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Tragedy in Yorkshire

The New Translations: A Bit of An Anticlimax

That's the way it struck me at Mass yesterday. It really wasn't that big a deal, because it really isn't that big a change. Following a few links around the web today on this subject, I found this dreary look into a mentality I haven't paid much attention to in recent years: progressive Catholics angry about change. Their sensitivity is a little puzzling to me. I regard these rather modest changes as an improvement, but hardly a total reconquest of the liturgical territory which has been in dispute for decades.  But to hear them tell it you'd think that not only were we going back to Latin but there would be quizzes before every Mass to determine who's worthy to participate. Some of the comments are hysterical (I don't mean hysterically funny, just hysterical.)

Craig Burrell has an open thread for reactions and opinions over at his blog.



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They brought in the new translation in NZ around six months ago. A liberal Catholic friend who lives there told me they were neither the disaster the liberals prophesied nor the triumph the conservatives predicted. He said that the rubrics suggest that congregations sing psalms instead of hymns, but the only tunes the pianist in his church knows are what he called 'country and western', so noone had the heart to encourage him to change his ways. The priest, he said, was very old and very short sighted, so the acolyte had to stand behind him prompting him through the Easter services. Given what my friend said, I was not expecting much. It was not just that I go to the ancient rite on Sundays. It was that, from what he told me, I realised that it is the people on the ground, the clergy and musicians and laity who create the aura of the mass, not the words per se, and with people who have identically the same mindset as last week, change will not be that significant.

One can contrast this inertia with the
speed with which the ancient Latin rite was replaced with the bad English translation. One could say that this is because there was enthusiasm then, and a lack of it now. The fact though, it is much more difficult and slow to improve things than to wreck things.

Wow, I can hardly believe those NCR comboxes. The idea that these new translations are somehow 'rolling back the clock' to before Vatican II is ridiculous.

"it is the people on the ground, the clergy and musicians and laity who create the aura of the mass"

That's it exactly. An observer not familiar with the Mass would not have noticed any difference in our parish from last week to this week. We had new music for the parts of the Mass proper, but I'm not sure why, as most of that didn't change, and anyway the new music was...sigh...Dan Schutte, and rather insipid.

"enthusiasm then, and a lack of it now" Yes, but on whose part? Was it mostly on the part of the clergy? A lot of the laity were all for it, but a lot were not, and I really don't know what the proportions were. If most of the bishops and priests were pushing it pretty hard, that would explain it. The lay resisters certainly felt bulldozed.

"it is much more difficult and slow to improve things than to wreck things"

Indeed. A nice one-line summary of the conservative attitude.

I cross-posted with you, Craig. What that says to me is that they regard even the VII changes as only a first step. So any movement at all in the other direction is catastrophic.

Of course, to regard these changes as being somehow contrary to Vatican II, rather than bringing us into closer alignment with it, is itself a serious misapprehension.

But then perhaps they were always more attached to the 'spirit' of VII than to the letter.

Yes, that's very clear. For 40 years and more now they've blithely ignored the clear overall thrust of the documents in favor of a few sentences removed from their context.

It is quite clear from the actual text on the liturgy from VII that Latin was never meant to be ousted and that Gregorian chant was meant to be incorporated as the music most suited to Mass. How we got from there to clown Masses is a mystery to me...

And indeed how we got from there even just to Marty Haugen is a mystery to me. (Although there are a couple of his psalms that I rather like).

The term "hijacked" is pretty applicable, I think.

This, besides being funny, describes a Mass which sounds very much like what went on at my parish, apart from the announcement at the end.

Anti-climactic for me.

"Under my roof" sounds horribly forced and clunky, but hey, that's a quibble.

There was the closing prayer that I loved - something like "As we walk thru these passing things and enjoy their beauty, may they help us long for things that will endure" but much more poetic than my memory serves. I was disappointed that we won't hear that every week.

I keep quoting the ordinarily irascible Mark Shea to anyone who complains to me about the changes, "Just give me my lines and my blocking," I am here for the grace and I don't let homilies, music, and translations get in the way.

Ditto. Those things used to bother me a good deal, but rarely do now. Occasional mild annoyance, but not like it used to be.

Maclin, I've only just now read that link. O My Lord! The title alone made me laugh out loud!

But yes, the new translation has very happily and without any undue stress been in use for the last few months in our parish. All good. No weeping. No grinding of Teeth. (No horsemen).

And our PP has mastered the new chants, which I think would be very difficult. Not difficult in themselves, but b/c of their close similarities to the chants in Latin and the original English translation.

Yes! I filled up the recent comments section! I'll stop now.

Sorry to mess up your art work. :-)

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