count-down to the missal launch

The first Sunday of Advent fast approaches, and so does the introduction of the New Roman Missal in English-speaking parishes around the world. Our diocesan public relations machine is in full gear. Workshops are being hastily prepared. Bulletin inserts are being distributed. During a time of limited resources, a lot of those resources are being expended to catechize, convince, and possible prevent a revolt from the pews.

It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. For some, the changes will come as a surprise on November 28. How will these folks react? Those who follow the news from the Vatican know the bumpy history of this latest revised Roman Missal. Many have followed its journey with amazement. How can such sweeping changes be imposed from the top-down with little or no room for dialogue? Where is the spirit of subsidiarity that allows national and regional episcopal conferences to adapt the liturgy to the diversity of local cultures and languages? Why, oh why, is all this energy and effort being wasted on obsessive words and gestures when the people of God have so many pressing needs?

Bishops, priests, and liturgists are patiently (and patronizingly?) telling us to make an effort to understand the reasoning behind the changes. Well, I have read the reasoning and understand the reasoning. And I still do not agree with it. Changing words to reflect a more literal translation from the Latin does not guarantee a `deeper meaning and splendour` in our prayer. Obsessing about when to kneel and when to stand does not guarantee that we will be one. The New Roman Missal is forcing parishes to focus, yet again, on what we are doing within the four walls of our church and not on what we are doing out in the world. Sigh…

4 thoughts on “count-down to the missal launch

  1. With the present crisis and anxiety that exist in the Church, not only is the temptation for Church leaders to remain the same, rather than moving toward future; but collectively they appear to move toward nostalgia for the past. When the Church was really the Church, when we were really the only true Church, or when the liturgy was done “right”. Our current leaders in Rome have this nostalgia for something that did not really exist. Have you ever had a nostalgic moment of the good old days in your own life and then you really remember what those days we like? You realize that they we not as good as you thought they were?

    When God is inviting us as Church to new life we have to not only let go of what we have a present, but we have to let go of the nostalgia of the past that does not exist any more. The more nostalgia Vatican leaders have for the past that is gone, the more crisis and anxiety increases for them because it is impossible to recreate the past. God is always moving us to create a future.

    The current missal crisis is aimed at us with the result: we have moved backward and the leadership of the Church has grown more infantile.

  2. If this `reform of the reform` continues and takes root, I`m afraid that I`m going to be guilty of some major nostalgia for the `good old days` of the post Vatican II Church. Do you think that those who welcome these changes will make the same argument against us, Ray?

    • I notice many young priests refer to us as Vatican II Catholics, we are an oddity to them. They have embraced all of the comfortable trappings of the past, but both their style of worship and their even their spirituality are more like museum pieces than authentic spiritual practice for today. As much as reformers of the reform want to us to be know as “The Church of the Way It Used to Be”, it cannot happen to much has changed.

      Every institution on earth has changed since Vatican II happened almost fifty years ago. It has been a half century of new beginnings in science, politics, and religion. It been a time when everything was evaluated to see how it was meant to function. Science and religion intersected; quantum physics discovered the presence of God. Religion validated science as a way in which God was being revealed. Catholic laity became more educated than their priests. Over the last twenty we learned not to trust the Church with our children or our money. I think the missal crisis is more of a deliberate distraction but a group of old men who know they lost their moral authority. It is a reminder that for us laity that they are still in control, as least of trivial churchy things.

    • I notice many young priests refer to us as Vatican II Catholics, we are an oddity to them. They have embraced all of the comfortable trappings of the past, but both their style of worship and their even their spirituality are more like museum pieces than authentic spiritual practice for today. As much as reformers of the reform want to us to be know as “The Church of the Way It Used to Be”, it cannot happen to much has changed.

      Every institution on earth has changed since Vatican II happened almost fifty years ago. It has been a half century of new beginnings in science, politics, and religion. It been a time when everything was evaluated to see how it was meant to function. Science and religion intersected; quantum physics discovered the presence of God. Religion validated science as a way in which God was being revealed. Catholic laity became more educated than their priests. Over the last twenty we learned not to trust the Church with our children or our money. I think the missal crisis is more of a deliberate distraction but a group of old men who know they lost their moral authority. It is a reminder that for us laity that they are still in control, as least of trivial churchy things.
      Ray

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