Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The New Missal: A Progress Report from the Australian Bishops Conference

A report in Cathnews today includes this:
Work towards new Missal proceeds

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference voted to approve the completed draft texts for the Roman Missal entitled: Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions (January 2008) Ritual Masses (January 2008) and Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children (January 2008).

This follows the approval at the November 2007 Plenary Meeting of the completed draft of the new translation of the Roman Missal.

It is now anticipated that the completed Missal, with Australian adaptations, could be sent to Rome for recognition by the Holy See in 2009.

The Missal Implementation Team for Australia continues its work on making preparations for the new translation of the Missal.

A comprehensive multi-media resource is in the early stages of preparation. It is hoped that there will be an international resource able to be adapted for the needs of Australia.
Well, they say all things good come to those who wait. And wait. And wait. But at least they are doing this properly this time. Not like last time. Who was it on this blog telling me that all the preparation they got for the vernacular mass was "Next Sunday the Mass will be in English"? Now, after 40 years, it just might be true...

15 Comments:

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 11:41:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the history of the change over as it really happened in Australia really been told?

Did it really change as suddenly as that?

If so, is it any wonder so many were lost? Especially men?

 
At Thursday, May 22, 2008 12:54:00 pm , Anonymous Mike said...

I'm not sure that "doing it properly" really justifies this kind of timeframe! When that line was trotted out in 2004 I agreed with it. But now???

I wouldn't be too excited about "2009". It's been "a year and a half away" for about 4 years.

 
At Thursday, May 22, 2008 3:23:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I'd rather they took their time and got it right. I'm not, by nature, a patient man. But in this case it is necessary. The bishops are far more attuned to the possiiblity of error in this department today than they were forty years ago. On top of that, responsibility is far more diverse--there is no "Bug" today. The more committees and conferences you have working on a thing like this, the longer it takes. Even back in my Lutheran days, it took about four years work to revise our 1972 Hymnal and Services for publication in revised form in 1986. And that was just a little local church.

 
At Thursday, May 22, 2008 4:07:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Has the history of the change over as it really happened in Australia really been told?

Did it really change as suddenly as that?


No, it didn’t.

The Vatican Council sat from 1962 to 1965. From about half-way through the Council, I think, it was widely known – and much discussed – that the vernacular would be used in the liturgy. This was a matter of great interest and excitement, so it is unlikely that anyone was unaware of it. It wasn’t until about 1970 that mass actually started to be celebrated in English.

If so, is it any wonder so many were lost?

I don’t think there’s any evidence that the decline in massgoing was caused by the change in the liturgy. Those who dislike the current liturgy tend to claim, or assume, that it was. On the other hand, those who dislike other things – hierarchical government, say, or Humanae Vitae - tend to blame those things. All these groups, I suspect, are engaged in wishful thinking. If you want to know why people don’t go to church, you need to ask the people who are not going, not the remaining churchgoers.

Against the view that the decline in massgoing was the result of the switch to the new liturgy are the facts that (a) it started in the 1950s, whereas the liturgical change occurred in 1970, and (b) a parallel decline in participation has been experienced by all the mainstream churches, even though the others did not experience a change from Latin to the vernacular.

Especially men?

Why would you think that men in particular would react badly to sudden liturgical change? I’m just curious.

 
At Friday, May 23, 2008 12:09:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

(b) a parallel decline in participation has been experienced by all the mainstream churches, even though the others did not experience a change from Latin to the vernacular.

Quite right. I was Lutheran during those years.

 
At Friday, May 23, 2008 11:44:00 pm , Blogger William Weedon said...

No, but what the Lutherans and others did experience in those days was a similar drive to put the language of the mass into a vernacular that was decidedly "unchurchy" - in our case it was the transition from the language of the AV to the language of contemporary America and that had a bit of the same effect as the move from Latin did for Rome. Not that I'm one bit opposed to the service in the language of the people, but the language of liturgy has always been and should always be poetry, not newspaper, if you know what I mean.

 
At Saturday, May 24, 2008 9:07:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I cannot say for Oz, but here (USA) the transition was not sudden at all. It was a lengthy period of every few weeks some insipid jamoke would step to the pulpit before Mass, draw our attention to some hand-outs in the pews, and explain how in response to what the people want, when we get to this part use the hand-outs.

Great times. There were two large dictatorships always announcing to "the people" what they wanted and here it was -- the USSR and the RCC.

The bishops are more attuned to the possibility of error in this department than forty years ago? What, these guarantors of every thing holy and true were napping?

It is utterly inexcusable that it takes forty odd years to come up with decent translations of Latin documents not at all beyond Sister Colleen's third year Latin class as we were translating Caesar kicking Gallic butt.

Back in those days Coca-Cola came out with New Coke, and the people stayed away in droves too. At least they had the sense not to say how it was the old Coke only better and silly season will soon subside for all that long, and Coke was back on the market.

And that's the problem. They did NOT switch from Latin to the vernacular in the Mass. They switched Masses, and put the NEW one in the vernacular. Then all the wannabe liturgical Protestants jumped on the bandwagon and did likewise with their service books. So everybody's numbers went South. The revised calendar, three year lectionary and Vatican II style liturgies are now the common property of all heterodox churches.

And fittingly so. I remember when I first saw the Lutheran Book of Worship, given to me by the director of a Lutheran choir for whom I wrote programme notes. I thought, if this is Lutheran worship, might as well stick with the original if you're going to have a "tradition" from the 1960s. (The director's name is in the credits for the LBW and, it living on in the LSB, there too, God bless me.)

You may have the best translation possible of the novus ordo into English and it still will not be the Mass in English but the novus ordo in English. New Coke. That's your change, not the language. They weren't jacking around about the "novus" -- I overheard the conversations in the back room.

Chesterton wrote that he who marries the spirit of one age will be a widower in the next. Roger that, except it doesn't take that long. Each age already is what it is and doesn't need or want or care about having it re-presented to itself all churched up, the original is quite fine without it.

Blessed be the Bug Man, in his angels and in his saints. And pass the New Coke, the cafeteria will be closed any day now.

Now where'd I put my red hymnal? Ah, there it is.

 
At Saturday, May 24, 2008 9:49:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Peregrinus,

I don't know if you are old enough to remember the changes - I am not. However, I do know that the Australian bishops already put large parts of the interim 1965 Missal into the vernacular in the mid-1960's, since I have seen booklets for the people from that era, which give a pre-ICEL version of the Canon with the note that this is what the priest is saying in Latin.

There is definite anecdotal evidence that not everyone liked the changes in the liturgy - hence the whole Traditionalist movement (though, as Terra explains over at Australia Incognita, the movement has two wings, the liturgical and the schismatic, or Cavaliers and Roundheads as she puts it). But I have seen no statistics about how many may have given up on Mass because of the changes, or how many didn't like the changes but for lack of an alternative went along with them. I wish someone would do some research on this!

If you have read "The Church Impotent" or otherwise come across this argument, you may know the thesis following.

Now, it is a fact that down the recent centuries, it has been the case that less and less men go to church, and as a consequence the pews have become more and more the land of women.

The liturgical changes, some argue, produced a liturgy apt for 'feminization' - note, by this term I do not refer to the features that feminists find objectionable in Mass, but to the entrance of ladies into the sanctuary as readers, servers, ministers of communion, etc., and to the way that priests have increasingly adopted a therapeutic mindset, making Mass more and more a suburban caring and sharing experience that stereotypes what they think women want, and which turns men off - hence men increasingly perceive Mass as irrelevant intellectually vacuous rubbish without backbone, and see liturgical roles as roles for women; hence the strange spectacle of everyone in the sanctuary being a women, except for the superannuated priest.

I think that, shorn of any chauvinistic bias, the thesis that priests deal with a majority-female congregation, and may end up not 'feminized' but catering mainly to the stereotypical male view of what women want, to be quite an interesting analysis.

David,

You once remarked on perceiving something akin to this thesis since your conversion, and mentioned how the Lutherans in Australia on the contrary have a rather 'masculine' feel - could you comment?

 
At Saturday, May 24, 2008 11:51:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Reza por los dos, we say in Spanish -- she prays for us both, the standard response for a guy on why he doesn't go to church.

One of the oldest stereotypes there is, church is for women; has nothing to do with Vatican II, except it seems to have emptied the pews even faster than the world's allure.

Schools and parishes close all the time here, but there's still enough to buy the retiring bishop a house for a few hundred thousand cash!

 
At Sunday, May 25, 2008 1:04:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

Blessed be the Bug Man, in his angels and in his saints.

You really should have more respect, PE. Let's face it, you might actually be wrong, you know. In which case you have just blasphemed. Do at least *try* fro a bit of humility.

 
At Sunday, May 25, 2008 3:55:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well geez, lyl, I've been wrong a lot, having been Catholic once.

Strictly speaking, unless the Bug Man is a god, there is no blasphemy here; no misuse of a divine name. It is profanity, being a parody of a phrase from a litany.

Then again, as the whole traditionalist/conservative argument is over Bugnini 1962 and Bugnini 1970, maybe he was a god.

There is an altogether excellent study of this aspect of language by the great anthropologist Ashley Montagu called The Anatomy of Swearing (1967).

Upon finishing it, a brisk dip in some Rabelais, perhaps the only novelist worth reading, is absolutely refreshing.

The extent to which blaspheny, profanity, swearing and vulgarity have been blurred in popular usage is almost as hard to bear as reading the Documents of Vatican II when there is much better phenomenology available elsewhere.

 
At Sunday, May 25, 2008 5:08:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

I think you are sailing very close to the wind.

I understood your words to be, ultimately, a slur upon the God whom we Catholics worship. Sure, there's the reference to Bugnini, which - technically - means there is no blasphemy. Or at least, the charge of blasphemy can be dismissed by appealing to the words at their face value.

OTOH having read some of your profanities (or possibly vulgarities or swearings - I'm not sure and claim no expertise) about those things which Catholics hold dear (and which *are* dear if we are in the right) it seems reasonable to have concluded that you are asserting that our God is a false one. Now that I think would be a blasphemy if it turns out that we are in the right.

 
At Monday, May 26, 2008 1:52:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

You're quite right lyl. There's some serious stuff at stake here.

There's what we hold dear, there's what you (collective) hold dear, there's all the other stuff that others hold dear, and there's a significant group who thinks all of us holding anything like these things dear are just life-denying pie-in-the-sky idiots. And depending on who's right, the others are really off track, consequences ranging from eternal damnation to wasting the only life you get right here and now.

Have you ever seen someone die? Puts this into relief -- who is right about all this stuff, or are we all wrong and arguing over fairy tales.

It's for all the marbles, as they say. For that matter, if Jesus' claim to divinity was false but the Law is of divine origin, then the judgement of the Sanhedrin was correct. Or, if his claim to divinity is, as I learned in Catholic scripture classes but of course it's not what the church really teaches, those claims are more the reflective development of the community on his continuing significance than claims of his, that's something else again.

No, I don't think your god is a false one. I think you worship the true god, God. I think that Law and Gospel can be found, Baptism and the Eucharist celebrated, and the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church can be found, all within the Roman Catholic Church -- but mixed in with a lot of stuff that derives from the function of a state religion in the Roman Empire and later philosophies, to the danger of souls. And at or very near the top of the list is an attitude toward the institution the Roman Catholic Church and the officers that make it up that borders on if not crosses over into idolatry -- not willfully or intentionally, but because of things we hold to be errors that you hold to be normative elements of the church.

One of us is wrong. Either you (collective) have overlaid Christ and the Gospel with all sorts of accretions or we have denied some of what he brought, neither of us intending to do so.

It may not be clear in all this, wearing two hats as I do as a former Catholic and present Lutheran, that the heat I feel re the RCC has no Lutheran origin at all. In fact, becoming Lutheran is where I saw how the RCC could be both wrong on some essential things yet Christ and his church be present there. The heat is of entirely Catholic origin, from which standpoint the RCC seems as monstrous anachronism capable of any lie, any self-serving set of excuses, a whore prowling the streets for new johns with her new clothes on and her pimps (bishops) making the deals needed for the business, all the while dressing somewhat like the woman whose clothes she stole and now claims to be. Or more flatly, a murderer who now goes about in his victim's clothes assuming his identity.

There is no way that the conciliar church is Catholicism, unless one a priori assumes it must be. And that a priori is, the Roman church is always right where it counts so it must be here and now too, so anything and everything that indicates the contrary is either oh that's not what the church really teaches for the millionth time or a personal problem.

Praise God that the choices are not the church-olatry of Rome or the Bible-olatry of most of what travels under the name Protestantism. That's what I discovered when I read the Book of Concord. Well, and Babylonian Captivity.

 
At Monday, May 26, 2008 11:52:00 am , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Now, it is a fact that down the recent centuries, it has been the case that less and less men go to church, and as a consequence the pews have become more and more the land of women.

The liturgical changes, some argue, produced a liturgy apt for 'feminization' - note, by this term I do not refer to the features that feminists find objectionable in Mass, but to the entrance of ladies into the sanctuary as readers, servers, ministers of communion, etc., and to the way that priests have increasingly adopted a therapeutic mindset, making Mass more and more a suburban caring and sharing experience that stereotypes what they think women want, and which turns men off - hence men increasingly perceive Mass as irrelevant intellectually vacuous rubbish without backbone, and see liturgical roles as roles for women; hence the strange spectacle of everyone in the sanctuary being a women, except for the superannuated priest.

I think that, shorn of any chauvinistic bias, the thesis that priests deal with a majority-female congregation, and may end up not 'feminized' but catering mainly to the stereotypical male view of what women want, to be quite an interesting analysis.


I haven’t read the book, but it’s certainly an interesting theory.

As your rightly note, the predominance of women in the pews predates the liturgical changes. You suggest that it has developed “down the recent centuries”; as an aside, it occurs to me to wonder whether it was not always thus? Is communal worship, or the communal expression of faith, something that is inherently more appealing to women? Or, at least, do western society and western values tend to make going to church a more attractive and engaging experience for women than for men?

Interesting, but perhaps not relevant (though it would enable us male churchgoers to claim that we are more in touch with our feminine sides), so park it for a moment.

The thesis that liturgies are increasingly adapted to what women (are assumed to) want, and that this “turns men off” is not terribly convincing, at first glance. There are women in the sanctuary as readers, servers and eucharistic ministers – women along with men, please note – and men conclude as a result that mass is “intellectually vacuous rubbish without backbone”? This doesn’t look to me like an argument that liturgy is framed by a stereotypical male view of what women want; it looks to me like an argument which is itself based on a ludicrous stereotype of how men regard women – if girls are involved, it must be girly, mustn’t it? The only activities worth engaging in are those from which women are excluded, after all.

Not having read the book I don’t want to caricature the argument unfairly but, to be absolutely honest, that is how it comes across.

As a matter of interest, has anyone done any study of whether the male:female ratio tends to be more in traditionalist congregations than in mainstream ones? (My guess is that it is, but not for the reasons that your theory might suggest, but I would be interested to know.)

 
At Monday, May 26, 2008 8:39:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

it occurs to me to wonder whether it was not always thus?

It was the case in Europe 100 years ago, according to Chesterton (in "Orthodoxy," 1908).

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home