It is worth reflecting on the role that the Net has played in the discussions relating to the new translation of the Missal, for it has been significant.
For the first time in the history of the Church, we have had an uninvited, worldwide, participatory discussion on a significant change that will affect all in the English-speaking world. Rather than wait for a text to be offered via the usual channels, we have been able to voice an opinion and offer comment on the way through. It has been immediate and has not been dependent on the postal service, the press, or the reserve of an elitist group. That expression of opinion has come from a varied background, from scholars, laity, priests, religious, and the humble Joe Soap anxious that his or her small voice is heard.
The Seattle initiative in the months following the article by Fr. Michael Ryan in America led to the establishment of the website “What If We Just Said Wait?” Currently that web site has over 22,000 signatures. Further, there have been significant contributions and informed comment on Pray Tell over many months.
Many of those comments have been searching and thought-provoking, reflecting the real anxiety felt by the contributors for the good of the Church. Others have been somewhat trivial, and at times lacking in charity. And some have been very funny, which is good, for an ability to laugh as we go through difficult times is a healthy condition. See here and here for two fine examples.
On the Net we have explored not only the nuance of language and the problems associated with translation but also the background argument and tensions that have arisen since the work of ICEL was rejected. The consequences of this procedural shift and the establishment of Vox Clara has led to real concern over the issue of collegiality and the future direction of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
And where has it gotten us? It would seem that all of this will now be brushed aside. Whether we like it on not, it is too late. Many feel a deep sense of disappointment, of frustration and, not to put it too strongly, anxiety for the future.
When will the Chair of An English Speaking Bishops Conference publicly acknowledge the concern of the laity, and of many of our priests, with the change that is about to be foisted on us?
Courteous requests have been met with platitudinous language that has only served to sidestep the issue.
The Net has offered an opportunity for reflective comment that is new in our experience. We all need to learn from the events and postings of recent months and appreciate the considered opinion all can make. It deserves a response.
Chris McDonnell, UK