Friday, January 12, 2007

When Should a Liturgist be Prophetic?

My answer: Never! The 70's are fact that was last century.

Press release on Bishop Trautman's address:

The Catholic Academy of Liturgy met on January 4, 2007 in Toronto, Canada, prior to the annual meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy. The keynote speaker was Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania and chair of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In his address entitled “When Should Liturgists Be Prophetic?” Trautman raised concerns about current directions in the revision now underway of the English edition of the Roman Missal being prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). The first edition in English of the Roman Missal was issued in 1973. Drawing on biblical scholarship, historical theology, and his many years of pastoral experience as a bishop, he contended that the new translations do not adequately meet the liturgical needs of the average Catholic and expressed fears that the significant changes in the texts no longer reflect understandable English usage. Trautman argued that the proposed changes of the people’s parts during the Mass will confuse the faithful and predicted that the new texts will contribute to a greater number of departures from the Catholic Church.

The Bishop cited various problematic texts, criticizing their awkward structure and arcane vocabulary that would be very difficult for the priest to pray aloud and for the people to follow. Just as problematic for Trautman was the recent decision to change the words of consecration that refer to Christ’s blood being shed “for all” to “for many.” That change could be easily misinterpreted as denying the faith of the Roman Catholic Church that Christ died for all people.

Bishop Trautman challenged Catholic liturgical scholars of North America to assist the bishops in promoting a liturgy that is accessible and pastorally aware. He urged them, in a spirit of respect and love for the Church, to be courageous in questioning those developments that would render the liturgy incomprehensible and betray the intention of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

I've spent a lot of time pouring over the new is faithful to most English translations of the Scripture--and that is what these responses that we are saying are taken from.

When we gather at Mass we gather as the Body of Christ--we die to ourselves. We do not speak our own words but by and large the Word of God taken directly from Scripture--as the Body of Christ we speak with His Word, not ours. We do not move as we'd like but our gestures in unison move as one Body--again the Body of Christ. I sure wish that Bishop Trautman had spent time encouraging liturgists to catechize people versus sowing discord among them.

By the way, if you don't want your parish to be blind sided by these changes--invite me to come to your parish and speak a very simple message about why they are being made and the nature of full and active particpation as the Body of Christ in the reformed Rite--my new book A Pocket Guide to the Mass will provide an excellent resource for those looking for the Biblical basis for the words we speak at Mass, as well as what the gestures and postures mean--look for it in March of this year.