Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sense and Sensibility and the missal translation

There was a post a few days ago at America magazine's blog - Some Australian Priests to Refuse Mass Translation. Here's the beginning paragraph ...

"At least a dozen" Australian priests will refuse to use the new translation of the Roman Missal, due to be implemented in November, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. "The Catholic Church is facing open defiance over its new Mass," says the Herald, "with at least a dozen Australian priests indicating they will refuse to use it when it comes into force later this year. Hundreds more are angry about the lack of consultation for the new, more literal translation of the 400-year-old Latin text, which was heavily influenced by a Vatican advisory committee headed by the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell."

Interesting that Australian priests, in a country where George Pell once said "I believe that this misleading doctrine of the primacy of conscience should be publicly rejected", are determined to refuse to cooperate out of conscience.

Apparently, it's a very different case with priests in England, according to a recent article in The Tablet by Philip Endean SJ - Sense and sensitivities: English Missal translation .....

[I]n Britain, The Catholic Herald reported that church authorities in England and Wales “do not expect resistance to the new translation of the Roman Missal when it is introduced in September”. The acting secretary of the bishops’ liturgy commission was quoted as saying: “There are people who like it and people who don’t and some who aren’t so sure. But I think you’ll find that clergy are a fairly pragmatic group of people in the end …”

I wonder if Fr. Endean chose the title of his article based on the novel Sense and Sensibilityy by Jane Austin, in which one sister is passionately upfront about her feelings, while the other sensible sister keeps her feelings to herself and does what is expected of her, though her heart is breaking. I love that novel (and movie) but the thing about the storyline is that if all the characters involved had acted like the first sister and simply publicly stated what was on their minds from the word go, there would have been much less resultant unhappiness .... and, of course, the novel would have only been three pages long, so never mind :) But what's at stake with the missal translation is more important than the necessity of conflict and drama to a fictional story. As Fr. Endean writes in his article ... The liturgy shapes the devotional life of every practising Catholic; major decisions about it need to be taken with discernment, not because it suits bureaucracy.

The end of the Herald story about the Australian priests has a quote from the executive director of the National Liturgy Commission, Peter Williams, who basically says that despite dissent, in the end the missal will be accepted by the people. That bothers me - the calm assurance that we will accept anything, having no real agency. Perhaps we laity don't have any say, but maybe the clergy will show him to be wrong.


Anonymous Molly said...

You are so cute

10:39 AM  

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