Friday, February 04, 2011

Fr. Ruff's letter on the new translation

This is from America Magazine.  I have a comment in response to it at their web site.

An Open Letter to the U.S. Catholic
Bishops on the Forthcoming Missal

Y our Eminences, Your Excellencies,

With a heavy heart, I have recently made a difficult decision concerning the new English missal. I have decided to withdraw from all my upcoming speaking engagements on the Roman Missal in dioceses across the United States. After talking with my confessor and much prayer, I have concluded that I cannot promote the new missal translation with integrity. I’m sure bishops want a speaker who can put the new missal in a positive light, and that would require me to say things I do not believe.

I love the Church, I love the sacred liturgy, I love chant in Latin and English, and I treasure being involved with all these as a monk and priest. It has been an honor to serve until recently as chairman of the music committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) that prepared all the chants for the new missal. But my involvement in that process, as well as my observation of the Holy See’s handling of scandal, has gradually opened my eyes to the deep problems in the structures of authority of our church.

The forthcoming missal is but a part of a larger pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church. When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity…I weep.

I see a good deal of disillusionment with the Catholic Church among my friends and acquaintances. Some leave the Catholic Church out of conviction, some gradually drift away, some join other denominations, some remain Catholic with difficulty. My response is to stay in this church for life and do my best to serve her. This I hope to do by stating the truth as I see it, with charity and respect. I would be ready to participate in future liturgical projects under more favorable conditions.

I am sorry for the difficulties I am causing others by withdrawing, but I know this is the right thing to do. I will be praying for you and all leaders in our church.

Pax in Christo,

Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B.


Moonshadow said...

"as well as my observation of the Holy See’s handling of scandal"

Which scandal? Sex abuse scandal? I'd like to know.

Well, he's gotta follow his conscience. Of course the bishops want a promoter who wholeheartedly endorses the new missal.

I'm frankly a little surprised by your first comment there. You're asking him to get over his conscience?

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

I'm frankly a little surprised by your first comment there. You're asking him to get over his conscience?

I'm not sure how you drew that conclusion from my comment. Could you go into more detail?

Schütz said...

What do you think that this means, Jeffrey? I don't know Father Ruff, but if he was in charge of the music committee for ICEL this must have some signficance. Can you enlighten me?

Moonshadow said...

I attribute his withdrawal to his listening to his conscience. You tell him to get over it. What are you asking him to get over? Get over how the Church operates at the highest levels? I get the impression from his piece that Benedictines don't have the stomach for wheelin' and dealin'. It isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Moonshadow - I think you're attributing comment #2 to me, instead of comment #1.

This comment "Get over it already! The revised translation is a reality. Our Holy Father has led us towards a more faithful and reverent way of celebrating the liturgy in English and bishops, priests and the faithful should follow where he leads. Praise be to God! We've had 40 plus years of weeping now let's rejoice!" is from Alodia y Nunilo. My comment is above it.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

David - Fr. Ruff had already been dismissed from the ICEL music commission some weeks ago (around the time Fr. Alan Griffiths of the UK was dismissed from ICEL work) because of his reservations about the translation.

Discussion about his actions on Pray Tell Blog has already resulted in a few of the commenters (who are involved in their dioceses' liturgical formation teams) to tender their own letters to their own bishops.

While I understand their decisions, I think they are ultimately making a mistake, for a couple reasons:

1. I would rather hear about and by catechized on the new translation by someone who is willing to address and admit to its flaws as well as its benefits. (Although I'm not really sure how many of the people now "resigning" from their diocesan liturgical commissions see anything positive in the translation.)

2. If lots of people resign from positions of liturgical catechesis, and the new translation IS implemented on the First Sunday of Advent as scheduled, are the faithful going to be less prepared for it because there were less instructors than necessary?

So for me... I recognize that I am out of the loop (whereas people like Fr. Ruff are/were in the loop). But I think I can catechize about the new translation honestly and do a good job of it. Yes, my focus is on the Order of the Mass rather than the Propers (where most of the issues are), but I think the Order of the Mass is an important place to start.

Moonshadow said...

I am sorry to have confused the comments, Jeff. It didn't sound like you and I'm thankful it wasn't.

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