Missal Mess, Spirit Speculation, and Other Liturgical Concerns

I see while I was away on retreat the hand-wringing on the new translation, whichever one we get, continued apace. This week, I notice this is going to be some sort of breaking news of scandal spun in such a way as to cause bi-partisan consternation.

On one level, it’s entertainment. Of a Luke 1:51b sort. Self-styled liturgists know what’s best for the masses, so they take matters into their own hands. Tinker a bit here. Adjust a little there. Congratulations are in order: except for the dudes in full-scale retreat to Latin, everyone’s unhappy now.

I particularly liked this exchange in the PT commentariat:

Margaret O’Connor: Where is the Holy Spirit in this? If ever we needed its presence it is now.

Sean Whelan: I think the Holy Spirit has been kept at bay since 1998.

Chris Grady: Apart from a very brief visit in late August 1978, She hasn’t been to the Vatican since 1965.

1965 indeed.

I know this speculation and exchange is partly tongue-in-cheek, but it runs pretty much parallel to the real action of the Holy Spirit. Look for unexpected activity in unexpected places. It may be true that the Holy Spirit was very much with the world’s bishops in 1962-65 when they gathered in Rome. Many Catholics assume their religious leaders have a special channel to God’s revelation, and that the Holy Spirit is specially present in the halls of the curia. My own sense is that the Spirit isn’t confined to human expectations. Vatican II was handed off the clergy and laity in 1965. All other things being equal, any curial bureaucrat was no more and no less attuned to the Spirit than any other individual Catholic. Perhaps we can say something more special happens when two or more are gathered.

Anyway, MR3 has gotten a lot more complicated in the past week or two. I thought the main connection that was needed is the bishops with their clergy. Parish priests have a lot of concerns and their busy lives of service. Given the lack of support in a huge number of dioceses, I still think convincing the priests will be the hardest part of this implementation. We music directors: at least we have sung settings of the new words. Most clergy are going to have to work on these new orations.

Now I think bishops will rightly question the process. They’ve spent a lot of time debating. They’ve spent a lot of capital with their brothers in the parishes. This is going to be harder than following their MC’s finger in the book. They may well have gone from having the easiest task in implementation to having the hardest.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Missal Mess, Spirit Speculation, and Other Liturgical Concerns

  1. Christian says:

    Speaking as a catechist, I am happy with the new translation.

    And remembering the change from Latin to English, I think this change will be much easier.

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