Bishop Conry: Problems of Overcentralization and New Missal under Pope Benedict XVI

Two days after the announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation, Bishop Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in the United Kingdom, spoke out on the pontificate of Pope Benedict in the pages of The Times (subscription needed).

Bishop Conry spoke of a negative impact on Catholics in the pews through the introduction of the new English translation of the Missal:

Liturgically is where it has impacted most obviously on the lives of Mass-going Catholics. We have a new translation of the Mass texts which was really imposed by Rome. There are bits of the translation that people are simply not happy with, words such as ‘consubstantial’ in the Creed. Before that it was ‘of one being’. Had we been able to make local decisions we would have stuck with the original. It has not had a massive impact, but at the same time it has had an impact that is felt.

For Bishop Conry, this translation problem is tied to the larger issue of centralization:

There is a need for the Roman Curia, the central administration, to be reviewed. That was not one of Pope Benedict’s strengths. It needs reviewing because it is not working very well. There seems to be a degree of centralization that is not really necessary which might indicate that there is a degree of inefficiency.

A return to the traditional autonomy of local bishops, a characteristic of the early Church, was one of the calls from the Second Vatican Council. The aim was that Rome should work more collaboratively with the local bishops. That has not really developed.


  1. Good for Bishop Conry. We seem to have few enough of his like on this side of the Atlantic. Barring the election of a pope from outside the Roman bureaucracy, I don’t think we’ll see improvement. As a manager, Pope Benedict has been close to a disaster.

    But if we get more of the same, the bright spot will be that however the Church survives, it will be the working of the Holy Spirit. Because we’ll clearly continue this poverty of competence.

  2. Yep – the new translation: someone else’s solution to someone else’s problem. Sigh.

    A lot has happened in the last eight years, but there are two things I think Benedict will be remembered for: his restoration of the Tridentine Mass (and its significance in ongoing official liturgical pluriformity) and his resignation (and its significance in the wider reform of Church).

    Let’s hope more bishops begin to find their voices.

    BTW, how many noticed that Benedict’s papal coat of arms contains a mitre instead of the traditional papal tiara? One bishop among many? The man isn’t all he appears to be.

  3. Surely there are more intellectually honest bishops like Conry who by speaking up right now could capture the attention of the cardinals and ignite a “Pentecostal Moment”. This would be the time for bishops who are desperate for sufficient priests to staff and grow their local churches to call out for a pope who will help with fresh solutions rather than old bromides. Come, Holy Spirit, and rescue the church from mere human precepts.

  4. How refreshing to hear from a bishop who is content to be buried in his current diocese. The people of Arundel and Brighton can be proud.

    The aforementioned centralization is driven by the careerism of the bishops. They bend over backwards to echo only the talking points they have been given; and they all mention Mary at the end of their homilies (whether or not it relates) because it’s a litmus test for blind loyalty/fealty to Rome (because that’s what the pope does.)

  5. This is the first occasion during many months of comment that a Bishop in England has publicly recognised that we have a problem.

    At last!

    May others follow his example

  6. Praise God for this! May the Spirit blow through the Church and strengthen all as we journey forward! Time to leave the past where it belongs and reclaim Vatican II. Veni, Sancte Spiritus!

  7. Having spoken in depth to my own bishop (Shrewsbury) and Bishop Kieran (Arundel and Brighton) and also briefly to Archbishop Nichols (Westminster) whilst in Lourdes just over a year ago, touching on some of the issues in the above Times article, it is good to hear some of those concerns are now being debated in public. It will be interesting to see how things proceed. I don’t think all the bishops will share Kieran’s perspective but there has to be room for dialogue. In the forthcoming conclave I presume there will be discussion before the voting. I hope the cardinals read this blog. It’s a shame there are unfilled voting positions too. England and Wales, for example, will have no presence. Our own archbishop of Westminster is a good man and should be there.

  8. Following the recent Tablet survey, we are indeed stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    The Tablet is to be congratulated on arranging this on-line survey of attitudes to the New Translation and publishing the results (9th February).

    Given that there must be reservations regarding self-selecting respondents, we now have a picture of an evenly divided laity and a significant majority of priests who have some difficulty with the new text. That alone should make us pause and ask a number of questions.

    A priest must feel comfortable and assured in leading the public prayer of the Eucharist. For many that is now clearly not the case. For those who share the Eucharist with him, the distraction of a convoluted language is not an encouragement to prayer, rather the reverse.

    If only the words of the Seattle website, What if we just said wait, had been heeded, we would have avoided the present painful circumstance.

    A line from W H Auden comes to mind, “Time tells you nothing but I told you so”.

    1. @Chris McDonnell – comment #8:
      The survey’s reporting on the sympathies of priests is of limited value without knowing just who the priests are. For example, how many are actually serving in parishes as opposed to academics and the retired. For those who are active, it would still be instructive to know their age and consider to what extent their difficulties may have their origin in the challenges related to change after a certain age. I’d be more interested to compare the opinions of younger priests to older priests, regulars to seculars and for secular priests, diocese to diocese.

  9. Authority can be a seductive mistress; it can be used to impose, propose or suppose. Or serve, conserve or unnerve. I think in many cases the Curia (or any higher authority) merely reflects the spirit found on lower levels in many places.

  10. “I think in many cases the Curia (or any higher authority) merely reflects the spirit found on lower levels in many places.”

    No. Each is derivative. The original is simply sin.

  11. Bishop Conry’s objections seem quite mild when compared to the bishops who complained about the introduction of the ICEL translation in the 1970’s. The more things change the more they stay the same.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #12:
      Was waiting for this *rerun and ROTR mantra*……very few bishops complained about the 1973 translation especially if you look across all of the english speaking conferences. 1973 was much more than just a translation reform. (and the few who were most outspoken also rejected some of Vatican II)

      You are comparing apples to oranges – if you look to the early english conferences voting on the 2010 translation, you find lots of complaints, suggested revisions, etc. But, Rome/Vox Clara repeatedly ignored, plowed ahead, and eventually wore down the english speaking conferences (which should be to their embarrassment- they failed in one of their primary responsiblities). And we are merely talking about a translation – nothing else. Let’s go further – 1973 was english; all major language groups also implemented both vernacular and the reformed mass (significant and substantial changes).
      Yet, there have been no other languages that have implemented LA to date – why? because of conferences delaying, resisting, and objecting to LA. There was no similar experience after Vatican II – in fact, episcopal conferences across all languages pushed Rome for quicker translations.

      Mr.McKernan – you continue to pick and choose your history – at least, let’s be factual and comprehensive.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #13:
        I agree that we don’t “pick and choose (our)histor(ies)” Bill. The implementation of the consilium’s and ICEL’s work was fraught with controversy from the start. Una Voce was founded in 1964. The Latin Mass Society dates from 1965, the 1967 Roman Synod found fault with the consilium’s work and changes were introduced to meet the bishops’ demands by 1969. The 1967 vernacular canon introduced by ICEL, approved by the conferences, was rejected by Rome and changes were made to it before it was sent on to the bishops again (2x I believe).Several religious orders and monasteries were founded or retained the EF between 1970-the present day as did the diocese of Campos in Brazil. The new RM was introduced in 1969/70 though there were various approaches to the rubrics throughout the world. The Latin Liturgy Association was also founded in the USA in New York in 1970 and the Agatha Christie indult was granted to England & Wales in 1971. By 1973 we had the ICEL translation of the new missal but the English & Welsh bishops gave their people the continued right to an EF funeral as early as 1974, keeping the EF alive there. Interestingly, only a year after the vernacular translation of his missal was introduced in English-speaking countries, Paul VI published Iubilate Deo (in 1974) implementing V2’s pointed directive in SC to keep Latin ordinaries and chant normative in the Roman Church (Voluntati Obsequens). Only ten years later, in 1984, Quattuor abhinc annos expanded the Agatha Christie indult to the whole world. In 1988 Ecclesia Dei liberalized the indult. CIEL was founded in 1994 to promote traditional liturgy. ICEL worked extensively on new translations of the RM from the 1980’s through the 1990’s but by then Rome had rejected some big projects, the ordination rites in 1997 and the 1998 Psalter. LA was issued in 2001 rejecting ICEL’s 1998 missal translation and directing the reorganization of ICEL. In 2007 the Holy Father issued SP granting every priest the right to celebrate the EF while also encouraging mutual enrichment between the two forms of the one Roman rite. By 2011 the new English translation was in use throughout the English speaking world.
        Looking over the history Bill I see plenty of what you call delay, resistance, and objection but where you only seem to choose to recognize these directed toward LA and the contemporary translation I see the history showing them to be a feature of the post V2 reform project from the beginning suggesting significant pastoral difficulties with it.

      2. @Daniel McKernan – comment #27:
        Thanks, JFR and Jonathan. JFR – your simple line will be wasted on Allan and McKernan; in fact, doubt they understand your understated punch.

        You have named two things:
        – papal decisions that each step of the way gave permission for wider use of the 1962 missal (even over the opposition of almost all episcopal conferences). What you fail to include in your list is all of the timeline for what Consilium/ICEL/ICET did with all of the episcopal conferences to implement the reformed liturgies/sacraments, etc. across the world. You fail to acknowledge that your timeline is an excellent example of exactly what has and is occuring – the minority (outvoted in VII) manuevered and chipped away every which way they could – ignoring collegiality; using synods (which was forced upon the council and then after 1974 became a tool of the curia/papacy). And, if we are going to argue numbers and data, each of these papal directives extended permissions for less than 3% of the current, active church with almost no impact on the church in the southern hemispherre (despite Mr. Howard’s weak attempts to disprove this).

        Which brings us to the second point: you name associations, Christie indult, etc.; focus on an English cardinal’s personal intervention with JPII who casually gave the indult approval (posted on PTB before – it did not come from the Latin Association but from Hennan’s intervention) and a papal letter about latin/chant which only again underlines the fact that even popes promote and provide directives in a context in which they try to straddle all sides (your use and interpretation of Jubilate Deo is an example of this – it was an advocacy piece with no directives attached – so what? I can read it and completely agree with it – you read the opposite from me.)
        VII did not have *pointed directives in SC to keep Latin ordinaires or chant* – as John O’Malley stated well in his researched history – the role of Latin in VII documents is AMBIGUOUS at best – all of us can pick and choose and decide it means whatever. You also again have a timeline that ignores the episcopal conferences that quickly demanded even less latin. Interesting tidbit – appears that certain trad associations had more influence with two popes than their own episcopal conferences – what does that say? Other than it sheds more light on the current resignation and failures to reform the curia and his own failed attempts to re-catholicize Europe. (as Jack’s data indicates – Europe which is barely 25% of the church)

        As JFR and others (Paul Inwwod) have documented on PTB, you cite a number of sacrament rituals that were questionned, etc. That was part of the process as intended by SC and implemented by Consilium. Yes, they did often submit changes that were later revised or modified or went back to the drawing board. So what? That is a sign of a healthy process with wide consultation, input, transparencies. Yet, you use these as footnotes to indicate that they *failed* – sorry, your opinion and the opposite approach via Vox Clara and LA shows were the real failures are. As JFR has documented, this process of give and take significantly changed in 1996 with Medina (who can’t speak a word of english). His authoritarian style, etc. (although he lost his *cool* at St. Peter’s one day and was recorded to say that these changes were not his fault but ordered by others – he was merely the messenger – how’s that for embarrassing and one of your *strong* footnotes) refused to work with ICEL, fired folks, forced out others, and re-established a one sided process (thus, failing what SC directed).

        If you had written this in my liturgy class, you would have barely passed – as a timeline, it effectively picks and chooses one side or is a partial list of papal orders; completely fails to show the comprehensive timeline and the tremendous amount of consultation, development, and process of ICEL/ICET which included, BTW, consultation and partnership with other churchs (oh yeah, another primary goal of VII).

        Allan says *cool* – of course, it fits his hobbyhorses. Suggest that he would know little about a comprehensive timeline. His bias is well documented on his blog – not exactly a rousing call of support for your argument.

  12. Bishop Conry: There are bits of the translation that people are simply not happy with, words such as ‘consubstantial’ in the Creed. Before that it was ‘of one being’. Had we been able to make local decisions we would have stuck with the original. It has not had a massive impact, but at the same time it has had an impact that is felt.

    I know my following statements are arrogant statements, but I cannot resist. Perhaps I should confess soon. I am quite arrogant, but the road to true humility is often quite steep. This does not mean that the climb is not worthy to attempt.

    I’ve read many arguments on why “consubstantial” is not suitable. Even Cranmer avoided a literal translation of consubstantialem, instead choosing “of one substance” (apparently clunky, but in the context of a communion service setting appropriate and well integrated). I agree that “consubstantial” was not a most appropriate choice.

    Still, I suspect that many laypersons who object to “consubstantial” are simply acting on emotion and sentiment when rejecting its use. The USCCB, as well as many pastors, have taken great pains to explain what the word means. I explained the meaning of “consubstantial” and “for many” to my parents in a matter of minutes, and they have not had a problem since. (“for many” is more difficult to explain since one has to place the terms in the context of Latin and Greek.)

    The proliferation of surveys of laypersons about the new missal often ask if persons “like” certain terms or not. Liturgy should be at first intellectual, and not a question of sentiment or disposition. This is why I am rather wary of surveys. Then again, perhaps I am gravely dysfunctional if I am not offended by the words of the Mass. I approach them with an attitude of empirical investigation, not subjective concern. Because of this, I suppose I am gravely unaware of what most Catholics think about liturgy.

  13. Jordan, if a Lutheran friend visited your parents, how would you explain his beliefs about the Eucharist? Would consubstantiation be more easily understood because you had earlier explained consubstantial? How old you connect the notion of two substances in one thing with that of one substance in two persons?

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #15:

      Martin Luther did not use the term “consubstantiation” or “consubstantial” to describe the Eucharist. Rather, he preferred to describe the Eucharist as a sacramental union. When explaining the Lutheran doctrine on the Eucharist to others, I simply paraphrase Luther’s very clear depiction of his doctrine. Luther compared the Eucharist to an iron horseshoe heated in a fire. The horseshoe never loses its iron composition, but the fire causes the horseshoe to glow. Similarly, the Eucharist is real bread and real wine (the permanent nature of iron in a horseshoe), but simultaneously is the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ (the glowing heat emanating from a horseshoe thrust into a fire.) I am sure most people after this explanation can easily distinguish Lutheran eucharistic doctrine from trinitarianism in the Nicene Creed.

      The real problem, as I have said so many times, is the very poor state of preaching and catechesis. The pastor of my church regularly contrasts Catholic doctrine against Protestant doctrines, without any hint of disdain or malice towards Protestants. He merely wishes to draw contrasts between different Christian doctrines so that the laity will be better catechized about their Catholic faith. He has the gift of explaining complex theological concepts with brevity and clarity. If only more priests consistently preached doctrine rather than tell stories and issue Dr. Phil-ish cliches! Are seminarians not given enough training in rigorous catechetical preaching? Or, are laypersons turned off by sermons about doctrine and dogma? Priests should not cater to the affective tastes of the laity, but give them the catechesis they desperately require.

      The therapeutic society is a cancer on the liturgy. The sooner we return to compassionate but concise catechetical preaching to the faithful, the better.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #17:
        Jordan, my sense is there’s a very real danger of over-rationalizing our approach to the Catholic faith. If we are endangered by a gospel of therapy, we might well be hampered just as much from the meme that lay people are stupid and all they need is the same information we have in order to tell the difference between themselves and Protestants. If indeed, that is the most important characteristic of “good” catechesis.

        Personally, I think preaching doctrine is nearly as bad as preaching therapy. What is essential is living, not knowing, the faith. That isn’t to say that an element of knowledge isn’t a good thing. I happen to think that therapy is a good thing too, don’t you?

      2. @Todd Flowerday – comment #19:

        No, I don’t think that comparative theology is the only characteristic of sound catechesis. Yet, sometimes this approach is useful. Our monsignor occasionally compares theology across Christian communions only to emphasize why a Catholic doctrine is peculiarly Catholic. As I have said, he does not refer to Protestant theology derogatorily. He is a professor as well as a clergyman, and his propensity for empiricism reflects his academic training.

        I have never encountered a parishioner who has considered himself or herself belittled by the monsignor’s sermons. Quite the opposite — many parishioners greatly look forward to his sermons and catechesis. I have never ever met a parishioner who’s considered his or her intelligence slighted by the sermons. The Sunday High Mass is stuffed to the rafters. Something’s working here — orthodox Catholic theology explained in simple and easy to remember terms. We are blessed in our diocese to have a number of priests with a similar caliber of rhetorical skill.

        Todd: What is essential is living, not knowing, the faith

        Life and knowledge are synchronous. In fact, I would say that the speed of the synchrony between these concepts renders the two concepts indistinguishable. If we attempt to live the faith, but do not stand on a sure foundation of instruction, what then is our recourse when the winds of doubt inevitably course through us? Catechesis is the scaffold upon which the weary failthful lean. We cannot be charitable without understanding the way in doctrine girds charity.

        Confession and spiritual direction offer opportunities for therapeutic counseling, even if confession is not intended to resemble clinical therapy. Some clergy are also social workers and psychologists. Clergy who are duly trained in therapy are a blessing for the faithful. Mass is not a time for this form of healing, however. Mass offers an infinitely more profound therapy — the grace of God through cooperation with the re-presentation of his saving mystery. The grace indwelling in a communicant renovates the human soul in a manner intrinsically more comprehensive than thousands of psychotherapy sessions.

        The conflation of therapeutic methods with the Mass — and not the text of the reformed Mass itself — has driven me into the arms of conservative and traditional worship. Here the grace of the Holy Sacrifice is front, center, and paramount.

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #17:

        Thank you for your excellent explanation. It more than makes up for sidestepping the point by implicitly asserting that Lutherans should not use the term consubstantiation. Many, including Lisa Simpson, do use the term to mean what Luther describes, and I still see that as a problem for the use of consubstantial with a different meaning.

        I don’t really agree with your opposition to therapeutics. Christ can heal all, so I can accept the therapeutic in my encounter with him in the Eucharist. I do not really see how that issue is relevant to this discussion, butI am the last one who should complain about going off on a tangent.

        I really do appreciate this response. Thank you again.

  14. Jordan, again you are on the mark regarding the importance of intellectual engagement and the danger of handing over our traditions to the scrutiny of superifical dispositions. You’re not being arrogant. You just belong to a group of Catholics whose concerns are consistently neglected.

    This is the exact problem with surveys. Even and especially in the days of the Facebook “like”, we are encouraged to judge things on the basis of instant reactions. The new Mass was supposedly promulgated with the intention of making the laity MORE informed about the content of the historic Latin liturgical tradition. Now we seem to think it can be decided by polling. Personally, I would far prefer to see the “sense of the faithful” translated into more sympathetic pastoral considersations for the use of birth control than the degradation and humiliation of our common ritual life in the name of a superifical “relevancy”, but the conciliar Church just didn’t think along those lines, and we’re left with the absurdity even today

  15. Good on Bishop Conry, but justice delayed is justice denied: he and most of the world’s other English-speaking bishops (Archbishop Roche included) have been fully aware since long before the imposition of this ‘translation’ that it was going to be a train-wreck for a number of reasons, none of which need re-listing here.

    The bishops of England, Wales and Scotland had Pope Benedict to themselves on his visit there over 2 years ago, after they’d learnt – with great anger – of the Vox Clara changes to what they’d approved, and said nothing to him. In fact, on the last day of his visit, they all had lunch with him then sat in the chapel at Oscott and let him tell them, in a speech prepared by some of them:

    ‘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.’

    Not one of them told the pope what they were saying privately – loudly – among themselves. Conry was there, and, while I congratulate him for doing so at all, gutlessly waited nearly for the pope to resign, nearly 30 months later, to speak.

    But at least he spoke.

    It was the same in Australia: when the bishops gathered for their first meeting after they’d learnt the details of the Vox Clara changes, they were all spitting chips and complaining loudly, but once the meeting began, no one even raised it as an agenda item.

    ‘All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.’

  16. In my own research re: “pro multis” at the Consecration, I learned, in Hebrew, “many’ is inclusive whereas in English “many” sounds exclusive. The Hebrew for “all” has no plural, and it means “whole”. Even the Greek for “many” (“Hoi poloi”!!) means the masses. So our current translation of ‘many’ comes from that understanding. But who has the time to research and come to understanding?? Shouldn’t the words of liturgy communicate what is meant, in addition to just what is said?

  17. Bill deHaas : @Daniel McKernan – comment #12: Was waiting for this *rerun and ROTR mantra*……very few bishops complained about the 1973 translation especially if you look across all of the english speaking conferences. 1973 was much more than just a translation reform. (and the few who were most outspoken also rejected some of Vatican II) You are comparing apples to oranges – if you look to the early english conferences voting on the 2010 translation, you find lots of complaints, suggested revisions, etc. But, Rome/Vox Clara repeatedly ignored, plowed ahead, and eventually wore down the english speaking conferences (which should be to their embarrassment- they failed in one of their primary responsiblities). And we are merely talking about a translation – nothing else. Let’s go further – 1973 was english; all major language groups also implemented both vernacular and the reformed mass (significant and substantial changes). Yet, there have been no other languages that have implemented LA to date – why? because of conferences delaying, resisting, and objecting to LA. There was no similar experience after Vatican II – in fact, episcopal conferences across all languages pushed Rome for quicker translations. Mr.McKernan – you continue to pick and choose your history – at least, let’s be factual and comprehensive.

    Yes, Bill – even in Spain Christ’s blood is still poured out ‘por todos los hombres’…

  18. “There is a need for the Roman Curia, the central administration, to be reviewed. That was not one of Pope Benedict’s strengths.” The great disadvantage of Vatican “central command and control” is evident in the large diversity of Catholicism’s situation across the continents as summarized well by several recent Pew reports.

    The Pew Global Catholic Report shows the profound contrast between the regional distribution of the Catholic Church in 1910 and in 2010.

    Back in 1910 Catholicism was very Eurocentric with 65% of the Catholic population in Europe and only 24% in Latin America as the next runner up and only 5% in North America.

    Now Latin-America is in first place with 39% (and if one adds in North America at 8% the Americas constitute almost half of Catholicism at 47%) far surpassing Europe at 24%.

    Jenkins has argued for the Southern Hemisphere as The Next Christendom especially given the growth of Christians in Africa. However the New Christendom is already here and is well documented in these Pew reports. It consists of the Americas. It will come to be recognized as the New Christendom if a Latin American is elected as Pope.

    The Americas (not Europe, or even Africa) are where the real vibrancy of Catholicism has taken and is taking place. That vibrancy has been and is in large measure the result of Protestant competition. Many sociologists have argued that competition is good for religion, especially the entrepreneurial Protestant Christianity that seems to bring out the best in Catholics as well as Protestants. Much of the classical growth of the immigrant Church was fueled by Protestant competition, and Protestant competition has helped renew Latin America Catholicism more than liberation theology.

    The College of Cardinals remains a very Eurocentric institution reflecting 1910 rather than 2010. B16’s policies were based on attempts to prevent the collapse of European Christendom with his fight against secularism rather than building upon the dynamic New Christendom in the Americas and a potential Next Christendom in the growing populations of Africa.

  19. There is an excellent way of looking at the regional data for Christianity in the Pew Global Christianity interactive maps

    This map is a good place to start. It gives the global map for Christianity,ALL
    By pressing the buttons across the top you can select among All, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Other Christians

    Christians Worldwide are 2,184, 060,000, 32% of the world population.

    Catholics Worldwide are 1,094,610,000, 16% of the world population but 50% of the Christian population

    Protestants Worldwide are 800,640,000, 12% of the world population and 37% of the Christian population

    Orthodox Worldwide (including Oriental) are 260,380,000, 4% of the world population and 12% of the Christian population

    Other Christian (Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses) are 28,430,000, 0.4% of the world’s population and 1% of the Christian population.

    By selecting the various layers (Americas, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific, North Africa-Middle East) you can see the same data portrayed visually for the various regions.

    N.B. Where your button is set (All. Catholic, Protestant, etc,) that setting will continue as you switch layers.

    If one presses upon the Catholic button, you will see that the Americas come out first in terms of numbers of Catholics followed by Europe than Sub-Saharan Africa, then Asia and finally the cradle of Christianity (North Africa and the Mideast). Although all these areas (except for the Mideast roughly divide the Christian pie) the situation of Catholics among Christians is very different in each region if you check its data.

  20. The New Catholic Christendom of the Americas,ALL

    One can see by pressing the various buttons why I claim the Americas are the new Christendom:

    Christians in Americas are about 804,070,000. They are 86% of the Americas population and 37% of the World Christian population. In other words the Americas are the most Christian region of the world and have the largest percentage of Christians among the regions.

    Catholics in Americas are about 520,000,000. They are 56% of the Americas population, and 49% of the world Catholic population. Catholics are 65% of the Christian population of the Americans. In other words the Americas are the most Catholic area of the world, have almost half the Catholics in the world, and Catholics constitute well more than half the Christians in this New Christendom!

    Protestants in Americas number about 263,470,000. They are 28% of the Americas population, and 33% of the world Protestant population, and 33% of the Americas Christian population. Despite their “minority” status in the New Christendom I think Protestants are in fact responsible for the vitality of Christianity in the America, just as religious orders within Catholicism have largely been responsible for the vitality of Catholicism. The periphery has been a great source of vitality in Christianity ever since the days of Saint Paul.

    Orthodox in America are 2,630,000. They are only 0.3% of the Americas population and only 1% of the Orthodox in the world. (Although we do have some of the largest concentrations of Orthodox outside their homelands, that is still not very much)

    Of course some might object that a different picture might emerge if we divided the Americas up into two or three areas. I think Pew made a very good decision in keeping the Americas together.

  21. My impression — not backed up by scientific surveys — is as follows:

    1) Relatively few people objected to the liturgical reforms (which were not really “post V2” but started years before the Council). At the Council itself, SC had 2,147 “yes” votes to 4 “no”. Perhaps more significant, the new balance between Word and Sacrament confirmed by SC has utterly won the day, even in communities that celebrate the older Mass.

    2) But, those who did object were skilled at making a disproportionately loud noise — they included voices like Evelyn Waugh, the “Agatha Christie” petition collected quite a few big names (many of them non-Catholic, indeed non-Christian), and they used the media effectively.

    3) The ability to “punch above their weight” has continued in recent years. Though relatively few in number, the “trads” have been highly effective in using social media — one blog quoting another, often in a circular fashion — and raising issues with the liturgy that most massgoers haven’t given a second thought to.

    4) This has all been potentiated by the long career of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict, with his ambivalent view both toward the Tridentine Mass and toward the reform efforts of the last 100 years.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #30:

      Jonathan: 2) But, those who did object were skilled at making a disproportionately loud noise — they included voices like Evelyn Waugh, the “Agatha Christie” petition collected quite a few big names (many of them non-Catholic, indeed non-Christian), and they used the media effectively.

      Jonathan, the laity during the liturgical reform were taught to be absolutely obedient to their priests and pastors. They did not say anything when during the interim Consilium directives were imposed and the 1970 Missal introduced. Some stopped hearing Mass. My father’s parents gravely missed the (now) EF. Yes, they were completely illiterate in Latin and probably silent for the whole Mass, but they derived great spiritual reserve from Tridentine liturgy. They stopped attending Mass after 1970. Both received Christian burial in the new rite, but their belief died years beforehand. Their brothers and sisters, also devout, continued to attend the ordinary form Mass. However, a retired Polish priest would say the the ordinary form in Latin for them occasionally.

      You might well say that many Catholics of the time confused the externals of liturgy with the kernel of faith. Perhaps this is true on some level. One must also remember that for many the daily minutiae of life and ritual practice are often indistinguishable. The two cannot be rent without serious emotional and psychological consequences.

      I have spoken of this experience before, but will not hesitate to speak again. The very optimistic story that not a few Catholics paint of liturgical reform shellacks over the persons who lost even their faith to the reforms. Surveys often mask anger, confusion, and disillusionment. Why do we have to lie to ourselves that many Catholics in the era of reform were not only not pleased, but existentially shattered? The truth of lived experience does not fit the curve of the reformist narrative, and yet the curve of a silent loss of trust and belief will forever exist.

      It is time to shatter the People’s Daily-esque version of the years of reform, and let an honest and unflinching view of both public and private dissent be recorded and considered.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #32:

        And just what do you propose? Get rid of the NO? Go back to the old Mass? Or just add the accoutrements of the old Mass – lace, fiddlebacks, Latin, ad orientum, bells? With any change, I’m sure people get fed up and leave, but the change is over (sort of, no thanks to B’s MP) and we need to move on. Leave the past where it belongs.

        Try reinstituting the old Mass or making the current Mass more like the old, and you’ll see a far bigger exodus than you did in the 60s.

      2. @Sean Whelan – comment #33:

        No, I do not propose that the ordinary form should be abrogated. The problema (Latin: “question”) in the Church today is not related to the typical text or a translation of the Ordinary Form. We have by and large ceased to believe. Belief requires lifelong catechesis and intellectual inquisitiveness, as well as the realization that not all the teachings of the Church will be easy to accept. The therapeutic culture, “feelings”, and the notion that “experiencing the Mass” substitutes for knowing the Who and what of Mass, has gutted our shared faith. True feelings, commonweal towards our brothers and sisters, only arises from an invincible belief in the inexhaustible grace we receive in the sacraments. We cannot learn of the latter simply by showing up on Sunday to shake hands at the Pax.

        Sean, I do not know why you hold such a strong animosity towards the EF and traditional liturgical practices in general. Think of this however: the Mass is given for you, as in Christ’s superabundant grace in his holy sacrifice is re-presented for your supernatural benefit and spiritual edification. Mass is not an activity which is intended to generate “happiness”, “peace”, or “self-satisfaction”. I have long suspected that people leave the faith because they expect Mass to give them the latter. No, the Mass only promises us the gift to kneel beside Calvary, not free visits to lie down on a Freudian disciple’s couch.

        I will sacrifice my life for a rigorously examined faith of self-examined piety, and not a false and corrosive self-worship of pelagianism veiled as kind bromides.

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #35:

        Jordan, your ever evolving views can be idiosyncratic, but I find myself in full agreement here.

        We are not promised happiness in this life. Indeed, we are sometimes promised tribulations.

        The promises of God are awesome, but there is a tendance in modern times to try to expand them beyond what we are offered. This inevitably leads to disappointment and people leaving the Church.

  22. I think Daniel McKernan may be amused (or not) to recall that the first chair of the Latin Mass Society was Canon Reginald “Pilkie” Pilkington of the archdiocese of Westminster. In the years before the Council he had been the chairman of the Vernacular Society…..which he then renounced, doing a 180-degree U-turn in 1965, at a time when the use of the vernacular had scarcely begun.

    Pilkie didn’t set up the LMS because he particularly believed in it, but because he was an eccentric who needed a cause to crusade about. The vernacular having been to all intents and purposes achieved, he turned his attention elsewhere. From such strange acorns do even more peculiar oak trees grow.

  23. Jordan, I always try very hard to appreciate your perspective because it so differs from my own. I am a cradle catholic, the eldest grandson of Irish immigrants to Boston. I was raised a churchgoing catholic by non-pious but faithful parents. I took five years of Latin, used a Sunday Missal, attended parish missions from time to time but was never an altar server. Pursued a degree in education from Boston College but personal issues, including the pursuit of pleasure brought that to a crushing halt before Jr. Year. Was also actively involved in K of C degree work. Right around the same time I had a dramatic conversion experience, the changes at Mass caught my attention. From the very first time I saw the priest facing the people and praying in English I knew this was divinely inspired. You speak of people turning away from the church as if they were inspired to do do so. Rather i think their inadequately formed faith simply came up short. I remember speaking of such people as more catholic than the pope. They had alway been led to believe they should do whatever the church directed until they were directed to enter into the Massin ways they never thought possible. Some stayed on longer until it occurred to them that the scriptures were calling them to make a connection between worship on Sunday and their thoughts and actions the rest of the week. Then many turned away because they wanted to live more in the pursuit of economic security. You have what I can only call a rarefied view of the Mass which, alas, places its fruits well out of reach of most mortals. In my experience there is nothing wrong with ordinary men, women, and children participating in Mass in search of some meaningful connection with the God who loves them with a love beyond all telling. They have little interest in smell, bells, and odd looking and prissy vesture. Even less interest in an English that is fussy and awkward to the ear. They want to belong to a family of faith–yes– where all are welcome.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #36:
      Why must your explanation for those who left be that they were poorly formed or somehow unable to handle a real relationship with God? Would thinking otherwise threaten the authenticity of your own conversion experience? Maybe they already had in the old Mass what you found in the reform and were unable to recover from having it taken away.

  24. Jordan, I don’t for a moment deny that some people felt the pain of the reforms, and the fact that they were in a minority doesn’t mean that their anguish wasn’t real or should be in any way ignored. All I am saying was that this group was relatively small. Perhaps the same is true of those who feel pain at the new translation.

  25. As one who fancies himself liturgically diverse having had a former Episcopal priest who became a bi-ritual married Catholic priest as my parochial vicar for 13 years, who made me appreciate and love the Byzantine liturgies, I am astounded at the Liturgical narrowness of so many who comment here. Having the richness of the various liturgical rites of both the east and the west along with the revival of the liturgical rites associated with the Latin Rite rites prior to Vatican II makes the catholicity of the Church even more pungent as the delicious stew that is the Church united under the Bishop of Rome. And add to that rich pungent stew held together by the Gravy of the Holy Spirit, the Anglican Use Liturgies, and the Church becomes an even more delicious, pungent culinary delight.

  26. The Gravy of the Holy Spirit! I love it! Thanks, Fr Allan, you’ve made me smile this morning.

    In Latin that would be garum Spiritus Sancti. The even closer word would for “gravy” or “sauce” would be jus (gen. juris) but that would too easily be confused with “law”.

  27. Bill,
    I am quite certain that I would enjoy your liturgy class as an audit but, given the usual illiberality of most progressives, I’d approach it with some foreboding as a for credit class .

    The history is there to see but you make an unfortunate turn toward a legalistic interpretation so as to ignore what may seem disconcerting to you. For example, you state that Iubilate Deo was issued without any directives attached. Problem is, the necessary directives are present in SC, occur in more than one place & Voluntati Obsequens refers to those pointed passages in SC as the reason for Iubilate Deo. The directive is also in RS, by the way. You than claim that SC’s clear admonitions to retain Latin and teach it to the people are ambiguous even when the same pope implementing the liturgical reform goes on to implement these parts of SC with Iubilate Deo only one year after our vernacular ICEL missal was published. I guess that’s a point-of-view Bill but it seems to me that an objective historian would see your read as less than balanced.

    Re. consilium Bill, you miss the point. The Holy See disapproved of the conferences approved ICEL canon in 1967 and directed that the translation be changed. Changes were then made. This is a clear precedent for the role that the Holy See has in the translation process. You call it a healthy process in “67 but don’t see the same healthy exchange later, again – that’s a point-of-view but is it balanced?

    Bill – I hope you are consistent in your evaluation of timelines proposed by your students, mine was not intended to be comprehensive nor was it an assignment. If it were, I’d have to include much of what you suggest but also the intrigue within ICEL in its early days, objections from bishops and conferences, the compromises and the redirection from Rome. I’ve seen a few timelines here and there detailing different aspects of the liturgical renewal leaving off all kinds of intriguing tidbits, for example, the permission to have an EF funeral in England & Wales from 1974. How rarely do we see the revealing link between the 1973 vernacular missal and 1974’s Iubilate Deo? Marginalizing the important pastoral response of the Church in granting the Agatha Christie indult only one year after the promulgation of the new missal but before its official vernacular translation was published does not equate to good history. You suggest these Roman documents did not impact the Global South seemingly forgetting that some documents were actually world-wide in their impact, other language groupings often had more faithful translations of the Latin missal, and the non-western world frequently experienced less liturgical novelty than the 1st world Church. Failing to recognize that Quattuor abhinc annos came only fourteen years after the new missal was issued suggests a partial read of the post conciliar liturgical renewal and a hermeneutic largely informed by one’s own personal piety and point-of-view because the LMS, consilium’s problem in 1967, back and forth between ICEL and the Holy See, the LLA, Agatha Christie, Iubilate Deo, Quattuor abhinc annos, Ecclesia Dei, CIEL, LA, SP, and the new vernacular translation suggest that there have been pastoral problems with the implementation of the renewal since the beginning including resistance from some of the most committed practicing Catholics one could ever encounter, people who love the Church and the Church’s liturgy.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #42:
      Mr. McKernan – allow me to respond:
      a) whether teaching Amer. History, sacramental theology, or liturgy, try to focus on *critical thinking and writing skills*. Thus, thesis is stated and supported by documentation and well reasoned/researched arguments.
      So, let’s apply that to #42:
      – legalistic turn (guess this is in the eye of the beholder – would suggest that those who interpret every papal action as the ultimate decision are the folks who are *legalistic*)
      – SC – your comments above stated that SC directed latin in ordinaires, etc. (please cite and document that? again, it is ambiguous given how that paragraph came about) You say:
      “SC’s clear admonitions to retain Latin and teach it to the people are ambiguous even when the same pope implementing the liturgical reform goes on to implement these parts of SC with Iubilate Deo only one year after our vernacular ICEL missal was published”
      – there are NO admonitions in SC – that style of language was deliberately avoided in VII documents (again, lack of critical study; echoing superficial blogs such as Fr. Z, etc.)
      – you say that the canon translation was papally contested in 1967 – really – or was it that the initial order of mass that was experienced in the Sistine Chapel by a small group who asked that they make changes (had nothing to do with the translation – again, uncritical and unhistorical)
      – keep in mind that ICEL and Consilium were separate groups
      – you cite a clear role that the papacy has – PTB has repeatedly debated this – the tension between recognito and approval. It is fairly clear that SC said conferences had the responsiblity and approval – pope only recognized. (again, uncritical and unhistorical – you repeat that ROTR mantra that has no valid basis in fact. What is factual is that a minority has inverted this in practice. Every episcopal conference is pushing back except english)
      – which raises your point about healthy exchange – again, you conflate and confuse. My disagreement is that ICEL and conferences and even CDW had a give and take as laid out by SC and Consilium. The give and take we have today is not a give and take as evidenced by JFR’s description and the actual participant’s books, notes, etc. in terms of what Medina has done and what Vox Clara continues to do. (again, you do realize that Vox Clara was never outlined or planned in SC, Consilium, Paul VI, etc. – it is a curial power play)
      – intrigue in the early days of ICEL (again, a frequent PTB subject – suggest you are referring to one individual in particular who left ICEL. He was a disturbed person with mental health issues who refused to work in partnership. Another example of uncritical thinking and footnoting what?)
      – you cite *interesting tidbits* – well and good, but tidbits have to be connected to the historical narrative; they have to be taken into context; not blown out of proportion.
      examples from you – EF funeral in 1974…, this is a precedent that justifies every later papal pronouncement? Or would suggest that it was a merciful and pastoral response? (sorry, ROTR folks seem to want to work it from both ends); Jubilato Deo – again, you insert and footnote this all out of proportion to the documented notes in terms of why Paul VI did this? You connect 1974 JD to 1973 missal – in fact, Paul VI had approved the 1973 missal and translation in 1968-69 – it was published and implemented in 1973 in the US (again, uncritical and unhistorical timeline). And so, your connection is *meaningless*!
      You say *marginalizing* the Christie indult – again, all out of proportion. That indult was granted to Hennan (who failed to consult his conference; acted independently contra SC; and persuaded JPII who approved at a very low level of authority). You appear to want to make this some type of foundation for legalizing everything else? as if it is some type of dramatic precedent? Earlier, you had confused how, who, and why this indult happened.
      The indult happened in the UK (do you think other episocpal conferences wanted that? did any other conference ask for it? again, you fail to connect the dots in trying to make your case.) You again play the 1973 – 1974 card – well, 1973 was US, 1974 indult was UK….again, your connection is very weak?
      You cite documents and the world church – never said that they weren’t applicable to the whole church – what I said is that those papal permissions changed almost nothing in the Global South. They were permissions that had no impact on the Global south.
      “Other language groups had a more faithful translation” – based upon what? You really show your bias and uncritical thinking here:
      – other language groups (esp. Romance languages) could more closely approximate the *original* latin (in your mind). The translation method in force at that time was Comme Le Prevoit – which is dynamic equivalence. That is a linguistic fact – has nothing to do with ICEL, conferences, papacy, etc. And yet, today no language group is pushing LA or RT.
      “…non-western world frequently experienced less liturgical novelty than the 1st world” – really? sorry, you betray the fact that you obviously have never worked in a mission territory; have never sat through a 4 hour Kenyan mass; etc. (again, uncritical, unhistorical, undocumented)
      QAA – again, didn’t ignore it; but put it into the whole history and context. You again want to make this some type of foundational precedent – it was a permission. Let’s not blow it out of proportion.
      You end by saying – “suggests a partial read of the post conciliar liturgical renewal and a hermeneutic largely informed by one’s own personal piety and point-of-view”….actually, that applies to you and your already stated fact that you produced a partial list and ignored many significant liturgical documents by various episcopal conferences, etc.

      As I stated, your critical writing and thinking skills need some work.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #45:

        Bill writes: SC – “your comments above stated that SC directed latin in ordinaires, etc. (please cite and document that?”

        I imagine that this question must be tongue-in-cheek, just read SC.

        “there are NO admonitions in SC”

        That’s a point-of-view but that is all it is. Certainly you must realize that admonitions can be presented in more than one way.

        “Every episcopal conference is pushing back except English” really, every single one? How does one define “push back” anyway? The truth is that most translations were far superior to the now retired ICEL version suggesting your comparison is misleading. Consider we had “And also with you” whereas the Italian have: “e con il tuo spirito, ”the Spanish have: “Y con tu espiritu,” the French: “Et avec votre esprit,”the German: “Und mit deinem Geiste.”
        Strange how dynamic equivalence did not require these other language groupings to adopt such a divergent translation from the original Latin.

        “no impact on the global South”

        Tell that to the traditional Catholics in the diocese of Campos in Brazil.

        Bill, if you cannot see the instructive relationship between the promulgation of the 1973 English translation and the issuance of Iubilate Deo one year later than I say again, that’s a point of view but that is all it is. Others might see the proximity as instructive.

        On less liturgical novelty in the non-western world. Well Bill, your 4-hour Kenyan Mass does not disprove my assertion. Limitations in the publishing of throw away leaflets, illiteracy, and poverty all serve to limit liturgical novelty. The international priests I meet are typically ill-at-ease with novelty in the Mass. The global South tends in a conservative direction, just ask our Anglican friends.

        “QAA was a permission”. Yes it was a permission but it was also a dramatic pastoral response to a very real pastoral problem. It also extended the AC indult to the whole world and still further, it was highly liberalized just a few years later. You seem to understate the history when it does not fit your preferred narrative.

  28. When we feed the hungry, on what should we serve their food– fancy china, plastic plates or styrofoam plates?

  29. RE Jack Wayne’s comments. My characterization of those who mourned the loss of the old Mass was not intended to speak of all of them, but only the many whom I have personally known including members of my own family. The vast number whom I have known to turn away did so not because of the old or new rites, but because their human failings especially with regard to infidelity and other sins against the 6th and 9th commandments led them to conclude they were no longer welcome in the church. It is one of my greatest joys over 40 years of priestly ministry to have played a role in reconciling so many such individuals. Not a one asked if I might direct them to a place where they could worship God as they did in childhood.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #44:
      It’s wonderful you have been able to reconcile so many people, and if they found relevance in the OF, then that is still wonderful to me no matter how much I prefer the old rite. I know of people who were reconciled and brought to the faith via the EF too.

  30. I have to say that, living through the reform era as a youth, the only mourning evinced for the old rite as compared to the new was that the new was harder to get over with as quickly as the old Low Mass (sure, the old rite had more words, but fewer readings and things could go on while hymns, if any, were sung, and the priest could say the longest prayers in the exhale and inhale in a murmur). Some priests tried to meed the demand for speed in the new rite, but gave up after a few years. The people who actually loved the old rite were viewed as strange outliers (I grew up in the same county as Fr DePauw’s Ave Maria Chapel, and so this was the subject of discussion) – mostly because of the widespread (if not universal) lay Catholic cultural tendency to put emotions into devotions and treat liturgy proper as something to be endured in the fastest time licit, rather than loved. I suspect the Pope is aware that, while the Catholic culture of his boyhood in Bavaria was not universal (though shared in many parts of Mittel Europa), there was another less salubrious Catholic culture in many other lands (again, not universal even there).

    1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #46:
      Do you feel that liturgy is more cherished by the laity now than it used to be? While I’m sure a strong minority loves the OF and does not see it as something to endure, I’ve encountered many Mass-goers who see it as a chore to get out of the way.

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #48:
        They would be the same Massgoers who would see the TLM a chore.

        Honestly, I feel for them. Faith has yet to take root, and even if they attend Mass daily, they are just cultural Catholics going through the motions. Seed on rocky ground. Are they the focus of pastoral ministry by their pastors? If not, they should be.

  31. Mr. McKernan – you are not addressing my statements or my responses – as usual.

    Did read SC – where does it say that latin is to be in ordinaries? Asked for documentation – you can’t cite it? Says something.

    Global South – you respond with one example – just like Mr. Howard did earlier. Let’s see – there are roughly 800 million catholics in the global south – and you cite what? Talk about understatment to fit your preferred narrative. Global South tends in a conservative direction – well, you must have read that on some blog but you mix up things – it is conservative in terms of cultural norms, societal standards referring to gay lifestyle, same sex marriage, male dominated society, etc. This has little to do with TLM or EF or even Anglicans. See above – it is related to liturgical ceremonies that they enculturate; can be very long, use cultural symbols, rites, music, etc. (no

    Sorry, there are not admonitions in SC – admonition is fairly easy to define and any recognized definition does not fit your wishy-washy response (almost sounds like a cafetaria catholic response)

    1973 in US (approved by Paul VI in 1969); 1974 – letter encouraging use of latin….nothing more (again, you interpret as if this is some type of lightening strike from God). Paul obviously knew the 1969 US missal – so what’s with your linking 1973-74 – again, makes no sense except in your mind….there is no *instructive connection* – if there is, does Paul say that? Does he point out that already approved vernacular translations are missing something? what are you trying to say – again, stretching to fit your preferred narrative.

    QAA – dramatic or a papal power play. Time will tell.

    My example of Kenyan mass – you twist that to fit your narrative, again. Publishing leaflets, illiteracy, poverty have nothing to do with limiting liturgical novelty. Guessing that the international priests you meet are foreign priests who now serve in the US, First World….they are ill at ease, alright, but it has nothing to do…

  32. Bill,

    Your “Kenyan Mass” was but one example and then you turn around and criticize another for giving “one” example. Ironic especially when you offer one Mass and the other offers an entire diocese.

    The admonitions to use Latin in SC are as strong as those that direct us to reform the missal to include rubrics for the people & expand the lectionary. To say there are no admonitions in SC is to agree with those who maintain that the EF done well meets the requirements of SC.

    In truth, however, I can understand how it must be difficult to read the history of an event like the council according to a different narrative than one has been accustomed. I think this must be especially true if one has invested many years of one’s life according to that same hermeneutic. Meeting other committed believers who look at the same events differently can be debilitating because it runs the risk of challenging our worldview. It presents the possibility that one’s life work may have been for naught. Changes that we hoped would come may never take place. Disappointment & frustration build. We find ourselves in the same position as the conservatives of our youth who were seen to oppose change and liturgical diversity. Any questioning of the old hermeneutic is threatening because it seems to harbor defeat for it. Charity takes a back seat even in ecclesiastical discussions. I guess we simply must wish one another well, recover that charity and agree to disagree.

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