I confess I have peeked at Whispers since Monday to get Rock’s stories on the USCCB huddles on liturgy. I also confess my pleasant surprise that the whole affair seemed to have been conducted with a good degree of adult-ness, a clear improvement over bedtime at my house. The end to the institutional tone of confrontation seems a positive development. I don’t really care if it was more Benedict or Bishop Roche or Trautman. It might be nice to think it was all three of them and more.
Now the task ahead will be to implement the new Roman Missal in a like-minded way in parishes. First step on that agenda will be to bridge possibly the widest gap in the institution today: that between bishops and priests. Bishops have a substantial sell-job ahead for those clerics who do not have a master of ceremonies pointing to the right spot on every liturgical page. I still see priests paging through the Sacramentary mid-liturgy looking for the right preface. The new Missal gives them all a fresh opportunity to give their presidency at liturgy a jump start. Will it happen? Maybe the priests in the blogging audience can give us a picture for them and/or for their diocese.
I think teaching of the people the new responses will be difficult, but not quite so difficult as making the bishop-parish priest connection. Some pastors will botch it. Some will lead by example and bring the folks along. Personally, I think the Church would make a better decision to implement the Roman Missal in one chunk, and not do it piecemeal. Let the people see the priests renew their approach to celebrating the Mass. But if changes are seen with a let’s-get-it-over-with attitude by clergy, it will be a disaster waiting to bite new pastors on the butt once they start moving around in the next six years.
Musicians will have it easy. Music publishers will sell new editions of Mass settings and their luxe condos and vacation homes will get a new kitchen or boat here and there. Parish musicians will buy up those new copies and learn them. The occasional director will have to occasionally remind the tenors or the sopranos about word changes, but by and large, the music segment will get the job done.
In a few years, I suspect we’ll have a new edition of Music in Catholic Worship. My source tells me it will be overhauled to align with the new GIRM and Roman Missal and reflect thirty-plus years of post-conciliar experience. Don’t be surprised if it goes to the body of US bishops for approval.
Anybody hear “and with your spirit” from the pews this past weekend? I’m sure it was uttered somewhere.