The missal and the power structure that produced it

Coverage of the new missal will be picking up in the mainstream media as the First Sunday of Advent approaches.

The Drogheda Independent in Ireland has a story by Fr. Michael Commane which connects the dots between the new missal and the structures of governance in the Catholic Church: “There is still a ‘clerical elite’ in the church.”

Watch for missal coverage from the Associated Press and the Washington Post. You’ll never guess why I think they’re on this story.



  1. This is the story that should be told now. Cup versus chalice, all versus many…water under the bridge.

    Keep talking about this…this is what matters.

  2. Hi, awr. Once again my thanks for your hard work on this.

    I think there are a couple priests here and there who are going to resign in protest . . . pretty sure about that. Midwest. Think it will generate some media interest.

    In some ways the VC2010 is just the icing on the cake; the damage was already done with the lectionary, but nobody talks about that anymore.

    People are going to vote with their feet . . . yet the guys with the pointy hats keep telling us to “evangelize,” and “increase your mass attentance.” Jim

  3. Agreed.
    As I commented over at “Poorly worded…” and elsewhere, I am not a scholar but because of the needed catechesis, even months of it to understand this translation, my opinion is that it violates many sections of Sacrosactum Concillium.

    As far as the excessive catechesis it violates:

    #34 In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

    As far as who is empowered to make these decisions, it’s definitely not the curia and a secretive group, it violates:

    22.2. ..conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established) *3. … it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide … their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See.
    (NOT the other way around).
    39. Within the limits set by the typical editions of the liturgical books, it shall be for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to specify adaptations, especially in the case of the administration of the sacraments, the sacramentals, processions, liturgical language, sacred music, and the arts, but according to the fundamental norms laid down in this Constitution.

    Now, I’m sure many will disagree, these laws don’t apply, they were talking about 1964 (unless you’re talking about the use of latin in Mass or the use of the pipe organ they they do apply !) many ( not all) from the “rollback Vatican II” group. But this was the teaching of a church council and represents the basis for how our present ecclesiological should work.

    1. I believe that before the Holy See re-translated the texts the Bishops gave up their right lawfully. However it may be argued the Holy See did not impose without the Bishop’s confeence voting to do so. I stand to be corrected but I believe this is what took place.
      And SC # 34 seems a contradiction in and of itself. How can a languge be so simplistic to the least of the educated peoples of the world and still maintain the beauty, and conciseness of the Latin original? I mean where do you suggest grawing the line? Third grade aptitude, Sixth grade? US HS standards?

      1. No, Mitch, this is all wrong. The real story has been covered on this blog thoroughly, and we’ve run stories from several insider bishops who objected to Rome’s impositions and changing the rules. Bishops giving up their rights was never done lawfully, and bishops never voted to approve the new rules. Nor were they asked. Liturgiam authenticam was simply imposed by Rome without consultation.

        SC 34 calls for a judgment, about which people of good will might disagree.


    2. Mitch, I’m not aware that they gave up their right specifically. I do know they did refer to ICEL on a consultative basis but not to the holy see. Vox Clara came later, organized by the holy see and I think that is where the rub is. V.C. was a secretive group, no reports to the bishops, no consultation etc. Totally alien to the good faith relationship the bishops had with ICEL.
      Perhaps Fr. Ruff can elaborate.

      As far as #34 I think you are taking it to the extreme. Does anyone who speaks english not understand the present translation regardless of their station in life? Furthermore, sacrosanctum concilium states that they are to consult with various territories (peoples) to make certain that all is well.
      Obviously not all is well w/ this new translation.
      Lastly, I believe the translation was to be based on the “original languages” i.e. Koine Greek, etc and not latin.

  4. One short continuation…

    At least that’s how Joseph Ratzinger felt when he published THEOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF VATICAN II:
    This decision was a profession of faith in what is truly central to the Church [the sacred liturgy],…the proper point of departure for all renewal. The text [of Sacrosanctum Concilium] …did not restrict itself to mere changes in individual rubrics….The text implied an entire ecclesiology and thus anticipated (in a degree that cannot be too highly appreciated) the main theme of the entire Council — its teaching on the Church….

    In my opinion, Sacrosanctum as J. Ratzinger stated, sets the tone for the entire ecclesiology of the church and this translation is invalid on a number of points. But I’m sure he’s not gonna listen to little ‘ol me and I’m sure everybody else has their opinion.

    1. You might want to read this book by Ladislas Orsy, SJ:

      Highlights: At the heart of Orsy’s critique of much of recent papal and curial teaching is a different emphasis in interpreting the nature of Vatican II. Orsy is of the opinion that the Council was an event that called for a conversion—a change of direction—that launched the Church on a path of decentralization and a new encouragement of plural forms and local responsibility within the one communio that is the Church. Some may be tempted to see in this book what Pope Benedict has criticized in his talk about the reception of Vatican II to the Roman Curia in December of 2005 as a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” with the pre-conciliar Church. Interestingly, however, Orsy’s chapter on “Stability and Development in Canon Law,” draws criteria for recognizing genuine development versus destructive changes from Cardinal Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine; criteria that emphasize continuity and harmonious progress from older forms to newer forms. He is basically in agreement that there is a need to view the new directions brought by the Council from the optic favored by Pope Benedict-a “hermeneutic of the reform”- that considers these changes as an “organic development” that did not alter the Church’s fundamental nature. The difference between Orsy and the Pope would be in the question of emphasis and direction. Clearly Orsy sees the centralization of the last decade as inconsistent with the teaching of the Council.


      “He scrutinizes the 1983 Code of Canon Law’s equation of the power of governance with jurisdiction, which he characterizes as an innovation with little justification in the tradition. Because this change in canon law is a merely disciplinary…

      1. I agree. This is an excellent book, and should be required reading for all bishops (especially one or two who have made controversial decisions recently!) as well as everyone else.

    1. Fr. Ruff said, “Watch for missal coverage from the Associated Press and the Washington Post. You’ll never guess why I think they’re on this story.”

      I think I guessed correctly!

    2. Well, in Fr. Anthony’s case, there is something to be famous about. And I think he’s over the 15 minute average!

      The media are indeed fickle. John, btw, I hear you have 30 seconds of fame coming up in America magazine. I’m glad you are not wasting your whole 15 minutes in one venue.

    1. Not over a translation, but over a dark, sinful process, is more accurate I think. But awr is capable of speaking for himself.

      1. Exactly right, Graham. It’s the process – a top-down, non-transparent, non-consultative process reflecting a system of governance in need of reform. It’s not about the text primarily.

      1. That was tongue in cheek Sam.

        Although I don’t recall making a habit of criticizing your posts you certainly like to criticize mine Sam . Must be that pseudo-traditionalism.
        Todd, I agree with you. We have a few of those traditionalists at my parish so I can speak from experience, you are correct. As a matter of fact one of them wrote a scathing letter to our pastor so he read it after his homily at Mass recently. People were aghast and there was an angry buzz in the church. They just eventually shoot themselves in the foot, kinda like Fr. Corapi.

  5. Fr Anthony, when these are the criticisms being leveled against you and from this quarter, you must be doing something right.

    Thank you again for your the courageous stance you have taken! You’re an inspiration.

    Ad plurimos annos!

  6. It looks like continued subterfuge to outsiders and reeks of disobedience. No other way about it. I have spoke to quite a few who are happy with the news translations, and a few others who could care less, often from the politics that continue to go on outside for the world to see via the internet and mass media. Some would like to see the simple admission that these on the whole are better than the previous translation and get on with implementation and support of the Missal. Catholics are so tired of the fightings within out own borders. It is so undignified.

  7. I do not think too many people are going to get upset one way or another over the missal text. Most probably wont care. World War III, in my opinion, in the Catholic church, will errupt over ceremonial, and music, with text as a secondary issues at best.

  8. I went to one of my friends parishes where he is trying to get people ready for the changes. As a laicized priest, the new order of mass confirms for me that leaving active ministry was the best decision of my life. This translation is a train wreck in progress. It was not needed and will be most destructive in the parishes that have adapted to Vatican II the best. Most people probably will not care much, but for those who do, this is going to be bad.

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