As of tonight the last four posts on PrayTell all deal with the English translation of Roman Missal 3. Anthony Ruff’s proposal for MR3.1, David Gibson’s musings about a Francis effect in English-speaking liturgy, the “constructive criticism” route, and the release of the CARA survey that has things buzzing anew.
Last week Archbishop Gregory pedaled back a bit from his 2011 “welcome.” A bishop who doesn’t speak German admits we have problems.
I have nothing constructive to say about any of these developments. We have English MR3 and it’s not going away anytime soon. There will be no results from criticism, constructive or otherwise. Pope Francis is not coming to the rescue. Nor should he.
I’m thinking this is going to get a Bishop Finn solution. The English-speaking bishops will have to live with the distrust sown among their clergy. Well-intentioned and thoughtful priests tried to dissuade their bishops. And unlike the Germans, the bishops had no response. So the clergy will suffer the most from this. And the damage to unity is undeniable. MR3 is by far more damaging, controversial, and a threat than MR2 ever could have been. Its supporters can crow about the young, with-it priests being the only ones who count in the surveys. But it’s as laughable an argument as it might have been two generations ago.
The people’s parts of the new Mass translation are decent enough. My proposal is to continue a holding pattern. Some points:
- If the clergy we know make up their own words, we let it go.
- Otherwise, we let the new translation simmer on the pages of the new books.
- We consider the chit-chat among English prelates and proposers just entertainment. Nothing will change with this generation. Too many faces under pointy hats to save.
- We still have good, if not great words to inspire us. The former are the words of modern hymns and songs used at Mass. The latter are the Scriptures. Everything else is human fabrication, especially the presidential prayers.
Maybe the blessing in disguise is that the poverty of the Church’s prayers will help point us to the Scriptures and the inspiration behind the words we sing.