Some Australian Priests to Refuse Mass Translation

H/T to CathNews: "At least a dozen" Australian priests will refuse to use the new translation of the Roman Missal, due to be implemented in November, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.  "The Catholic Church is facing open defiance over its new Mass," says the Herald, "with at least a dozen Australian priests indicating they will refuse to use it when it comes into force later this year. Hundreds more are angry about the lack of consultation for the new, more literal translation of the 400-year-old Latin text, which was heavily influenced by a Vatican advisory committee headed by the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell."  The article lists some of the (by now well known) changes and quotes a few priests: 

The chairman of the National Council of Priests of Australia, Father Ian McGinnity, said hundreds of its 1600 members were "pretty steamed up" at the Vatican's lack of consultation but most had not yet decided how to respond. At least a dozen had indicated they would not use the new English translation, he said. 'We're also very concerned that the language, the idiom, might perhaps estrange more Catholics from participation in the Eucharist,' he said. Asked what sanctions a local bishop could apply to defiant priests, Father McGinnity said: "I really don't know. I suppose he could suspend a bloke. But given the [priest] shortage, it's unlikely." Father [John] Crothers [pictured, and a parish priest in Penshurst] said he had told Cardinal Pell his position at a clergy conference last year. 'I said at the conference, 'I won't be doing it, and where do I stand there?' And he's just said that he expected all the priests will do it.'

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Jim McCrea
6 years 9 months ago
"Everyone in the world could have his or her say and there'd still be plenty of space left."

Could - yes.

Should?  - no, no, no!
6 years 9 months ago
For the Comment Policy Makers:

You silence those with whom you disagree by deleting comments and then, arbitrarily, take policy off the shelf as it suits your argument . I suppose it is one way to win one's argument, but it is certainly not the Jesuit way.
6 years 9 months ago
Sorry, that is salutary. Don't want the spelling police hounding me...
6 years 9 months ago
Isn't Pride one of the seven deadly sins?
6 years 9 months ago
The priest pictured must be the stubborn type: he is also defying his impending baldness with that hair style ;)
6 years 9 months ago
You are too funny, Brett. Maybe it is all about style. Maybe the roman collar would have a salutory effect?
Vince Killoran
6 years 9 months ago
I can't tell if he's wearing those silly red shoes I see some other clergy wear!
Vince Killoran
6 years 9 months ago
It's difficult to make more of this beyond the fact that there is a deep dissatisfaction with the translation process and the result.  The article didn't give that many details.

Re. Maria's mention of MEDIATOR DEI: it's funny that she should cite it since P. XXII set forth guidelines for more active lay involvement in the Liturgy and bemoaned the archaic and wooden aspects of the way it had developed.
6 years 9 months ago
Those "silly shoes" that Pope Benedict wears are only red to represent the blood of Christ.
Anne Chapman
6 years 9 months ago
Jesus's blood is not the first thought that comes to mind when seeing someone wear Prada.  An excess devotion to materialism on the part of the person wearing the Pradas would be a more likely first thought.

Back to the topic. The problems with the new English translation seem to cross national boundaries and the variations of ''standard'' English-language usage in countries whose ''standard'' English sometimes seems to vary quite a bit.  The Australian priests are the latest to object. A group representing Irish priests has asked their bishops to reject the new translation, following the example of the German bishops, who have already rejected new German translations of liturgy. Apparently translating Latin into contemporary languages is problematic, even when the language isn't English. Perhaps the translations into the Romance languages is better, given the greater closeness of those languages to the Latin.  It seems, from reading the news stories, that it is ultimately within the bishops' domain to decide whether or not to adopt the new translations. The German bishops are so far the only bishops to have enough gumption to stand up to Rome from what I have read (but, I don't read all news in all countries, so perhaps there are others. Or perhaps Rome hasn't gotten around to messing with other languages yet).  The Germans offer at least a glimmer of hope - the bishops' standing up for their own language and for their people, and their theologians also publicly challenging Rome to engage with THE church on many serious issues.

The translation is awkward and problematic on many scores. But, it is going to be forcefed, regardless of the impact on the people of God.  Has it not been so since the death of John XXIII?  And throughout most of church history, with the exception of the one brief shining moment of the church opening itself to the spirit - the work of John XXIII. But his good and hopeful start has been systematically undone by his successors. 
6 years 9 months ago
They should just go back to the Latin; I suppose this would reignite arguments about whether Greek would be better, but at least all of this confusion over translations into the vernacular of thousands of languages would go away.  It's not like Latin is some unbreakable code and the liturgy hundreds of pages long.

What good has come from the translation of the liturgy into plain language and is it offset by the confusion it has created, the misunderstandings, the loss of parishioners, the infighting amongst the clergy? 
6 years 9 months ago
The use of the vernacular has caused what confusion or loss of parishoners?
 Can that be documented or is it slanted?
As for fighting among the clergy, when continuing top down change toward the 1950s occurs, of course there will be division -and, we'll keep hearing from the same people with their same views over and over.
Anne Chapman
6 years 9 months ago
David, the difference between Latin (and all that went with it) and the vernacular was so powerful when introduced after Vatican II - I guess you aren't old enough to remember. We went from being passive spectators, reading the missal and usually way ahead of the priest because we read faster than we speak, (many then nodding off to sleep, people praying privately using rosaries, etc) listening to the priest muttering, back turned to the congregation, to being participants in the mass.  And that was the point.  Even the clumsy, awkward English translation that all of those non-native English speakers in Rome have come up with is better than forcing all Catholics to go back to suffering through a dead language every mass.  And I say that as one who studied Latin for four years, won several awards in Latin, and so was among the very few who could understand the Latin without resorting to reading all through mass.  It makes no more sense than Americans (or the English) returning to the English of Chaucer's time simply because some scholars love Chaucer in the original.

The mass isn't intended to be the priest praying in the place of the people, but is the prayer of the people.  It isn't intended to be an entertainment venue, where people go to watch a ritual, and to be entertained by a performance of Mozart or chant but where people pray and sing together to praise God - and do it in their own language.  Jesus spoke the language of his people, he didn't force on them the language of the conqueror, nor that of the educated elites. 
Bill Mazzella
6 years 9 months ago
I find it startling the ignorance exhibited from some posters here. Before Rome elected for total domination in place of service, priests extemproaneously led the liturgy. Basically the Eucharist is the celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. There is really no rocket science involved. Rubrics are good as guide because there should be preparation. Those of you who exalt the Latin Mass should know that we had the lightning 7 minute mass in those days. No one can get away with that now as the people understand the language and most of it must be expressed aloud. Further, Latin is not the original language of the liturgy. How many times does this have to be repeated before we get the point? Latin was the vernacular at the time and that is why it is there. As everyone should know the church has always approved the liturgy in other languages for other rites. 

As far as quoting enclyclicals you can find encyclicals which contradict each other. So let's not go there. This present translation is totally an act of control on Rome's part. It is not only an act of domination but it also insults one's intelligence. The Latin translation was never perfect. So the translations are for the most part a reversion to a questionable Latin rather than showing respect for the soundness of the Eucharist.

Bishops again abdicate their responsibility for their own dioceses and succumb to a Vatican who treats them "like altar boys" as one Cardinal complaine. I applaud priests who show the Vatican that they need to return to service rather than domination. It is  the consensus that the papacy  if BXVI has been a train wreck. That is what happens when you have the hubris to presume you do not have to account to all the people of the church.
Knud Rasmussen
6 years 9 months ago
Bill,

I applaud priests who show the Vatican that they need to return to service rather than domination. It is  the consensus that the papacy [of] BXVI has been a train wreck. That is what happens when you have the hubris to presume you do not have to account to all the people of the church.

In all charity, Bill, I think you're the one demonstrating hubris here. Whose "consensus" are you referring to?

The extreme dichotomy you presentr between "service" and "domination" (or, as you've put it previously, between "empire" and the "beatitudes") strikes me as overly reductionistic, to say the least. Couching your critiques in crude, either-or terms doesn't make your arguments any more persuasive.

What a lot of Vatican II 'progressives' don't seem to realize is that they've lost their intellectual credibility by presenting their views in terms that are arrogant,  intellectually flimsy, and - dare I say it - reactionary insofar as they canonize a particular caricature of 'the Spirit of the Council' as the last word on what the Church should be. In that sense, some of those who are still raising complaints about the new translation of the Roman Missal are a lot closer to intransigent traditionalists than they are to genuine progressives.
Knud Rasmussen
6 years 9 months ago
Anne,

David, the difference between Latin (and all that went with it) and the vernacular was so powerful when introduced after Vatican II - I guess you aren't old enough to remember.

Why are you so quick to presume that anyone who doesn't uncritically embrace the shift to the vernacular isn't "old enough to remember" the 1960s? Individuals may be selective in how they choose to remember things, but the fact is that the faithful were not uniformly enthusiastic about the liturgical changes of the period - people who lived through the reforms and were discomfited by them are entitled to express their views without being written off by their contemporaries. If you think that everyone who lived through Vatican II feels the same way you do about the 'before' and 'after,' then you're mistaken.
Kang Dole
6 years 9 months ago
Everybody knows that the best liturgies are in Syriac.
Liam Richardson
6 years 9 months ago
I would consider the "Choose your spots" rule a *very* sound one for a Catholic discussion. The need to respond to every point, to fisk, to counter, to niggle compulsively is not virtue, and one might well think it's a near occasion of sin for many. I understand that secular blogs need not be aware of this dimension of things, but a Catholic blog should.
Jim McCrea
6 years 9 months ago
- Those "silly shoes" that Pope Benedict wears are only red to represent the blood of Christ. -

Brett, you really should write for The Onion. 

Sometime you say the silliest obviously tongue-in-cheek things.    Right?
6 years 9 months ago
Despite the tabloid stories to the contrary, the shoes are not prada - they are made by the small shop of a shoe cobbler in Rome.

Red represents the blood of Christ and that is why the shoes are red - as for what is funny about that, I'm not sure.
Vince Killoran
6 years 9 months ago
I don't know know how much the long cape cost but the shoes run $640 (the Pope got his for free).
Bill Mazzella
6 years 9 months ago
In that sense, some of those who are still raising complaints about the new translation of the Roman Missal are a lot closer to intransigent traditionalists than they are to genuine progressives."

Knud,

I grant you that some progressives are as arrogant as those who are wedded to empire and domination. If you check  your history you will find that the empire started in the 4th century when the emperor took over the church and one got favor by belonging to the church. It was no longer dangerous to live the faith. Vatican two worked on getting back the true spirit of the faith. Not that the faith was not lived through all those years. But the hierarchy were more into domination than the beatitudes. (Thanks for quoting me correctly.)

I thing the burden of proof is on you to show that Rome is not into domination over service. 
6 years 9 months ago
"Be charitable even about those public figures with whom you may disagree."

Could Fr. Martin be talking to you here, Bill? 

Rome is populated by men and women, after all.  You are right about certain sins commited by those in Church in history- as they have been committed by all men in history due to the basics of human nature.  That said, the days of papal states and temporal power (thank God) are over and perhaps your view of history and your clinging to the wrongs committed during such periods are only to justify your current quasi self-righteous stance as a disaffected catholic.

"burden of proof is on you to show that Rome is not into domination over service."

Your quote about "burden of proof" is certainly not a Christian statement and it is certainly not charitable. (and it is not even true)
Knud Rasmussen
6 years 9 months ago
Bill,

Why should I suppose that the "burden of proof" rests with me as far as disproving your 'domination vs. service' argument when you haven't even attempted to back up your claim that the "
As I've written before, I think the 'domination vs. service' position presents a false dichotomy - the history and present of the Church are far too complicated to justify pat and easy black-and-white answers. Yes, the Church is full of sinners. Yes, the Church always stands in need of reform. Even so, to try to collapse all of this into an easy distinction between 'domination' and 'service' does little to advance constructive discussion among people of good will.

Further, I don't think it's helpful to enshrine Vatican II as a sort of brief shining moment when the Church got things right, or to pretend that Pope John XXIII anticipated or would have sought all of the changes that came about after Vatican II (as well as some changes that haven't come). Pope John was a complex figure who, like the present pope, defies easy categorization. In the end, an exclusive and idealized focus on 'the Spirit of Vatican II' and "Good Pope John' is little different from the obsession with a particular vision of pre-Vatican II Catholicism and the old Mass that one finds in traditionalist circles.
Knud Rasmussen
6 years 9 months ago
Lines somehow got deleted from my above comment - here's what was missing:

Why should I suppose that the "burden of proof" rests with me as far as disproving your 'domination vs. service' argument when you haven't even attempted to back up your claim that "
Knud Rasmussen
6 years 9 months ago
I don't know why my comments keep disappearing - the claim I'm trying to call Bill on is his statement that the "consensus" is that BXVI has had a "train wreck" papacy. This is a controversial claim, so it needs to be defended and not asserted. Full stop.

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