Friday, March 02, 2007

Worth Sharing

Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things, weighs in on the ongoing battle over liturgical translation in the current issue of that fine journal of religion and culture. He writes:

Thanks to a working group called Vox Clara, headed by George Cardinal Pell of Australia, and to the hard work of a reformed ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy), it seems that Catholics will soon have a new sacramentary with an actual translation of the Latin texts of the Mass rather than the loose and clunky paraphrases that were hastily contrived in the 1960s. The old guard of the liturgical establishment that was responsible for the dumbed-down paraphrase is not happy. Bishop Donald Trautman, who will be chairman of the U.S. bishops conference's committee on liturgy for a little while longer, gave the keynote address at the January meeting in Toronto of the North American Academy of Liturgy. Criticizing the work of Vox Clara and ICEL, he said liturgists must be "prophetic" in defending a liturgy that is "accessible and pastorally aware." I don't know how liturgy can be aware, but Catholics who are aware may be somewhat amused by the warnings of Trautman and others that changes in the rite might alienate some of the faithful. After forty years of eat-your-spinach diktats from the liturgical guild, it seems a little late to be worrying about alienating the faithful. By now everybody is familiar with the quip about the difference between liturgists and terrorists: You can sometimes negotiate with terrorists. Thanks to Vox Clara and ICEL, it seems that at least one war on terrorism is being won.

-- "While We're At It," First Things 171 (March 2007): 61

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