Not Much … Diplomacy

Bishop Arthur Seratelli, BCDW chair, on the new Ordo Missae:

Not much of the people’s part is changed, and I think once or twice after they use it, they will hardly notice the change.


Mollie at dotCommonweal didn’t think much of the quote.

I can’t tell if Bishop Seratelli is truly blind to the resistance he’s going to get from the clergy and the pews. Or if he’s indulging in very wishful thinking. Or if he’s brown-nosing the curia to get out of Jersey.

This is a big change because it’s English to English. Latin to English: people could understand. Now they have bishops fronting a Roman change and trying to sell it to a clergy, many of whom already feel like the prelates have hung them out to dry. Both groups in turn need to sell it to the laity, many of whom will see this as a big ship deck chair exercise.

When musicians use too much new music, the books close and the arms fold. Why would Catholics want to pick up a missalette and follow along?

Does anyone else find it interesting that new words for the laity passed and new words for the clergy (section 2) were voted down? Do a few bishops know which side the falling bread is buttered on?

Is Bishop Seratelli the right man to lead American implementation?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Not Much … Diplomacy

  1. FrMichael says:

    Not sure if it will be only a matter of “once or twice” before the people get familiar with the new translations, but I’m not particularly dreading the change of wording. It’s an excellent opportunity to catechize the people and hopefully have them pay closer attention to the Ordinary and Propers of the Mass. That’s worth a few months of people closely looking at their missalettes during the Mass.

  2. Liam says:

    The bishop’s glibness (and he is being glib in an unhelpful way) is an inverted mirror of the overwrought melodrama of the the resistance meme, which is already old and tired. The melodrama is no less unrealistic as the glibness, and I am not falling for the cheap parlor trick of running from one to the other.

    First, this scenario in general – the people having to learn changes – was purchased in the late 1960s when the preliminary translations were implemented with the realization that translations would later be reviewed and reconsidered.

    Second, I think “resistance” should be reserved for intentional behavior, not the stumbles of learning that many of us remember from the first two rounds of liturgical changes during and after Vatican II.

    Third, given that I remember the era of such changes was precisely the same time I was learning Mass responses and prayers (I still know two or more versions of standard prayers in English from that time), I recall the people being quite capable of absorbing what was thrown at them without nearly as much preparation as is envisioned here. (And heaven knows what people have had to quickly absorb in “creative” communities.”) I think using the passivity or resistance of the people as a kind of Parisian barricade to cultivate resentment of change here reflects badly on them who would so use it.

    The real people who will have some reason for grumbling here will be the elderly and others similarly situated who are not able to hold and read texts in front of them any more. This was also true with the implementation of the conciliar reforms, so it’s hard to decry it as unjust per se. It’s a pastoral issue that needs to be anticipated, prepared and validated.

    Props, patience and pronunciation are key. That is: worship aids that are very user friendly. Patience with ourselves and others. And the employment of a proclamatory rather than conversational pronunciation and cadence will be absolutely critical. I remember in the early years how the speech slowed down, and then as people absorbed things how the speech speeded right back up – that speeding up was a bad thing (any time I go to Mass in downstate NY, I am stunned at the persistence of some congregants to try to race the celebrant in the offering of the ordinary parts).

    Jeremiads and philipics are, however, definitely part of the problem rather than the solution and merit scorn.

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