Saturday, January 29, 2011

THE LITURGICAL REFORM OF THE NEW TRANSLATION OF THE ENGLISH MASS; FROM THE SILLY TO THE SUBLIME!

From the really stupid and silly:

and the really obnoxiously silly:

All the way to the sublime:

An excerpt from the November 2010 talk by Bishop James D. Conley, auxiliary bishop of Denver:

I don’t want to revisit the errors of the past or tell liturgical horror stories (and we all have them!) But in order to understand the context for this new edition of the Missal, it is important that we understand some of the errors that have crept into our liturgical thinking since the Council.

To illustrate the basic problem, I want to return to the mid-1960s. Many of you know the background of the Servant of God Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Dorothy was a true radical in the best sense of the word, a prophet of the Church’s social teaching. She was also a devout, traditional, and saintly Catholic.

One day, while Dorothy was away, a young enthusiastic priest came to celebrate Mass at the Catholic Worker house. And he used a coffee cup as a chalice. When Dorothy came home and heard about it, she was scandalized at the sacrilege — that a common household item had been used to consecrate the Precious Blood of Christ. The story goes that she found a trowel and dug a deep hole in the backyard behind the house. Then she kissed the coffee cup and buried it.

Later she wrote about the incident. She said this:

I am afraid I am a traditionalist, in that I do not like to see Mass offered with a large coffee cup as a chalice.… I feel with [Cardinal] Newman that my faith is founded on a creed … “I believe in God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And of all things visible and invisible, and in His only Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

I believe too that when the priest offers Mass at the altar, and says the solemn words, “This is my body, this is my blood,” that the bread and the wine truly become the body and blood of Christ, Son of God, one of the three divine person.

I believe in a personal God. I believe in Jesus Christ, true God and true man. And intimate, oh how most closely intimate we may desire to be, I believe we must render most reverent homage to Him who created us and stilled the sea and told the winds to be calm, and multiplied the loaves and fishes. He is transcendent and He is immanent. He is closer than the air we breathe and just as vital to us.2

In these beautiful words, Dorothy Day here puts her finger on the basic issue. We cannot separate liturgy from creed. Our law of prayer is our law of belief. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

We believe in a God who is transcendent. Yet through the pure gift of His grace, this God has humbled Himself to share in our humanity, so that we might share in His divinity. This is what is going on in the offering of the Mass. The mission of Christ’s incarnation continues in every celebration of the sacred liturgy. In the Mass, God stoops down to lift us up to His level. He makes it possible for us, though we are but creatures, to sing and worship with the angels, in praise of our Creator.

A lot of the liturgical renewal since the Council has got this dynamic exactly backwards. And that’s because a lot of the so-called renewal started from exactly the wrong place.

Pope Benedict XVI has described the problem this way. He has said that too many people interpreted Vatican II with a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”. Now “hermeneutic” is a big word that means “way of interpreting”. What the pope is saying is that some people interpreted Vatican II as a decisive break — a rupture and rejection of all that had gone before in the Church. I remember in the 1980s when I was in the seminary some of my professors would refer to the “pre-Vatican II” Church and the “post-Vatican II” Church as if these were two totally different Churches.

In reality, the right way to understand the Council is with a “hermeneutic of continuity”. In other words, we should interpret the Council’s reforms not as a break with the past, but as a natural, organic and integral development of the tradition that has been handed down to us from the apostles.3

I say all of this by way of background and context. Because I believe that in this new edition of the Missal, the Church is trying to reassert the continuity of the Novus Ordo with the ancient liturgy of the Church.

In particular, I see in the changes a real effort to restore the transcendent dimension of the liturgy and to reassert the proper balance between God’s transcendence and His immanence — so that the Mass always reveals and makes real our communion and intimacy with God.


My prediction: As you know I may well be clairvoyant, but maybe not. There might be a little bit of the Wiccan in me, but maybe not--NOT! (Is Wiccan where we get the English word "wicked?")

But I digress. I predict that in about five years after our new English translation of the Mass has settled down and it becomes a part of the clergy and laity, that we will see a new a Renaissance in the Church at large and a more awe inspired attitude in our Church and the clergy and laity's spirituality that will be enhanced, more reverent and will be based on a view of God as God, as Creator, as Judge, as Redeemer and we as God's creatures, sinners; in need of mercy; in need of redemption; liable to judgement and that the only way that we can be saved is by God stooping down to save us and re-making us in His complete image, that is "perfect" not we make God in our unredeemed, sinful image.

More and more I see the wisdom in Pope Benedict's liberal allowance of the "Pre-Vatican II" Mass, the Extraordinary Form. There should be reverence and awe as a very real form of sacred continuity between it and its centuries old heritage of awe-inspiring reverence and the reform of its celebration in what we call now the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

In other words, as a priest and as a congregation, we should be just as reverent about all our actions and participation in the Ordinary Form of the Mass as we are in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Both should inspire transcendence and immanence, awe and wonder! Whatever works against that in the newer form of the Mass should be eliminated. Getting the new English translation is one step already being accomplished. Kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the Tongue as Pope Benedict models for us at his Masses is a work to be promoted and mandated, just as the new English Mass is being mandated.

The new English translation of the Mass and restoring kneeling for Holy Communion will work wonders for the new liturgical renewal that is so desperately needed in our Church! Just my two cents.

8 comments:

Laura Lyn said...

I am sure your prediction will be found precisely accurate in its time. I am not particulary impressed with your clairvoyance, though. It is simply quite clear that re-directing the focus of the Mass to the Almighty and to the Mystery we will witness will open the way for the Renaissance and Awe you expect. I am so excited!

Vianney1100 said...

Father, I fully agree with your assesment of the situation and the projected results 5 years from now. However, what do you think will happen in those parishes were the priest does not share your enthusiasm for this "continuity"?
what percentage of priests with this mindset do you think will eventually accept these changes versus those who will remain entrenched in their "spirit" of VaticanII ways? I ask these questions in light of what I have seen on blogs, especially one that you have frequented and that I used to frequent, where the "clique" of commenters and the priest who runs it, at times rail against the pope and what he is trying to do.

Frajm said...

Vianney, I hope that bishops will stand up and exercise their authority with priests who are insubordinate. You know as well as I if any of these priests had people under them who acted in a like manner toward their expectations, those insubordinate individuals would not be long for their employment. I think we are talking about "clericalism" which also manifests itself in a different way within the academic community where there can be a very condescending attitude toward those who are not academics.

pinanv525 said...

If the people in those first two pictures realized how absolutely stupid they, look they would knock people down hurrying to an EF Mass.

Anonymous said...

Although happy with and grateful for the new English translation is it correct to state that these will only be a translation of the existing Latin in the Pauline Missal? Much has been written and spoken about in regards to that Missal being watered down and many prayers excised. Is some of the original Latin from the 1962 Missal being restored in the Latin Pauline form of Mass? Will some of the wordings and beautiful prayers be put back and then translated? Maybe this is going on behind the scenes and we just aren't aware of it due to the vernacular translation being our biggest focus. Will the Latin Pauline Missal be changing? It would be a step in bringing the two Missals closer together and it is already been stated that the Pauline Missal was a fabricated, on the spot project by the Consilium by our Holy Father. Wouldn't it be wise, looking throught the continuity lens to fix some of that since we are doing translations anyways? Otherwise we get new books, then the Paumine Latin Missal gets updated, or brought more in line with the former Missal and then we will need new translations and new books, AGAIN.....

Frajm said...

The parts of the Mass for both the EF and OF Mass in Latin never changed: Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. However, the English translation of these parts in the Pauline Mass were botched and will be restored to a more literal translation of the Latin similar to what one finds in an English pew missal for the Latin EF Mass.

The Roman Canon will be greatly revised in English to reflect the Latin version of it which did not change from the EF to the OF in Latin, although the OF has the insertion of the Mystery of Faith acclamation.
all the English prayers will be more literal to the Latin version of the OF Mass or Pauline Mass.

Anonymous said...

But we have yet to see the Council's reforms realized. We were told that although valid the Mass we received in 1970 is not what the Council directed. SO there is a bigger problem here..How many of us have ever even heard a Latin NO in the US?

Anonymous said...

But isn't it said that the OF Mass only retained 17 % of the EF prayers or something like that? Much of the rich prayers were lost in the new form or am I too understand that it is was only the English translation that got bothced? That is not what I read in many of the books I have read on the subject.