Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Praise of an Intelligent Liturgy #Catholic

Sometimes I can't help but be excited by the timing of my return to the Catholic Church. First, I am in awe by the grace the Lord has extended to me, that He would allow me to see -- really see His truth and beauty in the Mass. Second, I am thrilled to be a witness to His protection and strengthening of His Church. Finally, I admit there is a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that the enemy's attempts to destroy the Church by introducing a worship of Self, has failed.

A friend long ago told me that if he really wanted to improve his tennis game, he didn't play with people who had his same skill level. He played with those who would wipe him out. But he learned and improved his game by playing them. This universal truth is evident in all walks of life. We attend school and are taught by teachers who know more than us. We get hired into jobs where we may not know how to accomplish a certain task but we grow into it. We surround ourselves with people who are good people because we wish to be good. In essence, in order to learn and grow, we need to be challenged.

Enter the liturgy. After Vatican II, many changes were made to it, and some of those changes were unwise. Now after forty years, many can see how damaging to the Church many of those changes were. The liturgy was "dumbed-down" because supposedly, the language that was used before was archaic and stifling. It no longer represented the new freedoms the world was embracing. To be modern, the Church agreed to throw out the beauty and mystery of our faith in order to appeal to the world. If the idea was to keep the parishioners in the pews with a new translation of the missal, it failed miserably.

Instead, by changing the liturgy into a celebration of Self, it did the complete opposite. Over the past forty years, Catholics left in droves, nuns became radicalized feminist lesbians, homosexuality became rampant within seminaries, to the point where more traditional seminarians were kicked out because they were "repressed" and narrow-minded. Catholic politicians who should have known better voted for abortion-rights and currently, are pushing for the Marxist ideal of "social justice." As Jesus said, if you want to judge a tree, look at its fruit. Although those who initially thought Vatican II was the right direction for the Church, I think its safe to say there were issues both with the plan and the strategy. I also think the heart of the Church is the liturgy and the heart was ripped out and replaced with a smaller, weaker one.

As a result, our Catholic identity was drastically changed, leaving many confused and ungrounded.

This is why I am thrilled by the new translation of the missal. I believe it is placing us in the right direction. From a great article in The Australian (emphasis mine):

The new translation places a heavier emphasis on Christ's sacrifice and underlines the dependence of individuals on God. In one of the most controversial changes, the words of the consecration in the mass specify that Christ shed his blood "for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins", rather than "for all" as the present translation puts it.

Cardinal Pell said the change reflected the official Latin version of the Roman Missal, and although Christ died for everybody, this would remind worshippers of the need for personal repentance.

In the creed, the faithful will now say "I believe" rather than "we believe", emphasising the importance of personal belief.

Most of the changes are in the parts of the mass said by priests, with changes in the laity's responses deliberately kept to a minimum to avoid confusion.

A new Latin edition of the missal was published under Pope John Paul II in 2002, and the next step was to produce authentic vernacular translations.

After a major education program that will start later this year and is already under way for priests in some dioceses, the new translation is likely to be introduced from Pentecost Sunday in June next year.


Professor Rowland, author of Ratzinger's Faith: the Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, said the new translation was "theo-centric liturgy", focused on the worship of God, rather than "self-centric liturgy", focused on community celebration of the parish, the Year 7 class, or the netball team.

She said the new translation of the mass was close to Pope Benedict's heart.

"He has complained about 'sacro-pop' and 'emotional primitivism' in liturgy, and said everything associated with the Eucharist must be marked by beauty."

Professor Rowland said the new translation was in accord with the Church's 1963 text Constitution on the Scared Liturgy. That instruction called for the rites of the mass, which dated back to the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century, to be simplified with "due care being taken to preserve their substance" so that "devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved".

Professor Rowland said the Second Vatican Council's call for renewal was widely misinterpreted in the 1960s, with pushes from some for outlandish changes that were never envisaged at the council.

In 1966, for example, an article in a prominent Jesuit magazine in the US called for Catholic worship to employ "the language of the Beatles".

"The new translation of the missal settles the issue," Professor Rowland said.

"I'm not surprised it has taken almost nine years. They had to get it right, and they have."

Amen and amen. I may add a few more thoughts later on this one.


kkollwitz said...

Here's another revised line that will my catechizing easier:

"In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty..."

Here's a link to many (maybe all?) of the revisions:

Mary Rose said...

Grand events demand grand language. The more I think about the liturgy, the more it's evident that by "dumbing down" the language, the meaning of what was happening became watered down or lost altogether. No wonder Pope Benedict wants to bring this ship around.

I loved what you quoted. That is just awesome in every sense of the word! I'll check the link. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I have similar problems with the dumbing-down that has taken place in many Bible translations. They simplify in order to make it more comprehensible, but in the process they simplify it to the point of distorting or leaving out the basic message. I really hate them, and refuse to use them at all.

kkollwitz said...

This reminds me of the 1611 KJV which came out a few years after the Douay-Rheims Bible. In the KJV preface (which is very interesting) the translators said "we have shunned the obscuritie of the Papists, in their Azimes, Tunike, Rational, Holocausts, Præpuce, Pasche, and a number of such like, whereof their late Translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the sence, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof, it may bee kept from being understood."

God forbid that an English speaker should have to become familiar with the likes
of 'tunic,' 'rational,' or 'holocausts.'

Patty said...

"First, I am in awe by the grace the Lord has extended to me, that He would allow me to see -- really see His truth and beauty in the Mass. Second, I am thrilled to be a witness to His protection and strengthening of His Church. Finally, I admit there is a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that the enemy's attempts to destroy the Church by introducing a worship of Self, has failed."

WOW, I couldn't agree more!

I've given you a Sunshine Award