Getting Ready for the Next Round

While I was on retreat, my diocese devoted its Fall study day for clergy and pastoral ministers to the new Missal. I was happy not attending. One or two ministry colleagues have been quizzing me since. Why didn’t I go? What do I really think?

It’s probably time to begin anticipating the questions from the pews. While the presentations and preparation materials I’ve seen are quite good on the whole, they focus on the rational realm. They treat the translation principles of two documents.They make the case that better words make for more faithful (and therefore better) liturgy.

To the rational, add the opportunistic. They urge this will be a good time to go deeper into the liturgy, make it more meaningful. (If only we had that urge forty years ago.)

For most believers, myself included, faith is not all about reason or opportunity. It involves our emotions. And inevitably reason is set aside occasionally or regularly.

While reason may not be at the root of many protests against MR3, pastoral ministers will still have to listen to the objections and arrive at some response. Test yourself against this writer:

Isn’t it important to have children understand the prayers they recite during Mass?

Are the Bishops in Rome aware the Catholic schools in the United States are closing, not to mention the expense of sending children to Catholic schools which are still open? Is this where the Catholic Bishops should be focusing their attention?

I don’t believe that making these unnecessary changes in most of the prayers we say during Mass will have a positive result or help increase an already declining Mass attendance. I think it will only frustrate the committed Catholics who have never stopped attending Mass.

People may agree with the rational presentations of liturgists, bishops, and pastors. What do you say in places where previous leadership has stripped the ground and made it a rocky field? How do you convince people who believe these are the right changes, but the wrong time for them?

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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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2 Responses to Getting Ready for the Next Round

  1. Liam says:

    Part of the dialogue here has to do with addressing assumptions and beliefs that underlie these concerns, not simply trying to present arguments at them. Not all assumptions and beliefs are equally valid, after all, but they typically require work to get out on the table, as they are not necessarily conscious for most people.

    For example, do children necessarily understand the current wording of the prayers during Mass? How big a shift in the wording would it be in their actual understanding? Do children necessarily have a similar level or kind of interest or disinterest in learning as we adults? Is is harder for children to change something they’ve only know by memory for, say, five years than it is for adults who’ve known them by memory for, say, thirty years? How do our assumptions project onto others our own issues? How much of the concern here is really about the translation itself? How much of our beliefs/assumptions/concerns are certainly true, and how do we know that? Really?

    Et cet.

  2. Liam says:

    Notice, btw, that my questions don’t involve talking points or reliance on arguments presented by authority. They are all simply directed at our self-awareness and cognitive blindspots. Conversation around those things can typically be richer and more enlightening than replicating combox arguments, because the questions are comparatively open-ended.

    On the other hand, this kind of conversation involves a *lot* more work than Point-Counterpoint style debate.

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