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Jan 24 17 7:47 AM
Who Cares about Liturgy?When Pope Francis first began his pontificate, many people said he just didn’t care very much about liturgy, or that liturgy “isn’t his thing.” When he appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah – a man with no liturgy background, and leanings and tastes far different from the Pope himself – to head the Congregation for Divine Worship, that assumption was reinforced.Over the past year, however, a series of events has challenged this assumption. First, Francis called Sarah on the carpet after the speech in London in which he urged priests to start celebrating Mass ad orientem. Second, he appointed a large group of new members to the Congregation for Divine Worship. These appear to be carefully chosen to work in sync with Francis’s leadership. Third, he has set up a commission to effectively repeal Liturgiam authenticam, the problematic Fifth Instruction on the Right Interpretation of Sacrosanctum Concilium which has guided liturgical translations – and caused no end of discord – over the past fifteen years.I think this notion that “Pope Francis doesn’t care about liturgy” needs to be revised. He cares; he just has not acted in the way many people expect a person who “cares about liturgy” to act. What looked like neglect was (perhaps) instead the assumption that interference was not needed. He tried to be pastor to all. He did not stake out an ideological position on contentious liturgical issues.For Francis, liturgy has been neither the focus of praise or blame in his analysis of what ails the Church today. The reforms of Vatican II have never been something he wanted to re-litigate. He takes them for granted as a healthy development. And just as a person in good health does not spend time going to doctors, so the liturgy has been “let run.” A lack of interference, however, should not be interpreted as a sign that someone doesn’t care.What do we mean when we say someone does or doesn’t “care about liturgy”? Unfortunately, it seems to me that we too easily equate “caring about liturgy” with an ideological approach and a militant agenda. Caring about the liturgy translates into having grand plans, based on critical thinking.Yet don’t many pastors “care about liturgy” in the same way that Francis does? They care about celebrating it prayerfully (as do their parishioners). They observe the rubrics with intelligent pastoral adaptations. They draw on the liturgy for their own spirituality and catechetics. When something threatens, they move in to remove the threat. But otherwise, they let it run. They trust it will do what it is intended to do. Sometimes the best way to care for the liturgy is just to get out of the way.Over the past year, however, it seems to me that we have seen Pope Francis begin to act more assertively in the liturgical realm. It would be hard to interpret this in any other way than as a judgment call: the “reform of the reform” and its signature achievement, the instruction on translations, are not the way forward, and Francis has seen fit to step in and change direction.So in addition to the laid-back approach from Francis, we may now be seeing more of the assertive approach. Francis’s new roster of members of the CDW is a very interesting and diverse group. I look forward to seeing what they will do, together with him. The bishops’ conferences also will probably have a bigger role in liturgical regulation under Francis, as Vatican II envisioned. This will be an interesting development to watch.
Jan 27 17 7:10 AM
Pope Francis has ordered a review of “Liturgiam Authenticam,” the controversial decree behind the most recent translations of liturgical texts from Latin into English and other languages. The commission, established by the pope just before Christmas, is also tasked with examining what level of decentralization is desirable in the church on matters such as this.The mixed commission includes bishops from all the continents. Significantly, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Arthur Roche, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, to be its president. The English-born archbishop is the number two official at the congregation; he has more experience in the liturgical field and a more open approach to liturgical questions than its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah.The Vatican has not provided details on the commission, which is scheduled to hold its first meeting soon. Nor has it published the names of the commission’s members.Francis had two main reasons for setting up the commission, according to informed sources. First, in line with the Second Vatican Council, he wants to give greater responsibility and authority to bishops’ conferences. He stated this clearly in his programmatic document, “Evangelii Gaudium,” when he wrote:The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit.” Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach (No. 32).In this context, the question that arises is: What is the role of the bishop of Rome in preserving liturgical unity in the church? The commission will address this issue.Second, some bishops' conferences are unhappy with the translation of the Roman Missal required by “Liturgiam Authenticam.” They consider it too rigid and do not accept that there is such a thing as “sacral language.” They charge that “Liturgiam” seeks an almost literal translation of the Latin liturgical texts into the vernacular or local language of the different countries, often with unsatisfactory results. The Japanese, for example, had a long-running battle with the congregation over who should decide what is an acceptable Japanese translation of these texts. They and several other bishops’ conferences, are clearly unhappy with the directives of “Liturgiam” and the level of centralization involved in it.Archbishop Roche, who was for 10 years chairman of the International Commission for English Language in the Liturgy, addressing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in September 2014, said the major difference between “Comme le Prévoit” (1969), which governed translation for the first liturgical books after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and “Liturgiam Authenticam,” which has since determined the translation of the Roman Missal in English, French and some Spanish-speaking countries, “was that the Holy See in its directives opted for a shift of the guiding principle of translation from that of ‘dynamic or functional equivalence’ in 1969 to the principle of ‘formal equivalence’ in 2001.”He explained that “dynamic equivalence” was achieved when a translator detached the “content” of an utterance from the “form in which it was expressed.” But this approach has become “outmoded,” he said. Over the last 40 years, specialists in language “have become more aware that the form we choose for an utterance is itself expressive of our purpose in speaking.” The Holy See in “Liturgiam Authenticam” opted for “the formal equivalence,” he stated.The new commission set up by Pope Francis will review this whole matter, together with the issue of inculturation and the question of what decentralization is desirable in matters relating to the liturgy.
Jan 28 17 5:01 AM
Reform of the ReformRome Revisits 'Liturgiam Authenticam'The tightly controlled and highly centralized approach to the translation of liturgical texts that has reigned in the Roman Catholic Church over the past fifteen years is likely coming to an end. In a move that is widely expected to open the door to more pastoral guidelines and approaches, Pope Francis has inaugurated a review and re-evaluation of the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam.The move was at least a year in coming. To understand what happened, however, it is necessary to know some background. Championed by a handful of conservative bishops and advocates, the principles of translation articulated in Liturgiam authenticam were intended to reassert the primacy and priority of the Latin text of the liturgy. It aimed at creating a “sacral vernacular” through a word-for-word translation of the Latin. It looked backward rather than forward. Ecumenical cooperation in crafting common translations was discouraged, cultural adaptation was discouraged, and concessions to modern developments, such as gender-inclusive language, were absolutely ruled out. Because the episcopal conferences could not be trusted to maintain such tight adherence to the Latin, Roman authorities centralized the process and retained the option to impose a translation if they wished.The new translation of the Roman Missal into English, implemented in 2011, was guided by these principles. The resulting prayers did not in fact resemble the Latin, as those who know and love the Latin language attest, for Latin has its own genius. An awkward prayer in English does Latin no honor. Yet this was the inevitable result of Liturgiam authenticam. Many of the prayers translated according to its principles were rendered long, complex, and stilted in English; hard to proclaim and difficult to understand. Even some of those who had been in favor of a new translation found the final text disappointing. A 2014 survey of U.S. priests by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, showed that only 27 percent felt the translation had lived up to expectations.The English translation of the Roman Missal, the first of the new translations produced under the principles of Liturgiam authenticam, was supposed to be a brilliant success and a model for other language groups. Instead, it became a terrible warning. Other language groups—such as German, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish—prepared translations according to these principles, but they did not implement them. Faced with the prospect of giving up well-known and well-loved vernacular texts, and replacing them with unidiomatic and problematic ones, the bishops balked. In response, Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) took a hard line. When the German-speaking bishops raised objections, he lectured them on obedience. When the francophone Canadians and Belgians insisted that prayers that their bishops voted unanimously to retain be retained, he said no. These examples are not exhaustive by any means. In short, Pope Francis did not decide to re-evaluate Liturgiam authenticam on a whim. Never a popular instruction, Liturgiam authenticam’s stock was plummeting. Something had to be done.Liturgiam authenticam was produced without consultation. Pope Francis’s approach has already shown a marked contrast with that style. When conservative Vaticanologist Sandro Magister broke the news this week that a commission was being formed at Francis’s behest to “demolish” Liturgiam authenticam, Archbishop Arthur Roche, second in command at the CDW, had already been meeting with various groups of bishops to solicit their input into the review. Indeed the new roster of members of the Congregation for Divine Worship bodes well for a full consideration of the issues. Bishop Arthur Joseph Serratelli of Paterson, who chaired the International Commission on English in the Liturgy during the implementation of the new translation, is well placed to defend the status quo. But Archbishop Piero Marini, the former papal master of ceremonies who has been critical of the instruction, will also have his say. Several of the new appointees either are or have been at the head of episcopal conferences, such as Ricardo Blázquez Pérez (Spain), John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan (Nigeria), John Atcherley Dew (New Zealand) and Denis James Hart (Australia). They will surely weigh in on questions of oversight and decentralization from their experience. Bernard Nicolas Aubertin, who is president of the Francophone Episcopal Commission for Liturgical Translations, is well informed on translation issues as well.What all this will mean for the English liturgy over the long run remains to be seen. I certainly hope that those texts that have been translated according to Liturgiam authenticam but never implemented (RCIA, Baptism, etc.) will be placed on hold until church leaders discern a future direction under Francis’s guidance. As for the Missal we have now, the U.S. bishops will no doubt be loath to revise it. (Why does the entire English-speaking Church have to be beholden to the US bishops where the English translation of the Missal is concerned? I can only thank God that the Pope has ordered a review of Liturgiam authenticam before whoever was responsible for the lamentable English translation of the Mass could get their hands on the Liturgy of the Hours!) But just as the experience of the English-speaking world helped other language groups to see what they had to do, so the insights and experience of other groups may help English-speaking bishops to find a way forward. The way to begin is by trusting our own people and our own wisdom concerning prayer in our native tongue.
Jan 28 17 7:37 AM
Feb 4 17 11:38 PM
In The National Catholic Register last year about the (Low) Tridentine Mass, in a piece titled “You Have The Rite To Remain Silent,” I cited emeritus Pope Benedict’s 2007 document Summorum Pontificum, in which he wrote that his amendment to “the Church’s Lex orandi (law of prayer),” allowing the old Latin Mass and the new Mass on a regular basis, “will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s Lex credendi (law of belief).”“They are, in fact, two usages of the one Roman Rite,” Benedict said.In this context, Benedict was using the word “rite” in the traditional sense of a separate body of liturgical tradition, usually emanating from a specific geographical or cultural center. Examples include the Roman rite, the Byzantine rite, the Ambrosian rite, and so on.In effect, Benedict was saying the older Latin Mass and the new Mass are expressions of the same liturgical tradition, not separate modes of worship. Almost ten years later, I’m not so sure.Of course, I’m not vain enough to pit my paltry theology against the Pope Emeritus, nor do I intend to. And I do not believe that Pope Benedict ever intended to create two separate rites.In part, he was holding out the clichéd olive branch to the Society of Saint Pius X (who have yet to take it), as well as other groups such as the Transalpine Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay, Scotland and Christchuch, New Zealand, who have been accepted back into the Church. Among other things, they produce an outstandingly beautiful quarterly periodical, The Catholic Illustrated.Benedict was also fulfilling what his predecessor, St. John Paul II had started by creating the Ecclesia Dei commission in 1998 for outreach to traditionalist groups and movements in the Catholic world.But this past spring was a real mind-bender for anyone who attends the “Latin” Mass, or prays the Divine Office according to the 1962 rubrics. It came with the liturgical calendar.Per the new calendar, the Easter season ended at vespers on Pentecost Sunday night. When we awoke on Monday, May 16, it was - and I cringe as I type this - “ordinary time,” not one of the most mellifluous terms to describe the bulk of the Church year.However, for those observing the extraordinary form of the Mass - which also extends to the expression of the sacraments, the sacred offices, and sacramentals as found in the Collectio Rituum - Paschaltide, in the form of the Pentecostal octave, lasted right through to Nones (mid-afternoon prayer) on Ember Saturday, May 21, meaning there was almost another full week of Easter.So which was it? Were we in the Eastertime/Pentecost octave, or ordinary time? In one “indivisible” rite, it hardly makes sense that it could be both simultaneously.True, our national episcopal conference in Washington can’t seem to decide if Ascension Thursday should fall on Thursday or the following Sunday, so both are allowed, depending on the diocese, which makes for not only calendar-confusion but also bad theology.When we have to seriously ask “When is Ascension Thursday? Is it this Sunday?” we might be in trouble as “one” Church.And then there was another skull-clencher: Corpus Christi - or, if you prefer more words in your Holy Day titles, “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ” - fell on Thursday, May 26, according to the Tridentine Ordo, but per the new Mass, it was on the following Sunday, May 29.Yet why stop there?Just to keep things more confusing, according to an 1885 indult, “The external solemnity of the feast [of Corpus Christi] must be transferred in the U.S. and celebrated on the following Sunday when the feast falls on a week day.” Yet according to 2016 rules, “When Corpus Christi falls on a week-day, it is still celebrated on that weekday.”So in the Latin Mass, we actually have two Corpus Christi Celebrations in the same week, one on the original weekday and the “external solemnity” three days later, the following Sunday.Why is a calendar so important to a faith, especially our faith?Well, for one thing, it’s what we all agree on and when. One of the earliest (and ongoing) struggles in the Roman Church was bringing the nascent form of Christendom into conformity with when to celebrate the most important day of the year, Easter. (The Irish monks proved particularly recalcitrant in this regard.)Also, it’s what separates us from, well, our separated brethren, the Eastern Orthodox, who just celebrated “their” Easter a couple of weeks after we Latin-Rite Christians.So at least from the time of the Council of Trent (1545-63) to the close of the Second Vatican Council (1965), the Latin Church had its calendar in order - more or less, but definitely more so than now.I add this codicil because of the Eastern Catholic Churches - the Copts, the Maronites, the Ambrosian Rite, The Armenians - are all ancient rites but still in communion with Rome.If the calendar is one thing that sets apart a separate rite - even if that rite is under the same pontiff - the Code of Canon Law by which they are controlled by is another. Obviously, the Latin code applies to both the new Mass and the older Latin Mass.According to canon 28, “The rites treated in Code of Canon Law for the Oriental Churches, unless otherwise stated, are those that arise from the Alexandrian, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean and Constantinopolitan traditions” (canon 28 ).And here’s where it gets a little (more) knotty. “[These separate rites] are not just a liturgical heritage, but also a theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage characteristic of a peoples’ culture and the circumstances of their history.”Do the new Mass and the older Latin Mass exhibit “theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritages” that differ so totally from each other that they could be said to be separate rites?The Tridentine Mass (as the name states) dates back to the Council of Trent, and, with a few tweaks here and there, remained unchanged until 1965. That’s a four-hundred-year-old “rite”.The Pauline Missal and the liturgical books-breviaries, lectionaries, sacramentaries- and especially the Code of Canon Law that came after 1965 gave us not only the local patois in our liturgical worship, but entirely new forms of worship (face-to-face Confession), a completely new sacrament (the Anointing of the Sick), and a renewed Order of the Clergy (the permanent, and often married, diaconate.)I see the logic - and the hope - that Pope Benedict extended in wanting to keep things whole: one rite, two forms of expression, both of which are licit, legal, valid and, as far as fulfilling your Sunday Duty, interchangeable.The faithful need not choose one over the other to the exclusion of any. I myself attend both the older Latin Mass and the new Mass.But this experiment - and I don’t know what else to call it- which aimed at cross-fertilization (bring plainchant to the Novus Ordo! Get permanent deacons in the Latin Mass!) might only be heading in one direction, which, ironically ends in two “separate-but-equal” Latin rites.Still, I hope I’m wrong about the rites.
Feb 7 17 6:30 AM
Anglican Centre - On March 13, for the first time ever, Anglican Choral Evensong will be celebrated at the altar of the Chair of St Peter in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Permission for this unique occasion was granted by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, during a recent meeting with Archbishop David Moxon, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Archbishop Moxon will preside at the 3.00pm service, while the preacher will be Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican. The music will be sung by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford.The gesture reflects the deepening bonds of affection and trust between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church. It comes just five months after Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby celebrated Vespers together at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio to mark the Anglican Centre’s fiftieth anniversary. It also reciprocates the liturgical hospitality of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Dean Robert Willis in welcoming Cardinal George Pell to celebrate Solemn Mass at the High Altar of Canterbury Cathedral on July 7, 2015. This date has been chosen as the nearest available day to the historic feast day of St Gregory the Great, who has become an unofficial patron of relations between the two churches. St Gregory was the Pope who sent St Augustine to England in 595 to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons and who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
Feb 10 17 6:56 AM
Why Pope Francis is right to revisit the new Mass translation Recent news out of Rome that Pope Francis has given his blessing to a commission to study “Liturgiam Authenticam,” the controversial 2001 document behind the English translation of the Roman Missal, was surely music to the ears of many who love the church’s liturgy and to just about everyone who loves the English language. Seven years ago, I did my best to see that the translation got a test run before being mandated for general use. But, as the saying goes, timing is everything. Had Francis been elected just a few years earlier, it is likely that “Liturgiam Authenticam” would have died in committee.At this point, I am not sure who to feel sorrier for: those members of the International Committee for English in the Liturgy, who, back in 1998, offered a worthy translation—the fruit of 17 years painstaking labor—only to have it unceremoniously consigned to oblivion by Vatican officials, or the faithful of the English-speaking world who have had to struggle since 2011 with a wooden, woefully inadequate, theologically limited Missal that is low on poetry, if high on precision.This much everyone should agree on: The church’s greatest prayer should not depend on awkward, literal compositions that would earn poor marks in any high school English (or theology) class. Think, for instance, of the tone of the prayers, with their exaltation of merit over mercy, their emphasis on human weakness at the expense of human dignity, their “sacral vernacular” (No. 47) that keeps God at a majestic distance. So many times during Mass I have been tempted to stop and ask, “Does anyone know what that means?”—and I cannot be alone. To quote one disgruntled parishioner, “Father, some of those prayers might as well be in Latin.”The complaints from priests and from parishioners are not just hearsay. A 2014 survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate revealed that only 27 percent of priests in the United States believe the new translation has lived up to expectations. More than half said it needs urgently to be revised.But there is more to consider here than style and syntax and questionable theology. There is Pope Francis and the transformational moment he has ushered in for the church—the fresh air, the invitation to dialogue, the resetting of priorities, the quest for simplicity. And there are also his writings, especially “Evangelii Gaudium.” Although the pope does not focus on the Mass or the Missal, he does talk about language, communication, modes of expression, and cultural adaptation—all of which have significant implications for the way we pray.Pope Francis points to the importance of simplicity, clarity, directness and adapting to “the language of the people in order to reach them with God’s word…and to share in their lives” (No. 158). In light of this, how can we justify using words like “consubstantial,” “conciliation,” “oblation”or “regeneration”?Pope Francis also goes after the sacred cow of ancient Latin texts. He writes: “We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history, because the faith cannot be constricted to the limits of understanding and expression of any one culture” (“Evangelii Gaudium,” No. 115).The principles of “Liturgiam Authenticam” run precisely counter to Pope Francis’ vision. Far from drawing on the gifts of culture, it stifles them in favor of a monoculture. Contrast the words of Francis with the directive “Liturgiam” gives to the church in the developing world: “fidelity and exactness with respect to the original texts may themselves sometimes require that words already in current usage be employed in new ways, that new words or expressions be coined, that terms in the original text be transliterated” (No. 21). This is precisely the kind of cultural imperialism that Pope Francis has called into question.As an antidote to this, Pope Francis speaks of the importance of local bishops’ conferences, respecting the authority that should be theirs when it comes to deciding matters that pertain to the local church.Now his encouraging words have been backed up by encouraging action. Will the controversial document be radically revised—or even revoked? This would be a game-changer. The bishops’ conferences of Germany, Italy and France, wisely dragged their feet on implementing “Liturgiam Authenticam.” Now a wonderful opportunity seems to have opened up for them. Perhaps other language groups, thanks to our experience, will be spared questionable translations like ours.How this new development will be received by the bishops of the English-speaking world remains to be seen. But I feel certain that the majority of priests and people will be praying that the newly formed Vatican commission liberates future translations from the straight-jacket of “Liturgiam Authenticam” and that their bishops will be open to the commission’s findings. No matter how weary of the topic our bishops may be, they should reclaim their rightful role in preparing and approving liturgical texts. And for the time being, they should put the brakes on translations currently in process (including the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the Rite of Baptism, and the Liturgy of the Hours). And they should swallow hard and begin to take another look at the Roman Missal. If they do, they will quickly realize that we can do better. We can hardly do worse.
Feb 11 17 5:26 AM
Feb 16 17 6:58 AM
Time to repeal 'ugly' Mass translationIt is good news that Pope Francis has appointed a commission to revisit Liturgiam Authenticam (LA). This Vatican document, issued on 28 March 2001, provided the unfortunate guidelines that 'justified' the ugly, Latinised translation foisted on English-speaking Catholics by the 2010 Missal.In a swinging and detailed criticism of LA, Peter Jeffery, a professor at Princeton University, has described the document as 'the most ignorant statement on liturgy ever issued by a modern Vatican congregation'. Jeffery, a Benedictine oblate, places himself on the right of the Catholic spectrum, 'as conservative as one can get without rejecting Vatican II'.In his Translating the Tradition: A Chant Historian Reads Liturgiam Authenticam, he charged the anonymous people who wrote LA with being 'seriously misinformed' and making many 'misstatements about the Roman liturgical tradition'.LA claimed that the Latin Church as a whole shared a uniform tradition of starting the Creed with 'I believe', as if 'we believe were essentially an Eastern tradition'. As Jeffery showed, in the Roman Mass there have always been those who used 'credimus (we believe)' instead of 'credo (I believe)'.LA required vernacular versions to maintain 'verbal equality' with the original Latin in which Paul VI issued the 1970 Missal. The translators went ahead and produced long sentences that belong to the Latin of Cicero but not to modern English.LA proposed using a 'sacred vernacular' that differs from current speech and could sound strange and even 'obsolete'. Those responsible for the 2010 Missal followed this guideline by repeatedly preferring 'charity' over 'love', 'compunction' over 'repentance', 'laud' over 'praise', 'supplication' over 'prayer', and 'wondrous' over 'wonderful'.Speaking of an 'oblation' rather than a 'sacrifice' or 'offering' can leave the congregation wondering whether the priest has stumbled over the word 'ablution'. 'Oblation' no longer has currency in contemporary English. In the Creed, 'consubstantial', straight from the Latin consubstantialis, has replaced the genial translation 'of one being'. 'Consubstantial', like 'prevenient' grace, used by the 2010 Missal for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, belongs to theological discourse, not to the liturgy we celebrate together.Encouraged by LA, the 2010 Missal indulges obsequious language derived from the courts of ancient Byzantium and Rome. 'Graciously' incessantly introduces prayers: 'graciously grant', 'graciously accept', and so forth. It is all very different from what Jesus taught about addressing God in a childlike fashion. It is also very different from the straightforward language of the Psalms, which nourished the prayer and devotion of Jesus himself.The 2010 Missal slavishly applies the word-for-word principle inculcated by LA, rather than the meaning-for-meaning principle practised by all great translators from the time of St Jerome (d. 420). The most unfortunate result has been reverting to 'for many' at the consecration of the wine. This suggests, at the heart of the Mass, that Christ shed his blood for many people, but not for all. Yet he clearly intended to die 'for all' and not merely 'for many'.There is much more to criticise in LA and the 2010 Missal. Here and there it moves towards the ancient heresy of Pelagius by suggesting that through our own efforts we 'merit' eternal salvation. I sincerely hope that Francis' commission will not merely revisit LA but strongly press for its repeal. The road will then be open to revisit the clumsy, difficult 2010 Missal and replace it.As it happens, last year I have joined forces with John Wilkins, a former editor of the London Tablet, in preparing for Liturgical Press a book, Lost in Translation. We vigorously reject LA and its monstrous child, the 2010 Missal. John and I would be delighted to see the 2010 Missal replaced by an incomparably better translation, the 1998 Missal, the missal that never reached the churches.This 1998 Missal, a painstaking revision of the 1973 translation, was approved by all the conferences of English-speaking bishops. It was then summarily dismissed by the Vatican. So much for the collegial authority of the bishops taught by Vatican II!The 1998 Missal is waiting in the wings to take its rightful place at worship. It needs a few additions, such as texts for the Masses honouring recently canonised saints. Its genuine and prayerful English can be proclaimed very easily. Its opening prayers or collects rank among the finest ever produced.
Mar 20 17 7:07 AM
Letter from Rome: Don't Blame Francis for the ConfusionSome self-declared Catholic traditionalists have been complaining bitterly that there is much confusion and division within the Catholic Church.They blame it all on Pope Francis and especially on the challenging program he has launched for ecclesial renewal and reform. In doing so, they are de facto opposing the pope—especially his more merciful and pastoral application of the gospel and church teaching.“There has never been such open opposition to a pope as there has been to Bergoglio,” says Andrea Riccardi, the Italian historian who founded the Sant’Egidio Community shortly after the Second Vatican Council.Professor Riccardi recently noted that this opposition exists at “various levels of the hierarchy, amongst the laity and on blogs.”He says it is rooted in a net refusal of the pope’s message.“I think of a certain type of traditionalism and I ask myself: how can it be such by rebuffing the pope?” says Riccardi.Exactly.Traditionalists are generally defined by their unflinching loyalty to the Roman Pontiff. But when the one seated on the Chair of Peter is not to their liking, these papists in the extreme find themselves in deep conflict.However, they are right about one thing: there is a lot of confusion and division in the church. It’s just that it’s not the fault of Pope Francis.For example, there is nothing more confusing—for English-speaking Catholics, at least—than the awkward prayers used each day at Mass. This is not Francis’s doing. It’s the responsibility of his two most recent predecessors. They were the ones who ordered the transliteration of the Latin texts found in the Roman Missal and then promulgated a version of that missal (more properly called the Sacramentary) that, in so many respects, is not even proper English at all.But the source of the confusion and division in the church goes much deeper than disputes over how prayers have been translated. A great part of it is actually found in the stubborn resistance to the liturgical reforms that came in the wake of Vatican II and, even more seriously, the refusal to fully accept the teaching and thrust of the Council, especially its ecclesiology (that is, what we believe about the very nature of the church).If there is confusion today in the church, it exists to a great extent because of traditionalists who demanded—and, unfortunately, were granted—the right to continue celebrating the Tridentine Mass despite its post-conciliar reform.This older form of the liturgy is not primarily about the use of Latin at Mass. Rather, it is the expression of a strictly hierarchical, exclusively top-down and clericalist church frozen in time. It is not, as its misinformed enthusiasts claim, the ancient Mass or the Mass of the Ages.It was created in 1570, seven years after the Council of Trent. Scholars have shown that [it] is a hybrid of various and (some) over-stylized liturgical books from different times and regions, often with additions and embellishments not found in the earliest Roman liturgy.This old liturgy had to be reformed to more adequately reflect the ecclesiology that had developed since Trent and was articulated at Vatican Council II. If we truly believe the maxim lex orandi lex credendi (loosely translated: our worship expresses what we actually believe), then the parallel existence and legitimacy of the non-reformed and the reformed liturgies has caused and perpetuated confusion and division in the church.How did this happen?Pope Paul VI had only grudgingly allowed for the so-called Old Mass’s limited and continued use. It was specifically out of pastoral charity for those elderly people who struggled with the reform. But the late pope feared then, and has long since been proven correct, that refusal to fully accept the reformed liturgy would be just the beginning of calling into question many other aspects of Vatican II, even the entire Council.Pope Paul’s original indult to allow for use of the Tridentine Rite was at first carefully contained, even by John Paul II. But a tiny number of traditionalist cardinals and some bishops successfully lobbied him to further expand the provision. Furthermore, they actively encouraged and supported the establishment of obscure religious orders whose specific mission is to preserve the pre-Vatican II rituals (and mindset).This prevented a small wound in the heart of the Catholic community from completely healing.And then one of those cardinals became pope and in 2007 he issued a “motu proprio” authorizing the near-unfettered use of the Tridentine Rite, which ripped the wound wide open. He claimed he was actually trying to facilitate an “interior reconciliation in the heart of the church.” And with linguistic dexterity he invented the fiction that the pre-Vatican II Mass was actually just the “extraordinary form” of the one Roman Rite, the reformed liturgy being its “ordinary form”. Those odd Tridentine communities that this former pope helped spawn quickly seized upon this liturgical free-for-all and began actively promoting a greater diffusion of the Old Mass. Their cardinal-protector, now in papal white, did nothing to restrain them or correct the devious turns they took under cover of the new dispensation.Clerical groups and their clericalist lay supporters, once on the fringe of mainstream Catholicism, were now given a prominence and influence disproportionate to their tiny numbers. And men sympathetic to their liturgical proclivities and neo-Tridentinist view of the church were promoted bishops. Some were even made cardinals.In effect, they became the tail wagging the dog.No one should be surprised that the heart of opposition to Pope Francis is found among their enthusiasts.Meanwhile, the Jesuit pope has exercised great restraint and tolerance. But he has refused to indulge them. And because of this they are mighty angry.There is confusion and division in the church all right, and the man at the Vatican who wears the white dress bears much of the responsibility. But, let’s be clear, it’s not the one who lives at the Santa Marta Residence. [One must ask, however, whether this man in the Vatican who wears papal white but does not reside in the DSM, was actually informed of what was going on outside his door - after all, it was widely known that he had become isolated, though not of his own volition. And, if one factors into the equation the fact that the former Papal gatekeeper - who, alas, is still the gatekeeper of the man still clad in papal white - is a well-known conservative who, as some reports have it, spent the first two years of his seminary training with the SSPX, well, it is entirely possible that the "free rein" enjoyed by these ultra-traditionalist communities was not entirely of the cardinal-protector's making.]
Mar 28 17 1:40 AM
Revisiting ‘Liturgiam Authenticam’: An UpdateHigher Expectations, but More QuestionsIn January, I wrote in Commonweal that Pope Francis has authorized a review and revision of the document that gives the Church its guidelines for liturgical translations: Liturgiam authenticam. Since then, some additional facts have come to light that should raise our expectations further.First, a list of names of the people appointed to this commission was leaked on March 8 by a blogger in Spain. I wrote about this list of people and the challenge of their task here and here. The list has been confirmed by a reliable source, although it has still not been announced publicly by the Vatican.Second, the bishops of New Zealand have gone on record applauding the decision of Pope Francis to review Liturgiam authenticam and offering their full support:New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference president Bishop Patrick Dunn said the New Zealand bishops welcome the move.“The New Zealand bishops are delighted with the news that Pope Francis is arranging for a review of the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam, and we will be very happy to support Archbishop Arthur Roche in this work,” Bishop Dunn said.“The New Zealand bishops agree that translations for liturgical texts should be 100 percent accurate, but our concern has been that Liturgiam authenticam has produced texts that impose Latin syntax on contemporary English,” he said.A couple of questions are inevitable in light of these developments. First, why is the commission (or committee, or task force, or whatever) being kept under wraps? It should be announced so that people are not kept wondering whether it really exists and who is actually appointed to it.Two possible reasons occur to me. One is purely practical: There might be another appointment in the offing. For instance, there is no one from Latin America on the list. Are they waiting for another invitation to be accepted? The second reason I think of is less laudable, but, sadly, not impossible. A number of translation efforts are currently underway around the world. Most, I daresay all, of the translations that have been produced according to Liturgiam authenticam have been produced under pressure, and amid quiet misgivings if not flaming controversy. If it becomes clear that the rules of translation are going to change, the commonsense solution is to stop the presses. Isn’t it?Yet that outcome is one that some people will vigorously oppose. Suppose you are all in favor of the uniformity and closeness to Latin that Liturgiam authenticam demands—as Cardinal Robert Sarah has said he is. Surely you would want to go full-steam ahead and approve as many texts as possible that cleave to these standards, before the ax falls on Liturgiam authenticam. Then standards will change, but too bad: you have your highly literal Missal translation or whatever, and it will be too expensive to change it. Being “tight-lipped” could very well be an attempt to thwart the purpose of the review for a key period, until those pending texts are locked in. Continual uncertainty about whether this committee exists assists in this strategy.This brings us to the English-speaking world. Why haven’t the American bishops or the other English-speaking conferences joined the New Zealanders in welcoming the review? Have they so bought into Liturgiam authenticam that they now oppose Pope Francis’s plan to review and revise it? Or are they too being kept waiting for the memo? Quite a number of additional translations into English are pending approval or in preparation. They are all being made according to the norms of Liturgiam authenticam–norms that have resulted in a divisive and unsatisfactory translation of the Missal. The commonsense strategy for the bishops now is to stop the presses until the new guidelines come out. If they don’t do this, it’s fair to wonder why.
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference president Bishop Patrick Dunn said the New Zealand bishops welcome the move.“The New Zealand bishops are delighted with the news that Pope Francis is arranging for a review of the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam, and we will be very happy to support Archbishop Arthur Roche in this work,” Bishop Dunn said.“The New Zealand bishops agree that translations for liturgical texts should be 100 percent accurate, but our concern has been that Liturgiam authenticam has produced texts that impose Latin syntax on contemporary English,” he said.
Apr 1 17 6:06 AM
UNPRECEDENTED: Pope Francis moves Roman Corpus Christi procession from Thursday to SundayVATICAN CITY — In an unprecedented change, Pope Francis has decided to move the traditional Roman Corpus Christi procession from Thursday to Sunday, Italian media is reporting.The candlelight Eucharistic procession traditionally begins after Holy Mass at the basilica of St. John Lateran, travels along Rome’s via Merulana, and ends at the basilica of St. Mary Major, just over a mile away.According to Italian media reports, the pope has taken this unprecedented decision for two main reasons.First, Francis wants to follow the Italian liturgical calendar, which observes Corpus Christi on the Sunday following the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.Read more: An Example to Imitate: Pope Francis Celebrates Corpus Christi with Eucharistic Procession in RomeAlthough numerous bishops’ conferences (including in Italy and the United States) have transferred Corpus Christi to Sunday to accommodate the faithful, the Vatican had kept the traditional liturgical observance of Corpus Christi, celebrating this solemn feast on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.Beginning this year, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Corpus Christi on Sunday evening, June 18, 2017 instead of the preceding Thursday. The change has been indicated on the papal household’s calendar of liturgical celebrations.According to reports, there is another reason for the shift.Pope Francis thinks a greater number of faithful, pilgrims and tourists will participate in the Eucharistic procession through the heart of Rome if Corpus Christi is celebrated on a Sunday.In recent years, the number of faithful attending the Mass before the procession has decreased considerably. The main obstacle, it is said, came from the feast coinciding with a work-day. By moving Corpus Christi from Thursday to Sunday, reports say, Francis hopes attendance among the faithful will increase.In the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis surprised everyone by following the Corpus Christi procession on foot, behind the Most Blessed Sacrament, instead of kneeling before the Eucharist on a modified “pope-mobile,” as his predecessors had done. Then, in 2014, no longer able to make the journey on foot, the pope chose to travel to the Basilica of St. Mary Major by car, ahead of the arrival of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.According to FarodiRoma (Rome’s Lighthouse),“the pope wanted all the attention of the faithful to be on the Eucharist that was being carried in procession, and not on him.” Once the Blessed Sacrament has arrived at St. Mary Major, the pope would then preside at solemn Benediction.This year, the possibility of eliminating the vehicle that holds aloft the Most Blessed Sacrament, in favor of two deacons carrying the monstrance on foot, is also being considered.INTERESTING FACT: In August 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the Bull Transiturus, ordering Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday throughout the Latin Church.The papal bull begins with the words: Transiturus de hoc mundo ad patrem salvator dominus noster Iesus Christus, i.e. “As he was about to pass from this world to the Father, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” referring to the Last Supper (cf. John 13:1). It was the very first papally sanctioned universal feast in the history of the Latin Rite.St. Thomas Aquinas contributed substantially to the bull, particularly in parts concerned with the liturgical text of the new feast. Aquinas composed the sequence Tantum ego sacramentum for this purpose.Pope Urban IV died on October 2, 1264.
Apr 3 17 3:26 PM
Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, sent a text to a colloquium in Germany called to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Much that the cardinal had to say was unexceptional, and I found myself in agreement with parts of the text. But other parts seemed unnecessarily harsh and even foolish. He stated:Certainly, the Second Vatican Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 1). Certainly, some fine initiatives were taken along these lines. However we cannot close our eyes to the disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused by remodeling the Church's liturgy according to their ideas.And later in the talk:Hence it is necessary to recognize that the serious, profound crisis that has affected the liturgy and the Church itself since the Council is due to the fact that its CENTER is no longer God and the adoration of Him, but rather men and their alleged ability to "do" something to keep themselves busy during the Eucharistic celebrations. Even today, a significant number of Church leaders underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through: relativism in doctrinal, moral and disciplinary teaching, grave abuses, the desacralization and trivialization of the Sacred Liturgy, a merely social and horizontal view of the Church's mission. Many believe and declare loud and long that Vatican Council II brought about a true springtime in the Church. Nevertheless, a growing number of Church leaders see this "springtime" as a rejection, a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage, or even as a radical questioning of her past and Tradition. Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots. But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church.These are strong words. And Lord knows we have all seen the video of the clown masses. But such incidents were the exception, a miniscule exception. The reform of the liturgy that began after the Second Vatican Council has been an overwhelming success.Don't take my word for it. Consider this apostolic letter of St. Pope John Paul II, issued on the 25th anniversary of the Council's constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium. After noting some of the adverse reactions to the liturgical changes after the council, on both the left and the right, John Paul II wrote:This should not lead anyone to forget that the vast majority of the pastors and the Christian people have accepted the liturgical reform in a spirit of obedience and indeed joyful fervour. For this we should give thanks to God for that movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church which the liturgical renewal represents; for the fact that the table of the word of God is now abundantly furnished for all; for the immense effort undertaken throughout the world to provide the Christian people with translations of the Bible, the Missal and other liturgical books; for the increased participation of the faithful by prayer and song, gesture and silence, in the Eucharist and the other sacraments; for the ministries exercised by lay people and the responsibilities that they have assumed in virtue of the common priesthood into which they have been initiated through Baptism and Confirmation; for the radiant vitality of so many Christian communities, a vitality drawn from the wellspring of the Liturgy.These are all reasons for holding fast to the teaching of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and to the reforms which it has made possible: "the liturgical renewal is the most visible fruit of the whole work of the Council". For many people the message of the Second Vatican Council has been experienced principally through the liturgical reform.Liturgy touches us at the core of our beings. As Catholics, we know that what we do in the Mass is less important than what God does. We know that the Eucharist is, as the council stated, the "source and summit" of the Christian life. Therefore, it is not surprising that people hold strong views about it.What is surprising is that so many feel the need to denounce those who view liturgical matters differently. The new translation of the missal into English strikes me as clunky in parts; the syntax follows the Latin original and sounds like gibberish in English, but other parts of it are very well done, such as the inclusion of a biblical image right before we receive communion: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof… ." The previous translation was better in some ways but banal at times, too. What was unfortunate about the changes was that they were rammed through by a group with an agenda that happened to get the ear of key Vatican officials.Part of the liturgical renewal, and one of the better parts of Sarah's talk, has to do with the multiple ways of participating in the liturgy. Yes, I think it is a good thing that lay people, including women, are now seen on the altar, proclaiming the Scriptures, serving as acolytes, distributing communion. But, I also know that I can "participate" in the singing of the Kyrie just as well when the choir sings a beautiful rendition of the text as when I join in that singing. Yesterday, at St. Matthew's Cathedral, the choir sang the Kyrie from William Byrd's "Mass for Four Voices."Those plaintive tones warm the heart to the sense of merciful pleading the Kyrie is all about, no? But I also like to belt out the hymns, and if I never got to do that, I would feel like my participation had been circumscribed.As regular readers know, I usually attend a Novus Ordo Latin Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral here in Washington. My Latin is pretty good, and I can follow along. I do not need to consult the booklet to know what or when to speak the parts we in the pews say or sing. I have brought friends to that Mass over the years, and some people are, like me, transported by the ethereal beauty of the music. Other friends are left cold from the experience. There is no liturgical style that works for everyone, and surely it is a sign of healthy vigor that the church offers a multiplicity of styles of worship. Our unity is founded on Christ whom we worship, not on what songs we sing or the formality of our vestments.When Pope Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum, he had no intention of starting a movement, still less of ideology. My problem with those who favor the traditional worship of the church is not their taste, it is that they twist that taste into an ideological framework. Cardinal Sarah had no harsh words for the traditionalists, only for the post-conciliar reforms. He was throwing red meat to people who have become a kind of cult, who look down on those who do not share their fondness for the old rite. If the charge of "schism" is to be thrown around, it is misplaced when applied to the vast, vast majority of Catholics who follow the new rite.Worst of all, Cardinal Sarah and the traditionalists seem to be exercising a variety of secularism in that they believe God has stopped his activity in the world, that he makes himself accessible in the Tridentine rite and that rite only, and all the ills of the church flow from the fact that we have left that "golden age." Leave it we did, and not a moment too soon. The church was well served by Trent, liturgically, doctrinally, pastorally, but no council's perspective lasts forever. In thinking that Trent's rules and rites are the only legitimate ones, the traditionalists seek to bind God in the 1950s. It can't be done, and it is wrong to try. It is God alone who will have the last word, not the cardinal prefect.
Certainly, the Second Vatican Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 1). Certainly, some fine initiatives were taken along these lines. However we cannot close our eyes to the disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused by remodeling the Church's liturgy according to their ideas.
Hence it is necessary to recognize that the serious, profound crisis that has affected the liturgy and the Church itself since the Council is due to the fact that its CENTER is no longer God and the adoration of Him, but rather men and their alleged ability to "do" something to keep themselves busy during the Eucharistic celebrations. Even today, a significant number of Church leaders underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through: relativism in doctrinal, moral and disciplinary teaching, grave abuses, the desacralization and trivialization of the Sacred Liturgy, a merely social and horizontal view of the Church's mission. Many believe and declare loud and long that Vatican Council II brought about a true springtime in the Church. Nevertheless, a growing number of Church leaders see this "springtime" as a rejection, a renunciation of her centuries-old heritage, or even as a radical questioning of her past and Tradition. Political Europe is rebuked for abandoning or denying its Christian roots. But the first to have abandoned her Christian roots and past is indisputably the post-conciliar Catholic Church.
This should not lead anyone to forget that the vast majority of the pastors and the Christian people have accepted the liturgical reform in a spirit of obedience and indeed joyful fervour. For this we should give thanks to God for that movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church which the liturgical renewal represents; for the fact that the table of the word of God is now abundantly furnished for all; for the immense effort undertaken throughout the world to provide the Christian people with translations of the Bible, the Missal and other liturgical books; for the increased participation of the faithful by prayer and song, gesture and silence, in the Eucharist and the other sacraments; for the ministries exercised by lay people and the responsibilities that they have assumed in virtue of the common priesthood into which they have been initiated through Baptism and Confirmation; for the radiant vitality of so many Christian communities, a vitality drawn from the wellspring of the Liturgy.
Apr 4 17 12:12 PM
Over the weekend, Cardinal Robert Sarah, who runs the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, argued in a message sent to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI that those promoting a “modern liturgy” had caused disaster, devastation and schism by trying to reduce the Mass into a “simple convivial meal”. Here Fr Anthony Ruff, who is a Benedictine monk and liturgical expert, gives his opinion on the text (which can be read in full here):"This is an interesting, rather odd talk by Cardinal Sarah. It is at times praiseworthy, at times questionable, and at times unfortunate and downright mistaken.It is good to see the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship affirm with strong language the Liturgical Movement and the Second Vatican Council. His desire for “unity and peace” regarding liturgy, and his statement that “Catholics ought to experience unity in the truth, in faith, and in love” is inspirational.But Cardinal Sarah attaches excessive weight to Summorum Pontificum as if it is the fulfillment of Vatican II, when it is contrary to the intent and clear directives of the Vatican II liturgy constitution. His claim that Vatican II did not abandon the Missal of Pius V is simply mistaken.His interpretation of Vatican II in general is questionable, for it emphasises only continuity (which of course is there) and underemphasises how much rupture is involved in the liturgy constitution’s paradigm shift.It’s unfortunate that Cardinal Sarah is so unrelentingly negative about the liturgical reform. It seems that in his mind the reformers have brought only “disaster, devastation, schism, destruction, self-destruction, liturgy wars, and superficial, devastating subjectivism.”It would be good if he could study the reforms more deeply and understand, for example, what “mystery” means in Catholic theology, or how “sacrifice” and “meal” are not opposed to each other in some sort of zero-sum game.And this is odd: Cardinal Sarah strongly supports Liturgiam Authenticam and the botched new English Missal. That’s a risky move when his boss seems to be going in another direction."Fr Anthony Ruff is a Benedictine monk and liturgical expert based at St John's School of Theology, Collegeville, in Minnesota, US. He moderates the Pray Tell blog
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