Survey Shows Deep MR3 Divisions

And it shows a lot of silence.

Three our of five priests don’t like the English MR3. Four out of five think the language is awkward and distracting. The higher-ups are silent:

When a majority of priests are unhappy about something as important as the Missal, the situation calls for creative leadership and constructive responses. It is not clear, however, whether those in positions of authority are ready or willing to respond.

Those declining to comment:

  • Msgr. Rick Hilgartner, director of the office of the BCDW at the USCCB
  • Bishop Gregory Aymond, chair of the BCDW
  • Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, incoming chair of the BCDW

Not replying to a request for comment were:

  • Bishop Arthur Seratelli, former chair of the BCDW and current chair of ICEL
  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB
  • Cardinal Francis George, former USCCB president under whom the implementation date was set
  • Cardinal George Pell, chair of Vox Clara
  • Msgr. Jim Moroney, executive secretary of Vox Clara
  • Fr. Dennis McManus, advisor to Vox Clara

Those who did comment can be read here.

The goal, of course, is not a 51-49 majority. This is not a popularity contest. It is not a political campaign. Vatican II documents generated a broad consensus for unity, a near unaminity among two thousand bishops. The advent of the vernacular in Roman Catholic worship was hailed worldwide as a positive development.

My prediction is that those who dislike the results of this study will resist. They will criticize the methodology. They will say that the sample size is too small. They will make these and other assertions without much expertise in statistics. They will resist simply because they do not like unwelcome news. They will be annoyed by it.

My own sense is that blindness insists on its position. The English-speaking bishops are in a John 9:40-41 moment. We’re all waiting. And watching. And so are 81% of your clergy who use MR3 every day and think that on some level, this is a botched job.

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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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3 Responses to Survey Shows Deep MR3 Divisions

  1. FrMichael says:

    I don’t particularly like this stilted translation but don’t find your citation from John 9 apropos. We went from a D- translation to a D translation. If there were an easy solution, acceptable to all, to this morass in which we are stuck one would have thought it would have been aired by now.

    I went into the detailed survey data and pulled out this factoid:

    “About 60% of commen[ta]ters who allude to the Missal’s theological content are not in favor of it. Some feel that the Missal reflects “old theology,” expresses a false “holier than thou” image, is “disconnected from real life,” emphasizes “sin” and “hell” (as in the Creed), and contains some “heretical” theology. A handful feels that the language sounds more like “theological statements” rather than prayers.”

    These priests really don’t have a problem with the translation, they have a disagreement with the theology espoused by Latin Roman Missal 3 itself. This group of priests should be ignored as the theological lightweights as they are. Perhaps they need to find another Catholic liturgical tradition (e.g. Byzantine) to serve in if the Latin Church and its Roman Rite doesn’t match their personal theologies. I think they would quickly find the Roman Rite among the most sober of Catholic rites and the problem doesn’t lie with the underlying theology of the Missal but rather with themselves.

  2. Todd says:

    John 9: the culture of silence and a refusal to acknowledge problems when pointed out by lower clergy and especially lay people. It so fits the profile of JP2 and B16 bishops.

    Your D-minus translation followed the rules of the game. Agreement with the grade on MR3, but that shipwreck didn’t even follow what was laid down in LA.

  3. FrMichael says:

    “Deus” is never properly translated “Father,” no matter how loosey-goosey the dynamic equivalence standard. Neither translation followed its governing instrument well and for 43 years English speakers have lacked adequate translations.

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