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!