Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Excellent article on the liturgy and the new translation

US Catholic has a rather lengthy article which touches upon the liturgy in general, the "reform of the reform" movement, and the new English translation of the Mass. It includes hefty contributions from Jeff Tucker and Fr. Jeff Keyes. It is well worth the read. The comments (a couple dozen or so) are half-pro and half-con.

Here are a couple excerpts:
A trained musician with a number of published compositions to his credit, Keyes was particularly disturbed by the parish's musical repertoire. At his first Mass, for example, the choir sang "Gather Us In," whose third verse begins, "Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven light years away." Keyes was frustrated that a Catholic hymn would appear to dismiss our desire for heaven. "I said to people at the parish, ‘That's not what we believe!' " says Keyes.


The first few months [of liturgical changes by Fr. Keyes] were difficult. The original choir of almost 30 voices dwindled to a small handful. A number of families left the parish. Some parishioners accused him of wanting to return to a pre-Vatican II liturgy. The charge is ironic, says Keyes, because the Second Vatican Council's Sancrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) specifically envisioned Catholics learning to sing the key parts of the Mass in Latin.


While [Jesuit priest John] Baldovin agrees that more reverence in the celebration of the liturgy is needed, he thinks that implementing these changes would be a mistake. "I call it ‘Amish Catholicism.' It's nice, quaint, traditional, and even commendable in some ways. But it's not real," he says. "The world that supported that understanding of the liturgy has passed away."

Sister Joyce Ann Zimmerman, a former seminary professor and director of the Institute for Liturgical Ministry in Dayton, Ohio, worries that these changes would make it harder for the assembly to participate actively in the liturgy. "There is a risk of returning to a very privatized religion with a large rift between the ordained minister and the people, where the priest is celebrating for us rather than with us. That's not what Vatican II was about."

Some liturgists, though, question whether the concept of "active participation" in the liturgy is adequately understood. "It is sometimes treated as a slogan," says Father Douglas Martis, who directs the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago. "We tend to say people are ‘participating actively' if they sing and say the responses. But participation is more complex than that."
Go, read the whole thing!


A.R. said...

I noticed in the article's comments section that you mentioned you were writing up some sort of "mystagogical catechisis." I'd definitely be interested in reading such a thing.

I'm a supporter of the "reform of the reform" but know I'll need a lot of resources to help explain it to some people I know as things develop :) I hope you'll update us here on the status of your project when you finish. Thanks!

Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

This blog post (if you haven't read it already) gives you an introduction to the book. If you'd like to read a PDF of the book, please contact me by email and I'll send it to you.

If you like it, please check back regularly. When it's published and printed for real, I'll announce it on my blog and over email to people who have helped review it. If you REALLY like it, recommend it to your pastor!

Scott said...

Would the sister from Dayton agree also that the change in the new English translation of the Roman Missal from the words "Shed for all" to "Shed for many" is too privatized?

Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

I don't know who the "sister from Dayton" is, but I'll weigh in.

First of all, in the document from the CDWDS about the translation of pro multis, Cardinal Arinze wrote that "'For many' is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas 'for all' is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis." (3.d)

Second, saying Jesus' blood was shed "for all so that sins may be forgiven" is theologically sound. So is saying that Jesus' blood was poured out "for many for the forgiveness [i.e. remission] of sins." Jesus shed his blood (for all of us) so that sins may be forgiven, but he shed his blood bringing about the forgiveness (remission) of sins of many, not all. It is plain that NOT everyone's sins are forgiven. Otherwise, everyone is saved.

Maybe that's a bit technical, a bit overly word-parsy, but that's how it makes sense to me.