Tablet Survey: Laity split over new Mass translation, clergy and religious mostly reject it, support high among Latin Mass traditionalists

Catholic opinion remains split down the middle over the new English text of the Mass, an online survey by The Tablet has revealed. Although the online survey is non-scientific in that respondents self-selected to respond, it still gives important information about differing views about the new Missal among most Catholics compared to Catholic who favor the Extraordinary Form (according the 1962 Missal before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council).

Some highlights:

Respondents were almost evenly split over the new translation: 47 per cent said they liked it while 51 per cent said they did not. A similar split was evident when asked about the formal style, whether they found some of the language “obsequious and distracting”, whether they considered the new translation more prayerful and reverent than the old.

Traditionalists [who expressed a preference for the Extraordinary Form over the Ordinary Form] overwhelmingly expressed a preference for the new English translation over the old. But among respondents who prefer the Ordinary Form, only 37 per cent of these liked the new translation. Only 36 per cent believed it to be an improvement on the old one and 61 per cent said it urgently needed to be revised.

Seventy per cent of clergy who participated in the survey disliked the new text. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) found some of the language obsequious and distracting. Two-thirds of priests found the new text less prayerful. Fewer than a third considered the new text an improvement, and 70 per cent felt it urgently needed to be revised.

Four out of five – 80 per cent – of vowed religious did not like the new translation and the same proportion did not believe that it was more prayerful and reverent. Given a choice, 81 per cent would opt for Mass in the previous English version.

See a fuller report here.


80 responses to “Tablet Survey: Laity split over new Mass translation, clergy and religious mostly reject it, support high among Latin Mass traditionalists”

  1. Scott Smith Avatar
    Scott Smith

    If I remember correctly, this survey was subject to various parties urging their supporters to ensure the right results were found.

    The numbers are therefore meaningless, though we can clearly still reach the conclusion that there are lots of interested people with strong and differing opinions.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      @Scott Smith – comment #1:
      I recall Fr. Z at WDTPRS rallied his troops, but I don’t know of any “progressive” figure doing this. So if anything, the results are skewed because conservatives are over-represented.

      As I said in my intro comments, this isn’t scientific, but it’s not meaningless. Because it helpfully asked about Ordinary Form/Extraordinary Form preference, it tells us something important about differences between those two groups. It tells us that EF folks like the new translation the most, and that OF folks don’t like it much. It tells us this even if there are way more EF conservatives represented in this poll than in the Catholic Church as a whole.


  2. Chris McDonnell Avatar
    Chris McDonnell

    That there is still a deep division in the acceptance of the New Translation cannot be denied; even a cursory glance at the Tablet survey tells that story. But the question raised by Fr. Michael Ryan in his Tablet article a few weeks back remains: Is anyone listening? Or is the presumption that left long enough without comment the whole issue will just fade away? Maybe, but then just glance about at the wreckage strewn on the roadside so far and the journey has only just begun. What a price to pay for having a text thrust upon us.

  3. Todd Flowerday Avatar

    As a piece of scientific research, very largely meaningless. As a window onto the people who are least inclined to pray the modern Roman Rite, they sure have strong opinions about something they reject. Advocacy for Norman French-derived vocabulary detached from good English grammar and usage: big thumbs up there from the Latinate crowd.

  4. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Since the survey appeared in the Tablet and the Tablet appears to be the British mirror of America’s NCR in terms of ecclesiastical politics the results can be presumed to have a leftward tilt. Every indication suggests to me that more traditional, not to be confused with “Traditionalist”, Catholics in the UK gravitate toward the Herald while the Tablet seems to include more Church professionals and older clergy dating from the 1980’s heyday of progressive hegemony in the Church.

  5. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Interesting that 43% of respondents out of 6,000 were from the US. That’s over 2,500 people. Fr Z’s followers, who were strongly urged to complete the survey, must each have voted many times over to produce those numbers. And yet they still didn’t come out on top. Have they got the message yet? The Church is in danger of being derailed by vociferous splinter groups.

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      @Paul Inwood – comment #6:
      In his several-times-a-week poll-pumping heyday, I got the sense Fr Z was capable of inspiring about 8-10K poll pumping hits. Maybe because the topic is stale it was less of a draw.

      As a general matter, people are usually more motivated to express dissatisfaction than satisfaction, so all other things being equal, one would tend to need to discount dissatisfaction when polls are self-selected.

      1. Scott Smith Avatar
        Scott Smith

        @Karl Liam Saur – comment #7:

        I think the Tablet may have tried to adjust for some of the “poll pumping”. Which is fair enough, but still means the poll tells us nothing we did not already know.

  6. Brendan Kelleher svd Avatar
    Brendan Kelleher svd

    Daniel McKernan’s comments once more betray his ignorance. The Tablet is one of the oldest independent Catholic journals in the English speaking world, and has always had the support of the Bishops of England and Wales. Senior members of the hierarchy regularly contribute to it. The characterization of both those who write for The Tablet and of its readership is contradicted by the variety of voices heard on its letters page.
    The Catholic Herald, in contrast, could be described as the voice of neo-orthodoxy, neo-traditionalism. Its articles often contain historical inaccuracies and they rarely seem to post corrections. A look through its list of contributors shows a very select group whose background would make them equally at home on the new Ordinariate. It was in the immediate post-Conciliar era, and through into 1970’s and at least the early 80’s the home of some of the most progressive Catholic journalism in the UK.
    The survey makes no claims to scientific objectivity, but to reflect the voices of people in the pews. My own contacts, including people in two very diverse areas of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, and in the Diocese of Plymouth, would seem to back up The Tablet report. The present translation of the RM is borne of a swing of the pendulum to the opposite extreme of RM 1, and as I continue to work with people from many English speaking countries around the world, I am aware of their dissatifaction with it, and a hope for a return to a happy medium in the not too distant future.

  7. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    True, the Tablet has been around for a while. The paper once lamented the introduction of the now former vernacular translation. Interestingly, the editors of the Tablet in 1967 would partner with today’s supporters of the more faithful ICEL translation. Just look at the Tablet’s editorial “Lingua Deserta” (12/2/67) wherein the former Tablet editors accuse the former incarnation of ICEL of “desacralization” & for mutilating the Roman canon “beyond recognition”. It is also true that many luminaries of the V2 era were published in the Tablet. Duncan Cloud, lecturer Leicester University and member of the bishop’s translation committee had an editorial also in 1967 where he accused ICEL of “cartoon-caption prose”. Ironic to see that kind of vituperative directed toward ICEL and from an expert. Not much has changed it seems.
    By the way, have you not noticed any members of the hierarchy contributing to the Herald?

  8. Brendan Kelleher svd Avatar
    Brendan Kelleher svd

    Not sure which of Mr McKernan’s remarks to comment on, and which to ignore.
    The Tablet was founded in 1840, and its current board of directors has among its members three with Papal awards, a sign that their service to the Church is held in positive regard in Rome.
    The post-Vatican II Roman Missal wasn’t formerly promulagated till 1970. All previous translations were necessarily provisional. To hand I have a copy of “The New Holy Week Book”, published by Burns and Oates in 1966; it was of course provisional. The text of the Mass comes from the Canon J.B. O’Connell and H.P.R. Finberg, “Roman Missal”, published in the late 1940’s. Canon “J.B.”, whom I had the privilege of serving Mass for, was a Council peritus and one of the most respected Liturgists/Latinists of his generation. Comments re 1967 translations are really not applicable to the present discussion.
    I used have used the predecessor to the present translation since ordination in 1975, and found it inadequate, failing to reflect the Latin of the editio typica, and even banal in places. One of my major problems with the RM3 translation now in used is its failure to recognize the pastoral needs that are present when we have so many varieties of English in the world today. Much of its language goes right over the heads of the congregation I work with. Confreres who work with the Filipino migrant worker community have an even bigger problem.
    Yes, I am aware of members of the English and Welsh, and also of the Scottish hierachies who write for the Catholic Herald. My point was that The Tablet, in its present incarnation, still has significant support from the Bishops of the UK. The Tablet and the NCReporter serve readerships that may share common opinions on some issues, but to consider them equivalent, as representing a liberal, progressive minority that is out of tune with their respective hierarchies and the Magisterium would require more substantative evidence.
    Its survey certainly seems to reflect what I hear from various UK contacts I…

  9. John Gaffney Avatar
    John Gaffney

    I don’t The new orations work at all when they are spoken. When they are sung they come alive and are easier to comprehend.

  10. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

    I can’t speak for places outside the USA but a poll in this country and interpreting it has to take into account the region where people live. A poll taken in Richmond, Virginia is going to be very different than one taken in Raleigh, North Carolina or Charleston, South Carolina or Augusta, Georgia. The politics of the region has to be taken into account also in the secular and religious sense.
    I can only speak for Georgia and the two dioceses here, but I see no outright rebellion against the new translation. If there is consternation, like the poll above points out, it usually is quite clericalist and the clericalist mentality tries very hard to persuade their constituents into the direction of their negative evaluation and thinking. Hopefully this type of clericalism is dying. In those parishes where there is a positive attitude by the clergy and religious but also acknowledging certain deficits with a critical eye, guess what? the laity are positive too, the converse is true too when the religious leaders are so negative. Just read this blog’s comments and Chant Cafe’s comments when it comes to the new translation and you understand what I am writing.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      I agree with Fr. Allen that there isnt “outright” rebellion – but nor has anyone claimed there is.

      I totally reject trying to pin the label “clericalist” on what is, simply put, the views of clergy. They too are members of the Church, and they too can have an opinion. They don’t like this translation, much more strongly than laity don’t like it. That isn’t clericalism. Quite the contrary, it reflects the fact (in some ways unfortunate, in some ways inevitable) that clergy are more engaged with the texts and the liturgy than the laity are. The more one engages the new Missal, the less one likes it.

      It’s out of line to call clergy’s views “clericalist” when you don’t like those views, but then when clergy are pushing an agenda you like, to say that’s their role and good leadership. Let’s just listen to clergy and hear why so many of them don’t like this translation.


      1. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #14:
        The more some priests (not all) engage the liturgy the more they like it, can also be said and put more positively.

  11. Thomas Dalby Avatar
    Thomas Dalby

    The Tablet re-started the poll more than once because there were a large number of errors in the questions, which often misquoted the new translation (“And with *thy* spirit”, for example): the earlier responses being lost each time that they re-phrased the poll. The later versions of the poll required a valid email address to prevent put paid to a “vote early vote often” strategy.

  12. Robert Dueweke OSA Avatar

    As I read these comments, and as one of the clergy, I ask myself if progressives and revisionists will ever be able to worship at the same altar again. A wedge is driven between the two communities. Catholic unity is at stake.

  13. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Divine Word Fr. Kelleher wrote that “Comments re 1967 translations are really not applicable to the present discussion.”

    In one sense they are because we often hear that the main objection to the new translation was the process not necessarily the result. The problem with that view is that Roman control of the process was always present though not always obvious & occasionally reticent. This is evidenced by Rome’s rejection of ICEL’s early work & the ordination rites. As has been pointed out on PT before, ICEL did not always respond well to criticism. ICEL’s John Page was reported to have said that after ICEL’s original translation of the English Roman canon was rejected by Rome a “slightly different” version was submitted to the bishops in 1968 (“Shaping English Liturgy,” 474). Given the level of criticism of the new English canon in 1967’s Tablet and elsewhere and given subsequent events, it is unfortunate that ICEL was not more cautious in its early days. ICEL seemed to see itself as an agent of reform that went beyond simple translation. For example, ICEL’s Ralph Keifer did not seem to like the Roman Mass’ Entrance Rites in 1974 (Worship: “The Unreformed Entrance Rite”). Years later, we see that ICEL went ahead, seemingly on its own authority, to modify the rubrics so as to make the Entrance Rites optional in its 1998 translation. I’ve never understood how changing the rubrics outright could ever be called a translation of them.
    Re. the Tablet: +Alan Hopes publicly criticised the Tablet in 2009 for its reporting on ++NIchols and a liturgical conference he sponsored. Given our own discussion of this poll it is instructive that +Hopes was seemingly dismissive of the Tablet’s understanding of liturgy. This suggests to me that the journal’s relationship with the hierarchy is strained.

    1. John Robert Francis Avatar
      John Robert Francis

      @Daniel McKernan – comment #16:
      I have before me “Shaping English Liturgy,” and it is opened to page 474. John Page (“it is reported”) says nothing there about the 1967 INTERIM (for study and comment by the conferences) text of the Roman Canon’s having been rejected by the Holy See.

      For those who did not live through the period of the late 1960s, early 1970s, I would caution that the biased histories provided by ADOREMUS have limited value.

      1. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @John Robert Francis – comment #19:
        Thanks, JRF….it is helpful to keep the historical record intact. Again, it pays to go back to primary sources, timelines, notes and not just copy/paste tertiary or advocacy comments that may or may not reflect actual historical facts.

        On the other PTB post, we have a repeat of this:

        Bill deHaas, #51: You cite the ordination ritual – again, this could have been resolved within the ICEL/ICET structure…

        “Yet, it was not, mainly because I think Rome had totally lost confidence in the ability of ICEL to produce faithful and Catholic translations. An illustrative extract from Cardinal Medina’s letter of 26 Oct 1999 to Bishop Taylor
        “In seeking to fulfill its mandate of ensuring that translations accurately and fully convey the content of the original texts, the Dicastery [CDW] for a number of years now has communicated its concerns regarding an undue autonomy that has been observed in the translations prepared by the Mixed Commission. These observations have often been countered with unfounded charges of personal grudges and hostility to the Commission. In reality, the lack of response to the Holy See’s stated concerns on the part of those who have effectively had in hand the work of the Commission has often hampered and delayed the Congregation’s work to a notable degree, also occasioning a disproportionate commitment of its resources.”

        And this lack of confidence in ICEL didn’t come out of nowhere. I mentioned Vicesimus quintus annus earlier; section 20 says that “[t]he time has come to evaluate this commission [for translation; e.g. ICEL, et al], its past activity, both the positive and negative aspects, and the guidelines and the help which is has received from the bishops’ conference regarding its composition and activity.” If ICEL and certain bishops were hoping they could ignore this and that the Holy See would just leave them to it (as seems to have been largely the case in the 1970s and 80s), it is hardly the CDW’s fault if they were mistaken!”

        Would suggest that this is a sweeping generalization that is not based upon facts. It also continues the issue that CDW subverted SC’s call that episcopal conferences developed, decided, approved translations. (this reality appears to be ignored; rather, the fall back is to believe that any curial office with or without papal comment, can make decisions that overrule a council.) And I am not going to the extreme of *conciliarism* – rather, the collegial goals of VII that the *minority* worked to subvert even before VII ended.

        Also, 25th SC anniversary from JPII’s Apostolic Letter (not sure that this is a high level papal decision/direction on par with an encyclical?) The commenter cites #20 from this letter:

        Here is what is written:

        “20. The Bishops’ Conferences have had the weighty responsibility of preparing the translations of the liturgical books. (87) Immediate need occasionally led to the use of provisional translations, approved ad interim. But now the time has come to reflect upon a certain difficulties that have subsequently emerged, to remedy certain defects or inaccuracies, to complete partial translations, to compose or approve chants to be used in the Liturgy, to ensure respect for the texts approved and lastly to publish liturgical books in a form that both testifies to the stability achieved and is worthy of the mysteries being celebrated.

        For the work of translation, as well as for the wider implications of liturgical renewal for whole countries, each bishops’ conference was required to establish a national commission and ensure the collaboration of experts in the various sectors of liturgical science and pastoral practice. (88) The time has come to evaluate this commission, its past activity, both the positive and negative aspects, and the guidelines and the help which is has received from the bishops’ conference regarding its composition and activity. The role of this commission is much more delicate when the conference wishes to introduce measures of adaptation or inculturation: (89) this is one reason for making sure that the commission contains people who are truly competent.”

        Commenter presumes that JPII is directing his general statement to ICEL? But, that isn’t what this apostolic letter states – it is addressed to all epsicopal conferences and all major language groups that had commissions. Subsequently, it appears that the CDW only audited ICEL? Why? And my comments had to do with the CDW process – again, no dialogue with ICEL (despite what commenter thinks); changed process/rules in secret (is this what JPII’s Apostolic Letter encouraged?)
        Sorry – there is much to be desired in terms of the internal church politics and its impact of the church’s worship.

      2. Matthew Hazell Avatar
        Matthew Hazell

        @Bill deHaas – comment #22: Commenter presumes that JPII is directing his general statement to ICEL? But, that isn’t what this apostolic letter states – it is addressed to all epsicopal conferences and all major language groups that had commissions.

        Yes, of course it is. Hence why I put e.g. ICEL, et al. I also have a name, by the way; I appreciate your effort to put me in my place with the impersonal term “commenter”, but, really, it’s not necessary. 🙂

        As far as going back to primary sources, etc., that is what myself and Daniel McKernan are doing. Hence my citations of letters between the CDW and ICEL, for example. You may like to interpret the primary sources differently, but I don’t think it’s fair to dismissively brush others aside with accusations of “advocacy” and “cut/paste”.

        And insofar as your claim that the “CDW subverted SC’s call that episcopal conferences developed, decided, approved translations”, well, that’s not quite what SC 22 and 36.3 say, nor is it what subsequent legislation says.

        Re. the Tablet survey – it is what it is: another non-scientific, self-selecting survey which is no real use or help to anyone. Some people like the new translation, some people don’t. And is it really a surprise that people who are attached to the EF (who probably don’t read the Tablet) like the new translation more than the Tablet’s general readership?

      3. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Matthew Hazell – comment #23:
        Mr. Hazell – my comment was a response to JRF. Did not specifically name you because others have raised objections to that.

        You mention that you and Mr. McKernan are using primary sources. Where?
        I replied to JRF because he mentioned that he was looking directly at “Shaping English Liturgy”, pg. 474 and appears to contradict the conclusions that you and Mr. McKernan have arrived at?
        I do not have either that book nor primary correspondence in front of me currently (but it appears JRF does). The book is not primary correspondence – do you, for a fact, know exactly what Bishop Taylor wrote in reply to Medina? Do you know how much back and forth there was – you mention over a couple of years – that could be lots of correspondence?

        Finally – you say: “… And insofar as your claim that the “CDW subverted SC’s call that episcopal conferences developed, decided, approved translations”, well, that’s not quite what SC 22 and 36.3 say, nor is it what subsequent legislation says”

        As PTB has posted repeatedly, the interpretation of this is open for discussion but the facts clearly indicate that later curial and papal interventions esp. Medina radically changed the translation approval/recognition process.You can spin or justify it any way you want but that is the historical record. (and as Fr. Ruff says, a pope can do anything he wants, I guess, but is it the wise and prudent thing to do?)

        As JRF stated about Adoremus – appears that the two of you are quoting from things such as:

        Example of biased statement in Adoremus:

        “Dr. Henderson’s general orientation on issues can perhaps best be summarized by the following sentence: “The Holy Spirit has been rediscovered in Western theology,and it is now appreciated that our tradition has applied both feminine gender and feminine images to the Spirit”.

        Whose tradition, one might well ask? “Applied” by whom? “Appreciated” by whom? How — one might equally well wonder — can “feminine gender and feminine images” be predicated of the Spirit that “came upon” Mary (Lk 1:35) in order that she might conceive?

        It is most disconcerting that such a basic misunderstanding of the Christian revelation could be held by a “liturgical expert” who is an integral part of the team placed in charge of the translation of the official texts of the Church’s worship. It is true that Dr. Henderson wrote this particular sentence concerning the supposed “feminine gender and feminine images” that could be applied to the Holy Spirit years before the Holy See expressly excluded precisely such ideas in one of its Norms for translation. Nevertheless, it is still disturbing — and it shows why the Norms were necessary.”

        Again, example of ignoring long church traditions in theology, liturgy, and spirituality in terms of gender language; it continues the mantra of passing judgment by use of rules that were written after the fact (and were changes to decades of practice).

  14. Philip Sandstrom Avatar
    Philip Sandstrom

    For the clergy who actually are the ones using the new Roman Missal, it is not just the ‘translations’ that are the problem but the general arrangement of the book itself. Its complexity (eg putting the 3rd form of the Penitential Rite in an ‘appendix’ at the back of the book and the complexity of the general layout of the printed pages) indicates that it was organized by people who were not thinking about using the book themselves. The ‘arrangement’ pushes the ‘busy &/or unthinking’ clergy into using a ritual format which is much less flexible than it is supposed to be.

  15. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    The Tablet reported on 21 May 2011 that a clericalist mindset was behind the Reform of the Reform movement in the Church. Fr. Ruff’s point that the clergy have opinions and that people tend to shout “clericalism” about actions they dislike is a valid one. The fact that so many clergy in this self-selecting poll do not prefer the new translation may also suggest a discomfort with change, old habits difficult to discard, the practical difficulties associated with moving from one prayer to another even after one may have long ago memorized the older prayer. Some of this may even be associated with age.
    When considering the level of engagement priests must have with the prayers/chants it would be helpful to break the data down much further. Differentiate the reaction of older and younger priests so that we can more clearly recognize where the discomfort originates. Distinguish diocesan clergy from religious, diocese from diocese, religious order from religious order, abbey from abbey, etc ….

  16. Brigid Rauch Avatar
    Brigid Rauch

    Ultimately, the only poll that matters is the one people take with their feet. Unfortunately, because so many other factors are involved, I doubt we will ever be able to tease out the full effect of the new translation on numbers or participation.

  17. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    These are some my lay opinions, if anyone cares.

    After a year and a half, I’m split on the benefits of the new translation, primarily because the comfortable and familiar rhythm of the old translation has been interrupted and no new rhythm has been recovered- or, if it has, it is not yet familiar.
    Where memory is the essence of the sacred, tinkering and “updating” in an overly notable way is always a disenchanting experience. It’s sad for me I will never hear the Gloria sung as I grew up with again. The tones and melodies of my first masses are gone.
    Two midnight Christmas Eve masses since RM 3, which I have been going to for years, felt markedly stilted at the praying of the Roman canon– a rather important moment. The “sursum corda” never feels the same anymore. Not that priests were generally singing it anyways, but when we do sing it, the “dignum et iustum est” seems to have permanently thrown people off. It’s really too bad we didn’t get “it is meet and right so to do”.

    “Chalice” remains jarring, as does “the light of your face” (why not “light of your countenance?) and I feel something was lost in the more literal move changing “having gone to sleep in the hope of rising again”.
    Most of all, it’s the translation of whatever we call the part that follows the Our Father that I miss the most (Libera nos?). The old translation, “deliver us, O Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, in your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety…” was succinct and eminently prayable. I’ve had to resort to praying it on my own to stop from forgetting it. That’s why I think it was highly irresponsible of the committees to issuee a provisional translation and let it remain for so long (40 years!?). The sacred and holy is that which is without change. While I acknowledge that changes in the liturgy are sometimes necessary, I think the *ideal* should be that the Mass one is born in is the same as the Mass one will die in. One has no such assurance in the Catholic Church.

    1. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
      Jordan Zarembo

      @Jordan DeJonge – comment #24:

      Thomas Cranmer followed Latin syntax into English by translating dignum et iustum est as “it is meet and right so to do”. In Latin, the infinitive is the substitute nominative for the gerund declension. “to do” is the appositive for “it”. This is practically a defunct construction in English, but not for Latin. Compare Cranmer’s use with the opening line of Hamlet’s soliloquy.

      As much as I have a very great fondness for the Prayer Book, many of the constructions (such as obsolete prepositional word order) render it very difficult for many to understand. I’m glad at least that the translators of the new English missal didn’t try to imitate some of the more technically difficult aspects of Cranmer’s prose. The outcome would be unfortunate, to say the least.

      1. Jonathan Day Avatar
        Jonathan Day

        @Jordan Zarembo – comment #26:
        “It is meet and right so to do”:
        Pronoun + be + description + infinitive

        “It is right to give him thanks and praise”:
        Pronoun + be + description + infinitive

        So perhaps the ICEL’73 translators were channelling Cranmer!

      2. M. Jackson Osborn Avatar
        M. Jackson Osborn

        @Jordan Zarembo – comment #26:
        Why would the outcome have been unfortunate? You are commenting not on the New Translation, an effort at which the authors merely bit off more than they could chew: you are asserting that an unparalleled example of heiratic English would be an unfortunate experience for modern worshippers! I and all my Anglican Use brethren would beg to differ with you. So, that leaves non-Anglican Use Catholics. Why they would find it strange is beyond my powers of comprehension. It is plain to me that when people feign that they can’t understand it that what they really are saying is that they don’t like it because it doesn’t sound like televisionese or parish hall chatter. If Tudor pronouns and verb forms are (astonishingly) incomprehensible to these facetious souls then substitute poetic modern equivalents. But as for syntax and grace, cadence, depth, and imagery? There is something insistently deceptive and deliberately less than pedestrian about those who would fain have us believe that it’s not intelligible.

        At least the authors of the New Translation, while they bit off more than they could chew, in contra-distinction to the authors of the purposely denuded previous translation, gave us more to chew on. We are thus better off, which is both meet and seemly. It is also right and just.

        It is, also, interesting that a number of the above comments suggest that when this (or other) polls show a majority in favour of the New Translation the poll itself, if not the results, are said to have been skewed; but, when the results suggest that a when the majority dislikes the NT, the results are assumed to be accurate and genuine. (I do not, of course, mean to suggest even obliquely that any subjective bias is at work here!)

      3. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
        Jordan Zarembo

        @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #32:

        MJO, Thomas Cranmer’s liturgies were not only the work of an extremely gifted translator but also the product of a intensely creative period in the history of England and the English language. As a liturgical monument I hold the Prayer Book second in my heart only to the 1570 Missal.

        Very recently I criticized Pope Paul VI as a shepherd who willfully dismissed his “Latin flock”. I struggle gravely with his decision. Did Pope Paul just consider the small number of Latin-literate faithful as collateral damage which must be sustained for the progress of reform, or did he believe that the Latin liturgical faithful would mend their pain through charity towards their brothers and sisters who would greatly benefit from reform? I must believe the latter. The Collect for Purity instructs wisely: “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy Name”.

        A “tudorization” of any English translation would be a grave mistake, simply because no Cranmer lives to direct the work to literary genius. Instead, if many wish for the Sacramentary, then perhaps this is most appropriate translation. This must be respected even if some, including myself, consider this translation to be another burden to bear. Despite great reluctance, this is the time to shed the second tunic.

    2. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      @Jordan DeJonge – comment #24:
      I agree that “chalice” is the biggest clunker in the Ordo. Its prissiness sticks out like a sore thumb.

      1. M. Jackson Osborn Avatar
        M. Jackson Osborn

        @Karl Liam Saur – comment #33:
        It doesn’t at all seem prissy to me. It’s not a prissy word. It is a rather strong word. I do agree, however, that it doesn’t seem really to integrate well into the rhythm of the sentence in which it is used, nor does it seem to have the pungency of ‘cup’. But, I do not object to it on any other grounds.

      2. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #35:

        It may not seem prissy to you, MJO, but it is nevertheless a mistranslation, as many have pointed out, produced by people who do not, quite frankly, understand the subtleties of language.

  18. Fr. John Whelan Avatar
    Fr. John Whelan

    So that’s what? Four surveys now?

    US Catholic – 1200+ priests, mostly negative
    CARA – 1000+, mostly positive
    Portsmouth diocese – 300+, mostly negative
    The Tablet – 6000+, evenly divided

    It looks there there’s still no clear picture emerging (and what about the Irish, Australian etc surveys?). The American CARA study seems to be the most scientifically rigorous one, but it’s just one survey in a huge and diverse country in which (as Fr Allen pointed out) attitudes can be expected to vary enormously.

    The problem is that any survey which is not rigorously administered will suffer from self-selection and sampling biases and will be open to poll-pumping. Progressives who are critical of the new translation and conservatives who can’t get enough of it will each have their own motivations to respond, which won’t reflect the broad middle ground of the people in the pews. Do folk who respond to online surveys on the liturgy, or spend their time visiting Catholic websites generally, really represent a cross section of practising Catholics? I doubt it.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      Fr. John makes very good points. Note that The Tablet is evenly divided for laity, but not for priests and religious, who mostly reject the new text.
      I would only add this: CARA – the most scientific of these – still had 30% negative response, which is quite a bit. And the question was not a very good one to get an accurate reading, it was worded to encourage a positive response. And it did not ask for priests’ responses, which I suspect are more negative than laity.
      So we don’t have any study yet that shows very much enthusiasm for the new missal, and some that show real negativity around it.

  19. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Re. the ICEL 1967 Roman canon Paul I reminded PT readers on July 20, 2010 that “… in 1968, a revised version (of the canon) was sent to the bishops, and a further small revision was carried out in the same year….” Paul seems to suggest that there were at least two revisions of the 1967 canon after its publication for public use. We get an allusion to the Holy See’s role from ++Gordon Gray & ++George Dwyer’s preface to the “Roman Canon in English Translation” (ICEL 1967) where they state that “(this 1967 translation) has been approved by almost all the Episcopal Conferences of the English-speaking world as a translation…suitable for public recitation”. Notice this version is not only for study and comment but also for public use during holy Mass. The bishop goes on to say in the same introduction
    “(d)irectives from Rome may require some modifications (of the 1967 text) at a later date…”. Subsequent events would seem to support the contention that the two revisions in 1968 mentioned above were done at least in part at Rome’s request and the bishops expected it might happen. The two bishops’ recognition that Rome might issue additional “directives” that would require changes to the already conference approved translation is instructive.

  20. John Robert Francis Avatar
    John Robert Francis

    First, the 1967 translation of the Roman Canon was approved by the conferences ad interim. It was not considered a final text by the conferences.

    Second, the difference between 1967-69 and 1997-2002 was that Rome was open to DIALOGUE with the Anglophone conferences and THEIR joint commission. In the earlier instance, compromise was achieved, with some accommodation on both sides. In the end, the ICEL translation of Eucharistic Prayer I was approved by each of the member conferences in 1968- 1969, and the Roman recognitio was given to each of the conferences’ SEPARATE canonical decisions.

    Third, this model of fraternal interchange continued for thirty years. Notably, there were discussions between Rome and the Anglophone conferences over Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum in the early 1980s and The Order of Christian Funerals late in the same decade. After correspondence and face-to-face meetings, both texts were allowed to stand as prepared by ICEL, with some modifications.

    Fourth, in the late 1990s, however, Cardinal Medina substituted peremptory and insulting letters for cordial, and indeed Christian, conversation. Nonetheless, in denying the recognitio to the 1998 Missal early in 2002, the CDWDS did acknowledge that there was much in the 1998 text that provided a solid basis for an eventual agreement. This seemed a promising opening on the part of the Cardinal Prefect. But this was never followed up on. Instead the whole work was begun all over again. And at what a cost!

  21. Todd Flowerday Avatar

    Not only is chalice a clunker, but they didn’t even bother to stick it to the people in the mystery of faith. they left the “cup” on the altar.

  22. Jack Feehily Avatar
    Jack Feehily

    I have been praying the Mass from the sacramentary since my ordination in 1973. Neither I, nor my bishop, nor any of the people whom I serve asked for this translation. Many of us, however, were quite involved with the consultation conducted over many years which we were told would result in an improved translation. When Cdl. Medina exercised the coup which led to the demise of both ICEL and Comme le Prevoit those hopes were dashed. The bishops, though bound by their loyalty to the Holy See, along with many counterparts in English speaking countries, made valiant efforts to delay the LA guided translation until the word came down through Cdl. George and others that this is what Rome wanted. Period. End of delays. Comments in this forum confirm that RM3 has ardent supporters. But I can tell you that I have not heard a single priest in my diocese speak openly about liking it. The idea that I should have to study the texts so that I can pray them well or have to catechize the people so they better comprehend them is absurd. I have no way of knowing how many priest may resonate with my views, but I do know that there are lots of priests who put more faith in Our Lord and his priestly people than in those who have imposed this on us. As for the laity, the ones left after the scandals include many who may be suffering from a version of the Stockholm syndrome.

    1. M. Jackson Osborn Avatar
      M. Jackson Osborn

      @Jack Feehily – comment #37:
      I disagree profoundly with your assertion as to the absurdity of ‘having to’ (as though it were an onerous burden) study the ritual texts of the mass in order to do them justice, and that of engaging your flock in an enriching catechesis regarding their content. The liturgy, be it the rite of St John Chrysostum, the Book of Common Prayer, or any of the various ‘uses’ of the Roman rite, is a treasury of spiritual richness which will inescapably elude any, lay or clerk, who want merely to walk into their churches and be able unchallenged to dribble over a text which offers nothing that demands to be thought about twice or doesn’t invite, nay, demand, one’s wondering mind to plumb its depths. I have been worshiping by means of the BCP’s language all my life, first as an Anglican and now as an Anglican Use Catholic, and continue to discover new riches (just as in a great symphony or painting) every time I am blessed to enter into its world of God’s ineffable majesty and boundless love. This is the opposite of the seventy-three, which never failed to non-plus me with its infantile syntax and insulting nudity of thought, imagery, subtlety or nuance, or poetic content. Further, if we had got the much-mourned ninety-eight, I, as a ‘layman’, would be not a whit better off. Too, many of us know more about the liturgy , and care far more about it, than a great many priests: so, I would also challenge any suggestion that priests are inherently more qualified to make respectable judgments about it. My impression is that those in and out of holy orders who don’t like the new translation are really just peeved that it is more complicated than a third grade primer or an eighth grade text book. They are irked that this most sacred of acts might require some study, preparation and respect.

      (I read somewhere [it may have been on Pray Tell] that J.R.R. Tolkein had been asked to provide the English translation of the mass but declined to do so because he didn’t want the mass to be in any other language than Latin. Attitudes such as this are unfortunate and have cost the Church dearly. Can’t you just imagine that such a translation would have invited study and effort to enjoy its riches, and would have taught deep mysteries, revealed both the otherness and nearness of God in a most pleasing manner; all would have revelled in its challenges without feeling ‘catechised’.)

  23. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

    As one who has always liked the vernacular liturgy, old and new, in fact moving from a Latin liturgy to a vernacular one has been very divisive apart from the revision of the Order of Mass and any other ancillary items. At least when the Liturgy was in Latin, people had a variety of translations to choose from for their personal missal. There’s no reason, even with the new English translation, for people not to have a missal that has their favorite translation or one they make up for themselves.

    1. Bill deHaas Avatar
      Bill deHaas

      @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #39:
      Allan – per you, “At least when the Liturgy was in Latin, people had a variety of translations to choose from for their personal missal. There’s no reason, even with the new English translation, for people not to have a missal that has their favorite translation or one they make up for themselves.”

      As usual, you miss the very point that the council fathers tried to address and reform. Liturgy is not an event where we each individually choose how and what we pray – we pray the eucharist; we don’t pray at the eucharist. And so, you distort the penultimate goal of SC – full, complete, and active participation in the eucharist. (for what – so each person can choose a translation that fits their individuality?)

      1. Fr. Allan. McDonald Avatar

        @Bill deHaas – comment #40:
        It seems you should direct your words to those who are priests and make it up as they go or adjust as they celebrate the Mass or use the 1973 or 98 translations thus forcing those who want the Church’s official translation to follow it in their missals precisely because of what you quote about participation as communal not individual or do you give a pass to priests who use their own personal translation but not to the laity? I detect a flaw in logic in your dogmatic interpretation of SC.

      2. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #43:
        Allan & JP – let’s not get ridiculous here in trying to *score points.*

        My point about *pray the eucharist; not pray AT the eucharist” has little to do with either of your responses (reacting by citing those who may or may not slavishly follow the missal, GIRM, etc. – so, you choose to question my point by highlightiing exceptions, those who revise arbitrarilly, etc. Another logical fallacy (e.g. red herring, appeal to emotion, etc.) – dispute by arguing side issues or irregularities that may or may not exist. Really?)

        Would question both your premises and approach:
        – liturgy is not the slavish repitition of exact words, forms, etc. It is a community’s action in faith
        – don’t go to liturgy to find errors; to play at being the Temple Police
        – expect that presiders/DMs, etc. follow SC and may make revisions, choices, etc. based upon their experience, expertise, and concern that it supports and builds up the communal prayer
        – your comments betray a type of legalism that SC was trying to reform (SC and VII delibarately moved away from applying terms such as *licit*; *validity*, etc. You betray your attachment to Scholasticism.

        Stand by my statement in #42 – it is accurate and captures the intent of SC. You twist what I have said by assuming that my words give presiders a *pass* – I did not say that nor is that reflected in what I said. It is a poor attempt to skew what I have said.
        Actually, the flaw in logic is your approach which is truly *dogmatic*; rigid; and ideological.

        And really, JP, do you want to echo Allan’s written words and opinions as found here:

        Money quotes:
        – ‘I was in the seminary between 1976 and 1980. Yes the academic theologians of that day starting presenting themselves as the “parallel Magisterium” that Pope Paul VI described and they did so proudly as the “loyal opposition!” In terms of experiementation with liturgy and church structures, indeed, this was allowed by the Magisterium and the pope, although I think Paul VI later came to regret his liberalism in this regard. Like Joseph Ratzinger who embraced the Council and some of its modern “spirit” he and Pope Paul VI quickly became very disillusioned with what was happening that the Council Father’s never foresaw, yet Pandora’s Box had been opened by them or the toothpaste was out and shoving it back in and closing a door that was too heavy and doing so quickly were not options.”
        – “The new clericalism or clericalist mentality is to be found primarily in progressive clergy and religious and to question them is forbidden as is calling them out in their clericalism. If you do, they will come down on you hard, harder than any pope or bishop would do in the legitimate sense. Look at rebel clergy groups in Ireland and Australia, men who have taken vows or promises of obedience to their bishop, who himself has taken a vow of obedience to the pope and see how they disobey and try as hard as they can to take others with them and in the most public way. If this isn’t clericalism coupled with modernism, I don’t know what is!”

        As a recent US theologian stated responding to Fr. Z – *…allow me to reply to this dribble”
        Yes, let’s all fear the *new modernism* Really? and how did the last fling with anti-modernism turn out? Oh yeah, subsequent popes abrogated anti-modernism; invited some to be at Vatican II where they led the council in its thoughts, deliberations, and eventual outcomes.

      3. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

        @Bill deHaas – comment #54:
        You pretty well some up it up and bring double speak (write) to a new level.

      4. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #55:
        Allan – when #54 clears moderation, you will find examples of true *double speak* – (yours BTW)

        And your latest howler:

        Really – “This book will become standard reading in seminaries. It will help to foster a greater use of Latin, and hasten the “reform of the reform”; it will be quoted and studied and used in debates and discussions and arguments. Over the next couple of decades, the 1970s-style liturgies will slither away; already the whole tone and mood of any discussion about liturgy reflects more and more the message of the then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy and the fresh interest in historical accuracy and the notion of an authentic attitude toward what liturgy really is.”

      5. Father Allan J. McDonald Avatar
        Father Allan J. McDonald

        @Bill deHaas – comment #57:
        You make it sound like you are quoting me rather than the woman who wrote the article, tisk, tisk, and when all else fails divert attention from your infelicities to my blog, interesting way to use diversionary tactics which you do so well. 🙂

      6. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #59:
        Still waiting for you to point out my *double speak*? Divert attention – pale before your excellency.
        Same request above – address my criticisms or opinions; don’t change the subject e.g. presiders who don’t rigidly follow the GIRM/Missal; or doubling down on JP’s *unity or uniformity* (not sure what he meant other than trying to borrow this phrase and apply it to the issue being discussed.

        Pretty sure that thinking eucharist is a communal action (not folks praying from different missals, etc.) has much to do with unity or uniformity. Think that was the point of SC – unity even among diversity (not sure they intended diversity to mean use of multiple missals. Do think they encouraged enculturation and thus use of multiple languages for pastoral need and reasons. That is also an example of unity.

        Uniformity – best defines your example of the rigid application of legalism, etc.

      7. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

        @Bill deHaas – comment #62:
        Bill, I’m sure you must have had some pastoral theology over the years which can never be dogmatized but generalized to those who need a translation of the Mass that they like. When the Mass was in Latin, all were praying the Latin Mass as represented by the priest and the laity who had translations of it and they could pick and choose missals with various English translations, some more eloquent, some more banal and some in between. It was their business but they were in a communal celebration. It appears from reading the few here who don’t like the new English translation that they should bring their own translation, whichever they like, and follow it or bring a Latin translation and follow that–I doubt many will do it but some might.
        The more serious infraction of the unity you seem to want from the Sacred Assembly is when priests act in an “individualistic” way and force an entire congregation into his particular translation, whether that be an ad libbed one or the 1973 one or the 1998 one. Congregationalism and its individual counterpart, individualism are the antithesis of Catholicism.

        So I ask you to be consistent, if you don’t want people having various translations of the Mass during the liturgy fine. And the same then for priests and congregations. There is enough diversity in the reformed Mass without contriving more.

      8. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #64:
        Okay, get your point. But, you imply and go much farther than this.

        You state: “It was their business but they were in a communal celebration.”

        Again, studying the records, notes, and deliberations of the preparatory phase and actual sessions dealing with SC, many speakers and those who composed SC referenced or stated somethng similar to your sentence. But their conclusion which led to their reform action was the exact opposite of yours. They would agree that folks were in the same church and were physically at the same mass, but any similarities at that point cease. Their convictions were that participation had stopped – it was mere attendance with little attention (legal duty); with little commitment to the action; and where folks more and more sought out pieties, etc. during that time. In no way would they have described it as *communal* except in term of the same building and the same mass, period.

        You and I differ on *congregationalism* – IMO, EF, TLM, mixing up and even promoting inside language such as EF, OF, etc. is a form of congregationalism (whether technically valid/licit). As you say, there is enought diversity in our current eucharistic celebration without inventing new forms or one rite with two forms.

      9. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        @Bill deHaas – comment #54:
        I’m not interested in scoring points; I’m looking for consistency (rather than double standards) in making our arguments.

        Liturgy is not an event where we each individually choose how and what we pray

        You said this in the context of individual members of the laity having recourse to their own translations of a Latin prayer text. I expanded the context by including priests who deviate from the 2011 Missal for whatever reason, but this “has little to do with” your remark, you say. How about if I use the example (attested to on PTB and NCR) of members of the laity today who deviate from the 2011 Missal, sometimes to use the 1973 text, or sometimes to use a text of their own devising?

        These are not red herrings or appeals to emotion, and they certainly DO exist. If we’re looking for consistency and unity in the liturgical moment, let’s be thorough and acknowledge deviations from the ideal no matter what they are.

        You can generalize my remarks (or lump me in with Fr. Allan), but I disagree with your generalizations. I am not interested in slavish exactitude, temple policing, or scholastic legalism.

        (Instead of mentioning an attachment to scholasticism betrayed by my words, why not ask me if I’m attached to scholasticism? I frequently feel like you are trying to reduce my own position or arguments to one you’ve already sounded refuted and rejected, like I’m a math problem in need of simplifying.)

        (And Vatican II did use the words “licit” and “valid” in relation to the sacraments, as in OE 10, 13, 14, 18, 25, 27, and SC 11. But I don’t see why you’ve brought this up.)

        And no, Bill, I have no desire to echo or quote Fr. Allan’s opinions; I have my own. And, if I may speak honestly and passionately, your incessant brigade on PTB against him and his blog never fails to grate my nerves, regardless of whether I agree with him or with you on that particular issue. It lowers the quality of conversation here and makes me less inclined to participate.

      10. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #68:
        JP – you again make good points. Sorry, but do not agree with your insertion of presiders to the point I made. Understand that you think it has to do with consistency – I don’t just get that but okay – let’s agree that both examples are the same in the sense you indicate.

        Valid/licit – again, you come at one way; I come at another way. You feel I generalize or make you into a math problem – sorry, feel you do the same.

        Realize that you don’t like references to Allan – but, if I may speak honestly and passionately, if you are going to comment on this blog (whoever you are) and then go elsewhere to disparage, complain, or make ad hominems against PTB and its commenters; I, for one, am gong to highlight this – IMO, it is an issue of integrity and honesty. You don’t like this; fine, and your dislike, IMO, also never fails to grate my nerves.

        My approach is that ignoring or not replying to his dribble lowers the quality of the PTB conversation and makes me less inclined to participate.

        You have a tendency to echo or follow Allan’s retorts to me – this may just be circumstantial but understand where I am coming from.

      11. M. Jackson Osborn Avatar
        M. Jackson Osborn

        @Bill deHaas – comment #54:
        An accolade to you for pointing out the insidious and oppressive clericalism of the liberal and ‘progressive’ clergy and religious. You are spot on in your observations and comments. There is hardly anyone more intolerant of opposing views as liberals and their minions. Their equal, though, would be ultramontane and reactionary conservatives.

      12. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #73:

        MJO, not sure what you are saying. That the world’s bishops were insidious and oppressively clerical 40-something years ago? Surely not. They were in fact pastoral and wise, and willing to bend. Not so much these days, alas.

      13. M. Jackson Osborn Avatar
        M. Jackson Osborn

        @Paul Inwood – comment #76:
        I take your retort good spritedly. As to what I’m saying, it was meant to be an appreciation of what you said about some liberal minded clerks. Perhaps you did not mean what I thought you said.

        Regarding wisdom past or present: one may note that, at times, wisdom is rather like beauty; i.e., it may seem to be in the eye of the beholder. One person’s wisdom may be another’s folly. But, then, none of us would wish thus to imply that there is no objective wisdom or beauty, would one?

        I simply took your remarks to underscore that clericalism as such does not seem to have vanished with the passing of the pre-council world. Nor will it ever. The liberal-progressive priest is as likely as the arch-conservative one to act like and expect the obedience due to one who is of a superior caste whose voice is the voice of God. Such clericalism, regardless of its particular agenda, is far from a thing of the past. Nor is it likely ever to be.

        As for the wisdom of the council fathers, I question it less than many of its Robespierrian interpreters.

      14. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        @Bill deHaas – comment #40:
        Liturgy is not an event where we each individually choose how and what we pray

        And yet priests will deviate from the prayers as written, or use the 1998 translation… is this not a matter of each of these priests individually choosing how and what his whole congregation prays?

        Unity vs. uniformity. Is that what we hear repeatedly?

      15. Fr. Allan J. McDonald Avatar

        @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #46:
        Jeffrey, great minds think alike, please note a comment to Bill I made above, that was delayed in being posted as I used my new iPad mini to post it and accidentally didn’t fill out the information about myself exactly as it should have been.

  24. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Re. #29 JRF points out that 1967 was not considered to be a final text and this may well be true but we’ve been told many times that 1973 was also not considered to be a final text by ICEL and that work began on a new translation soon after its publication.

    I prefer the word “chalice” as it seems a better fit within our Roman tradition than “cup” and chalice is a translation of the word calix in every Latin/English dictionary I’ve seen. We’ve always called the vessel a “chalice” in the sacristy where they are always gold or silver, not pottery per our long tradition and R.S..
    The word “cup” does not seem suited to the consecration and appears to reflect a minimalist approach to the prayer to me. It seems minimalist because the Mass is not only a sacred meal, it is a Sacrafice. It is both a heavenly banquet & the offering of Christ on the cross. The word “chalice” better communicates this reality. Interestingly, the Calix Society, founded in the 1940s, titles their newsletter “The Chalice” not “The Cup”.

    BilldeH. seems to forget in his reply to Fr. Allen that SC did retain the Latin Mass suggesting that their vision of “full, complete, and active participation” was quite broad.

    1. Bill deHaas Avatar
      Bill deHaas

      @Daniel McKernan – comment #41:
      You say: “BilldeH. seems to forget in his reply to Fr. Allen that SC did retain the Latin Mass suggesting that their vision of “full, complete, and active participation” was quite broad.”

      Sorry, your statement is inaccurate in terms of what it implies. SC left it to Paul VI to implement via Consilium. Already before the end of VII, Consilium and episcopal conferences had begun to organize and begin the process of translation to vernaculars. (or to borrow from John O’Malley, SJ’s book – it described the latin paragraphs in SC and elsewhere in VII documents as *ambiguous* but that it quickly changed based upon the actual, lived experience of the episcopal conferences.)

      It would be more accurate to state it this way – Yes, SC/Consilium allowed latin (e.g. canons continued to be said in latin in the US until 1967) but fairly quickly, episcopal conferences begun to push for vernacular liturgies. SC/Consilium implemented the SC process which placed this responsibility and decision making (latin) upon conferences with Vatican recognition. When Paul VI authorized (in 1969) the 1973 Missal, he stated that the TLM was abrogated and praised the reformed, vernacular liturgy.

      Your statement implies something that was changed fairly quickly and one of the reasons for this change (vernacular) was because episcopal conferences, pastors, people of God experienced the vernacular in supporting full, complete, and active participation.

      Sorry, your opinion about chalice is just that – especially your characterization that *cup* is minimalist. And it is minimalist, per your description, based upon an incomplete understanding of *sacrifice*. Would suggest that the council fathers tried to move away from eucharist as *objects* and the use of overly Scholastic terminology and ressourced to scriptural & patristic language. Always amused when a footnote is a *society* or *club* rather than Vatican II Council.

      O’Malley’s new book on Trent has sections that show how that council reacted to the Reformation esp. some of the scripture translations that were characterized by excessively simple language – removal of any and all language that could be seen as triumphal, elevated, etc. (that is minimalist) Yet, part of this reaction were accumulations of accretions, triumphalism, etc. into the liturgy. SC ressourced and tried to reform these accretions. (ressourcing back to *cup* is an example of this attempt. It is also based upon historical-criticism methods of interpreting scripture.)

    2. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      SC didn’t quite retain the Latin Mass – it retained use of the Latin language, as of course we’ve seen it retained in various contexts since Vatican II. SC 113 says that “liturgical worship takes on a more dignified character when the rites are celebrated solemnly in song, with sacred ministers taking part and with the active participation of the people.” Note that an early draft had said that the noblest form of liturgy is the sung Latin form, but this was deleted from the final version.

      Stick with the facts, please, Daniel.


      1. Daniel McKernan Avatar
        Daniel McKernan

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #47:
        Fr. Ruff, SC did retain the “Latin Mass” if we mean by that title a Mass celebrated with Latin ordinaries. We don’t need to add the word “Latin” in 113 because we already have #s 34 and 54. It takes an act of the will to infer that removing the word Latin from the first draft demotes the use of Latin in SC.
        Don’t forget that SC was a document of the whole Church, East and West. Some portions of it are meant to apply to the Latin rite alone while others are broader so as to apply to the other sui iuris Churches. We know that V2 went to some trouble, including in SC, to speak to the other ritual Churches suggesting why “Latin” was removed from 113.

      2. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        No, Daniel, that’s not why they removed “Latin” from 113. You’re making things up.

        I’ve read all the commentaries, all the studies in various European languages, all the articles written by the people who drafted SC. I wrote a 700 page book on all this.

        They removed “Latin” because they specifically choose to say that the highest form of liturgy in the Roman rite is not Latin liturgy. The people involved in drafting told us what they did and why, and NEVER did anyone cite the East/West issue in the removal of “Latin” from 113. Nor did they need to, because provision was made for “mutatis mutandis” earlier in SC.

        The Latin language is retained, as I already said, and that is the meaning of 34 and 54. But “Latin high Mass” as the ideal was intentionally rejected by Vatican II.

        I treasure the Latin language, BTW, and I promote Latin chant all the time. But that doesn’t mean I misinterpret Vatican II to push my agenda.


      3. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #51:
        They removed “Latin” because they specifically choose to say that the highest form of liturgy in the Roman rite is not Latin liturgy.

        Well no, they could have said that, but they didn’t. That a document doesn’t endorse something doesn’t mean that that thing is “rejected.” It’s just not endorsed.

        And, while 113 doesn’t call Latin the highest form of liturgy in the Roman rite, it does in fact contain language that calls for the normative use of Latin as it incorporates by reference the norms in Art. 36, Art. 101, etc.

        113. Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.

        As regards the language to be used, the provisions of Art. 36 are to be observed; for the Mass, Art. 54; for the sacraments, Art. 63; for the divine office. Art. 101.

      4. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        SJH – Correct, that is what I was trying to say: Vatican II did not endorse the idea that Latin sung liturgy is highest form.
        I still think it’s significant that they were going to do so in earlier drafts, and consciously decided not to do so.

  25. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Bill deH.
    Your interpretation of SC seems highly subjective because little about SC is less ambiguous than its highly specific and rather pointed directive about the retention of Latin in our rite and the Council Fathers’ admonition that the people use the Latin ordinaries at Mass. I agree that Paul VI was charged with the implementation of SC and the rest of the council with the assistance of the Synod of Bishops and that his successors have continued to do the same. Paul VI was the pope who issued Iubilate Deo in 1974 in order to implement SC 54. I suggest that our pastoral neglect of V2 ‘s directive here is one reason why the reform of the reform is a necessity if we are serious about the implementation of the council.
    It is unfortunate that you missed the point of the footnote to the Calix Society Bill. The reference was within a context of the meaning of the word “calix” to the Catholic people. We could call it the sensus fidelium . Clearly the founders of the club’s journal could have translated the title of their journal as
    “cup” but they chose to translate it in a way that made sense to their members given the name of their organization, “chalice”. Your suggestion about what the council fathers, who celebrated the EF daily, were trying to move toward and from at the council is interesting and may be shared by others, but really speaks to your (and their) own personal piety, not to the council itself. There are several reference to the Council of Trent in SC alone including that Trent’s dogmatic principles remain intact in Vatican II’s SC. There seems to be a somewhat strained attempt to perceive rupture where rupture need not be found in your approach to V2. I can only imagine that if the council’s directives in SC retaining Latin were different, that is, if the council had said that the people should know how to sing or say in the vernacular the parts of the Mass that pertain to them …. Or if the council directed that vernacular hymnody, rather than Gregorian chant and polyphony, be given “pride of place you would be more quick to recognize a specific, pointed, direct, and clear admonition from the council.

    1. Bill deHaas Avatar
      Bill deHaas

      @Daniel McKernan – comment #49:
      Daniel – just refer to Fr. Ruff’s reply to you. Especially, ‘You’re making things up.” & “But that doesn’t mean I misinterpret Vatican II to push my agenda.”

      Specifically, you say:

      “…..assistance of the Synod of Bishops and that his successors have continued to do the same. Paul VI was the pope who issued Iubilate Deo in 1974 in order to implement SC 54.”
      – as many VII historians have noted and in the primary notes from participants, the Synod of Bishops was interjected by Paul VI (not something the council raised; And historically, the Synod as actual events, aborted the council’s *collegiality* directives;
      – Jubilate Deo – your view of this is skewed. It suggested and listed Gregorian Chant – to take this and make the application or sweeping generalizations you are is not supported by the facts

      Rupture – sorry, will just have to agree to disagree. Correct, per my study, do believe that there were changes, reform that, in some sense, were *ruptures* (but, let’s be honest, this is subjective and in the eyes of the beholder).

      The Calix Society is an organization founded in the 1940s which aims at addressing the particular spiritual needs of Catholics recovering from alcohol addiction. So, what is your point again on this? Do they have some type of *special* knowledge about scripture and translation that the church doesn’t have or ICEL, etc.? Really?

      1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        @Bill deHaas – comment #52:
        Jubilate Deo – your view of this is skewed

        Pope Paul VI’s intentions for Jubilate Deo are rather clearly spelled out in Voluntati Obsequens: “a desire which the Holy Father had frequently expressed, that all the faithful should know at least some Latin Gregorian chants”, “whose purpose is to facilitate the observance of the recommendation of the Second Vatican Council [SC 54]”, “the desire which he has often expressed that the Conciliar constitution on the liturgy be increasingly better implemented”, “You will thus be performing a new service for the Church in the domain of liturgical renewal.”

        I don’t know for sure what Daniel’s view on Jubilate Deo is, or to what complete purpose he mentioned it, but it seems to me that Pope Paul was attempting to have SC 54 better-implemented.

      2. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #53:
        Agree, JP ….we disagree on how Daniel used this and what he meant or the judgments he implied.

  26. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Re. comment #51:
    My thought on the journals, commentaries, and diaries mentioned is that, pastorally, it doesn’t matter what those who crafted the statements thought or wrote in their journals. It is the Council Fathers who voted on SC, not their advisors or the writers. The opinions of the experts only matter to the extent they were successful in inserting their objhectives into SC. Now if SC actually stated that “the highest form of liturgy in the Roman liturgy is not Latin liturgy” the conversation in the Church would be different and SC #113 would probably not go on to reference #36 or #54. The text does, however not say anything of that sort and it does go on to reference the passages in SC on the retention and use of Latin in our rite.
    I have no difficulty with the use of the vernacular by the way, I use it regularly and enjoy the new translation because the vernacular prayers are so rich and provide much room for meditation. I do not, however, see rupture in V2 where none need be found.
    Bill, I referenced Blessed Paul VI’s ID to point out that he was implementing V2 and that this implementation included addressing SC #35 & 54 and that the reform of the reform movement is doing the same, nothing more.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB


      Well then you’re saying that we should not attend to the context which created the documents, and ignore the reports of those (including voting bishops – they also were on the committees) on why and how the documents reached their final form. I totally reject this way of interpreting, it is totally inadequte and just plain wrong. But if you wish to (mis)interpret Vatican II in this, way, we can leave it at that and conclude this exchange.


  27. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    Todd Flowerday : As a piece of scientific research, very largely meaningless. As a window onto the people who are least inclined to pray the modern Roman Rite, they sure have strong opinions about something they reject. Advocacy for Norman French-derived vocabulary detached from good English grammar and usage: big thumbs up there from the Latinate crowd.

    Why shouldn’t they have strong opinions even if they “reject” the OF? Most EF advocates have to attend the English OF sometimes, especially if they live in an area where the clergy don’t like the EF and make it difficult to attend.

    At least it isn’t like the many critics of the EF who never have to attend it (accidentally attending one,or being left with no other choice, would likely be a once-in-a-lifetime thing).

  28. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    Since the original post was about the Tablet Survey on the new translation and there were some comments referencing or footnoting personal experience (esp. clerical), thought this link to a reflection by Brian Coyne on this week-end’s gospel and quoting from a section of a new book, “Dancing with the Devil” by an Australian retired judge, was interesting. It provides a cautionary tale:

    Key section:
    -“But Jack was also a man’s man. What endeared him to many of his colleagues was that he was anti-intellectual and aggressively reactionary. It was a popular stand among some of the clergy, especially the more senior ranks. Jack was a fully paid-up member of the old brigade, whose world was founded on blind loyalty, military obedience, on acceptance of simple dogmas and on an unquestioning faith in the Vatican, but not in the Second Vatican Council. There was no denying that in his own presbytery he was an affable and hospitable host.

    As we settled into our telephone conversation, Jack mounted his hobby horse and rode her with energy. He joined in the old clergy attack against “book-learning” and indulged in the senior parish priest’s defence, based on experience in the field. I sat with the blower to my ear, thinking my own thoughts, amazed by the vehemence of Abo’s outburst, wondering what on earth had set him off.

    They were all the same, clerical versions of Bruce Ruxton – Les Baggott, Bishops Bull Muldoon, Jimmy Carroll, Algie Thomas and Bishop Bill Murray – Abo Haseler and his push. They all presumed they had been blessed with the common touch and that they had their fingers on the pulse. They had the answers (all supplied years before in the seminary). But only a handful of their parishioners were asking the dusty questions for which they had the formula. Their clerical life had isolated them. The sweet, fawning talk of a coterie of their special parishioners had spoilt them.”

  29. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Mr. Howard, agreed, that is what I was saying in #58 above.

    Fr. Ruff re. comment #61, I do think historians may enjoy looking at those reports and other documents detailing how the actual docs. of V2 reached their final form. Pastorally, however, we should stick to the docs. as they appear since that is the council. A careful read of my comment in 58 will show that I was speaking pastorally not as a historian. I know you do not agree, but I do think I’m in good company as most here know that the late Fr. A. Dulles SJ took a similar view to the pages of America magazine.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      Dulles, in his later years, took ideosyncratic views that didn’t fit with his own scholarship for much of his life. Be that as it may, he certainly wasn’t a historian or scholar of the Council of the rank of John O’Malley (also a Jesuit). See this post:

      For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would think we should not heed the history of how the documents came to be written in trying to interpret them, or would think that it’s more “pastoral” to ignore the history. This makes no sense to me. I have a strong suspicion it’s because heeding history would yield an interpretation one doesn’t like, and one is able to force a favored interpretation better by taking final documents at face value – ripped from their context.


  30. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Daniel, we’ve been here before.


    Calix does not mean “chalice” except in a speciaIist ecclesiastical context. It refers to the cup-shaped “container” on the top of the stem of a plant. The most accurate translation of the word might well be “stemmed drinking vessel”, but that would be most unwieldy. There is in fact a perfectly good English word for this, “goblet”, which the translators did not want to use because of what they perceived as the Harry Potter connotations of the word. And in any case what is a drinking vessel if not a cup? And have you seen any of the early crystal/glass chalices which resemble nothing so much as a wine glass, but with the cup attached directly to the base?

    The chalice as we know it today, with a stem and a knob on the stem, and using precious metals rather than ceramic, earthenware crystal or glass, is a mediaeval development. Jesus and the apostles drank from a drinking vessel, a cup.


    Regarding whether or not SC wanted Latin preserved, it actually doesn’t make any difference what the document said. The fact is that, once the bishops of the world had discovered the virtues of the vernacular, which happened very quickly after SC, they pushed for a complete conversion from Latin to the vernacular in a short space of time. In other words, those same bishops who had written about preserving Latin only a year or two before now decided in the light of experience that they didn’t want it after all. It therefore seems quite pointless to decry the demise of Latin as a common language for celebration. The bishops asked for the vernacular because they perceived its pastoral benefits. Their requests had nothing to do with aesthetics and everything to do with inculturating the liturgy as SC had mandated.

    The fact is that we are now in a very different place from where we were 50 years ago. Indeed, we were were already in a different place only seven years after SC, when the result of what the bishops pushed for had already come about. Now it is too late. The clock cannot be put back 43 years, let alone 50 years. We have moved on too far, and evolution does not run in reverse.

    1. Scott Smith Avatar
      Scott Smith

      @Paul Inwood – comment #72:

      And what context has the Mass, if not an ecclesiastical one? We call the vessel containing the precious blood a chalice in normal usage, so it seems silly to say we can’t call it the same thing in the Mass translation.

      1. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @Scott Smith – comment #74:

        Scott, chalice is a technical term. Jesus didn’t drink from a chalice at the Last Supper. He drank from a cup-shaped erm… cup!

      2. Thomas Dalby Avatar
        Thomas Dalby

        @Paul Inwood – comment #75:
        “Chalice” is hardly a technical term, Paul, google “Stella Artios” if you doubt its currency.

        If Our Lord used a stemmed drinking vessel at the last supper or a vessel that had a foot supporting an ovoid bowl, I doubt that many English speakers would identify such an object as a “cup” (which is always followed by “saucer” in a Briton’s mind).

        May I ask what the word “cup” means to you that it inspires such a proud and obstinate insistance on it?

  31. Daniel McKernan Avatar
    Daniel McKernan

    Paul I. wrote: “… it actually doesn’t make any difference what the document (SC) said …”.

    This is probably one focus of our disagreement. To me it is the council itself that has to be the point of reference for our pastoral action. I agree that “we are now in a very different place from where we were 50 years ago” but to me, it is the reform of the reform, a movement that includes many bishops, which seeks to correct the poor implementation of the council’s liturgical directives pointed out by you in comment #72. I also disagree with your contention that the bishops or Rome have dropped the directives from Vatican II to retain Latin in the Mass. The latest GIRM repeats and implements SCs directives on the use of Latin in the Mass, see GIRM #41 and also, RS #112.

    It is ironic that some progressives who’ve complained that the bishops & the Holy See have failed to abide by SC’s process for the approval of liturgical translations (a debatable position imho) might turn around and suggest that “it doesn’t matter what the document said” in reference to such pointed conciliar mandates as its directives on the use of Latin clearly are. This kind of hermeneutic seems highly subjective to me.

  32. John Robert Francis Avatar
    John Robert Francis

    Paul VI, [excerpt from an] Address [in Italian] to a general audience, on the new Ordo Missae, 26 November 1969

    “Clearly, the most noticeable new departure is that of language. From now on the vernacular, not Latin, will be the principal language of the Mass. For those who appreciate the beauty of Latin, its power, and aptness to express the sacred, substitution of the vernacular certainly represents a great sacrifice. We are losing the idiom of the Christian ages; we become like profane intruders into the literary sanctuary of sacred language; we shall lose a large portion of that wonderful and incomparable, artistic and spiritual reality, Gregorian chant. We indeed have reason for sadness and perhaps even bewilderment. What shall we put in the place of this angelic language? We are sacrificing a priceless treasure. For what reason? What is worth more than these sublime values of the Church? The answer may seem trite and prosaic, but it is sound because it is both human and apostolic. Our understanding of prayer is worth more than the previous, ancient garments in which it had been regally clad. Of more value, too, is the participation of the people, of modern people who are surrounded by clear, intelligible language, translatable into their ordinary conversation. If our sacred Latin should, like a thick curtain, close us off from the world of children and young people, of work and the business of everyday, then would we, fishers of men, be wise to allow its exclusive dominion over the speech of religion and prayer?” (“Documents on the Liturgy, 1963 — 1979,” p. 541.)

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