Bishops on Mass changes

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  • Stephen P. Newton, CSC

    I found Bishop Risi’s comments interesting and helpful, but want to make 2 points: 1) It seems a bit disingenuous for a cleric to define what is and is not “clericalism” and, 2) it is even more inappropriate for the non-English speaking Vatican to define for native English speakers what is and is not proper use of that language.

  • John Michael Victor

    I thank Fr Newton for his pertinent comments. I am less convinced than him that Bishop Risi’s comments are ‘helpful’.

    I would add that (1) the SA bishops have implemented these changes far ahead of the church. A document from the relevant congregation for liturgy explicitly says they are not to be implemented until all elements are complete and necessary catechesis have been done. Further, (2) the process of creating these new ‘texts’ was the result of a deliberate attempt by the Vatican to destroy the attempts by ICEL to produce more accurate but [horror of horrors!] gender-inclusive texts. The 1998 translation of ICEL was not only rejected – it has ‘vanished’. The new ICEL committee were chosen not for their expertise as for their ‘orthodoxy’ – read: ideological conservatism, anti-gender inclusive language, and in some cases sympathy for the Tridentine rite. Note too that Vox Clara, the organisers of ‘oversight’, are themselves a mixture of non-English speakers, religious archreactionaries (our old friend Cardinal Pell – known by some in Oz as ‘Pell Pot”) and devotees of Latin. Hardly a group that inspires my confidence!

  • Martin Keenan

    “The non-English speaking Vatican”? What might that be? What was wrong with Cardinal Arinze’s English when he was Prefect of CDWDS?

    And who, of the 12 members of Vox Clara, is not an English-speaker? The Indian Archbishop of Agra speaks fluent English, I am sure; as do the Archbishop of Castries in St. Lucia and Bishop Tirona in the Philippines. Archbishop Sarpong of Kumasi in Ghana writes perfect English – does that count?

    The argument against the new translation never gets off the ground, continually mired in irrelevant sidetracking. The new version of the Nicene Creed required some commitment on the part of the reader, but apart from that, what precisely is supposed to be the problem?

    After three months, surely to goodness the debate might have moved ahead an inch further than the vague complaints continually aired in The Southern Cross Letters pages and in these blogs.

  • Tim

    Martin
    The problem is the degraded English that is used in the new translation. It is forced and wierd because the structure of the English and Latin languages are different. I am amazed that the Vatican could expect an English text of the Mass translated in this “formal equivalence” fashion could be given the dignity and status it deserves if it looks and sounds so un-English to English speakers. Have at look at the rest of the new Mass translation and I’m sure you’ll see what the problem is. The Mass should have the best English possible, not a pidgin variant.

  • Martin Keenan

    I am anxious to respond, Tim, because it’s refreshing to hear a critic who isn’t expressing himself in abusive and hostile terms, but you don’t give me enough to go on; so all I can say is that I disagree with you as to the effect of the English. It doesn’t strike me as “degraded”, “pidgin” or “weird”, and I consider I am as highly tuned to differences in spoken and written English as anyone. Having read all the new Eucharistic Prayers, I have to say that I find them an immense improvement over the previous version. So here we have one for and one against, which doesn’t take us very far.

    To widen the picture, my parish is mixed in every possible way – culturally, socially, economically, linguistically, and in levels of education. Neither I nor my parish priest can say we have noticed any discontent with the new version, which has been adopted with a minimum of difficulty. The new prayers are spoken with the same unanimity as the old were, and with the same strong conviction. But that isn’t a comfort to you either, if the new version is still giving you trouble after three months of experience with it.

    Maybe it’s just a vague feeling with you, but possibly you have some specific words or phrases in mind. Let’s take the Gloria, for example. You must have noticed that the new version is longer than the previous one. That’s because the old translation simply deleted entire phrases in the original for no obvious reason. But is the new version now weird? Is it in “pidgin English”? Is the Confiteor now weird or degraded?

    What, if I may ask, is the problem with ANY of the prayers in the new version before the Creed? What, indeed, is the problem (as far as weirdness is concerned) with any of the prayers AFTER the Creed?

    You tell me to look at all the prayers and I will see what the problem is; but I don’t see the problem. Some phrasing takes a bit of getting used to, and I’m not saying that the new version is perfect (I have plenty of suggestions for improvement!). But all in all I find it more than just acceptable. I think it is very worthy of our respect.

    So these are honest questions of mine. Leaving aside, for the moment, the Nicene Creed, which are the prayers (if there are any specific ones) that are giving you a problem? Perhaps we can work through them. I hope to hear from you.

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