A bishop replies to Fr. Endean SJ

In February Pray Tell reported on and linked to an article by Fr. Philip Endean SJ in The Tablet, Sense and Sensitivities,” in which he called on bishops to speak honestly about what moved them to approve the 1998 ICEL Sacramentary, but then do an about-face and approve the forthcoming Missal translation. This week’s Tablet has the first public response given by a bishop.

I agree with what Fr. Philip Endean SJ (“Sense and sensitivities,” February 19) has written concerning the kind of episcopal leadership called for in respect of the new translation of the Missal, the need for transparency (at all levels) and for something better than mere conformism.

But I also think the long-standing debate has focused too narrowly on the work of translating. One thing is the role of translators (who by now have carefully and conscientiously done their job), and another is the role of the presiding and other ministers.

Faithful translations bring out the meaning of the texts, and make them available on the pages of the liturgical books. Those translations then have to be lifted off the pages and given voice. The role of the translators does not dispense with the roles of the priest and other ministers, whose responsibility is to help the congregation make the prayer of the Church their own. Ministers would be shirking their responsibility if they merely parroted the written text regardless of the different circumstances and different levels of understanding of the congregation present.

When asked about the need for uniformity, the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy spoke of the liberty allowed by the liturgical books themselves. The need for such liberty was so that the celebration may be adapted in an intelligent manner to the church building, or to the group of faithful present, or to particular pastoral circumstances, in such a way that the universal sacred rite is truly accommodated to human understanding (Notitiae, 1965, p. 254).

We need good translations; but we also need the kind of formation that enables priests and other ministers to responsibly make the kind of small adaptations that enable all present to feel included and able to participate. The nature of the liturgy requires this. It is not a matter of changing what is given in the Church’s liturgy, but of enabling people to enter into what is given, so that they can make the Church’s prayer their own.

Some of these small accommodations are a matter of courtesy and common sense, but by the nature of things cannot be made by the translators! The debate about translation needs to be relativized by taking into account the roles of the ministers.

(Rt Rev.) P.J. Cullinane
Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand
Member of the ICEL Episcopal Board, 1983-2003






43 responses to “A bishop replies to Fr. Endean SJ”

  1. Michelle Francl-Donnay Avatar

    At a class I was teaching last week on the Liturgy of the Hours, the subject of translation came up in looking at the intercessions. My wry comment that whatever else I might be, I was not Jesus’ brother (a description of the person praying the hours that shows up occasionally in the intercessions) was a source of much amusement.

    The Augustinian community I pray the hours with makes such “small accommodations” to the approved liturgical texts as a matter of common sense and courtesy — recognizing that both men and women, lay and ordained are present. We are Jesus’ brothers and sisters…

    While I, too, hope and pray that the liturgical texts proclaimed will respect both the work of the translators and the needs of the community who will be praying them, I worry in a moment where a blog that promotes the slavish adherence to the letter of the liturgical law is a top ranked Catholic site, presiders who make such accommodations will need to have a thick skin.

    1. Jeremy Stevens Avatar
      Jeremy Stevens

      I wouldn’t worry too much about that blog you refer to. Unless I’m guessing the wrong blog, you’re talking about a blog that hits up its readers for everything from Roman Missals to bird seed, and whose “blog-master” suddenly stopped posting BOTH the 2008 and 2010 and decided to lump everyone who doesn’t like 2010 into the category of “whining liberals.” he plays to his base, plays his base for fools, and despite his years of offering slavish translations and having Roman contacts, was not consulted either in the preparation of 2008 or the rewrite that brought about 2010. Maybe a toprated site but doesn’t seem to have much clout. Contrast that with all hell breaking loose when PRay Tell made public that Areas of Difficulty report listing all the errors in 2010.

      1. Michelle Francl-Donnay Avatar

        We are thinking of the same blog, and I’m not so much worried about the writer of the blog in particular, but the attitude that the blog represents. The gentleman who comes up to me after Mass to complain that the cantor sang a slightly different version of the verse before the Gospel than what is in his missalette (which we do not provide, I will note) would be an example.

    2. Daniel McKernan Avatar
      Daniel McKernan


      The only problem is V2 forbids this kind of change (SC no. 22.3). The bishop seems to be discussing the legitimate variations that are actually stipulated in the rites themselves: communion under both species, some listed choices in the texts, long or short form of the readings on selected days, optional memorials, choice in the EP.
      Arbitrarily making unauthorized changes to the text makes the celebrant and/or the most vocal (or perhaps the wealthiest/biggest tither) paramount over the prayer and may leave others disenfranchised. This turns the liturgy into a closed circle.

      1. Michelle Francl-Donnay Avatar

        I don’t read Bishop Cullinane’s comments to imply the selection for a list of established choices, but precisely those sorts of accommodations. Certainly texts that presume everyone present is male (brothers is not a term used by English speakers to mean both men and women, unlike the arguments that can be invoked for “mankind”), do not foster a unity of spirit.

      2. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        But he says: “When asked about the need for uniformity, the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy spoke of the liberty allowed by the liturgical books themselves.” This is not a liberty outside of the liturgical books, but provided by the liturgical books. Examples:

        4. Then follows the Penitential Act, to which the Priest invites the faithful, saying:
        Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins,
        and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

        29. Standing at the middle of the altar, facing the people, extending and then joining his hands, he says:
        Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters),
        that my sacrifice and yours
        may be acceptable to God,
        the almighty Father.

        And the approved English translation of the Confiteor renders fratres as “brothers and sisters.”

    3. Jeremy Stevens Avatar
      Jeremy Stevens

      I suppose that as more and more critiques of the new translation come out that are doing to it what he used to do to the lame duck translation but doesn’t dare do to the new one apparently for fear of upsetting his loyal soldier fan base, that blogger has taken to asking at least once a day “Do we need Summorum Pontificum and the Corrected Translation?” and posting underneath two absurdly contrasting pictures showing the looney left and the righteous right. My guess is that either the price of bird seed has gone way up or Baronius Press is about to publish their 3-volume Latin English breviary and he’s gonna need some extra $$$. Or maybe there’s a concert or art exhibit somewhere he needs a plane ticket to.

      1. G. Michael McGuire Avatar
        G. Michael McGuire

        He clearly is doing all he can to emphasize how bad the old ICEL (lame-duck) translation is, and saying very little positive about the new Vox Clara version because he obviously knows that on so many levels the new one does not pass his muster (leaving out words in the Latin, constructing subordinate clauses out of imperatives or declaratives, etc., etc.).

        He did tip his hand months ago though, when he was still being honest enough to point out how bad Vox Clara’s version was compared with 2008, by subtly attributing the mess to the person in CDW he thought most likely to be the culprit. In one posting he said, “possibly to WARD off criticism.” An oblique reference to Father Anthony Ward, S.M., who has long been identified by insiders as one of the problem people there (with a real vendetta against ICEL, old or new).

        There are rumors, in some CONSERVATIVE liturgical circles, of several possible projects that will critique the Vox Clara Missal, once it is published and in use, by analyzing it from the perspectives that have been so often listed on Pray Tell: accuracy of translation, fidelity to the documents governing liturgical translation, and literary English. It will be interesting to see what his and other “traditional” Catholic blogs/journals will do when confronted with the documented evidence of Vox Clara’s multiple failures.

    4. Brigid Rauch Avatar
      Brigid Rauch

      Please excuse me for interrupting here with some comments on the birdseed/letter of the law blog:
      1. The blog master and devotees apparently make great efforts searching for people to mock for failing to meet their liturgical standards. Christians can disagree on liturgical practices for reasons sound or unsound, but this constant search for others to mock is a sin.
      The “clown Mass” seem to be a special bete noire. I’ve never seen a clown Mass and probably never will. But when I was discussing this with my son, it occurred to me that the point of the clown Mass may be to make us aware of what foolish children we all are in the presence of the Almighty. Who approaches the altar with proper humility; the sinner who knows himself/herself for a fool, or the sinner eager to find others in error and proud of his knowledge of proper gesture and proper garb?
      2. This is the more important comment: I found a series of questions from people concerned about having committed a mortal sin and needing to go to Confession prior to Sunday Mass. From the context, it is plain that these people think they commit mortal sin frequently, but that 5 or 10 minutes in a Confessional is all that is needed to spiff up their souls and prepare them for Communion; at least until they commit the next mortal sin. The discussions also included judgments of other people presumably committing grave sin because they take Communion without going to Confession first. Since I am unaware of huge numbers of Catholics murdering people on a weekly basis, I can only guess that these “mortal sins” are examples of scrupulosity, possibly over sexual matters. These attitudes are strongly encouraged by the blog master. I don’t know which is more sacrilegious, the notion that God is eager to condemn us to Hell over such trivia, or the treatment of the confessional as a vending machine of grace. I have only a passing knowledge of this subject, but it certainly smells like Jansenism to me!

      1. George Andrews Avatar
        George Andrews

        Brigid R—Who approaches the altar with proper humility; the sinner who knows himself/herself for a fool,—

        Dear Brigid,

        Welcome over to ‘my side’!

        With loyal Praytellers devoted to humility, I wonder why so many here think ripping out Communion rails was a “step up”.

        There are many reasons for kneeling as we approach Our Lord. Humility is just one of them.

        The one grateful leper also knealt before Him, so I would say to those who have Frank Sinatra’s

        “To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels!”

        echoing in their heads….that it’s not just about humility! But, as Brigid has pointed out, humility is not a bad thing!

      2. john robert francis Avatar
        john robert francis

        Thanks so very much, Brigid Rauch. Many younger people have no idea how scrupulosity, the daily, constant fear of a God intent on meting out punishment, ruined the lives of numbers of priests, religious, laity. Even some bishops. Seton Institute in Baltimore, under the care of the great Daughters of Charity, had many priest and religious patients who were simply unable to function. The precise words of the Mass and Office, the exact keeping of the Rule, the dread of saying Mass or approaching the Communion rail unworthily, repeated need for Confession, even every day, were an ever-present agony. Some never recovered. Who answers for this?.

        Yes, we all sin daily, but “greatly”? I don’t think so. The return to Jansenism.

  2. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    I was mildly amused when I read this in The Tablet yesterday. Reading between the lines, the bishop appears to be recommending that presiders use their pastoral common sense and edit the text as they go along in accordance with the nature of the occasion and the nature of the assembly, although he does not explicitly say this.

    I wonder whether he was thinking of a return to the practice of the early Church, where presiders were expected to use the basic text or form of the text as a point of departure for an original creation — a springboard rather than a straitjacket.

    1. Daniel McKernan Avatar
      Daniel McKernan

      “presiders were expected to use the basic text or form of the text as a point of departure for an original creation…”

      Again, a practice incompatible with Vatican II in SC (22). I don’t understand how we can justly claim to be defending the council while simultaneously ignoring its directives or encouraging others to disregard the council’s pointed tenets.

    2. Linda Reid Avatar
      Linda Reid

      “use their pastoral common sense and edit the text as they go along in accordance with the nature of the occasion and the nature of the assembly, ”

      I was thinking the same thing, Paul. Judging fromthe reactions of the presiders with whom I have spoken, there will be a good bit of “pastoral common sense” floating around!

    3. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      I’d just like to see a much more robust, broad, long and deep local process around the use of that creativity and commonsense so that it is not a rationalization for much else.

  3. Xavier Rindfleisch Avatar
    Xavier Rindfleisch

    “But I also think the long-standing debate has focused too narrowly on the work of translating. One thing is the role of translators (who by now have carefully and conscientiously done their job), and another is the role of the presiding and other ministers.”


    “carefully and conscientiously”?????

    This, surely, could only have been written by someone who was not privy to the “Areas of Difficulty” brief sent – and urgently so – by ICEL to the Congregation for Divine Worship when the full horror of Vox Clara’s debacle – mistranslations, violations of Liturgiam Authenticam and the Ratio Translationis, and embarrassingly risible misuse of English grammar and syntax – had become apparent at a first reading of the First Sunday of Advent! Or by one who is completely unaware that there even IS a Vox Clara 2010 Missal that has almost completely rewritten, diastrously, the ICEL 2008 translation which the Bishops Conferences approved.

    And there was the catastrophic earthquake in New Zealand to bear in mind.

    But if Bishop Cullinane KNOWS of the “Areas of Difficulty” brief, and HAS SEEN the complete rewrite of ICEL 2008 which is Vox Clara 2010, and still expects us to accept his assertion that the translators (or more accurately the Vox Clara tinkerers) have presented the Church with a Missal “carefully and conscientiously” prepared: how stupid does he think we are? How can he possibly state something so patently false?

    This is astonishing.

    And, for those who have known Bishop Cullinane over many, many years, very sad indeed.

  4. John Farley Avatar
    John Farley

    YEA!!!!! I love the part where he says translation is but one step in making the liturgy live for the assembly. The ministers have their role as well in continuing to adapt to the situation and circumstances and people involved. YEA!!!!!

    1. Daniel McKernan Avatar
      Daniel McKernan

      Is this a call to return to the “pray, pay, and obey” model for the laity?

  5. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Alas, most of the bishops (my own included, until I informed him otherwise), think that the changes from 2008 to 2010 consist merely of minor punctuation corrections. They have a big shock in store, I suspect.

    It’s not clear whether Bishop Cullinane is aware of this from what he writes. I suspect that, like most bishops, he is blissfully unaware of what happened to the text that he and his brother bishops around the world signed off on in 2008/2009.

    1. Xavier Rindfleisch Avatar
      Xavier Rindfleisch

      Making allowance for the earthquake, Paul, and the workload of the average Ordinary . . . how could someone who is a bishop, and a former member of the ICEL Episcopal Board be “blissfully unaware of what happened to the text that he and the other bishops around the world signed off on in 2008-2009.”

      I’m sorry: unless he’s been on retreat for two years in the one Trappist Abbey on the planet that doesn’t have wi-fi, I’m just not buying it.

      And if that IS the case (e.g., he’s “blissfully unaware”), then he ought to be replaced by someone who does not have his obvious vocation to the eremetical life.

      This letter from Bishop Cullinane just sounds like more loyal-soldiering to me.

      1. Lynn Thomas Avatar
        Lynn Thomas

        Maybe he was hanging with the Carthusians?

    2. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady


      Your bishop, to be fair (wonderful man and bishop that he is) turns 75 later this year and might not ever have to use the new translation (in public, which means at all).

      Most of the other bishops of the English-speaking world have shown about as much interest as he has throughout the process (and he has had access to the best of advisers in the matter, as you know).

      The bishops have far more important things (to them) on their minds.

      I know of an English-speaking country (which will remain nameless) where the liturgy committee bishops all recently gathered for a meeting.

      As each one arrived, having heard of the Vox Clara tinkering to their translation, they were all totally up in arms and full of shock and horror at what Vox Clara had done.

      Then the formal meeting began, and the matter was not even raised as an agenda item.

      Their lack of interest is, weirdly, what’s pushing the juggernaut.

  6. J. Thomas Avatar
    J. Thomas

    From what has been made obvious on this site I think that a few changes in pronouns on the part of a presider will not be adequate to “bring out the meaning of the texts,” nor am I sure how Notitiae, 1965, p. 254 squares with SC 22.3. Aren’t the pastoral choices implied based upon options within the liturgical books themselves? Don’t get me wrong, I think the new translation is probably a travesty from every perspective, but, I don’t think “small accommodations” are the fix. Besides, I know no pastor who has the expertise or time to accommodate a missal full of daily projects.

  7. David Brockman Avatar
    David Brockman

    the one Trappist Abbey on the planet that doesn’t have wi-fi…

    New Melleray in Iowa???

  8. Fr. Jim Blue Avatar
    Fr. Jim Blue

    What kind of see is Palmerston North? Is it possible that the Rt. Rev. does not want to be buried there?

    1. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady

      Funny you should ask!

      Peter Cullinane has been a bishop for 31 years. He’s worn out. He now has a second coadjutor. (The first had to retire several years ago on reaching 75, while Peter was 67!)

      The new coadjutor, in his 50s, will almost certainly succeed when Cullinane turns 75 in November. (Fifteen years ago his heart was so compromised that even a transplant was ruled out!)

      Does Cullinane (do the vast lot of them) know about “Areas of Difficulty,” violations of LA and RT, etc.? Probably not. Would they care, if they did? Probably not. A fairly small number of them ever really cared that much, or studied the issues that closely. Those few who did have, like Peter Cullinane, decided some years ago to make their peace with the system. Like some of us, they may hope, at best, that there will be an explosion AFTERWARDS.

      And then? Don Trautman turns 75 in June, and I don’t think he is looking to go on much after that. The bishops have no standing ground to complain, even if they were minded to. They and their elected leaders (those around in 2000-2003) did not protest the Congregation’s re-founding of ICEL, did not protest the establishment, with papal approval, of Vox Clara, did not protest those paragraphs in Liturgiam authenticam which in essence allow the CDWDS to do whatever it wants with regard to vernacular texts.

      (There is that bizarre norm that allows the Congregation to translate a text and THEN send it to a conference for its canonical approbatio!!! And those named bishops since 2003 are even more supine than their more senior “brother bishops.”)

      What a brotherhood!

  9. Claire Mathieu Avatar
    Claire Mathieu

    “Don’t get me wrong, I think the new translation is probably a travesty from every perspective, but, I don’t think “small accommodations” are the fix. Besides, I know no pastor who has the expertise or time to accommodate a missal full of daily projects.”

    One possible way for those who don’t have expertise or time is to use the 2008 missal for inspiration for the small adaptations in question. After all, it’s officially supposed to have only small differences with the 2010 missal…

    1. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady


    2. Lynn Thomas Avatar
      Lynn Thomas


    3. J. Thomas Avatar
      J. Thomas

      That’s good…I like it. Yet, I prefer its rejected predecessor.

  10. Chris Grady Avatar
    Chris Grady

    The aptly suffixed Bishop Cullinane (who, amazingly, seems to think that duscussion of the translation has focused far too much on the translation and the translators, and, presumably, therefore, any difficutly with the implementation of the translation will be the fault of the implementers and not the translation, or the translators!!!) has a facility on his diocesan website allowing you to contact him directly:


    I did, but I won’t be sharing my communication here – the Rufferronery duumvirate would consider it too indelicate for the eyes of PT readers and delete it!

  11. Jeremy Stevens Avatar
    Jeremy Stevens

    After church this morning, at Mabel’s Diner over her incredible coffee and black skillet cornbread (recipe available upon request; but be warned, Yankees: no sugar in Kentucky cornbread!), here in knobs of Kentucky with Spring just beginning to get sprung, the small group of us who follow these things suddenly realized:

    Adoremus and WDTPRS have gone from being “the loyal opposition” to becoming “the MainStream Media” — spouting the Party line, putting “the Regime” in the best possible light, and mouthing as uncritically as they accused the opposition of doing before all the usual platitudes: “better than what we had,” “light years ahead of the old,” “approved by the highest authority,” etc., etc. And joining the Vox Clara Missal to Summorum Pontificum, while lumping CONSERVATIVE critics of Vox Clara in with the anti-any-new-translation crowd (Why Don’t We Just Say Wait) to de-legitimize ANY critique of the soon-to-be-imposed Vox Clara Missal.

    That’s why they have to label Pray Tell as “dissident” and warn their sheeple, “don’t drag it over here.” That’s also why it’s good to read the critiques on here that show up Vox Clara’s mistranslations, violations of LA and RT, and butchering of English grammar. Exactly what THEY used to do with the “lame duck” ICEL.

    And there’s always the money issue: Pray Tell isn’t trying to sell magazine subscriptions or raise money for Missals, birdseed, coffee, trips, etc.

  12. Michelle Francl-Donnay Avatar

    Jeffrey, he also says, “Ministers would be shirking their responsibility if they merely parroted the written text regardless of the different circumstances and different levels of understanding of the congregation present.” which is what I read as supporting small changes in the text.

    And fratres is not always rendered (perhaps ever?) as “brothers and sisters” in the approved text of the LOH. By the rules quoted, it should not be amended, and I should continue to say in prayer I am Jesus’ brother.

    1. Jack Rakosky Avatar
      Jack Rakosky

      Thanks very much for these links. Especially the longer one on “Preparing for the new translation of the revised Roman Missal.”

      I thought I caught a breath of fresh air in his article and was not disappointed with the attitude he expresses in his Conclusion

      “When we look at our Catholic moral and legal tradition, we find that literalism and legalism on the one hand, and unregulated adaptation and creativity on the other, are both unfaithful to the Catholic tradition. Neither arbitrariness nor rigidity belong.”

      Also refreshing is the sense that he is not particularly eager to have to make decisions in a uniform way in his diocese, and that his priest’s intentions, and the circumstances that they face matter as much as laws and rulings.

    2. John Kelleher Avatar
      John Kelleher

      Any Bishop who can quote Sir Humphrey Appleby in the course of a commentary on the liturgy deserves an enormous amount of credit!

      There is also what seems to be a good bit of humility in his final decision regarding the path his diocese will follow. Would that more bishops could be so forthcoming in explanations.

  13. John Halloran Avatar
    John Halloran

    Last week, I was invited to give a workshop to members of a deanery here in San Antonio. We called them the “First Responders” – secretaries, Pastoral Administrators, – the office workers who will receive the phone calls and have to deal with the people coming in the door…

    as we read through the prayers, one thing was noticed: with the exception of 2 of the 34 present, all are bilingual (Spanish/English)… no one had any real problem with the changes. In fact, they commented on the poetics, the positive work of the chants, etc. With the exception of 2 (a different 2) all had been a part of ACTS Retreats here, and we discussed how important it is to let the complaining party speak – to hear them out, to draw them into the story… then to reflect on what they didn’t like. Most suggested that they were going to have a chapel edition of the Missal available at their desk so that they could read through prayers with those who were disgruntled…

    I have spoken with several priests (again bilingual) who really like the changes. Not so much the method of getting there, but they like what is coming. They have all stated that they won’t be 100% off the page presiders; they will more likely than not, slip back into old habits – most especially when they get to “for many”… it will take time.

    At the meeting last week, that deaneries staff members made a pact NOT to become liturgical police and judge anyone… we are all on a journey together.

    I’ll be leading 2 more of these meetings in the next couple of weeks with members of other deaneries. One, where the staff is 99% bilingual; one, where the staff is 10% bilingual… I expect a difference…

  14. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Thank you, Philip, for those links. Very interesting indeed. In the light of reading those, I am affirmed in my view of what I thought Bishop Cullinane’s letter in The Tablet was trying to say.

    My only disagreement with him would be regarding whether or not Paul VI abrogated the previous (“Tridentine”) usage. Cullinane says he didn’t; other scholars such as the late Pierre Jounel say that he did. The matter has been conclusively laid to rest in Chad Glendinning’s masterly canonical analysis in the January 2011 issue of Worship, where it is made clear that Paul VI did indeed abrogate the previous usage and that Benedict XVI’s apparent statement to the contrary is using an unusual and non-technical version of canonical language.

    But overall Bishop Cullinane’s view of liturgy and liturgical laws appears to me to be refreshingly pastoral, grounded in common sense and a concern for the people, in contrast to Bishop Braxton’s being debated in the other thread.

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      What would be the consequence of finding that the 1962 Missal had been abrogated? I ask because it seems very important to some people, yet I don’t see how it changes the practical reality that has existed since 1969 in which the old Missal has always been allowed to be used.

      1. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        One obvious consequence would be that all those who continued to use it without an indult, or without following the precise terms of the indult, would have been taking part in valid but illicit celebrations.

        If my memory serves me correctly, national indults did not start to come through until 1971 (England and Wales), making all celebrations between 1969 and 1971 illicit, and for longer than that in some other countries.

        Those who have consistently preferred not to use the 1962 Missale Romanum (which is all that the indults permitted and all that SP permits) but instead have opted for an earlier incarnation of the Missale Romanum have continued in breach of the law.

        Whether or not this is of importance depends on your point of view. I was recently pilloried on a traditionalist blog for quoting on Pray Tell the view of a distinguished liturgist, so I might as well repeat it again. He said that Summorum Pontificum was a reward for disobedience. [NB Latin Mass Society chair: I am not saying this myself, I am quoting someone else saying it. OK?] That, I think, is the reason why the question of abrogation has assumed some importance; and Glendinning’s canonical analysis is a very welcome clarification.

  15. Simon Ho Avatar
    Simon Ho

    Hi Michelle!
    Greetings from your friend in the Far East!

    We may not make changes to the approved liturgical texts on our own initiative, as specified in SC 22.3 and as given in Canon Law. If there’s a need to make changes because a word has changed its meaning drastically, an appeal should be made to the competent authorities for decision. I think in this case, “brothers and sisters” as a translation of “fratres” shouldn’t encounter difficulties. Why, in the new translation of the Missal, it is rendered as “brethren” with “brothers and sisters” in parenthesis. So mindless parroting of the approved text is not a virtue, but neither is divisive self-alterations to the approved text. It saddens me that a Bishop would recommend minor accomodations to the text; it lends itself to liturgical mayhem (e.g. I prefer “men of goodwill” to “people of goodwill” which just sounds goofy), and is very divisive; but it’s a mystery of the Church that we have to live with until the Lord comes.

    That said, not all liturgical texts seem as “unchangeable” as others. In the GILH, authority is granted to the Bishops’ Conference to adapt the intercessions (184) and even for people to add intercessions at will (188). Presumably (and I stand to be corrected by the experts), there is more leeway for the texts of the intercessions, and a simple approval from the Conference of Bishops might suffice for any simple changes to the approved text. One might perhaps even be able to take reference from what was approved in the new translation of the Missal to adjust the texts of the petitions in simple, direct cases.

    A simpler, and my preferred, option is to omit the oddly phrased response. The intercessions can be prayed using the 2nd part as a variable response, or simply to keep silence at the end of each petition (GILH 193). Or if your community likes a response, they can generally use another set of petitions (GILH 251).

    No need to be disobedient.

  16. Tom Poelker Avatar

    “When we look at our Catholic moral and legal tradition, we find that literalism and legalism on the one hand, and unregulated adaptation and creativity on the other, are both unfaithful to the Catholic tradition. Neither arbitrariness nor rigidity belong.” Bp. P. J. Cullinane as quoted above

    We need to take care about both of these extremes.

    Just because the centralizers of uniformity are presently also the proponents of patriarchalism, clericalism, and a wondrous rather than communal liturgy is not sufficient cause to promote anarchy against law.

    As many traditionalists are eager to point out, this feels no different to them than having the shoe on the other foot. The periti of Vat II convinced the bishops and changes were imposed by universal law.

    Just because VC2010 is a disastrous result does not justify setting aside the only existing forum where rectification might eventually be achieved. To set such precedent is likely to perpetuate the spreading of the false histories of the liturgical reactionaries which the centralizers use to justify their continuing war on the entire ecclesiology of Vatican II and their rejection of future corrections.

    It is the abuse of law, the abuse of jurisdictional authority to enforce things contrary to expert authority which needs to be fought.

    The abuses of central authority need to be confronted by the bishops. Those who feel that LA, RT, VC2010, the revised IGMR were imposed in a political way need to open the best possible lines of communication to their bishops.

    Those who see the same pattern here as with the birth control commission, the female ordination commission, and the gag order on clerical celibacy need to learn the organizing and communications techniques which have worked so well for the Vat II reactionaries. It is not a pleasant thought, but politics needs to be opposed politically not through arbitrary, selective rejection of governance.

  17. Jack Rakosky Avatar
    Jack Rakosky

    Perhaps one of the reasons we have all the tension between rigidity and arbitrariness and the failure to find a middle ground is that bishops, priests and laity are not willing to face the maturity required by an actor’s articulation of intention and assessment of the situation which are necessary for a middle ground of proper human decision making.

    If intentions and assessments of the situation are articulated, then others can say one has not assessed the situation properly, or has failed to formulate intentions which are commiserate with the situation. In other words the actor can be mistaken in intention and judgment. It is much easier to just say one is following the rules rigidity, or creatively ignoring them. Perhaps many people prefer to be seen as rigid or arbitrary but correct (at least in their eyes) rather than to admit they could be mistaken to others and themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *