Bishops Sink Section 2

I confess my own surprise to hear the mail balloting of the section two (of twelve) of the English translation of the Roman Missal has gone down to a crushing defeat. What was once a sure thing has hit a moderate speed bump. Will the other ten sections be ready for November 2010? First they have to get section 2 on track.

Section 1, the Order of Mass which includes the people’s parts, has already been approved by the English-speaking bishops’ conferences and is waiting for curial approval.

Bishop Seratelli is keeping up the pressure. He plans to present sections 3 and 4 to the bishops in November, 500 pages. That’s on top of the 700 of section 2 for which he’s hoping to get approval once the bishops add more suggestions for change.

Enough US bishops complained that ICEL was unresponsive to their input–this is the new Vatican-approved ICEL, remember. That input included some insistence that archaic English be muted in the final document. Apparently few of the bishops’ suggestions were taken to heart.

Hard to say if this is clerical pride asserting itself to “send a message” or if the liturgical concerns are primary. Either factor alone might not have been enough. But together, at least a third of the American hierarchy is displeased to the point to render a big embarassment to the reform2 crowd. I can’t imagine that’s going down smooth.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Bishops Sink Section 2

  1. With humility, I question this process–it seems very well designed to postpone a translation far longer than is appropriate.

    Some things can be done by committee of the whole, while some things need to be done by a smaller number, with skill and vision, and pushed through.

    I find the objections to expressions such as “gibbet” and “ineffable” to be insufficient reason to derail this project. Count me among those who believe somewhat elevated and specialized language is not only appropriate, but even necessary, for the liturgy, and I see no reason to try to make every word of every prayer immediately accessible to every adult in the pews. We are talking about prayers that people will hear over and over, in the context of liturgical action. I.e., the repetition and the accompanying actions will help to deal with initial lack of comprehension.

    What’s more, it’s a snare to think anyone can make the liturgy “comprehensible”–even when we pray the Sanctus in English, who can say you really understand what it means to call God “holy”?

    And, in any case, we need to move forward. No one is going to like everything about the new translation. This ought not to continue indefinitely.

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