A reader sent a link to an interesting piece in the Seattle In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
My emphases and comments.
“What if we said, ‘wait’?” Vatican won’t
Posted by Joel Connelly on February 27, 2011 [This fellow has written about this fellow before and we looked at it here.]
A prominent Catholic pastor in Seattle is “letting go” of his campaign against a new Latinized translation of the church liturgy, but not his convictions in starting it. [“Latinized”? A curious word. I wonder if it is accurate.]
“It is the people who will have the last word on the new missal once it is introduced,” Fr. Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral, said in a Sunday morning homily. [I am not what the implications of this are supposed to be.]
Noting that the missal will be introduced later this year, [Yes, it is a done deal.] Ryan added: “This is neither the time nor the place for arguing the matter.” He pledged to work toward harmonious introduction of the new language into the cathedral’s worship. [Okay! Well, I must say that if he intends to do that, then he is a stand-up guy. I think he did a lot of damage before, but this is a step toward repairing that damage.]
Ryan caused a national stir among Catholic priests, bishops and scholars, when he wrote a critical 2009 article for the Jesuit magazine America. [In justice, I think he ought to submit another article to America, indicating his new position.]
He launched a campaign entitled “What if we said ‘Wait’?” aimed at taking a second look — involving the laity [How was that supposed to happen? And who among the laity? Where they supposed to do translations from Latin? Vote on the translations?] — at liturgical handiwork of the Vatican’s powerful, insular Congregation for Divine Worship. [“insular”… sounds bad…]
The new translations demonstrate that precise translation of Latin texts into English can result in language that is “awkward, arcane, clumsy and in many cases far removed from the way people speak,” Ryan wrote in America. [Why should liturgical language mirror the way people speak? That seems to be contrary to the entire history of the language of worship.]
The texts will have Catholics using such phrases as “consubstantial with the Father,” “serene and kindly countenance,” “Joseph, spouse of the same virgin,” and “send down your spirit like the dewfall.”
Such language, Ryan told his congregation Sunday, he felt to be “a step away from the spirit of the Second Vatican Council on the renewal of the liturgy,” and the Council’s stress on an enhanced decision-making role for the world’s bishops. [What an odd statement. Why does having a liturgical language different from the way people speak in the street – which people and which street is unclear – a step away from the Second Vatican Council? Are the to believe that the Fathers of the Council wanted sloppy language which constantly changes? But wait, … he said “a step away from the spirit of the Second Vatican Council…”.]
Ryan shared with his congregation what has been a struggle with the new language in the light of Jesus’ call in the gospel for trust. It was a theme of Sunday’s reading from the St. Matthew Gospel.
As a young priest, Ryan stood in St. Peter’s Square as Pope Paul VI proclaimed reforms in the church. Bishop Raymond Hunthausen of Helena, Montana — a future Seattle archbishop — was one of the youngest bishops at the global gathering. [brrrrrrrr]
But the Vatican isn’t waiting, and a majority of American bishops support the new translations, which “stacks the deck” against those urging a more deliberate approach, Ryan said Sunday. [A more “deliberate” approach? Quousque tandem? Deliberation by whom? On whose schedule?]
“As the saying goes, they’re coming soon to a church near you,” Ryan added. (Use of the new texts will start in the pre-Christmas season of Advent, which is the beginning of the church year.”
With the Vatican set on the texts, “It would be hard to put forth a case for worrying,” Ryan said, and personal views must yield to a larger faith that God’s work will be done.
Still, as Ryan explained, acceptance has not come easily. As pastor of a large, diverse congregation, he has long advocated a major role for the laity in the life of the cathedral — including its worship. He noted Sunday that it was lay Catholics who “spoke up and told the awful truth” in making the church face up to clerical sex abuse.
“Trusting in God is not passive acquiescence,” Ryan said.
His homily was greeted by a strong ovation from worshipers at St. James. Ryan promptly shushed it. [Sooo… ]
The Seattle cathedral is known for traditional, and often beautiful liturgies. [An odd phrase, no?] Ryan shared his reservations about awkward and arcane language at a service where selections from the Missa de angelis were sung, and Communion music was the Agnus Dei from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
And, unlike many cathedrals of Europe, St. James was packed for Sunday mass.
If Fr. Ryan is going to work to implement the new translation, without polemics, then he is to be applauded. And yet, because his previous outcry was so public, I think his change of position should be similarly public. Am I wrong?
Reserved WDTPRS kudos… or, to “latizinize” it, Kudos iuxta modum.