Tuesday, December 27, 2005

For those who haven't given up on the New Mass translations

Some time ago, I quit paying close attention to the substance of the US bishops' debate over the New Mass translations. I haven't read the Adoremus Bulletin in about a year, for instance, and I haven't really read the "What does the prayer really say" column in the Wanderer either. I've long-ago decided that new Mass translations aren't my battle, since I've discovered the old rite.

So I turn away, averting my eyes from the train wreck that's coming. All these well-meaning people believe that somehow, everything's going to be better once we get a good, authentic, translation of the New Mass! In truth, I'd like a better translation of the New Mass, because, even though I find myself at New Mass less and less, I will continue to have the occasional Christmas, family baptism, wedding or other event to attend. And of course, I'd like to see a good transaction of the new Mass simply because it would evidence that there is a palpable change in momentum in the Church. But, I just don't see believe that good will win out in the new Mass translations, because the forces are arrayed against it.

Anyways, with that being said, I did get pointed to, and read, the transcript of discussions on the liturgy posted by the Adoremus Bulletin from the USCCB fall meeting. Even in the transcript, without hearing the tone or seeing the expressions, you can see the great gulf among the Bishops.

After Bishop Allen Vigneron (who is, BTW, building that hideous thing in Oakland...his own Taj Mahoney) asked why Trautman why his panel elected to make numerous changes to the ICEL text (reverting to the 1970 text) what were not requested by the larger body of bishops, and which the bishops are not being allowed to consider separately. Trautman answers:
Bishop Trautman: I’ll try to put that in perspective for you. First of all, I would repeat that all of the written responses received as part of the consultation -- all of that documentation -- will be forwarded directly to the ICEL Secretariat. The Liturgy Committee has studied in depth the people’s parts, and as a working principle felt, because of pastoral sensitivities, since the texts are in possession, that we would recommend staying with the present texts already in possession, the 1970 translation -- with the exception of the three that we are surveying the body on at this moment. The working principle of the body has been, because of pastoral sensitivity, we decided to stay with the people’s parts. We decided not to change those people’s parts, unless there was a doctrinal issue involved or something of that nature. So that’s the rationale.

Ah, yes, deep pastoral sensitivity.
Bishop Samuel Aquila (Fargo): In looking at the survey and surveying the bishops, I am really uncomfortable with this process. Because I really see it as the panel rejecting Liturgiam authenticam. Liturgiam authenticam is clear on what the changes need to be. While I understand some of the pastoral reasoning, even with some of the faithful and some of the priests in my diocese, when I’ve spoken with them about the changes that will be coming and I showed them the difference between what is in the Latin translation and what we have in the 1970 Missal, they are very understanding of why it needs to change.

Bishop Aquila (who I assume has no connection to the failed Kansas City company) says, politely, but clearly, that Trautman and his buddies have hijacked the process, and that his priests and laity aren't too stupid to handle a change for the better. Trautman responds:
Bishop Trautman: I assure you it’s not a question of picking and choosing. If you were present for our Committee deliberations I think you would find from the Committee that we take very, very carefully the principles from Liturgiam authenticam. Applying them is another issue; we try to apply them in a pastoral way. I don’t know if any of the Committee members want to add to that, supplement….

Yes, Bishop Trautman, "applying them is another matter."

Then one of Bishop Gumbleton's peers in Detroit underscores the point that Trautman and his boys are planning on forwarding recommendations to ICEL without approval of the larger body:
Bishop Earl Bouyea (Aux. Detroit): I just have a question on page four of your purple book. You have list of texts there that you say, retain some from the 1970 ICEL text -- for instance, the Confiteor, the Creed, the Suscipiat, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamations and the Agnus Dei -- that you want to retain from the 1970 ritual. What is the weight of what you’ve done on this page? In other words, when you say these are the “recommendations of the panel”, to whom are they recommendations? To us or to ICEL?

Bishop Trautman: To ICEL

Bishop Bouyea: So, in other words, you are speaking in our name to ICEL in making these recommendations.

Bishop Trautman: That is correct...

Bishop Bouyea: But I guess my question is: so these recommendations of your panel will not go to ICEL until we’ve had a chance to vote on them or something?

Bishop Trautman: We are compelled, I think, to present our recommendation to ICEL without a formal vote from the body.

Later Bishop Bruskewitz jumps in:

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln): I don’t have a copy of Liturgiam
here, but are those three issues in the gold folder -- weren’t they mentioned specifically in Liturgiam authenticam?

Bruskewitz is pointing out that Trautman's boys have ignored Liturgiam authenticam's general principles and have only put in the survey three points that were specifically addressed in Liturgiam authenticam to a vote so that many of the Bishops would vote specifically against the principles of Liturgiam authenticam, with no opportunity to vote on changes that are consistent with those principles.

Later, Bishop Vigneron (he of the ugly cathedral) jumps back in:

Bishop Vigneron: I realize that this is my second time to stand, but I think this is a follow-up to my concern. There are thirteen occasions when our Committee is recommending to ICEL keeping the 1970 texts when no one wrote to the Committee to say there was a problem with that text. And I find that very problematic.

No good answer from Trautman. He's operating on the "Spirit of Liturgiam Authenticam" or somesuch thing which has nothing to do with the letter, of course. He goes back very soon to being pastoral:

Bishop Trautman: There’s a pastoral sensitivity at this point. What can we take to our people in terms of a radical change in the way they have been praying for some thirty years?

What kind of pastoral sensitivity? The kind that guided men of his ilk when they tried to wipe out the old Mass just an historical moment ago. Nobody ever raises that point--that the new translations we have are only 35 years old, and were imposed without pastoral consideration for those who were attached to the old Mass, in Latin. BUT WAIT, an unnamed Bishop does make that point (the first time I've heard anyone in the clerical state make it in this context):
Bishop [unidentified]: I think the fact that we’re going to have these
texts for a long period of time, as you indicated, makes me less receptive to the argument that it would be upsetting for people who have gotten used to these texts over the last 30 or 35 years. Thirty-five years ago we changed texts that had been in use for four hundred years. Now, that upset many people, but we did that for strong reasons. And I think we shouldn’t say: “Well, we’re not going to do it now because that will upset people”. If we have defective translations, or translations that could be improved, I think we should do that now. Sort of bite the bullet. Get it done, and get it done right. And so we can live with that for a long period of time.

Well, it's a shame that he's defending, out of hand, the chaos started 35 years ago, but at least he's making the point that it's stupid and silly to worry about wiping out a mere 35 years of erroneous and misleading paraphasing. I wish I knew who that bishop was. I'd like to think it was my bishop standing up to Trautman, even if doing so imperfectly.

It's pretty obvious that Trautman and the Liturgy Committee continue to run amok, applying their own principles to the project, instead of Rome's and instead of with the body of bishops (so much for collegiality). Bishop Ricard of Pensacola/Tallahassee (one of the Florida bishops who stood silent while Terri Schiavo was starved) raises the only point of hope near the end of the discussion: that Trautman can't get his vote on the new translation when it comes back from ICEL, and it's imposed by Rome.
Bishop Ricard: I certainly agree that this is a good idea. Just another possibility, just expanding the remarks of Archbishop Pilarczyck, it seems to me that the house is divided, as you’ve commented several times. When we come to the White Book or the Green Book, and do that, I don’t think there’s going to be a sudden surge of unity. Maybe there will be, but I suspect not. Is another possibility that simply if we can’t come to a two-thirds agreement on a text that someone else will do it? That it will be out of our hands. Is that possible? That the Holy See does the whole thing? I think that’s something we ought to anticipate.

But then Trautman asserts his conference's, and therefore his own power--perhaps he believes he can wear the bishops down in the end:

Bishop Trautman: Ponder that question -- but I would still cite what’s in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: that it is the competence of the bishops’ conference to decide vernacular translations.*

OH! I'm so glad I've discovered the old Rite. It's so refreshing to know that (unless I'm send to someplace like Odessa, Texas, or prison (is there a difference?), my own worship will not be affected.

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