Alone among the English-speaking nations, South Africa has waded out into the wide blue ocean of Roman Missal III, authorizing use of the Order of Mass (the people’s parts plus the Eucharistic Prayers) as of this past Advent. All is not well on the southern end of that great continent. The Southern Cross is all over the issue with numerous articles:
My understanding is that the English-speaking bishops were waiting for the full Roman Missal to be approved–it’s already translated in full. I didn’t know that one intrepid bishops’ conference was leaping out there with what they have. We’ve already noted that the special Mass setting composed for last summer’s World Youth Day used the new translation. Apparently the pope and Cardinal Pell didn’t mind using a “provisional” text. Fr Turner remarks that what’s out there now is still not a final form, even what’s circulating on the USCCB web page, and is subject to further tinkering from Rome.
Liturgical issues aside, I think bishops should be alarmed at the poor reception from clergy and laity in South Africa. It will tear a bit at parochial unity in large parishes. It will divide neighboring parishes among the GLB’s and GLG’s and the vocal doubters.
It may be that this really isn’t the time for a Latin transliteration. I respect Paul Turner as a liturgist, a priest, and a pastoral man, and he’s pretty gung ho on the advantages of the new translation. I’m not sure to interpret this as the lukewarm enthusiasm of a company man, or a hopeful optimism about a potential firecracker in 20,000 US parishes.
If this rancor repeats itself here in the States–and I don’t think there’s any reason to think we’re more lamb-like than the Africans–I think much trouble is ahead.
The new ICEL may have blundered badly by not authorizing a limited trial of some of the presider parts of this translation first. Something this important needed to be tweaked by a much wider consultation.
I think the dark-cloud climate in the Church has been vastly underestimated. In my country, people are polarized over the past election, and they’re still ticked off that some bishops haven’t gone to jail for shipping sex predators into parishes. Add to the mix conservative folks who just don’t like change teaming up with the more liberal rabble-rousers, and I think we’ll find most parishes consigning the “exalted language” folks to the periphery.
I imagine many Catholic conservatives will be torn between loyalty to Rome and their own populist, anti-elitist sensibilities. In a few unfortunate parishes, the loyalists will be substantial in number and I can see the issue splitting the community right down the center. When pastors start seeing collection plate contents wither in the blast, I can imagine a lot of guys sticking with their duct-taped Sacramentaries.
President Lincoln reportedly was willing to sacrifice slaves or slaveowners or some combination thereof for the sake of national unity. At what point do a few (or many) principled American bishops take some curialists aside and explain, “Look, guys: we’re going to get our butts kicked.”
Here, I think we have a principled group imposing their ideal translation over a dozen or so English-speaking nations. It’s an exercise in uniformity. But the bishops can’t guarantee their clergy will toe the line. And there’s nothing stopping laity in the pews from shouting or mumbling the old responses or simply crossing their arms and saying nothing. For unity’s sake, I don’t see a good ending for this, do any of you?