From a diocesan worship director

I know the author of this post quite well. This person is a director of a diocesan liturgy office. Until I received this email, I had no idea that this person was struggling with the forthcoming English missal – everything from the worship office about the missal is unfailingly postive, optimistic, hopeful. Now the truth comes out.   – awr

This post and article [“Disagreeing and questioning…in union with the Pope and bishops] do a nice job in addressing some of the issues and the benefits of doing theology in academic institutions. My question is, “What about those of us in active ministry?” What happens when, as with the evolution of the new translation of the Roman Missal, those of us in parish or diocesan ministry need to catechize and even promote changes that are suspect by many theologians and scholars in academic institutions? 

I have been wrestling with this for a very long time. On the one hand, my hands are tied if I want to keep my job – I need to find the positive a translation which, for me, has connotations. I need to be obedient to my bishop (and the Magisterium) and accept what the church is giving us at this time. On the other hand, I struggle with the very heart of my ministry and my great love of the liturgy, soon to be with a translation that could divide many communities.

Many days bring tears as I drive closer and closer to my office wondering if this day should be my last. When I keep a positive attitude, I do love my work! Many days I feel guilt about not being able to disclose the full truth because it might “look bad” and thereby create even more negativity. Of course, after spending a few years in an academic institution where one is encouraged to question, dialogue, support and challenge Church teaching, it is very difficult not to engage in such activity when entering into ministry.

In the end, I rely on the theologians in the academic institutions to question, dialogue and challenge Church officials on the issues related to my ministerial area. I am very glad for their presence within the church to provide a voice for those of us in ministry who may not be as free to challenge publicly what we must implement. I am deeply grateful for their courage and strength in helping the Church be a relevant and influential place to nurture faith.

As you say in your post, Fr. Anthony, everything has a time and place. The struggle for me is how to reconcile the place I am in and still be faithful to what I have learned as a student of theology and as a Roman Catholic who loves the liturgy. Thanks again for the work you do!

78 comments

  1. diocesan worship director —I do love my work! Many days I feel guilt about not being able to disclose the full truth because it might “look bad” and thereby create even more negativity. —

    I think this person has the moral obligation to voice her specific objections to the new transaltion to her superiors and at the same time *not* to stir dissent among the faithful.

  2. This is a classic example of what’s wrong with the Church today. She has appointed herself chief liturgist for the Church and her bishop’s and the pope’s approvals take second place to her conscience.

    I would l say that if she doesn’t approve of the translation she should quit rather than be a hypocrite. That will remove her “conscience problem.”

    What IS the difference between a worship director and a terrorist?

    1. “She has appointed herself chief liturgist for the Church and her bishop’s and the pope’s approvals take second place to her conscience.”

      Ray, you are over-interpreting this person’s words. He or she never says anything like what you have stated. It’s important to be fair to what the post actually says. You have not been fair here.

    2. Charity?

      Whence comes your insinuation that he or she is a terrorist? Do you know anything about this person’s ministry or public statements on the missal? Of course you don’t.

      I have the feeling that you want lots and lots of people to leave the Church. You give that impression in many of your posts.

      awr

    3. Your total lack of empathy for someone who is honest enough to write about their struggle with the new Missal is unChristian.
      I am not a liturgist but, from what I have read, I for one am not looking forward to the new Missal.

  3. I teach and preach about the new Missal, and I do not hesitate to tell people that the translation is a poor one in my judgement, and that the process behind the translation was discouragingly dysfunctional. One can be honest in this way without “stirring dissent among the faithful.” What I find is that people do not look favorably on any leader’s attempt to paint an entirely happy face on something that may be seriously flawed. That I should quit rather than teach with my uncomfortable reservations about the new translation would be abdication. Conversion talk, and reservations about the status quo are part and parcel of responsible preaching and catechesis.

    1. Jan L–I do not hesitate to tell people that the translation is a poor one in my judgement, and that the process behind the translation was discouragingly dysfunctional. One can be honest in this way without “stirring dissent among the faithful.” —

      I’m afraid I disagree, Jan. I’ve often had this argument with a beautiful woman I know. I may lose it here as well. I maintain that it is not being dishonest to guard your tongue and refrain from just saying whatever comes into your mind regardless of the audience. She says that’s dishonest. Looks like you’re on her side on this one.

      1. “…refrain from just saying whatever comes into your mind regardless of the audience…”

        This characterization of a person’s honest struggles and long hard path is uncharitable, if not slanderous. For all you know (and may I remind you that you know almost nothing about this situation or person?), the person’s comments might be well thought out, not just “whatever comes into his/her mind.”

        I don’t believe all conservatives and all defenders of the magisterium are mean-spirited. Really. But GA and RM are making it harder for me to believe that.

        awr

      2. Anthony,

        I read George’s comment as applying to Jan’s comment, not the original post. Perhaps it’s not a fair comment to Jan’s either, but it seems to me somewhat more appropriate.

    2. Yes, try to work within the boundaries of your charter as diocesan liturgy director, but be frank and open at the same time. Express your own reservations and criticisms in a cordial, but diplomatic way. The people you’re trying to sell this pig in a poke to aren’t stupid. Most will appreciate your candid assessment, especially with convincing examples to support your critique. Don’t let the hard core members of your audience–the watch dogs of the inerrant “magisterium”– throw you. They’ve more than likely turned you off as a heretic or “unorthodox” upon hearing your first criticism.

      If the bishop or his representative doesn’t approve of your judgments/opinions, or your modus operandi, of course, they have the right to dish you. In the absence of a totally happy scenario you paint, with the emphasis on ONLY the positive aspects of the 2011 missal, you can be fairly certain your stay in the job of diocesan liturgy director will, indeed, be a short one.
      I believe most bishops will tolerate some criticism, but in any event, be prepared to pack your bags.

      1. We have seen how quickly critics of the new translation lose their jobs. I think the person in question should just keep mum until the full horror of the new translation is unveiled. Then he/she will only be one indignant voice among many. I also recommend him/her not to feign any enthusiasm for the new translation; just treat it as a routine issue; devote his/her best energies elsewhere.

    3. Given the current climate, your honesty can easily be tarred as “stirring dissent among the faithful”. In the case of theologians, their very livelihood depends on not being perceived as stirrers of dissent, so honesty goes out the window.

      1. Oh, I don’t know. Hans Kung, the late Edvard Schillebeeckx surely strirred debate. As for their livelihood, the Dominicans perhaps did fairly well by Fr. Schillebeeckx. I don’t think Fr. Kung has done too badly either.

      2. Dunstan Harding, you are unaware of the cases of many theologians, some with families to support, whose careers have been aborted because they are perceived as unorthodox in higher circles. Schillebeeckx was never condemned by Rome, because he had cardinals on his side. Kung enjoyed the support of his great University. But others can now flourish only thanks to being picked up by institutions outside the Catholic Church or by seeking another livelihood than theology. Most Catholic theologians have not guarantee whatever of an alternative livelihood. They are understandably AFRAID.

      3. Schillebeeckx was never condemned by Rome, because he had cardinals on his side.

        We’ve been over this before. He was never silenced, but in 1986 the CDF issued a notification that his book “The Church with a Human Face: A New and Expanded Theology of Ministry” was “in disagreement with the teaching of the church”.

  4. I think Pope Benedict said something recently about beingnice to each other. I am a liberal and proud of it. The remarks Mr. Marshall made are an example of what the Pope was taking about,

    1. Carl;

      Thank You! I am most definitely NOT a liberal, but I have longed to actually hear from a liberal who is proud of their views (I’m serious), rather than calling themselves “mainstream” or “grass-roots” or some other euphemism. I am conservative… you are liberal. Makes it easier to talk…

  5. Very tough situation and sympathize deeply for this director. Admire his integrity and willingness to voice his concerns – if only more had the same gumption.

    That being said, would agree with the comments by Mr. Harding. I have always respected speakers (corporate business world or church) who can articulate their concerns and even internal debate in a way, tone, and manner that does not blame, point fingers, or judge. Difficult task when passion and emotions are involved.

    My experience is that adult education and results happen best when the speaker is honest, direct, and is seen as “authentic” – not just the bishop’s spokesperson or a pastor’s minion.

    May I add – recently a number of young theologians met at a catholic university. One of the striking topics was that some have to be extremely careful in terms of their theological subjects, published works, and comments given the current Ex Corde injunction and certain bishops’ interpretations. Thus, their academic freedom has been limited because of fear of job loss. This is not good for the future of the church; for the theologians involved. Very few folks who are employed by bishops/dioceses (whether teaching in catholic schools, college/universities, or on pastoral/diocesan staffs) have the luxury of speaking from the heart.

    BTW – any number of clerical friends even a bishop or two would say the same thing. Many priests have left active ministry after years of struggling with multiple issues that mirror this liturgy director’s.

    1. You seem to ask the liturgy director to put his/her head on the chopping block in way that our spineless theologians would never do. The present anomalous situation is temporary — as soon as the new translation is imposed we will all be in the same boat and there will be no need for an individual liturgy director to be a martyr. You tell him/her, speak up now — but we have seen how useless this is and how stupid people are about this question.

      1. Joe – that is NOT what I am saying. Have heard a number of people be quite honest about the translation, the process, etc. but able to do so without condemnation but just relating the historical process; the pluses and minuses. Then, how to implement as a community of faith. This is a nuanced approach which does not always work given the issue, tension, concern.

      1. Catholic University of America showed its mettle when it sacked Charles Curran at Vatican and episcopal behest — no theologian teaching there can afford to be critical of the magisterium.

        I presume the situation is the same in all pontifical universities.

      2. I presume the situation is the same in all pontifical universities.

        At least in the US these are a tiny fraction of the Catholic institutions of higher education.

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

    Anthony Ruff, OSB :

    “…refrain from just saying whatever comes into your mind regardless of the audience…”
    This characterization of a person’s honest struggles and long hard path is uncharitable, if not slanderous. For all you know (and may I remind you that you know almost nothing about this situation or person?), the person’s comments might be well thought out, not just “whatever comes into his/her mind.”
    I don’t believe all conservatives and all defenders of the magisterium are mean-spirited. Really. But GA and RM are making it harder for me to believe that.
    awr

    Surely not all the defenders of the Magisterium? some to be sure. But, as a priest, are you not a defender of the teaching authority of the Church? Thus, we have one exception to begin with.

  7. Cecile – supporting the “teaching authority” of the church doesn’t mean an automatic 100% agreement. Teaching authority must also respect the sensus fidelium, those involved in leadership, experts/theologians/biblical experts. You appear to be defining “obedience” as mindless, separate from each person’s journey of faith, discernment, and then decision to support. Even priests have struggles; operate in both the “internal” and “external” forum to use “old” conscience language. Using your approach eliminates dialogue; what happens to conversion/metanoia; ignores the long history of wrong-headed teaching authority as demonstrated in some encyclicals; papal pronouncements, etc. It is not as black and white as you may think.

  8. Of course, after spending a few years in an academic institution where one is encouraged to question, dialogue, support and challenge Church teaching, it is very difficult not to engage in such activity when entering into ministry.

    There is a considerable and very real difference between academics and parish ministry, as this poor person has discovered. Those of us in parish ministry discovered long ago that the “questioning” and “dialogue” so valued in an academic setting have very little place in a parish setting. My pastor wouldn’t tolerate it, and the Bishop certainly wouldn’t. There is the occasional Pastor who is open to the “team ministry” thing, but in general, it’s not the case.

    The dillema this person is experiencing is very real. I have left several parishes during my career because of differences of opinion with the pastor concerning liturgical vision… I don’t enjoy being told to do what I believe is inherently wrong. But that’s my recourse to a remedy when that situation arises…I have the option of leaving. However, it’s not my place to “oppose” or “question” the views of my employer…I was hired at his behest, and in the simplest terms, that means ultimately listening and doing what I’m told. It has nothing to do with “blind obedience” or one’s “faith journey”… it’s more of a job description kind of thing. There is no “tenure” or “seniority” in parish ministry. And there is no culture of “questioning” or “discernment” in most places.

    I hope this person works this out… working in the Chancery is no picnic to be sure, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first Director of Worship to feel like this. What surprises me is that this person seems to have suddenly come to this realization, when this aspect of parish work.. particularly at the Chancery, is pretty well known.

    1. “I have left several parishes during my career because of differences of opinion with the pastor concerning liturgical vision… I don’t enjoy being told to do what I believe is inherently wrong.”

      Few can enjoy the luxury of such a delicate conscience.

      ” But that’s my recourse to a remedy when that situation arises…I have the option of leaving. However, it’s not my place to “oppose” or “question” the views of my employer…I was hired at his behest, and in the simplest terms, that means ultimately listening and doing what I’m told.”

      What about the situation where every English speaking church has the same translation that conflicts with conscience? Where should the person go then?

      “I hope this person works this out… working in the Chancery is no picnic to be sure, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first Director of Worship to feel like this. What surprises me is that this person seems to have suddenly come to this realization, when this aspect of parish work.. particularly at the Chancery, is pretty well known.”

      The fact is that the person is being asked to SABOTAGE the liturgy by the very persons whose godgiven responsibility is to protect it. This is a seriously anomalous situation. I think that soon the whole church will see the anomaly and that the person in question should keep his or her head down till them. Those who will suffer most in the end will be those whose complacent arrogance allowed the farce to reach this point.

      1. Joe;

        The fact is that the person is being asked to SABOTAGE the liturgy by the very persons whose godgiven responsibility is to protect it.

        This statement relies on a number of “facts” that are actually opinions.

  9. “I don’t believe all conservatives and all defenders of the magisterium are mean-spirited. Really. But GA and RM are making it harder for me
    to believe that.”

    I am in agreement with this statement and I am able to sympathize mightily with the worship director who wrote this. We are in the exact same boat, except that he/she resides on the Lido Deck while I am in steerage. 🙂
    I am the director of music and liturgy for a small parish in a working class neighborhood, a member of NPM and I serve on the diocesan music commission. As the implementation date approaches, my pastor and I find that we share the same opinion of this process and this translation. So who will be the cheerleader here? I am rehearsing several scripts now, but I still feel hypocritical.
    And please don’t tell me to leave! My faith, my church, my parish are part of the fabric of my being. The assembly trusts me and I do not wish to be untruthful to them by telling them how wonderfully faithful this translation is to the Latin – most of them won’t understand the Latinate vocabulary inclusions and syntax (I’m not sure I do!) and they will be ashamed to ask.

    1. How about: “The Vatican says that […] the Vatican thinks that […] I don’t see it and I don’t agree with their assessment, but I’m going to give it my best try anyway (at least for a while). Maybe some good will come out of this somehow. ”

      If you genuinely intend to give it a fair try, and if you have the trust of the people in that parish, they will follow you, if only to help you in your difficult endeavor.

      1. Thank you for your reply, Claire! That is a wonderful script with which to approach the folks! It’s high on the list 🙂

  10. This is unfortunate but is also to be expected. I don’t know this person’s issues beyond what was published here so I do not necessarily reference him but any ecclesiastical professional committed to the status-quo, those opposed to SP, and those who’ve dedicated their professional lives to liturgical novelty will be seriously challenged by any significant reform. Their crisis of conscience pales, however, when compared to what so many priests and devout laity went through in 1969, 1970. We need the humility to accept change just as good priests and pious laity did then.

    1. So why are you rooting out “the person’s issues beyond what was published here”? Does not her/his witness stand squarely on its own feet?

      “We need the humility to accept change just as good priests and pious laity did then.”

      The change then was welcomed as a creative and constructive one, in the spirit of Vatican II. No one is welcoming the present change, because it is a change for the worse. Your appeal to humility mocks the courageous refusal of the German Bishops, who recognized that it is their responsibility as bishops to prevent liturgical sabotage.

  11. It’s a matter of choosing a perspective to work from. One could choose to view it as an opportunity to be in solidarity with the people in the pews who never have a choice over the liturgical form to begin with, and an opportunity to trust that, if this indeed is as calamitous as some fear, that the calamity is more likely to be revealed by the Holy Spirit if we go through it rather than around it (one might call this the Exodus principle); that also means we have enough humility to (i) not to be proven right (which is an ego need), and (ii) perhaps even to be proven wrong.

    1. “the calamity is more likely to be revealed by the Holy Spirit” — as in South Africa, where the uproar from the laity was met by a round SHUT UP from Cardinal Napier?

      The expensive Exodus route you recommend is a highly risky one. The best route is that urged by the Irish priests and insisted on by the German Bishops — call of this charade right now!

  12. Reading this thread, especially what the person wrote in the OP, is sad, but, not in the way that some might think. The revised translation is something that the Church has needed. It just seems to me that there is such bickering and belly-aching from those who do not seem to want Rome to have any say in this whole matter.

    The Church, in her wisdom, decided that the present translation needs to go. A lot of time and effort has gone on to make the necessary improvements. The language is now elevated and worthy of the sacred mysteries taht are unfolding before us.

    For us to complain and have some sort of “anguish” about something that is a positive and much needed is wrong. Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.

    1. Ms. Romani,

      I’ve never heard anyone say that Rome should have no say. Neither have you, and you know it.

      Many prominent experts believe that the language of the forthcoming missal is not elevated or worthy – it is inaccurate in many places, the pronouns are too far from the antecedents to make sense, the English is bad, and so forth. You don’t hold this. I understand that and I accept that. I’m not sure you’re even trying to understand the concerns of others or take them seriously.

      If you think calls to obedience will convince anyone, you’re dreaming.

      awr

    2. Ms. Romani:

      What is really amusing in your posting is that you have quoted (inadvertently, I am sure, and that is part of my point) from a “dynamic equivalence” version of the Bible that “the Church in her wisdom” decided “needed to go.”

      Your concluding lines, “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” are the words of Jesus in Mark 5:36 as translated by the much-maligned, and now officially replaced, New American Bible translation of 1970. This version survived in the lectionary used in the United States until 1998, when it was replaced by a “formal equivalence” version, the Revised New American Bible, as being more accurate, elevated, worthy of the sacred mysteries, etc. etc.

      In this new version, the line reads: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

      But there must have been something about that older, not-as-accurate, not-as-elevated, “dynamic equivalence” translation that stuck in people’s minds, when they heard it, as an important and helpful rendition of Jesus’ words. Google it, and you’ll find it quoted in all kinds of contexts, with never a reference to the old New American Bible of 1970, though that’s where it’s from, and never a revision to the newer “formal equivalence” version.

      Why, it seems that older “dynamic equivalence” translation even stuck in your mind, apparently!

    3. “The revised translation is something that the Church has needed.”

      A revised translation, certainly — a good one was presented in 1998 and dumped by the Vatican. But THIS revised translation? The Church needs it like a camel needs the straw that breaks its back.

      ” It just seems to me that there is such bickering and belly-aching from those who do not seem to want Rome to have any say in this whole matter.”

      NO ONE says that Rome should have no say. What we DO say, and what Vatican II says, is that the primary say is that of the bishops.

      “The Church, in her wisdom, decided that the present translation needs to go.”

      It was always intended as a provisional translation, and was excellently replaced in 1998 — until the bizarre happenings that aborted this.

      ” A lot of time and effort has gone on to make the necessary improvements. The language is now elevated and worthy of the sacred mysteries that are unfolding before us.”

      Can you quote one or two examples of this wonderful text, which seems quite different from what we have been reading here…

      “For us to complain and have some sort of “anguish” about something that is a positive and much needed is wrong. Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.”

      No, trust is shown by listening to the People of God and their wisest pastors. The apotropaic attitude taken to messengers of truth such as Bp Trautman and Msgr Ryan betokens not trust, but fear.

  13. Michelle Marie Romani :

    A lot of time and effort has gone on to make the necessary improvements. The language is now elevated and worthy of the sacred mysteries taht are unfolding before us.

    Many people do not seem to agree with your assessment of the new translations. Do you even entertain the possibility that they may be right? And, just supposing for a moment that they may be, what should be done about it?

  14. Fr. Ruff, the problem that I have with the so-called “experts” is that they seem to hold their own opinions rather than that of the Holy See. It seems to me that this is more of the same mindset from the folks who launched the infamous “What if We Just Said Wait” campaign.

    It seems to me that there is a lot of pride involved here among some folks who seem to assert that they know better than Rome.

    1. Do you think there was any “pride” or “holding their own opinions” involved on the part of those still anonymous (well, sort of) people in and around the Vox Clara group who took the translation prepared by the new ICEL according to the directives of the Holy See and then made their alleged 10,000 revisions, mistranslating the Latin in several notable instances, and skewering English usage in a way that has brought ridicule upon the whole project?

      Any pride, do you think, on the part of those who then ordered the termination of the services of two priests deeply committed to the project whose only offense appeared to be pointing out the flaws in this last minute hijacking?

      A number of people familiar with the workings of this whole process suggest that it remains to be seen if one person in particular who lives in Rome, and who is known to be very meticulous in reviewing the work of those who translate his writings into English, even knows yet exactly what happened to this new translation between the episcopal conferences’ approval and the issuing of the confirmed text, parts of which have since had to be patched up in reaction to responses to the leaks.

    2. So now Msgr Ryan’s campaign, with its input from pastors and Latinists and liturgists — whom you snidely call “experts” — is “Infamous”?

      Unfortunately these people do know better than the Vatican people foisting the flawed translation on the Church. The German Bishops also know better than Rome what their people need, and they have done their duty in standing by their people.

  15. Deacon Fritz–I read George’s comment as applying to Jan’s comment, not the original post. Perhaps it’s not a fair comment to Jan’s either, but it seems to me somewhat more appropriate.–

    Thanks Deacon! Maybe I can call you as a character witness when Father sues me for libel :-).
    I did quote Jan as saying he ‘didn’t hesitate’ to speak his mind regarding the new translation. I didn’t characterize that attitude as anything other than what my better half often tells me. Father is working hard on his manuscripts. Maybe he skimmed my post.

  16. The problem with invoking the mantra that Rome always knows better is that sometimes Rome DOES know better, and — like the boy that cried wolf — no one will believe Rome when it’s right, if Rome’s credibility is squandered on poor choices and mismanaged affairs.

    The people who are critical of the missal are (usually) zealous to build up the credibility of the Church’s leadership, not to tear it down. Asserting that Rome always knows better, when it obviously has made mistakes, actually undermines the leadership role of the Church rather than supports it.

  17. There’s a fine line to be walked here. In a public teaching session with a mixed group of participants, I see little value in the presenter pointing out how flawed the new translation is or how poor the process was that produced it. That just puts the participants in an uncomfortable situation or encourages members of the Catholic mutaween to delate the presenter to the chancery.

    Equally, there is no need for a presenter who has problems with the new translation to burble on about how wonderful and accurate and poetic it is. I think it is fine for a priest to agree with a participant’s comment that it’s not easy to proclaim a 79 word sentence, or for a catechist to convey sympathy for someone who finds it odd to say ‘and with your spirit.’

    Perhaps most important, there should be no pressure on a presenter to rubbish the existing translation.

    I also agree with Rita’s comment. This entire incident is painful precisely because it shows the Vatican in a very poor light. An intellectually shaky foundation (Liturgiam Authenticam), a deeply flawed process, leading to a poor result.

    We could have done much better, and this botch will damage Rome’s credibility.

  18. As I present various workshops on liturgical issues, I encounter people who know little about the new translation, and others who read the liturgy blogs and Catholic publications and who know there is serious dissatisfaction in many quarters about the new translation and the process behind it. There are also the good people who roll their eyes when they hear examples of the new translation. It is encouraging to people to hear priests like myself admit their reservations about the final product. What they don’t want is to hear priests and other leaders portray the new Missal as though it were the long-awaited answer to all our liturgical problems. The vast majority of people I meet are quite open to hearing that any translations, just like the people in the room, are flawed, inadequate, and always in need of fine tuning.

  19. I find myself in a similar position, faced with implementing in a parish setting in the most positive way I can a flawed document resulting from a flawed and secretive process. I, too, love working in a parish, and love liturgy, and love intelligent and respectful discussion of differences of opinion…but, I also have student loans to pay, groceries to buy, a baby on the way, etc. I literally CAN’T afford to “just leave” my job over this difficulty, and I think it’s cruel to suggest that this struggling diocesan director simply do so in order to make a moral stand. Are those who suggest that he/she do so independently wealthy that they can callously advocate such a drastic move?

    I have gone the middle route, much as I can. When in deanery meetings, I share my own dismay, and the full scope of the problems as we commiserate about what to do and how to do it. I have shared with smaller parish groups (the Liturgy Committee) some of the controversy, as an exemplar of change always being difficult, and as a way of identifying problems our own congregation might have when we implement. But, when in front of the masses, I take on a positive tone, looking for the benefits as much as possible (opportunity to learn more about liturgy, faith, etc.), while admitting to the challenges of change. I don’t feel hypocritical for doing this. I feel deeply, terribly, human.

    1. Jeanne M M–I have shared with smaller parish groups (the Liturgy Committee) some of the controversy, as an exemplar of change always being difficult, and as a way of identifying problems our own congregation might have when we implement. But, when in front of the masses, I take on a positive tone, looking for the benefits as much as possible —

      This, Jeanne Marie, is exactly the distinction I was trying to delineate to Fr. Jan when Father R. said I was being slanderous and mean. You understand this. I wish all unhappy campers amohg people that run things had your wisdom.

      1. “change always being difficult” is the generality behind which Cardinals Geor.ge and Wuerl and Bp Serratelli take refuge. Bu in reality change is welcomed when it is creative and constructive. The reason the new translations are not being welcomed is not because people are loth to change but because they see no merit in these particular changes, rather, they see a sabotage of the liturgy afoot…

    2. You do well not to make an issue of this — wait until the ghastly translations are fullly exposed to public view, and then you will be only one voice of dismay among literally millions.

  20. Ms. Ferrone:

    With all due respect, I do not agree with your assertion that the critics of the New Missal “are (usually) zealous to build up the credibility of the Church’s leadership.” That was certainly not the idea behind “What if We Just Said Wait.”

    For me, it’s more along the lines of a smokescreen to mask a deeper issue. I just came back from the Society for Catholic Liturgy Conference in Houston. There were no alarms or shrieks of doom regarding the coming translation. The participants and the presenters did not predict Armaggedon. In fact, the general mood was one of anticipation and eagerness.

    1. Michelle;

      My experience as well, which leads me to conclude that your impression of the new translation really depends on who you speak to.

      I will address a conference on Sacred Music in a couple of months. …If I took a poll there, I’m sure I could report back that over 90% of the faithful are eager to implement the new translation. I wouldn’t rely on that number either.

      1. Why do we not hear from these enthusiasts? — with illustrations, please, of the parts of the new translation they think are so wonderful. Most defenders here argue in an a priori ideological style, never quoting the new texts.

  21. “I just came back from the Society for Catholic Liturgy Conference in Houston. …. The participants and the presenters did not predict Armaggedon. In fact, the general mood was one of anticipation and eagerness.”

    This should come as no surprise, really.

  22. Perhaps the reason why the Society for Catholic Liturgy does not sense any doom nor gloom is because these are true experts in their respective fields and because they are also faithful to Rome.

    Unlike the FDLC (which I have attended) and the SWLC, this group is not pushing an agenda, only fidelity to the rubrics and norms.

    The 1998 translation did not pass the muster of the CDWDS, in case some of you have forgotten. It was flawed. This led to the promulgation of Liturgiam Authenticam and the establishment of the Vox Clara Committee.

    I wonder if the same group who is vehemently opposed to the translation might have descended (or was part of) the group that railroaded what we have right now back in the late 1960s-1970s. It seems to me that these folks are making the same argument that the folks who were opposed to the changes made.

    1. Having attended FDLC meetings over the past few years I would like to know what “agenda” they are pushing? All I have ever experienced in working with this dedicated body of liturgists, who by the way, are in the trenches and responsible for catechizing both the priests and laity of their respective dioceses, is a sincere desire to see to it that the Church’s liturgy is celebrated well and, yes, faithful to the rubrics and liturgical norms. This past meeting in October was very positive, and we all stood behind the work that our bishops have done. The FDLC was in fact one of the first to produce catechetical materials for the new translation. It seems you are expressing a personal agenda in your comments against this fine organization. The membership consists of a broad spectrum of diocesan liturgists, from the conservative to the liberal, and the fact that we can work well together toward a common goal, I think is very noteworthy, and we have the backing of the BCDW, who holds the Federation in high regard.

      Also with regard to the 1998 translation, it was not that it “did not pass muster,” but it was not approved because RM3 was in the works, so the whole thing was shelved. The 1998 translation was an excellent work. Did it have flaws? Yes, but so does the 2010 translation. That is the way translations work. There will never be a perfect translation.

      1. One doesn’t have to have a “personal agenda” to oppose the actions of the FDLC, which has for decades issued “position statements” that embrace liberal views (self-communication, communion for non-Catholics at weddings, home Masses, communion in the hand (early), liturgical experimentation, decrease in number of Holy Days of Obligation, drop all Holy Days of obligation except Christmas, etc.

        See here for many of the past resolutions.

      2. Well, to take one example, self-communication was a recommendation 41 years ago. I doubt that many people in today’s FDLC would support that. One of our US political parties once supported slavery – I don’t hold that against that party today.
        awr

      3. Jo-Ann,

        There are specific criticisms of the proposed revision that you mention including inclusive language (something the FDLC also supported in its resolutions), the avoidance of certain terms found in the original Latin RM and, thanks be to God, now included in our new translation, modifications to the rubrics including significant change to our Introductory Rites, something that strikes me as especially egregious, as if that part of the Mass was not important to other Catholics.

    2. I like how you quoted the Modern Dynamic Equivalence New American Bible of 1970 with your “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” tsk tsk Miss Michelle, better use the version Rome replaced that with. It’s also funny how you never respond to people who call you out on things. Like the people who criticize the new translation are full of pride but not the little anonymous group that hijacked the translation and changed it in ways that violate the Holy See’s directives. You must not have any answers just opinions. Funny.

  23. I echo what Michelle is saying. In the past decades those on the “progressive” side of liturgy had little concern for the feelings or beliefs of more traditional Catholics. They forced their views on them with abandon. The new translation is a “sign of the times” so let’s all get on board.

    1. yes it is a “sign of the times” — the end-product of 32 years of Vatican high-handedness, completely contradictory of Vatican II. “They forced their views on them with abandon” is a jaundiced account of the initial success of Vatican II.

    2. I don’t see where Rome has contradicted Vatican II. That is easy to say but it requires that we accept certain preconceptions that are not sustained by the facts. Perhaps it would be more accurate for you to say that Rome has contradicted one person or a group of like-minded peoples’ presumptions about what Vatican II did, said, or what some might wish the most recent ecumenical council had done.

      1. I refer you to the work of the Bologna school of historians, producers of the 5 volume history of Vatican II in many languages; then to such works as O’Malley, What Happened at Vatican II? and the recent books and essays of Nichollas Lash. To say that Rome has contradicted Vatican II is NOT very easy to say; it needs to be fully substantiated, which is what these scholars have done.

  24. From an informed individual who has very limited throw-weight in the church:
    What will happen is what will happen. The Georges and Serratellis of the world will insist on timely implementation because they come from a culture that treasures “holy obedience.” The Vignerons and Turners of the world will promote it because they find there a more literal reminder of our Latin tradition. The Ryans of the world will seek more consultation before proceeding because they are pastoral in outlook and foresee a general discontent. What will our parishioners hear and smell when it all starts next November? How do I know? How does anyone know?

    Though I pray them with everyone else, I don’t like very much any versions with which I have lived. What was given to us in 1973 was a stop-gap meant to be improved upon as was attempted in 1998. But any version that perpetuates patriarchy, a Ptolemaic universe and the divine right of kings will sound in our minds and lips as a quaint fairy tale, if not sounding gongs. And any version, as I have said before, that requires us to bury our heads in a book is unworthy of the mystery in our midst.

    Now I don’t ask for the impossible. All those Renaissance palaces will not crumble though they’re only made of clay. I have insisted in previous postings that I will do no harm to the church of which I am just one member. I respect my fellow parishioners enough to know that they are intelligent. If they don’t warm to chalices and dew and the like they will say so. If it helps them to live God’s presence in the assembly that will be clear, too.

    At the same time, those with ears to hear will realize that not everyone speaks all the words of response now, and not everyone will do so next year, regardless of what version is in effect. For all its protestations to the contrary, the Roman rite today and tomorrow is extremely wordy and shuns empty space. Contrast this with the Didache and ancient witnesses such as Paul and Augustine.

  25. I am no expert on liturgy or music…just an average member of the faithful who has been asked to help with this transition period by a pastor who is less than enthusiastic about the new translation (and just about anything coming from the USCCB or Rome for that matter).
    When our pastoral council reviewed the changes, there was nothing but positive responses. What attracted most of us were the obvious connections between this new translation and the biblical sources.
    As a child of “post V2” I am saddened to hear among many of the voices expressed in this discussion, the lack of faith you seem to have in the ability of us simple ones to adapt, understand and celebrate this new missal.
    We can handle this…really! Peace to you…and your spirit!

  26. Don’t put all your trust in Theologians, put them in the Holy Father and Holy Spirit. The Holy Father has done well by the Church and he backs this translation. Trust in his words and the work or the translators. They know what went wrong. They are not purposefully putting something out there that will be worse or destroy the way we pray. Believe in the new translations and help those struggling, you have the power to do so. But you must find a way to believe in the Holy Father and his intentions. Nevermind theologians. Just as many who disagree and argue, can be found the opposite. Those who think we are on the right path. But the ultimate voice is the Holy Father. He wants this translation for us. I trust in his wisdom.

  27. Living in the wilds of Scotland I can only marvel and wonder at what a “Diocesan worship director” can be?

    1. Welcome to the wider world, Mr. Purdie! In the dioceses of the United States, the diocesan worship director is director of the diocesan office of worship. Normally such offices oversee the dissemination of information about changes in the liturgy, coordinate the work of the Liturgical Commission with other diocesan staff and agencies, sponsor educational and training events for liturgical ministers, carry out the bishop’s directives generally. They may oversee diocesan liturgical celebrations too, working with cathedral staff or, depending on the venue, parish staff or conference center staff. Some of these folks also are responsible for wide-ranging support of music ministries. They sponsor workshops and the in-service training opportunities for cantors, organists, choirs, and so on. They also keep track of and offer guidance for church renovations and building projects, assuring that pastors and their building committees know and observe the diocesan guidelines. In many cases, the director of the worship office will also advise the bishop personally on questions relating to the liturgy. She/he may draft replies to queries or complaints he receives. It’s a big job. In larger dioceses, the diocesan worship director may be assisted by a staff.

  28. I don t think we have one in our Diocese. In fact we really don t have what you could rightly call “liturgy” in an parishes that I know.
    As for Church renovations, well in recent years I would think you could only call them vandalism.
    We even get “kumbaya and” bind us together” at Mass. Need I say more?
    Thank you for your welcome, but I am not sure the wider world is any better.

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