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The Aftermass

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?Or was it?The choir processed in with the pastor and our fine troupe of altar servers. The congregation was a bit sparse, which I attribute to Thanksgiving weekend and not the new translation. We did pretty well by Bach and "Wake, O wake, and sleep no longer."We often go right to the Kyrie. which this morning solved the problem of the new Confiteor text with the breast-beating, repetition and "my most grievous fault." (Being someone known to say "Sorry, sorry, sorry," I've always been for the repetition and a little breast-beating doesn't hurt, but I know when I'm in the minority.)We've already been chanting the new Gloria text for a few Sundays at our parish but, for some reason, skipped the Gloria this morning. That solved that problem.Our cantor is excellent, so with the help of the choir the congregation seemed together at the Kyrie, the responsorial psalm, and the Alleluia.I'm a terribly difficult person to preach to but today's homily was genuinely helpful.We usually use the Apostles Creed rather than the Nicene, so that took care of that.The pastor usually chants the Eucharistic Prayer, so that "for many" and "precious chalice" slipped by without causing any uprising.

There was slight stumbling

over the Suscipiat, and at least a few aggressive references heard in my vicinity to "God's" name, and a little more stumbling later over "enter under my roof."As for the proper prayers of the day, I've always believed that for most congregants these simply mean assenting with their Amen to some pious, high-minded sentiments of which the precise content doesn't matter much. That seemed all the more true this morning: Dah da, dah da, dah da, dah da, dah DA. Through Christ our Lord. AMEN.There was a good deal more stumbling over "and with your spirit" -- about a 50-50 split, I'd say. After the post-communion prayer, we welcome any newcomers in the congregation, and when the pastor resumed "The Lord be with you," the response was particularly ragged. So he laughingly tried it again and again, and we rose to a rousing, "And with your spirit!"Frankly I wish he would do that more often. A majority of the congregation mouths most responses, if at all, with scarcely enough vigor to be heard by the person in back or front of them. This raises doubts in my mind whether forty years after Vatican II the basic idea of active participation in a communal worship has been successfully communicated. I was hoping that the introduction of the new translation might be an occasion to undertake the catechesis which had not been done in the 1970s.Mass concluded with the reliably lively "O come, Divine Messiah." We'll survive the new translation. That is now the bar we've set: Could've been worse.

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The elocution test, I should say. Though word like execution and electrocution come to mind.

Amen Claire!!!! And George D., I wish my priests would do the same.Talk about Tridentine flashbacks. What next? The priest with his back turned to us? Only altar boys allowed? Women back to their rightful place (in the pews)? The "chalice" touched only by the PRIEST'S hands? I'm sure some will find my comments alarmist, too radical, unorthodox..... Should I expect a letter from the bishop? Nah, I'm only a parishioner and a lay woman at that.Mystification and exclusion often go hand in hand.I don't mind the use of "chalice" though, given the likely poverty of our Lord, it sounds pompous, inflated and pretentious.What really makes me hot under the collar is the "for many" which stinks of triumphalism, supercessionism, because, after all, who else would the "many" be if not Catholics, and only many Catholics, not all Catholics (like me) who worship Jesus and not the Vatican? So much for catholic/universal. I'm not likely to invite my non-catholic friends to mass for a while.And I'm not interested in debating multiple translations and early this or early that. I'm interested in the fractures in the body of Christ, in peace and love among neighbors, in communal worship, generous table etiquette. I made a conscious choice to return to the catholic church because, despite my continuing grievances and disagreements and old wounds, it is, to quote Halevi in At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden, "my language of intimacy with God." But it hurts, a bunch.A wonderful priest I know has suggested I wait one year before deciding I hate the new translation. Lord help me, it's going to be a long year, under any roof..

What most disturbs me is the time, energy and cost that has gone into making these changes - which really do seem quite trivial to me. WHY??? Don't we have more important things to be concerned with as a church in today's turbulent society?

Jin Pawels"If sacred scripture and traditional liturgical prayer both say it is pro multis, then to address your requirement for clear revelation it doesnt seem too strong to assert that what has been revealed to us is pro multis it *is* revelation. Naturally, like all revelation, it needs to be unpacked by, and understood with, the church."But in Scripture there are also forms of these words which do not include "for many." The oldest witness to them in 1 Cor 11:23-25 has: For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.Luke retains part of that tradition in the blessing over the bread with This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. but witnesses to other words over the cup. And since he had used Mark in the composition of his gospel, we can say he made a deliberate change to what Mark had written. A good argument can be made that Mark and Matthew assimilated "poured out for many" to Isa 53:12 where the Servant is said to have poured himself out to death and bore the sin of many, making it more likely that they are not preserving the original words of Jesus. And Matthew further redacts the saying by adding "of the forgiveness of sins." It is not unlikely that Luke knew that the Pauline form of the saying was more original and understood very well what Mark was doing when he drew the words closer to the text of Isaiah to portray Jesus as the Suffering Servant.So there is not a unified biblical view of what these words actually were. And, therefore, the argument that "for many" is biblical is only partially correct. "Revelation" also includes the variants of the sayings in Paul and Luke. An appeal to "revelation" to settle this question does not seem to me to be successful.

Sorry, that should be Jim.

I sometimes listen to daily mass on the radio on my way to work. The more I listen, the more I like it. I like the language of "poured out" and "from the rising of the sun to its setting"; it is just more poetic and nice. I also like the "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof"; it reminds me of the story of the Roman centurion.I think folks who are fretting and huffing about this are needlessly working themselves into a lather. This is the new translation and it will not change for a very long time. The task now is not to complain about Rome, but to learn the new translation.Most who are upset now would probably have been happy in 1970 with the then-new translation. Back then, dynamic equivalence carried the day; beginning with John Paul II, the preference shifted, and now is toward a more literal translation. In 40 years, it may shift back to DE, who knows?Most Catholics either like the new translation, or have no opinion about it; the upshot is that Commonwealers will simply need to get with the program.

Ken: why not have an indult to allow several forms of the Mass? The new one, the old one, the older one, the Anglican one... why should one form be forbidden when there is a plethora of allowed forms emerging?

Claire -- Re mechanism in the Church, in Canon 212 under THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF ALL THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL ."2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires. "3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they [the Christian faithful] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, ..", subject to specified conditions. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_PU.HTM#FU Maybe the new Papal Nuncio to the US would listen: Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan,Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (Across from Naval Observatory)Washington DC 20008-3610 Telephone: 202-333-7121 Fax: 202-337-4036

Alan C. Mitchell said: "Luke retains part of that tradition in the blessing over the bread with This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. but witnesses to other words over the cup. "The words being: "And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you"The Roman Missal text is a conflation of several sourcesIn its discussion of the institution narratives in Mark and Matthew, the NAB refers to the discussion of "many" at Mt 20:28:" The liberation brought by Jesus death will be for many; cf. Is 53:12. Many does not mean that some are excluded, but is a Semitism designating the collectivity who benefit from the service of the one, and is equivalent to all. While there are few verbal contacts between this saying and the fourth Servant Song (Is 52:1353:12), the ideas of that passage are reflected here."

Mr. Barry, when I quoted canon 212.3 in an e-mail to AB Kurtz in Louisville a few months ago, he essentially replied that I did not meet the qualifications in the canon to share my views with others in our local Catholic newspaper!!! To this day, I don't know if the AB was challenging my "knowledge", my "competence", or my "preeminence" (his word), or all three!Nonetheless, Archbishop Kurtz is more than prepared to take my money to support *his* weekly Catholic newspaper: I'll take your money, but I won't print your point of view.As an agency lawyer reminded me years ago, the meaning of the law depends on whom you ask!

We welcome the improved clarity of "consubstantial" rather than the fuzziness of "one in Being." "One in Being" suggests a denial of the distinctness of the 3 Persons in one God, whereas "consubstantial" more aptly suggests the concept of distinguishing among equals who are separate persons.

Professor Mitchell, and John Hayes - I am grateful for the exegesis. I note that the NAB editors also account for the variances in the various institutional narratives by dividing them into two "schools" - a Marcan-Matthean one, and a Pauline-Lucan one. It seems clear that the Eucharist was celebrated according to several different variants in the very early church.For purposes of discerning revelation, it seems to me that all of the scripture accounts are revelatory. Of the four accounts under consideration, only two of them contain the phrase that is rendered "pro multis" in the Vulgate; Luke's and Paul's accounts omit it completely. As John H notes, the liturgical text seems to be a composite of these accounts.

One in being doesn't suggest a denial of the distinction of the three persons, nor does talk of the Oneness of God (which must be had) deny the Trinity. One in being or one in essence both are fair English translations -- the thing is, no matter what word is used, it will fail and will need explanation. Consubstantial is good for theology manuals but I truly wonder how helpful it is in contemporary English speaking recitations of the creed. I wonder how many will read a physical aspect into it just as many do with transubstantiation. One in being at least helps bring us to the oneness of God and also bring out Thomistic discussions on being (if one wanted).

FWIW - the 1965 Roman Missal translation used, "of one substance with the Father"

Jim P, the four accounts don't include the gospel of John. Although John describes the Last Supper in Chapter 13, there is no institution narrative there. The nearest thing John has to an institution narrative is a speech to the Jews in the synagogue at Capernaum on the day after the miracle of the loaves and the fishes:"48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.a52The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?53Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.57Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.59These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.--John 6

This product is still the result of a violent, imperious and regressive process.Our "great ones" have certainly lorded it over us with a relentless insistence that this will be done. We'll come up with reasons later. Everything is the same, except for the changes. Mincing monsignori can all have their go at editing and tweaking texts to suit their theological scruples.The Holy Spirit has been suitably displaced by the last two popes...there are no promptings, no surprises, nothing new...always returning to the old.The John Paul II prayer posture is de rigeur for all the ordained: palms pressed together, no bent fingers, fingers pressed up under the nose, head tilted forward, eyes closed, brow furrowed. Message: I'm praying, it's not easy either with this God.The ordained, with their ontological changes, believe they are coaxing God down from heaven into a world bereft of holiness. We are starved for true spirituality and given sloppy bowls full of clericalism. Are we doing this because we love God and believe in communal prayer? Rather, we love our own creation and are fostering individual devotion.

Violence now, is it Charles?Wow -

Jim P - keep in mind that there are different traditions regarding multis - all or many. Jerome did not use formal equivalence when translating the New Vulgate - and the "original" Greek and Aramaic sense was "all"; not many although you might find some linguists who explain the meaning as "the many" in the sense of "all". Arinze made a decision (based on one tradition) - it rejected the principles of SC from VII and it rejected the explanation published in Notitiae in1970 and upon which our liturgy has been based for 40+ years.Jerome and the Vulgate came from one of the existing manuscripts - but, the Vaticanus Codex and the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate a whole other way of translating this phrase/word.Would just suggest that most linguists and experts (including conservative latin scholars) would utilize the dynamic equivalence of SC/Comme Le Prevoit to get across our understanding. It would also support the ecumenical direction of VII (even tho a limited number of conservative Protestant churches have moved to "many").Would recommend being very cautious about ever using Arinze as either an authority or a good example of curial direction. He knew next to nothing about liturgy.

It seems to me that the majority of respondents, in a variety of ways, are resisting the idea of being force-fed, like so many French geese. When can we expect to be treated as The Church, which we are, rather than foie gras? Venting here may be good for our collective blood pressures, but what makes us think anyone in (or representing) Rome is listening?Have any of you read "Saving the Catholic Church While Sitting in a Pew?" ISBN 9781613797198. By Robert J. Betterton. You might enjoy it, even if you don't (entirely) agree.We do have this consolation: Regardless of the wording, Jesus is still really present and we carry Him home in us.

It's good to see some new names appearing. Come back regularly, folks. The comments of the same old ones of us are quite predictable any more. Brilliant - but predictable.

" -- the upshot is that Commonwealers will simply need to get with the program."A scene of catechesis:To what church do we belong, mommy and daddy?Well, my child, it used to be called the Roman Catholic Church, but we have a new name now: it's called the Church of Get With The Program.Thanks, daddy and mommy. I think I'll look around a bit more.Yes, my child, your parents might do the same thing before they die both spiritually and physically.

To all who are of a like mind, I highly recommend: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518787325,00.htmlHe may be 83 (Hans Kung) but he's right on the money.

A comma is missing in the link supplied by Ronald Naumann. Here is the corrected link:http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,787325,00.html

The St. Joseph Missal, which some of used as children, teens, and young adults translates the famous "pro multis effundetur" in what we youth understood to be an inclusive way: ". . . which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins." "Many" did not mean "the many" but, rather "lots and lots of people." Nowhere in my long Catholic education did the idea of Christ dying for "some" ever appear. So there was a supportive theological and educational culture surrounding our use of the missal. Clearly, however, "many" and "all" mean two different things in English, and the mere possibility of confusing people or of printing theological falsehood, post 1960's, led the Vatican Council II translators to choose "all" as Fr. Zerwick points out. Fr. Anscar J. Chupungco in "What, Then, Is Liturgy?," 2010, Liturgical Press, tackles many of the issues of this thread in chapter 5 of his book. He writes, "A confounding issue is the literal translation of the consecratory words 'pro multis' . . . The third century Eucharistic Prayer in Apostolic Tradition omits it. According to Daniel Harrington . . . the phrase 'hyper pollon' in Mark 'means for all, not just for a few.' " Fr. C. continues with an explanation that in Matthew and Mark "many" is a collective, not a restrictive word, and that it means "all." Translating pro multis in the "collective sense of 'for all' " brings this phrase into "conformity with the doctrine of the universality of Christ's redemption. He died for all of humankind, from the time of the first parents to the time of the parousia. He did not die just for the many but for all. I am certain that those who claim the literal translation is more faithful to the original Latin do not deny the universality of salvation, but the literal translation can engender elitist exclusivity. Catechesis is supposed to explain away the problem by saying that the 'many' is the same as the 'all.' As someone rightly exclaimed in frustration, 'If that's what it means, why not say it?' "Why not, indeed?As to the authoritarianism of the church, it is very present in the church as Government and Institution. The Body of Christ, which keeps us alive, is a different experience of church. Pius XII in Mystici Corporis writes that the two, Institutional Structure and Living Body, are always in unity and that papal authority is exercised solely for the sanctification of the entire Body. Today we feel there is a split between the two even as - or because- Vatican Council II has given us yet another view of church, yet to be realized, a more organic, collaborative, communal Body in which all members, at different levels, are working together as servants to hear and obey the Spirit of Christ. To be this church, we all need to listen and learn, and this, I fear, is where the gulf reveals itself. We are groaning literally, because we are so divided about very legitimate issues. Is everybody listening? Is everybody learning? Will power and authority always be clung to? Some of the laity shrug. Some feel it is not proper to question authority. The Vatican seems so far away, not just in space but in time. Some pastors dismiss our questions about the running of the parish or become defensive about them. However, many of us wish to go forward, not backward to the time when Galileo was ten years old. We wish to work collaboratively, in consultation, not as slaves, but as heirs of the living God. We must continue to read, study, educate ourselves. We must listen to the voices that have no voice in the church. We need to speak. Sadly, we need to question misogyny, clericalism, and absolute authority. We need to continue to ask for mutuality and transparency in the face of silence and secrets. If we do this, we will suffer. If we listen for Jesus everywhere, He will suffer with us.Does anybody remember this prayer from the old missal, used at the "Come, O Sanctifier," when incense was used? "May the Lord enkindle in us the fire of His love and the flame of everlasting charity. Amen"

Mary L. -- Save that final prayer for the next time someone is wondering how to use picturesque English for an inspirational message expressed with rhetorical force in easily understood words.

I think the attempt by the present Pontiff to repeal Vatican II is exemplified by this move to Latinize the Mass. I recently attended the funeral Mass of one of my brothers. He was a devotee of the Latin Mass and had gotten a priest of similar mind to officiate. I doubt that two people in the church knew what was being said, as the priest mumbled something while facing a wall. Indeed, it was all I could do to remain silent during the proceedings. I was equally discomfited by this clumsy attempt to get us to accept this "advance to the rear" as we, when I was in the military, called a retreat. It was almost as anger producing as the request by a bishop that I have my own bishop certify that it was okay for me to talk to a parish in his diocese. I wondered if that demand was because of my work having been found useful by the Fathers at Vatican II. I cling to the truth (was it Chesterton who enunciated it?) that the Saints, being focused on the invisible Church, find little to criticize, but not being a saint, I find this latest attempt to reverse Vatican II , coming as it does during the revelations of "holy" coverups of pederasty, almost too much to bear.

"As someone rightly exclaimed in frustration, If thats what it means, why not say it? "That's a question, not for the translators, but for those responsible for the text of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Latin. The Latin doesn't say "for all". It is perfectly possible to say "for all" in Latin, but that is not what the prayers say. Along the same lines: "Credo" doesn't mean "We believe". It means "I believe". If "We believe" is what we wish the liturgy really said, then perhaps someone who wants it to say that can persuade the guardians of the Latin liturgical text to change it. Once it is accepted that translation can be used to introduce desired meanings into the liturgy, the door is open to all sorts of mischief. This should worry progressives, because as things stand now, the powers that be are not very progressive. For example: now that the standing posture in EP II - "We thank you for counting us worthy to *stand* in your presence and serve you" - has disappeared in the new translation, why not tweak the new text to reinforce the desired posture: "giving thanks that you have held us worthy to *kneel* in your presence and minister to you."? Or, in the Confiteor, "Therefore, I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin" is not a very maximal invocation of the blessed Mother; much more could, nay should, be said in her praise. Why not, "Therefore, I ask blessed Mary, ever-Virgin, Queen of Heaven, Co-Redemptrix"? We could accomplish insta-dogma.

Mr. Barbeau, I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. It may be worth reflecting that a "silent mass" is conceptually as possible in English as in Latin; I wouldn't find a renewed, post-Vatican II mass in Latin nearly as off-putting as a silent mass in English, although I wouldn't go out of my way to attend either one. I'd suggest that one translation can be substituted for another without rolling back the Vatican II-mandated reforms. I believe we have already done this once in our post-conciliar history, at the time the 1970 missal was introduced into parishes that were already celebrating in English and had already implemented some of the post-conciliar reforms. The current transition may seem less disruptive than that one probably did (I was still a boy at the time, so don't have a very good frame of reference for it), as it introduced, along with the new translation, the actual reformed (Latin) sacramentary with the new Eucharistic Prayers and new texts for some of the other prayers.

"It was almost as anger producing as [...] I find this latest attempt [...] almost too much to bear."That, I think, is the danger. Regardless of how justified it is, that anger is surely not good for us. How disturbing if the Mass has become a time of anger! We've got to find ways to regain our peace.

Fortunately, a "silent mass" is ruled out by the GIRM for Ordinary Form masses regardless of whether they are in Latin or English32. The nature of the presidential parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively....What are the "presidential" parts?30. Among those things assigned to the Priest, the prime place is occupied by the Eucharistic Prayer, which is the high point of the whole celebration. Next are the orations, that is to say, the Collect, the Prayer over the Offerings, and the Prayer after Communion. These prayers are addressed to God by the Priest who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ, in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. Hence they are rightly called the presidential prayers.These days, only the Extraordinary Form mass has important parts spoken softly.

Jim Pauwels,Now that Father Dan Coughlin has returned to Chicago after ten years as chaplain to the US House of Representatives, perhaps you could get in touch with him to ask him about the history of the vernacular introduction in this country from 1964 to 1974. As you know, Chicago, in 1965, was the first diocese to establish an Office of Worship, and Dan was named by Cardinal Cody as the first director. Other dioceses followed the Chicago example in the two or three years after.Father Coughlin could also tell you about his role in the founding, in 1969, of the Federation Of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). The FDLC, working in close connection with the US Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and its first director, Monsignor Frederick McManus, was responsible for the catechesis that preceded the introduction of the first English edition (1974) of the revised Missale Romanum (1970). (On Monsignor McManus's role in those years, see, among many other accounts, Mark Massa, S.J.,The American Catholic Revolution, Oxford University Press, 2010).There was, in fact, considerable catechetical preparation in this country for the liturgical changes in the decade after the Council. For some reason a denial of this catechesis and the dedication of the priests, religious, and laity who carried it on seems to suit the narrative of those who would have us believe that the introduction last Sunday of the new Missal is the greatest liturgical moment in the half century since Sacrosanctum Concilium. Why this need to re-write history leaves me perplexed. But then I seem to have many reasons to be baffled just now.

Hi, John, I have met Fr. Coughlin - before he went to DC, he was a frequent "visiting priest" at our parish. (I was not a deacon at that time - I was leading an ensemble). I wasn't aware, though, of his distinguished role in the liturgical renewal. Thank you for letting me know about it.I do have a perception, and even some memories, that the vernacular introduction was well-prepared. I hope the same can be said about this new translation. The pastoral situation is extremely different, though: a much larger percentage of Catholics attended mass regularly in the '60's and '70's, and in places like Chicago, as well as huge sections of the South and West, the church has become much less English-speaking (even among priests) than was the case then. We're all convinced that Christmas masses, which draw in many people who rarely attend mass or follow church matters, will be a jolt for a lot of people.

John - on the topic of preparation for the introduction of the vernacular - one of my foggy memories is the use of "commentators" who interjected brief explanations during the mass of what people should do. Compared to what we introduced this past Sunday, the update that happened in that 1964-1974 period seems considerably more ambitious.

John PageThank you for reminding us that the changes introduced by Sacrosanctum Concilium were not implemented in an instant, as was the introduction of the Roman Missal last weekend. In my home parish, the pastor was so against VII that we did not see any changes for several years. It was not until four years after the promulgation of SC that an altar was placed in the sanctuary so that the priest could face the people. As I recall, the introduction of the vernacular Mass was done quite slowly by comparison. Some seem to have forgotten the latitude that was given to bishops and pastors in bringing about the changes in 1964.

"My sacrifice and yours..." Are they different, or is it really "our sacrifice?" Or is he really telling us "I am up here and you are all down there?"It occurred to me that since we all brought our roofs to church this morning, some of us were missing quite a bit of thatch!

Thanks to those who have added comments on the catechesis that surrounded the introduction of the vernacular liturgy in the years following Vatican II. Those who worked hard at that deserve credit. But my recollection, not of their efforts but of what happened in the pews, is quite different. This is not a matter of opposing that transformation. Quite the contrary. As I've mentioned before on this blog, I grew up in an odd pre-Vatican II family that actually believed the liturgy should be in the vernacular (which we did not expect to happen in our lifetimes). It was something I early learned was a semi-heretical idea, if not worse, to propose in parochial school. When it actually occurred, however, I remember my father lamenting, "Same old top-down approach." There were indeed commentators to tell Mass-goers what to do. But I don't think there was much explanation as to WHY we should do it. The main reason was simply that these are now our marching orders. Rome has spoken. And that kind of approach was really not surprising, given the mental framework in which most of the clergy and laity had been trained. Mass in Latin was one of the pillars of Catholic identity, and whole raft of apologetic arguments had been long deployed to justify it. Explaining the change to the vernacular, however, was only part of the problem. The very idea of active participation was a jolt for the many Catholics who understood the Mass as (1) an obligation and (2) a time for private prayer and for hearing an exhortatory sermon and (3) going to Communion and experiencing an individual closeness to Jesus. The very idea of the Sunday Eucharist, its various parts -- liturgy of the Word, preparation of gifts, Eucharisti prayer, banquet as well as sacrifice -- and as communal worship all needed catechesis. I don't recall anything serious along those lines. There were other aspects of the change, such as the rapidity with which it took place in many dioceses and churches, rather than being phased in over an extended period of time, which would have allowed not only more explanation and adjustment but a retention of more Latin, so as to be sensitive to Catholics attached to it and valuable for maintaining a sense of continuity. Now my memories and those of others I've discussed this with could be mistaken. But I suspect that this history turns in part on what has been my concern about catechesis generally: the gap between good work on paper or in limited circles and what actually happens at the point of "delivery" throughout the church. In a comment way above (11/27, 3:25 p.m.) Robert Imbelli says that in the two parishes he knew the kind of catechesis that didn't take place in the '70s was now being carried out. I think it would be helpful if he described exactly what has been or is being done.

Among features of the 60's-70's transition, the one that overrode all else in its impact in my view was the fact that, for the very first time ever, many, if not all, Mass attendees prayed the Mass together in the language they knew and understood. From the beginning of Mass to its end, each phrase and sentence, heard and spoken, literally conveyed meaning with clarity and intensity few had ever experienced at Mass before. The text and music were imperfect. Some retained allegiance to generally unknown Latin. Theological expertise was almost certainly no deeper among participants than it is today. Yet, the community prayed knowingly together, joined by their familiar language and common understanding of what priest and people actually said and heard throughout the Mass. The sudden change to intelligibility after decades of attendance at mostly unintelligible Masses was an uplifting experience, leading to a communal foundation on which other changes and catechesis might build. Intelligibility for the participants in the pews deserves more attention today as Vox Clara II prepares for the next "translation".

As I said in an earlier postMy discomfort comes from not being able to participate in a Mass celebrated in my own English language instead I am presented with a mixture of English words and Latin compositional style that produces sentences that I would never write and words i would never choose. Its a great distraction during Mass.I dont blame that on any of the people who worked on the translations at the ICEL. I thank them for making it work as well as it does but the problem was created as soon as Liturgiam Authenticam was issued and they had to work within its constraints and under the micromanagement of Rome and Vox ClaraI can deal with it but I have a great feeling of loss.To expand on what I said about the ICEL, you might look at this post on PrayTell: "You still remember the Gray Book and the Received Text and the number 10,000 and the internal report Areas of Difficulty, right? Hows that? You want a refresher? OK, here we go.The Gray Book is the final version of the missal translation ICEL sends to the national bishops conferences, after having worked for many years with the conferences in developing it. Then the conferences approve the Gray Book, sometimes as is, sometimes with a few amendments, and send it to Rome for recognitio (= approval).Last summer the story leaked that Rome allowed a few people on Vox Clara to redo the final text. They made over 10,000 changes introducing all sorts of mistranslations, contorted English, and even theological errors. Since Vox Clara had received every draft translation over the previous years with opportunity to give feedback, it was especially puzzling that they held back all the way through, and then at the last stage undid and redid whatever they wanted.Perhaps well never know who was responsible for this mischief, but in some circles they speak of the [censored]. Its other name is the Received Text the text received by Pope Benedict at a luncheon on April 28, 2010 with Msgr. James Moroney and everyone else from Vox Clara."http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/05/01/the-2010-received-text-... article reports that, subsequent to the "Received Version" 49 corrections were made. So that is how the text we started using last Sunday came to be.

The Vatican needs a Murdoch newspaper to assign a crack reporter-hacker-spy to discover just who makes decisions there and how. McMullan (the guy in the convent) sounds like he would relish the job.

I read about half the thread and was impressed by the effort everybody made to be courteous and thoughtful. I sympathized with those who carefully expressed their dismay at this top-down imposition, and worry about its further implications as the popes continue to steer the Church further and further away from Vatican II. As an old priest, I will continue to use the words "for all," after explaining to the people that I will either do that or preach a sermon every Sunday explaining that for many somehow really means for all. I will do this, not out of disrespect, but out of grave concern. In my diocese, there are a lot of Pius X people who emphatically teach that Christ did not die for all. As proof, they point to the "pro multis" in their Latin words of Consecration. I predict that in a generation or two, a lot of Catholics will no longer believe that Christ died for all.

Dear Father Taylor,Bless you! I'm afraid you may be right. I know so many Catholics who already believe Christ died for a select few. I shudder to think what it may be like in a couple of decades.This Sunday, I found myself gritting my teeth and praying for patience. I've begun thinking about the Episcopal Church, again: great liturgical beauty, the majesty of the Book of Common Prayer, women priests..... Of course, they too have members splitting over other issues.God help us all!

I'm still unable to parrot "and with your Spirit," "under my roof," and "consubstantial." They feel pretentious and inauthentic. Also, "many" instead of "all" violates what I believe. In discussing the changes with one priest he admitted being angry initially but said, "But as I get used to it it's not so bad." When I accused him of damning with faint praise he laughed good-naturedly.It's all just an exercise of authoritarian muscles from the Vatican, in my opinion.

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About the Author

Peter Steinfels, co-founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and a former editor of Commonweal, is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.