The other day my good friend Fr. Ray Blake of Brighton posted an entry on his blog St. Mary Magdalen about ad experimentum use of the new ICEL translation for Holy Mass.
He has some corrections to make in an interesting blog entry with my emphases and comments:
Following my report on using the new ICEL translation I have had a number of emails from different parts of the world but mainly from the UK, from laity and priests, saying that the new ICEL translations of the Eucharistic Prayers are already being used to a greater or lesser extent in their parishes. [But… should they be?] Priests who are not normally innovators tell me they have waited too long [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] and would be doing their parishioners a serious disservice by continuing to use the old inaccurate translations. [And so I have often thought as well.] I have every sympathy with them, however our UK bishops have not yet sought Rome’s permission for them to be implemented, so technically these priests are celebrating illicit Masses. [Yes, indeed they are. As well-meaning as they are, they just don’t have permission yet to do this.]
[And now the £64 question.] How serious is this willful act of dissent?
Well, it is the intention of the lawmaker, the Holy See, that these translations should be implemented, permission has been given for their use already in other parts of the world. A great deal of liturgical innovation has already been introduced by deliberate and willful disobedience to the mind of the Church, the vernacular during the Council, communion in the hand after it, the use of lay persons to distribute Holy Communion, then later women and girls serving Mass, in the scheme of things jumping the gun with the new translation seems very small beer, especially as it is very much according to the mind of the Church that they be implemented. [Is this the argument: "Other people did wrong things – contra legem – for the wrong reason. Why shouldn’t we do right things – contra legem – for the right reason?"]
A wise bishop would do well to try and stop other abuses in the liturgy rather than stomp on the pre-emptive use of texts, which with some minor adjustments, will become standard in the English speaking world. Indeed if I were a bishop I would welcome experimentation in preparatory catechesis for their introduction.
I wholly agree with Fr. Blake: bishops would do well to stop clear and harmful liturgical abuses.
Is using the new translation a liturgical abuse?
But I think we all know that the usual pattern is that bishops tend to let liberals do as they please while coming down hard on more traditionally-minded priests.
I suspect that the reason is that they know that the traditionally-minded priests will strive to obey without making a nasty scene, while the liberals will throw a public nutty and defy the bishop to his face.
I can hear it now…
"But Father! But Father!", some will be saying as they wag their finger at the screen. "It is clear wrong when liberals depart from the approved texts. Priests don’t have the authority on their own to change texts. If a priest starts using the new ICEL text without permission, isn’t he doing the same thing the wackos do? Can you justify doing something against the Church’s law for a good reason?"
I know several good priests who change words here and there "on their own authority". And I know their reasons for doing so.
Just for jollies, anima caussa as we say in Latin, let’s have a little poll.
Please vote after pondering the situation and then share your reasons in the combox.
UPDATE 2320 GMT
I closed the poll. I think we have a good sense of the trend.