Curia reform: The liturgy comes under scrutiny

Vatican Insider reports that the eight-member Council of Cardinals began this week’s discussion of curial reform by examining the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Vatican’s liturgy office. Earlier it was reported that this wasn’t about any particular issue with liturgy – they had to start somewhere in their examination of the Vatican offices “without giving priority to any particular one for any specific reason.”

Pope Francis has explicitly called for a “decentralization” of the Catholic Church. This could have all sorts of implications for liturgy, an area in which increasing centralization set in under Pope John Paul II and especially Pope Benedict XVI.

Despite the clear directives of the liturgy constitution of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium that liturgical translations are to be approved by territorial bodies of bishops (i.e. national bishops’ conferences), with Rome certifying (“confirming”) the bishops’ decisions, the 2001 Roman document Liturgiam authenticam re-centralized the approval process, to the point that Rome gives itself the right to impose translations upon any country. The translation agency ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy), which at one time worked under the supervision of the English-speaking bishops’ conferences, was radically re-structured after 2001 to become, in effect, under the supervision of Rome.

The translations in various languages around the world resulting from the highly centralized Liturgiam authenticam regime have met with widespread resistance. In the U.S., research shows that many priests and liturgical ministers dislike the new Missal translation and do not want further translations in this style, but the U.S. bishops so far have ignored their priests and people and pressed on in their obedience to the Roman curia.

In Germany, by contrast, the bishops have become advocates for their priests and people, and defenders of good liturgical texts, in their rejection of the proposed new German-language missal prepared in accord with Liturgiam authenticam. It is said that their is also displeasure with Rome’s heavy-handed micromanaging of liturgical translations in Argentina, the pope’s homeland where he served as archbishop of Buenos Aires before being elected Bishop of Rome.

In another decision with implications for the relationship between Rome and bishops, the 2007 moto proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict gives every priest the right to celebrate Mass according to the books in use before the Second Vatican Council, taking this decision out of the hands of the local bishop who previously had to give his permission.

It is not known what aspects of liturgy were discussed by the Council of Cardinals this week, nor is it known if any concrete proposals are on the table for changes in structures and procedures.

Today’s Daily Bulletin reports that Francis met with morning with Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect (head) of the Congregation for Divine Worship.





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43 responses to “Curia reform: The liturgy comes under scrutiny”

  1. Felipe Gasper Avatar
    Felipe Gasper

    There are clumsy parts of the new translation. There are less-clumsy, and even well-done parts.

    The “translation” from 1998 changed rubrics, added things of its own, and didn’t fix many (most? all?) of the truly glaring mis-translations like “And also with you” and the Gloria. Please, let’s drop the pretense that that was any panacea of “translingual harmony”.

    I personally am glad that the U.S. bishops (and relevant parties in Rome) stuck to their guns on the translation, at least the parts that pertain to me. I am grateful to have “and with your spirit”, “Holy Church”, “under my roof”, &c.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      @Felipe Gasper – comment #1:

      I agree with you there are well-done parts in the new translation, and I also like “And with your spirit” and “under my roof.”

      But I would challenge your sneer quotes on the 1998 “translation,” and your critique that it changed rubrics and added things of its own, and that “And also with you” is a mistranslation. You seem to be presuming that every vernacular liturgy must be an exact translation of a Latin original, as if the Latin of the missal is the bond of universal unity. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council explicitly rejected this viewpoint.

      In their advocacy of inculturation in SC 37-40, in their admonition that the Roman rite not differ too greatly from one region to another, the bishops at Vatican II obviously presumed that the liturgy would vary from place to place. The 1998 translation falls entirely within this remit. And of course 1988 was done in full accord with the translation norms in force at the time, from Comme le prevoit which follows the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on inculturation and liturgical diversity. You can’t fault 1988 for following V2 and CLP rather than the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam.

      Liturgical uniformity is an ideal only introduced into Catholicism (albeit imperfectly) after the Council of Trent. It is anachronistic to apply this ideal to a translation carried out after the Second Vatican Council, given the Council’s teaching in SC and also in, eg., Gaudium et spes.

      To critique 1998 on the basis of Trent’s notion of liturgical uniformity is rather like critiquing Vatican II’s statements on modern atheism or nuclear warfare for going beyond the doctrinal teachings of Trent.


      1. Cathy Wattebot Avatar
        Cathy Wattebot

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #3:
        It is not clear that “And with you” or similar translations are simply incorrect. The “Et cum spiritu tuo”, which I thought did not sound that smooth in Latin either, may itself be a misinterpretation of a semitic word with a meaning varying from “soul” to “self”, cf the Arabic word “nafs” which is in very common use. Usually it means myself (eg I translated the sentence myself), yourself, itself and so on (ie “and with yourself” or “and with you too”). Sometimes, it means roughly “the same”, as in “at the selfsame time”. Less often, this word can mean a person’s soul or essence. I have several times heard confirmation by those who know Hebrew or Aramaic that this kind of explanation is believed by many to be correct.

      2. Felipe Gasper Avatar
        Felipe Gasper

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #3:

        Fr. Ruff,

        I’m assuming you meant me, although I can’t fathom why you think my name is “Felix”.

        I am not familiar with any passage of a V2 document that deals “explicitly” with the idea that “every vernacular liturgy must be an exact translation of a Latin original, as if the Latin of the missal is the bond of universal unity”. I am familiar, of course, with the passages that you cite that infer a relationship to accuracy of translation, but this is not what “explicit” means.

        “Inculturation” does not encompass matters like translating “pro multis” as “for all”; in all of the discussion of the meaning of that phrase in Latin, I have never heard it stated that “pro multis” means the same as “pro omnibus” in Latin, and therefore it is accurate to render “pro multis” as “for all”. As a *translation*, “for many” (or, as I would have preferred, “for the multitudes”) is simply “correct”, and “for all” is “incorrect”, notwithstanding the rhetorical contortions of many who (vainly, IMO) attempt to assert otherwise.

        The problem, as I see it, is confusion over the nature of what a “translation” is. Brian addressed the problem well: what most people who complain about the new translation want isn’t a “translation”; they want a different liturgical rite. That, or what they want is simply better expressed as a change to the Latin text (e.g., “pro multis” to “pro omnibus”).

        And that’s fine. In many cases, changing the Latin, or creating new/incultured rites, is the discussion that we *should* be having. Why indeed should the Latin have “calix”, in conflict with the various Scriptural and historical sources? I sometimes think that we have “overloaded” the Roman Rite as a “catch-all” for too many cultural situations.

        As to rubrical changes in the 1998 Sacramentary, I am a bit surprised that you ask for citations of same, but a quick example is on…

      3. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        @Felipe Gasper – comment #10:
        Dear Felipe, (sorry I mistyped your name above)

        I agree, the problem is confusion over what a “translation” is. You have one theory (among many out there), which is fine, but you write as if the other understandings of translation do not exist. It’s a complicated field, and there are many theories of translation and many “correct” ways to translate a given text. I’ve found Anthony Pym helpful, and here is a brief post he once wrote for Pray Tell:

        Given the wide range of translation theories out there, I think it is very possible to see 1998 as a legitimate translation. It certainly matches the translation theory of CLP. But on the other hand, even if one espouses a more literal word-for-word translation and thinks 1998 is illegitimate as a translation, it could then be seen as a type of inculturation which includes (in part) drawing on the insights of scholarship in the English-speaking world in the ongoing renewal of the liturgy. So either way, as I see it, 1998 is a legitimate implementation of Vatican II.

        As for explicit / implicit, I see you point. I think one could comb through Vatican II quite readily and find where the ideals I listed are explicitly espoused.


      4. Felipe Gasper Avatar
        Felipe Gasper

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #14:
        Dear Fr.,

        You and I are perhaps in more “violent agreement” on many points concerning the new translation than I may have indicated. I recall reading, and lamenting, your erstwhile reports on the politicking and meandering that led to some of what are simply inaccurate Latin-to-English translations in the new Missal. I hold no illusions that the new translation is perfect; in particular, I hope that the collects will see a new translation at some point. (I also thought that “one in being” was fine, maybe better than “consubstantial”, though the latter *is* a legitimate English word.)

        I would posit that the 1998 violates many precepts of CLP; I just skimmed that document again and found nothing, for example, that would justify that 6-option opening rites thing. That was, quite simply, someone wanting to change the liturgy itself, not merely its verbal expression. And while the gender-neutrality of “hominibus” is better expressed in “peace to GOD’S people on earth” than in “peace to his people …”; reiterating the subject without a pronoun is stilted and awkward English that violates maxims found in both LA and CLP to use phrase structure that is “native” to the target language.

        My own ideal of translation proceeds (in my mind, at least!) from SC’s discussion of vernacular languages as an aid to comprehension. The vernacular and Latin texts should be understood to coexist in the Roman Rite, ideally in every parish. Latin remains the “native language” of worship in the Roman Rite. Faith formation for Roman Catholics should include *some* worship in Latin. Major cathedrals should offer at least one Sunday Mass principally in Latin for the sake of travelers, who would accustom themselves to using translational Missals. (Maybe it suffices that most cities seem to have at least one “token” parish that offers a Mass in Latin.) The foregoing is a context against which I think both the 1973 or the 1998 translations perform poorly.

      5. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Felipe Gasper – comment #17:
        Suggestion – you operate as if the structure of liturgy was given to us from on high; that is has never changed; etc.

        Liturgy develops, is inculturated, changes, etc. You appear to conflate or confuse the structure of liturgy with rubrics.

        You state: “I would posit that the 1998 violates many precepts of CLP; I just skimmed that document again and found nothing, for example, that would justify that 6-option opening rites thing. That was, quite simply, someone wanting to change the liturgy itself, not merely its verbal expression.”

        Wonder if you realize that, based upon SC, the church set up Consilium to change the structure of the liturgy (not just eucharist). The reformed liturgy that Paul VI promulgated in 1969-70 in the US was based upon a reformed structure that allowed for more variations and options within the basic structure. The ICEL continued the work of the Consilium under the direction of the english speaking episcopal conferences. (reforming all sacraments,implementing RCIA, etc. and their directives included these tasks; not just translation.) Thus, it was part of their responsibility to set up on-going development after the initial 1969 liturgy – 1998 was the completion of a 15+ year project that included much more than just translation – for example; more eucharistic prayers; more options on prayers; celebrating other sacraments during the eucharist, etc.
        When you understand this history, the opening rite of the eucharist, even in 1969, provided for options (choices could be made for feasts, seasons, based on the day’s scripture, etc.). And thus, 1998 merely looked at the already set up structure (opening rite) and developed it by using 30 years of experience and feedback to allow the church more options.

        You might want to read a PTB post from a couple of years ago on the history of 1998 which involved much more than just your reference to gender language translations:

        – quoted….”ICEL’s work in providing some *original* texts (prayers not translated from the latin but composed for the missal) had been included in ICEL’s remit since its inception (as we had seen dating back to 1974). Other similar original prayers can be found in other missal language translations…”

      6. Felipe Gasper Avatar
        Felipe Gasper

        @Bill deHaas – comment #18:
        I certainly have no illusions that liturgy has never changed and is not in continual development. I’m not sure how you got that from my prior comments?

        Having ICEL continue the Consilium’s work on adaptation makes no sense. The Consilium’s work pertained to the entire Roman Rite, whereas ICEL only affected English texts, by definition. I definitely am not saying that the Roman Rite should remain fixed, and I’m not so much favoring centralization per se so much as a consistency among various vernacular translations base themselves on the current Latin texts. As little sense as it made to have English do “And also with you” while nearly every other language had “And with your spirit”, it is another level of incongruity that the English would have the 6-optioned opening rites while everyone else would have what MR3 had.

        As to the different options etc. from 1969, IIRC the 1969 Missal specifically asserted (somewhere in the prefatory material) that its many and varied options removed any need to adapt and tweak further.

        Maybe it really is the right thing to have 6 options for the Opening Rites, with the Penitential Rite and Gloria as mutually exclusive options. While it’s not important that that come from Rome per se, it *is* important that such changes be expressed consistently throughout the Roman Rite, not just in a single language’s translation.

        Or, maybe the right thing is just to say that maintaining the “unity of the Roman Rite”, complete with the ideal of Gregorian chant having “pride of place” even at St. Around the Corner, is not worth the effort. Maybe the time is right to say that different countries’ liturgical expressions of what they have received as the Roman Rite now faces such need for adaptation that to try to maintain a single rite’s unity across languages and cultures is no longer prudent.

      7. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @Felipe Gasper – comment #20:


        It’s not about whether it’s “right” to have six options or only one (and in fact there have always been several options, a situation which continues today), it’s about asking some of the underlying questions such as “What are the Introductory Rites for?”, a question answered in GIRM 46, 47, etc. The corollary question is then “Do the Introductory Rites as we have them actually fulfil those purposes?”. Only when one has started on that track is it possible to understand what the 1998 Sacramentary was trying to do. If options are your problem, what about the manifold Eucharistic Prayer options that we now have?

        On a side note, I am contemplating what would have happened if Irish people had moved to their own vernacular version of Et cum spiritu tuo:— “And with yourself too”. Rather charming, don’t you think?

      8. Ren Aguila Avatar
        Ren Aguila

        @Paul Inwood – comment #21:
        +1 on the Irish English version of Et cum spiritu tuo!

      9. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        @Paul Inwood – comment #21:
        The response in Irish, Paul, is “Agus leat féin.” which means the same as that which you identify as the sense of the Latin, i.e. “And with yourself.”

      10. Elisabeth Ahn Avatar
        Elisabeth Ahn

        @Gerard Flynn – comment #34:

        And the response in Korean is “ddohan sajewa hamke” which, when translated literally into English, means “and also with the priest.”

        Also, ditto on thanks to Paul Inwood!

      11. Todd Flowerday Avatar

        @Felipe Gasper – comment #20:
        “Having ICEL continue the Consilium’s work on adaptation makes no sense.”

        And yet, this was part of the ICEL mission, as it was for other committees operating in other languages.

      12. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Todd Flowerday – comment #22:
        Nothing like re-writing history….oh my? Again, revisionist history works some times but usually doesn’t.
        Mr. Gaspar – your comments reveal either an unawareness of what happened from VII onwards and in many other language groups or a desire to just ignore what happened and re-invent things.
        Your example – *and with your spirit* in other languages reveals a lack of comprehension about romance languages and latin which is different for English. ICEL provided an explanation and actual notes of why they initially chose *and also with you*….you may not agree with this but the decision and debate are part of the historical and written record. (unlike much of LA and the new translation)

      13. Felipe Gasper Avatar
        Felipe Gasper

        @Bill deHaas – comment #24:
        Mr. deHaas:

        Firstly, please spell my name correctly. (“GaspEr”) Cut and paste, if nothing else.

        You belittle in vagaries. Details would be instructive: what specific events of V2 and afterward do you feel I have not represented in my commentary thus far?

        I’m actually pretty handy with French, Italian, and Spanish, with a decent grasp of German and a bit of Russian. I’d appreciate a link/citation to the rationale for the original decision for “and also with you”. I’ve never heard it asserted, even by the new translation’s most ardent detractors, that “and with your spirit” is somehow more awkward to English-speakers than “et avec votre esprit”, “und mit deinem Geiste”, etc. are in their respective contexts.

      14. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @Felipe Gasper – comment #31:

        The original decision for “and also with you” goes back to the days (1969/1970) when ICEL adopted certain ICET texts, of which this was one. The rationale then was based on what the phrase means, not what the Latin says. There was also an ecumenical dimension, as other Churches were adopting the same ICET texts.

        ICEL Progress Report 3 (1992) repeats the rationale for “and also with you”, namely that semantically it means “and with yourself”. The problem with “and with your spirit” is not that it is more or less awkward, but that it doesn’t mean anything to the average person in the pew.

        The fact that some languages have used “esprit” or “Geist” is not the issue here. The Portugese have “The Lord be with you. He is in our midst” as their V/ and R/ but no one has yet seriously suggested that we should do the same (even though it would be an improvement).

        The earliest drafts had the bald “and with you” — “also” was added for rhythmic euphony.

        (The same 1992 Progress Report also states that “It is right and just” in the Preface Dialogue “seems rather curt in English”, which is why they decided to stick to “It is right to give [him] thanks and praise”. Clearly the 2008/2010 revisers did not view this as a concern, but it nevertheless remains true.)

      15. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        @Paul Inwood – comment #32:
        Thanks, Paul. Very helpful.

  2. Brian Palmer Avatar
    Brian Palmer

    It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see “Summorum Pontificum” abrogated and start with a fresh blank page. The Latin musical patrimony belongs in the concert hall and should be confined to audio tapes for home or educational use.

    I hope Pope Francis moves far beyond Vatican II. Allowing for the development of a fully chanted Mass in the vernacular. With more, not less scripture, and permitting the local bishop to devise a liturgy suitable for his diocese.

    Borrowing liberally from eastern and western sources, or from established local custom. The contents of the eucharistic prayer probably should be approved by the national conference, or Rome.

    There’s nothing special about an “organic” liturgy. We live in a multicultural environment where people freely borrow rites, rituals, foods, dress, music, and customs in every aspect of their life. There’s no reason why this can’t apply to Mass, sacramental rites, and the office.

    There’s nothing like a liturgy made “on the spot”. They’ were origianlly developed by congregations, councils and synods. They can be revised by men and women whenever the occasion requires.

    Let’s return the “Roman rite” to the museum where it belongs, or for use in the diocese of Rome. If the pope so wishes.

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Brian Palmer – comment #2:
      “There’s nothing special about an “organic” liturgy.”

      Too right. Organic development was mentioned once in SC, and the concern for participation (among other things) drowned out the call for gradual development. Organic development is a relic of Mediator Dei, which, to its credit, did advance the novel idea that the liturgy could be changed at all.

      Personally, I look forward to MR4 when we can rid ourselves of the cutesy little jokes about the roof of the communicant’s mouth and that God is the Lord of altar bread.

      +1 on the election of bishops.

      1. Fritz Bauerschmidt Avatar

        @Todd Flowerday – comment #5:
        So when someone says that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has brought with it a host of technical problems, do people really think that this is a reference to altar bread?

        Me? I’d probably have gone with “Sabbaoth.” If we can handle a little Hebrew for “amen” and “[h]alleluia” then I think we could have managed that.

      2. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #6:
        Thank you for this post, I actually had no idea what part of the new translation “Lord God of altar bread” was referring to.

        @Brian: It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the OF were abrogated and replaced by the EF, but I wouldn’t want it because I know it would hurt a lot of other people. I would have no use for more local inculturated liturgies if there were no room for western culture’s liturgical patrimony of ritual and sacred music. There are a lot of us who would rather not be forced to attend concert halls to hear a part of our religious culture.

        I have often thought it might have been nice if instead of one New Mass they could have kept the EF , but perhaps reform it just enough to meet the demands of SC, and then allow local groups of Bishops to create new local liturgies following a basic template with the Roman Canon retained as the only EP to preserve the unity of the Roman Rite. The EF would remain as a traditional option and default liturgy, sort of like the Book of Common Prayer is in a lot of places where alternate services are allowed. This would allow for flexibity in creating modern liturgy while still allowing traditional liturgy, which is still part of our culture.

      3. Brian Palmer Avatar
        Brian Palmer

        @Jack Wayne – comment #7:
        Jack, I don’t think anyone should be “forced” to do anything, but that gets me back to my original point with respect to culture. Liturgy isn’t a concert hall or an old curiosity shop either containing elements the parish may not want. The days of the one size fits all rite from Rome, the EF, for all Catholics from a Church attempting to preserve western culture will be a thing of the past. We’re moving far beyond Vatican II here.

        A vast number of priests over the past 40 or more years probably don’t know Latin. They make a point they don’t use it in the Mass. I know several priests who haven’t celebrated a Latin Mass or used the Roman canon in over 30 years, and don’t intend to start now. Plus the fact, many Catholics either don’t want to know Latin, nor do they desire Latin music in their parish liturgies. So much for the “Roman patrimony”.

        I can’t see keeping the EF, the Sarum Usage, the Anglican Ordinariate rite, or the Milanese rite as a default liturgy. “SC” encouraging the retention of Latin is a moot point now. Just as in the Council’s call for the restoration of parish vespers and morning prayer, as “the twin hinges, etc.”. They’re kept in the dead letter box. Almost universally ignored, even in cathedrals.

        It’s likely the EF, or a modified form of it, will be permitted in English. With a said and sung Latin and/or English EP1. The prayers at the foot of the altar in the EF could be made part of the Novus Ordo list of options for opening the Mass. The Last Gospel maybe kept as an option. As we see in the Anglican Ordinariate eucharistic rite unveiled last month.

        Pope Francis will pay homage to the 62 rite, but I see revisions to it coming soon in the form of a third option. One which draws elements from both the EF and the OF, but retains the flexible rubrics, communion under both forms, concelebration, the OF eucharistic prayers, we’ve seen since 1970.

      4. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Brian Palmer – comment #28:
        By “default liturgy” I meant one which anyone may use, in either Latin or vernacular, even if it is used only by a minority of people.

        It’s my understanding that in some parts of the Anglican Communion (perhaps all?) the old Book of Common Prayer service is always allowed, even though *most* churches use alternate/modern services. The model I described would likely result in most people using alternate services, but with the traditional “default” being known and freely offered. Basically you’d have the “universal” old Roman Rite as well as “local” or national liturgies. The local liturgies would come and go as needs change, but the the old “default” would remain for those parishes that wish to use it exclusively, as part of an overall Mass schedule, or just sometimes like on special occasions.

        This might be what eventually happens anyway, if local Bishop’s conferences are given more power over liturgy and if SP remains in force. The Novus Ordo/MR3 would essentially become the “template” I described above and eventually would become so varied and nationalized as to not really exist anymore – it would be replaced by national liturgies while the EF would be retained as a worldwide traditional option. Perhaps the EF will be reformed so that it may be used with local calendars and lectionaries and be allowed in the vernacular. Pope Francis seems uninterested in repealing SP, and I don’t think he has spoken of merging the EF it into the OF like Benedict seemed to envision.

      5. Matthew Morelli Avatar
        Matthew Morelli

        @Jack Wayne – comment #30:

        The model I described would likely result in most people using alternate services, but with the traditional “default” being known and freely offered. Basically you’d have the “universal” old Roman Rite as well as “local” or national liturgies. The local liturgies would come and go as needs change, but the the old “default” would remain for those parishes that wish to use it exclusively, as part of an overall Mass schedule, or just sometimes like on special occasions.

        I find this a very intriguing suggestion — It ends up as a better means of resolving the
        “two forms/one rite” problem while preventing the loss of the liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite (something our Eastern Rite and Eastern Orthodox brethren are sensitive toward).

        The biggest challenge I would foresee would be convincing most in-the-pew Catholics that the EF really is their rite and is the “default rite”.

      6. Todd Flowerday Avatar

        @Matthew Morelli – comment #36:
        In addition, it would serve as a source document for vernacular translations–a valid concern of the CDWDS. There is no Latin-to-non-Western-European-language competence in the world, let alone in the Vatican. Keep MR3 as a study document. Ditch it for common use. That’s the best use of the “work” of the Vox Clara bishops.

      7. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @Matthew Morelli – comment #36:

        The biggest challenge I would foresee would be convincing most in-the-pew Catholics that the EF really is their rite and is the “default rite”.

        You’re absolutely right there. The EF is the extra-ordinary form — i.e. exceptional, not the norm, even abnormal. Not the “default rite”, but the former rite that the Fathers in SC mandated to be reformed.

      8. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Paul Inwood – comment #39:
        Reread my posts for context, please.

      9. Todd Flowerday Avatar

        @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #6:
        Two things:

        1. People know.

        2. People see.

        It’s a play on words worthy of the worst of amateur poets. It’s not an embarrassment for people who sing it, but for those who composed it.

        I agree Sabaoth is a better option. “Power and might” isn’t bad either.

      10. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur

        @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #6:

        I too would have preferred recovering Sabaoth. But I don’t think “hosts” was unreasonable, especially given that it was what was used from 1965 to 1970. I think retaining the 1973 translation on this point was the least reasonable option of the three. I am not saying it was unreasonable, just the least persuasive of 3 reasonable options.

  3. Jack Rakosky Avatar
    Jack Rakosky

    A far more important decentralization might be in the election of bishops. If we got bishops closer to the people we might have a chance at a liturgy that is closer to the people.

    What I would like to see is that the appointment of bishops within an archdiocese (with the exception of the archbishop) largely be the responsibility of the all bishops of the archdiocese (with the possibility of a veto by either the national conference of bishops or the apostolic delegate).

    I would like to see the appointment of archbishops largely be the responsibility of archbishops of the country (with the possibility of a veto by the apostolic delegate).

    This model assumes there would be a committee of the conference of bishops that would monitor the appointment of bishops in order to exercise if necessary the conference’s veto power, and would process the appointment of new archbishops (a kind of national Congregation of Bishops). They would work closely with the Apostolate Delegate in order to assure he would not exercise his power of veto).

    The Curia Congregation of Bishops would mainly exercise an oversight authority on the processes, preferably through large regional subgroups, e.g. the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa. These groups would be in constant dialogue with the Apostolic Delegates, and be tasked with facilitating international cooperation. The Congregation of Bishops would discuss the quality of episcopal appointmens at ad limina visits with their bishop peers from around the world rather than just with the staff in Rome.

    From the Joy of the Gospel Time is greater than space

    222. A constant tension exists between fullness and limitation. Fullness evokes the desire for complete possession, while limitation is a wall set before us. Broadly speaking, “time” has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. People live poised between each individual moment and the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself. Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.

    223. This principle enables us to work slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results. It helps us patiently to endure difficult and adverse situations, or inevitable changes in our plans. It invites us to accept the tension between fullness and limitation, and to give a priority to time. One of the faults which we occasionally observe in sociopolitical activity is that spaces and power are preferred to time and processes. Giving priority to space means madly attempting to keep everything together in the present, trying to possess all the spaces of power and of self-assertion; it is to crystallize processes and presume to hold them back. Giving priority to time means being concerned about initiating processes rather than possessing spaces. Time governs spaces, illumines them and makes them links in a constantly expanding chain, with no possibility of return. What we need, then, is to give priority to actions which generate new processes in society and engage other persons and groups who can develop them to the point where they bear fruit in significant historical events.

    I would like to see the delegation of most of the functions of the Congregation of Divine Worship to National and Regional and Language Conferences along similar lines. That is Rome mainly facilitates the process to assure the bishops are accountable to the rest of the Catholic world as well as their own flocks.

    Evangelization, and building a national episcopacy and a national liturgy are all very slow long term processes.

    BTW this model presumes that the Cardinals are not longer limited to bishops but may include priests and laypersons and that there are no more cities whose archbishops are automatically cardinals.

  4. Felipe Gasper Avatar
    Felipe Gasper

    As to rubrical changes in the 1998 Sacramentary, a quick example is on page 1A/433, where the Penitential Rite and Gloria are given as parallel (apparently mutually exclusive??) options, among 4 others.

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Felipe Gasper – comment #11:
      It’s a good question about how to handle these. I heard some church musicians were dismayed at the possible disruption of the classical 5-movement Mass in the 60’s, and pushed hard for the inclusion of both.

      But in MR3, the Penitential Rite and Sprinkling Rite are already given in parallel, as are many other sacramental rites. Is there a particular problem with the occasional or seasonal omission of the Penitential Rite?

      And as for the Gloria, are there reasonable alternatives to a lengthy text with creedal overtones for, say, Ordinary Time? Alternatives that would highlight the Gloria during Christmas, Easter, and on high feasts? And do the powers-that-be trust the local parish to make an optimal determination?

      I say this as a church musician who has overseen a sung Gloria every Sunday, often butting heads with a pastor and needing to exercise diplomacy, as well as a search for singable settings. And how does the CDWDS reward this? Now I have to navigate clergy who want to add what is essentially a solo piece at 90% of wedding Masses.

      And yes, the Latin Roman Missal does need improvement before translation.

  5. Knud Rasmussen Avatar
    Knud Rasmussen

    Frankly, I do not see how “Summorum Pontificum” can be offered as an example of ‘recentralization.’ As Father Ruff notes, the motu proprio “gives every priest the right to celebrate Mass according to the books in use before the Second Vatican Council, taking this decision out of the hands of the local bishop who previously had to give his permission.” In other words, the motu proprio decentralizes decision-making power even more than previous legislation by giving greater discretion to individual parish priests.

    I’m not interested in fighting over the advisability of SP – I happen to support it, and I know that many commenters here do not – but rather raising the question of whether it really ‘counts’ as an example of ‘recentralization’ in terms of the liturgy, as the legislation actually appears to give more power to local authorities at the expense not merely of bishops but of Roman authorities as well. The motu proprio did not snatch power from the bishops and put in back in Rome’s hands – it rather distributed that power more broadly by allowing parish priests to make decisions which were not permitted to them before. If that isn’t a true example of decentralization and subsidiarity in action, I don’t know what is.

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      @Knud Rasmussen – comment #15:

      A lot of people who support the new translation also support SP, which it probably why they get lumped together by those who dislike both even though they are apples and oranges in terms of recentralization.

  6. Felipe Gasper Avatar
    Felipe Gasper

    By contrast, the Anglican Ordinariate’s translation has a bit more “wiggle room” because its intent is/was to replace Latin entirely. (Nonetheless, Cranmer stayed pretty close most of the time.) The Anglican Use is really closer to how a lot of people seem to want to conceptualize liturgical language: the vernacular is the “native tongue”, while Latin is a “cousin who visits from time to time”.

  7. Scott Smith Avatar
    Scott Smith

    Common prayer has a value. Everyone seems to agree with this when we talk from an ecumenical standpoint, but forgets about it when comparing between languages.

    Also, there are limits to how much diversity in prayer can be accommodated before unity is lost. The Anglican experience is instructive. For example Bosco Peters, a progressive NZ Anglican who I believe has been referenced here before can say things like in this link:, it should give people some pause.

  8. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
    Karl Liam Saur

    I suspect we’ve exhausted the cycle of Tu Quoque’s.

  9. Jim McKay Avatar
    Jim McKay

    Maybe the time is right to say that different countries’ liturgical expressions of what they have received as the Roman Rite now faces such need for adaptation that to try to maintain a single rite’s unity across languages and cultures is no longer prudent.

    I think that time came several centuries ago, whe Latin was replaced by Italian, French, Spanish, etc. But that is a side issue.

    More important in this remark is the idea of “a single rite’s unity.” Does the unity of a rite depend on words? On the movement of hearts? On the relationship with God it fosters?

    The Roman rite for the Eucharist is important to me because it is the Pope’s rite. The EF baffles me because it is not the Pope’s rite anymore. Even Latin OF is no longer the rite the Pope usually uses. I have little problem seeing the unity amongst Italian, French, Swahili, etc. even though the words vary so widely. The words is not where the unity is IMO.

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Jim McKay – comment #26:

      Christ is our unity, not some aristocratic expression of human-fabricated ritual.

  10. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    Put the EF in vernacular and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for most people, especially if the OF has transmogrified into something else and isn’t really around anymore. The EF can already be celebrated facing the people and I’m envisioning a version where some of the rubrics are a bit looser so it isn’t a trial for priests to learn if they are expected to use it on request.

    “Default” is probably a bad word to use, since it implies wider use than what I’m thinking of. It would be a universal rite, or a “continuity rite,” even if not used universally. It would exist for those with traditional leanings, special occasions, parishes with choral programs that wish to uphold the traditional “five movement” style Mass, and any other group for which it is relevant.

    There should be some points of unity between the Universal/default rite and the new rites, like overall structure (can’t have Mass without readings, offertory, EP, communion), and perhaps a standardization in the call-response translations.

  11. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    But, Paul – it is said: “Put the EF in vernacular and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for most people”

    Unbelievable and so completely out of touch with pastoral realities

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      @Bill deHaas – comment #41:
      Way to cherry pick what I wrote. Typical.

  12. John Kohanski Avatar
    John Kohanski

    Todd Flowerday : @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #6: Two things: 1. People know. 2. People see. It’s a play on words worthy of the worst of amateur poets. It’s not an embarrassment for people who sing it, but for those who composed it. I agree Sabaoth is a better option. “Power and might” isn’t bad either.

    While you’re at it, can you please see if you can get that offending word out of Silent Night (whenever I sing that verse, all I picture is the hosts in their plastic bags in the sacristy screaming “Alleluja!”), the Sanctus in the BCP, and the Authorized Version as well Todd? Oh, and of course from, Handel’s “Messiah” too!

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