Missal Discontent Simmering in Australia

From the Australian newspaper, The Age:

This liturgy debate raises two profound and fundamental questions: to whom does the church belong, people or Pope? How much, if at all, should the church adjust itself to the modern world?

And this, from The Catholic Leader:

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Liturgy Commission executive secretary Fr Peter Williams made the comment that, while “obviously priests and others are entitled to express their views, calls by some NCPA members for a boycott or a trial period of the new translation were not helpful.”

53 comments

  1. “How much .. should the church adjust itself to the modern world?”

    How much is “the modern world” hoping / expecting / requesting / demanding the Church to adjust?

  2. Jeffrey, I would say it’s less an expectation of the Church adjusting to some secular ideal than the Church setting aside the old-guard secular ideals it has allowed to accrete over the centuries: aristocracy, a hermeneutic of entitlement, secrecy, a dead language of a long-dead pagan empire, colonialism, misalignments in evangelization, a lack of respect for the best of human culture while exalting a very human and flawed culture of its own.

    As for language issues, we need a Mass translation that is artistic, inspires musical composition, employs serious metaphors of the present age–not the perpetuation of Latin structure and feudal European images.

    The liturgy is about the sanctification of God’s people, not the fears and desires of a pope. I would frame it: Is the intent to convert the whole world to Christ, or to make a pope and his bureaucrats (Who can’t follow their own rules) happy?

    That God can make some good come out of this mess may be entirely true. Who knows: it might mean a quicker ushering in of MR 4 or even Vatican III. My consent to implementation doesn’t mean I withhold criticism of the recent work of CDWDS, Vox Clara, ICEL, and their consultors as being inept, weak, inarticulate, vague, narcissistic, lacking intellectual depth, non-artistic, and evidence of an antigospel mentality.

    1. Todd, I have forwarded this excellent summary to others.

      Perhaps there is a parallel with the accretions in church governance and the accretions in the Mass which those in power are so reluctant to clean from the essentials.

      Accretions and attachments to past secular modes of governance might be the next biggest part of the RCC image problem after the enabling and coverup of pedophilia.

      1. Jeffrey,

        I would say the accretions are less about the Mass and more about the process of consultation and the failure to solicit expertise, especially in the arts.

        Secondarily, I’d say the insistence on Latin grammatical structure. Plus the insistence on the exaltation of the Latin collects to the absolute exclusion of vernacular compositions.

  3. Jeffrey Pinyan :
    How much is “the modern world” … demanding the Church to adjust?

    I do not think there is any power or group we can identify as the modern world which has any standing to ask anything of the RCC. It is the members of the church who live in the modern world who are frustrated by the avoidance by their hierarchs of how the world has changed, that there is a modern world.

    There has been an historically recent increase in human life span. There has been an explosion of literacy and more recently of higher education. There has been a wide diffusion of democracy and of democratic ideals even where it is not the way of governance. There have been advances in science which upset the Aristotelian teachings accepted by Aquinas regarding the origins of life and the differences between males and females.

    Catholics live with these realities and have every right to expect that their institutions should also.

    For the Curia and hierarchy to carry on in their medieval costumes more often than in an occasional re-creation makes them ludicrous. To carry out scholarly tasks in secret through the exercise of power after peer reviewed scholarly efforts have been approved is to be oblivious to reasonable expectations for expertise, honesty, and transparency.

    For popes to select their advisers for contraception and clerical celibacy and then dismiss them for not producing the desired result shows, beyond a lack of humility, a failure to understand what expectations they set up and to revert to royal prerogatives to dismiss those out…

    1. I’m perfectly willing to allow the return of the cappa magna, the cassock and the biretta provide we also see bishops and priests clothed in sackcloth and ashes begging pardon for protecting the pedophiles among them.

    2. For popes to select their advisers for contraception and clerical celibacy and then dismiss them for not producing the desired result shows…

      Tom, I take it you are not familiar with the recent publication of official documents of the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth-rate: http://twotlj.org/BCCommission.html

      The issue of birth control was mentioned in Gaudium et Spes 51:

      For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.*

      The footnote says, among other things: “Certain questions which need further and more careful investigation have been handed over, at the command of the Supreme Pontiff, to a commission for the study of population, family, and births, in order that, after it fulfills its function, the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment. With the doctrine of the magisterium in this state, this holy synod does not intend to propose immediately concrete solutions.”

      1. I am not familiar with your reference.
        However, there was a papal commission appointed by Paul Vi to advise on the topic of contraception. Having a preliminary report from them with which he did not agree, he abolished the commission and forbade it to report. I do not have the names and dates at hand, but the founders of Call To Action included a married couple who were members of the original papal commission.

        A pontifical biblical commission was established to study gender and ordination. Their preliminary report found nothing in Scripture that limited ordination to males. The commission was disbanded. The preliminary report should be on line somewhere as it was later widely dispersed. If you cannot find it I can dig back into my graduate school folders and get the references.

        It is the unwillingness to even officially receive these reports and deal with them as responsible opinions from people selected by the pope himself which undermines the perception that the pope is acting for the good of the community and seriously consulting with serious experts rather than making subjective decisions based on tastes or preconceptions among courtiers inside the Vatican.

        Rather than V2 marking the start of loss of respect for the hierarchy, many consider that the rejection of the advisory commission and the publication of Humanae Vitae without taking serious account of contemporary conditions and scientific knowledge, this act of hubris and top down decision making began the flight of Catholics and the loss of respect which had grown during V2.

      2. there was a papal commission appointed by Paul Vi to advise on the topic of contraception.

        Yes, that would be the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth-rate. Official documents from that commission which have never seen light of day were recently only a week or so ago. They were collaborated on by two members of the Commission, Fr. Paul Ford, SJ, and Germain Grisez,; Germain has recently made them public.

        These are the documents; some are in English, others French, others Italian, others Latin, and some are in multiple languages.

        Report on the Fourth Session of the Commission Set Up by the Holy See to Study the Problems of Population, Family, and Birth-rate Rome — 25–28 March 1965

        Status Quaestionis: Doctrina Ecclesiae Eiusque Status

        Documentum Syntheticum de Moralitate Regulationis Nativitatum

        Grisez’s Comments on the Two Papers

        The Church and Contraception

        Schema Quoddam Declarationis Pontificiae circa Anticonceptionem

        De Riedmatten’s Relatio Generalis

        Rapport Final

        Quali Sono le Alternative che Rimangono Aperte per il S. Padre?

        Materials Prepared by Ford and Grisez at the Request of Cardinal Ottaviani

        Sex in Marriage: Love-Giving, Life-Giving

      3. Jeffrey, the problem with Grisez’s posting of documents of the Birth Control Commission that were leaked to him by John Ford, SJ, is that Grisez wasn’t a commission member so he doesn’t have all the documents, and that Ford wasn’t an original member of the commission so he doesn’t have documents from the first 3 meetings. It’s also unclear to me if there were other documents from the Commission after it was reconstituted a 2nd time and the previous members were downgraded to experts and replaced by bishops. I don’t believe that all of the commision’s documents were ever published (although I’d love to be wrong on this) so all we have are the bits and pieces that have been leaked through the years.

        There’s a good article about these documents in National Catholic Register about the machinations that Pope Paul VI and Cdl. Ottaviani engaged in. If you read the extremely adulatory biography of John Ford, SJ, that Grisez posts on his website, you can see the machination occurring. Here’s one passage:

        Regarding the response Ford and Grisez were to prepare, Ottaviani specified only two things. First, he wanted it in a week or ten days, if possible, for he wished to deliver it to Pope Paul soon. Second, he wanted it to answer a question he was sure the Holy Father would ask: How could all these good men have come to this conclusion? The Cardinal thought it would be very difficult for the Pope to disagree with the proponents of change unless he had a satisfying answer to that question. Ottavani did not suggest an answer; perhaps the question puzzled him too.

      4. Bill, your other points aside, are you saying the problem is that we don’t have (or know if we have) all of the documents of the commission? We have what was leaked (whether decades ago or weeks ago). Can we take the documents we DO know about at face value, or must we wait until we’re certain we have all the documents?

      5. The perils of posting late at night! In the light of day I’d revise my post to move the first paragraph so that it appears after the blockquote, which better reflects what I was trying to say.

        The point that I had thought you were originally trying to make was that you were disagreeing with Tom’s assertion that the birth control commission’s report was ignored because the members hadn’t reached the conclusion the pope wanted them to reach. Your reference to the Grisez documents was, I thought, an attempt to show that this wasn’t the case.

        Grisez has his own axe to grind in this area. The narrative he is pushing (as seen in the biography of John Ford) is that the commission’s general secretary hijacked the commission. As shown in the NCR article, this wasn’t quite the case. Seen throughout the Ford biography is their (Grisez & Ford) continual surprise that others could disagree with them after reflection. The Ford biography written by Grisez also contains points that supports Tom’s assertion that the pope wanted the commission to reach the conclusion he’d already decided upon.

        Would I take the documents that Grisez released at face value? Yes, in that they are documents produced by commission members and the commission itself. But I would keep in mind that while Grisez uses them to push his narrative, we don’t have other documents to give us a better picture of the commission and one that might contradict his narrative.

        BTW, thanks for your offer for the proposed 2008 Order of Mass. After you stated that it had been on the USCCB website, I was able to find it on my computer; the file had been mislabeled.

  4. “Modern World” part two
    [out of favor]
    My great grandfather in Saxony still lived in a world of illiterate peasants and of rule by nobility. I live in egalitarian world of near universal literacy.

    My grandfather lived in a world where sending sons to the seminary meant an unusual opportunity for higher education and entry into a higher class of society.

    Since the GI Bill after WWII, higher education has become normal for the middle class. American Catholics have obtained wide access to the US upper class. Catholic parents have many more options today for the educational and social advancement of their smaller numbers of children which also makes it less attractive to send a son into a clergy where he cannot produce grandchildren.

    The modern world in which American and European Catholics live does not find aristocrats to be important people, merely a particular form of celebrity which is not directly employed by the entertainment industry or through politics. This world believes in good arguments and effective advertising more than authoritarianism. It believes in a free press and can recognize self-aggrandizing house organs in many forms.

    In short, we live in a world greatly different from that of the peasants and nobility which existed in parts of Europe as recently as a century ago. The church needs to change how it treats people because the demographic realities and cultural context and technological capacities have changed. To date, the Roman Curia has used the technological capacities to further centralize hierarchical power even though the highest teaching authority of the church has taught subsidiarity and collegiality.

    All of this, even for those who cannot articulate it, is perceived as hypocrisy. It is this malfeasance which needs to catch up with the times, not anything which is defined doctrine. It is expecting people to defer to the those with connections at court rather than discuss things which needs to change.

  5. Have you ever wondered if the people in the Roman dicasteries have read the same Vatican II documents you read? And why would the leaders of the Sacred Congregation for Worship and those employed by them not be required to be especially well schooled in liturgical history and theology? I attended seminary at a Benedictine school which provided me with a good deal of training in both those areas, not to mention the superb example of the monastic Masses. For the past 35 years or more I have also participated in numerous convocations and done extensive reading to increase my knowledge of liturgiology and sacred music. Why, then, can’t I expect more from liturgical authorities? Why isn’t there broad questioning of the very premise that Latin prayers are so superior that they must be strictly adhered to by people who worship in English, French, or any other modern language. That we should all pray as the church believes is certainly a sound principal, but to insist that means literal adherence to old Latin texts is quite another matter. Those texts were composed by clerics for clerics during times when illiteracy was so extensive that one couldn’t even expect the priest to do little more than pronounce the words in the missal.
    It has now been more than a hundred years since nearly everyone in the developed world is not only literate, and where huge numbers of the faithful are well educated. The days in which barely educated laity needed to be taught by the more educated clergy are long gone.

    So look where we are in the 21st century. The Pope expects the bishops to be loyal and compliant. The curia expects the bishops of local churches to be passive and obedient. The priests are not expected to make any waves by raising reasonable questions. The laity get the results of all of the above dumped on them by the people who know better. Does this really make sense?

    Will someone have to set himself on fire to ignite the spark which will bring about the freedom of God’s children?

    1. I applaud your questioning the premise that the Latin prayers are the very foundation of our Faith, written in stone for all time. For me, the most stunning article about the entire translation fiasco was a discussion of an Advent prayer that praised God for allowing Mary to deliver the Savior without rupturing her hymen! Of course, it sounds much better in Latinate circumolution than in plain English, and I suppose even better in the original Latin! What a stunning insult to every wife and mother in the Church!

      We have a hierarchy which praises the male celibate above all others, and I fear that hierarchy is twisting the very words of our liturgy to enshrine that notion.

    2. Jack wrote: “it has now been more than a hundred years since nearly everyone in the developed world is not only literate, and where huge numbers of the faithful are well educated. The days in which barely educated laity needed to be taught by the more educated clergy are long gone.”

      I agree with you Jack when you highlight that today’s laity are fairly well educated. They can handle words like “consubstantial”.

      Jack also wrote: “The Pope expects the bishops to be loyal and compliant. The curia expects the bishops of local churches to be passive and obedient. The priests are not expected to make any waves by raising reasonable questions. The laity get the results of all of the above dumped on them by the people who know better.”

      This is the history of how we were given the post V2 liturgy and the now dated but still existing ICEL translation.

      1. Daniel McKernan (in an attempt to re-write history on a scale not seen since Allan MacDonald’s last posting) said: “This is the history of how we were given the post V2 liturgy and the now dated but still existing ICEL translation.”

        Not true! There was nothing to ‘make waves’ about – it was eagerly-awaited by most, and tho very few who thought it was ‘dumped on them’ made alternative arrangements, culminating in ‘Summorum Pontificum’ – the biggest ‘alternative arrangement’ in history!

        (But it’s nice to know, Daniel, that you have such a ‘democratic’ world view of how the Church should operate!!!)

        Whatever else you might say, Daniel, the horror story of how we’re getting the Missale Moronicum makes the TRUE story of “how we were given the post V2 liturgy and the now dated but still existing ICEL translation” look wonderful!

  6. There has been a wide diffusion of democracy and of democratic ideals even where it is not the way of governance.

    So? That the world has decided that democratic ideals make sense for civil government doesn’t mean that they are correct for the Church.

    1. and in the past the world decided that rule by Kings, Emperors and feudal Lords was the way to go. Why is that still right for the followers of Jesus Christ when the world has largely moved on ? I think such governance is counter to His Way. I truly am despairing that leaders who should exercise pastoral ministry seem to exercise a feudal type of dictatorship and wear the trappings of feudalism with their great capes of silk.

  7. Jeffrey Pinyan :
    Any particular accretions in the Mass come to mind?

    For starters, off the top of my head:

    “through my fault, through my fault, through my most greivous fault”

    “these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices”

    “he took the precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands”

    Thanks for asking!

  8. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Any particular accretions in the Mass come to mind?

    Almost anything but Psalms, Scripture reading, sharing about the Scripture, the institution narrative and the actual sharing of the bread and cup is an accretion.

    If we cannot see this clearly, then we are picking some particular time and place and making it privileged.

    To get some idea of the accretions, look at the EP in the EF compared to the 1969 EP (Roman Canon) and the EP2. I cannot recall anything added as those changes moved forward, so anything dropped was an unnecessary accretion.

    My favorite example has always been the addition of Andrew to the extension of the Lord’s prayer in the RC. It seems to be a pure case of one pope having a devotion to Andrew and inserting him there.

    The accretion which can be seen clearly but often draws outrage when named is the insertion of the Lord’s Prayer into the sequence of Take, Praise God, Break, Share. It is a palpable break in the sequence of the basic sacramental action.

    1. Read Jungmann’s The Mass of the Roman Rite. It is the best authority in terms of the evolution of today’s liturgy; the accretions, etc.; reasons why; etc.

    2. Can you describe the link between those numerous accretions and the accretions in church governance? I’m just curious to see how the liturgy as described by Justin Martyr or Cyril of Jerusalem or Cyprian is related to church governance issues of their time.

      And as for EP II, consider its variance with its source. Accretions and omissions abound there.

    3. Almost anything but Psalms, Scripture reading, sharing about the Scripture, the institution narrative and the actual sharing of the bread and cup is an accretion.

      If by “accretion” you mean something added at a later point in history, then I would venture to say that we do not know enough about primitive Christian liturgy (or even whether there was such a thing as the primitive form of Christian liturgy — dix had a brilliant intuition about the shape of the liturgy, but historical evidence has not always supported that intuition) to create a list of essentials.

      One thing we do know is that at least in some places the institution narrative was an “accretion.”

      Also, many of our earliest examples of Christian liturgical prayers are quite prolix. The idea that any repetition is an accretion seems to me based more on modern assumptions of what the “primitive” should look like than it is on the actual historical evidence.

    4. Here are all the elements from the Order of the Mass (Ordinary Form) that go above and beyond reading from Scripture (inc. the Psalms), instruction (“sharing”) on the Scriptures, the institution narrative, and Communion.

      Entrance Procession
      Sign of the Cross
      Greeting
      Penitential Act
      Kyrie
      Gloria
      Collect
      Acclamations before/after the readings
      Alleluia
      Prayers before/after the Gospel
      Creed
      Prayer of the Faithful
      Presentation/Preparation of the Gifts (w/ prayers)
      Prayer over the Offerings
      Preface (w/ Dialogue)
      Sanctus
      Epiclesis
      Memorial Acclamation
      Anamnesis
      (Most of the Eucharistic Prayer)
      Our Father (w/ Embolism and Doxology)
      Prayers for Peace
      Sign/Kiss of Peace
      Fraction Rite (w/ Mingling of Body and Blood)
      Lamb of God
      Preparatory Prayers (e.g. Ecce Agnus Dei)
      Purification & Cleansing of the Sacred Vessels
      Post-Communion Prayer
      Announcements
      Blessing
      Dismissal

      I have excluded the antiphons from this list, because they are often from the Psalms and almost always Scripture.

      There are some additional elements in the Extraordinary Form. Then there are the other Rites of the Catholic Church. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, for example, has a lot of litanies, prayers, acclamations, etc.

      I don’t consider much in the Eucharistic Liturgies of the Church to be “accretions” (in the negative sense) so much as developments or ornaments, etc. I don’t see them as distracting from the core (the Eucharist and the Scriptures) but as preparatory actions or prayers of one form or another.

    5. Tom Poelker (March 21, 2011 – 5:03 pm): Almost anything but Psalms, Scripture reading, sharing about the Scripture, the institution narrative and the actual sharing of the bread and cup is an accretion.

      Your liturgical vision has been fulfilled in the Reformation. Orthodox Lutheranism, for example, had removed the Offertory and Canon centuries before the current day. Why, then, remain a Christian of the Roman Church when its dogma of the Eucharist does not parallel your convictions? The Universal Church, through Dignitatis Humanae, affirms human conscience in matters of belief, faith, and liturgy. If a person is convinced that the Roman liturgy is seriously deficient, than he or she should worship according to his or her convictions.

      Note that a Catholic can respect and even praise other liturgies of Christianity, such as the Book of Common Prayer, while maintaining confessional identity in Rome. While we are called to recognize the commonalities between Christians, we are also called to confess our convictions. This is a delicate balance. Nevertheless, it is necessary for ecumenical dialogue and personal discernment.

  9. “To whom does the church belong, people or Pope?”

    This is a false choice and one that is a tail wagging the dog.

    The church belongs to God. The laity as well as the Pope belong to the Church, which ultimately belong to God.

    If you start from the wrong end, you will arrive at the wrong conclusions about everything to do with the faith, even if there are some superficial similarities.

      1. Bill, I think you are stomping about unnecessarily loudly here.

        Amos has a point about the church being both/and rather than either/or.

        The interesting point for me, in Amos’ terms, is why did Jesus set up a continuing community. [I avoid the word church in such discussions because the English word is so far away etymologically from EKKLESIA/ecclesia/assembly.]

        My opinion is that the community and assembly are for the support of the individual believers in the difficult task of living what Jesus taught. The community is more about mutual support than doctrine.

        The papacy is meant to be an element of that support. IMO, there has been too much emphasis on orthodoxy in terminology and too little emphasis on what it means to live as if we loved all our neighbors, as if each person’s needs meant as much to me as the needs of my siblings, as if the things of this world were not important even though we have to live in the world.

        The papacy has maintained some unfortunate accretions from the era when it also had civil governance. During those times it acquired some structures and customs which were useful in maintaining that governance. It acquired behaviors in an era before corporate governance was developed and when only the clergy were literate.

        Unfortunately, not many people are interested in untangling the spaghetti. There needs to be serious consideration of what is substantial and what is accidental. The present papacy and its court have found a way of containing the collegiality taught by V2 rather than implementing it. I think that is unprecedented self-centeredness on the part of those supposed to be servants of the servants of God.

      2. Heh, funny enough, the word “church” comes (or so I’ve read), through German, from the Greek “kyriake”, from “kyriakon doma,” “the house of the Lord.”

        Bill, whether or not God “needs” the Church, it is His, inasmuch as we who comprise it are His people, inasmuch as the Church makes up the mystical Body of His Son. Even, as we heard from St. Paul only a few Sundays ago, that we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

        What is so nonsensical about the Church belonging to God? (And are you attempting to split hairs or avoid the question by using “need” and “own” instead of “belong to”?)

  10. Mr. Howard – do you really realize how ridiculous your statement is and sounds? The church was a democracy for centuries (in terms of the truly conservative definition that democracy applies to a government that supports and defends each person’s integrity and natural rights.) A basic principle even in the 1983 Revised Code of Canon Law – “whatever applies to all; must be approved by all”

    1. You and Tom Poelker are making different points. My response is to his point and has little to do with the argument you are making.

      Your quote does not seem to be from the 1983 Code of Canon Law. What are you quoting? Where in the 1983 Code do you find this democratic principle?

      1. It would require an in-depth response. First – one of my issues with many blog posts is that we need a refresher course on how to both read and interpret Vatican documents. It requires concisely the ability to;
        – understand context
        – put the document’s statements in an ongoing historical process
        – know who wrote the document and why
        – know who and why it was given some level of papal approval

        Too often we cite a single passage out of context – this then creates a “meme” or “myth” that may actually be the opposite of what the writer/thinker intended.

        Canon Law is a perfect example of this – you have to start with legal principles; what canon law can and can not do; its relationship to dogma/doctrine; discipline, etc.

        That being said – the indirect quote came from Ladislas Orsy, SJ’s recent book – “Receiving the Council”…he was present at Vatican II. Link to a book review: http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11940

        Pertinent highlights:
        – “….scrutinizes the 1983 Code of Canon Law’s equation of the power of governance with jurisdiction, which he characterizes as an innovation with little or no justification in the tradition. Because this change in canon law is a merely disciplinary action, it can be changed, he argues, and he seems to think it should be changed. It was not the practice of the church in the past and it precludes, among other important issues, any serious role for lay people in church leadership.

        – “dogma is guaranteed the assistance of the Spirit to preserve doctrinal truth in the church, including infallibility. But law-giving is about prudence, and prudence is not guaranteed by the Spirit. In one chapter he takes on the current rules and procedures for the examination of doctrines (process for investigating suspect theologians), concluding that they do not serve the cause of justice and adding that the penalty of automatic excommunication is an anachronism that should be abolished”

      2. “That being said – the indirect quote came from Ladislas Orsy, SJ’s recent book – “Receiving the Council”…”

        So where is this principle found in the Code of Canon Law?

  11. Samuel J. Howard :

    There has been a wide diffusion of democracy and of democratic ideals even where it is not the way of governance.
    So? That the world has decided that democratic ideals make sense for civil government doesn’t mean that they are correct for the Church.

    It does mean that the style of the church needs to take into account this reality.

    Nor does the present governance of the church have any divine sanction. It has long been a mimicry of earlier secular ruling styles. None of the present trappings of RCC governance are visible in the NT except the existence of the three orders in very different forms.

    I suspect this list does not want to hear what elements of democratic rule are appropriate immediately and then endure the resulting lengthy discussion sure to follow. I’d enjoy exploring it somewhere else, if anybody wants to establish a Yahoo! group or some other means.

  12. Archbishop Coleridge remarkably concedes that the call for a boycott could be a majority view: “The archbishop said his guess was a call for a boycott was “a minority view though neither I nor anyone else could be certain of this or the opposite view. It depends in large part upon whose voices you hear.”

    However, he resorts to a shabby talking point when he suggests that critics of the new translation have a hidden agenda: “There is a small element of implacability, but for the implacable the texts tend to be a lightning-rod for a range of other issues. The source of their unhappiness lies elsewhere.”

    The fact is that the unhappiness with the new texts is found right across the spectrum of Catholic opinion and that the source of that unhapppiness lies in the texts themselves (and secondarily in the process that produced them). If bishops have such a hard time recognizing this, the chances for reasonable discussion are very low.

  13. Interesting stuff… it will be very interesting to see how this all pans out. Personally I think the Church will just push it through despite the objections and I think in a few years we won’t even look back. Not that I necessarily like the new texts though…

  14. I challenge the editor of this blog to not only post the negative articles but also the positive articles about the reception of the Missal.

    I can always tell a PrayTell article in my Google reader because it involves “simmering,” “lingering,” “doubting,” and other similar adjectives with the word “Missal”.

    One would think some sort of revolt was afoot.

    1. Dylan, I think the response will be: if you can find them [positive articles about the reception of the Missal], post them.

      I do not expect Pray Tell to cover, shall we say, “party line” articles such as those found at the USCCB web site. I too would like to see positive articles, but I don’t look for them.

    2. Dylan, when the reception history of the 2011 missal is written, it will include a significantly large amount of opposition to the project, mostly on language grounds, primarily the importation into English of the syntax of Latin. In brief, this makes for bad English. Bad English is unworthy of the sacred liturgy.

      The new text of the missal has all the poetic and inspirational character of an interlinear Greek-English version of the New Testament. Such an interlinear version has its place, but no one would suggest that it could be used to proclaim the scriptures in an assembly of the people of God. There are other linguistic deficiencies in the areas of vocabulary and grammar.

      There is also a genuine objection to the process by which we have arrived at the current state of affairs. See the relevant chapter in Bishop Maurice Taylor’s book.

      You may not agree with those who refuse to grant a favourable reception to such a flawed document. Would you also wish them to keep silent about this very serious matter?

  15. Jack Wayne :
    What beautiful examples! It just goes to show that accretions are not always bad things.

    I agree with the words here but not with the implication that the particular examples cited are not themselves bad things.

    “I don’t consider much in the Eucharistic Liturgies of the Church to be “accretions” … so much as developments or ornaments, etc. I don’t see them as distracting … but as preparatory actions or prayers of one form or another.” Jeffrey

    OK, but do they interrupt or advance the essential liturgical flow? Does it matter that the modern era favors less ornamentation? I did not intend accretion to have a negative connotation.

    “If by “accretion” you mean something added at a later point in history, then … that we do not know enough about primitive Christian liturgy” Fritz

    I think that Fritz has a good clarifying point in that we need to look at what we actually know about when and where any action or phrase was added to the Mass.

    The point of describing things as accretions is to distinguish between what are actually essentials [which is probably not very precise or very much] and the majority of how the Mass was canonized following Trent.

    Can we then distinguish what is culturally conditioned and therefor might or might not be appropriate for other cultures? Can we distinguish particular devotional accretions which might or might not suit all times and places? Can we distinguish true but not necessary doctrinal content from liturgical content?

    Even what seems best to keep might be…

    1. but do they interrupt or advance the essential liturgical flow?

      That depends what you define or expect the “essential liturgical flow” to be. I find it quite sensible that the liturgy begins with an invocation of the Lord and a greeting between the celebrant and the congregation (or presider and people, whichever language suits you). I even find it worthwhile that the liturgy begins with the celebrant making his way to the sanctuary, rather than with everyone already “in their places”. I think it is appropriate for us to make an act of penitence before proceeding.

      Not every element exhibits the same sense of flow. Maybe that’s good, maybe we need to be slowed down.

      Does it matter that the modern era favors less ornamentation?

      The modern era where? Modern USA is different from modern Nigeria is different from modern Italy. Or do you mean “modern” in the sense of “developed to a particular stage”?

      And is less ornamentation a desirable trait of the modern era?

      1. Jeffrey, I think it is just as unreasonable to make Americans adjust to Nigerian needs as the reverse. This gets to the fundamental problem of unity versus uniformity. If one looks at Euro-American culture where the RM developed, then it is clear that less ornamentation is favored than when the RM was canonized.

        Flow is not a matter of speed. Presentation flow is a matter of continuities and discontinuities, development versus interruptions in the theme, smoothness versus jerkiness. Does this contribute to the development or does it go off on a tangent?

        If we are discussing liturgy, I think there is, only for an example, a tendency to interrupt the flow to make theological points in the midst of a ritual celebration. It is not that such points are either invalid or irrelevant to the liturgy, but that the essential action is weakened to make the points at all.

        It is not only the elements themselves which can interrupt the flow. The most common example is the very phrasing of the words which makes the flow smoother or rougher.

        These are the sorts of things which actors and directors work out in rehearsals of even the best or most established of plays. If it is a new piece, it is the sort of thing which gets playwrights to willingly do rewrites in order to improve the basic material they are trying to convey.

        Prior to Trent, local churches added and deleted things which seemed to work or no longer were useful. There was probably always more adding than deleting. That is what I call accretions. One need not eliminate all accretions in practice, but it is helpful to figure out what is the underlying material and then make conscious decisions as to what to keep and or modify and what has served its historic purpose and can be left behind.

  16. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Can you describe the link between those numerous accretions and the accretions in church governance? .
    And as for EP II, consider its variance with its source. Accretions and omissions abound there.

    Yes, EP2 has problems, just wanted to demonstrate quickly found comparisons for accretions. Its sources would be better still.

    On liturgy and governance,
    George Lynch on March 21, 2011 – 6:11 pm
    “and in the past the world decided that rule by Kings, Emperors and feudal Lords was the way to go. Why is that still right for the followers of Jesus Christ when the world has largely moved on ? ”

    — and in the past church ritual emulated the rituals of kings, emperors, barons and was a familiar and effective cultural mode of communication. However, for the 2011 USA culture, these same elements require explanation and do not have the same connotations. The denotations are understandable but weigh differently in new contexts.

    Such royal language when used by authorities can lead to dissonances with the communities of the NT and with the collegiality taught by V2.

    I suspect that the civil governance and social environment of Rome between Gregory I and Pius V affected the language of the liturgy and vice versa. Which [liturgical language or governance] was cause or effect at the time is beyond my knowledge.

    Is this answer to your point or tangential, Jeffrey?

    1. It helps, Tom, but it would help even more if you could give an example of the “royal language” and the dissonances it can cause. Are you referring to things like “Iube, domne…” as the deacon asks the priest for a blessing before he proclaims the Gospel?

      1. Yes, but it is also a matter of leaning overly hard on identifying God with human kingship. It becomes an overworked analogy and puts the liturgy into a royal court context rather than a fellowship meal context. So it affects how the people of God see themselves and their community. Are we siblings to each other and Jesus, or are we subjects of a king? In governance are we equals with minister servants or are we subjects of ministers to a king?

  17. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Bill, whether or not God “needs” the Church, it is His, inasmuch as we who comprise it are His people, inasmuch as the Church makes up the mystical Body of His Son. Even, as we heard from St. Paul only a few Sundays ago, that we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

    True, but I think the original point was about how we decide matters of liturgy (discipline and governance) in the RCC.

    As others have said, the question needs rephrasing. Try:

    When making decisions about liturgy, discipline, or governance in the RCC, should they be made from a felt need and immediately by the pope (with chosen advisers) or should such issues be referred to or come from the felt needs of the local faithful brought to their pastors and bishops?

    How do we envision the church operating , from the top down or the bottom up?

    Examples
    When the pope is made aware of concerns about a particular theological teaching is it more important for the pope to show firmness or fairness?
    When the pope has a concern about a possible moral issue, is it more important to issue a teaching or to raise the issue for all Christians to discuss and bring a consensus and minority positions forward through parish, diocesan, and episcopal conferences?
    Are there some matters of institutional decision making which could be made democratically rather than hierarchically?

  18. The new text of the missal has all the poetic and inspirational character of an interlinear Greek-English version of the New Testament. Such an interlinear version has its place, but no one would suggest that it could be used to proclaim the scriptures in an assembly of the people of God. There are other linguistic deficiencies in the areas of vocabulary and grammar.

    Gerard, a brilliant analogy. Thank you! (from one who uses Nestlé regularly)

  19. Jordan Zarembo :

    Tom Poelker (March 21, 2011 – 5:03 pm): Almost anything but Psalms, Scripture reading, sharing about the Scripture, the institution narrative and the actual sharing of the bread and cup is an accretion.
    Your liturgical vision has been fulfilled in the Reformation. Orthodox Lutheranism, for example, had removed the Offertory and Canon centuries before the current day. Why, then, remain a Christian of the Roman Church when its dogma of the Eucharist does not parallel your convictions?

    Please re-read my comments.
    You have seriously mis-portrayed them.

    Once again, you have set up a straw man and destroyed the easy target.

    What I have proposed is that one needs to distinguish the essence from the accretions if one is going to evaluate the MR of Pious V. All reasoning about liturgical reforms depends on such objective information.

    I commend to all Jungman’s Mass of the Roman Rite.

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