Saturday, December 5, 2009

To Rev. Michael G. Ryan on the New Roman Missal Translation: What If We Said Go For It? #Catholic

I've said it before and will say it again: did I return to the Catholic Church at an exciting time, or what?!

Rev. Michael G. Ryan wrote an article entitled "What If We Said 'Wait'? The Case for a Grass Roots Review of the New Roman Missal," published in America Magazine. I found the article "fisked" hilariously by Fr. Zuhlsdorf. His comments in red were so funny that I found myself several times bursting into laughter.

Some of the changes in the liturgy can be seen here. Below are a few examples:

Present text:

The day before he suffered he took bread in his sacred hands and looking up to heaven, to you, his almighty Father, he gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:


New Text:

On the day before he was to suffer he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying:


Present Text:

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned
through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.

New Text:

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

I for one, cannot wait for this beautiful new translation. Fr. Ryan seems to be blind to the effects of the bland liturgy that was given to us after Vatican II. When I think of the words, "he took the cup" versus the new translation, "he took this precious chalice into his holy and venerable hands," there is simply no contest.

What our current translation of the Roman Missal did, at least for me, was strip the Mass of any sense of awe and mystery of what we were experiencing. It rendered the power of the gospel almost impotent and about as interesting as reciting a grocery list.

I know I may come across as being harsh. But after years of being involved in the "touchy-feely" auditoriums of non-denominationalism, I can attest to the fact that when you water down the sacred, you get weak faith. Church, in my eyes, should be like a spiritual "boot camp" of sorts. It should help me develop my faith so I can take a lickin' in the world and still keep on tickin'. There are hard issues in our world but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Those who imagine that our life "today" is so much more complicated than those who were living "yesterday," miss the point that humanity never changes. We may have electricity and a bunch of overpriced gizmos to collect, but anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and sloth - hasn't changed. Selfishness hasn't changed. Cruelty still exists.

What can equip us as believers against such a sinful world and our sinful nature? The lulling words of insipid praise songs and the rousing calls to join Marxist organizations that promise "justice for all?" And how would that help a believer if indeed they were to face a firing squad to be martyred for the faith? Would such a believer try to remind their oppressor that they supported the power coup all along? Would the issue of faith, sacrifice, and submission play a part in the conversation?

This is why I love the idea of a newer, beefier, translation. St. Paul said there was a time to move from milk to meat and sadly, many Catholics have only had milk to drink. (And watered-down milk, at that.) The new liturgy will challenge many, yes - but instead of being viewed as a "threat" to one's prayer life, why can't it be viewed as a challenge to grow? Why can't the new translation be received as a call to go deeper in our faith? Because that's how I'm viewing it.

Over the year, as I've spoken to a few people about why I returned to the Catholic Church and in particular, fallen in love with the Traditional Latin Mass, I've used the illustration of the "tough teacher" in schools. I think if we were all honest, we would admit that it was those teachers that we "loathed," the ones who continued to harp on us and claim we could do better - who actually did get our best. We may have given it to these teachers grudgingly, but we gave it to them. And secretly, we had to admit to ourselves that we were the better for it.

The TLM demands something of me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this more than ever. Who demands anything of me, other than my boss? Who requires that I show up, giving it my all, my everything, in order to acquire something so precious as my spiritual growth, as the TLM does?

I've always felt a little hesitant about referring to the Mass as a "celebration." It is, of course, a celebration of our Lord's victory over death, but it is a somber, more serious matter to ponder. Puppets and sappy liturgical dance are inappropriate during such a time of reflection. Such creative expressions of the faith are fine for special events outside of the Mass but during Mass, we are remembering something profound. Puppets and liturgical dancing only serve as distractions.

I think the new translation is going to mix it up wonderfully, and for those who balk at change can be reminded that most of them voted for a President who made "hope and change" his motto. Change, we've been told, is good so that we can progress. I think the new Roman Missal is going to help the Church get out of a rut, a sad, barren rut - in order to move us forward into rich fertile faith that will mean something again. I don't think I'm the only one saying to the USCCB: Go for it.


Elizabeth said...


Leanne said...

after reading what you have said, I am excited about the new liturgy. It sounds much richer, subtle but rich.

Unknown said...

this is so refreshing to hear--after being a St. James parishioner all too long (and being crucified there)... and having come "home" to a parish where the Extraordinary form of the Mass is said (I participate in the chant choir--admirably directed by a very talented H.S. friend of mine--we participated in many musical activities together)... and I am known for who I am--with four generations of my father's family having lived here! I feel so loved, held, and nurtured by the many intelligent, highly-educated, and completely orthodox Catholics around me! I "blend in" as I simply did not at the Cathedral... Thank you, dear Lord for these Thy gifts, which we have received out of Thy bounty, through the same Christ our Lord, AMEN!