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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missal translations and a letter from Vatican II

Earlier I mentioned a Tablet article by Fr. Philip Endean SJ - Worship and power - about the new missal translations. Recently the subject of a hijacked translation has been in the news at America magazine ('Leaked' Vatican Document on New Mass Translations) which has links to coverage at PrayTell and NCR.

It's all confusing to me, but here's a bit of background from Anthony Ruff, OSB from a post at his blog PrayTell .....

[...] Nearly two decades had been spent on a revised translation, which was completed in the 1990s and approved by wide margins by all the English-speaking national bishops’ conferences. Rome rejected this translation in its entirety and in 2001 issued completely new translation guidelines.

The bishops’ conferences, working through their translation agency ICEL, developed several drafts these past eight or nine years following the new rules, with widespread (but secret) consultation at each step. ICEL now sends drafts to Rome as well at every stage, and the changes called for by the Congregation for Divine Worship and its advisory committee, Vox Clara, have been incorporated. The deadline for the national conferences to submit their final version to the Holy See for approval was last December (2009)

This summer the story began to leak that Vox Clara, or at least a few members of Vox Clara, had radically revised the final text without consulting the national conferences. In fact, it seems that their revising began already last September, meaning that the revisers worked from a draft earlier than the final one and largely ignored the last round of consultation from the national conferences. You probably have seen the number 10,000 – or at least 10,000 – batted around on the blogs in regard to the extent of the revisions. The Holy See gave final approval to this radically revised version on March 25. Then the final text continued to be revised behind the scenes until a final version was received in the US a few weeks ago. Cardinal George announced on August 20 that this would be the Missal text and it would begin being used in the U.S. on the First Sunday of Advent 2011 (November 26/27) ........


At the conclusion of Philip Endean's article in The Tablet, he wrote ...

This new translation, both in its content and in the manner of its imposition, represents a retreat from the salutary, evangelical reform of church style and mood that Vatican II represented. Those of us who experienced pre-conciliar Catholicism as abusive received Vatican II as a powerful reassurance that the Church was mending its ways. That gave us hope and liberation. It will be a scandal, in both the common and the theological senses of the word, if - at a level that really hurts - the new translation takes that reassurance back.

That mention of Vatican II reminded me of an NCR story on a translation analysis by Xavier Rindfleisch at PrayTell . The name Xavier Rindfleisch ... was a nom de plume playing on Xavier Rynne, the famed 1960s pseudonymous author (the late Redemptorist Fr. Francis Xavier Murphy) of articles in The New Yorker that revealed the inner workings of the Second Vatican Council.

I looked up Fr. Murphy and found one of his letters to The New Yorker online. In tone it reminds me a lot of John O'Malley's book What Happened at Vatican II, from which I've posted a number of excepts here in the past. The letter's really interesting but very long - seven pages - so below I've pasted just part of it .....

*****

Letter from Vatican City
by Xavier Rynne
December 25, 1965

"The event,” as theologian Karl Barth has called Vatican Council II, reached its formal close here yesterday, though it may be said that its real work is just beginning ....

At the beginning, Pope John declared the Council’s two- fold purpose to be aggiornamento, or the updating, of the Roman Catholic Church, and the promotion of Christian unity. The former purpose has been carried out to a considerable, though not complete, extent by the sixteen decrees, whose implementation represents the work that has only started. To symbolize the second purpose, Pope Paul in the closing days of the Council, despite pro-tests from some Council Fathers, decided to hold a historic religious ceremony. On Saturday, December 4th, at the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, the Pope joined in an interfaith prayer service with a group of Orthodox, Protestant, and other non-Catholic churchmen who have been attending the Council as observer delegates. Many Council Fathers attended (it was not open to the public), but it was the first time that any Pope had ever participated in an interdenominational religious service .....

The first turning point of the final session was the Pope’s intervention to resolve the Council’s impasse over the much debated declaration on religious liberty. His action gave new courage to the majority and was in sharp contrast with his refusal to act on this important document the year before. The new crisis developed over whether there would be a preliminary vote accepting a revised version of the declaration as a basis for the final text. Without such a vote, it would have been possible for the minority—who made a strong attack during the four days of debate on this subject—to emasculate the text, and possibly even kill it as far as the present Council was concerned. A number of conservative bishops, including some cardinals, petitioned the Pope not to allow a vote and to turn the document over to a new subcommission—most particularly, not to Cardinal Bea’s Secretariat for Christian Unity, which had drafted the original text—so that it could be rewritten along the lines they desired. Very much was at stake. In a sense, the success or failure of the Council depended on this document, for many people, including almost every one of the Protestant observers and the American bishops, regarded a strong statement on behalf of religious liberty as one of the touchstones by which the Council would be judged. An air of gloomy foreboding and suspense prevailed on the night of Monday, September 20th, when it became known that the top echelons of the Council had met that afternoon and had decided by a narrow majority not to present the text on religious liberty for a vote. (Some said that the measure had lost by a vote of sixteen to nine.) Cardinal Spellman, one of those present, emerged from the meeting in obvious anger, and Cardinal Shehan, of Baltimore, reportedly went to see the Pope to protest.

The next morning, at the Council session, the bishops were naturally astonished when Archbishop Felici announced that a secret ballot would be taken immediately on whether to accept the declaration on religious liberty as the basis for a final text. The results were 1,997 in favor and 224 opposed, amounting to a landslide for the progressives. The Council had sailed over its first major hurdle. What had happened overnight was that the Pope had taken counsel with a number of advisers, who pointed out that he could not possibly go before the United Nations on October 4th to plead for peace and a respect for human dignity if no clear-cut stand had been taken on religious liberty. He seems also to have been impressed by the words of the exiled Cardinal Josef Beran, of Prague, who said on the Council floor, “From the very moment when freedom of conscience was radically restricted in my country, I witnessed not only the grave dangers to the faith but also the serious temptations toward hypocrisy and other moral vices that oppression of conscience brings in its wake.” (Cardinal Beran went on to make the memorable statement that his country was perhaps now making painful expiation for such sins against freedom of conscience as the burning of John Hus in the fifteenth century and the enforced re-Catholicization of the Bohemian people in the seventeenth century under the Hapsburgs.) The Pope is also understood to have had a hand in drafting the carefully worded proposition by which the matter was put to a vote. His continuing support of “the American schema,” as the declaration on religious liberty was called at the Council, brought about its eventual acceptance on December 7th, the final business day, by a vote of 2,308 for and 70 against ......

The Pope’s remarks to the Council on November 18th about the reform of the Curia and, more recently, his Motu Proprio reforming the Holy Office make it obvious that what he plans for this body is not a revolution but a gradual conversion. As he himself said, “The desired transformation will seem slow and partial, but it cannot be otherwise if due respect is to be had for persons and traditions. But this transformation will surely come.” As if to put teeth into these last words, on December 6th, two days before the Council ended, he published the long-awaited new statute for the Holy Office. Not only has that formidable office been given a new name—the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—but it is henceforth to he oriented not so much toward the repression and condemnation of error as toward the fostering and positive study of “new questions and opinions.” It has been enjoined specifically to adopt a more positive attitude toward international theological congresses, and to establish closer ties with the Pontifical Biblical Commission—in other words, to abandon its obstructive attitude toward modern theology and theologians. The new office is also to make wider use of consultants throughout the world (no longer relying exclusively on theologians resident in Rome) and is to accord those who have been accused of error in matters of faith the opportunity of defending themselves. Two of the men who have suffered greatly at the hands of the Holy Office in recent years—Fathers John Courtney Murray, of the United States, and Henri de Lubac, of France, both of them Council periti and Jesuits—were pointedly invited by Pope Paul to concelebrate with him at a public session of the Council on November 18th, and the latter also dined with the Pope on the eve of the publication of the Holy Office decree .....

Few Council documents have aroused as much controversy or been followed with such close interest as the famous declaration on the Jews, now incorporated in a broader declaration on relations with non-Christians, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Moslems. Although the broader declaration is destined to become the Magna Carta of the newly formed Secretariat for Relations with Non-Christian Religions, under Cardinal Marella, it is the original declaration that public attention has been almost exclusively fixed on. Its history has been stormy. It originated as an idea of Pope John XXIII, who created the Secretariat for Christian Unity, presided over by Cardinal Bea. A suitable text was written early in 1961 and was presented that May to the Central Commission, which was empowered to decide what texts were to be discussed at the opening session of the Council. Bowing to pressure not only from Arab states but from reactionary forces in the Church, the Commission refused to accept the draft. So nothing was done about it during the first session. In December, 1962, after Pope John had recovered from his illness, he had Cardinal Bea revise the document, and gave the revision his approval. To avoid objections from a new reviewing body, it was decided to annex the document to the schema “On Ecumenism.” When this came up for discussion at the second session, under Pope Paul, it was suddenly announced, just as Cardinal Bea was preparing to introduce the text, that the discussion would have to be postponed until the next session because of “lack of time.” Pressure had again been exerted from the usual quarters. When the text actually reached the floor of the Council, at the third session, it was so altered that Archbishop Heenan, of Westminster, one of the members of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, declared it to be virtually unrecognizable. The approval of this bastardized text—to the extent that he did approve it—was probably Pope Paul’s greatest tactical mistake. After two days of debate, it became clear that the previous text would have to be restored. The final version represents a compromise with the restored version, which was approved for submission to the Council on November 20, 1964. The passage rejecting the charge of “deicide” was strengthened, though the word itself was omitted. While the restored version both “deplored and condemned” hatred and persecution of Jews, the final version merely “deplores” them, but it does inveigh against “displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews,” this time mentioning the word “anti-Semitism” explicitly. While the old version warned Christians not to teach anything that could give rise to hatred and persecution of Jews, the final text urges them not to teach “anything inconsistent with the truth of the Gospel and with the spirit of Christ.”

It was a foregone conclusion that the document would win a majority when it was put to a vote on October 14th and 15th, the only question being whether three groups—those disappointed by the omission of the word “deicide”; Bishop Carli’s followers, who opposed the declaration on theological grounds; and those who felt that there were still political objections—would be able to register enough non-placet votes to impair the unanimity with which Council texts are supposed to be approved. As usual, the Fathers were deluged with literature beforehand. Bishop Carli’s group urged non-placet votes on the grounds that the declaration favored indifferentism by tending to regard all religions as being on the same level, that it would retard the “conversion of the Gentiles,” and that it would put an end to missionary work. One of the most violent pamphlets was a four-page affair signed by thirty-one so-called Catholic organizations, most of which promptly disavowed any connection with it; it turned out to be a hoax, concocted by a Latin-American crank. So much tension had been generated, however, that the authorities naturally took seriously an anonymous letter received by Cardinal Marella from a person threatening—half in French and half in German—to blow up St. Peter’s and the whole Council if the Jewish document was voted. Extra police were detailed to guard the building. Except for a resounding crash when some workmen’s scaffolding collapsed, the voting proceeded smoothly, and the result—1,763 placet and 250 non-placet—insured that the document would be promulgated. Many bishops who disliked the omission of the word “deicide” nevertheless voted for the text, because they feared that too large a negative vote would cause the pope to withdraw the document. They considered that the present document was better than no document at all. As one of the periti involved in the drafting of the various versions put the matter, “If it had not been for the publicity surrounding the previous versions, the present text would probably be regarded as excellent.”

Apart from religious liberty, the subject that caused the biggest stir during the final session of the Council was Schema 13, “On the Church in the World Today.” ..... The debate on Part I of the document soon narrowed down to an intense discussion of just one short paragraph, on the problem of atheism, which had been inserted to satisfy the demands of numerous bishops who wanted a clear statement condemning both atheism and Communism. The new text was carefully drafted in such a way as to avoid excessive condemnation while putting emphasis on what was lacking in atheism. No mention was made of Communism at all. The position of moderation taken by the subcommission that drafted the text was naturally supported by those who felt, like Patriarch Maximos IV and Cardinal Koenig, of Vienna, that “Christians have had a large responsibility for the rise and spread of atheism.” The Patriarch said, “Condemning Marxism cannot save humanity from atheism. Rather, we must denounce the causes of atheistic Communism. . . . Many who call themselves atheists are not necessarily against the Church. In their own minds, they are only seeking for a clear idea of God. . . . They are scandalized by a Christianity that often proves itself to be so egotistical. We, too, should be opposed to the exploitation of man by man.” ......

It was over birth control that the Council nearly came to grief during its closing weeks. On November 24th, two weeks before its scheduled close, it received a letter from Cardinal Cicognani, Secretary of State, containing a last- minute amendment for Schema 13: Pope Paul, it appeared, wanted a clearer reference to the present doctrine of the Church banning artificial contraception. Since the Pope had previously withdrawn the birth-control question from the jurisdiction of the Council, reserving it to himself, and had appointed a special commission of experts to advise him in making a final pronouncement on the matter, many Council Fathers felt they were now being asked to approve legislation without adequate discussion. Tempers began to soar, and for a while it looked as if the dark days that marked the close of the third session were about to be repeated. Fortunately, as a result of protests by leading commission members, such as Cardinal Léger, of Montreal, and a discreet but firm move on the part of the lay auditors, two days later another letter came from Cardinal Cicognani stating that the Pope was only offering suggestions and not ordering an amendment. The commission adroitly turned the issue by adding Pope Paul’s more liberal statement of June, 1964, to the two other papal statements, and the Pope expressed himself satisfied with their work. As expected, the Council has ended with no resolution of the birth-control problem.

The Pope’s reference at the U.N. to birth control, urging the world to increase the food supply and decrease poverty rather than the population, revealed his awareness that the world expects him to make a pronouncement on the subject. He stated frankly in the Cavallari interview that he did not know the answer to the problem. “The world asks us what we think about [birth control] and we must give an answer,” he said. “We cannot remain silent. It is difficult to know what to say. For centuries the Church has not had to face such problems. And this matter is a little strange for churchmen to be handling, and even embarrassing from the human point of view. So the committees are meeting. Papers and reports have been piling up. We have had to do a great deal of studying, you know. But now we have to make decision. Only we can do that. Deciding is not as easy as studying. But have to say something. What can we say? God must enlighten us.”

Paul’s quandary over this problem is similar to the undogmatic and searching approach of the majority of the Council Fathers to the many new and difficult problems that confronted them. This, as we know from history, is quite unlike the juridical and dogmatic attitudes of earlier Councils. Some answers have been provided by Vatican 11, but more questions have been raised. As Dr. A. C. Outler, the Methodist observer delegate, remarked before a gathering of the American hierarchy Rome shortly before the Council’s end, “Far less has been accomplished than has been made possible. More frontiers have been opened than occupied.” In retrospect, Vatican II’s crowning achievement will probably be to have opened doors. ♦

***************


44 Comments:

Anonymous Henry said...

Have you by chance read the Pope's recent message to the Italian Bishop's about this? If not, it's on my blog and at Chiesa (http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1345540?eng=y). It is titled: "Every true reformer is obedient to the Faith" on my blog and "the Pope rattles the Bishops" at Chiesa.

Pax,

Henry

8:33 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Henry,

I read the article and your post, but I'm not sure how what the pope said addresses the English missal translation problem. If I understand correctly, the bishops of a region have the last say about their translations based on Vatican II, but the Vatican has made changes to their translation without asking or telling them. As Bryan Cones writes in a post at US Catholic ...

not even the pope can overrule the explicit instruciton of the Second Vatican Council, beginning in paragraph 36 of Sacrosanctum concilium, that it is the conferences of bishops that are to determine vernacular translations, to be "approved, that is, confirmed' by the Holy See--not edited, altered, or otherwise tinkered with. No Vatican instruction on liturgical translation can trump a conciliar document that had less than 10 dissenting votes. And if my word isn't good enough, read a Canadian bishop and canonist's take on the same.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Victor said...

Hello crystal and Henry,

Let the bells ring, the banors fly, feast your eyes on me, "IT's" too good to be true, but "I'am" here, I'm here!

Is that you again sinner vic?

Victor! Did I not hear someone say that "God must enlighten us?”

Maybe so but you're no God sinner vic cause I've heard you say that when I reach the age of 66, you're going to destroy this world!

So! What's wrong with that Victor? Tell me that Jesus allowed HIMSELF to be crucified just to keep this so called peace. Look give me just a few minutes and I'll try to explain "IT" All to you.

You can have all the time you want but "IT" is not my blog and if crystal allows more of you wispering sweet things in her ears, I just want to make "IT" clear that The Chapel that my wife created for my soul and spirit is not really a Henry Potter Room cause I'll have you know that the satelite man was just kidding when he made that comment. As long as we don't see you throbbing at the mouth while showing your teeth and/or going green on U>S, I can put UP with "IT" and if crystal wants to erase her post like she's done in the past, when you over do "IT", that's perfectly alright with me also. Go ahead sinner vic, start from where ever you want to, we're listening, well "I'am" anyway. :)

Victor, I think that you better go back to drinking and smoking cause I don't think people are going to like what I'm about to say. Well here "IT" goes.

"IT" was a bright sunny day in my galaxy when I heard a voice calling, Victor, Victor, Jesus, Lord and Redeemer, I've got another JOB for you and I'll throw in a few extra galaxies just for thinking about "IT". so here I am! :)

What only a smile Victor? Anyway, as I was about to say, picking the right time was not easy, too early in time and I would have been wasting my time and too late well, like Jesus said in so many words to the woman (s) who wiped His Face, during His Crucifixion, Pray for future children and I'll leave "IT" that! Victor, I would like to thank your Mother and your older brother for making WAY for me cause they took good care of me. Except for the axe handle which slipped out of her hand during a cold winter while she was chopping wood to keep the house warm, everything went pretty well and you can't deny that cause she showed you her rupture.

I'm sorry sinner vic but with tears in my eyes, I must stop you cause you're way off topic and at the rate you're going the "End" will be here before you even get started and/or finish.

Let me, myself and I apologize for him crystal, he's really harmless but he does get carried away now and then.

I hear ya! At least, "IT" wasn't by the Guy's in White this time.

Is that good or bad? Go Figure! :))))

God Bless Peace

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Why wouldn't your word be good enough for me? I have found you to be trustworthy Crystal. Yes, you might on occasion misunderstand something - as will I - and/or your sources might, but I have always found you to be a great lover of the truth.

Of course, precisely because any of us can be mistaken, etc., it is prudent to check when prudence dictates that we should.

Now, I am not sure Bryan is accurate especially since many clarifications have been issued since the 60s. Moreover, if he is accurate then why do the Bishops' conferences have to submit their suggestions to the Holy See for approval? Something doesn't add up.

Let me check your sources and a few of my own sources and share with you what I've learned.

Have a good night my friend.

5:24 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

They do sybmit them for confirmation but they still have the last word, I believe. A helpful post on this is here at PrayTell = The role of the conference of bishops in the translation of liturgical texts

6:01 PM  
Anonymous rashid1891 said...

it is very useful site

7:18 PM  
Blogger Mike L said...

I will also be very interested in what you find out, Henry. But in the end if the Pope and the Vatican decide that Vatican II does not apply to this case, or is an invalid council, who is going to do anything about it? The Pope now seems to have the power to change Cannon Law as he wills, so I don't see anything changing, well, except the translations and they will conform to what a German thinking Pope wants.

No theology, just practicality.

Hugs,

Mike L

7:19 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Victor :)

7:20 PM  
Anonymous rashid1891 said...

it is very useful site

7:28 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I remember this from a past post at Andrew Sullivan's blog ...

There is an authority in the Catholic church that possesses power at least equal to that of the pope: the Ecumenical Council. The decrees of an Ecumenical Council have a force like that of Papal dicta, and they constitute the canon law by which the Pope governs. The Councils write the laws. So the Pope is supreme within the law, but the Council is supreme over the law. As a result, a Council can remove a pope. In fact, it’s happened several times ....

It is still an open question as to whether Councils are supreme over the pope, and whether a Council can be convoked without papal authority. Right now, the consensus is perhaps in favor of the pope. But these are questions of doctrine and canon law, and questions of doctrine and canon law are ultimately decided by Council. There’s nothing preventing someone, if they can get sufficient support, to convene a Council that declares itself legitimate and then deposes the pope.


How then can the pope just ignore decisions made at Vatican II?

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Will do Mike and Crystal. It will take me a while because I want to be thorough but one article I already started reading is “Liturgical Landmark: The New English Missal - Will dissent disrupt reception of the new translation? by Helen Hull Hitchcock (http://www.adoremus.org/0710NewEnglishMissal.html)

This excerpt seems to address some of the issues that are being raised:

In view of the recent public dissent from the new Missal texts, it may be useful to review some events that led to the reform in translation, which may shed light on some of the key issues in question — namely, 1) the authority of the Holy See over the liturgy and the role of bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations; 2) the Holy See’s ultimate rejection of an earlier ICEL translation of the Missal approved by the conferences in 1998; 3) the re-organization of ICEL, the establishment of Vox Clara, and the instruction on translation, Liturgiam authenticam.

In the first place, oversight of the liturgy by the Holy See is not, as some charge, “interference”.

Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the first document of the Council, issued December 4, 1963, stated:

22. 1. Regulation of the Sacred Liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

The very next month, Pope Paul VI began the actual implementation of the Constitution with Sacram Liturgiam, issued January 25, 1964. It expanded on the above, adding that “various [vernacular] versions [of liturgical texts] proposed by the competent territorial bishops’ conference must always be reviewed and approved by the Holy See”.

Secondly, Liturgiam authenticam could not have been a surprise to anyone who had been following liturgical developments over the previous decade or so.

As early as 1988, Pope John Paul II observed the 25th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium with the apostolic letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, in which he recalled the principles that guided the liturgical reform after the Council, outlined some of its successes and also noted difficulties, including “erroneous applications”.

Read the entire article because I have only extracted a little bit.

Pax,

Henry

P.S. This is not an issue that I get worked up over and I have been studying the new missal from a catechetical point of view because I have to teach a class on it in a few months. So far, from that point of view, it is better IMHO.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal and Mike,

I read Bishop Dunn's 12 page paper and Cones' article as well. It seems to me that they are advocating for a kind of CONCILIARISM which is defined as follows:

“The theory that a general council of the Church is higher in authority than the Pope. It began in the fourteenth century, when respect for the papacy was undermined by confusion in Church and State. William of Ockham (1280-1349), in his battle with Pope John XXII (c. 1249-1334), questioned the divine institution of the primacy. Marsilius of Padua (1324) and John Jandun (1324) declared it was only a primacy of honor. During the great Western Schism (1378-1417) many otherwise reputable theologians, such as Peter of Ailly (1394) and John Gerson (1409) saw in the doctrine of the council's superiority over the Pope the only means of once more reuniting a divided Church. The viewpoint appeared that the Church in general was free from error, but the Church of Rome could err, and in fact had erred and fallen into heresy. The Council of Constance (1414-18), in its fourth and fifth sessions, declared for the superiority of council over Pope. However, these decisions never received papal approbation. In Gallicanism the conciliarist theory lived on for hundreds of years.

Conciliarism was formally condemned by the First Vatican Council (1869-70), which defined papal primacy, declaring that the Pope had "full and supreme jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which belong to faith and morals, but also in those which relate to the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the world." He therefore possesses not merely the principal part but "all the fullness of this supreme power." Moreover, this power is ordinary or constant, and immediate or direct; it extends the Pope's authority over each and all the churches, whether local or territorial, and over each and all the churches, whether local or territorial, and over each and all the pastors and the faithful (Denzinger, 3063).

In more recent times, conciliarism has been renewed by those who appeal to a "magisterium of theologians" or "consensus of the people of God" against ordinary or even solemn teachings of the popes. (Etym. Latin concilium, council, assembly for consultation.)

I will keep doing some research but if this is indeed their starting point they have started off on the wrong foot and it's just another attempt to adopt a Protestant model for the One True Church.

Pax,

Henry

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal and Mike,

I read Bishop Dunn's 12 page paper and Cones' article as well. It seems to me that they are advocating for a kind of CONCILIARISM which is defined as follows:

“The theory that a general council of the Church is higher in authority than the Pope. It began in the fourteenth century, when respect for the papacy was undermined by confusion in Church and State. William of Ockham (1280-1349), in his battle with Pope John XXII (c. 1249-1334), questioned the divine institution of the primacy. Marsilius of Padua (1324) and John Jandun (1324) declared it was only a primacy of honor. During the great Western Schism (1378-1417) many otherwise reputable theologians, such as Peter of Ailly (1394) and John Gerson (1409) saw in the doctrine of the council's superiority over the Pope the only means of once more reuniting a divided Church. The viewpoint appeared that the Church in general was free from error, but the Church of Rome could err, and in fact had erred and fallen into heresy. The Council of Constance (1414-18), in its fourth and fifth sessions, declared for the superiority of council over Pope. However, these decisions never received papal approbation. In Gallicanism the conciliarist theory lived on for hundreds of years.

Conciliarism was formally condemned by the First Vatican Council (1869-70), which defined papal primacy, declaring that the Pope had "full and supreme jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which belong to faith and morals, but also in those which relate to the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the world." He therefore possesses not merely the principal part but "all the fullness of this supreme power." Moreover, this power is ordinary or constant, and immediate or direct; it extends the Pope's authority over each and all the churches, whether local or territorial, and over each and all the churches, whether local or territorial, and over each and all the pastors and the faithful (Denzinger, 3063).

In more recent times, conciliarism has been renewed by those who appeal to a "magisterium of theologians" or "consensus of the people of God" against ordinary or even solemn teachings of the popes. (Etym. Latin concilium, council, assembly for consultation.)

I will keep doing some research but if this is indeed their starting point they have started off on the wrong foot and it's just another attempt to adopt a Protestant model for the One True Church.

Pax,

Henry

12:30 PM  
Anonymous rashid1891 said...

This blog might not make sense. I'm still trying to make sense of it all. Just going on adventures, trying new things, meeting new people, being out, saying yes to everything, closing the gap between my thoughts and my actions.

8:46 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

Thanks for looking all that up. I like the idea of conciliarism :)

1:25 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Rashid, thanks for the comment.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Hi Crystal and Mike,

After checking the documents about Liturgy, and after checking with several friends I know who are experts in Liturgical matters and/or canon law, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned so far.

There are some using this situation to promote their pet ideology – i.e., remaking the Church into their own image by advocating for conciliarism. I dismiss those misguided individuals from the start because they twist the facts.

Regarding the issue of the translations themselves – yes, in certain cases the English can be tightened up a bit and from what I’ve learned I believe that the main dispute is between those that believe that formal equivalence should be used and those that believe that dynamic equivalence should be used. I personally believe that a dynamic equivalence translation that does not distort the Truths of the Faith should be used. But my opinion is irrelevant.

In the end, the Holy Father ultimately decides what will be done and it is this fact that grates some of the people that are saying “wait”, “it’s bad”, blah, blah, blah – same old broken record as far as I am concerned. In my parish we have already started an intense catechetical program to prepare the parish for the changes (and the reasons behind them) and I hope other parishes are doing the same thing.

I have a question for Mike. Did parishes have catechetical programs to prepare the people for the changes in the 60s/70s or were they just thrust upon the people?

BTW, the USCCB has a web site explaining the changes that will take place next Advent. Here’s the address: http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/

Peace to both of you.

9:55 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

Thanks for researching all this.

"There are some using this situation to promote their pet ideology – i.e., remaking the Church into their own image by advocating for conciliarism. "

It looks like there's some disagreement about Vatican II and conciliarism - if Lumen Gentium on the College of Bishops goes there or not. But anuway, I do like the idea of conciliarism and think papal infallibility is just nuts, but then I'm me :)

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal,

You have every right to your opinions as I have every right to my opinions - I know we agree on that.

However, when it comes to explaining what the Church teaches I strongly believe that we have an obligation to present what she teaches accurately and without distortion. I realize that anyone - especially me - can misunderstand something but I do not think anyone should intentionally twist the facts to support their position - but that’s just my belief and I think you also agree.

Now, one of the things I most admire about you is that I find that you always do your best to present things as truthfully as possible. (Unfortunately, some of the sources you cite don’t seem to have your love of the Truth and that’s why I often react so strongly to them.) That’s why I admire that you wrote: “I do like the idea of conciliarism and think papal infallibility is just nuts, but then I'm me :)”

Fine, but you don’t say why? Or more specifically, I’d like to know if you hold this opinion because you read the best books by the best people for and against the topic - for example - “papal infallibility.”

I did that for many topics (not all) because I did not want to accept what I was told about the Faith until I understood exactly what was being said.

If you haven’t done that, I ask you to consider doing that. For example, you seem to have read several books that seem to posit a hermeneutic of discontinuity when it comes to Vat II, but have you read any books that posit a hermeneutic of continuity? Just curious.

Good night my friend, it’s late for me.

10:38 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Henry,

when it comes to explaining what the Church teaches I strongly believe that we have an obligation to present what she teaches accurately and without distortion.

Yes, I agree. I don't want to present a distorted view of church doctrine.

But sometimes I think the church spokespeople actually present a distorted view of church doctrine. And sometimes authentic church doctrine seems to distort what Jesus said/did.

Reading more about papal infallibility wouldn't help me change my mind about it, I think, because the very concept just seems wrong to me. I don't think any person can be infallible - it just seems humanly impossible. Which is not to say that a person couldn't sometimes get correct info from God, but to create a doctrine and give one person such assumed power just seems like a recipe for corruption.

I've only read one book about Vat II - John O'Malley's - so actually I don't know a whole lot about Vat II. Must read more.

12:34 AM  
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7:09 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

As I get to know more about you (i.e., as our friendship grows) I am beginning to see that our differences are probably due to the ways we think and our different learning styles. In fact, this morning on the train I asked myself: “so what’s really the difference between me and Crystal.” And I concluded that I perhaps I am more of a “doubting Thomas” than you.

To try to convey what is percolating in my mind (which may not be correct), I will comment on your reply below.

You wrote:

1. “But sometimes I think the church spokespeople actually present a distorted view of church doctrine.” I agree that sometimes this happens but the question that immediately arises in me is: What criterion should I use to determine when this is happening? Ever since I was a child, I have always believed that it should be something “objective.” (That’s not to exclude the “subjective” and by that I mean that my “I” – all of my “I” must be present.) Later, when I read the “Religious Sense” by Fr. Giussani I found a criterion that best expressed what I always wanted to say: “Realism.” And his definition: “Realism is the urgent necessity not to give a more important role to the ideas, constructions, or schemes already in our minds, but rather to cultivate a total, passionate, insistent ability to observe the real event or object — i.e., a total, passionate, insistent ability to observe the fact.” Truly expressed what was in my heart.

2. And sometimes authentic church doctrine seems to distort what Jesus said/did. OK, here’s where I say: “evidence please.” I mean, how do you know? How do you know that your understanding of what Jesus said/did is right? How do you know that Church doctrine (not behavior) and the teachings of Jesus are in opposition? Etc., etc.

3. Reading more about papal infallibility wouldn't help me change my mind about it, I think, because the very concept just seems wrong to me. Again, evidence please. I mean if your evidence is “the concept seems wrong to me”, I’m sorry, but that’s not reasonable, IMHO.

4. I don't think any person can be infallible - it just seems humanly impossible. I actually agree – it’s not humanely possible!!! However, I have the impression that you are not clear about the Church’s definition of infallibility because She says that the guarantor of infallibility is the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Divine part of the Church) and not the Pope (the human part of the Church). So I ask myself two questions: 1) Why doesn’t Crystal want to explore the possibility that there might be more to the subject? After all, doing that research would only a) confirm what she already believes or b) force her to rethink, clarify, or reject her initial intuition? Or, better yet, how many and which books has she read about the issue. Or, even better, has she read the best books by the best authors on both sides of the issue? One of the things I most admire about St. Thomas Aquinas is that it is said that he studied his “opponents” positions so well that he explained them better and more accurately than they did. And once he had presented his opponents “best argument” he then proceeded to refute what he believed were the errors in it. I strive to do the same although I often fail miserably!

5. Which is not to say that a person couldn't sometimes get correct info from God, but to create a doctrine and give one person such assumed power just seems like a recipe for corruption. Yes, but does corruption erase truth? For example, imagine I was a murderer and I just got out of jail. We meet, and I tell you, “Murder is wrong and should never be committed!” Is that statement false because I wasn’t able to adhere to it myself?”

6. I've only read one book about Vat II - John O'Malley's - so actually I don't know a whole lot about Vat II. Must read more. Please let me know what you learn.

Pax

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

As I get to know more about you (i.e., as our friendship grows) I am beginning to see that our differences are probably due to the ways we think and our different learning styles. In fact, this morning on the train I asked myself: “so what’s really the difference between me and Crystal.” And I concluded that I perhaps I am more of a “doubting Thomas” than you.

To try to convey what is percolating in my mind (which may not be correct), I will comment on your reply below.

You wrote:

1. “But sometimes I think the church spokespeople actually present a distorted view of church doctrine.” I agree that sometimes this happens but the question that immediately arises in me is: What criterion should I use to determine when this is happening? Ever since I was a child, I have always believed that it should be something “objective.” (That’s not to exclude the “subjective” and by that I mean that my “I” – all of my “I” must be present.) Later, when I read the “Religious Sense” by Fr. Giussani I found a criterion that best expressed what I always wanted to say: “Realism.” And his definition: “Realism is the urgent necessity not to give a more important role to the ideas, constructions, or schemes already in our minds, but rather to cultivate a total, passionate, insistent ability to observe the real event or object — i.e., a total, passionate, insistent ability to observe the fact.” Truly expressed what was in my heart.

2. And sometimes authentic church doctrine seems to distort what Jesus said/did. OK, here’s where I say: “evidence please.” I mean, how do you know? How do you know that your understanding of what Jesus said/did is right? How do you know that Church doctrine (not behavior) and the teachings of Jesus are in opposition? Etc., etc.

3. Reading more about papal infallibility wouldn't help me change my mind about it, I think, because the very concept just seems wrong to me. Again, evidence please. I mean if your evidence is “the concept seems wrong to me”, I’m sorry, but that’s not reasonable, IMHO.

4. I don't think any person can be infallible - it just seems humanly impossible. I actually agree – it’s not humanely possible!!! However, I have the impression that you are not clear about the Church’s definition of infallibility because She says that the guarantor of infallibility is the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Divine part of the Church) and not the Pope (the human part of the Church). So I ask myself two questions: 1) Why doesn’t Crystal want to explore the possibility that there might be more to the subject? After all, doing that research would only a) confirm what she already believes or b) force her to rethink, clarify, or reject her initial intuition? Or, better yet, how many and which books has she read about the issue. Or, even better, has she read the best books by the best authors on both sides of the issue? One of the things I most admire about St. Thomas Aquinas is that it is said that he studied his “opponents” positions so well that he explained them better and more accurately than they did. And once he had presented his opponents “best argument” he then proceeded to refute what he believed were the errors in it. I strive to do the same although I often fail miserably!

5. Which is not to say that a person couldn't sometimes get correct info from God, but to create a doctrine and give one person such assumed power just seems like a recipe for corruption. Yes, but does corruption erase truth? For example, imagine I was a murderer and I just got out of jail. We meet, and I tell you, “Murder is wrong and should never be committed!” Is that statement false because I wasn’t able to adhere to it myself?”

6. I've only read one book about Vat II - John O'Malley's - so actually I don't know a whole lot about Vat II. Must read more. Please let me know what you learn.

Pax

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

As I get to know more about you (i.e., as our friendship grows) I am beginning to see that our differences are probably due to the ways we think and our different learning styles. In fact, this morning on the train I asked myself: “so what’s really the difference between me and Crystal.” And I concluded that I perhaps I am more of a “doubting Thomas” than you.

To try to convey what is percolating in my mind (which may not be correct), I will comment on your reply below.

You wrote:

1. “But sometimes I think the church spokespeople actually present a distorted view of church doctrine.” I agree that sometimes this happens but the question that immediately arises in me is: What criterion should I use to determine when this is happening? Ever since I was a child, I have always believed that it should be something “objective.” (That’s not to exclude the “subjective” and by that I mean that my “I” – all of my “I” must be present.) Later, when I read the “Religious Sense” by Fr. Giussani I found a criterion that best expressed what I always wanted to say: “Realism.” And his definition: “Realism is the urgent necessity not to give a more important role to the ideas, constructions, or schemes already in our minds, but rather to cultivate a total, passionate, insistent ability to observe the real event or object — i.e., a total, passionate, insistent ability to observe the fact.” Truly expressed what was in my heart.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

2. And sometimes authentic church doctrine seems to distort what Jesus said/did. OK, here’s where I say: “evidence please.” I mean, how do you know? How do you know that your understanding of what Jesus said/did is right? How do you know that Church doctrine (not behavior) and the teachings of Jesus are in opposition? Etc., etc.

3. Reading more about papal infallibility wouldn't help me change my mind about it, I think, because the very concept just seems wrong to me. Again, evidence please. I mean if your evidence is “the concept seems wrong to me”, I’m sorry, but that’s not reasonable, IMHO.

4. I don't think any person can be infallible - it just seems humanly impossible. I actually agree – it’s not humanely possible!!! However, I have the impression that you are not clear about the Church’s definition of infallibility because She says that the guarantor of infallibility is the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Divine part of the Church) and not the Pope (the human part of the Church). So I ask myself two questions: 1) Why doesn’t Crystal want to explore the possibility that there might be more to the subject? After all, doing that research would only a) confirm what she already believes or b) force her to rethink, clarify, or reject her initial intuition? Or, better yet, how many and which books has she read about the issue. Or, even better, has she read the best books by the best authors on both sides of the issue? One of the things I most admire about St. Thomas Aquinas is that it is said that he studied his “opponents” positions so well that he explained them better and more accurately than they did. And once he had presented his opponents “best argument” he then proceeded to refute what he believed were the errors in it. I strive to do the same although I often fail miserably!

5. Which is not to say that a person couldn't sometimes get correct info from God, but to create a doctrine and give one person such assumed power just seems like a recipe for corruption. Yes, but does corruption erase truth? For example, imagine I was a murderer and I just got out of jail. We meet, and I tell you, “Murder is wrong and should never be committed!” Is that statement false because I wasn’t able to adhere to it myself?”

6. I've only read one book about Vat II - John O'Malley's - so actually I don't know a whole lot about Vat II. Must read more. Please let me know what you learn.

Pax

9:45 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Crystal, you may know that some deny I dare call myself RC. But the issue of infallibility is not something that bothers me.

After all when we consider the types of "authority" in Christianity we have 3. And all three consider themselves infallibile.

Catholics---infallibility of the Church (Pope.)
Most protestants. Infallibility of the Bible. Have you ever heard a protestant speacher say 'here is what the Bible says,' but heck I may be wrong.
Personal experience Christians. Do they ever say 'I had a religious experience which confirms my faith, but heck, I may just be fooling myself; my experience could be my mind playing a trick on me.
As to Henry--bless his soul--every Christian seems to say I'm guided by the Holy Spirit.So???

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Mark,

Speaking for myself, I don’t generally say that “I am guided by the Holy Spirit” but If I had to say it I’d say He guides me by reminding me that I am in constant need of conversion. In other words, when I think “I know” He shakes me out of my complacency by saying, “there’s more.” That’s probably why I never stop asking questions and why I keep looking for their answers.

Blessings on you too Mark - and your loved ones as well. You too Crystal!

Pax.

11:41 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

If there's a difference between us, maybe it's that I tend not to trust.

1) That's interesting about Realism. I think the way I define Truth or trying to figure out what is true is trhough "correspondence theory of truth". Wikipedia says ...

"The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world, and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world."

So I think we're both in the same ballpark on truth.

2) an example of the church teaching differently than I think Jesus taught ... the just war theory. It would be hard to find a more pacifistic person than Jesus.

3 and 4) my only evidence that infallibility is humanly impossible is just experience of human nature - people are fallible, not perfect. I understand that you think the Holy Spirit is the perfect part but as soon as it conveys something to the pope, I think what was conveyed has the possibility of being misinterpreted by the pope because he's only human.

1:19 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Mark,

Yes, I hadn't thought of that .... truth from the bible and from treligious experience, as well as from the church.

I am skeptical of all of those, I guess. There are parts of the bible I find hard to believe, and I question the trustworthiness of religious experience too, but they both would probably come before the church, for me.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Wow! I've never gotten that many comments on anything in my blog!

I was just going to add that this past Saturday -- when this exchange started -- I attended a workshop on the new Missal. I was and still am a signer on the "What If We Just Said 'Wait'" campaign, but attended anyway, because whether I like it or not, it's coming, and I need to know and understand the changes.

The strongest objections that I have read about come from the use of odd sentence structures or obscure words used by the priest, and the workshop didn't cover most of those changes. In the words said by the people, there are really only a few changes.

The most commonly cited example of the changes is the people's response to "The Lord be with you," said by the priest. I took 4 years of Latin in high school and grew up with the Latin Mass, so I already knew that "et cum spiritu tuo" did NOT mean "and also with you," but instead meant "and with your spirit," which is what the people will soon say -- regardless of whether that response is applicable to English context and usage.

I actually like the new translation for the Gloria, as it is more poetic and symetric. The change I dislike the most is the used of the word "consubstantial" in the new Creed translation, as in "consubstantial with the Father" -- I thought the former "One in Being" was accurate and understandable, though it might not be a theological term.

I wish the US Bishops WOULD just say "Wait" on this one. But I wouldn't bet the farm on their doing so. It's pretty much a done deal at this point.

1:56 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Denny,

I think that while some people are worried about the quality of the translation (From "bow" to "bend," or how not to pray in English), others are also worried about the Vatican making changes without asking first and about whether a new translation not approved by the bishops of a region can legitimately be forced on the people of that region. Liturgy prof. Anthony Ruff OSB seems to be on top of all the laterst stuff in this area at his PrayTell blog

2:46 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Of course! It's not WHETHER the bishops can do anything about it...of course they can! The US Catholic Bishops, however, have been worn down over the years on this issue, and are now at the point of surrender. Legitimate or not, that's where they (and we) are.

For me personally, it will come to a point on the first Sunday in Advent 2011, when I will have to decide whether to conclude the Mass with my customary "Go in Peace, to Love and Serve the Lord," which I've used at every service for 20 years, or use one of the new "officially approved" versions of the dismissal.

Is it a big deal? Not really, in the grand scheme of things. But Rome once again seems to me to have squandered something precious ... our good will and faith ... in being heavy-handed.

3:05 PM  
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8:12 PM  
Anonymous rashid1891 said...

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8:23 PM  
Anonymous rashid1891 said...

I too share the concern.. personally, while I and so many are fatigued by the delays.. it seems to me that some serious intervention by our own bishops is needed... we need to take some control over this. While I would love to see some dialogue between the bishops and the "concerned faithful," I am doubtful that it will happen. But at the least, I wish the bishop's would take back what was originally their work and the work of ICEL, and push back from what I believe would be a step backward, as you illustrate so well.

8:56 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, I just read the statement issued by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship's Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli - it appears the whole thing is just a non-issue to them.

10:19 PM  
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12:48 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal / Mike,

Continuing my research on our topic, I just finished reading a document that outlines a full theological treatment on bishops' conferences.

It’s Pope John Paul II's 1998 Apostolic Letter, Apostolos Suos: On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences. Here’s an excerpt from the document:

“The present document also is a fruit of that study. In strict fidelity to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, its aim is to set out the basic theological and juridical principles regarding Episcopal Conferences, and to offer the juridical synthesis indispensable for helping to establish a theologically well-grounded and juridically sound praxis for the Conferences.”

Here’s the link: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

Do you want me to keep sharing what I learn with you?

Henry

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3:59 AM  
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6:28 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Deacon Denny,

As I am sure you know, the official language of the Church is Latin (which is much more precise than English) and so as you rightly point out the ICEL translation more or less made things up in some parts and or eliminated things in other parts. I don’t know if you speak Spanish (your profile doesn’t say), but if you do, I recommend that you compare the Spanish with the English translations of the same Mass one day. I did and I discovered that many times the basic message of the English was “let’s try harder.” Terrible, terrible, terrible!

As I told Crystal, the translation could be tightened up, and I personally prefer a dynamic equivalence translation that is faithful to the Latin (or better, that doesn’t randomly drop portions), but I also believe that we should follow Chesterton’s advice: If something is worth doing it’s worth doing badly. So, I say, move forward!

Moreover, every pastor has been asked to prepare their parishioners for the changes and so they are not being “thrust” upon the faithful without some preparation (unless, of course, the pastor chooses to be disobedient).

Yes, some tweaking may need to be made later, we’ll have to explain why we are now saying “consubstantial” rather than “one in Being”, but that’s good because it gives us the opportunity to explain theological concepts that have been neglected for at least 30 years - if not more.

Pax.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Victor said...

Ask for a LOT more than you expect to get but settle for less!

What do you mean by that sinner vic? Are you trying to say that what ever we think is possible and right on and if we're happy with "IT", God will go for "IT" and we'll all get "IT" cause we're all right in God's Eyes and there's no need to be humble with our God who is always passive when "IT" comes to His Love ONES and He can't help but give U>S (usual sinners), exactly what we wish for in HIS own "Time".

I hear ya! What's to keep other more powerful sinners from stealing "IT" all from U>S if they so chose to do so?

Go Figure!

Careful what you wish for Victor! :)

God Bless Peace

3:34 PM  

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