What If We Said, 'Wait'?: The case for a grass-roots review of the new Roman Missal

It is now 45 years since the Second Vatican Council promulgated the groundbreaking and liberating document on the sacred liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. As an eager and enthusiastic North American College seminarian at the time, I was in St. Peter’s Square on the December day in 1963 when Pope Paul VI, with the world’s bishops, presented that great Magna Carta to the church. The conciliar document transcended ecclesiastical politics. It was not just the pet project of a party but the overwhelming consensus of the bishops of the world. Its adoption passed overwhelmingly: 2,147 to 4.

Not in my wildest dreams would it have occurred to me then that I would live to witness what seems more and more like the systematic dismantling of the great vision of the council’s decree. But I have. We Catholics have.

For evidence, one need look no further than recent instructions from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments that have raised rubricism to an art form, or the endorsement, even encouragement, of the so-called Tridentine Mass. It has become painfully clear that the liturgy, the prayer of the people, is being used as a tool—some would even say as a weapon—to advance specific agendas. And now on the horizon are the new translations of the Roman Missal that will soon reach the final stages of approval by the Holy See. Before long the priests of this country will be told to take the new translations to their people by means of a carefully orchestrated education program that will attempt to put a good face on something that clearly does not deserve it.

The veterans who enthusiastically devoted their best creative energies as young priests to selling the reforms of the council to parishioners back in the 1960s will be asked to do the same with regard to the new translations. Yet we will be hard put to do so. Some colleagues in ministry may actually relish the opportunity, but not those of us who were captivated by the great vision of Vatican II, who knew firsthand the Tridentine Mass and loved it for what it was, but welcomed its passing because of what full, conscious and active participation would mean for our people. We can see the present moment only as one more assault on the council and, sadly, one more blow to episcopal collegiality. It was, after all, the council that gave to conferences of bishops the authority to produce their own translations (S.C., Nos. 36, 40), to be approved, it is true, by the Holy See but not, presumably, to be initiated, nitpicked and controlled by it. Further, the council also wisely made provision for times of experimentation and evaluation (S.C., No. 40)—something that has been noticeably missing in the present case.

This leads me to pose a question to my brother priests: What if we were to awaken to the fact that these texts are neither pastoral nor ready for our parishes? What if we just said, “Wait”?

What if we were to awaken to the fact that these texts are neither pastoral nor ready for our parishes? What if we just said, “Wait”?

Prayer and Good Sense

I know it might smack of insubordination to talk this way, but it could also be a show of loyalty and plain good sense—loyalty not to any ideological agenda but to our people, whose prayer the new translations purport to improve, and good sense to anyone who stops to think about what is at stake here.

What is at stake, it seems to me, is nothing less than the church’s credibility. It is true that the church could gain some credibility by giving us more beautiful translations, but clumsy is not beautiful, and precious is not prayerful. During a recent dinner conversation with friends, the issue of the new translations came up. Two at the table were keenly—and quite angrily—aware of the impending changes; two were not. When the uninformed heard a few examples (“and with your spirit”; “consubstantial with the Father”; “incarnate of the Virgin Mary”; “oblation of our service”; “send down your Spirit like the dewfall”; “He took the precious chalice”; “serene and kindly countenance,” for starters), the reaction was somewhere between disbelief and indignation.

One person ventured the opinion that with all that the church has on its plate today—global challenges with regard to justice, peace and the environment; nagging scandals; a severe priest shortage; the growing disenchantment of many women; seriously lagging church attendance—it seems almost ludicrous to push ahead with an agenda that will seem at best trivial and at worst hopelessly out-of-touch.

The reaction of my friends should surprise no one who has had a chance to review the new translations. Some of them have merit, but far too many do not. Recently the Archdiocese of Seattle sponsored a seminar on the new translations for lay leaders and clergy. Both the priest who led the seminar (an accomplished liturgical theologian) and the participants gathered there in good faith. When passages from the proposed new translation were soberly read aloud by the presenter (I remember especially the phrase from the first eucharistic prayer that currently reads “Joseph, her husband,” but which in the new translation becomes “Joseph, spouse of the same virgin”), there was audible laughter in the room. I found myself thinking that the idea of this happening during the sacred liturgy is no laughing matter but something that should make us all tremble.

There’s more: the chilling reception the people of the dioceses of South Africa have given the new translations. In a rare oversight, the bishops of that country misread the instructions from Rome and, after a careful program of catechesis in the parishes, introduced the new translations to their people some months ago. The translations were met almost uniformly with opposition bordering on outrage.

It is not my purpose here to discuss in detail the flawed principles of translation behind this effort or the weak, inconsistent translations that have resulted. Others have already ably done that. Nor do I want to belabor the fact that those who prepared the translations seem to be far better versed in Latin than in English. No, my concern is for the step we now face: the prospect of implementing the new translations. This brings me back to my question: What if we just said, “Wait”?

What if we, the parish priests of this country who will be charged with the implementation, were to find our voice and tell our bishops that we want to help them avert an almost certain fiasco? What if we told them that we think it unwise to implement these changes until our people have been consulted in an adult manner that truly honors their intelligence and their baptismal birthright? What if we just said, “Wait, not until our people are ready for the new translations, but until the translations are ready for our people”?

Heeding Our Pastoral Instincts

The bishops have done their best, but up to now they have not succeeded. Some of them, led by the courageous and outspoken former chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., tried mightily to stop the new translation train but to no avail. The bishops’ conference, marginalized and battle-weary, allowed itself slowly but steadily to be worn down. After awhile the will to fight was simply not there. Acquiescence took over to the point that tiny gains (a word here, a comma there) were regarded as major victories. Without ever wanting to, the bishops abandoned their best pastoral instincts and in so doing gave up on the best interests of their people.

So the question arises: Are we priests going to give up, too? Are we, too, going to acquiesce? We do, of course, owe our bishops the obedience and respect that we pledged to them on the day of our ordination, but does obedience mean complicity with something we perceive to be wrong—or, at best, wrongheaded? Does obedience mean going against our best pastoral instincts in order to promote something that we believe will, in the end, actually bring discredit to the church and further disillusionment to the people? I do not think so. And does respect involve paying lip service to something to which our more instinctive reaction is to call it foolhardy? Again, I don’t think so.

I offer the following modest proposals.

What if pastors, pastoral councils, liturgical commissions and presbyteral councils were to appeal to their bishops for a time of reflection and consultation on the translations and on the process whereby they will be given to the people? It is ironic, to say the least, that we spend hours of consultation when planning to renovate a church building or parish hall, but little or none when “renovating” the very language of the liturgy.

What if, before implementing the new translations, we do some “market testing?” What if each region of bishops were to designate certain places where the new translations would receive a trial run: urban parishes and rural parishes, affluent parishes and poor parishes, large, multicultural parishes and small parishes, religious communities and college campuses? What if for the space of one full liturgical year the new translations were used in these designated communities, with carefully planned catechesis and thorough, honest evaluation? Wouldn’t such an experiment yield valuable information for both the translators and the bishops? And wouldn’t such an experiment make it much easier to implement the translations when they are ready?

In short, what if we were to trust our best instincts and defend our people from this ill-conceived disruption of their prayer life?

In short, what if we were to trust our best instincts and defend our people from this ill-conceived disruption of their prayer life? What if collegiality, dialogue and a realistic awareness of the pastoral needs of our people were to be introduced at this late stage of the game? Is it not possible that we might help the church we love avert a debacle or even disaster? And is it not possible that the voices in the church that have decided that Latinity is more important than lucidity might end up listening to the people and re-evaluating their position, and that lengthy, ungainly, awkward sentences could be trimmed, giving way to noble, even poetic translations of beautiful old texts that would be truly worthy of our greatest prayer, worthy of our language and worthy of the holy people of God whose prayer this is? (If you think the above sentence is unwieldy, wait till you see some of the new Missal translations. They might be readable, but border on the unspeakable!)

Dialogue is better than diatribe, as the Second Vatican Council amply demonstrated

“What If We Just Said No?” was my working title for this article. “What If We Just Said, ‘Wait’?” seems preferable. Dialogue is better than diatribe, as the Second Vatican Council amply demonstrated. So let the dialogue begin. Why not let the priests who are on the front lines and the laypeople who pay the bills (including the salaries of priests and bishops) have some say in how they are to pray? If you think the idea has merit, I invite you to log on to the Web site www.whatifwejustsaidwait.org and make your voice heard. If our bishops know the depth of our concern, perhaps they will not feel so alone.


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Mary Emmick
7 years 9 months ago

Aren't there more pressing matters that the Vatican should concern itself with than trying to return to a more Latinized liturgy?

Mary Emmick
7 years 9 months ago

Are these superfluous and unnecessary changes to our liturgy worth the time to make them? Is this where the Peter Pence collection goes? Yep, the scribes and pharisees are certainly busy.

Michael Maiale
7 years 9 months ago

A lot of comments in agreement with Fr. Ryan are overly simplistic, or just completely irrational.

The Pope has no more important job than leading Catholics to God, and that is done largely through liturgy.  Obviously our current liturgical practices aren't leading people to God.  Since we've implemented them, Mass attendance is down, those who attend Mass don't believe in the Eucharist, and it' a tiny minority of Catholics who look to the Church for moral guidance.  We urgently need to restore reverence to our liturgy. The salvation of many souls depends on it.  So, no, the Pope doesn't have "more important things" than making sure that the Mass is properly conveying the Truth and bringing people into a personal encounter with the divine.

And supposed Catholics should be supportive of the Church and try to help rather than using this as another chance to snipe at our Holy Father.

And, Sr. Elizabeth, the Church isn't saying that we shouldn't live in our culture... it's saying that we have to be Catholics above all else, and embrace our Faith.  We can serve God in the world, but God must always come before the world.  We cannot serve God and mammon.  Wouldn't it be nice if Catholics really did stand apart as the Holy People we're called to be?  Perhaps if we didn't try to reduce our identity to the level of "the world," we could maintain our distinctness in the face of a secular culture which often denigrates the Truth.

John McGowan
7 years 9 months ago

I appreciate the effort taken to ensure the translation of the Mass is the most accurate translation possible. 

I look forward to the day that the attitude of American members of the Roman Catholic church is one where we seek to be in line with Rome. We should strive to be with the Church, not in front and not stuck in the past.

I think it is vitally important to be in line with the Pope, we should trust that he is guided by the Holy Spirit to best shepherd the Church.

Seems to me like some of the commentators would prefer that we have separate churches that range from compliance to Rome to outright defiance to what the church is teaching.

I cannot help but think that some of the responsibility for people leaving the church rests with the clergy who cannot decide if they are going to trust Jesus and his promise that he will guide the church till the end of time, and that the Vicar of Christ is to be trusted to lead us.

If I recall correctly Father Ryan was disappointed when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to Chair of Peter, so I am not surprised that he is publicly expressing his opposition.

My thought is that we have waited long enough for a better translation and we ought to trust the Vatican in this matter.

I pray that priests embrace the new translation and teach us to receive it with love and help us to participate fully, consciously, and actively in an English translation more faithful to the Latin .

Sadly however, I am sure that there will be priests who will continue to choose to change the words of the liturgy to suit themselves.

lLetha Chamberlain
7 years 9 months ago

Having just moved from St. James Cathedral-to a more conservative parish, I am now receiving the quiet and LOVE I so missed there... in a parish that is growing by leaps and bounds, using Latin responses (even the Pater Nostra), and in a Church where pagentry is NOT the order of the day (but has Perpetual Adoration and nearly everyone volunteers-not just the same old crew doing everything.)  I do NOT miss the empty pagentry at the Cathedral, nor the bombastic liturgy.  The liturgy here is beautiful, the Church is gorgeous (I'm a visual artist, musician, as well as a poet), and the music is even beautiful (it has greatly improved since the last time I was here five years ago)... and it is the meditative experience that makes it preferable to me.  If one doesn't know Latin-one has the missal from which to learn it.  I'm sorry-but tradition means a great deal to me... and while I also embrace the "going back to the beginnings" of Vatican II-the "vernacular" means nothing at all (except for the homily as well as having ALL the readings-which is VERY important to me, and not part of the Latin Rite).  However, since I embibe all the readings of the Divine Office everyday-including the wonderful homilies of our Church Fathers, like so many in my new parish...  If one is going to go back to the Latin Rite, one simply must do one's homework with the Divine Office, or personal Scripture reading time.  THAT is what the pastor here expects of everyone.  I personally know people are adhering to this.  Are pastors afraid to expect similarly of their parishes?  It is well-known that the more languages a person knows-the better grasp of the English language they have.  It sounds like a good idea for Americans (who hardly even speak English) to me.  Fr. Ryan already speaks five languages... he doesn't need the Latin Rite (and went to the Gregorian Institute for seminary, I believe).  My new parish is also better at "spiritual food for those who are practicing Catholics"... the Cathedral caters to many "newbies", and many leave for real "meat" after initiation.  Therefore, I agree with my esteemed above commentator.

lLetha Chamberlain
7 years 9 months ago

(see above) in short: going back to the Latin Rite doesn't seem so horrendous to me... but as for the translation-there are theological reasons for what the bishops did-or it wouldn't have been so difficult to change "even a comma."

7 years 9 months ago
THANKS for your thoughful and articulate comments, the title of your article should have been "WE MUST SAY NO!", worship is people talk not pray, pay and obey talk. Worship has little to do with obedience to our governance or even loyality it has to do with WORSHIP.
lLetha Chamberlain
7 years 9 months ago

I'm sorry to again be posting-but it appears Fr. Ryan has led us into even more division... we are "to be ONE..."  Yes, we have these differences-much of it brought on by our cultural heritage... but consider: St. James Cathedral doesn't even teach the "St. Michael prayer" because it offends the sensibilities of some there.  I, myself, seem to be doing the same thing: a certain self-righteousness.  But we ALL need to be careful about destroying the Church we ALL love and care about so deeply.  I'd be more than dismayed to see a second Reformation.  We ALL know WHY that occurred, too.

michael galvin
7 years 9 months ago

re: comments by Letha Chamberlain. For Ms Chkamberlain's sake I hope that when she goes to her heavenly reward and comes face to face with God that she speaks Latin. 

Lisa Ann Ludwig
7 years 9 months ago

Congratulations Father!!!  I am a lay minister and cradle catholic.  I was so excited about Vatican II and the changes it brought and have been steadily declining in that excitement over the past few years.  With the changes in the GERM and the changing of words in the worship music, to be politically correct or non offensive, as well as the recent changes in not using "Yahweh" so as not to upset our Jewish bretheren, have gotten out of hand.  Is this a Church for worship?  Are we proud to be Catholic Christians?  Or are we here to appease others in order to keep peace?  I believe that Jesus is looking upon us and shaking his head in disbelief.  Much like the apostles in Mark's gospel, we still don't get it. 

There is something to be said for Tradition, as well as tradition.  I love the fact that some still ring the bells at the consecration.  I loved red robes being used for Confirmation.  I love holding hands to pray!  I would love to be able to have the option to attend a Latin Mass if I choose too.  However, I love the changes of Vatican II as well.  I am grateful to be able to participate rather than observe Mass. 

I personally feel that we are verging on that "Great Schism" and could loose many of those who are already Catholic by changing the ruberics and verbage.  If it isn't broke, don't fix it".  At least don't send us back to the middle ages.  The Holy See moves slow anyhow. Not only do I agree with "wait" but I also feel like we need to work on being Church instead of a dictatorship. 

Michael Maiale
7 years 9 months ago


Does using the word "incarnate" move us back to the Middle Ages?  I don't think Catholics are as dumb as many of you seem to think.

And how, exactly, do the changes make the Mass less "participatory" ?  

As for "If it isn't broke, don't fix it," I think the Holy Father has judged that the current translation IS "broke."  I think he has a lot of data to back that up, too.  I love that we have a Pope who cares enough about Catholics and their spiritual welfare to fight for a better, more correct, translation.  

Robert Juarez
7 years 9 months ago

During the so-called liturgical experimentation of the late 60's and 70's, Rome did not participate as did so much of the world.  Today's sacred liturgy in the US and in other parts of the world, has evolved into being a true expression of the "work of the people". For Rome to decide that it is not good enough, is stealing a part of the spirituality of the people, which Rome herself invited us to experience and develop.  We need to at least say "wait", but I would prefer we say "no".

7 years 9 months ago
Has any article in AMERICA ever triggered 160 (to-date 12/20) e-mailed and printed comments?

Let me, perhaps uselessly, add one more 1-2-3 comment:

1. If the priest says, 'The Lord be with you,' I will naturally respond, 'And also with you.' If he says , 'The Lord be with your spirit,' I will humbly condiscend and respond, 'And with your spirit.'

2. If the Tridentine Mass is mandate in a parish, I suggest that it be likewise mandated that the announcement for the collection be also in Latin.

3. At my age (86), and after four years of work at the Vatican, I do love and do appreciate the Latin language but, in general, the Mass and other liturgical functions should be celebrated in the same language that is used to make the announcement about the collection. And for the same reason.
Rose Hoover
7 years 9 months ago

It seems counter-productive for the question of liturgical translation to degenerate into quarrels between “liberals” and “conservatives.”  Our limited human languages are always inadequate to express the mystery of God. Nevertheless, no matter what our theological or political stance, the translation must be the best that language has to offer, which this one does not seem to be. Unless a translation is beautiful, sensitive, and pastoral, it is not worthy of the Eucharist.  

Thank you, Father Ryan, for your respectful and reasoned essay.

Scott Fobare
7 years 9 months ago

I thought this article was so good that I sent it to every priest in the diocese.  I am the director of Continuing Ed.  I hope other dioceses will do the same.  Thank you Fr. Ryan for writing this article.  It excited me more than you could imagine.  I could't contain myself.  It was so excellent.

Michael Maiale
7 years 9 months ago

To Fr. Ryan and those priests who share his position:

Please don't fight the Holy Father on this.  Please don't sow division in the Church, don't set your congregations against our Bishops, and please, please don't sour your congregations to the new Mass translation.  These translations pose a great opportunity to teach Catholics about their faith.  We (at least, I) have longed for legitimate catechesis from our priests, and this provides an excellent opportunity for you to provide that.  If, instead, you lead your congregations to hate this translation, you will only distance them further from the Mass, and thus from our Lord.

Please do everything you can to make this transition go as smoothly as possible. Most Catholics will need guidance for these changes to be successful.  Please try to provide that guidance instead of leaving us blowing in the wind while you fight a turf war with the higher-ups in the Church.

7 years 9 months ago
Dear Fr. Ryan,

I so appreciate your article inviting the priests and bishops to just wait. I too have been very saddened by the thought of changing the lanquage of our Eucharistic celebration and other ritual prayers. The committees following vatican II did so much to make sure we had a good translation for prayer and worship.

I think the Bishops and the Vatican would do well to listen to the people of God. There are so many issues of peace and justice that need their attention.

Thanks for your courage and risk to help make a difference.
Veronica Speranza
7 years 9 months ago

What if we welcomed the new English translation with open minds and hearts rather than nostalgically clinging to the 40 year-old translation with which many of us grew up?  Change is good.  We need to open our 40-year-old liturgical windows and embrace new fresh and more accurate translations.  Do I detect some worry from the aging liturgical establishment of U.S. because perhaps their monopoly on liturgy and liturgical music is finally in jeopardy?  The tides have changed.  It's time to get on board and be a team-player.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll actually feel inspired to follow the example of our Holy Father and receive communion on the tongue while kneeling?  What if all priests and bishops embraced the new translation and implemented it as if the new translation were there agenda?  The people in the pews are not stupid.  We will embrace with at least the same amount of enthusiasm as our leaders and pastors.  The fruits of our pastors instructions will be evident in the way that the people embrace the new translations.  Where there is resistance and negativity...we can only look to those priests and bishops and wonder what there real agenda is.  The new English translation is a blessing and gift that should be embraced by all.   

Eugene Malone
7 years 9 months ago

Father Ryan, Would that you were a Bishop and their spokesman. Vatican II represented the intellectual response of OUR Church to the errors of the Reformation. Need we go back to them? For what purpose.

The man for whom I worked reminded the people that THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD. Aa secretary to an Archbishop he, Cardinal Pio Taofinu'u was there. For  his people he listened.

Is not the blind, deaf and dumb obedience of the bishops the greater sin than would be listening and fighting for the future, rather than retreating several years for no apparent reason. The Mass and our liturgy belong to the  People. It is ours, not some guy in a red hat in another world and culture. Don't be so shy, Father Ryan. Be our voice loud and clear and filled with conscientious righteousness. 

Keep on them. Get the WAIT and longer job done. A strong man is hard to find.

Leonard Villa
7 years 9 months ago

Contra Mr. Malone, this is not about the Reformation or the voice of the people. The voice of the people as the voice of God is not Catholic doctrine. The Mass belongs to no one.It is God's gift to the Church. It is a treasure received. The Church is not a democracy.  According to Vatican II it is hierarchical. The People of God include the hierarchy!  This is about bad translations which don't reflect the actual prayer of the Church.  The People of God have the right to pray the prayer of the Church not paraphrases, or made-up prayers, or defective prayers because the translators arbitrarily leave out words reflecting often times an agenda.  Accurate translations are long long overdue. We've waited enough!

Carroll Canton
7 years 9 months ago

I believe that the church (read:  people of God) has to change the wording of prayers and responses during the Mass so that Benedict 16 can feel more comfortable.   Our pastor has been trying out the liturgy from the new missal a couple of times, and the Canon of the Mass is so long that I almost fell asleep.  And what's with this Sign of the Cross that makes no sense in the middle of the Canon?  Yes, there will be chaos at the Preface and other times.  I will continue to say, "And also with you," and I will not make that silly Sign of the Cross.  I am seriously considering bringing my iPod and listening to some good, baroque, classical music during the Eucharistic Prayer, while standing, of course!)  BRAVO, Fr. Ryan. 

7 years 9 months ago

As a priest in the 60's I had the great priviledge to introduce  the liturgical changes from Vatican 11. The joy experienced on the faces  of the people of God to worship The Lord in an intelligent and meaningful way is one the highlights of my life. Their new found ability to worship in a meaningful language enabled them to practice their religion with a new found zeal. Totally agree with Fr.Ryan to wait to get the translations correct in a language spoken by us daily.

Diana Kaminski
7 years 9 months ago
This reminds me of recent attempts to change the time at which we do our Catholic calisthetics, the sit/stand/kneel routine of mass....the roll-out of this effort of change was a disaster, no one knew what to do when, it varied from parish to parish, and really disrupted the flow of the service. No discussion, no dialogue and no education, just imposition from above, and demonstrative of poor planning.

The Bishops discerning change should go back to the fundamental purpose of the mass, and of prayer, and seek guidance from the words of the Bible, the beautiful poetic simplicity of Psalms, the honest vernacular of our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to the "public" in their own language. How ironic that many times, even when hearing parables in their own toungue, they (including his Disciples) failed to understand Jesus' messages. Why complicate things? If we truly want to spread the word of God, then don't obfuscate the message with pedantic rhetoric!

Those who feel alienated, awkward or unwelcome in the changing Church will move on, parishes who have lost membership will eventually close and the need for priests (and Bishops) will decline as the population served declines. The only other voice the faithful will have is to withold their tithes, mass may need to be said by candlelight when the power is shut off, but that is how we worshiped in the Middle Ages!

I must have faith, that like many bad ideas, this too shall pass! I am confident God speaks more than Latin, and rejoices in all languages praising Him.
Veronica Speranza
7 years 9 months ago

Let's see...so now parishes will close because of the new English translation?  Save the drama for your mama! Sensationalism and drama are not going to persuade anyone.  The people who have already decided to reject the new translation are just as stubborn as the people who have decided to accept the new translation.  In the meantime, the vast majority of Catholics will go along with this change just like they've gone along with every other change.  If the priests put aside they're own imbedded bias' and instruct the faithful in a sincere and loving manner, there will be no drama.  It can't be as bad as walking into your parish sanctuary one day and noticed that the tabernacle is missing....without an explanation of any kind.  Come on people!   The liturgical battles are getting old!  Stop it already! 

7 years 9 months ago

Re:  What if we Said ‘Wait’?

I have read What If We Said, ‘Wait’? and feel compelled to say that the article disturbs me.  As one who is sympathetically aware of the translation process from several perspectives, I may not claim to be an unbiased observer. But as a consultant to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (now Divine Worship) for some time,  I have seen first-hand the work that has gone into the preparation of this translation and the care with which it was approached.  I have also prepared some of the materials to be used in the education program that will precede the release of the translations.  I see the article as an almost petulant reaction, not so much to our bishops, but to the Holy See, and I am troubled by it. 

In terms of “just waiting” some more, I think we have waited long enough! The work of translation has been going on for at least fifteen years.  For one thing, in that time we have had many saints and blesseds added to the calendar for whose liturgical celebrations we have no prayer texts.  Since these individuals often represent cultures more recently come into the Church, the continued absence of prayer texts for individuals representing these racial and cultural backgrounds is particularly detrimental to them.

From the point of view of “grass roots” involvement, in the preparation of the new Missal, as each segment of the translation was revised and completed the bishops had two opportunities to evaluate the texts.  In these evaluations they were free to consult with anyone they wished before submitting their suggestions and I know that there were bishops who involved a broad range of people.  It should be borne in mind that in these consultations there was an enormous amount of material to be reviewed, involving an equally enormous amount of paper received on the local level.  Hours and hours of time were spent in gathering, then collating and organizing responses.  In fact, one could say that from an historical perspective, in the development of liturgical texts never before have so many people been involved in the process. 

At this stage, to submit the texts to a general consultation in parishes would involve a mechanism that would be incredibly complex and would take years to complete.  Just think of the implications:  Who would do the organizational work?  Who would gather and collate the data?  Who would tabulate and evaluate the data?  And how long would all this take?  Before a recognitio  could be given by the Holy See, our bishops would first have to review the texts once more and then submit them once again to the Holy See for a review of changes recommended. The number of years this would involve is pretty much beyond our ability to calculate.

Another point to be made is that the texts that the Bishops approved in November were not simply texts for the use of the United States.  They are to be used by all the English-speaking countries of the world.  Many of those countries have already given their approval.  In some respects this strikes me as one more instance where the United States considers itself above the rest of humanity.

With regard to the translations, I have seen them.  Are they perfect?  No.  Are they better than what we have now?  I believe they are.  It‘s the old “… one saw mud; the other stars … “  issue all over again.  There are some truly beautiful translations.  I enclose, for example, the suggested text for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time [see below], which in my estimation is considerably stronger and more poetic than the translation in use today.  Likewise, the absolution in the Penitential Rite which now reads May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life ,  will, in the new translation, read: May almighty God have mercy on us and lead us, with our sins forgiven, into eternal lifeI see the new translation as more poetic and more pastoral – a significant improvement over its predecessor.  All may not agree on that;  to some degree it will be a matter of taste.  But you can’t legislate taste, and where “taste” is concerned it is useless to try to achieve general consensus.

There were some serious errors in the previous translation, e.g. the omission of several lines from the translation of the Gloria and the inaccurate translation of some Eucharistic Prayers with the omission or mistranslation of phrases.  It is important that these corrections be made. 

I believe the decision to use direct Scriptural translations in the New Missal, rather than paraphrases of Scripture which were used in the old, is an appropriate one.  Our people’s knowledge of Scripture is, in many respects, deficient.  To reinforce their familiarity with the word of God, through texts taken directly from Scripture and used regularly in the Order of Mass, e.g. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word … can only benefit the faith community.

As to the objection to the use of “difficult” words such as “consubstantial,” that is an argument with which I don’t have much patience.  It won’t hurt any of us to learn a few new terms and in doing so, perhaps to gain some new insight into the meaning of our faith.  The number of words that falls into this category is very small and certainly not a sufficient reason for jettisoning the whole enterprise.

We are NEVER going to find a translation on which everyone will agree.  It is certainly possible to pick it over word by word and find flaws:  too-lengthy sentences; difficult words; some phrases that don’t trip lightly off the tongue.  But for every negative example that can be found, I bet I can find an example of a text that has been improved.  It’s all in how you choose to approach it.

What REALLY concerns me is the effect that a movement such as this can have on the people.  I too was around for the introduction of the Mass in the early ‘70’s.  As I remember it from my days as a teacher in a co-educational high school staffed by priests, sisters, brothers and laity, there was a general sense of eager expectation.  Most of us – not all of us, but most of us - couldn’t wait to get the new translations!  If as this new translation goes forward a few  members of the clergy, battered by the tempests of the past few years choose this issue as their line of demarcation, refusing to give it their full support, I believe their decision will have a seriously detrimental effect on the people entrusted to their pastoral care. Our people, who have hung on through everything else, will find just another intra-church battle on their hands and will eventually survive.  But for many, a most unusual and valuable opportunity will have been lost, and the Church will be poorer for that loss.

Sister Janet Baxendale, S.C.

Liturgical Commission, Archdiocese of New York


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,

qui abundantia pietatis tuae

et merita supplicum excedis et vota.,

effunde super nos misericordiam tuam,

ut dimittis quae conscientia metuit,

et adicias quod oration non praesumit.

Per Dominum ...


Present translation


your love for us

surpasses all our hopes and desires.

Forgive our failings,

keep us in your peace

and lead us in the way of salvation.

Through our Lord...


New Roman Missal Translation

Almighty, everlasting God,

who in your overflowing compassion

surpass the merits and desires of those who pray,

pour out your mercy upon us,

to pardon what conscience dreads

and to add what prayer does not venture to ask.

Through our Lord ...

Claire Mathieu
7 years 9 months ago

Sister Baxendale,

it is great that you are willing to engage in this discussion. 

From the point of view of “grass roots” involvement, I have heard that the amendments made by the bishops were largely ignored.

You write that "there were serious errors with the previous translation". But the new translation introduces at least one grievous error, with the "for many" which, I am told, will come with a catechesis explaining that it really means "for all" - but how often will that catechesis be repeated so that the error of thinking that "for many" means "for many" instead of "for all" does not creep up over the years?  Retaining the "for all", I believe, was a proposed amendment that was ignored.

If it is true that the feedback from grass root via the bishops was ignored, then what does grass root involvement mean?

As a member of the laity, I will give a try to the new translation when it comes out, and if I can't get used to it, I'll shop around for a parish that sticks to the old translation, or at least petition our pastor so that he removes the most offensive changes and leaves the old translation in place at those sensitive spots.

Veronica Speranza
7 years 9 months ago

I imagine the catechesis for "many" should work as well as the catechesis that was given to Catholic regarding the Body and Blood or our Lord fully present under ONE species; ALTHOUGH, it is now encourage that all the faithful receive it under BOTH species.  Has this caused a crisis of Faith?  I doubt the teaching behind the word "many" will be too difficult for lay people to understand.  Lay Catholics are not as stupid as they sometimes seem. 

Michael Maiale
7 years 9 months ago

Maybe, with the new catechesis, bishops can add in some catechesis on the role of the Papacy.

We have a bunch of lay people claiming that they're going to look for a parish that brazenly disobeys the Vicar of Christ who holds the Keys to the Kingdom of God?

And, Marie, if the Church wanted it to say "for all," they would have left it that way.  The Roman Missal says "pro multis" not "pro omnia."  And, so does the Bible.  If Christ wanted to say "for all," I'm sure he would have done so, but if you open up your Bible to Matthew 26:28 or Mark 14:24, you'll find that he said His blood would be shed for many.

Finally, by the Grace of God, we'll have a translation that accurately represents the Bible.

7 years 9 months ago

After reading Daniel McGlone's published letter in the Dec. 21-28 America edition, I went online to read "Sacrosanctum Concilium" myself.  I did so because of McGlone's assertion that this document insists on Latin as the principal language of the Mass.  I found that assertion to be in error.  Furthermore, I found his reference to Fr. Ryan's article as "prattle" quite disrespectful.  Christians-in my opinion-should discuss their differences with mutual respect.  "Sacrosanctum Concilium" doesn't impose vernacular translation upon anyone, and THAT in part seems to be Fr. Ryan's objection to the recent directives from Rome which 1) are being heavy-handedly imposed and 2) have produced unwieldly and awkward English translations.  In that I do not find the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.  I find, instead, a lamentable resurgence of pre-Vatican II, hierarchial paternalism bent upon positing the Holy Spirit not in God's people but in ecclesial office.  That's enough to make me cry.

Claire Mathieu
7 years 9 months ago

Mike, "pro multis" does not mean "for many" but something along the lines of: "for the multitude of human beings, past, present and future". Christ shed his blood for all. Any translation that would lead people to believe that he shed his blood for many and not for all is grievously misleading. And that's what a literal translation does: in many instances, it distorts the true meaning and purpose of the original words. 

Michael Maiale
7 years 9 months ago

Marie, did the translators of every English language bible translation get it wrong?

The Greek texts of the Bible say many, every english language translation uses many.

The current Mass language is inconsistent with the Bible, that is, with what Christ said.

Claire Mathieu
7 years 9 months ago

Mike, you can find the following explanation on the USCCB web site (http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew20.htm#v28)

Many does not mean that some are excluded, but is a Semitism designating the collectivity who benefit from the service of the one, and is equivalent to "all." While there are few verbal contacts between this saying and the fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 53:12), the ideas of that passage are reflected here.

Claire Mathieu
7 years 9 months ago

Mike: your comments are very interesting. In the Bible the "many" does not bother me so much because there are the context, comments, and cross-references for us to draw from and better understand the meaning. But at Mass we have just a few words, repeated every week. If you think that the new Missal is correcting an error in the sense that, as you think, Christ did not shed his blood for all, then you are the first casualty of the new translation.

Veronica Speranza
7 years 9 months ago

Besides, there are no casualties of faith from the current translation and paraphrasing in use for the past forty years.  Forty years of the current translation has brought forth a golden age of spirituality.  There has never been such zeal for the Faith in 2000 years that we see in the English speaking world today!  Let's just keep the current missal that has inspired so many to a religious life, increased vocations to holy orders and filled the pews.  We know it by the fruit it has produced.

Deborah Cummings
7 years 9 months ago

Thank you Fr. Ryan for recognizing that there is an intelligent laity wanting to dialogue with the Vatican about how we pray.  Many of us work hard to live our baptismal vocation, and we have cultivated a voice and spirituality worth listening to.  My husband and I, along with our children, were received into full communion after formation and ministry in the Lutheran and Evangelical church back in 1996, and it is practically sinful how little the Catholic church cultivates and blesses the gifts of her laity.  In regard to the liturgical reform coming up, we would do well to remember that God doesn't actually speak English, or Latin, or Afrikaans-and is most concerned about the posture of our hearts.  If the words we choose increase the distance between God and his people, or sow confusion in our hearts, we can easily become cynical about our faith.  Our new pastor has quite a pre-vatican II way of steering the liturgy, and has asked people to change their prayer, to change deeply formed habit of being, in the words we speak, to the degree that one feels that Christ cannot come to us in the Eucharist if we get some of the words wrong!  As if our words perform some sort of "magic" in the rite!  Do we really believe that God could be so petty?  but then again, some of our priests are... How we implement the change can have a huge impact on the spiritual life of our people. 

Veronica Speranza
7 years 9 months ago

Too bad our current Pope wasn't around during the Second Vatican Council.  Had he been there, I would trust his judgement.  But since he wasn't there, I'm gonna follow Fr. Ryan because Fr. Ryan knows best; not the Pope.

7 years 8 months ago

I feel compelled to respond to Sister Janet Baxendale's commentary, above.  It is unfair to dismiss Father Ryan's serious objections to these texts as "petulant." It is also unfair, and perhaps dangerous, to assume that the faithful in the pews will passively receive or reject the texts depending on how their pastor presents them.  As anyone who has worked in a parish knows, that's an unlikely scenario, to say the least!  I sincerely hope that those associated with the Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship and those who, like Sister Baxendale, are helping with the catechesis around these texts, will carefully listen to and take seriously the concerns and objections of the priests and the faithful. 

I think most of us are all in agreement that we need a new translation of the Roman Missal.  The question is, are we there yet?  The translation we are being presented with is certainly an accurate rendition of the Latin texts.  But in other important respects-musical, literary, pastoral-it is uneven, and in far too many places simply unacceptable.

I honor the long years of work of those who prepared this new translation.  But those long years are not an argument in favor of the speedy implementation of a faulty text.  The 1998 ICEL translation was also the fruit of many years' labor, and it was set aside.  Yes, the logistics of a review process would be tedious, labor-intensive, and time-consuming.  But we are talking about the celebration of the Eucharist-the source and summit of our Christian lives.  The texts we use to pray the Mass are so important that I believe they are worth waiting for. 

Veronica Speranza
7 years 8 months ago

The same way liturgical leaders, priests and bishops carefully listened to and took seriously the concerns and objections of the faithful before removing tabernacles from our sanctuaries and telling us to stand instead of kneel?  To WHICH faithful should they seriously listen?  The ones who are stubbornly in favor of the new translation or the ones who are stubbornly against the new translation? 

Prudence Pilona
7 years 8 months ago

What bothers me about the article is what appears to be Father Ryan's veiled attempt to foment dissent, mistrust and dischord among the faithful.  He sounds like he has an enormous chip on his shoulder; it surprises me not that he begins his article by looking back to the 1960's because it sounds as if he's still living there.  As a man in authority, Father Ryan has an enormous responsibility in choosing the type of rhetoric and tone he uses when writing or preaching to the faithful.  It is disturbing to see a man in such authority using his position irresponsibly by calling for some sort of "rebellion" against Rome and the bishops, just because he doesn't like the new translation.  One wonders what Father Ryan would say to those in the pews who "pay his salary" if those people requested a Tridentine Mass.  (We can guess). Already we are reading about the faithful who are threatening to leave their parishes if their pastors implement the new translation.  One has to wonder about the motives of priests who seem get a kick out of inciting division among the flock -because that's exactly what he is doing.

Sr. Janet makes a good point about the Church in the US thinking that it exists in a vacuum. Yet only in the U.S. would a priest suggest "marketing" devices in dealing with the Sacred Mass, or the Divine Liturgy as our Eastern-rite brothers and sisters call it thereby trivializing and cheapening what is our most holy work.  Most Catholics in the U.S. are bilingual (Spanish/English) anyway, and would find no problem with responses such as "and with your spirit" which has been common in Romance-language translation for years. Father Ryan needs some perspective here.

Some people within the Church like to create a false dichotomy by using terms like "pre Vatican II" and "post Vatican II" as if it were BC and AD.  Most of us who were born after the Council do not think in these terms.  In fact, as the pre-Vatican II generation dies out, the terms are becoming quite archaic.  Yet I am always puzzled by people whow weren't even born before the Council saying that that so-and-so is "pre Vatican II."   I'd like to ask the Lutherans who became Catholics in 1996 (above) how they know their priest has "pre-Vatican II" ways if they became Catholics almost 30 years after the Council!  My guess is that their perception is really someone else's - but is it reality?  Father Ryan's resorts to fearmongering by saying that there is a  (he uses the current media catchphrase) "systematic dismantling" of SC and that the powers that be want to bring us back to the Tridentine Mass.  Not only does he not give any evidence for any of this, he makes the false presumption that somehow the "New" Mass and the Tridentine Mass are not related at all, that they are apples and oranges, not part of the same Tradition.  I am not familiar with the Tridentine Mass, but sometimes we need to look at the past in order to gain perspective.  The Second Vatican Council did this repeatedly as when it restored the ancient catechumenate.  In any case, the idea that Benedict wants to bring back a passive laity and the Tridentine mass is an absurd assertion used to incite mistrust and fear.  And if anyone thinks that SC has brought forth a more active laity, just look at the state of lay participation at any Sunday Mass in the U.S. (if and when they attend). 

When one has to resort to dinner-party conversations and personal anecdotes to substantiate an argument, one is in trouble.  If this article is Father Ryan at his best, he shouldn't be given a forum on America magazine - any first year philosophy undergraduate can argue better; by encouraging disunity and disobedience in the Church "he loves"  Ryan should not be in a position of authority.  If we are to resort to petitions, there already is an alternative petition to Father Ryan's online.  I guess we have to wait and see which petition "wins."

Michael Maiale
7 years 8 months ago

Marie:  I understand what Christ meant by many.  I think that the word many and the word all can both be misunderstood in that context.  Does all mean that all are saved?  No.  Does many mean that some are not offered salvation?  No.  I think, though, that it's important to stick to Biblical language when possible and teach people the Truth from that.

Irene:  The "faithful" these days seem to have an overinflated view of themselves.  The Pope was divinely appointed to lead the Church.  You have every right to your opinion, but your opinion doesn't matter.  I don't think God will look kindly upon people who decide to turn away from Christ's Church because they don't like big words or complex sentence structures.

And, finally, come on, guys.  Read the new prayers.  If you can, read the Latin version of the prayers.  Then, look at the Mass for Idiots style translation the ICEL gave us.  I've accepted it because it's what the Church gives, but the ICEL's translations are boring, sound like they're written for 4th graders, and often don't close to resemble the meaning of the prayers in the Roman Missal, which are consistently filled with much more meaning and symbolism than the ICEL bothered to put forward.

Claire Mathieu
7 years 8 months ago

Mike: point taken. We agree on the meaning. It only remains to agree on the translation that best expresses that meaning. The bishops' conference, I believe, sent an amendment asking to retain "for all", and Sr Janet Baxendale explained to us that the opinion of the bishops was formed after, in some dioceses, extensive consultations with people and thorough work. Why was that amendment not accepted, and is there an explanation from the Vatican to dialogue with them and discuss it?

timothy kennedy
7 years 8 months ago

my wife pointed me to this article and to the responses generated by it.     my response is directed primarily to the clergy who are reading and or responding to the article.   

i am quite aware of how little impact my comments will have on this issue and am not in the least concerned, since that is part of the idea i hope to impart.     i grew up with the tridentine mass, experienced vatican II, and agree that V-II was a good idea.    i long ago filtered out the "teachings" of the clergy which were incorrect (ranging from misguided to malicious) and took to heart the teachings (from the same clergy, and others) which were good, inspiring, and sounded like the jesus we heard about in the gospels.     since the message was delivered by people who often said what sounded like the opposite of what the last cleric said, it took time to grasp the truth.    the truth became evident not by what was said but more by how the person lived what they preached.    "who you are" is far more important than what you say or which words you use to describe how your religion works.     the fact that you and your hierarchy are so intensely interested in the wording of group prayer causes me to worry that you are more concerned with being great proclamators than in being great servants.    

i worked very hard to keep this civil, but i'm pretty sure that some of my comments have been heresy at one time or another.      luckily, nobody pays much attention to heresy any more.      problem is, even if you get the wording exactly right, many won't pay attention to that either,,, wording's not the problem.

tim kennedy

Veronica Speranza
7 years 8 months ago

Lex orandi, lex credendi.  The relationship between worship and belief is an ancient Christian priciple.  The Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.  I hope this isn't why some find the new English translation so problematic. 

7 years 8 months ago
It seems rather strange that Sister Baxendale, who has been associated with the US Bishops' Committee on Liturgy (Divine Worship) for many years, has overlooked the extensive and very public revision of the 1973 Roman Missal that ICEL engaged in between 1982 and 1998. The US conference fully participated in that process, and gave its canonical approval to each of the segments of the 1998 revision. As well, the other ten conferences that participate in the work of ICEL gave their canonical approvals. Were the bishops wrong in their decisions or did some heavy-handed ecclesiastical politics upend the eleven conferences' separate and favorable canonical votes?

It is good to know that there was wide consultation by individual bishops on this second, Roman-directed revision of the Missal. That is the first I have heard of such. Since the process was so open, perhaps Sister Baxendale could supply us with the lists used by just four or five bishops to consult a broad segment of their local Churches.

It is helpful to have sight of at least one of the collects, that of the opening prayer of the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, proposed for the present Missal. Up till now all the collect texts have remained highly confidential, bound in by contracts imposing absolute secrecy on those engaged in the translation work.

Below, for comparison's sake, is the opening prayer for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time as found in the ICEL revision of 1998:

Almighty and eternal God,
whose bounty is greater than we deserve or desire,
pour out upon us your abundant mercy;
forgive the things that weigh upon our consciences
and enrich us with blessings
for which our prayers dare not hope.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Veronica Speranza
7 years 8 months ago

Maybe we should have said WAIT back in 1969 when the Order of the Mass was approved.  Maybe we should have said WAIT back when they took the communion rails out of many churches.  Maybe we should have said WAIT back when they took the kneelers and statues out of churches.  Maybe we should have said WAIT back when they took the tabernacles out of our sanctuaries.  Maybe we should have said WAIT back when they replaced our pipe organs with pianos and guitars.  Maybe we should have said WAIT 40 years ago! 

Claire Mathieu
7 years 8 months ago

The following text by Cardinal Ratzinger discusses the "for many" and "for all" controversy (when Germany switched from "many" to "all") at length.  http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/ratzinger_formany_nov06.asp

"Both formulations, "for all" and "for many", are found in Scripture and in tradition. Each expresses one aspect of the matter: on one hand, the all-embracing salvation inherent in the death of Christ, which he suffered for all men; on the other hand, the freedom to refuse, as setting a limit to salvation. Neither of the two formulae can express the whole of this; each needs correct interpretation, which sets it in the context of the Christian gospel as a whole. I leave open the question of whether it was sensible to choose the translation "for all" here and, thus, to confuse translation with interpretation, at a point at which the process of interpretation re- mains in any case indispensable."

Thus, Pope Benedict (then-Cardinal Ratzinger) refuses to decide between the two possibilities. The US bishops want to retain "for all". Why, then, are they not allowed to? Who is interfering in that matter?

Mary Shelton
7 years 8 months ago

What a bunch of baloney.  The proper translation of the Latin is going to confuse people??? I am a 48 year old Catholic and a product of the Seattle Archdiocese "wait and see" approach to Catholicism.  Most people my age and under are so poorly catechized - the changes are the least of our problems.  This archdiocese has allowed so much liturgical abuse ,yet cry out over these changes.  Hopefully this missal will stop some of it and the people will begin to see what the Holy Mass is supposed to be.   Many Catholics are grateful and relieved these changes have finally come.

M Beachey
7 years 8 months ago

We have waited long enough!

Father Michael Ryan laments the liturgical updates, particularly the new translation of the Roman Missal that will soon replace the current translation that has been in use since 1970.  Perhaps what he really laments is the loss of an illegitimate power that the so-called visionaries of the Second Vatican Council assumed.

I was born in 1968 and never knew the Extra-Ordinary form of the mass.  I grew up in their so-called experimental time and I have seen the disaster for the faith.  Father Ryan was ordained to a church in which the faith of the people was taken for granted and where people practiced their faith, despite all the so-called evils of the time’s liturgical expression.  I was ordained in 2003 to a church that is emptying and, when the baby-boomers (those who were raised with a strong faith) die, will shrink even more.  I dare not entirely blame this on the experiments but I also am not so naïve as to believe they did not have a serious negative effect.

Separation of Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC):

Father Ryan, as do many, does not make any distinction between the great “Magna Carta”, Sacrosanctum Concilium and the results of the liturgical reforms that did take place and the so-called “spirit” of the document which is used as a super dogma to justify all types of illegitimate changes and adaptations to the liturgy.  I offer two examples:

SC 116.  “The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman liturgy.  Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services”.  This is what the Council thought of Gregorian chant and yet it has disappeared from the liturgy almost completely.  Instead of chant, I had the pleasure of the “hippy” generation guitar music from Glory and Praise.  I have never heard “Be Not Afraid” sung the same way from parish to parish.  The answer is simple, the music is difficult – I dare say a strange arrangement – which is written in a high key that is unreachable for most.   That is but one example of many.  SC 121 which says the musicians should produce music that can be sung not only by trained choirs but the congregation as well has not been fulfilled very well.

SC  126.  “Ordinaries should ensure that sacred furnishings and works of value are not disposed of or destroyed, for they are ornaments in God’s house”.  There are parish churches throughout Canada and the United States where the people were at Mass one Sunday only to return the next to see their sacred altars lying in pieces in the back yard.  Their statues smashed and slated for the dump. 

Fr. Ryan speaks of the implementation of the reforms of Vatican II and seems to believe that this was achieved in a pastorally sensitive manner.  Ask the older members of any parish.  In one of my parishes, tears still well up in one’s eyes when they consider the destruction of the old High Altar and the communion rail.  There was nothing pastorally sensitive about the implementation.  Pastors were told that this had to be done, and it was done, without explanation or any sensitivity to those whose families had sacrificed of themselves to adorn their parish church. 

Many lament the return of the Tridentine form of Mass and the re-introduction of Latin in the liturgy.  Why is it that we extend pastoral sensitivity to those who have conduct clown masses, who ignore Catholic teaching and sound liturgical practice but we cannot, under any circumstances tolerate those who are attached to the Tridentine Mass?  The so-called “progressive liberals” in our Church are, in essence, more dogmatic than the Vatican and its congregations could ever hope to be.

Let’s cut out the nonsense.

“The Council wisely made provision for times of experimentation and evaluation”.  Yes, and the time for experimentation is over and the evaluation is in and it is not good:  Lack of faith, lack of mass attendance, more and more rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, liturgical abuses, confusion of symbols, confusion of roles in the liturgy, indifference to the faith and pure apathy.  The grade could only be a passing 50%.  Now we must work on the other 50%.

The real issue facing the church is not global challenges, nagging scandals, the priest shortage or the disenchantment of women (and I must note that we cannot simply ignore these issues) but it is a lack of faith or an apathy towards the faith.  People are not on fire with love for Jesus Christ.  The liturgy has failed miserably in addressing this issue so the credendi of the Church is suffering because the orandi is suffering.

And so, let’s cut out the nonsense and the longing for the 1960s and 1970s – they are now ancient history.  Let’s get on with a new translation, a new approach to liturgy that embraces what the Council truly said.  Let’s embrace our liturgical tradition as we move forward in proclaiming the Good News to the entire world.

We have waited long enough!

Rev. Mitchell Beachey

Pastor of St. Joseph, St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Paul the Hermit Parishes.

Christopher Scott
7 years 8 months ago
"Lack of faith, lack of mass attendance, more and more rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, liturgical abuses, confusion of symbols, confusion of roles in the liturgy, indifference to the faith and pure apathy."

So....Do you really think it's because the clergy were not speaking enough Latin and other unintelligible forms of language during mass that caused this? I'm thinking there could be a couple other issues that might be the cause for that! "liturgical abuses"!?!....you skipped some other abuses but let's not go there.

"clown masses"!?!....which masses are you refering to? The childrens mass or Life Teen masses? Nice!

Yea, what we really need to do is more of that old fashioned Tridentine Latin gibber jabber stuff, that will get attendance up and more young people there for sure. If all the priests would start sporting long beards and do more incensing that will help set the mood for higher holiness too, the kids will love that (I notice a lot of the younger priest today not shaving anyway so we're already ahead on that one)

The only thing worse than someone stuck in the 1960's or 1970's is someone stuck in the pre 1950's. Any "New Translation" that pre-dates Vatican II is an oxymoron.
M Beachey
7 years 8 months ago

Christopher Scott:

Please point to where I said that the reason was that the clergy was not speaking enough Latin.

Please point to where I said anything about Life Teen or children's Mass.  I said clown mass - where sacred ministers dress up like clowns.  Exactly what it means.

Please point to where I said that we needed to go back to the Tridentine mass.  (but it is interesting that most of those who are attached to the Tridentine mass are the young - not my statistics).  I do not see the Tridentine mass as a solution.

Please read where I noted that other issues, including clergy abuse scandals cannot be ignored or neglected.  

This new translation is just being finished and it does not pre-date VAtican II so your comment at the end is not only illogical but pointless.  As the Mass of Paul VI was only published in 1970, there could not have been a translation prior to VAtican II.  You use the word oxymoron but it is inappropriate and makes no sense to use it.

Your comments have nothing to do with what I have written.  They are rude and unhelpful to any discussion.  Indeed, they are offensive.

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