Church’s revamp of Mass sparks rebellion of priests

With (minor) apologies to Barney Zwartz and Leesha McKenny.

Church’s revamp of Mass sparks rebellion by priests
February 19, 1970

THE Catholic Church faces open defiance over the introduction of its new Mass translation this year, with a dozen priests indicating they will refuse to use it and hundreds of others ”steaming” over a lack of consultation.

The Mass has become the latest battleground in the culture wars between progressive Catholics and traditionalists suspicious of the reforms of the recently concluded Vatican Council, of which probably the most important was changing the Mass from Latin to the local language of worshippers.

The new version is not a literal translation of the 400-year-old Latin text. There are significant changes to what both the priest and the faithful say in the liturgy. The translation has been heavily influenced by a Vatican advisory committee headed by Archbishop Annibale Bugnini.

Supporters say the new text is more contemporary and easy to understand, while critics say it is artificial, bad English and not faithful to the original latin text.

Rather than introducing the changes gradually, itt will be introduced all in one hit in Australia on a morning Sunday soon in local parishes and it will be compulsory to celebrate every Mass in English according to the new rite from now on. No indult will be provided for those who want to continue to say Mass the old way.

The National Council of Priests chairman said hundreds of his 1600 members were ”steamed up” at the Vatican’s lack of consultation, and were concerned that the break in a tradition more than 1800 years old would alienate Mass-goers, most of whom had used only the Mass in Latin all their lives.

He said most priests would not decide how to respond until they saw the changes, but at least a dozen had told him, ‘I’m not changing.”

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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64 Responses to Church’s revamp of Mass sparks rebellion of priests

  1. Joshua says:

    You write more truly than you know (perhaps), David: The Tablet at the time when the English of the Mass came out was very critical of the poor translation (the more things change, the more they stay the same); and there was an English Jesuit who refused to say the Canon at least in English, on the grounds that the poor paraphrase in the Missal was verging on heretical.

    What is the difference between the critics now and then? The critics then knew both good Latin and good English, and could spot a poor paraphrase when they saw one; whereas the critics of today know little Latin, and imagine that the lame-duck ICEL translation we’ve had for the last forty-odd years is good English – they have to resort to the specious claim that somehow the “Spirit of Vatican II” (whoever that was) spoke thus (much as Our Lady condescended to speak to St Bernadette, not in the French of Paris, but her local peasant dialect, but with the difference that she still expressed what she had come to say, whereas the absence of, say, the word “grace” from nearly every prayer in the old ICEL translation is a terrible example of how deviant and distorting that version is, and why the new version is so desperately needed).

  2. Tony says:

    As I sit here, beheld on earth under my own roof, I’m not sure my view can ever be consubstantial with yours, David. I believe it could be that it is my fault, my fault, my most grevious fault but I pray, nevertheless, that the spirit of the Lord is with me.

    And with your spirit.

    • Joshua says:

      Thou dost misuse “beheld”, unless thou meanest t’allude to God Omniscient beholding thee e’en in private (as e’er he dost), and likewise thou mistakest the meaning of “consubstantial”; moreover, ye do also grievously misspell grievous as “grevious”. Indeed, good sir, we pray that the Spirit be with thy spirit, illuminating thee beset by such a cloud of unknowing, deigning to vouchsafe thee an angel of light who may guide thee midst the traps and snares of English grammar and orthography, no less than along the narrow path that leadeth unto life.

      • Tony says:

        Joshua, I think there may be an opening for you here in the next wave of changes.

      • Schütz says:

        That was simply masterful, Josh!

        • Tony says:

          Yes, and in a way a metaphor because anyone who may fear that the new changes are a step towards a more obscure, remote and archaic form of language need only read Joshua’s text for reassurance!

          It does bring to mind that old joke (presumably born out British paranoia) about ‘European English’:

          The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility.

          As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as “Euro-English”.

          In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.

          There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

          In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e”s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.

          By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

          After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen world!

          • Joshua says:

            Canst thou not cease thy grumbling?

            I think a detect an anti-intellectual stance, Tony!

            It is silly to claim that you can’t understand English prose – you must have done Shakespeare at school.

            • Tony says:

              I think a detect an anti-intellectual stance, Tony!

              Expressing concerns about the changes are anti-intellectual? That’s a new take!

              It is silly to claim that you can’t understand English prose …

              Lucky I didn’t then, eh?

          • Bear says:

            It is not so much archaic as affected and anachronistic – much like the objections to the new translation.

            • Joshua says:

              It was meant to be a joke – can’t you people just have a laugh?!

              I thought it was a bit mean, frankly, that Tony made snide comments when I’d tried to provide something amusing.

            • Tony says:

              Fair go Josh, I responded in kind including a joke at the end!

              You responded again without mention of ‘snide comments’.

  3. Gareth says:

    I am not sure why people can’t accept this on a positive note – the changes are not that big.

    Who are the true people stifling change in the Church and not getting with the times?

    • Tony says:

      I think people would if it made sense, Gareth. But if you look at the changes side by side with the text we now use it really is not clear that they are an improvement.

      There are plenty of examples, but I really can’t see how ‘one in being with the Father’ is improved by ‘consubstantial with the Father’. It seems to add a level of complexity to the meaning that is uneccessary. On the other hand ‘It is right and just’ replaces ‘It is right to give him thanks and praise’. The improvement here is that the new text is simpler and I think that’s good, but it doesn’t seem to be a consistent principle in the new changes as in the ‘consubstantial’ example.

      Another example:
      Lord, by your cross
      and resurrection,
      you have set us free.
      You are the Savior of the World.

      will now become:
      Save us, Savior of the world,
      for by your Cross
      and Resurrection,
      you have set us free.

      ‘Save us, Savior of the world’ is an improvement??

      So, if there was a consistent theme to the changes, liking making the language flow better or making the language simpler I certainly would see the sense in it and be happy to accept it as an improvement.

      But, so far, it really is not obvious why the changes are being made and how they improve the current text. All too often, the English is more clunky and obscure.

      On the other hand, I’ve heard local priests speak of it in a more positive way so I’m certainly open to hearing the explanations. Ultimately, it’s a fait accompli and even if you don’t like it, it’s not a ‘hill to die on’ IMO.

      • Gareth says:

        Ok Tony, I think it is fair enough that some aspects of the new translation you or some people may feel uncomfortable with.

        But I honestly do not know what purpose it serves to take a stance such as the preists in the article.

        Compared to the changes in the 1960s
        (which happened without any consultation), they really are not that big and I am sure that eventually one would get used to them and after a certain time, the new translastion will become normal.

        The Church in Australia also has been pretty generous in giving people 18 months to prepare for it.

        If I was a Bishop’s shoes, I am not sure what else they could do besided embrace it positively.

      • Joshua says:

        You miss the point – all the changes are to make the translation closer to the Latin, so it is an accurate translation and not a paraphrase.

        “Save us, Saviour of the world” = Salvator mundi, salva nos.

        “You are the Saviour of the world” is not at all a translation of the Latin.

        I recall the first time I read the Roman Canon in Latin, and was horrified to find that the English version used at Mass was such a loose paraphrase.

        “Consubstantial” is an extremely important theological term; and as many note, “one in being” is actually not an accurate rendering: being, essence, and substance each convey distinct nuances.

        • Tony says:

          You miss the point – all the changes are to make the translation closer to the Latin, so it is an accurate translation and not a paraphrase.

          I know that the ‘closer to the Latin’ is one of the rationales but if that were the case would it not be ‘Saviour of the world, save us’?

          I recall the first time I read the Roman Canon in Latin, and was horrified to find that the English version used at Mass was such a loose paraphrase.

          Horrified? Does that mean these few changes quell that ‘horror’?

          “Consubstantial” is an extremely important theological term; and as many note, “one in being” is actually not an accurate rendering: being, essence, and substance each convey distinct nuances.

          On that basis, I’d have thought that ‘one in substance’ would convey the meaning with more simplicity. But I guess ‘consubstantial’ sounds more ‘intellectual’, eh? :-)

          • Joshua says:

            Well, if you want to pose as anti-intellectual!

            It really offends me that some Australians love to behave such, poo-pooing polysyllabic words and parading a vulgar philistinism.

            Oh, and as word order is generally the reverse in Latin to English (esp. with the verb usually at the end, very unlike English), “salva nos” at the end in Latin is analogously put first as “save us” in English.

            Do I need to give a blow-by-blow justification of the translation, patiently explaining in words of one syllable how to go from one tongue to the other?

            • Tony says:

              I think you’re being ‘snide’, Joshua.

              Faithfulness to the original translation is one of the criteria for the changes and, in my research, it doesn’t necessarily seem to rate as the most important.

              It hardly rates a mention on the US Bishops site, for example.

              It suggests that your ‘horror’ at such ‘loose’ paraphrasing may be a little exaggerated?

            • Joshua says:

              “Faithfulness to the original” is the important point, not “faithfulness to the original translation”.

              And I really was horrified to find out how bad a version of the Roman Canon we’ve saddled with between the late ’60’s and the forthcoming new translation – how dare you presume to claim that you know my feelings better than I do. Talk about rude, snide…

              You’re a troll.

            • Schütz says:

              You’re a troll.

              Let me be the judge of that, Josh.

            • Tony says:

              You’re a troll.

              Feel better?

              To me saying ‘I was horrified’ by something suggests it was really bad and not something easily fixed by a fairly mininmal number of changes. That’s all I was suggesting. That’s not claiming to know your feelings that’s suggestions and questions.

              On the other hand you’ve said that I
              – ‘claim that you can’t understand English prose’
              – that I made ‘snide’ comments
              – that I ‘pose as an anti-intellectual’
              – that I am a ‘troll’.

              Now, maybe you can put the hair trigger down?

          • Schütz says:

            Our old Lutheran translation used to read “of one substance with the Father”. That would have suited me, but I bow to the wisdom of the fathers in wanting to introduce a new word to our theological vocabulary. Incidentally, I did actually hear Stephen Fry use the word “consubstantial” in a non-theological context in his series on the United States. So, if Fry can use it, anyone can!

            • Tony says:

              You illustrate the point David that much of this translation seems like the committee who designed a camel when they were asked for a horse.

      • jules says:

        Don’t forget , it’s not just about ‘change’ it’s about staying true to the original Latin text.

        I don’t mind the changes. They will take time to adjust to, but for priest’s to ‘rebel’ is just ridiculous. Tony the reason why we now say :

        “Save us, Savior of the world,
        for by your Cross
        and Resurrection,
        you have set us free.”

        departs less from the Latin original :

        “Salvátor mundi, salva nos, qui per
        crucem et resurrectiónem tuam liberásti nos.”

        The revised English translation of the Roman Missal, is already in use in South Africa . Would be interesting to hear their thoughts on this.

        • Schütz says:

          Quite right, Jules. The Latin text doesn’t just call Jesus our “saviour” but actually implores him to “save us”. Perhaps there are people who don’t actually believe that we need saving anymore…

      • catherine says:

        The average man in the pews would have to get their dictionary out if someone asked them what consubtantial meant.

        • Schütz says:

          An opportunity for catechesis! I have heard too many “lame duck” sermons on Trinity Sunday. It’s time we got our people into the really deep meaning of the Trinitarian doctrine of the Church. Wouldn’t hurt to have a few sermons on the Filioque as well, for that matter!

          • Tony says:

            An opportunity for catechesis!

            Another one of those interesting justifications. If lack of catechisis is the problem, why not solve that?

            • Schütz says:

              Indeed! And Fr Z said just the same thing to a priest who asked him if it were allowable to change the words of the current translation. Answer: No. If you want to bring out the richness of a prayer despite the lame-duck ICEL translation, do it in a sermon. (In a “good” sermon, of course).

          • catherine says:

            Do you only hear bad sermons on Trinity Sunday? I get bad sermons all the time!

          • catherine says:

            I don’t think the average Catholic is worried about the changes, they are already half heartedly mumbling their responses in mass and these changes really won’t alter much. Most people don’t agonise over these things. It is only a tiny percentage of people who care one way or the other.

            • Schütz says:

              That is both true and sad, Catherine. I hope that the changes to the words will at least have the effect of drawing to people’s attention what they actually do say.

              One thing I will remark upon is the incredible tendancy of Catholics to sing or say whatever is placed on the overhead screen. On Sunday we had a song at Mass that had a line some thing like this:

              “God’s mercy is like the rain when she waters the earth”

              I did a bit a double take and asked the lady next to me who “she” might be in this case: God or the rain?

            • Tony says:

              I suspect you’re right, Catherine.

              This string actually accords with what I’ve read generally in that there is not a real enthusiasm even from those who defend the changes. Rather than talk about how good the changes are, the defence is more like ‘they’re coming, live with it’.

              Perhaps the change that illustrates that the best is the get-go ‘And with your spirit’. Compared to the much simpler, ‘And with you’ it will jar. People will scratch their heads and wonder why we are responding just to the priest’s spirit. In other words, they’ll make a judgement about the sense of the words they speak, not an explanation that may or may not make particular sense.

              Then someone may say it’s more consistent with the Latin and how the phrase has been translated into other languages.

              Somebody else will stumble upon the rationale that it better reflects the nature of the priest’s relationship to the mass and wonder, ‘does it?’ or, ‘did the previous response preclude that understanding?’.

              Critics of the current text seem to be concerned about its banality but it’s hard to see that this tinkering and, in some cases, poor substitutions are going to fix that.

  4. Gareth says:

    Also, the priests that oppose this are very lucky that some of their laity, the people in the pews that pay the Church’s bills every week do not put their feet down and act with the same determination when something that they are not happy with in their local Church occurs.

    Week in, week out I am faced with something that I am uncomfortable with in my local parish and Diocese and instead of having a hissyfit, I reluctantly tolerate it and continue to particpate and finacially support the Church.

    Over the past five years, I have protested to my Diocese and Bishop when my own sub-parish was closed down, the closing down without any reason of the only Catholic bookstore in the city and pleaded to follow through liturgical abuses on my university campus and haven’t even recieved an answer, yet I reluctantly put in money in the parish collection each week and yet now now these same priests that are the source of these problems have the hide to act like little children, when something they perceive as not seeing eye to eye with occurs. Have to wonder what their true agenda is.

  5. Stephen K says:

    There are clearly lots of reactions or opinions about the various changes to the translation. There are valid comments to be made from either direction. For those who value literalness, technicality and the preservation of traditional vocabulary, the changes are a good thing; for those who value vernacular rhythm and familiarity (e.g. “one in being” is more concrete and accessible than “consubstantiality” I’d say), the ICEL seems better.

    That notwithstanding the validity of these respective positions the fault-line lies close (though perhaps not wholly) to the borders of personal preference and ideological allegiance is not much in doubt, I’d say. I personally believe that the new translation is revisionist and is as much intended – sub-consciously or no – to disintegrate the Novus Ordo as the initial changes turned out to be to the old Mass in 1964. The changes appear small in number but it kind of mixes up the conceptual / spiritual metaphors, so to speak.

    For this reason I myself vacillate between, on the one hand, an instinct to adopt a purist approach and leave forms alone, keeping both the old Mass and the New Mass untouched and equally accessible, and on the other hand, saying “what the hell! let a thousand flowers bloom” (as a famous leader once said – or words to that effect). Inspired by the Diatessaron, and the Gospel of Thomas, I myself have composed my own (apophatic) creed and the first five chapters of my own Gospel and have toyed with the idea of composing my own liturgy, convinced – well, tentatively – that a degree of syncretism is healthy for individual spiritual development and exercise. (And if you engage in a project of that kind, you probably might find you’d be able to live with most liturgical forms, however bastardised some might be.)

    Try it, and see what you come up with.

    • Joshua says:

      Hmmm, not quite sentire cum Ecclesia!

      I seem to recall you are not a Catholic, am I right? (No offence intended, please don’t be upset.)

      • Stephen K says:

        No worries, Joshua, I’m not offended or upset. No problems, no offence taken! As I think I tried to encapsulate at some previous stage, I’m only a Catholic by saturated traditional formation, and no longer by conviction. Some days I think I’m a genuine agnostic, other days simply a heretic, but a lifetime of connection in one way or another is not simply erased into the ether, so I may be just a sinner (which of course I am!).

        I hope people don’t get too particuar about titles, and I hope this doesn’t mean that you will dismiss out-of-hand everything I say. After all, though you only have my word for it, I think I understand intimately the sentire-cum-ecclesia mental/emotional realm and I believe I have some appropriate comments or arguments to make on some of the topics. In fact I hope I can say things that put some of the stuff in some useful perspective. And I don’t say things unless I believe them, nor things to upset anyone for the sake of it. But I’m okay with being disagreed with….(most of the time!).

        But back on topic, I think there’s a place for various forms (“to each according to need”). I concede I was perhaps being just a little impish or provocative to urge personal liturgies and Gospels! Still, it’s not a completely inutile exercise to put down in writing the sorts of things you think you might say or like to hear: it can be an aid to distill and clarify thoughts and religious sentiments, as well as grapple with rhythm and language (if one is interested or so inclined). And though it might seem, at first glance, a recipe for confusion at many levels to applaud syncretism, my own feeling is that we are all, at least to some degree, secret religious syncretists, selecting or favouring this or that presentation or direction, even within the scope of Catholicism.

        • catherine says:

          keep on posting Stephen K, I for one have found your posts interesting and helpful:)

          • Stephen K says:

            Why, thank you, Catherine. I can say the same for yours.

            I often think that our own lives and experiences are an important starting point for conversations on these sorts of things, otherwise we end up universalising things that we have no warrant for doing so, or else risk losing sight of the flesh-and-blood aspect to many of the issues. Your posts always convey to me your in-touchness with people as they are, and I respect and appreciate them. Regards.

  6. Joshua says:

    To report on my experience with the new translation: a bishop said a Mass last year (which I attended) using the new version for the Eucharistic Prayer; and in New Zealand, for both Sunday and weekdays Masses I attended the new version of the Ordinary of the Mass was used.

    Were there revolts, tears, angry protests?

    No. People took it in good part, and it was actually rather nice.

    I think some folk are trying to diss the new translation because they don’t like the Pope, the Vatican, the Magisterium, Cardinal Pell, and the usual line-up of “Catholic persons/institutions we’d rather didn’t exist”.

    Hey people, if that’s you, why not join the Anglicans? It seems so logical. If I didn’t accept the teachings of the Church, I certainly wouldn’t stick around.

    • Tony says:

      Thus far in this forum, Joshua, nobody’s tried to ‘diss’ any of the people you’ve mentioned.

      But, as I’ve said before, inviting people you don’t agree with to ‘join the Anglicans’ is a cheap shot and doesn’t advance your argument.

      I have heard well-argued concerns about the changes that deal with the changes themselves and not the ‘politics’. I’ve also heard the typical ‘culture wars’ type arguments on both sides that are not particulary edifying.

      I think it’s perfectly legitimate to ask questions about these changes without ‘dissing’ anyone.

      • Tony says:

        I was looking around the blogsphere, searching ‘And with your spirit’, to get some other perspectives.

        I came across Fr Dwight Longenecker’s posting on the subject. A sample (with my emphasis):

        The new translation of the Mass is designed to be more faithful to the original Latin, to re instate allusions to the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church where they had been lost, and to bring into the liturgy an ‘elevated’ or more ‘dignified’ language. The problem with the texts that we have looked at is that in being more faithful to the Latin the translators have sometimes chosen a syntax that is unwieldy and awkward. This is not so much in the parts of the Mass which the people say or sing. I think the faithful will get their tongues around that pretty easily. Instead there is some downright awful ‘clunkiness’ of style in the Collects and prayers. We seem to have exchanged the banal and dumbed down version from the seventies with stuff that sounds like an eighth grader trying to write Shakespeare.

        Well, it’s a done deal. We’ll have to live with it, and on the whole I trust the few examples I have seen this week are unrepresentative, and that most of the prayers will still retain a noble simplicity which is also characteristic of the Latin.

        I think this is a pretty critical review from someone is not the usual ‘disser’ as you describe.

        But wait, there’s more:

        … such the limitations of our present age – even a better translation may well be clunky and awkward; which unfortunately will turn some people off.

        I couldn’t have said it better, Joshua!

        • Schütz says:

          Fr Dwight’s opinion is fair enough. Not even the famed Fr Z approves of all the translation decisions. The fact is that it isn’t a “perfect” translation – is such a thing possible? – but a better translation than the old ICEL. It’ll do me!

          • Tony says:

            Surely we can do better than ‘clunky and awkward’ though? Especially with danger of turning people off.

            • Gareth says:

              serious question, do you really think people will really turn off because they have to respond ‘and with your spirit”?

              I think the above discussion highlights how it practially impossible to re-translate some Latin as opposed to it sounding awkward.

  7. Schütz says:

    Fr Z has picked up this story (who tipped him? eh? ‘Fess up!) and has good things to say:

    I can understand priests who get their back up about changes. At a certain age, priests tend not to like change.

    I don’t have a huge problem with open criticism of the new translation. Make your arguments! Bring out your texts and your reasons! Have at!

    But it is simply wrong to defy the proper authority of the Church and of the local bishops to whom they publicly promised obedience.

    It is wrong to refuse to use the new translation.

    What these men are doing is more damaging to their flocks and to themselves than implementing a translation allegedly so flawed that it should not be used.

    Communicating concerns in private is one thing. Go ahead! Write letters! Have meetings behind closed doors! Beat your fists on the floor! Froth!

    Going to the main stream media to express open defiance for ecclesial authority … another thing altogether.

    Their grandstanding about defying authority does harm to the people of God. I fear they are also endangering their own souls. They are eroding the respect of Catholic people for ecclesial authority and placing themselves at the center of attention.

    I hope that when The Day finally comes around for the new text to be used, these men will choose obedience. After all the stink they are raising now, a choice to submit to proper authority would help to repair the damage.

    Here here.

    • Tony says:

      Trouble is David, those of us in the West tend to live in democracies and, now, we have people being killed in the Middle East in the quest for more representative, accountable goverment and an end to tyranny.

      Fr Z seems to be saying ‘object all you like, but don’t expect it to make any difference and don’t do it publically’. Why? Because to do so ‘does harm to the people of God’! Such patronising nonsense! We live in societies where people disagree with each other, sometimes passionately. Societies where public disagreements, especially with leaders, are deemed ‘harmful’ are non-democratic and often sustained by violence and oppression.

      In effect the church says, ‘democracy and freedom is good, just not in our back yard’.

      • Gareth says:

        People only cry out that Church should be more democratic or label others as ‘zealots’ when there is something or an issue that they do not necessarily or do not have the brains to see eye to eye with.

        I think you would find that democracy does occur in some fashion in the Church, it is just sour grapes this time on some people’s part because the most proper course of action (e.g. to embrace it positively) is on the winning side.

      • Schütz says:

        The Church is a repressive regime…

        Well, there’s a subject for a whole new post. Let it simply be said that having come from a “democratically” governed Church, I know all about how even a so-called democracy can act like a “repressive regime”.

        • Peter says:

          If democracy in church affairs was some sort of panacea,why is the “liberal protestant project”such a basket case?

          • Tony says:

            The same could be said for the Catholic Church in the West. It’s in critical decline. If it wasn’t for influxes of immigrant Catholics, ‘basket case’ would be no less apt a description.

            Again, if the church says democracy is a good thing then it is a good thing. But it doesn’t really explain why it isn’t a good thing for the church.

            (Ironically, the church is a very old democracy in terms of electing it’s leader, but it just hasn’t extended that down to the pews.)

            • Gareth says:

              I take it when the Church says something along the lines of ‘we are not a democracy’, it doesn’t mean that people should have no say in the day to day affairs of the running of a parosh or Diocese – indeed the laity in the western world have more potential to have an influence in this sphere like no other time in the history of the Church, it rather means that on certain doctorinal issues it is about the pursuit of the ‘truth’ rather than how many people may agree or disagree.

              A classic example is the issue of women priests. When the Church says we are not a democracy on this particular issue, this meas that no-matter how many people may think in their own personal opinion what may be a good or bad thing, it is about being faithful to Christ and doctorinal truth that the Church is concerned about rather than thinking of what is right or wrong is how people may or may not ‘feel’ about an issue, which can vary from time to time, culture to culture anyway.

            • Tony says:

              Trouble is Gareth, that changes come in democracies when, at best, people engage in issues. Positions are no longer defended on authority alone, they have to be defended on the merits of the argument.

              The framework of what the ‘merits’ are for the church are quite different than for a secular government, but they are still there and as people are more educated they are more accessible.

              In the secular world, it is typical of a repressive regime to stop debate like this so there is a connection between the way the church operates and how repressive regimes operate.

              It’s not a connection that is congruous with an organisation that otherwise promotes democracy as a good thing.

              It’s a classic ‘do as I say, not as I do’ scenario.

            • Gareth says:

              Tony: Positions need to be defended on the merits of the argument.

              Gareth: Are you sure in the case of some of the church’s more contenious issues, it is not a case that sometimes people will not accept or arrogantly refuse to accept the merits of the arguement, rather than the Church acting in an injust manner.

            • Tony says:

              I doubt it Gareth, but either way you don’t find out by shutting down a dialogue. That, again, is not a good look for an organisation that, otherwise, promotes democracy.

            • Gareth says:

              There is only so much dialogue one can engage with before one draws the line.

        • Tony says:

          Of course, David. Democracies can be pretty bloody awful and non-democracies can sometimes be OK. But I’m talking about democracy as an aspirational principle which the church says is a good thing. PJPII didn’t fight against Communism to replace it with monarchy or a dictatorship, he fought for democracy.

          So, if democracy is a good thing, you don’t say, ‘I’m going back to non-democratic system because it’s all too messy and hard’. Surely you say, ‘let’s make it work!’.

          • Tony says:

            Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Sir Winston Churchill

  8. John Nolan says:

    In 1964 when the first changes came in elderly and retired priests were allowed to carry on as before. This could be done in the present case. Also, those attached to ICEL 1973 might take a leaf out of the LMS’s book and apply for their own indult on the lines of the famous “Agatha Christie” indult. There are some nostalgic for the “decade that taste forgot” who weren’t even born then, witness the success of the TV series “Ashes to Ashes” (no, it wasn’t about cricket). Lame-duck Mass Society – any takers?

    • Tony says:

      In 1964 when the first changes came in elderly and retired priests were allowed to carry on as before.

      Interesting. These days though, that wouldn’t leave many to bring in the changes!

      It will be interesting to see how the various Bishops handle those who are reluctant to change.

      • Gareth says:

        Tony: These days though, that wouldn’t leave many to bring in the changes!

        Gareth: I think you are getting ahead or over-exaggerating your support base there, Tony.

        I am sure with sufficient support, the ‘changes’ can and will be ushered in without trouble and in a few years time, no-one will know any difference.

  9. John Nolan says:

    “In a few years time, no-one will know any difference”. If this were indeed the case the liberals would not be jumping up and down and frothing at the mouth. Those who support the new translations see them as part of a Benedictine re-sacralization of the Liturgy which would see inter alia:

    1. An increased use of Latin and Gregorian Chant. It is envisaged that much of the revised Mass will be sung, and the music provided as a “factory setting” is chant-based, e.g. the Gloria (Mass XV), Credo (I and III), Pater Noster. If congregations can sing these in English, they could without much of a wrench sing them in Latin.
    2. A gradual return to celebration ad orientem. Versus populum is a liturgical and historical aberration which is becoming more and more difficult to defend.
    3. Far less informality, creativity and tolerance of liturgical abuses. If Catholics want to party, they can do it in the church hall and not at Mass. An objective and properly focused liturgy (i.e. focused on God) does not alienate people the way “community” celebrations do.

    It won’t happen overnight, and progress will not be uniform, but people will notice the change.

    • Gareth says:

      What a meant John is will these same people be jumping and up and down in five years time or we will the average person simply walk to Church and not know any different.

      I will put a safe bet on it all being a storm in a teacup and the new translation will become part of normal church life sooner rather than later.

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