard it said by highly placed hierarchs that the new English translation is a theologically rich and aesthetically edifying product, but I tell you that it is in many places very poor and unedifying and it is crushingly disappointing that this is what we’ve been given after waiting so long.”
    Does this make me a dissenter, by your definition?

    That’s entirely possible, but I cannot honestly say. We were actually talking about whether or not the See of Peter is the point of unity of the Church

    I wonder why you’re so crushingly disappointed. Is it because you think the new translation falls short of reflecting the true glory of Holy Mass, or because you’re understanding of the same is a bit skewed, or some other reason altogether…

    Whether or not you’re a “dissenter” doesn’t interest me very much, but why you feel crushed with disappointment does if you care to elaborate.

    1. If the Holy Father stands by the norms developed in Liturgiam authenticam (and, remember, this work was submitted to the CDF for review whilst he was that Dicastery’s Prefect) and the Ratio translationis, and by what he said in his final discourse during the UK papal visit (to the bishops at Oscott), I cannot help but think that he will feel more than disappointed, perhaps even betrayed by those to whom he entrusted the work of producing a faithful translation of the Missale Romanum editio typica tertia. There is NOTHING in the theological writings of Joseph Ratzinger, that I can think of, that would indicate he is the sort of person to take refuge in the intellectually (not to say ecclesiastically) dishonest “mental-dodge” of “faithful but not slavish.”

    2. Disappointed because I’ve lived my entire life as a Catholic with a very dry and occasionally dumb translation and I had been hoping, since at least the mid 90s, when I saw the first samples of the 1998 translation, that we would eventually get a translation that was both linguistically and theologically richer. When I saw the 2008 Order of Mass I was slightly disappointed, particularly by the Eucharistic prayers, because I judged the quality of the English to be somewhat stilted, but I thought that with time I could get used to it, not unlike the way I had gotten used to the current translation, and that there were some real theological gains. With 2010, it seemed to me that we had moved from slightly stilted to embarrassingly bad, both in terms of fidelity to the Latin and the quality of the English prose. And it did not help that this was produced by a process that represents some of the more unlovely aspects of the Church I love: anonymous, untalented bureaucrats whose motivations are to me inexplicable, unless it be their own will to power.

      So I am disappointed at the opportunity missed: the opportunity to have an English translation of the Mass that even approaches the beauty of the mystery it celebrates.

      I’ll get over it. I’ll learn to tune some things out, or to find them amusing, or to think of them as reminders that God in his grace has chosen to build a Church from the crooked timbers of humanity. If the on-going sex abuse crisis hasn’t driven me from the Church, I sure as hell am not going to let the English Missal Crisis do so. But the disappointment will linger for a long time.

  28. Fr. Ruff,

    “When the people wanting the real Council to be followed all stand up to reject the coming translation as illegitimate because SC 22 gives translation authority to territorial bodies of bishops and not Rome, then I will take seriously their claim to follow what the Council really meant.”

    I will accept whatever you say you meant, but apart from an explanation to the contrary, this sure as heck looks like a call to reject. What you said here seems to say that one who truly desires that the Council be followed (I would presume you would encourage everyone to desire as much) would naturally “reject the coming translation.” Please tell what I’m missing.

    All I can know is what you’ve written here. If I misunderstood, (which is obvious already) I do apologize, but in fairness you must admit that this quote is clumsy enough to have invited such a reading.

    1. OK, I can see how you misread it. I was saying something about those who claim to follow the real Council over against what most of the Church has done, and saying that if they want to be consistent, then they should follow 22.2 and reject LA and this translation as going beyond what SC saw. It’s not my position – it’s what I would think they hold if they really want to follow SC across the board. My point really is: they’re selective in they’re reading of SC, just as they accuse the rest of the Church of being.

      FWIW, respected theologian Kaczynski holds that SC instructs Rome merely to ratify the translations bishops approve; Bishop Dunn (see our post on this) holds that Rome has a role in approving but cannot impose translations according to SC; Nixon sees a role for Rome in approving the translations, but not wholesale changes (like we’re about to get) or impositiong – a new right invented by LA. So there’s a range of views.

      awr

  29. “So I am disappointed at the opportunity missed: the opportunity to have an English translation of the Mass that even approaches the beauty of the mystery it celebrates.”

    Understood entirely, Rev. Mr. Bauerschmidt. I do think there is legitimate room for us to embrace this as a step in the right direction – not to minimize or gloss over any missed opportunities, but because it really is.

    The biggest opportunity we have with the new translation is the fact that it is an impetus for catechesis. The overwhelming majority of Catholics have had precious little liturgical instruction over the last 40 years and consequently they have little awareness of what Holy Mass truly is. The preparation process will hopefully be used as time for serious catechesis. It has to be. That alone will produce incredible blessings, IMO.

    Lastly, I can imagine the Church revisiting the Missal in a number of years with a minor revision aimed at the things you find most troubling. We’ll see…

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

    Anthony Ruff, OSB :

    OK, I can see how you misread it. I was saying something about those who claim to follow the real Council over against what most of the Church has done, and saying that if they want to be consistent, then they should follow 22.2 and reject LA and this translation as going beyond what SC saw. It’s not my position – it’s what I would think they hold if they really want to follow SC across the board. My point really is: they’re selective in they’re reading of SC, just as they accuse the rest of the Church of being.
    FWIW, respected theologian Kaczynski holds that SC instructs Rome merely to ratify the translations bishops approve; Bishop Dunn (see our post on this) holds that Rome has a role in approving but cannot impose translations according to SC; Nixon sees a role for Rome in approving the translations, but not wholesale changes (like we’re about to get) or impositiong – a new right invented by LA. So there’s a range of views.
    awr

    I get it and I do apologize. This medium is great, but it has shortcomings WRT to understanding what people are really saying. Tone? Forget it! I see exactly what you intended. My bad, as the hipper people say. : )

    To Margaret O’Conner – No, I’m not nearly as angry as it seems, case in point. It just seems that some of the posts here with legitimate points to make against the handling of the translations drift into irreverent land. I find that difficult to tolerate quietly. That said, I would do well to assume that this too is a shortcoming in the way we’re communicating and just move on. I shall try to do better. : )

  31. “FWIW, respected theologian Kaczynski holds that SC instructs Rome merely to ratify the translations bishops approve; Bishop Dunn (see our post on this) holds that Rome has a role in approving but cannot impose translations according to SC; Nixon sees a role for Rome in approving the translations, but not wholesale changes (like we’re about to get) or impositiong – a new right invented by LA. So there’s a range of views.”

    I see that, Fr. Ruff, Rome cannot impose entirely, nor can it be expected to confirm simply as if it’s a formality, but aren’t we always going to find ourselves facing the million dollar question – Who gets to make that judgment about how much is too much in either direction?

    And isn’t the reasonableness of Rome modifications going to be based upon prudential judgments made as to the quality of the territorial body’s work?

    If the bishops produced a text that was largely drivel, we’d be begging for Rome to clean it up, no?

  32. “If the bishops produced a text that was largely drivel, we’d be begging for Rome to clean it up, no?”

    No.

    I’d say gather a group of linguists, poets, musicians, writers, theologians, preachers, and such, Delegate to the competent level of authority and go from there.

    1. The paraphrase of the Missale Romanum by “linguists, poets, musicians [&c]” will result in an English translation of the typical Missal almost wholly divorced from the Latin liturgical tradition. I’ve often thought that those who are deeply disillusioned by the new English translation should propose an anglophone Missal completely divorced from the normative Latin rite. The 1998 ICEL free composition of optional orations motioned towards a significant separation between the English vernacular and the Latin typical text.

      The Mass cannot be understood outside the context of the philological sweep of classical and sacral Latin. The Mass “thinks” in Latin; its glories unfold through a knowledge and reference for the language. Vernacular translation is important for comprehension, but any vernacular will always feebly reflect the literary quality and theological profundity of ancient Latin liturgical compositions. This new literal translation is somewhat stilted in many places. Yet in other places, such as the Confiteor, Gloria, Roman Canon, many of the prefaces, and the Domine non sum dignus, the new literal methodology will unlock much of the underlying meaning of the Missale Romanum for the congregation.

      Perhaps, then, those who prefer paraphrases should simply invent their own liturgy based in the flimsy and transient whims of today rather than the well-worn paths of time-honored Latin prayer. I consider a movement towards paraphrased and even wholly confected vernacular liturgy an unnecessary shielding, and even deliberate obfuscation, of the treasures of the Missale Romanum.

      1. “The Mass “thinks” in Latin; its glories unfold through a knowledge and reference for the language.”

        That should be reverence. Labials.

        If my passion for the Latin language is “magical”, then the liturgical school that emphasizes colloquialism and active participation above liturgical heritage is shortsighted. The prayer of the Holy Sacrifice communicates the objective reality of salvation in the world through its sacramental action. Immediate aural comprehension, congruence with popular communication, or an emphasis on “how the Mass makes me feel” are irrelevant to its sacramental efficacy.

      2. Jordan, I think it’s an overstatement to say that the Mass “thinks in Latin” – since the Catholic Church has always celebrated the Eucharistic sacrifice in a number of languages, and since it is now permitted to celebrate it entirely in vernacular. I can’t think of any historical precedent in any Christian tradition for a vernacular liturgy being “frozen” as a translation of another “sacred language” without vernacular additions being made by local Churches – are there any? Even LA allows, please note, for production and approval of original texts by conferences – but Cardinal Medina (CDW) said he didn’t feel like approving any at this point. Note also, even the medieval Latin liturgy received thousands upon thousands of local textual additions in the form of “tropes” – local ‘commentaries’ made by people who knew Latin, loved the liturgy, and couldn’t resist bringing their spirituality into the liturgy.

        I don’t hear anyone advocating immediate comprehension, colloquialism, or emphasis on how Mass “makes me feel.” Those are straw men, all of them.

        Pax,

        awr

      3. Father: I should keep my prejudices to myself. I apologize.

        My deep passion for (and perhaps idolatry of) the Latin language, however, attracts me to the most literal translations as possible. I still maintain that certain parts of the Mass, particularly the Roman Canon, should never have been translated into any vernacular language. Yet I must respect your arguments and of those who advocate for the value of a thorough vernacularization.

        The arguments presented here are quite frustrating to this ardent Latinist. Frustration and fear, when confronted and rechanneled, can eventually engender respect of other’s positions.

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

    Todd Flowerday :

    “If the bishops produced a text that was largely drivel, we’d be begging for Rome to clean it up, no?”
    No.
    I’d say gather a group of linguists, poets, musicians, writers, theologians, preachers, and such, Delegate to the competent level of authority and go from there.

    That sounds good in theory, Todd, but unless that group has actual authority (i.e. enforceable) we both know where this would go. Nowhere. And so the point remains – true authority must rest somewhere, and all indications are, to me anyway, that SC places it ultimately with Rome.

  34. “I cannot help but think that he will feel more than disappointed, perhaps even betrayed by those to whom he entrusted the work of producing a faithful translation of the Missale Romanum editio typica tertia. There is NOTHING in the theological writings of Joseph Ratzinger, that I can think of, that would indicate he is the sort of person to take refuge in the intellectually (not to say ecclesiastically) dishonest “mental-dodge” of “faithful but not slavish.”

    So what then do you think he will do, XR? He could send them back to the drawing board, I suppose, but based on the way he has handled other matters liturgical, I think he would take refuge in the fact that we are taking a major step in the right direction – especially if the necessary catechesis takes place.

    1. With all respect: have you been following the degeneration of the 2008 text into the 2010 mess, here and elsewhere online (and great silence from the self-designated “loyalist” blogs/websites, which tells you that they KNOW something’s gone terribly wrong)?

      Mistranslations (some of them egregious); butchering of English (some of it comical); the “Areas of Difficulty” in thirteen sections and thirty-six to forty-six pages depending on format: this is your idea of “taking a major step in the right direction”?

      And what amount of catechesis could possibly help people understand how mistranslations, incorrect English, and intentional violations of authoritative directives are a good thing, or at least not THAT bad a thing? And please don’t keep pointing back to all the problems of “the old ICEL” – that was supposed to be the whole point of “the new ICEL,” and the supposed expertise of Vox Clara (Cardinal Pell’s responsibility, by the way: I dare you to ask him about that and that other question regarding Eucharistic Prayer II. If character holds, it will be your last day as “a regular columnist” for the Sydney Archdiocese): that we would have a Missal FREE from the above listed defects.

      Or do we just hope the people don’t find out about the incompetence and ambition that have visited 2010 upon us, and just help them appreciate the Mass more? Better than nothing, I guess.

      The old Novice Master used to say that the difference between the Saints and the rest of us was that the Saints always thought of what might have been and sighed, “If only.” The rest of us shrugged at what was and muttered, “at least.” Sounds to me as if you and most of the Church are ready to mutter “at least.” That’s NOT my impression of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.

      1. Xavier (or should I say Father Rindfleish?), you seem to suggest that your next hope is our pope: then you might try to find someone who is well known and well respected by Pope Benedict, and get him to ask for an audience and present the case to him.

        That person will also need to propose a way out that does not overtly go against any authority, since Pope Benedict seems to be to be extraordinarily respectful of officialdom. At this late stage that seems quite difficult; perhaps as a first step, a delay in implementation could be obtained? Just long enough to straighten things out.

      2. Claire, funny that you should mention such a solution. A while back now, a friend, personally involved in the production of 2008, told me he had been at an informal gathering to discuss the exact scenario you suggest. The names of several American bishops, and one each from British, Canadian and Australian episcopates “surfaced” as possibilities to seek an urgent meeting with the Holy Father. The sad conclusion: none of them would want to “go up against Cardinal Pell,” whose “child” Vox Clara is and who “is in great favour at court just now.” That friend hasn’t been around town lately, and I’ve not spoken with him since all these documents have been leaking. Maybe such a meeting is more possible now, I don’t know, and he wouldn’t necessarily tell me.

        Your other suggestion came up amongst other friends involved at the pre-Vox Clara stage. Begin in Advent 2011 with an insert to the current Sacramentary (sic) containing just the Order of Mass, despite extra “I believes” in the Credo, the mangled “Nobis quoque peccatoribus,” and the disastrous “Per ipsum.” Hold off on the full Missal till the worst errors (of translation and English usage) are fixed, see what “bugs” show up in the Order of Mass, then issue a definitive Missal the following Advent. Recall such “inserts” in the mid/late 60s, that the Roman Canon changed in a few places, and that when the Novus Ordo was first published in insert form, the “Mystery of faith” was still in the Words of Consecration in the Roman Canon, there was a profound bow (like the Supplices) in the post-consecratory epicleses of the three new Eucharistic Prayers. All those things were standardized in the final print up of the definitive Sacramentary. Certainly sounds preferable to having to mark up an expensive red leather Missal as the months and errors unfold.

  35. I find myself wondering if Louie realizes that even 2010 is not the final word and is being tinkered with even as we speak? Tinkered with by unknown protagonists whose qualifications so to do may well be suspect…

  36. Jordan says: “If my passion for the Latin language is “magical”, then the liturgical school that emphasizes colloquialism and active participation above liturgical heritage is shortsighted.”

    I am not a scholar at all, and certainly I do not have some of the historical and encyclopedic knowledge that many have here…. but where in V2/SC does it state that “liturgical heritage” for its own sake, is a value to be held above “full, conscious and active participation?”

    In my experience, “liturgical heritage” for many, is a short cut for maintaining a museum, to gaze and indulge in nostalgia for its own sake.

    Why is active participation so painful and fearful for so many? Why is it, that the sound of a singing, praying baptized people have to be rationalized away? Why does this scare some people so? I am at my wits end sometimes, trying to understand the efforts to bring down this principle. It really seems to unnerve some, and it just seems so sad.

  37. Do not get me wrong, I love our liturgical heritage and tradition. But only inso far as it contributes to the “glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful” and to the far greater liturgical tradition of communal prayer that sends baptized people out on mission. That is the heritage and tradition that we should be defending and promoting… not necessarily, or exclusively, a particular genre or timbre of our worship. We have to be careful, to not “worship our worship.”

  38. Here’s Jordan:

    The 1998 ICEL free composition of optional orations motioned towards a significant separation between the English vernacular and the Latin typical text.

    (a) ICEL had already begun free composition of orations in the 1973 Missal — viz. the Alternative Opening Prayers that many have found so nourishing. 1998 did nothing new that had not already been done before.

    (b) In any case, this was mandated (not recommended) by Comme le Prévoit 43:
    Texts translated from another language are clearly not sufficient for the celebration of a fully renewed liturgy. The creation of new texts will be necessary.

    See also Liturgiam Authenticam 106-108, which, as Dom Anthony has already pointed out, allows for “the composition of new liturgical texts in a vernacular language”.

  39. “Pray Tell has learned that some experts have been eliminated from the preparation of liturgical books because of their criticism of the missal translation project.”

    So THAT’S what happened to the linguists?!

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