Revising the Mass Texts: Is This the Real Issue?

Ed. note: This open letter was sent to the priests and bishops of Scotland from Fr. Mike Fallon of St. Catherine’s in Edinburgh on March 14th.

For some years now it has been clear from Press reports that a new Rite of Mass in English was in the course of preparation. More recently it has been reported that the new translation would be introduced in Scotland in the Season of Advent this year.  However, it was not until this morning, Saturday, 12 March, that official notification arrived from Bishop Toal (Bishop of Argyll and the Islands) on behalf of the Episcopal Conference of Scotland.

In his letter Bishop Toal recalls that when Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the Bishops of the United Kingdom at Oscott College last September he encouraged them

to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion to its manner of celebration.

To give that quotation a proper context it is also necessary to be aware of the two sentences which precede the passage Bishop Toal quoted from the Holy Father’s address:

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the contribution you have made, with such painstaking care, to the collegial exercise of reviewing and approving the texts. This has provided an immense service to Catholics throughout the English-speaking world.

So, the press have been reporting on this issue for several years and the Holy Father himself addressed the issue head on last September. Yet, apart from an invitation to priests to attend an in-service course in Salamanca in May, Bishop Toal’s letter is the first official intimation to priests that they face what are clearly far-reaching and radical changes to their front-line pastoral Ministry.

What reason can there be for this apparent hesitation or reluctance of the Scottish Bishops to inform their priests of the forthcoming changes?   Can it possibly be that they are concerned that the New English translation might not be well received?   Or could it be that they are  uncomfortable about the process which has brought this translation to fruition?

It is no secret that many people world-wide are unhappy, to say the least, about the New English Missal and perhaps more importantly, how it came to be produced.

As I have always understood it,

  • the teaching authority of the Church subsists in the college of bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome
  • in terms of the governance of each diocese or local church, authority is invested in the Diocesan Bishop
  • however, some decisions are reserved to the conference of bishops in order to maintain unity and consistency.

In order to “manage” the Church, which is so widespread in the world, the “officers” of the Holy See in its various congregations provide the facilities necessary to act as the link between the bishops of the local churches and the Holy Father.  These officers are akin to a Civil Service. Their role is purely administrative: they are meant to be advisory, helping to facilitate  the teaching body of the Church, (ie the college of bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome,) in its capacity to teach and govern the Church world-wide.

As we now know officially, the English-speaking Church will soon be asked to adopt a new translation of the Roman Missal.  My understanding is that the people responsible for  authorising any given translation are the bishops in the local churches concerned at the level of Episcopal conference.  This authorised translation is then passed to the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome whose role it is to give the translation a “recognitio”: in other words, a statement that the translation is free from error.

However, the translation in English of the Roman Missal which is being printed at this very time has not followed this process – not by any means.  The translation currently being printed and scheduled for use later this year has in fact never been authorised by the English-speaking Bishops of the world, in accordance with their established responsibilities.  Indeed, the text  agreed by the responsible English-speaking Bishops, as the proper authority, has been altered quite substantially by a committee named “Vox Clara”, This is an entirely advisory body which has no locus whatsoever in terms of the magisterial teaching authority of the Church.

It certainly has no authority to override a text previously agreed by an Episcopal conference without re-submitting the text to that conference for further approval or rejection.

Any doubts about the truth of this irregularity can we washed away by reference to “It’s the Eucharist; Thank God” [1] by Bishop Maurice Taylor, widely respected Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Galloway, which includes a full account of this process during his term as chairman of the ICEL Board from 1997-2002.

Since being ordained I have taken very seriously the promise I made to obey my Bishop and, even though it has not been easy at times, I believe I have remained faithful to my promise.

I find there is a dilemma for me in all this at this stage in my life. This is because I am unsure

  • whether the Scottish Bishops are aware of the authoritative role they have in virtue of their office for introducing a new translation to the people of the country;
  • whether they have compared the currently proposed translation with the ICEL 1998 text.;
  • if they are aware that the text proposed by the reformed ICEL Commission in 2008 has been substantially altered by Vox Clara.

I have taken the opportunity to compare the “banned” ICEL 1998 translation with the 2008 edition as subsequently “improved” and produced by Vox Clara (and presumably approved by the CDW)  which is scheduled for introduction as the official text later this year. I am in no doubt whatsoever that this move constitutes a grave disservice to the people of God in English-speaking countries.

Further, in the first instance, it goes against not only the spirit of the Second Vatican Council; but indeed it also goes against its very letter and runs counter to the clear teaching of that Council.

This irregular procedure has bypassed the proper magisterial teaching authority of the Church which is vested in the College of Bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome rather than in any committee, Dicastery or Congregation or indeed the sum total of them.

It is tempting as a priest in a parish to ignore the new translation and carry on with life. Indeed there is talk of priests in Ireland boycotting the new translation.  But it’s not as simple as that. Let us be clear.  What is at issue here is not just a decision to reject the 1998 ICEL translation of the English edition of the Roman Missal which had been approved by the English Speaking Episcopal Conferences and then produce an alternative translation; there is something far more fundamental at stake.  The very teaching authority of the Church is being undermined.

For me, the “bottom line” question is this:  am I bound by obedience when I am aware that what I am being asked to do goes against what I believe to be the teaching of the Church?

So, what to do?  Well, rather helpfully, if ironically, it is just possible that a solution can be found in the words of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger himself.

There is no doubt that the planned imposition of this English translation has brought to the surface strongly-held opposing views about its merit. Such polarisation is nothing new in the Church and is not confined to any one narrow area like theology, language or cultural difference. Human nature and personality traits also have their part to play.

In an address to around three thousand traditional Catholics in Rome on 24 October 1998 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei”, Cardinal Ratzinger made a direct reference to the polarisation between the proponents of the Latin Rite and those of the post Vatican II group as well as the conflict which can exist between different personalities:

“…….what is the deeper reason for this distrust  or even for this rejection of a continuation of the ancient liturgical forms? It is without doubt possible that, within this area, there exist reasons which go further back than any theology and which have their origin in the character of individuals or in the conflict between different personalities,  or indeed a number of other circumstances which are wholly extrinsic. But it is certain that there are also other deeper reasons which explain these problems.

The two reasons which are most often heard, are: lack of obedience to the Council which wanted the liturgical books reformed, and the break in unity which must necessarily follow if different liturgical forms are left in use.

It is relatively simple to refute these two arguments on the theoretical level.  The Council did not itself reform the liturgical books, but it ordered their revision, and to this end, it established certain fundamental rules. Before anything else, the Council gave a definition of what liturgy is, and this definition gives a valuable yardstick for every liturgical celebration.”

The Cardinal went on,

“It is good to recall here what Cardinal Newman observed, that the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church. An orthodox liturgy, that is to say, one which express the true faith,

is never a compilation made according to the pragmatic criteria of different ceremonies, handled in a positivist and arbitrary way, one way today and another way tomorrow. The orthodox forms of a rite are living realities, born out of the dialogue of love between the Church and her Lord.

They are expressions of the life of the Church, in which are distilled the faith, the prayer and the very life of whole generations, and which make incarnate in specific forms both the action of God and the response of man. Such rites can die, if those who have used them in a particular era should disappear, or if the life-situation of those same people should change.

The authority of the Church has the power to define and limit the use of such rites in different historical situations, but she never just purely and simply forbids them! Thus the Council ordered a reform of the liturgical books, but it did not prohibit the former books.”

Cardinal Ratzinger went on to make clear that several forms of the Latin Rite always co-existed.  He said

“We must now examine the other argument, which claims that the existence of the two rites can damage unity. Here a distinction must be made between the theological aspect and the practical aspect of the question.  As regards what is theoretical and basic, it must be stated that several forms of the Latin rite have always existed,  and were only slowly withdrawn, as a result of the coming together of the different parts of Europe. Before the Council there existed side by side with the Roman rite, the Ambrosian rite, the Mozarabic rite of Toledo, the rite of Braga, the Carthusian rite, the Carmelite rite, and best known of all, the Dominican rite, and perhaps still other rites of which I am not aware.  No one was ever scandalized that the Dominicans, often present in our parishes, did not celebrate like diocesan priests but had their own rite. We did not have any doubt that their rite was as Catholic as the Roman rite, and we were proud of the richness inherent in these various traditions.”

Well now – is it unreasonable to hope that those of us who wish to wait until a more fitting successor to the 1973 English Roman Missal is produced –  and properly processed for authorisation  by the English-speaking Bishops  – could echo Cardinal Ratzinger’s concluding words all those years ago:

“If the unity of faith and the oneness of the mystery appear clearly within the two forms of celebration, that can only be a reason for everybody to rejoice and to thank the good Lord.  In as much as we all believe, live and act with these intentions, we shall also be able to persuade the Bishops that the presence of the old liturgy does not disturb or break the unity of their diocese, but is rather a gift destined to build-up the Body of Christ, of which we are all the servants.”

Perhaps I am a lone voice, just unable to come to terms with what I experience as disturbing circumstances ?  However I doubt it because this issue strikes at the very root of the teaching authority of the Church.

So I wonder if any of this resonates with you?

Is it reasonable to ask that, following the reasoning of Cardinal Ratzinger,  three different Rites be allowed to co-exist rather than two?

Mike Fallon


[1] It’s the Eucharist: Thank God by Maurice Taylor  published by Decani Books 2009

52 comments

  1. Well written and articulated. But it raises some questions for me:
    – Ratzinger seems to blur some of the distinctions and the history
    – example: he references multiple rites but acknowledges that over time these have been reduced
    Using that analogy, he appears to say that the OF/EF are different rites when it might be more accurate to say that it is the same rite with two forms
    – if my understanding is accurate, would suggest that this is a “new” precedent rather than his “loose” history that the Roman Rite has always allowed multiple rites
    – can someone also explain his statement that rites are never abolished or forms of liturgy are never abolished – not sure that his historal reference is correct?
    – would also suggest that he is introducing a new approach that lays a foundation to permit a form/rite that is not really tied to a specific culture, ethnicity, geographic area, etc. but a form that is based on an “old” liturgical form and language
    – his explanation does reference the fact that older folks should be granted dispensation (indult) so that the form/rite they have always used can be allowed in their lifetimes

    These are questions and statements?

    In addition, he appears to develop his own interpretation of what the council wanted and voted overwhelmingly for in terms of a “reformed liturgy” – he seems to skip over or not develop that point. Rather, he interprets and develops his own opinion which gets to Fallon’s point about the process – it has turned the process upside down putting a pope’s opinion over a council and later overriding a bishop or conference responsibility to wisely make local liturgical choices/decisions.

    Have begun to see “unintended consequences” to B16’s SP, etc. Examples:
    – in this time of priest shortage and resource needs, we have dioceses erecting parishes in order to make the EF or TLM available – is that really pastoral?
    – seeing explanation that “older” folks have access now spreading to young people; rumored SP follow up that will require seminaries to train in latin and in the EF form….was this really the original intent of SP much less the council?

    1. “is that really pastoral?”

      I don’t see how it isn’t. People who attend the Latin Mass are “the People of God” too and need to be cared for by the Church as well. Why are their needs somehow less important than everyone else’s needs? My preference would be for parishes to celebrate both forms rather than to have churches dedicated to one or another, but it seems people on both sides of the fence prefer to keep the EF separate, and if the parish has decent numbers attending and can support itself, then I see no reason to not have it.

      There are shrinking older parishes here where all three of the Sunday Masses put together have fewer attendees than the principal Sunday High Mass at the growing EF Oratory, yet it’s the EF people who are somehow taking valuable resources away?

      1. Agreed. Young Catholics in particular, like me, are drawn to the EF, yet our needs are not met, at least not in my diocese here in Ireland. We have to grin and bear it in the parish where the Mass is said irreverently.

  2. Amazing….this essay really made it clear to me why the Church needs to abandon the modern exercise of saying the Mass in the vernacular and return solely to the use of Latin. We should not be having these arguments when there are so many souls in this world to be saved. We should actually be one universal Church with one Mass heard round the world.

  3. What a bizarre letter. Ordinary Catholics do not remotely care whether one committee of the hierarchy takes some power from a second committee, and then a third committee steps in. Talk about inside baseball. It would be like ginning up opposition to a bill in Congress because the House Budget Committee had stepped over the perceived prerogatives of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee — and then saying, “I cannot obey this law. It threatens the very core of our Constitution.”

    Who tweaks the translation of the Mass hasn’t the slightest to do with the Magisterium of the Church.

    1. “Ordinary Catholics do not remotely care . . . “

      Why Mark, I had no idea you set so much by what “ordinary Catholics” care about – who would have guessed you’re such a backer of a more democratic decision-making structure in the Church!

      What will you be calling for next – popular election of bishops?!

  4. Cool, boys & girls! Mark’s back, and he’s made a huge pitcher of 2010 Kool Aid and brought his cheerleading pompoms!

    2010 right or wrong!
    Mistranslated? Go along!
    Violates LA? RT?
    Matters not a bit to me!
    English grammar in a stink?
    Fine by me: I never think!

    1. Jeremy, any offers of work on the next new translation? 😮

      Mark, I think you are trivialising the process, the results of which are obviously not trivial to priests who pray the Mass in English.

    2. Jeremy,

      “Kool aid….pompoms…never think!”

      Personal attacks are not constructive. I like to think this blog is above that.

  5. Priests and laity are beginning to figure out that according to the Pope himself the current 1973 liturgy cannot be abolished. Given the total failure of the bishops to produce a decent translation in 2008 I think it is time for the worshipping community to take matters into their own hands and make discerning choices between the three available translations including 1998.

  6. Bill: – can someone also explain his statement that rites are never abolished or forms of liturgy are never abolished – not sure that his historal reference is correct?

    In one sense rites and forms are never abolished, in that they continue to exist either in the world of scholars or in the world of those who illicitly continue to use them, but they are most certainly abrogated and superseded by others.

    I think looseness of language is the problem here.

  7. Let us not forget that Socrosantum Concillium stated quite clearly that the Holy See has the ultimate authority over the Roman Rite. A lot of people gloss over that. If they want to changed the rules along the way, as they did with the style of translation, then it’s Rome’s perogative. The outdated 1960’s translation will simply be replaced by a new one. That’s it. As a young priest, I can’t wait.

    1. .
      Sacrosanctum concilium 22.2 ??
      Sacrosanctum concilium 36.3 ??
      Lumen Gentium ??
      Christus Dominus ??

      awr

      1. Well that was a quick turnaround! Just 35 minutes ago you agreed with Dunstan Harding that we don’t know what most people really think. Now you’re back to saying that “many laity” are with Steve and “look forward to Advent this year.” 🙂
        awr

      2. Not really, claiming what most people like is a different thing than using the carefully chosen word “many”. This brings up the interesting change soon-to-be-made to the consecration of the chalice.

        Can’t wait!

      3. Do you mean the change where “many” does mean “all”?

        So when you say “many” you do mean “all”? Or sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t? Or you never do?

    2. Father Steve, it looks as if orthographical, grammatical and syntactical sloppiness wont bother you so it’s not all that surprising that you won’t object to the new missal.

  8. There are no grapes…like sour grapes! Take it from Janet, the unsinkable liturgy has already taken on a few gallons of sea water, and it hasn’t even been launched yet!!!

  9. Ratzinger is a tricksters. There may have been many different Latin Rites side by side, but NEVER were there two Roman Rites.

    Summorum Pontificum, predicated on a lie and canonical slight of hand.
    The lie is his claim that the old rite was never abrogated; the slight of hand is his invention of “two forms of the one Roman Rite”.

    I suppose we could also have two forms of the one Code of Canon Law in Ratzi World.

    Whatever supports his ideology…

    1. mmmmmmmmmmmm . . . or two approved English translations of the Missale Romanum . . . or two popes . . .

    2. I’m interested in why anyone would want to presume a venerable orthodox Catholic rite/usage of more than 200 years would be or should be abrogated?
      We live in an age when diversity is valued, I see no reason to show reluctance in embracing this kind of legitimate and authorized expression of diversity. In a sense it is the Holy Father who is the true “liberal” here.

      1. So, Daniel, you’ll (in the same spirit) support the continued use of the current translation of the Missal as a valid option after Advent 2011?

      2. Yes, for elderly or otherwise infirm priests and for Masses without a congregation. The difference is that what is changing is a translation not the form. We have diversity with our two forms of the one Roman rite not translations. The existing ICEL translation does not meet the 200 year rule anyway.

      3. “Indeed, the text agreed by the responsible English-speaking Bishops, as the proper authority, has been altered quite substantially by a committee named “Vox Clara”, This is an entirely advisory body which has no locus whatsoever in terms of the magisterial teaching authority of the Church…
        It certainly has no authority to override a text previously agreed by an Episcopal conference without re-submitting the text to that conference for further approval or rejection”

        In this statement we’re seeing an anarchical situation in the Church with the pope on the sidelines and a complete usurpation of his authority. It’s doubtful the pope was ever in the loop in deciding the final text.

        The time is long overdue for the entire English-speaking hierarchy to go to the pope directly, side-stepping whatever bureaucratic barriers stand in their way, and settle on a final text once and for all. If it means a delay in implementing the missal, so be it. English-speaking Catholics will applaud the act and they may even grow to respect their bishops for doing something right for once.

      4. Dustan wrote: “English-speaking Catholics will applaud the act and they may even grow to respect their bishops for doing something right for once…..”

        How do you know what English-speaking Catholics will applaud, perhaps some will but certainly not all. Don’t forget that some English-speaking Catholics already do respect their bishops.

    3. Benedict XVI has done what even ‘benevolent despots’ like to do, that is, declare the ‘circle squared’. How can two rites with different calendars, with different lectionaries, and with most importantly, different ecclesiologies be ‘the same’ in any real sense? The post-Vatican II rite is an earnest effort to return to a “Patristic understanding” and style of the liturgy (at very least). It is not a novelty. The ‘historical accumulations’ which resulted in the Tridentine Rite (or the Missal of John XXIII) are the deformation of the ‘original’ (for all sorts of historical reasons). The ‘reform of the reform’ will not either clarify or settle this ‘squared circle’ approach to the Roman/Latin rite.

    1. Be careful what you wish for. Have you tried picking one yourselves? That’s truly the old way of doing things.

  10. Why has CDWDS put so much effort into doing its own English translation through Vox Clara and not put any effort into getting the traditionalists onto the current calendar and lectionary? Even if those folks unreasonably want to do Liturgy of the Word in Latin, should we not all be reading the same Scriptures and celebrating the same liturgical cycles of Sundays and feasts?

    Let’s have equal opportunity costs here. Make the Latin lovers buy new missals, too.

    1. Because they’re not as vindictive as you are? We already buy new missals, vestments and vessels, build churches, and pay priests and musicians out of our own pockets just like everyone else.

      If you had experience with the tridentine Mass, you’d know that it’s not as simple as using the new calendar. The old calendar is bound up with the prayers and seasons of the old rite. There are improvements that could be made to the calendar (some of the Italian bishop saints of recent centuries could be dropped from the universal calendar.)

      But since a big purpose of the wider permission for the traditional Mass is to reconcile a whole bunch of people who, having suffered through years of capricious change don’t want any more of it, the Vatican has, wisely, made almost no changes to the old rite, which would alienate the very constituency it is trying to attract.

      We have an SSPX mission in our territorial parish. Some of the folks who used to go there now come to our parish ’62 Mass, which is celebrated in union with our local ordinary. If we switched calendars, they’d likely go back. It’s a Matthew 18:12 situation.

  11. Samuel J. Howard :Because they’re not as vindictive as you are? We already buy new missals, vestments and vessels, build churches, and pay priests and musicians out of our own pockets just like everyone else.
    If you had experience with the tridentine Mass,
    … It’s a Matthew 18:12 situation.

    Another unwarranted assumption.

    I dare say that I can still set up for the old Mass from a Latin Ordo and would only need an hour of brush up to again to MC for one.

    I’ve seen this poor excuse before. I guess you can get away with it for those who don’t know the MR. All the needed texts are available in Latin from the current MR2. It is just a matter of the Trent Missal fans wanting to be synchronized with the majority of the RCC to set up a commission of the same order as VC to do the re-arranging. Spend the money to do it instead of spending time and money trying to get the majority to go backwards, try coming forward.

    Why not just pick up Sacramentaries and Lectionaries and use the vernacular for the Liturgy of the Word?

    Then the problem is only with the Offertory, Communion, and Post-Communion prayers not being in the reprint Trent missals.

    This would be a good effort on the part of the Curial authorities to get you one percent who insist on going astray by staying behind instead of staying with the flock. They are already in discussions with the SSPX.

    Why and on what basis add a nasty crack about being vindictive? or do you need smiley faces to recognize attempts at humor?

    1. Perhaps in this context, smiley faces would be a good idea. It’s not like the Tridentine Mass is held in high regard here at PrayTell, so your comments seemed serious, vindictive, and not the least bit out of the ordinary even if you didn’t mean them to be.

      I wouldn’t be opposed to the new calendar and lectionary, though I like some of aspects of the old calendar better (the season names, for one thing). I think Fr Allan has brought up the idea of making the ordinary of the 62 Mass into an alternative that could be used with the 2002 Missal’s propers since it would be, practically speaking, helpful to priests who wish to say the EF at parishes that primarily celebrate the OF (no more need to change liturgical color between Masses or write two sermons, etc).

  12. This authorised translation is then passed to the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome whose role it is to give the translation a “recognitio”: in other words, a statement that the translation is free from error.

    Ummm… perhaps there is some confusion here between a recognitio and a nihil obstat…. a recognitio is more than simply a ” statement that the translation is free from error”.

    Perhaps the view that this particular “confusion” (N.B – I don’t really think the writer is ignorant of the distinction…) expresses is at the root of the conflict here. For some, the authority over translations belongs to the Bishop’s committees, with Rome simply needing to “approve” the finished product. This may well be the case, or it may have been the case at one time, but that troublesome paragraph of LA #104 keeps coming back to question whether such authority really exists now, or whether the issue of authority over translations has been (re)-assumed by the Holy See. If that is the case, then it may in fact be lamentable, it may be something that is not what it should be, but it is NOT an “illegitimate” or “illegal” process.

    For some (not a small number either) the Holy See has followed “the rules” …. the fact that they had a hand in making the rules might strike us a being “un-democratic”, but then that brings us back to the argument over whether the Church is, or should be, a democratic institution. I’m not trying to trivialize any of the issues expressed by those who oppose the translation, but there are certainly a lot of deeper issues for which the translation has become a surrogate.

    1. Bp Maurice Taylor claims that the CDW changed the meaning of recognitio to literary oversight of the texts, thus usurping the role which the bishops at Vatican II went out of their way to retain to themselves. If Liturgiam Authenticam contradicts Vatican II its legality is certainly in question. And, oh, that tired talking point again; the new trans is not a surrogate — people of every ideological stripe have discerned that it is bad.

  13. Mark Hamil :
    Agreed. Young Catholics in particular, like me, are drawn to the EF, yet our needs are not met, at least not in my diocese here in Ireland. We have to grin and bear it in the parish where the Mass is said irreverently.

    We older Catholics can assure you that universal use of the Latin Trent Missal will not automatically produce reverence. It might not even produce much Latin.

    I can remember my surprise in high school the first time I served a Latin Mass where I could understand the words of the priest in the prayers at the foot of the altar. I had been serving since fifth grade.

    Requiring priests with no other interest in Latin to say Mass in that language tends to produce a mumbled mess done quickly and minimally with great dependence on ex opere operato. At least that was the experience of the majority of parishes in the US before Vatican II.

    In turn, that created a detached laity which could recognize perfunctory observation of rubrics and could not understand a word. The result in general was laity who merely attended “father’s Mass” while they participated in some private devotion, day dreamed, or slept as subtly as they were able.

    It is this unfortunate reality which led the council to repeatedly call for full, conscious, and active participation of all present and implementation of the vernacular as the conferences of bishops saw fit.

    1. Requiring priests with no other interest in Latin to say Mass in that language tends to produce a mumbled mess done quickly and minimally with great dependence on ex opere operato. At least that was the experience of the majority of parishes in the US before Vatican II.

      In turn, that created a detached laity which could recognize perfunctory observation of rubrics and could not understand a word. The result in general was laity who merely attended “father’s Mass” while they participated in some private devotion, day dreamed, or slept as subtly as they were able.

      It sounds like we were members of the same parish.

    2. I must admit that I’ve never really liked low Mass, even though on the whole I prefer the EF. I would likely find non-mumbled silent masses to be deadening Sunday after Sunday (which is why I don’t seek them out), so I can see why a lot of people don’t have fond memories of the quickie mumbled versions from way back.

      However, I’ve never been to a low Mass that had hymns, nor have I ever seen a dialogue low Mass.

  14. Jack Wayne :

    Perhaps in this context, smiley faces would be a good idea. It’s not like the Tridentine Mass is held in high regard here at PrayTell, so your comments seemed serious, vindictive, and not the least bit out of the ordinary even if you didn’t mean them to be.

    Please take responsibility for your own misinterpretations of others.
    Please do not assign me to some category which exists in your head and think that justifies you prejudging instead of reading only the actual content of what i post.
    Please notice, in this regard, that I have posted comments in agreement and in disagreement with both traditionalists and progressives on this list.

    1. Please take responsibility for when you fail to communicate what you actually mean. There was absolutely no indication your prior comment was meant to be humorous – it really did seem tit-for-tat and vindictive.

      You would have a point if humor was obviously intended, but you failed in that area. Reading only the content of your post led me to believe it was serious – the context of it only reinforced the idea.

  15. “For some, the authority over translations belongs to the Bishop’s committees, with Rome simply needing to “approve” the finished product. This may well be the case, or it may have been the case at one time, but that troublesome paragraph of LA #104 keeps coming back to question whether such authority really exists now, or whether the issue of authority over translations has been (re)-assumed by the Holy See. If that is the case, then it may in fact be lamentable, it may be something that is not what it should be, but it is NOT an “illegitimate” or “illegal” process.”

    You and the Curia conveniently hide behind claims that the “Holy See” has done things. LA is mere regulation making. It can accurately be attributed to CDW. CDW changed the regulations in a self-serving way. This is not good governance. It amounts to “might makes right”. Merely because they can get away with it does not make it right or just. It is an abuse of power. It is illegitimate even if the curialists have the raw power to make it legal in form.

    It has nothing to do with democracy. Do not try to hide behind the fig leaf of the present monarchical structure of church institutions. It is neither necessary nor part of the faith tradition, but merely a method. The institution is not currently a democracy, but it could be. The church is the faithful, not the institution.

  16. Jack Wayne :

    Please take responsibility for when you fail to communicate what you actually mean. There was absolutely no indication your prior comment was meant to be humorous – it really did seem tit-for-tat and vindictive.
    You would have a point if humor was obviously intended, but you failed in that area. Reading only the content of your post led me to believe it was serious – the context of it only reinforced the idea.

    Your absolute certainty of self righteousness is a bit daunting. Have you even considered that you made a mistake?

    You still have not describe what exactly you considered to be vindictive, so I have not been able to examine the possibility that I was to blame.

    If you mean something else other than the tag about cost of missals, which seemed to be obviously over the top and therefor humorous, please explain.

    Have you considered that you might be overly sensitive on some matters?

    1. I was thinking the same about you – that you are being over sensitive and have not considered that you made a mistake. Perhaps we both made a mistake, I dunno.

      The original message came off as if you were saying “if I have to suffer (buy new materials, accept change I don’t like), then the traddies should suffer too.” Since I’m not the only one who took it that way, then I think it reasonable to conclude that you didn’t come off as being obviously funny. I accept that you intended to be humorous when you finally said so, but simply noted (while trying to be polite about it) that you didn’t come off that way originally, which offended you.

      Oh well, I don’t wish to go on and on about nothing – if you meant to be funny, as you say you were, then I accept that. It’s not something to have some long debate about.

  17. Russ Wheeler :

    It sounds like we were members of the same parish.

    Wasn’t that the idea at the time, that all parishes be the same? The assumption that unity required uniformity?

    I feel pretty confident that in the USA, my description of Sunday Low Mass in the 1950s is close to universal. I would except those parishes guided by priests published in Orate Fratres and participating in the Liturgy Weeks, a small minority.

    I pause here to praise the efforts of Martin Helriegel in St. Louis and those who worked to get participation inculturated in their parishes despite the language obstacle.

    It was one of his disciples who actually spoke rather than recited the Lain of the Mass.

    1. Tom,
      I have to say that your observations about (1) a “mumbled mess done quickly and minimally,” (2) a “detached laity” that “could not understand a word,” and (3) a laity that “merely attended ‘father’s Mass’ while they participated in some private devotion, day dreamed, or slept as subtly as they were able” are exactly the same things I witnessed in a suburban Washington D.C. parish circa 1960.

  18. Mark Hamil: “Young Catholics in particular, like me, are drawn to the EF, yet our needs are not met, at least not in my diocese here in Ireland. We have to grin and bear it in the parish where the Mass is said irreverently.”

    Mark, I see no evidence here in Ireland, or anywhere else, that young catholics like you are drawn to the EF. Secondly your post suggests that Mass is generally celebrated irreverently. Apart from being a generalisation, which is false on that count alone, from my experience also, and I suspect I have more experience than you do of participating in Mass in Ireland, it is false in fact. Your comment, therefore, is little more than a peevish, judgmental rant.

    Given that fewer than 200 out of 50,000 students every year take Latin to Leaving Certificate level, I presume that you do not read or otherwise understand Latin. In fact, I suspect, the only Latin you know is Kyrie Eleison 🙂 So where is the attraction for praying in a language of which you have little or no understanding?

    1. Mark, I see no evidence here in Ireland, or anywhere else, that young catholics like you are drawn to the EF.

      Mark said that he is a young Catholic from Ireland drawn to the EF. So your assertion that there is no evidence is false, since his testimony contradicts it. I can testify to the same thing happening here in New York.

      Secondly your post suggests that Mass is generally celebrated irreverently. Apart from being a generalisation, which is false on that count alone, from my experience also, and I suspect I have more experience than you do of participating in Mass in Ireland, it is false in fact.

      If generalizations are false on account of being generalizations, then your generalization is just as false as Mark’s.

      Your comment, therefore, is little more than a peevish, judgmental rant.

      An ironic complaint, considering what follows:

      Given that fewer than 200 out of 50,000 students every year take Latin to Leaving Certificate level, I presume that you do not read or otherwise understand Latin. In fact, I suspect, the only Latin you know is Kyrie Eleison So where is the attraction for praying in a language of which you have little or no understanding?

      Considering that you don’t know Mark (as you surely wouldn’t write about him this way if you do), you have no reason for a “peevish, judgmental rant” about his understanding of Latin.

  19. OK, everyone, feelings are running high – let’s all keep it calm and objective as much as possible.

    Samuel, you raise some good points. True, we can’t infer from general stats whether a particular person know Latin or not. But I believe Mark Hamil spoke for others, not just himself, when he said: “Young Catholics in particular, like me, are drawn to the EF.”

    awr

  20. Samuel J. Howard, it appears that your emotions are obscuring your logic.

    M. Hamil asserted that young catholics (Plural) were drawn to the EF. His post is not evidence that young catholics (Plural) are drawn to the EF. It is evidence that one young catholic (Singular) is so drawn.

    Secondly, I said that his generalisation, like all generalisations, was false. All that is required to prove that that is so is to find one exception to his claim that mass is celebrated irreverently in Ireland. And they are legion. His claim is a gratuitous and unwarranted slur on Irish priests and bishops.

    Thirdly, I am inferring from the regrettably low numbers taking Latin to Leaving Cert level that any young catholic will be 99% unlikely to understand Latin. That is not to be judgmental towards anyone. It is merely to state the obvious. And my question remains. Why would someone who does not understand Latin be drawn to pray in that language?

    Any objective observer of religious practice in Ireland will agree that the numbers of young catholics, or indeed catholics of any age, here, who are drawn to the EF are negligible and abysmally low and, if current trends are anything to go by, unlikely to rise.

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