America Magazine and a 1960’s revolt against the new translation

From America Magazine with my emphases and comments.

I have a "modest proposal" at the end.

The piece was written by Fr. Michael G. Ryan, Rector of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, WA.  Here is something about him from the site of the Cathedral:

Father Michael G. Ryan was born in Seattle … He attended the North American College in Rome, completed his graduate theological studies at the Gregorian University there and, on December 17, 1966, was ordained a priest at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. … In 1977 Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen appointed him as Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Seattle and Vicar General. He served in those capacities until 1988 when the same Archbishop appointed him Pastor of St. James Cathedral where he continues to serve. … Father Ryan has served on many church governing boards, including the Board of Directors of The National Catholic Reporter, …

Let’s see what he has to say.

What If We Said, ‘Wait’?

The case for a grass-roots review of the new Roman Missal
Michael G. Ryan | DECEMBER 14, 2009

It is now 45 years since the Second Vatican Council promulgated the groundbreaking and liberating document on the sacred liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. As an eager and enthusiastic North American College seminarian at the time, I was in St. Peter’s Square on the December day in 1963 when Pope Paul VI, with the world’s bishops, presented that great Magna Carta to the church. [So, the writer is of a certain age, and his formation was in those heady days, as it were.] The conciliar document transcended ecclesiastical politics. It was not just the pet project of a party but the overwhelming consensus of the bishops of the world. Its adoption passed overwhelmingly: 2,147 to 4.

Not in my wildest dreams would it have occurred to me then that I would live to witness what seems more and more like the systematic dismantling of the great vision of the council’s decree. But I have. We Catholics have.  [I would ask Father to point out, in the Council’s documents, in Latin, what is being dismantled.]

For evidence, one need look no further than recent instructions from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments that have raised rubricism to an art form, or the endorsement, even encouragement, of the so-called Tridentine Mass. [I don’t know what that instruction would be.  Anyone?  The only "Instruction" I can think of would be the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum which was aimed mostly at liturgical abuses.  Unless one is involved in liturgical abuses, I can’t see why that Instruction would be troubling.  The notion that RS promotes "rubricism" – in the sense meant by the writer – is simply risible.  However, he seems truly distressed that Catholics who have more traditional liturgical sensibilities than he might actually have rights.  But there it is.] It has become painfully clear that the liturgy, the prayer of the people, is being used as a tool—some would even say as a weapon—to advance specific agendas. [And liberals never used liturgy as tool for their agenda!  However, consider that the way we pray has a reciprocal relationship with what we believe (lex ordandi lex credendi).  The key here, it seems to me, is to determine if the writer is situated more in the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture camp, or on the other hand in the continuity side of things.  We shall see as we read on!]  And now on the horizon are the new translations of the Roman Missal that will soon reach the final stages of approval by the Holy See. Before long the priests of this country will be told to take the new translations to their people by means of a carefully orchestrated education program that will attempt to put a good face on something that clearly does not deserve it[So, that’s a "no" vote for the new translation.]

The veterans who enthusiastically devoted their best creative energies as young priests to selling the reforms of the council to parishioners back in the 1960s [Livin’ in the past, are we, Father?] will be asked to do the same with regard to the new translations. Yet we will be hard put to do so. [Poor fellows.  How my heart goes out to them.  Or would… if I didn’t remember immediately the things that they did to the liturgy and the Catholic people over the last 40+ years.]  Some colleagues in ministry may actually relish the opportunity, but not those of us who were captivated by the great vision of Vatican II[Please, Father, show us in the Council documents something that shows that the new translation is a violation of Council documents.] who knew firsthand the Tridentine Mass and loved it for what it was, but welcomed its passing because of what full, conscious and active participation would mean for our people. [I would like Father to tell us what he thinks "active participation" means.] We can see the present moment only as one more assault on the council and, sadly, one more blow to episcopal collegiality[Oh brother.  But note what he is doing: He is taking the line of Bp. Trautman expressed in the last plenary of the USCCB when it came to discussion of the approval of the translation of antiphons.  Is the writer really a parrot of Bp. Trautman?] It was, after all, the council that gave to conferences of bishops the authority to produce their own translations (S.C., Nos. 36, 40), to be approved, it is true, by the Holy See but not, presumably, to be initiated, nitpicked and controlled by it. Further, the council also wisely made provision for times of experimentation and evaluation (S.C., No. 40)—something that has been noticeably missing in the present case.  [Thanks be to God.]

This leads me to pose a question to my brother priests: What if we were to awaken to the fact that these texts are neither pastoral nor ready for our parishes? What if we just said, “Wait”[I think what he is really saying is that he hopes for disobedience. But that is just a guess.]

Prayer and Good Sense

I know it might smack of insubordination to talk this way, but it could also be a show of loyalty and plain good sense—loyalty not to any ideological agenda but to our people, whose prayer the new translations purport to improve, and good sense to anyone who stops to think about what is at stake here.  [Let’s not kid ourselves here, Father.  Your opposition to the new translation is exactly "ideological".  It stems from your particular understanding of the Council.]

What is at stake, it seems to me, is nothing less than the church’s credibility. [Oh, brother.] It is true that the church could gain some credibility by giving us more beautiful translations, but clumsy is not beautiful, and precious is not prayerful. ["Precious"?] During a recent dinner conversation with friends, the issue of the new translations came up. Two at the table were keenly—and quite angrily—aware of the impending changes; two were not. When the uninformed heard a few examples (“and with your spirit”; “consubstantial with the Father”; “incarnate of the Virgin Mary”; “oblation of our service”; “send down your Spirit like the dewfall”; “He took the precious chalice”; “serene and kindly countenance,” for starters), the reaction was somewhere between disbelief and indignation.  [But this was your circle, right?]

One person ventured the opinion that with all that the church has on its plate today—global challenges with regard to justice, peace and the environment; nagging scandals; a severe priest shortage; the growing disenchantment of many women; seriously lagging church attendance—it seems almost ludicrous to push ahead with an agenda that will seem at best trivial and at worst hopelessly out-of-touch. [And that would be a pretty stupid argument, wouldn’t it.  That would be the argument of someone who doesn’t see how liturgical worship is at the heart of who we are as Catholics and therefore has ramifications for every other aspect of our Catholic lives.  That would be the argument of someone who doesn’t think we can walk and chew gum at the same time.]

The reaction of my friends should surprise no one who has had a chance to review the new translations. Some of them have merit, but far too many do not. Recently the Archdiocese of Seattle sponsored a seminar on the new translations for lay leaders and clergy. Both the priest who led the seminar (an accomplished liturgical theologian) and the participants gathered there in good faith. [It would be interesting to know who that is.] When passages from the proposed new translation were soberly read aloud by the presenter (I remember especially the phrase from the first eucharistic prayer that currently reads “Joseph, her husband,” but which in the new translation becomes “Joseph, spouse of the same virgin”), there was audible laughter in the room. I found myself thinking that the idea of this happening during the sacred liturgy is no laughing matter but something that should make us all tremble.  [Then use Latin.]

There’s more: the chilling reception the people of the dioceses of South Africa have given the new translations. In a rare oversight, the bishops of that country misread the instructions [uh huh] from Rome and, after a careful program of catechesis in the parishes, introduced the new translations to their people some months ago. The translations were met almost uniformly with opposition bordering on outrage[And?  I seem to recall that many people who felt outrage at the changes the writer applauds were pretty much ignored.  They were just expected to shut up and conform.]

It is not my purpose here to discuss in detail the flawed principles of translation [The writer wants you to accept the premise that the principles of translation are flawed.] behind this effort or the weak, inconsistent translations that have resulted. Others have already ably done that. Nor do I want to belabor the fact that those who prepared the translations seem to be far better versed in Latin than in English. [So, an ad hominem attack too.] No, my concern is for the step we now face: the prospect of implementing the new translations. This brings me back to my question: What if we just said, “Wait”?  [Do you get the feeling that he is advocating disobedience?  This is the rector of a Cathedral church.  Do his views echo those of his local bishop?  This man is in charge of the liturgy for the bishop in the bishop’s own church.]

What if we, the parish priests of this country who will be charged with the implementation, were to find our voice and tell our bishops that we want to help them avert an almost certain fiasco? What if we told them that we think it unwise to implement these changes until our people have been consulted in an adult manner that truly honors their intelligence and their baptismal birthright? [What would that entail, this "consulting our people"?  Would that mean, what… having our people do the translation?  Would it involve, what… voting?] What if we just said, “Wait, not until our people are ready for the new translations, but until the translations are ready for our people”?  [How would that work, exactly?]

Heeding Our Pastoral Instincts  [Two really precise terms there!]

The bishops have done their best, [But apparently, they did a pretty bad job of it, according to the writer.  Maybe "our people" can do a better job of making these decisions.  Right!  The bishops shouldn’t decide!  "Our people" should decide!  Down with the bishops!  Up with "our people"!  UNITE!  Crush the IMPERIALIST…. er um… okay… sorry…. I digress….] but up to now they have not succeeded. Some of them, led by the courageous and outspoken former chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., [ROFL! You knew his name would pop up, right!] tried mightily [What a Hercules, he!  What a David!  What a …  er… um…. sorry….] to stop the new translation train but to no avail. The bishops’ conference, marginalized and battle-weary, allowed itself slowly but steadily to be worn down. [By those wicked new translation loving types!  DOWN WITH THEM!] After awhile the will to fight was simply not there. Acquiescence took over to the point that tiny gains (a word here, a comma there) were regarded as major victories. Without ever wanting to, the bishops abandoned their best pastoral instincts and in so doing gave up on the best interests of their people.  [The writer is pretty worked up.]

So the question arises: Are we priests going to give up, too? Are we, too, going to acquiesce? [HELL NO! WE WON’T GO! … HELL NO! WE WON’T GO!…] We do, of course, owe our bishops the obedience and respect that we pledged to them on the day of our ordination, but does obedience mean complicity with something we perceive to be wrong—or, at best, wrongheaded? Does obedience mean going against our best pastoral instincts [But… you are asking the bishops who approved the translations to go against their best pastoral instincts (whatever that means).  Am I wrong?  Or do men who become bishops no longer have "best pastoral instincts"?]in order to promote something that we believe will, in the end, actually bring discredit to the church and further disillusionment to the people? I do not think so. And does respect involve paying lip service to something to which our more instinctive reaction is to call it foolhardy? Again, I don’t think so.

I offer the following modest proposals. [ subtitle: "HELL NO! WE WON’T GO!"]

What if pastors, pastoral councils, liturgical commissions and presbyteral councils were to appeal to their bishops for a time of reflection and consultation on the translations and on the process whereby they will be given to the people? [The first thing that leaps to my mind when reading that is "community organizer".  Hey! They could get ACORN to help!] It is ironic, to say the least, [Watch this…] that we spend hours of consultation when planning to renovate a church building or parish hall, but little or none when “renovating” the very language of the liturgy.  [Yah… because no one bothered to consult when putting the new translation together, nossiree!  Not a single meeting or consultation.  It just took them half a dozen years to scramble around without a plan looking for that top hat they pulled the drafts from.]

What if, before implementing the new translations, we do some “market testing?” What if each region of bishops were to designate certain places where the new translations would receive a trial run: [Right… because that whole experimentation thing worked back the SIXTIES when everything was GROOVY.] urban parishes and rural parishes, affluent parishes and poor parishes, large, multicultural parishes and small parishes, religious communities and college campuses? What if for the space of one full liturgical year the new translations were used in these designated communities, with carefully planned catechesis and thorough, honest evaluation? Wouldn’t such an experiment yield valuable information for both the translators and the bishops? And wouldn’t such an experiment make it much easier to implement the translations when they are ready? [Hard to say.  But I think the bishops, working from their "best pastoral instincts" have chosen another path.]

In short, what if we were to trust our best instincts and defend our people [!] from this ill-conceived disruption of their prayer life? What if collegiality, dialogue and a realistic awareness of the pastoral needs of our people were to be introduced at this late stage of the game? [Oh, brother.] Is it not possible that we might help the church we love avert a debacle or even disaster? [Frogs falling the the sky!  LOCUSTS!] And is it not possible that the voices [voices?] in the church that have decided that Latinity is more important than lucidity [Oh, for heaven’s sake!] might end up listening to the people [HELL NO! WE WON’T GO!] and re-evaluating their position, and that lengthy, ungainly, awkward sentences could be trimmed, giving way to noble, even poetic translations of beautiful old texts that would be truly worthy of our greatest prayer, worthy of our language and worthy of the holy people of God whose prayer this is? (If you think the above sentence is unwieldy, wait till you see some of the new Missal translations. They might be readable, but border on the unspeakable!) [JUST SAY NO!  USE LATIN!]

“What If We Just Said No?” was my working title for this article. “What If We Just Said, ‘Wait’?” seems preferable. [I am not sure there is a difference.] Dialogue is better than diatribe, as the Second Vatican Council amply demonstrated. So let the dialogue begin. Why not let the priests who are on the front lines and the laypeople who pay the bills (including the salaries of priests and bishops) have some say in how they are to pray? [And how would that work, exactly?] If you think the idea has merit, I invite you to log on to the Web site and make your voice heard. If our bishops know the depth of our concern, perhaps they will not feel so alone.  [HELL NO! WE WON’T GO!]

Rev. Michael G. Ryan has been pastor of St. James Cathedral in Seattle since 1988 and serves on the board of the national Cathedral Ministry Conference.


I wish I had a draft card to burn.

A modest proposal of my own.

If you don’t like the new translation which is going to be put into use sooner or later, I say


RISE UP for your people! 

Don’t let yourselves BE OPPRESSED!



Save your flocks, I IMPLORE YOU!


LaTIN! … LaTIN! … LaTIN! … LaTIN! …. 


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Green Inkers, New Translation, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mrsmontoya says:

    I like it.

  2. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. Z, in response to the writer’s plea to “Wait!,” you said, “I think what he is really saying is that he hopes for disobedience. But that is just a guess.”

    I think you’re spot on. I don’t really see how it can be read any other way.

  3. LarryD says:

    Maybe the Diocesan Disenchanteds can bring it up the American Catholic Council in 2011. Sounds like the perfect platform for them.

    I’m looking forward to the new translation. Why shouldn’t the sacred sound extraordinary?

  4. JohnE says:

    Dad: “Johnny, when you take out the trash, I want you to start taking it to the curb rather than putting it on the sidewalk; I think we’re blocking pedestrian traffic.”

    Johnny: “I need a time of reflection and consultation before implementing this new procedure. Perhaps our neighbors can do some test marketing as well and present a report on their findings. I’d also like to do a survey of my friends who play street hockey with me, and I’ll get back to you on that Dad.”

  5. southern orders says:

    I’ve been trying to educate our parish for the last six years that change is coming to our English Mass. I’ve used (illicitly) the revised Eucharistic prayers at daily Mass a couple of times explaining what I was doing and a couple of times at Sunday Mass, explaining what I was doing. I asked for comments and everyone who did comment to me said they liked it. Although one said the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) was too long–but you know!
    Our parishioners are not idiots and if we start now teaching them they will accept it. It might take a year for the to feel comfortable. If we are negative about it, they will be negative. If we are positive about it they will be positive for the most part. I’ve already directed them to our Bishops’ web site that has a good amount of the translated Mass on line with a comparison to the current Mass. Give our people a break and help them accept this!

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z, you said, “…That would be the argument of someone who doesn’t see how liturgical worship is at the heart of who we are as Catholics and therefore has ramifications for every other aspect of our Catholic lives. That would be the argument of someone who doesn’t think we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

    Actually, the argument you pointed out would be the argument of someone who does see very clearly how liturgical worship is at the heart, but simultaneously wishes to conceal the importance of that knowledge for rhetorical reasons. [If V2 proved anything at all, it proved that “lex orandi, lex credendi” is more powerful than anyone seriously thought!] Your foe in argumentation there doesn’t want to give away his point and obfuscates it for that reason by putting this list of contraindications he’s cooked up just there. It’s not a bad strategy but it is a strategy.

    The second sentence, however, the writer does believe. It’s been one of the foundational premises of the spirit of V2 movement for 40 years. To wit, it’s the belief that religion is too lofty a matter for the common man, who is stupid. Therefore, little old ladies must be punished for saying rosaries, and little kids may only be told that God loves them and no more. By this reckoning, the intelligencia may argue anything but the matters of the laity at large are the tools of force.

    The author is saying a huge amount in a very few words, all of it using ideas argued prior to this article and all of it being used to fortify other arguments in the article.

  7. Mark R says:

    Tho’ I am not a Tridster, I am thoroughly critical of any translation from ICEL. I also have seen this priest in action…he’s nice, but a real lightweight…nothing to fear from him.

  8. quietbeginning says:

    Father, my ribs are hurting from laughing at your comments-in-red peppering this piece of 1960’s idiocy.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    The interesting part of all this is how it’s come full circle. By that I mean, whoever realized in the 20th century that the way to attack the center of the church’s action and being by seizing her liturgy was a genius, an evil genius, but a genius. The way it was driven on the instigation of V2 was inspired–by what I don’t know–but it was inspired.

    Now we are onto them, and the havoc that was wreaked to the liturgy (and thus catechesis and the faith and life of believers) is beginning to be repaired. Thus, the task of those who want to continue as before (dissidents of all the various stripes, overt and covert alike) is how to present the repair changes being done to the liturgy as of little consequence (optional etc) without giving away the original strategy which they ardently believe would still work if they could only grasp it again. It was, after all, their best and most effective hope!

    You could see it all on Bp Trautman’s face a week or so ago. It must be a crushing disappointment for dissidents to see their finest tool crushing in upon them.

    PS, after decades of watching and listening, I also think that many people are not crafters of this dissident design, but merely people who don’t know any better and who want to have a position of prestige in the church, parish, diocese, and so on. The changes will confound them and you will see mosaics of behavior among them because they really don’t understand any of this. But all and all, I think they will accept the changes. Catholics are a well-meaning lot, they know deep truths in their gut, and most of them love the church even if they can’t tell you why exactly. =)

  10. AndyMo says:


  11. rotaa says:

    I think the document he may be referring to in the third paragraph is Liturgiam Authenticam, which laid out strict (but necessary!) guidelines for translating the missal.

  12. The new translation is really only half the equation. The other half is the lack of the sense of the sacred in a typical celebration of Mass. The juxtaposition of a priest saying “blessed Joseph, Spouse of the same Virgin” and a parade of people in shorts, t-shirts, and sports jerseys in the Communion procession is a bit unsettling.

  13. (And you can click on my name to see what I’m doing to catechize people about, and promote, the new translation.)

  14. Roland de Chanson says:


    SURGITE pro populis vestris!

    Vosmet cavete OPPRIMAMINI!



    Greges vestros servate!



    Works for me. ;-) Couln’t get the words to center. :-( [I can do that. Gee… it looks like you know your Latin better than your html code. I did, however, change that “Latina” to “Latine”.]

  15. chironomo says:

    I went to the website mentioned to “comment” as he asked. There is a petition to sign with a whopping 34 signatories at this point. About ten of them are names that I recognize from this and other liturgical blogs who, I imagine, left comments much like I did about what a ridiculous idea his petition is. Unfortunately, the comments don’t show up on the summary of signatories, so it looks like all of the commenters support his petition. I can just imagine him presenting this petition:

    “Look your Excellencies! Here are 72 people NATIONWIDE who disagree with the new translation. We must stop it now!”

  16. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    This from the folks who think “he took the cup” is an elegant and accurate translation of “accipiens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas”, or that the “can we all get along?” prayer in Eucharistic Prayer III (“unite all your children wherever they may be”) means the same thing without the pronoun ‘tibi’: “unite TO YOURSELF all your children wherever they may be”…

  17. pcstokell says:

    That poor man.

    The article concludes by suggesting we go to his website and “make our voices heard.”

    Quick, what’s that anonymization page, again, Father?

  18. Thomas S says:

    The hypocrisy of this priest would be staggering if this hippy-schtick wasn’t already so played out.

    Where was this concern for the people 40 years ago? But now that he knows the jig is up, he becomes our “great defender.”

    Please, Father, don’t treat me like an imbicile. Your facade is as thin as the banal translations you love so dearly.

  19. tzard says:

    I get the feeling that some priests are extremely annoyed or put-out that they are called to actually teach. [Something I haven’t pointed out often in these bloggy pages.] To echo what I say to my teenagers – “You’re spending more time and effort protesting than if you just went and did it”.

    I am a father of 4 – I took my two youngest (10 and 11) aside and went over the new Creed translation. 2 minutes and they understood it. They didn’t rise up in righteous indignation.

    What did Our Lord say about Children and the Kingdom? (Mt 19:14)

  20. Michael in NoVA says:

    “One person ventured the opinion that with all that the church has on its plate today—… nagging scandals; a severe priest shortage; the growing disenchantment of many women; seriously lagging church attendance…”

    Of course, the author and his friends never contemplate that many of these issues have been exacerbated by the lack of holiness that is pervasive at Mass today, and that the Church is indeed addressing all of these issues by shoring up the foundation from which its strength flows. Had young men and women witnessed holy Masses in the 80s and 90s, they may have learned to discern God’s quiet call in their life to enter vocations. Had the Mass not been so Protestantized in language and execution, perhaps many ex-Catholics would have realized what was missing when they started attending other denominations.

  21. Dr. Eric says:


  22. Ferde Rombola says:

    I went to the website with the intention of telling this flower-child priest left over from the 60s that the liberal revolution in the Catholic Church is over and he lost. When I saw it’s a petition and realized he could simply post my signature as if I supported him without my remarks being visible, I opted out.

    What a fraud! He knows he’s going to get a lot of derision and general abuse so he hides the remarks and posts the signatures.

    I rejoice (forgive me, Lord) that a number of these guys are going to their eternal reward every day. Patience, friends.

  23. TNCath says:

    I wonder why did Archbishop Brunett allowed this priest to publish this? I wonder what Archbishop Brunett might do now that it has been published?

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    The spirit of V2 crowd is flummoxed right now, and it’s not only because the church is righting the troubles in the liturgy, and thereby a bunch of other things too.

    One of the outstanding puzzlements of the Spirit of V2 crowd is that they see very clearly that most people operate in a commonsensical, and increasingly populist, manner when it comes to some facets of morality (the ones cited in the article as a matter of fact) and other self-directed things, yet they stubbornly cling to some areas of belief which seem, to the dissident crowd at least, contrary to those actions. Dissidents don’t understand how this can be and it bugs the heck out of them. [Key to understanding this is understanding where powerful dissidents come from. Many (if not most) of them are ex-clerics (some married), sisters ex and otherwise and church personnel–yes from dioceses, parishes and catholic schools, some likely local to you and me.]

    VOTF, for instance, was a movement spawned out of the other dissident organizations, but it was put out there in an attempt to capitalize on the widespread abhorence of the abuse situation in 2001. The abhorence continued but people, by and large, were not taken in by VOTF. Dissidents do not comprehend why. They attribute it to stupidity on the part of the laity (which is nothing but a handy canard; a cipher; a short phrase with an argument built into it by habituation). Perhaps they don’t really comprehend that the laity generally understands that abuse is criminal and immoral but that the laity also understands that the church corresponds to the truths that they know in their guts much more closely than anything VOTF (or the like) might proclaim from a soapbox. [Which suggests that the canard “they’re stupid”–so blithely proferred–conceals further understanding from dissident proclaimers?]

    Thus VOTF was a failure. IN like manner, CTA and other initiatives have “failed.” [There is a very long list of these initiatives, each given an organizational name, but really all disambiguated arms of the same thing, made up of the same people. Think blow-snake if you’re a naturalist.] It’s a very interesting thing if you research it a bit.

    The “American Catholic Council” that Larry speaks of above is only the latest of these “initiatives”–the latest in a long string of meetings by the same people, plus some non-catholic rabble-rousers to boot. It will fail too, unless it spawns a new denomination, in which case “failing” will take on a whole new complexion depending on whether you’re in it or not, I suppose.

  25. MattW says:

    Where to start? Does this man not see the connection between “seriously lagging church attendance” and the way the liturgy is celebrated in many places?

    Our parish recently received a gift in the form of a pastor who celebrates NO in a very reverent manner (he says the black and does the red); he now has a parochial vicar who also says the black and does the red. Mass attendance is up (and collections are up–money talks). These men are not involved in ideological wars; they are obedient priests whose first concern is bringing souls to God through Jesus Christ by means of the Mass. Would be that there were more priests like them.

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    No, no, Michael. He may well know that. He’s using argumentation here. This is a point picked up from previous argumentation, designed to fortify his argument about the liturgical changes.

    The author has observed that most people are soft on some of the moral changes, and hopes to bring them to his side of the argument by using these “doubt points” in much the same way Humanae Vitae was used. He’s not arguing about the rightness or wrongness of them, mind you. Rather, it’s a rhetorical device.

  27. idatom says:

    …“He took the precious chalice”; “serene and kindly countenance,” for starters), the reaction was somewhere between disbelief and indignation……


    Latin text
    accipens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas

    Old ICEL
    he took the cup

    New ICEL
    he took this precious chalice into his holy and venerable hands

    FR. Z.

    Too me Michael Ryan is taking this out of context… Latin text 12 words, the old ICEL 4 words, and our New ICEL has 11 beautiful words. This is a huge improvement over He took the cup.

    Also how much time and instruction did they give us in 1970’s to accept the old ICEL? It was over night.

    Tom Lanter

  28. drea916 says:

    Not to worry. This the same crowd that contracepts. It will only be a couple of decades and they’re gone.

  29. Tom in NY says:

    Illis temporibus antiquis, ne RP Ryan Universitate Gregoriana lectiones lingua Latina audivit? Lingua latina cognoscente, cur Missae traductione querelatur? Ut dicitiur Cantabrico in Massachusetts, (eis) non carborundum. Surgite! Ne pati oprimini!
    Salutationes omnibus.

  30. Tom in NY says:

    erratum: “oprimini”; corrigendum, “oprimi”.
    Patientia gratias tibi ago.

  31. Thomas in MD says:

    God forgive me, but I am SO SICK of priests like this. I feel like going to the Cathedral in Seattle, kicking over a few pews, and whipping this whining idiot out of my Father’s House!!!!! Not that I have a messiah complex, or anything. Grrrrrr.

  32. chironomo says:

    I wonder why did Archbishop Brunett allowed this priest to publish this? I wonder what Archbishop Brunett might do now that it has been published?

    An intriguing question. Would this Bishop be the kind to confront and demand a retraction or the such from a Cathedral Rector?

    In the meantime visit the website and take a look at the signatories…there is an e-mail link on the lower right of the screen to send him a message without signing the petition

  33. Eric says:

    Accusing some one of an ad hominem attack for the statement ,”those….. far better versed in Latin than in English.” [I thought you would enjoy that! o{]:¬) ]


  34. irishgirl says:

    Wow, Father Z-you sure put in a lot of red! [Why… now that you mention it… I guess I did, didn’t I!]

    What’s the matter with people who write this stuff? Don’t they know that THE SIXTIES ARE OVER WITH? Sheesh…

    Hey, Thomas in MD-mind if I join you in the ‘kicking and whipping’?

  35. Cavaliere says:

    The veterans who enthusiastically devoted their best creative energies as young priests to selling the reforms of the council to parishioners back in the 1960s will be asked to do the same with regard to the new translations

    It seems to me Father is still trying “to sell” the reforms of the Council. At least his deluded view of what the Council intended. Is he still stuck in the 60’s when people couldn’t access the writings of the Council fathers like we can today and so they unwittingly accepted the “spirit of Vatican II” Well Fr. it is no longer the case where we have to listen to your spin on what the Council fathers wanted, we can actually read exactly what they said. We can also read that great letter by Pope John XXIII, praising the incredible importance of the Latin language, especially in the liturgy.

  36. Peggy R says:

    My mother, no rebellious boomer, born in the late 30s, got really ticked at me when I told her of the GIRM changes in 2000-01. She yelled that first “they” say you can’t have Latin, now they want us to change again. Jinkies, wait til she hears about the new ICELs. I hate to be the one to break the news. I am sure she’ll go along and all that, but I wonder if her irritation is really at the HUGE change foisted on the people in the late 60s. She has never expressed any great love for the EF, however. Perhaps those events fostered a great distrust regardless of one’s feeling for the EF, and the people from that era have some significant lingering anger. I experienced the NO as a child, what I now know is by the book. We only saw some progressivism when a new young priest arrived at our parish in the mid-late 70s. Our pastor kept it in check, however. The progressive experimentation seemed then and now to be visited upon Catholic school children because you know we can’t make the endure a real adult mass–even in the vernacular with cheezy hymns.

    These translations are really very minor. If a priest is following along in his missal, he has no worries. This isn’t that hard. What would these guys do in a private sector job in which a new manager or re-org occurred every few years? Stodgy old guys.

  37. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Fr. Z, Thank you for your hilarious commentary. This Seattle’s priest diatribe definitely falls into the would-be-funny-if-it-weren’t-so-sad bin.

    His screed is just dripping with ironies. The first of course, is that if the Church actally implemented his “what if we just wait philosophy” to implement Sacrosanctum Concilium (which he quotes very selectively) and did the focus-group, survey parishioners rich and poor, get the input of everybody and his Aunt Sally thing, we would probably be just getting around to implement it 40 years later — a scenario I’m guessing would have infuriated him.

    A second one is his “Just say No!” references. That is of course reminiscent of Nancy Regan’s anti-drug campaign of the 1980’s. I’m smiling at the irony that he is using the slogan of one of the icons that the stuck-in-the-60s liberals absolutely detested. Maybe he has forgotten. Maybe he is just grasping at straws.

    It was rather sad, actually, to see the video clip of his hero, Bp. Trautman, who almost literally seemed to be ranting at the recent U.S. Bishops’ conference, trying desperately to stop progress.

    These people sadly seem completely unable to accept the inevitable changes happening in the Church, and have become quite irrational and angry about it. We need to pray for them.

  38. quietbeginning says:

    Of the 10 comments on the article currently listed on America Magazine’s website, only 1 (no. 7) was negatively critical of the author’s piece. I hope the other 9 come around but if they insist on bolting, I say let ’em bolt.

  39. medievalist says:

    I willingly accept correction if I’m wrong, but aren’t the American bishops the last English-speaking conference to approve the new translation? Their tardiness doesn’t excuse other conferences’ resistance but, at this stage, I’m heartily sick of being held hostage by certain American bishops who think that they belong to the American church rather than the Universal Catholic Church. With respect, your graces…get over yourselves.

    And, incidentally, disaster and catastrophe could be averted if the implementation was approached with a little good will rather than suspicion. Sucess or disaster is in the hands of local priests and prelates, NOT Rome.

  40. DerJimbo says:

    In short, Father Ryan proposes that we behave like…Episcopalians. Well, after all, why not? What could possibly go wrong?

  41. ASIDE: This is how I did the consecration, in my slavishly literal way for my WDTPRS column some years ago. I translate, you decide:

    After the supper was concluded, in a similar way taking into His holy and venerable hands also this noble chalice, in like manner giving thanks to You He blessed and He gave it to His disciples, saying: All of you receive and drink from this: for this is the chalice of my Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out abundantly on your behalf and on the behalf of multitudes for the remission of sins. Do this for my remembrance.

     Any one prefer the lame-duck ICEL?

  42. Bede says:

    As Archbishop Brunett prepares to retire, I worry that those of us in this archdiocese will be subjected to the administration of those who think with the author of this article.

    Pray for us, and pray for our new archbishop – whoever he might be.

  43. Nathan says:

    I think the tough part is figuring out 1) How to persuade Fr. Ryan to open his heart to a better translation, and 2) How to persuade those whom Fr. Ryan’s article influences to open their hearts as well.

    In Christ,

  44. maynardus says:

    What if we’d had the Internet circa. 1964-71?

    “This leads me to pose a question to my brother priests: What if we were to awaken to the fact that these texts the New Mass are is neither pastoral nor ready for our parishes? What if we just said, ‘Wait’?

    “I know it might smack of insubordination to talk this way, but it could also be a show of loyalty and plain good sense—loyalty not to any ideological agenda but to our people, whose prayer the new translations Mass purports to improve, and good sense to anyone who stops to think about what is at stake here.

    “What is at stake, it seems to me, is nothing less than the ineffability of the church’s credibility liturgy.

    Would that it were so…

    (Yes, I know the chronology of the liturgical changes; but the expression “new Mass” did in fact come into common use starting in ’64-65 with reference to the radical changes being wrought upon the liturgy…)

  45. catholicmidwest says:

    “…yelled that first “they” say you can’t have Latin, now they want us to change again. Jinkies, wait til she hears about the new ICELs. I hate to be the one to break the news. I am sure she’ll go along and all that, but I wonder if her irritation is really at the HUGE change foisted on the people in the late 60s.”

    Thus some of the contradictory, cranky and touchy behavior of some Catholics. For a convert, this is by turns funny, dismaying and outrageous, until you a) get used to it, and b) figure out what’s going on.

    I came into the church (1985) in the midst of a population that had this going on full-tilt. Between priests/bishops who, although they didn’t know me from Adam, felt they had the license to just run up and hug me–to people ruminating in the wings–to homemade dissidents ranting on and on–it was um…interesting. [“Catholicmidwest” put her track shoes on a lot! And read. And read.]

    This was before the CCC, so there was a lot of “hearsay church teaching” out there too. REally, the CCC was the start of this fix and I think that needs to be realized. It was huge, as was the discovery by the Vatican of the extent of the translation issues–pinpointed at that time because of the perils of getting that translated, I believe. (See the works of Msgr Michael J Wrenn for details.)

    Seriously, to this day, the mere mention of some words, including the word “Latin,” throws some older not-markedly-dissident people into a fit, even though on all other topics they appear to be sane enough. Some of them even KNOW Latin and it vexes them even further if you notice–or they have this strange stern, fond, memory, regret thing which ends in grrr. It’s not a nice memory for some people.

    And of course the underlying issue is credibility. These people ask themselves (privately mostly), how could the church have been wrong??? How do I know what to believe??? More pointedly, when pastor so-and-so tells me X, could he be wrong/kidding/winging-it??

    This is a problem, although such things have happened in the past if you look at the history of the church, and the church has gone on afterward just fine, and most people have followed. {Not in modern times, though, after the reformation, with the internet, etc.}

    Nevertheless, I think most people don’t remember the immediate post-V2 period, and I think most people will accept this with equanimity. There is a hunger out there and a fascination with things Catholic. Liturgy used to be one of the major sources of inspiration for converts…..

    I think the best way to deal with the dissenters isn’t so much to argue with them, but to defeat their purposes. The best way to defeat their purposes is to obey the law: to say the current translation as it is supposed to be said, but when the new one comes out, to be cheerful and willing to say the right words no matter what anyone says. Get yourself a missal and a smile!!!

  46. r.j.sciurus says:

    I noticed that there is not a place on his petition for someone to voice the opinion that we are EXCITED AND READY for the new translations.

    I have tried to remedy that situation here and invite all to share their opinion. [LOL! “some ineffable reason”… ROFL!]

  47. Roland de Chanson says:

    Fr. Z: it looks like you know your Latin better than your html code .

    I had more years of Latin than html! ;-) I tried the center tag but it didn’t have any effect in the preview so I dropped it. Maybe I should have typed VIA MEDIA in angle brackets?

    Good call on the “Latine” change. I wondered about that myself. I’m just an Oscan rustic!

  48. Rich says:

    When the author speaks of loyalty to his people, I think he means about 10% of the American Catholic population who at the outset will be opposed to the new translation. I’d say about 15-20% of the American Catholic population will welcome it at first and the remaining 75% or so WON’T CARE. Then, as the new translation is used more and people get used to it, much more will favor it than not.

  49. Henry says:

    What if, before implementing the new translations, we do some “market testing?”

    I have an idea what sort of unbiased market testing he has in mind, having participated in some “market testing” of the Novus Ordo in the mid 1960s, years before it was unveiled to the public.

    My archbishop was at the time the only U.S. episcopal member of the famous Consilium. He selected our rather liberal college town parish to try out the various liturgical proposals that were proposed for discussion. I was a “liturgy coordinator” for some of these. In this role, I stood at the pulpit with a microphone throughout the Mass, leading the “assembly” in reciting the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.) and all the dialogues, doing the readings, various comments, etc. The celebrant (who did not have a microphone) might have appeared to an un-informed visitor as merely my assistant — that I was the actual “presider”.

    These liturgical experiments were naturally somewhat controversial in the parish, and while undoubtedly some parishioners were enthusiastic, I thought there were at least as many who weren’t. Perhaps it was 55%-45% one way or the other. But we heard later it was reported to the Concilium that things had gone swimmingly in the U.S., that Americans were predominately enthusiastic about the new liturgy.

    Some like me feared our little parish vote had been weighted too heavily in the affirmative. I hope our impression that we were playing a unique historical role was wildly exaggerated. In any event, I have suspected ever since that these “market tests” can be manipulated to come out any which way is desired by those conducting them.

  50. James Locke says:

    You people are great. I really do hope these new translations come back speedily. I cannot wait to be able to say:
    “I believe in one God….” without getting weird looks!

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    I think you’re correct, Rich. (..more people will favor it than not.)

    The criteria most people use actually has nothing to do with either the ideology of the dissidents nor the ideology of most reform of the reformers. Rather, it’s based on its utility as a vehicle for prayer and peace of soul–even the simplest know something about that. It’s called faith. This has been the great oversight of this whole period. Pope Benedict XVI is on it, however. He’s a gem. I was not the biggest “talker-upper” of PJP2 at times, but in hindsight, I think he understood this very well too.

    The laity will prosper in this new period in a way they didn’t in the last. The new translations (and subsequent ones) will offer them even more of what will feed their faith in prayer, and they’ll catch onto that pretty fast, I think. This is huge for the Church and huge for the pastors that will serve them.

  52. maynardus says:

    re: “Market Testing”, does anyone remember who the high-ranking churchman was – it may have been Cardinal Benelli – who stated that the Old Mass couldn’t be permitted to exist alongside the New because “nobody would go to the New Mass”? I don’t think it was Archbishop Bugnini but I can’t find it online so I’m not 100% certain.

  53. chironomo says:

    The author is at least good at the kind of writing he is doing. Notice the assumption of correctness of his point of view, referring to his opinions (and those of his friends) as fact, while calling the opposition views “claims”. He also justifies dissent as an act of “justice”, portraying disobedience as actually being a higher form of obedience. Some will think what he is doing is valiant. I think it’s very obviously a “sore-loser” response.

  54. salvo says:

    The Seattle Archdiocese needs a tough new orthodox Archbishop to weed-out priests, like Father Ryan, and others who are ingrained in leadersip rolls in this diocese.

  55. catholicmidwest says:


    What you describe is actually an often-used strategy for radical change. The idea in this variation is that people in the community where change is proposed are polled. The result is:

    a) people feel as though they’ve been heard

    b) a poll has been taken so it can be said people were consulted

    c) results are not published so disagree-ers think they’re the only ones who disagree

    d) real or imaginary “targets”–those who disagree for “false” reasons are disparaged (internal to a driving group or internal to the community, depending on the situation) ala Rule 13 Alisky’s Rules for Radicals.
    Polling, in this context, is just a method for attaining “consensus” while isolating a “target.”

    e) no matter how the polls come out, changes go forward because “changes are justified”

    Sound familiar? This is how building committees manage liturgical wreckovations (or have for years). They count on the fact that people who don’t want the change won’t be able to identify each other, and are confused, whereas those who are pushing the change can identify each other & control the situation by heading it off and isolating others.

    Rules for Radicals is quite powerful and it does work, as long as:
    a) most people in the community are largely unaware of what’s happening
    b) people who are aware of what’s happening can be kept off-guard or don’t know how to deal with it

    The most effective instantiations of the method involve innocent agents. Planted agents are dangerous and people who are trained to organize these things know it.

    I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this. These methods are abusive, as I’m sure you’re aware. Conceivably most people involved in the post-V2 debacle were innocent, but somebody wasn’t.

    This sort of thing can also be run in a single room, by using some fairly powerful methods, but the idea is the same. I got caught up in this sort of thing while teaching school a few years ago. If you’ve ever been there and been aware of it, you’ll never forget it.

    BTW, if you’re curious, don’t go looking for one of these situations. They’re very dangerous, immoral and you WILL get beat up if you find one. If you’re smart, the only way you should find one of these is if you are ordered into one with your peers by your employer/teacher/superior, etc.

    It takes great skill to turn a room around in the midst of one of these messes, and morally there’s never a completely positive outcome. It can cost you a lot and curiosity is not worth that much. The fewer people are radicalized, one way or the other, the better.

  56. Melania says:

    Fr. Z,

    Since you bring up your own slavishly literal translation of the words of consecration, I have a question.

    We have a priest here who is a Greek scholar an has done a number of published translations of Greek liturgical texts.

    One of his pet peeves is that the English translation of the words of consecration are in the wrong tense which makes them scripturally inaccurate and, to his mind, theologically inaccurate. He says that “… My Blood … which will be poured out …” should be “which is being poured out …” “My Body … which will be broken for you …” should be “which is broken for you …” He says that the Greek text of these words both in St. Matthew’s gospel and St. Luke’s are all in the present tense or present progressive. Therefore, these words are scripturally incorrect.

    They are also theologically incorrect as the Mass takes place in God’s eternal NOW. There is one sacrifice, one priest, etc. and at each Mass this same sacrifice is re-presented. Therefore, any future or past tense used is inaccurate.

    Have you heard or read anything about this? Is this a big controversy anywhere in the Church? Just wondering.

  57. Doc Angelicus says:

    When the Bible says that God said that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart, this can be taken in two ways. One is this, that God by His power directly caused a hardness in Pharaoh, so as to lead to the need for the plagues. The other is this, that God did no such thing but the plagues, which were actually intended to soften Pharoah’s heart and get him to change his mind, had the opposite effect because of Pharaoh himself; God foreknew the effect the plagues would have and sent them anyway and in that sense it was He who hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Could anything have softened Pharaoh’s heart, I wonder? Or the hearts of those loyal to him?

    Would asking Fr. Ryan, such as the holy cardinal did with respect to that archbishop unwilling to let the people have a traditional Latin Mass, to “help these poor people out” get the desired result? Perhaps. But it would seem that he’s already got it in mind that there is only one way to help the people out, and it isn’t to help them understand and accept the new translation.

    And, it appears that the old translation stands as a synecdoche for all the other “Spirit of Vatican II” litugical stuff…. I’m not sure Fr. Ryan’s only beef is with the translation.

  58. JosephMary says:

    I am sorry for this St. James parish that has had the direction of a backward looking tyrant for more than 20 years! He promotes disobedience! He promotes dissent! We have had SO much of all this for so very long. Yes, we are tired of it all. We are tired of the innovations, we are tired of ahving authentic translations of our beautiful prayers witheld from us and lame substitutes given in their place. We are tired of the dissent to the Holy Father. We have endured made-up liturgies and innovations for years and years and we are indeed so very tired of it all. To attend a TLM is a breath of fresh air, a Mass where God is worshipped and occupies first place. So many of our modern gatherings of the assembly do not have that goal in first place.

  59. Maltese says:

    First, and as always, excellent comments Fr.! Your erudition is what makes this blog a joy.

    I am flummoxed by an early comment by the writer: “Not in my wildest dreams would it have occurred to me then that I would live to witness what seems more and more like the systematic dismantling of the great vision of the council’s decree.” As Fr. Z points out, and I will expand upon: the council’s document on the liturgy did not call for a brand-new liturgy, but cleverly (perhaps sinisterly) called for a subtle process of change to said liturgy (perhaps to make the document palatable to the Bishops then in attendance) Most Bishops at VII, were no doubt caught-up in the grand-optimism, precipitated by an euphoric press, who thought Vatican II was the greatest thing since the wheel, or, perhaps, pasturized milk. Fortunately, and unintendedly, by creating a new mass, Bugnini, et al, actually preserved the Traditional Latin Mass.

    A little bit on he writes: “It has become painfully clear that the liturgy, the prayer of the people, is being used as a tool—some would even say as a weapon—to advance specific agendas.” Again, it is Fr. Z who points out that liberals usually use it thus. Liturgy must transcend politics; it should never be used for right or left agendas, but always for the purpose of transcending the palpable to attain the ethereal. In other words: to experience something transcendental in this workaday world, and experience, just an hour or two a week, a divine experience: a Mozart Mass, a Bach Mass, Arvo Part’s “Passio.” Instead, folks like Bugnini what to belittle us more, and bring us down more–ruin our Mass, ruin our transcendence.

  60. Rob Cartusciello says:

    This is certainly one of those times where first they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win. Deo gratias.

    Sadly, this is what The North American College managed to churn out in the early 60s’. It is the same totalitarian ‘orthodoxy’ that reigned in seminaries in the 80’s & 90’s and drove many good traditional minded men out of formation.

    The article reeks of feelings rather than thoughts. I see few appeals to “what the prayer really says”. Rather, the rhetoric is the familiar litany of hurt feelings, dusty references to the “bad old days” or outright ridicule. Poor show.

    As for Fr. Ryan, he was the cause for scandal for his words while presiding at the funeral of Washington State Senator Cal Anderson, an openly gay member of the legislature.

    He has also been called to testify regarding sexual abuse in the diocese as a result of his serving as chancellor to Bishop Hunthausen. The ball was dropped several times on his watch.

  61. quietbeginning says:

    Maltese wrote:
    “Liturgy must transcend politics; it should never be used for right or left agendas, but always for the purpose of transcending the palpable to attain the ethereal.”

    Unless, of course, you have a gargantuan ego—like the key strategists of VII had—and decide to play God.

  62. PomeroyJohn says:

    And as faithful Catholics, should we be offended at all by the fact that Fr. Ryan’s “Just Say No” website headquarters is the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Seattle? Should we perhaps be writing letters to Archbishop Brunett at 710 9th Avenue,
    Seattle, WA 98104-2017.

    From the Archbishop’s website: “Archbishop Brunett is not able to receive e-mail but is happy to receive letters by post. He reads all mail addressed to him and attempts to reply personally whenever possible. Please direct your letter to his attention at the Chancery address above. Please be sure to include your name and complete address so that he will have the opportunity to respond. Thank you.”

    And remember if you write, Write it today. Sleep on it tonight. Maybe mail it tomorrow. Remember Fr. Z’s good rules of letter writing.


  63. Well, it looks like the the liturginazis are running scared. It would be sad and pathetic except that I think it portends a backlash from the 60s children who are still in positions of authority in chanceries and seminaries in this country. They can still do a lot of damage.

  64. trespinos says:

    “I’m not sure Fr. Ryan’s only beef is with the translation..”

    True enough. See: l’affaire Hunthausen and the Cal Anderson funeral-cvm-canonization. Fr. Ryan has been in place since that era and shared in the spirit of his archbishop. It would be good if Abp. Brunett, before leaving his chair, could develop the catechesis that would counteract Fr. Ryan’s contentions, or failing that, if his successor would move the rector into retirement.

  65. Re: the article —

    I love how we have to implement his program of disobedience right away, but implementing a program of obedience can’t possibly be begun without spending years on it. Uh huh. Yeah. Sure. All righty. We’ll get right on that.

    Melania —

    Your pastor is thinking about the Greek text of the Bible. That is one thing. But the Latin Rite Mass text is in Latin, and it is scriptural but does not stick to the exact texts of the Bible. Just as the Propers of Mass are often taken from extra-scriptural texts or poetic adaptations of the Bible, so too the Mass itself. The Mass has teaching authority; it is a different sort of authority than Scripture. Scripture is not performative, unless it is being quoted as part of Mass or the Sacraments; and the Sacraments are older than the New Testament, of course, even though the specific wording of the prayers and such may be younger.

    To take a case where there’s a lot more difference in teaching authority, it is like complaining that Milton describes the serpent speaking in a different tense than Genesis does. They are both talking about the same events and people, but they are different tellings of the story and were written for somewhat different purposes. Why would it bother anyone that there would be slight differences in style and wording?

  66. Dave N. says:

    The last time I went to mass at St. James in Seattle, their procession included several larger-than-lifesize puppets. I wonder whether there is some connection between puppet mass and resisting change?

  67. Dave N. says:

    And as for Fr. Z’s:

    “…on your behalf and on the behalf of multitudes for the remission of sins.”

    An excellent rendering that has the advantage of preserving the sense of the underlying Greek gospel text. My question is, why didn’t we get this from ICEL?

  68. Dave: Because they didn’t let me do it.

    Think of all the time we could have saved!

  69. Kerry says:

    Oh the humanity! Oh the Latininty! Oh the rubrics of pastorial instinculity! Oh the inanity. Heh.

  70. For your consideration and delectation:

    [To the tune “Ticket To Ride”?]

    I know I’m gonna be glad.
    I’m havin’ my say, yeah!
    The old words drivin’ us mad
    Are goin’ away, yeah!

    New translation’s so fine,
    New translation’s so fi-yi-yine,
    New translation’s so fine,
    But he’s still scared!

    To translate words what they mean
    It’s bringin’ him down, yeah.
    ‘Cause he just don’t wanna see
    The truth that’s been drowned, yeah.


    I don’t know why he won’t just say yes.
    (He ought to say black, he ought to do red by Mass.)
    He knows the old translation’s a mess.
    (He ought to say black, he ought to do red by Mass.)

    “And with your spirit” is fine.
    I’d say it today, yeah!
    It worked nineteen-sixty years;
    It’s what Christians say, yeah!

    New translation’s so fine,
    New translation’s so fi-yi-yine,
    New translation’s so fine,
    But he’s still scared!

  71. C.Lasch says:

    I used to be a parishioner at St. James for years and was in fact was married there. I had drifted away from Catholicism for years (blame it on my lack of religious education in 13 years of Catholic schools), and St. James was a major step back into the faith for me. Despite the once-a-year puppet show (mentioned above) on the patronal feast, it was a far more serious and reverential liturgy than what I was used to in the region, with some use of Latin and some well-sung older music. It is a little bit of a bubble because it is a very well-attended and growing parish, and it very much feels like its own church (or, perhaps, the “church of Vatican II”) as opposed to part of the larger Roman church.

    A few years after attening there, Summorum Pontificum came out (I read about it in the New York Times). I was curious about all this old stuff that I had no familiarity with. I eagerly awaited a homily about what it does and when they would start offering this older mass. Despite my naivete, this homily never came. Well, this caused me to discover that there was a local TLM community, and wow, have I learned a LOT in the last 2 years!

  72. Dave: …at St. James in Seattle, their procession included several larger-than-lifesize puppets. I wonder whether there is some connection between puppet mass and resisting change?

    Let me get this straight. At the Cathedral in Seattle, St. James Cathedral, where the writer is the rector, they use those big puppets… also used by Call To Action or wymynprysts?

    Really? Anyone have photos?

    I did find


    for some kind of concert:

    And there is this for a Mass:

    And this:

    And this:

    Eventually, someone will have to explain the big puppet thing.


  73. Dave N. says:

    Dave: Because they didn’t let me do it.

    Think of all the time we could have saved!

    Exactly! And thus my consternation with the new translation.

    Trying…SO…hard…not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

  74. Dave N. says:

    YES, those are the the puppets I had in mind. And yes, this was at Mass–one that I shall not soon forget.

  75. Frank H says:

    Did Richard Vosko get his hands on that Cathedral?

  76. Athelstan says:

    I’m glad you provided his background, Fr. Z. It told me what to expect, more or less: ordained right after the council, studied at the Greg during it, and served in Hunthausen’s chancery. Check, check, check.


    It has become painfully clear that the liturgy, the prayer of the people, is being used as a tool—some would even say as a weapon—to advance specific agendas.

    And as you right say: This sort of thing began a long time ago, and it wasn’t traditionalists who started it.

    I cannot strongly enough recommend the work of Lauren Pristas of Caldwell College, who has examined the changes no one ever talks about: the radical changes to the propers and collects of the mass, comparing the 1962 missal to the 1970. And it’s clear there was a marked shift in theology – and we’re not talking about the translations, but the original Latin.

    Pristas doesn’t say tool/weapon for agendas. But draw your own conclusions.

    The Collects at Sunday Mass: An Examination of the Revisions of Vatican II:
    Theological Principles that Guided the Redaction of the Roman Missal (1970):

  77. pyrosapien says:

    I am a member of the Seattle Archdiocese.

    when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope, Fr. Ryan threw a fit. He delivered a Homily lamenting the fact that Ratzinger would now be Pope. He was disappointed as I remember it. Very very sad. Even sadder were how people (sophists really) tried to spin his remarks to actually mean the opposite of what he said.

    Fr. Ryan is the epitome of liturgical abusing ’60s priest

  78. Maltese says:

    quietbeginning writes:

    “Maltese wrote:
    “Liturgy must transcend politics; it should never be used for right or left agendas, but always for the purpose of transcending the palpable to attain the ethereal.”

    Unless, of course, you have a gargantuan ego—-like the key strategists of VII had—-and decide to play God.”

    The EGO of the personae at Vatican II (or before) is an oft overlooked topic. But, I would venture to say, that quietbeginning just might be on to something….

  79. Patrick J. says:

    Echoing those who think the Seattle Cathedral is an example of what not to do.

    Of the twp or three times I have attended in recent years, I have on one occasion seen a woman, at this Cathedral, for no good reason, “preaching” the homily, and for me, it seems that there is so much pomp for pomp’s sake. The modernist air is gagging. I have literally walked out of the liturgy there. The layout is odd, (as can be seen above) and they have tried to impose this on virtually every church in the diocese. One church I know proudly flies the “rainbow” (gay) flag out on the street. What these folks don’t seem to get is that all of this “full and active participation” stuff is really all so self directed and makes everyone more “self conscious.” Reminds me of my wilder youth and the somewhat paranoid, stilted “everyone in the room is looking at me” uncomfortable kind of feeling one could get when smoking marijuana.

    Fr. Ryan is a nice enough fellow, but he has hitched his wagon to the wrong horse and just can’t figure out that he is part of the problem, not the solution.

  80. Patrick J. says:

    An excellent response from Msgr. Thomas Welbers:

    (And please erase if this be of any violation here)

    My own general reaction to this article is that the author is expending a lot of energy and spite on a very minor problem. He doesn’t like several of the new phrases in the latest missal about to be released. He says that this will result in “an almost certain fiasco”. He attributes this new translation to a determined dismantling of the outcomes of Vatican Council II. He tries to get up a tremendous ire at all this but it comes off flat. His citation of No 40 from the council documents does not give the cover that he wants for experimentation etc. Actually it is precisely the assumption by the clergy that they have a right to always and everywhere tinker with the liturgy that has brought the Novus Ordo into such disrepute and opprobrium.

    On occasion, he gives in to disparaging remarks thrown in for seemingly no purpose whatsoever. The “so-called Tridentine Mass” for instance which simply refers to the revised Missal issued by the fathers of the Council of Trent and which since that time up to the Vatican Council II had gone through only minor revisions so the name seems appropriate enough to me. I have no idea what the author wishes to indicate with the adjective “so-called” as if there were some gross mistake underlying this identification.

    In his rendition of the historical development and implementation of the Novus Ordo Mass after the second Vatican Council, the author fails to mention that even then there was no consultation with the faithful laity of the Church nor would the council have risked posing such a question for concern that it might be answered overwhelmingly in the negative. The main reason for believing that it would have received a negative reaction is simply that many laity would possibly or probably not have fallen in for “buying a pig in a poke”, a totally unknown yet-to-be new Mass. And they would have been right, seeing the inane, mundane texts we ended up with, watered down and twisted.

    When the author does get down to his cases, he cites only five instances of what I suppose he believes are poorly translated phrases but of the ones he cites I cannot for the life of me understand what is so poor about any of them in his understanding except that he says they incited disbelief and indignation at a dinner party. Why any of these phrases would incite such a hostile reaction is hard to imagine. Later he mentions the phrase from the Eucharistic Prayer “Joseph, spouse of the same virgin” and this may very likely be of questionable quality but this is only one phrase from an entire Missal.

    The author never once addresses the reasons for this new translation, why it does not come from ICEL (The International Commission on English in the Liturgy) or why the project was removed from ICEL in the first place. The quality and accuracy of ICEL’s translations have long been a sticking point in the English-speaking world and the Vatican has received complaints from laity around the world concerning these translation as well as objections by liturgists in essays, pamphlets and books. When the Vatican tried to work with ICEL, the committee simply ignored or paid lip service only to the feedback provided. So finally in frustration at the inaccuracy and poverty of the translations, the Vatican removed the work on this project from ICEL, and the new translation comes to us from Rome itself. But this history in a nutshell, and the author overlooks it and ignores it entirely, as if this translation fell from the skies of Rome, unannounced and unexpected.

    The author cites Bishop Trautman who, in his complaints, sounded more like a turn of the 19th century bishop noting the lack of education among his immigrant flock saying that the words were obscure and not commonly understood and citing incarnate, oblation, etc as examples. I don’t think it wise for a bishop to denigrate the intelligence of 21st century American Catholics. But in truth the author of this article is cut from the same cloth. We ignorant laity need priests such as the author to defend us from the machinations of the Vatican or so the author imagines. I doubt that all laity would want this author defending them insofar as it has been the constant stream of complaints from this laity that was the impetus for this entire project in the first place.

    For myself, I am ecstatic that the generation of the Council is passing and that the Church has set herself for the past 28 years to the great task of reforming the reform. I earnestly pray that this great project will continue so that a true liberalism will be born of orthodoxy in every parish where Masses of every sort from Tridentine, to Novus Ordo may be said. I am happy to witness the passing of the phony liberalism of the sixties and seventies clergy, narrow minded liberals denigrating everyone else who dared to question them.

    (Just excellent come back for this raw pap spewed by “tormented” liberals – too shay [bad English translation] )

  81. Warren says:

    Ugh, the puppet thingy again. Ugh, ugh and ugly. Someone put a match to it – preferable outdoors. No wait, sorry, let’s go green. I meant recycle it. A wood-chipper could be good. Nothing like a good shredding.

    As for the rector’s rant … the rector has substituted mere sentimentality for sound reasoning and conflated his taste (or lack thereof) with Catholicism. Thus, his “critique” is hardly worth the electronic ink with which it was printed.

  82. JonM says:

    I thought this puppet thing was only true in our nightmares (and Call to Action meetings).

    On that point, after watching this week, a Call to Action ‘mass,’ I had some of the worst nightmares. I am being completely serious and will not look at anything related to that group or associated acts.

    It might sound rather un-modern of me, but I hold true to the Church’s teaching that certain actions can lead us open to spiritual attack. I think ultra-dissenting activities qualify, perhaps not as strongly as a Ougie board but none the less dangerous.

  83. irishgirl says:

    I’m with you, Warren-those things need to be shredded with the biggest woodchipper of all time!

    Looks like something out of a nightmare….yikes!

    And this rector needs to be put out to pasture-pronto!

  84. wanda says:

    irishgirl! You’ve said it all. Nightmare was my exact thought, these are really frightening scenes. Bring on the chippers and someone get in there and clean out Our Lord’s House! I’m talking moneychangers, big puppets and puppeteers., etc. Hurry.

  85. Scelata says:

    Dear Father Ryan, what if you just get out of the way?

    Interesting phrase, “one more blow to episcopal collegiality.”

    Do the numbers “194 to 20” mean anything to you?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  86. Sam Schmitt says:

    So which one is it?

    “The new translation is so horrible it will undermine the Church’s credibility!”

    – OR –

    “Why are the bishops wasting their time on a new translation?!”

    I mean, if a new translation is really irrelevant compared to helping the poor, etc., then wny would the Church’s credibility be on the line if it’s implemented?

    Then the good Father cherry-picks some seemingly awkward phraces from the new translation, but how about all the phrases from the current version, which in addition to being awkward, are often just plain wrong?

    “a death he freely accepted”
    “wait in joyful hope”
    “I am not worthy to receive you”
    “from east to west”
    “he gave you thanks and praise”
    “from whom all good things come”
    “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith”
    “peace to his people on earth”
    “We believe”
    “one in being”
    “was born of the Virgin Mary and became man”

    The list goes on and on.

  87. Frank H says:

    I just discovered that the America website has a related podcast featuring an interview with Fr. Ryan.

  88. Tradster says:

    When Archbp. Lefebvre resisted the original trnslations he was excommunicated as being schismatic. [HUH?!? I repeat… HUH?!?]Will this priest face the same censure by the Church? Would he be willing to accept that fate for the sake of his principles?

    Both of those were rhetorical questions. Both have the same probable answer: no.

  89. Thomas S says:

    Tradster, please. Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated for “resisting the original translations”? Are you serious?

    So as not to turn this into an SSPX discussion, just answer, “No, I’m not serious. I am fully aware that he was excommunicated for illicitly ordaining four bishops without the approval of the Holy See.” Then we can get back to the issue of Fr. Ryan.

  90. Tom in NY says:

    Test post

    ???? ??????
    Pro multis
    Salutationes omnibus

  91. Tradster says:

    Yes, it was meant as a sarcastic remark. Sorry that wasn’t obvious.

  92. Tom Ryan says:

    I wonder if he had anything to do with making the Cathedral ugly?

  93. Tom Ryan: One of his signers is allegedly Richard Vosko.

  94. Just a fear reaction from those who would obscure the truth by inaccurate translations, of course trying to appear as an angel of light by bringing up a vague get-away-with-anything “pastoral concerns.”

  95. Patrick J. says:

    I would like to float an idea that I have had about so much of this tinkering and tweaking of the liturgy and of the need to reinvent and redo church buildings and even tried and true systems of thought, theology and the like.

    The generation in question, the baby boomers for the most part, did not get to evangelize territories, nor did they get to build new parishes, schools and hospitals. In fact, they saw the retreat of the Catholic dominion, if you will, in this country. What you have are a generation not as ambitious as the ones previous, not quite as gutsy, and finding themselves without truly great projects, and also lacking the kind of commitment that might send them to mission fields and street corners, find little Kitschy kinds of projects, like redoing perfectly fine edifices and rewriting liturgies to suit their liking – just so as to give themselves the feeling that they have importance and their lives are meaningful. In a word, they are bored – and boring, and lacking the nerve to find truly meaningful endeavors, set about to fix the unbroken.

    This is a spoiled and somewhat worthless generation trying to make some sense of their rather privileged positions, and just coming up with the wrong takes on just about everything, many times, even, with good intentions, but still not really knowing the world and how it really works – and especially about the nature and ferocity of evil – have allowed evil to creep in, as a good natured child might trust a stranger, not knowing who is to be trusted and who not. The other problem is these same folks exhibit a sort of hubris that just will not allow themselves to admit that they have been wrong, and the ship is about to run aground, but they think it is the tide and must rev up the engines hotter and that will overcome the problem. Wrong and too stupid and thick headed to understand.

  96. Patrick J. says:

    Re: the above:

    I should not have said “worthless” for we all have worth, especially in God’s eyes. Maybe better to say “spineless.”

  97. tour86rocker says:

    Father Z, I just noticed that somebody used your name to sign the petition

  98. tour: Really? LOL! People will see that and, if they know anything about what I do here, know that the petition is ludicrous. There is no way to verify any of the signers, apparently.

    Thanks for the chuckle?

  99. ssoldie says:

    What does the Church mean when they say ‘grown organically, from tradition, that seemed not to be known by Annabelle Bugnini and the committee. Novus =’New’ Show me the fruits of this ‘fabrication’.

  100. UPDATE: My name (which I didn’t contribute) has been removed from the petition.


    Here I thought I was finally going to make an impact!

  101. UPDATE: About the Vosko connection with the Cathedral…

  102. Yes, it was “Ticket to Ride”. I should have said.

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